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In a World without God Chapter 18

"Look at them, look at them, look at their hideousness!" Dersh shouted.


"Don't you see? They tried to kill you by controlling the rats, and if we hadn't come, this square would have been covered in blood— your blood!"


The children were dumbfounded. They didn't understand why there were people in the square, or what Dersh was talking about. They looked nervously to the left and right, their hands tightening on their swords. The children were looking for any sign of Edulis.


"They are not like the other witch's children, they must be his minions, and we must kill them here and now, for your safety!"


It was a plausible explanation. It was unsubstantiated, but such is life. Most of the time, the evidence doesn't matter. The rats are on the loose, and the witch's children have swords. Who are these people confronting them? Aren't they the offspring of a hero?


"We… we're not the witch's alter egos!" Enri's voice was drowned out. No one could stop the anxiety from spreading through the crowd.


"Are they... are they really...." 


"If they weren't, why would they be carrying swords? You're probably right, Dersh!"

"Oh, I almost died looking for my watch... descendants of heroes, please save us!"


Usually in a situation like this, the one who has the last word has the advantage. Edulis can't speak up, and Dersh can talk at will. He has more credibility. Dersch is deliberately stirring up anxiety to sway the public to his side.

Edulis held his breath, trying to think of a solution to this situation.


An idea came to him– push through the crowds to the other side of the square, set the streets on fire, and run. Then he'd steal a Velox, hop in, and head for the desert, not the mountains because Fangs don’t hide in the desert, and after that, he'd dye his hair or wear a hood...


 'But, then all those kids would die.’


 Edulis didn't move. Suddenly, Ygraine's words came back to him.


“It was because you had drawn a line between the children and yourself.”


He now realized what she meant. Ygraine's words were always like that. They sound like bullshit when you hear them, but after a while, they bloom like flowers in your heart. Edulis hadn't drawn a line. He couldn't draw any boundaries between the human Edulis and the five children.


 "Aruru, listen to me from now on," Edulis said in a low voice.


"What?! Have you thought of a way to escape?!"


"Tell Ishkur and the children. Marie and Shumi must lose the tournament tomorrow. As soon as the festival is over, run out of the arena and steal the oldest cart you can find. That's your only chance, so hurry. They won't be able to catch up with you right away because of the busy ceremonies and the large crowds. Then, using Ishkur's dyeing magic, change your hair and eye color and run north toward the Kashiba Desert."


Aruru looked up at Edulis, wide-eyed. "Edulis?! What does that have to do with the situation?!"


"About half a day's ride away, there's an underground passage in the middle of the desert that only I know about. It looks like a cliff from the outside, but there's a way in. I'll tell you where it is and how to get in. Memorize it and lead the children."




 - Captain Bosha didn't save the children. Captain Bosha saved himself. 

She was right. Edulis was trying to save himself. If he were to abandon the children and run away, the human named Edulis would die. His soul would perish. Even if he were to meet Ygraine again, he would be unable to lift his face to look at her. 


"And when you have time... tell Murjana of Kaldura that I am sorry."


Aruru was lost for words. 


The time has come to lie. Edulis pushed forward through the crowd and then shouted.


"Foolish, foolish children of Bosha."


Edulis's voice echoed through the square. Magick the color of lapis lazuli pulsed through his body. The crowd stirred. He wore a magic stone ring, and yet he was emitting such magical energy on his body!


Edulis's magick spread out in concentric circles on the ground, freezing the plaza floor and everyone's ankles. Even the ankles of the five children, including Enri.


Unable to move, the people went into a frenzy. They screamed and twisted in terror. Only Enri, the children, and the three members of the Fey family stared at Edulis without speaking.


A smile tugged at the corners of his mouth, but no one in the square knew the true meaning of that smile.


Edulis spoke up.


"I, Granadilla, have been reborn once more with the blood of my descendants. You, the bearers of this hateful blood, will die tonight in endless agony!"




"Move, rats, bite the bodies of the foolish humans!"


As Edulis spoke, the rats moved, and as they scurried up the frozen ankles, the people cried out.


"Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!"


"Ashur! Dersh! Dumuzi! Save us!"


