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In a World without God Chapter 15

Updated: Jan 18

Fools do not know the moon has risen, even though its light illuminates the night. Such were the people gathered in the amphitheater. Even when the Portrait of the Goddess revealed its true form, they could not accept that it was true.

 

"Who did this!!"

 

Someone opened their mouth but quickly silenced themselves. Who did this? It was a silly question. The Portrait of the Goddess is kept in the Oval Office of Lord Kindatu. If anyone had tampered with the painting, the blame would solely fall on him. But who would dare hold him accountable?

 

Besides, his office is more secure than any other building in the Fey family. Blades are embedded in the tight grates, and the door is locked with several layers of padlocks. How could anyone but a ghost touch the paintings without leaving a trace?

 

"Bring a cloth and cover the painting! The witch is deceiving the people!" Kindatu shouted, and the Fey family's attendants scrambled.

 

"Ominous! A bad omen! Descendants of the heroic Bosha... execute the witch's offspring at once!


"Deliver us from the darkness that deceives us!"

 

Edulis squinted one eye and twisted the corners of his mouth, a bitter laugh escaping him. People are the same as always. They see what they want to see and believe what they want to believe. But.....

 

"Edulis! Edulis!"


"Keep your voice down, Aruru."

 

"What happened?! Why did the painting suddenly become like that?!"

 

"You did it, and you don't know it. You and the rats anointed the painting with swamp toad grease."

 

Barus swamp toad grease. It was something Edulis always carried with him. It was excellent for preventing rust on a sword.

 

“That’s right! That's why I thought you were going to burn the painting with fire! I even prepared some kindling in case you forgot!"

 

Aruru waved the match in Edulis' arms.

 

"No, that's not it, put it away."

 

How could Edulis burn a painting of Ygraine?

 

The oil of the Barus bog toad is a clear solid in cooler temperatures, but at the slightest increase in temperature, it becomes liquid and drips.

 

The reason this is happening now is because the sun is shining on the painting in the arena, melting the toad oil that Edulis had applied to the painting beforehand.

 

Examining the paintings that Aruru and the rats have brought, Edulis realizes that they are not the same. "Of all the paints in the Portrait of the Goddess, only the ones for the hair and eyes were different. Only those colors were fat-soluble dyes. The rest were pigments mixed with glue, insoluble in oil.

 

It showed the extent of the lie the Fey family was living. These bastards had added black paint to a painting by Limousin le Fey and hadn't even bothered to find a pigment with the same properties.

 

Once again, Edulis remembered the image of Laotou. How she had followed Bosha to the auction house, only to be stopped by Ygraine, apologizing that she got caught..

 

- Ouch, Ygraine, how do you know this place? No, no, no, it's not because I'm greedy, it's just that I wanted to try some expensive liquor for once...

 

Ygraine was particularly strict with Laotou. This was because Laotou was the most unruly of the Apostles. However, after spending so much time with her, Edulis gained the ability to recognize deception.

 

"Truth is just a collection of facts that people want to be true...is that right?”

 

Edulis' thoughts differed from Kindatu's. Truth is a powerful thing in and of itself. Edulis looked around. Some people were shouting that the witch was deceiving them, while others were staring at the painting in fascination.

 

"How can that silver hair look so natural? It's as if it was painted silver from the very beginning...."


"Yikes! Sounds like trouble!"

 

People flocked to the painting as if mesmerized. They didn't dare to call it beautiful, but their eyes shone, and some of them even tripped over themselves as they rushed to see it before it was covered by the cloth.

 

They couldn't help it. When the crude black paint peeled away, the silver saint was breathtaking.  

 

"Get out of the way! Get out of the way!"

 

Edulis didn't expect a painting to change people's minds. All he wanted to do was plant a tiny seed of doubt in people's minds, and it worked.

 

Questions blossomed in the minds of those who saw the painting: how could such a beautiful silver color symbolize foreboding, how could it be the color of a witch?

 

After the paintings were removed, the elders of the Kindatu and Fey clans stepped forward to organize the crowd. Time passed, and the festival finally began.

 

Those who had been praying in front of the "Portrait of the Goddess" moved to the stands. The people were more excited than ever. The silver image of the saint was a threat to what they believed in. They wanted to defeat the threat at all costs. So they shouted.

