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In a World without God Chapter 12

Updated: Jan 18

A sword curved like fangs sliced through the night. Horizontally. Vertically. Diagonally.

A wind-splitting sound echoed through the trees, like the howl of a beast, and the small animals of the forest held their breath and watched.

On the steep mountain path behind the warehouse, among the dense trees, Edulis swung his sword. The weighted curved blade drew a clean semicircle. The arc of his footsteps was like the track of a typhoon. His body is the pivot of a spinning top, the eye of the storm. These were the teachings of Karayan, Bosha's teacher.

Right now, Edulis was practicing his swordsmanship. The feel of the sword in his hand, the movement of his muscles as he swung it, the sound it made. All familiar. They were unmistakably things he knew. But....

As he shaped the trampled bread into an intact shape, Edulis was clearly conscious. He was acting of his own volition. But after a while, he couldn't understand why he had done it, or what he was feeling at the time. It was as if he was looking back at himself the day after a night of crazy drinking.

Even funnier, Edulis had restored the trampled bread. By manipulating the magic he released, he changed the state of the bread. This is definitely magic.

Bosha's magick was not suitable for that, and she had never thought of learning it. Ygraine's descendants were forbidden to use magic until the Sainting, so she hadn't been exposed to it even after he became Edulis.

Edulis stopped swinging his sword and tentatively gathered magick in her hands. Blue energy gathered, and a sharp ice arrow formed in his hand, which flew toward the tree and stuck. The area where the ice arrow had struck was suddenly frozen solid as if it had been plunged into winter.

"Shit. What the hell is going on?

Edulis couldn't help but love being able to use magic. It felt like there was a part of him she didn't recognize. VIsions that neither Bosha nor Edulis had seen kept popping into his head, and the thought of them made his chest tighten.

He concentrated on swinging his sword to take his mind off of it. Trees fell to the ground as Edulis's blade swept through them. Slash, slash, slash... An eternity passed.

"What is it?"Edulis said.

"Uh... hello?"The boy standing between the trees replied. He held a loaf of bread in his hand. It was the bread Edulis had restored. The boy's silver hair glistened in the moonlight.

"Enri, why are you here?"

"Uh, well. It's...." Enri frowned."...It was you, wasn't it, the bread I saw your eyes through the window earlier."

"So?"

"I wanted to say thank you, and this...."

With that, Enri held out the bread to Edulis. There were no teeth marks on the bread. It was exactly as Edulis had restored it.

"You didn't eat much while you were hanging from the frame, did you? I'm sorry, it's all I can give you. I'm embarrassed. You even made this for me, too....."

No, it wasn't. After Edulis entered the warehouse, Yug secretly brought him something to eat. As far as Edulis could see, it was Enri who hadn't eaten properly. Didn't he look so desperate as the maid trampled it down?

"Wasn't this your dinner?"

"Uh, yeah. But I'm fine, I had a big lunch."

"You're lying," Edulis said.

"You looked very hungry, and the look on your face when the maid crushed your bread was horrible, so why are you giving me this bread anyway?"

"That’s…."

Enri wandered his eyes from side to side for a long moment, embarrassed at how easily he was caught in a lie. Then he said."Because it's... more valuable."

"What?"

"Because it's... more valuable to me to give it to you than to eat it."

Edulis looked wordlessly into Enri's eyes, his reflection in those clear silver pupils.

"Because my father said so. He said it was pointless and worthless to live for myself. That life shines when you give to others. I know it sounds funny coming from the scion of a witch, but...."

"No, it's not."

Edulis was inwardly surprised; when they'd shared the cart, she'd thought of Enri as a lost ghost, but no, he was a true descendant of the Fey. The real Fey, the ones Edulis remembered!

"Really? Then... won't you accept it? My life will be over in ten days, but I wanted to do something meaningful... for once."

"It's over in ten days, why?"

Edulis asked, and Enri shuddered, turning blue.

"In the upcoming Festival of Saints, my opponent is... Sir Taric. Taric's brother, Lord Galak, killed my brother during the last Festival of Saints in a very cruel way... but Sir Taric said earlier I would suffer worse than that so I should prepare."

In the system of the Festival of Saints, killing someone does not go unpunished. If that person is the offspring of a witch, the audience cheers. The children of witches deserve to be punished. They deserve to be tortured alive. Kill them slowly. Make it painful. Cut off their limbs and make them struggle!

Those who shout this know nothing. What each of these so-called children of witches is like?

“No one is born a bandit. They all have their reasons. Try to understand them, Captain Bosha.”

Ygraine always said to try to understand others. But none of those who worshiped her as a saint ever followed through. It's the same now as it was then. Humans are despicable.

Edulis snatched the bread from Enri's hand. He chewed roughly and swallowed. Within seconds, the bread was gone.

"Thank you, dear. For the bread."Facing Enri, Edulis raised his sword."Huh?"

After turning the sword so that the handle was facing Enri, Edulis said.

"Take it. Your life is not over in ten days."

"What do you mean?"

"It means to defeat this Tariq. I'll make sure you do."

"You, you will...?"

Edulis thought back to Bosha's childhood. The younger Bosha had been desperate to survive. He once smeared himself with dragon feces to hide his human scent and chewed on bean worms that crawled under rocks. "If there is a God," he thought, "why would He want it to be like that? If there is a God, why did He bring him into this world?

But once he realized that Ygraine was Lutea, he couldn't question her. He didn't know what to say. She'd hang her head and say she was sorry, that it was all her fault.

