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In a World without God Chapter 17

“Don't you want to play with the children, Captain Bosha?”

 

Ygraine asked, a dozen or so children, all about five years old, dangling from the hem of her skirt. They stole glances at Bosha, hiding behind her skirt.

 

"I hate children," Bosha said in a deliberately grumpy voice, not wanting to see them.

 

The children who heard her flinched and stepped back.

 

“Why?”


“Because they're shameless. They think they deserve what they get. I saved this village, and they don't even know how to thank me.” 

 

Ygraine stroked the sobbing children's heads. Still smiling, she turned to Bosha.

 

“Does Captain Bosha think he saved the children?”


“Of course I did! The Black Fangs wiped out the demons! If I didn't save them, what did?”

 

Ygrain shook her head.

 

“The reason he thinks that is because you drew a line between the children and yourself.”

 

“What?”


“Captain Bosha didn't save the children. Captain Bosha saved himself”

 

He called it bullshit. At the time, he thought Ygrainne was always saying unintelligible things. Even now, as Edulis, he didn't quite understand what she meant. But he was beginning to get a sense of it. At least, he didn't have the heart to call them "brats" as they slept, and the sight of their sleeping faces made him smile.

 

He couldn't stop thinking about Tarik's face when Enri hugged him around the waist. When he was traveling with Ygraine, he would often see a face like that. Not only Enri but these kids inherited more than just scars from Ygraine.

 

"Hmm.... Why aren’t you running away? Let's hear it."

 

 As Edulis removed his hand from Ishkur’s mouth, he asked in a low voice.

 

"Let me ask you the other way around, why do you think you can run away?"

 

"Well, I have an escape route...."

 

"You mean the one hidden among the arrowroot in the back mountains?"

 

"Yes...." Ishkur's red eyes widened.

 

"A word of advice, don't assume the enemy is dumber than you. There are signs of human traffic on that path, and they'll follow it somehow."

 

Ishkur was visibly flustered. He was confident in his strategy.

 

"Really? There were tracks there? Shit... I didn't realize it because I didn’t check it myself. What am I going to do? When am I going to get another chance like this...."

 

The danger got closer. Out the window, he could see three men approaching the house. Ishkur spun in place, thinking.

 

They don't know about his betrayal yet. He might be able to survive if he fled on his own, but it's not every day you get an ally with this much power. What could they do?

 

Edulis thought as he looked at Ishkur. What if he had been Bosha when he was just a mercenary captain? He would have used the children as bait to draw the enemy in, then set the house on fire. He would have waited outside to ambush them while the children and the enemy huddled together in confusion. The Red Fox of Caldura was a man of strategy.

 

 But not Edulis.

 

"Stay there and rest. Don't wake the children."

 

"What? You, you!"

 

Ishkur was at a loss for words. Edulis lunged for the window as he spoke. The sound of a fang-like sword tearing through the air could be heard.

 

"Madman..."

 

Ishkur stuck his head out and peered out the window. Edulis's sword had met Dumuzi's staff. It was a wise move to go after him first. Dumuzi is bulky and slow, and he specializes in magic.

 

But he was disappointed. Ashur's sword blocked the blow aimed at Dumuzi.

 

"Don't you think it's a little nasty, raiding a child's sleeping quarters at dawn?"

"I was going to kill you in the comfort of your sleep, but you're suffering for nothing."

 

Ashur like Raghad's, held a longsword that, and the entirety of the blade was crackling with red magick.

 

"Children of the witch who deceived the people of the land and my son Raghad, I will hang your heads in the square as a reminder to those who have been deceived."

 

With those words, Edulis's prediction proved true. Today's festival has stirred up public opinion. The Fey family, whose authority rested on their hatred of witches, would not allow the same thing to happen tomorrow.

 

"Hey.... You're not your usual shameless self. You're actually talking about deceiving the people?"

 

"Shut up."

 

Turning toward Edulis, who had taken a step back from Dumuzi, Ashur swung his sword.  The sound of the blade slicing through the air was deafening. It was a weighted blow and not just any blow. As he swung his sword, a crackling red magick spewed fire into the air. The flames fell to the ground and spread in a half-circle.

 

Boom!

 

Edulis swung his sword in a wide arc to the upper left. It wasn't a slash; it was an application of the Black Fang Sword Technique, a leap. With all his weight on the sword, Edulis's body spun and he leaped backward.

 

"Different from the others. You've really mastered the Black Fang Sword Technique! Did you teach it to the others? Where did you learn it?

 

Dersh, Ishkur’s stepfather asked.

