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In a World without God Chapter 1

Updated: Jan 15

There are only two things worth having in this world. Money and power. Everything else is just a bunch of bullshit, talked about by people with warm bodies and full stomachs in their pastime.


Power allows you to make money, and money allows you to hire powerful people. Thus, the world is run by the powerful and the wealthy. 


Love? Friendship? Do such things really exist in the world? For the sake of money or power, people will sell out their families and lovers. How many times have we witnessed that scene? 


Bosha, the leader of the mercenary army, the Black Fang, believed that his thoughts were the truth of the world. Until that day, when she came to the Black Fang base. 


"Hey,  who are you, young lady? Did someone new come to the nearby tavern? No way I’d forget a face like that.”"A raspy, metal-scraping voice came from outside Bosha's tent. It belonged to Vala, the troop leader. 


"Let me see Captain Bosha." Her voice was a stark contrast to Vala's, soft yet firm, reminiscent of a plum blossom blooming in the bitter cold.


"Captain? If you want to promote your tavern, you'd better talk to me, because Captain Bosha isn't into that sort of thing."

 

"I am not here to promote any tavern. I am Lady Ygraine, daughter of Duke Uther Le Fey. I'm here on an important request."


Despite being treated like a tavern girl, she spoke calmly, without a trace of anger. 


"Eh? What nonsense is this? Why would a noble lady like you come here? What kind of absurd talk are you sitting down for?"


Hearing the mockery in Vala's voice, Bosha shook his head in disbelief. 


"That idiot. There must be a reason for the noble lady to come here. If she is the incarnation of the goddess Lutea, as they say, she would surely contact us before coming,” Bosha had thought for some time. Bosha just didn't think it would be her to come in person...


He had warned Vala, but the bastard couldn't remember anything but the name of a tavern girl. 


"Tell her to come in," Bosha shouted. 


"Captain?"

"Stop the nonsense.."


Vala ushered Ygraine into the tent. A silvery head of hair shone into the tent. Bosha had heard rumors of her but had never seen her in person. He marveled secretly at her.

 

She was called the Embodiment of the Goddess because of her personality, but she was also beautiful enough to rival a goddess. Skin as soft and white as the fine sand of the Kashiba Desert to the southwest. Hair that shone like molten platinum.


Bosha stifled his admiration, motioned for her to take a seat, and then blurted out. "So, how much can you pay?"


"I haven't even told you  what I want yet."


"The reason is obvious. You're afraid that the Witch's army will come after you while Astania's army is away, so you want us to protect your rear line of defense, right?" 


"Indeed… The rumors are true, Fox of Kaldura." Ygraine nodded. The Fox of Kaldura was an alias for Bosha. He was a powerful and cunning creature who carefully monitored the situation surrounding the Empire of Ur and the Kingdom of Astania, and when he saw an opening, he took advantage of it like a ghost. It was commonly said that the balance of power between the empire and the kingdom was due to a fox living in the wasteland.  

 

Of course, that was before the empire fell victim to the witches. The current war is not between nations but between witches and humanity. 


When Ygraine told Bosha the amount, Bosha frowned. 


"That's all you could give? That's too little. I expected more from Duke Fey."

 

"It's the most my estate can pay."

 

"That's really the best you can get? Couldn't you get more if you sold some of the precious metals or clothes you have stashed in your bedroom?"

 

"That's all we got." 


Bosha fell silent. 


No wonder, the woman was shabbily dressed for a Lady, and Vala could have mistaken her for a barmaid. But who cares? Only one thing matters to Bosha. The fact that the Lady had offered so little.


"I'm disappointed," said Bosha, "I didn't think a Duke Fey would be worth less than a witch." 

  

As Bosha spoke, Ygraine's face hardened. 


"What did you just say?" 


Whether Ygraine glared or not, Bosha spoke bluntly. 


"If that's the best you can offer, I'll hear no more. Get out." 

 

"So the Black Fangs are siding with the witch's forces, abandoning humanity?"


"No. I’m saying we'll side with whoever pays him the most money."


The witch, Granadilla, had approached Bosha asking him to help her attack  Astania's forces. Bosha considered listening to the witch and decided to go with the higher bidder, but her offer was worse than Bosha expected.


"Don't you know about witches? Witches kill people by the dozen, capture children, and torture them. Innocent people are screaming in agony!"


The corners of Bosha's mouth twitched as she heard those words. “Innocent people.....” Bosha didn't respond to Ygraine's words but untied the hood around his head. 


"Look at my hair."


She did so, revealing a head of red hair. 


"My parents abandoned me in the marshes of Varus in the north as soon as I was born because they said that red hair was proof that I was born with Granadilla's magic. Is it strange that I, who was born with the witch's magic, would side with her?"