Life is a gift from Lutea, and it's always humans who ruin it. Edulis couldn't stand to watch.

"Sure... you're special, you might be able to beat Bosha’s kin, but I can't. I was never taught how to fight. Tariq is a master of earth magic, and even if I tried...."

"Then die now," Edulis held the knife to Enri's throat.

"Wh-why all of a sudden...."

"Rather than be slowly tortured and humiliated in public, why not die in peace now?"

Enri clamped his mouth shut and looked at Edulis. With a snap, Edulis tossed the sword to the ground and spoke.

"Your hesitation now is the will to live that remains in you. If you wish to follow that will, pick up the sword. If not, turn your back on me. I will kill you faster than you’d realize you’re already dead. "

Enri glanced back and forth between Edulis and the sword on the floor. Eventually, he took a step forward.

***

Ygraine was a monster. It wasn't until the end of the war against the witches that Bosha realized it.

Even on the battlefield, Ygraine did not ride Velox, for she did not need to. Ygraine, running with a holy spear and a holy sword, was faster than a Velox with nothing on its back. She could run the distance that ten Veloxes would have to take turns running, and she would not tire.

Ygraine's physical abilities were extraordinary. She broke through the gates, dodging a hail of arrows from a thousand archers with her unarmored body, and punched holes in the city walls that even waves of spears could not penetrate.

In retrospect, it's ridiculous. How could that be human?

Everyone in the Fey family knew that Ygrainne was an incarnation of the goddess Lutea. At the moment of her birth, a holy mark appeared on the necks of the Fey people. It's what people now call a birthmark.

Those with the mark share in Lutea's power. Special physical and magical abilities. It was the reason for Edulis' rapid growth, and it would be the same for any other child born with the mark.

Edulis's prediction was correct.

"Charge at your enemy as if throwing your entire weight with the sword. This is the leap of the Black Fang."

"The Black Fang's...? How do you...?"

"If you know that, then understand. Since time is precious, try to follow along."

"Ah...."

Enri, who had been mimicking Edulis' movements, fell flat on his ass. It was only natural. The leap that Edulis had taught him was everything that Black Fang Swordsmanship was all about. Almost every attack in Black Fang Swordsmanship is accompanied by a leap like this. The goal is to lunge at the enemy so fast that they can't react and decapitate them with a single blow.

It was an extremely difficult move. More than half of those who joined the Black Fangs were unable to master this move and instead used Kaldura swordsmanship instead of the Black Fangs' own. Valar was one of them.

Even if one managed to learn it, the time it took to leap without falling averaged half a year, and the time to connect it to an attacking move after the leap averaged three years.

Today, for the first time, and in the dark early morning, Edulis taught this move He didn't expect Enri to succeed in this move. He was going to check Enri's physical capabilities and train him accordingly....

"I-I did it! Edulis! I didn't fall this time!"

Within about an hour of teaching him the move, Enri succeeded in leaping without falling. Sure, the move was sloppy, but it was a ridiculous rate of progress.

Edulis was surprised; until now, he hadn't realized how much his birthmarks were affecting his body. Thanks to Bosha's memories, he had mastered the Black Fang Sword Technique from scratch.

The Bosha of the past was the standard by which Edulis judged his current skills. He had never thought about how physically capable he was compared to his peers.

"Alright, the next move we'll learn is the diagonal slash."

Diagonal slash. The name is simple, but when executed correctly, it's incredibly powerful. It was the move that had shredded Raghad's sword.

"Like this?"

"No, more aggressive!

The sound of the sword cutting through the wind was disappointing. The reason is simple. He hadn't fully mastered the leap. The power of Black Fang swordsmanship is all about footwork. But Enri was a better student than anyone Edulis had ever taught. None of the Black Fangs that Bosha had raised had learned so quickly.

How hard did he practice? Before long, the moon's form faded and the sun began to rise. Enri gasped and turned to Edulis.

"Hmph... hmph... I'm sorry, I tried so hard to learn from you, but I only learned two moves...." Enri looked at Edulis with a truly guilty look on his face.

"The sun has risen, so we have nine days left... I guess... that means you’ll survive...." Edulis said to a sulking Enri.

"Only two moves? Those two moves should be enough to beat the brats."

"Huh? But, at this rate...."

"Of course not, but you think I'm going to let it stay that way?"

Overnight, Enri learned to leap and slash. He's still a poor imitation, but what about nine days later?

Edulis picked up a suitable wooden stick from the floor. It was long enough to use as a walking stick, and thick enough for two fingers. Mercenary Captain Bosha's method of training his men was simple. He was a man who believed there was no substitute for practice.

"From now on, I'm going to follow you around and attack you, so do whatever you can to stop me."

"Uh... huh? From now on?"

Enri was puzzled; hadn't they been training all night? I thought it was time to go home now…

Edulis considered this a very kind approach. The training targets were different from when she was the commander. It was a boy with a noble heart, not a criminal or a vagabond. A boy with hair like Ygraine. He deserved special treatment.

This was only true for Edulis. When the mercenary captain Bosha trained his recruits, he used to beat them with a real sword. His use of a wooden stick instead of a real sword, and his warning that he was going to attack, were the two most kind things Edulis could do.

“Here I come. With that, Edulis swung the stick at Enri with a motion that could not be blocked except with a slash. At this speed, it couldn't be avoided without using the leap.




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