 

"I don't know," Edulis replied. Dersh was holding a spear about the height of a Raghad, and he was assessing the situation without attacking Edulis.


Dersh, Ashur, and Dumuzi shared a secret with Lord Kindatu, so they knew it was Bosha's swordsmanship.


A swordsmanship that could never be copied from a book, a swordsmanship that the Fey family could not tolerate. The mere existence of someone who could use it was a threat to the Fey family. To know the Black Fang's swordsmanship was to know the "real" Bosha.

 In their eyes, this boy, Edulis, was closer to being a Bosha than anyone else they knew.

 

"Let's capture and torture him because we need to find out who taught these guys swordsmanship!"

 

Dumuzi shouted, raising his staff high in the air. Thick, pointed spikes of rock rushed toward Edulis.

 

Swish!

 

Edulis leaped backward, swinging his sword again. At that moment, a fierce blast of aura swept toward the point where he leaped. It was the magic from Dersh's spear. But it left nothing but a deep hole in the ground, and it didn't even scratch Edulis. Edulis was standing on the opposite side of the ground from where the aura was aimed. As soon as he landed on the ground, he leaped again, this time with his sword drawn and swinging.

 

The trajectory of Edulis' sword was like a stream of water downstream of the Luenna River. Every time it rains, the Luenna River changes its course, making its path completely unpredictable.

 

"I have never seen or heard of such a technique. Even in the books of the Black Fang's sword moves, there's nothing like this. This guy is the real deal. We must capture him and get answers!" Ashur shouted, and that was it.

 

Swish! The beast's final breath was heard. Edulis, who had been bouncing around like a salt shaker, had decapitated the assassin's Velox.

 

"Ashur, focus on releasing magick! We must trap him in flames, Dumuzi! Build a wall to contain him. Don't think of him as a child!"Dersh shouted. Edulis clicked his tongue.

 

"You're quick in judgment,” Edulis thought. Of the three, he's the most formidable enemy. 

 

Against a Blackfang mercenary, point attacks are almost meaningless. Many of their moves are specialized to evade point attacks. Against a Black Fang, you'll need to use area attacks.

 

One would think that a child would catch him off guard, but Dersh quickly assessed the situation and made a cool-headed decision.


As soon as he heard Dersh's words, Edulis sprinted across the field, Ashur's flames following close behind. Pillars of rock rose out of nowhere, but Edulis dodged them all with a leap that was unique to the Black Fang.

 

"Uh... how... what the hell is that body, is that the effect of Ygraine's scarring?"

 

"No. If all of Ygraine's offspring were like him, how would the children of  Fey ever have been able to maintain the Saint System? Be patient, Dumuzi, my flames will soon catch up with him." Ashur exclaimed. 


Dersh gritted his teeth. "Dumuzi! Even if he doesn't respond, don't stop the attack! Also, be cautious of surprise attacks, as we may have allies! He is not an opponent to let your guard down against!"

 

Edulis smiled as he looked at the three following him. They were already moving in the direction he had in mind.


His objective was to lure all three assassins into the central plaza. If any of them remained in the wooden mansion where the children were staying, it would be a failure, but now all three were focused on following him.

 

"Enough.”

 

Dodging Ashur's flames wasn't easy, but thankfully it wasn't a long way to the square. Just as the flames were about to reach his ankles, Edulis reached the square. The three's reaction to the sight of the plaza was priceless.

 

"What!"

 

"Uh, why is this happening?"

 

"Holy...."

 

***

 

"Ouch! Huh, what? Isn't that a rat? Oh no... that's my wedding ring!"

 

The maid woke up with a mouse biting her toe. When she opened her eyes, she realized that the rat was biting her ring. The rat waved the ring in front of her eyes and scurried out the window.

 

 "Is this rat crazy?!"

 

The maid ran out of the mansion in the wind of her nightgown and caught sight of a strange sight.

 

 "What in the world….."

 

 Several other people were running around in their pajamas, all of them chasing a mouse.

 

"Oh, no, that letter...! My husband will get in trouble if he reads it!"


"Hey stop, that watch was bought by my grandson with his first paycheck!" 

 

Everyone could see that something had happened. Why would a rat eat a ring or a watch, let alone something that wasn't food? They wondered, but no one couldn't stop their pursuit. These were all things that were important to them.


Strangely, the rats dropped the items in the middle of the square and ran off into the mountains. People didn't have time to chase them.  With so many items piled up, it was challenging to identify what belonged to whom, leading to arguments and disputes.

 

"That ring is mine!"

 

"No, don't you see this scratch? It's from when I fell in the fountain!"