 

"Kill them!"

 

"Punish the witch's offspring for deceiving the people!"

 

"Purify the accursed blood!"

 

The shouts from the audience echoed through the waiting room. Edulis sighed. Do these idiots not see the weirdness of lusting for violence and blood at an event honoring the goddess Lutea?

 

At that moment, silver rings were being placed on the wrists and ankles of silver-haired boys and girls. They were magic stone rings, in case any of Ygrainne's descendants, who had learned to use magick, should harm the children of the Bosha family. In addition to hindering the use of magic, these rings were heavy. It was like having a whole muscle of meat attached to your limbs.

 

"They said I was free to use any weapon I wanted... but that was just to make it look good for the audience. No one knows how heavy these rings are!"

 

"What difference does it make? They all want us dead."

 

"Edulis.... Do you think Enri will be okay? His movements will be much slower than when he was training."

 

Marie and the others expressed their concern to Edulis. Edulis replied, "Yeah, he’ll probably be slower than during training.."


"Edulis!"

 

Edulis scratched his cheek with a nonchalant face and turned to the worried children.

 

"When those outside scream so loudly, it's because they're uneasy with their own truth. And what is it that bothers you? After all the training you've done with me, you still can't believe that you are descended from Saint Ygraine, and blessed by the Goddess?"

 

When everyone else was at a loss for words, Enri spoke up.

 

"I... I believe it. If Edulis says so, it must be true."

 

"Enri...."

 

"Shumi always shares with others when she has something to eat, Harsh takes care of the sick, and Methena comforts the weeping. Marie would have died for me, and Edulis gives us strength, so there's no way you could be the offspring of a witch."

 

Edulis echoed Enri's words. "Got that?" Edulis turned her head and made eye contact with each of the silver-haired children.

 

"Ignore what others call you. Think of who you know you are, and live that way. That alone will make you the Fangs that Tear through Lies."

 

***

 

Tariq looked around the crowd and gestured with his hand. He could see the excitement in their eyes, and anticipation bubbled inside him.

 

Raghad and Kurzina were the two most popular in this competition. They are both skilled and good-looking and have already garnered a great deal of support from the people.

 

Tariq, on the other hand, is nothing to write home about. He's short and fat, and his magical skills are mediocre at best. What chance does Tariq have of winning the people's favor? 

 

Tariq's older brother, Garak, was an absolute hero during the last Festival of Saints. He was in the spotlight more than anyone else. And not because he was good. It was because he gave the crowd an electrifying performance. Garak used earth magic to make the witch's offspring jump around in ridiculous ways, to make them beg, and to make them scream in agony.

 

Later on, he would play with the witch's offspring for a while longer, until they begged him to kill them, and then he would crush them to death like a bug. Garak was warned by the elders not to be too cruel, but this story of the Festival of Saints made him famous.

 

Tariq wanted to be like that, no, he wanted to be more famous than his brother, and he saw this as his chance. People are agitated because of the ominous events of this morning. How loud would the cheers be if Tariq made fun of and killed the witch's offspring?


"Kill him!"

 

"Spill their accursed blood!"

 

Hearing the shouts from the audience, Tariq raised his staff. The purple gem at the end of the staff glowed, and a pillar began to rise from the ground. The pole was studded with long, sharp thorns. They formed a tight circle around where Tariq and Enri were standing.

 

Tariq tried to reduce the space for Enri to move. The image of Enri trying to run away from the attack and being pinned down by the spiked pillars... the audience would roar with laughter!

 

"You, spawn of a witch, will soon be begging me to kill you."

 

Tariq pointed his staff at Enri, but Enri's reaction wasn't what he expected. He was expecting him to fall to the ground and beg for his life, but he was looking straight at him.

 

"We are not the offspring of witches…"

 

At those words, the crowd erupted in anger. If you are not the children of witches, what are you? They questioned. The shouts made Tariq's mouth water. Good. The more rebellious they are, the better they will react when subdued.

 

Tariq gathered the magick on his staff. The violet gem glowed once more, and three dozen balls of boulders shot up from the floor and flew toward Enri. Each one was as big as a watermelon.

 

'Oops, did I go too far from the beginning? It would be nice if just an arm or a leg got broken.' Tariq thought for a moment.