"That's superstition. Hair color has nothing to do with magic!"

 

"I know, but the people of Kaldura cursed and threw stones at me as soon as I laid eyes on them. What crime did I do then?"


"That's...."


Bosha shouted as Ygraine stammered. The only crime I committed was being powerless and penniless! " 


That is the greatest sin in the world.  If you can't stand up to a witch because you have no money or power, you deserve it. Don't the kingdom's people treat the penniless and powerless with impunity as well? 


But Ygraine looked straight at Bosha and said with a hint of sadness. 

 

"No, they don't. That is my sin. It's my lack of strength."


Hearing those words, Bosha clicked her tongue. Kaldura wasn't even Duke Fey's territory, so why would this woman feel responsible? But it didn't sound like she was being vain. Ygraine was biting her lip hard, the corners of her eyes squeezed tightly together– as if she were about to cry.


Bosha thought it was ridiculous. Just because she was called an embodiment of the goddess, did she really think she was the goddess Lutea? 


"Anyway, get out, we're done talking."

 

"It's not over. If the Black Fang sides with the witch, the people will be in great danger." 

 

"So what? It's only natural for the weak to submit to the strong. If you need our help, bring more money."


Ygraine did not rise from her seat but continued in a gloomy voice. 


"The weak must submit to the strong... do you really think so? When Lutea created life from her own blood, all she wanted was for everyone to live happily together."

 

"Bullshit. Vala, come in and drag this woman out!" Bosha called, and Vala strode through the tent.


"Is it over already, Captain, hey lass, why don't you come and have a drink with me, we just got some of the finer stuff in," Vala said, but Ygraine didn't move from her spot. She just stood there, glaring at Bosha. 


Vala stood beside him and spoke in a troubled voice. "Captain, I don't think this young lady is finished with you."


"I'm done. Drag her out, if you must." 

 

"Drag her out? Where should I hold her... If I grab her by the arm, she'll snap like a twig."

 

Vala was the largest of the Black Fangs, with forearms like pillars of iron. Even so, the boar-like creature was strangely kind to women.

 

Bosha urged the hesitant Vala on. "Don't you hear me telling you to drag her out?" 

 

"Whatever, he's in a temper, lass, get up."


Vala grumbled and grabbed Ygraine by the shoulders. Or he tried to.

 

"Huh?!" Vala groaned in a dumbfounded voice. He couldn't believe what was happening. Ygraine's fingers, like slender flower stalks, wrapped around Vala's wrist like iron pillars. 

 

Vala's hands were pinned to the ground, unable to move. Even when the hippo-like creature twisted his body from side to side, his wrist remained pinned to the ground. Bosha was equally surprised. He'd never heard of Lady Ygraine having such strength. 

 

Ygraine released Vala's wrist and stood up, looking straight at Bosha. 

 

"As long as you are an avowed enemy of humanity, I cannot leave." 


With that, she brought her hand to the sword hanging from her waist. Bosha thought it was just a decoration to show her status as a Lady, but it wasn't. 


"If it is natural for the powerless to submit to the powerful as you said, then if I were to compete against you and win, would you grant my request and fight the witch for the sake of humanity?"


Bosha furrowed his brow and glared at Ygraine. 


***


To reach Vaidor, where the Kingdom's rear defense force was stationed, they had to pass through the Baruba Gorge. A wilderness unfit for horses. The uneven, hard ground should have been painful to walk on, but Ygraine didn't seem to mind. 


Bosha walked side by side with Ygraine, and the Black Fangs followed. Every single one of them wore a grim expression.  


It couldn’t be helped. How could they be comfortable after seeing Captain Bosha, a man who prides himself on his absolute strength, get beaten like a grasshopper by a delicate lady? 


But the discomfort his men felt was nothing compared to the humiliation Bosha felt. Bosha's stomach churned as if he had swallowed rotten fish entrails. 


His entire life had been trampled upon. A mercenary captain with nothing more than his strength to his name had been beaten to the ground by a duchess! 


Moreover, the difference in their strength was overwhelming. Bosha couldn't lay a finger on Ygraine, who was covered by a pure magical aura as white as a freshly fallen snowflake. It was more like divine energy than magical energy.


Bosha couldn't believe his eyes. Not even the holiest monks in the Church could possess an aura of such purity.   


As they walked through the canyon, Bosha nuzzled the nape of Ygraine's neck. Vosha hadn't given up yet. For a mercenary, defeat is defined by death. Bosha is not dead, so it means he is not completely defeated. 


"One day I'll see that head hit the ground.”