Ashur turned his magick into flames, melting the ice on his, Dumuzi's, and Dersh's ankles. Then he spoke in a low voice to Dumuzi and Dersh.


"A witch, that can't be right."


"Then what the hell is he? How can he use magic of this magnitude when she's chained to a magic stone...."


"That's not our biggest concern right now," Dersch spoke, prompting Dumuzi to ask, 

"What do you mean?"

"We have no choice but to kill him now. The public wants it. We can't torture him to get information out of him. We'll never know what the hell happened to him."


Dersch's face was flushed red with rage. It was a rare sight.


"Don’t you get it? He's not showing off his powers for nothing. He's calling in the rats, freezing people's ankles, and claiming he did it all on his own! If it goes on like this, dealing with the remaining ones under the pretext of the kingdom's constitution will become ambiguous. At least until the end of the Festival of Saints, we can't touch them!"


"Then what are we to do?"


Ashur replied."We must be heroes. We must show the people what it's like to drive a sword into his chest. We have no other choice now."


Dersh nodded. The three of them moved toward Edulis. A wall of earth and a ring of fire surrounded him. Edulis did not flee. He just glared at the three, his sword flickering.


In fact, there was still one possibility left for Edulis. He could fight all three at once and win. Then he could accept Ishkur's offer and travel to Ascidia.


"Strength alone does not make a mercenary captain.” Bosha was very persistent and relentless. That's why people feared him.


"Granadilla. That's Granadilla. It's you."


"That's right. I have returned to seek revenge."


Dersh knew it was a lie, but he couldn't deny it; to do so would be to reveal to the public that he knew of a 'real' witch.


"Are those your men, and did you teach them swordsmanship to serve you?"


"Ha! Those who can't kill a human are my minions? To be my minions, they must kill their own parents and siblings with their own hands and enjoy being covered in blood!"


"I knew you would say that..." Dersh sighed. The situation was completely following Edulis' logic. There was no point in the conversation anymore. Dersh, Ashir, and Dumuzi all raised their weapons and pointed them at Edulis.


By then, Aruru was on Enri's shoulder. Turning to the frozen children, Aruru spoke.


"...I told you not to say Edulis' name. You ran out in the middle of the night because you realized he had stolen something and ran away. If someone asks, that's how you should answer."

"We... we ended up in trouble for nothing..."

"Don't cry! Don't be sad! Remember, you are children unrelated to Edulis!"


There was nothing the children could do. They could only hope for a miracle and that Edulis would defeat the three of them.


The tip of Edulis's curved sword dragged on the ground.


"It's too light. If only it had a little more weight....' Edulis missed Bosha's sword, which had a much wider blade than his current one.


'No, no. Mercenaries don't get to choose their weapons. They fight with what they have.


Edulis took a large step forward with his right foot, and for a moment, he disappeared from everyone's view.

"What, what?"


"Dumuzi, dodge!"


By the time Dersh shouted, it was too late. Dumuzi's side was gouged like a wolf had bitten him. Blood from the deep gash soaked his clothes.




"Don't let your guard down. He's a monster!"


Dersh said to Dumuzi on the ground. The people in the square wailed...


"That…that witch, how dare he hurt a descendant of Lord Bosha!"


"Oh no! I hope the members of the Fey clan will defeat him. If we stay like this, it seems like we'll be in trouble!"


Amidst the commotion, Enri and the children had a small glimmer of hope in their hearts. Edulis's swordsmanship was no match for theirs. Perhaps it would be possible to defeat the three of them... if only... if only... .......




Marie clasped her hands together and chanted quietly. Harsh and Methena followed suit. Soon all the children were clasping their hands together. Aruru didn't stop them from praying. He merely warned them to keep their voices down.


"Please let this child, our friend and teacher, return to us safely."


"May the light that gave us hope never go out and continue to burn."


"Grant that we may be with him, even when the light of truth is obscured and we are forced to crawl in the darkness."


The words of the prayer were urgent as if Edulis's life depended on it.


Meanwhile, Ashur was calmly surveying the situation.


"Did you see? He leaped once, slashed at Dumuzi seven paces in front of him, and then leaped again to return to his position. What a ridiculous move. I'd like to learn that sword technique if I could."