 

"Huh?" A stupid groan escaped Tariq's mouth. Enri had suddenly disappeared from his sight. The crowd went wild.

 

"What... what is that? How!"


"Tariq, he's right next to you!"

 

Tariq heard that and quickly turned his head. Enri's curved sword was making an arc toward Tariq's staff. The staff flew out of Tariq's hand and landed with a thud on the ground.

 

"Oh, no!"

 

Silence fell over the crowd. Who would have thought that the scion of a sealed witch could defeat a wizard with a single blade, and only seconds into the ritual?

 

Tariq scrambled to the ground and grabbed his staff. Enri glared at him as he gripped his sword. He thought to himself.

 

'That was less than half as fast as when I was training with Edulis... Why didn't he dodge? Is there some kind of trap?’

 

Enri was just like Edulis before. They didn't fully understand how special their Holy Marked bodies were. Since the Marked train with each other, how would they know how fast they were progressing?

 

Of course, Edulis had seen this coming. If Raghad, the most anticipated member of the Holy Order, was only that good, he thought, there was no way the descendants of Ygraine, who had mastered the Black Fang Sword, could lose.

 

"You... you!"

 

Tariq's face flushed red. Of all the Fey children who have participated in the Holy War, not one has ever lost to a witch's offspring. They had only two options: show the witch's children mercy or kill them without mercy. Losing was not an option.

 

"How dare you put me through this!"

 

Tariq pointed his staff at Enri once more. A boulder rose from the ground and lunged at Enri, but the result was the same. Enri's feet slammed into the ground, and one moment he was gone. Then, as if he had teleported, he suddenly appeared next to him.

 

The same thing happened over and over again. Tariq's staff rolls across the ground, and Tariq scrambles to grab it and pull it back...

 

It was an uncomfortable sight to behold, but the match was not over. No one is allowed to interfere with the sacred ritual until a winner is declared.

 

The stands were as silent as a funeral home. Those who had initially shouted for the witch's offspring to be killed were silent. It wasn't just the fact that Bosha's offspring were losing to the witch's offspring that made them uncomfortable.

 

They realized. Enri had no intention of hurting Tariq. He could cut off Tariq's hands or feet if he wanted to, and taking his life would be easy enough, but he was only aiming for Tariq's staff. If Tariq dropped it, he would wait for him to pick it up again.

 

Tariq, on the other hand, refuses to admit defeat, even after being knocked to the ground several times. Enri tries not to hurt Tariq, but Tariq only uses his magic to get Enri's attention. Despite this, he is unable to hurt Enri.

 

Anyone watching could understand who has compassion.

 

“Stop the Holy Rite immediately! How long do you intend to display such disgrace to the people?!”


“My lord, but in the Holy Rite, anyone can...”


“No excuses! Do something, anything!”


That's when it happened.


"No!"

 

A wail erupted from the crowd. As Tariq reached for his staff, he lost his footing and stumbled. The problem was, that there was a spiky pole in front of him that Tariq had summoned in the first place. If left untouched, Tariq would impale himself on the thorns, resulting in a gruesome mauling.

 

But then....

 

Something happened that shouldn't have. Something that should never have happened to the people of the Kindatu and the Fey family....

 

“Think of yourselves as you know you are, and live as you are.”

 

Enri remembered Edulis's words. Then he did what he knew he should have done, what Enri would have done. He threw his sword to the ground and ran to Tariq, wrapping his arms around his waist. He threw his whole body around him to keep him from falling.

 

Soon, their tangled bodies rolled across the floor. For the first time since the festival began, Enri's body was covered in dirt. Tariq looked up at Enri with a dazed expression on his face. Enri's hands came into view. No weapon in his hand. Tariq, on the other hand, has a staff in his hand.

 

‘This is my chance, isn't it? I can't afford to lose...’


It was the moment Tariq raised his staff.


“You despicable scoundrel!”


Someone shouted. Tariq looked up. The words were blasphemous. How dare anyone say such a thing to a noble’s heir!! But he couldn't catch that person. Half the people in the audience were on their feet, pointing fingers at him.

 

"Put that stick down now!" they shouted.


"Are you trying to tarnish the name of a hero?"


"Don't defile the Holy Rite!"





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