It's no accident that Bosha became a captain at the age of 20. Force is one thing, but his tenacity is another. It doesn't matter if he can't win a hand-to-hand fight. He just had to wait for an opportunity to strike. Until then, he'll pretend to obey. 


Ygraine walked straight ahead, her face innocent, as if she was unaware of Bosha's true intentions. Eventually, they came to a village. The canyon town of Rishaia had recently suffered great damage from a demonic raid. Perhaps because of that, the reactions of the people who saw Ygraine were intense. 


"It's the Saint! Her army is passing through the canyon!"

 

"Oh... Saint, you've finally come to save us!"

 

"Those monsters killed our... our son...! Please send down divine punishment!"


Bosha frowned as he watched the people chanting for the saint. 


Pathetic. So helpless, so dependent on others. To hell with the saint. She's just a hypocrite who sounds a little more convincing than everyone else.  As Bosha was thinking this, someone shouted. 


"That's... that's...! That's Bosha! Bosha the Red Fox! Bosha is with the Saint!"


Some of the people recognized Bosha, even though his hood hid his red hair. At that, their faces turned grim. 


"That's right, I'm the reason the rock salt mines here are in trouble, aren't I?


Before the witch took control of the empire, the Black Fangs interfered and played with the salt prices. As a result, there were many people here who held grudges against Black Fang and Bosha. 


"Get out of the saint's presence, you filthy fox!"


With that, they all picked up stones.  Bosha snorted at the sight of them. 

 

"All right, throw it," he said, "I’ll catch them and smash your damn heads with it. 

 

Bosha laughed maniacally as he watched them throw the stones. Unaware of the pale magic emanating from his body, they threw the stones at him. 

 

Crack. Thud.


Dozens of stones flew through the air. Then it happened.

 

 Flick.Thud.


The stones rolled across the ground with a dull thud.  It didn't hit Bosha. Instead, it hit Ygraine in the forehead and fell to the ground. The blackness of the stone left a small stain on Ygraine's pure white forehead. 


Ygraine stood between the Rishaia villagers and Bosha with her arms open.

 

When they saw her, they stopped throwing stones and shouted. "Saint, why do you embrace Bosha?" 

 

"He is a man who knows nothing but his self-interest, and you should not be with him!"


"You are surely being deceived by him, Saint."


Ygraine replied."No. He, too, is a child of Lutea. Lutea does not want her children to quarrel with each other."


The villagers didn't buy it. They shouted angrily. 


"No, Saint, he is not Lutea's child."

 

"He is the child of a witch, a cunning fox!" 

 

Ygraine shook her head. She kept her mouth shut and stared into their eyes. Her gaze shifted from side to side, making eye contact with each and every one of them. This remained so for a few while.


Eventually, they put the stones down. Their eyes still burned, but none of them dared to throw a stone at Ygraine. One by one, the villagers left, glaring at Bosha. Seeing this, he sneered at them. 

 

"Fools, you're not protecting me, aren’t you? You knew I was going to take the rock and break their heads with it.."

 

But Ygrainne shook her head. 


"No, it was you I was trying to protect."


The answer was so unexpected, so ridiculous, that Bosha asked back. 


"Do you think I'm going to get hurt by being stoned?"


"Yes. Your heart will be hurt. Captain Bosha, your body is as strong as iron, but your heart is as fragile as a newborn chick." 


Bosha's expression twisted. Fragile?? Who the hell is he talking to?

  

"Ha! That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard in my life!! You must have hit your head badly while you were playing saint?"


Bosha growled at Ygraine. Ygraine looked back at his face with a smile on her face. That face. He didn't like that face. It was like looking at a child. Ygraine’s clear silver eyes reflected Bosha's angry face.


For some reason, Bosha couldn't look Ygraine in the eye. What's going on? Even when facing a dragon in the Barus Swamp, Bosha didn’t flinch but now….

 

Ygrain spoke. "Captain Bosha. The day will come when those who throw stones now, will chant your name with joy, and you will smile back at them. Let go of old hatreds, know how to love, and understand happiness...."


Bosha recalled his childhood. His pathetic self, begging for someone to save him. He had long since given up on himself. He cried and cried, but no one reached out to him. Instead, they threw stones at him. He burned his grief and turned it into hatred, and survived by drinking mud and chewing worms. That’s how the current Bosha came to be.


Ygraine's pearly eyes seemed to see right through the weak man he had once been. 


"Hypocrite, I'll kill you!  Bosha repeated to himself.  Even his calm heart that dashed through the rain of arrows on the battlefield was pounding anxiously. 

 

Ygraine's words lingered like fishhooks, stabbing his heart as they pushed forward. 



 




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