 

In the square, almost everyone who worked on the grounds of the Fei family mansion was gathered. That was when it happened. The flames erupted from the west.

 

Everyone in the square turned their heads in unison. The flames were coming toward the square, and out of the flames was a silver-haired boy running. The three men behind the boy revealed their faces.

 

"Lord Ashur?"

 

"Lord Dumuzi and Lord Dersh are also here."

 

"But why are you chasing after... a witch's offspring at this time of night? Those were Ashur's flames earlier."

 

"Attacking those participating in the festival on the eve of the festival is a violation of...."

 

The rats continued to pile up valuables in the square, and the crowd continued to gather.

 

"Dersh, Dumuzi. Do you know of any magic to make the rats go away?"

 

"I don't know, what the hell...."

 

"That weakling, he'd been planning this all along."

 

Edulis pushed through the crowd and crouched as low as he could. Then he whispered.

 

"Thank you, Aruru."

 

"Edulis, I saved your life!" Aruru shouted with pride. Edulis, hidden among the crowd, couldn't use magic recklessly.

 

Moreover, the Fey family valued authority among the masses. They couldn't ignore the rumors spreading among their servants. If tales of Fey family authorities corrupting the Holy Festival of Saints circulated, it would be a significant problem.

 

Now, the three of them had to explain what they were doing before trying to kill Edulis. The plan Edulis had set seemed successful. He could hide among the people and, when they dispersed, slip away unnoticed

 

However, there were two variables that Edulis hadn't accounted for. The first was Dersh's eloquence

 

"Hear, hear! We must capture the boy, This is a just and legal act."Dersh shouted over the crowd.

 

"Article 13, Section 2 of the Kingdom's Constitution, 'The nobility shall have the right to summarily judge any person whom they deem to be a reincarnation of a witch or a witch's handmaiden, wherever and whenever they choose,' is above all other laws, even the rules of the Holy Order, and therefore our actions are lawful!"

 

The people questioned. A reincarnation of a witch? A minion of a witch? Wasn't he just a blood relative of Ygraine?

 

"Recall the events of this day: the transformation of the saint's painting, the defeat of all of Bosha's descendants by the witch's descendants, and even our vaunted Raghad wishing himself dead. And look at you now. You've been dragged out by rats, something that has never happened in the Holy Land before, and it's safe to say that the witch herself, or something like her, has wreaked havoc on the Holy Land! Witches are reincarnated in their own blood, so our actions to destroy the descendants of Ygraine are both legal and justified!"

 

At those words, people began to stir. Really. Come to think of it. Come to think of it, Enri seemed really kind. No, witches can deceive humans, so maybe everything was a lie.

 

"Fucking idiots…..” Edulis's liver turned to mush. Why was the public always like this? Why couldn't they believe what they saw, and were so quick to be swayed by the words of others? Enri, Harsh, Methena, they saw what they were like!

 

He was in trouble. If things went well, they would be safe for the next three days... If what they're claiming gets through to the masses, it'll be hard to survive another day. Edulis had no idea the kingdom's constitution had such bullshit in it!

 

But who was Edulis? The Red Fox of Kaldura could not be swayed by such a small variable. There was an alternative. It involved using Ishkur. Since no one could interfere with the holy grounds of the Holy Inquisitors, he and Ishkur could put on a show. Borsa's rhetoric was undoubtedly no less than Dersh's. If they could somehow convince the public on this side, then...

 

Edulis was contemplating this when it happened. In an instant, in just one moment, the entire plan collapsed.


'Why in the world...'


Edulis faced another situation he hadn't anticipated. Compared to this, Dersh's rhetoric was nothing. "Oh no….shit,”

 

They stood out like sore thumbs. Silver hair reflecting the moonlight, skin as white as snow, white curved swords curved like fangs.

 

Even from a distance, he could tell they were sweating. He must have run hard. Enri, Marie, Shumi, Harsh, Methena.... Why would they be here?

 

'They must have come to help me. Damn it!'

 

Edulis didn’t consider this because he was Bosha. With Ygrainne and the Apostles gone, there was no way anyone would come to his rescue.......


It was a rule of the Black Fangs to turn their backs on incompetent captains, and Bosha was someone everyone in the world shunned and feared. Who would dare to come to the rescue of Bosha the Mercenary Captain?

 

But now, he wasn't Bosha, he was Edulis. No one was coming to save Bosha, but someone was coming to save Edulis.

 

Edulis' mouth tasted of blood. He had chewed too hard on the flesh in his mouth. When Dersh spotted the children with their curved swords, he twisted the corners of his mouth and laughed.



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In a World without God





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