"Now is not the time for such talk. We must prepare for the long haul. Stay ten paces away from him. Dumuzi, block the ice arrows he shoots. We can only wait for him to run out of steam with repeated ranged attacks."

"It's not my favorite way to fight, but... we have no choice."


Dumuzi and Ashur agreed with Dersh. Dersh fired at it from a distance, while Dumuzi and Ashur summoned rock spikes and pillars of fire, aimed at Edulis' landing spot.


'Clever. Damn it. If only I was more familiar with magic....’ Edulis thought as he dodged the attack, while Ashur took a deep breath as he watched Edulis.


"He's got a good head on his shoulders. He predicts where we're going to shoot our magic and changes the direction he runs every time."

"Don't rush. He's probably waiting for us to get tired."


When Edulis was wounded, the people cheered; when Ashur's men were wounded, the people cried. At first, they did, but after only a few dozen minutes, they fell silent.


It was frightening; twelve-year-old Edulis was as frightening as a Fenrir or a Wyvern. If they made a sound or made eye contact, he might lunge at them.


Two hours passed. As the stalemate continued and the darkness grew even deeper, something happened. Edulis had lost his center of gravity. His body staggered violently. Ashur took advantage, charging forward and slashing at Edulis.


This time, even Dersh didn't notice. Edulis' stagger was a trick! The moment Ashur thrust his blade, Edulis deftly sidestepped it and swung his sword around. His body spun like a tilted pinwheel.


The very next moment, Ashar's left shoulder flew off and rolled across the ground. It cut through the top of his chest, exposing his ribs.


"Whoa, whoa, whoa, Dumuzi, back him up! Quickly! Before he kills him!"


Edulis, on the other hand, clicked his tongue, for his decisive blow hadn't worked.


"It lacked depth because of my small stature. He should have been cut in half.”


Dumuzi erected an earthen wall between Ashar and Edulis. Edulis realized that now that the enemy had a gap, this was his last chance, and he leaped over it. This time, he aimed for Dersh.




Caught off guard by the sudden change in the situation, Dersch couldn't react in time. As Edulis's sword swept through, the lower part of Dersch's right knee was severed.


At this point, no one questioned that Edulis was a witch incarnate. A mere twelve-year-old had mortally wounded three of Fey's top five fighters. How could he do that without being a witch?


However, Dersch wasn't an ordinary ruthless person.


Things had changed. Just as Edulis was about to leap again, Dersh grabbed his leg. As a result, Dersch's left wrist was severed, but he still didn't release his grip on Edulis.




Black Fang swordsmanship is all about shifting your center of gravity subtly and constantly. The last thing you wanted was to be pinned by your opponent. Yet Dersh had managed to hold on to Edulis, even at the expense of his left hand.




Edulis groaned. Ashar didn't miss a beat. With his free arm, Ashur raised his sword and stabbed Edulis in the chest. He really thought he was dealing with a Fenrir or a wyvern. Chewing on the flesh in his mouth, Ashar pushed through the pain and drove his blade in with all his might.


Droplets of blood formed along his blade. Then the sword fell from Edulis's hand. The fight seemed to be over.


With his sword still embedded in Edulis's chest, Ashur asked.


"I'll ask you one last time. Who are you?"


Edulis answered. The corners of his mouth twisted in a sneer.


"Hehe... I am... Granadilla the Witch......."


"I see you don't intend to answer. Die."


Ashur twisted and drew his sword, and red blood gurgled from Edulis's chest, soaking the floor.


The men could breathe again. It was a bloody battlefield. There was no time to cheer, only to beat their chests.


Edulis's body rolled across the floor like a dented water bottle. The ice melted and the rats returned to the mountain. People avoided Edulis' sprawled body as if it were filth or poison.


The children, including Enri, crouched on the ground, staring at the scene in disbelief.


"Lutea. Why didn't you answer our prayers?"


"Were we too greedy? Shouldn't we even want our friend to survive? Why...."


Just then, Aruru urged them on. "Go back! Edulis said so! You should be the first ones to leave here!"


Aruru's voice sank low as he said it.


It was over.

Edulis was dead.

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