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In a World without God Chapter 19

Updated: Jan 17

In the sky, there are no drifting clouds, no flowing clusters of stars, no sun, and no moon. On the ground, there is not a single blade of grass or a single grain of sand. Between the empty sky and the bare earth, only a child sits alone. A girl with silver hair. The child speaks to something.

 

"You know, I've chosen my name. Will you call me 'Lutea' from now on?"

 

The girl, looking like a child about to unwrap a gift said.

 

"I want to call you 'Orma,' is that okay?"

 

The thing called Orma nodded. Then the girl smiled innocently and began to chatter to Orma.

 

"From now on, we're going to name everything. Our 'father' is called 'Uraeus.' Oh, I should probably start by explaining what a 'father' is. 'Father' is a name of a relationship."

 

Orma nodded, not knowing how to speak.

 

"And.... I want to call our relationship 'friends', what do you think?"

 

After hearing that, Orma walked over to Lutea. She wanted to hug her, but her arms were too short, so it turned into a gesture that seemed like hugging Lutea instead.


Lutea stroked Orma's head and smiled. She knew that Orma loved her and Orma knew Lutea loved her, too.

 

It used to be like that. Even without words, everyone knew what was on each other's minds.

Everyone wanted each other to be happy, and that made everyone happy. But how had it come to this?

 

Because of Orma…

 

Orma ruined it.

 

Orma made Lutea sad.

 

It needs to be restored. To the world where Lutea can smile again.

 

***

 

"You guys go first..."

 

"Enri! Are you going to let Edulis' death be in vain?"

 

"I can't... I can't leave Edulis like that."

 

Enri turned on his heel. The children around him tried to stop him but to no avail. Enri was more skilled in Black Fang swordsmanship than the others, especially in the use of spells, and none of them could catch him.

 

"I'm sorry."

 

Enri ran toward the square. Methena stopped Marie, who tried to chase after her.

 

"Let go!"

 

"Marie! Have you forgotten what Edulis said? We are to be fangs that tear through lies!"

 

"Then what about Enri?!"

 

Methena shook her head. Her dried tears glistened in the moonlight. "Please... Marie.... We all feel the same way...c'mon."

 

Methena tugged on Marie's hesitant hand. Marie resented Lutea. Questions she'd held back for decades, questions she never spoke, bubbled up in her chest.

 

'Why do we have to have the things we love taken away from us, why do our prayers go unheard, why is the world so cruel, why is our life like this....'

 

It didn't take long for Enri to reach the square. The people who had been slowly dispersing stopped when he appeared. The three members of the Fey family alternately glanced at Enri's figure and exclaimed.

 

"That's Enri, isn't it? What is he doing? Could it be... is that child also a witch...?"


"Oh no... you three are so hurt right now!"

 

People thought that Enri might be as strong as Edulis. They were worried that he would lunge at the mortally wounded descendants of heroes. But Enri's behavior was not what they expected.

 

Enri walked up to Dersh and knelt before him. He tossed his sword aside, placed his hands on the ground, and struck the ground with his forehead.

 

"Descendants of heroes! Heirs of the blood of one whose name our filthy mouths dare not utter! We, the blood of the accursed Ygraine, have committed a sin that should never have been committed, and for which we cannot even ask forgiveness, I offer you pardon with my life." 

 

Upon hearing this, Dumuzi stood up. He put his hand, freshly wounded from the recent battle, on Enri's head before he kicked him like a ball. The thick sole of his military boot made a dull sound as it collided with Enri's skull. Enri's silver hair was dirtied by the dust kicked up from the ground.

 

 "Yes! Die! Die, you bastard! Because of you, I...."

 

Then Ashur grabbed Dumuzi by the shoulders and dragged him away.

 

"Dumuzi. The people are watching. Act like a man of the Fey family."


"Uh... I'm sorry."

 

Dersh narrowed his eyes at the sight. He couldn't read Enri's mind.

 

"'Even if he knows that we are not the descendants of Borsa, why is he doing this?

 

Unable to guess, Dersh asked Enri directly. "What do you want? Why are you doing this?"

 

Enri answered. "As descendants of sinners, how dare we wish for anything? We simply find it shameless and sinful to seek help from someone else's hands to bury the wretched corpse of that person. I only wish to bury him with my own cursed hands. After throwing him into the pit, I, too, will end my life beside him."

 

"Is that all you want?"

 

"Yes."

 

"Hmm...."

 

Dersch remained suspicious. But really, that was all Enri wanted. He wanted to put Edulis's body back in the ground, and he couldn't stand the thought of anyone else disrespecting it.

 

But Dersh shook his head.

 

"No, no. Burying the body, committing suicide, neither is acceptable."


Enri’s eyes widened. 


"The body will be hung in the center of the square for all who pass by to spit on. And you must go to the Festival of Saints. Even if you need to die, you must die at the Festival of Saints.."

 

Enri rested his forehead on the floor, unable to look up, his falling tears pounding the stone floor. Why....

 

"If you understand, then go away. I don't want to have a look at you.."

 

Enri didn't want a coffin made of fine wood, He didn't want white flowers picked by the dozen to decorate the body, nor a huge honorarium that would take five men to pull.

 He just wanted to lay him in the dirt. No coffin, no tombstone, no flowers. Enri wanted to lay him in the dirt and clasp his hands in front of him. Why wasn't he allowed to do even that?

 

"Lutea...." Enri mumbled, his head still hanging to the ground. "Do you really... exist? If you do, why...?"

 

No one heard the voice. No one listened. People turned their backs on him.

 

Before long, it was too late to go back to sleep. The moon had dimmed. The faint glow of most stars had faded, and only the morning star shone high in the eastern sky. The only star to light the dawn...

 

Despair curled in Enri's stomach, black and sticky as tar. It was nauseating. He wanted to let it all go. That’s when it happened.

 

 "What have you done?"

 

 Hearing Dersh's voice, Enri glanced up.

 

"I asked you what have you done!!" Dersh shouted, scrambling to his feet and realizing he was missing a leg. Enri looked around in confusion.


A strange scent hit Enri's nose. Sweet as honeyed milk, cozy as sun-dried wool, and reminiscent of a mother's embrace. The scent caused people leaving the square to turn around.

 

"What is that smell? Is it alcohol or honey?"


"Hey. Look over there."


"What in the world…”."

 

Grass was sprouting from the cracks in the stone floor of the square. Blades of grass unfolded, stems grew, leaves reached out, and flowers blossomed—flowers of unheard-of shapes. A deeply beautiful flower, glowing with silver.

 

"Ashur, strike the body's throat, pierce its heart, cut off its limbs and tear it to pieces, now!" Dersh, who had lost his leg, had no choice but to call for Ashur. Ashur heard Dersh and approached Edulis' body.

 

"Shit! This is...!"

 

As soon as Ashur took a step toward Edulis' body, a tendril shot up his leg. He painstakingly cut them off and took a step forward, only to have them wrap around his other foot. It was only ten paces to Edulis's body, and walking that distance was not usually a difficult task.

 

"Dumuzi!"


"I can't. I can't use magic! It's as if every single one of those flowers is a magic stone...."

 

"Damn it, you're telling me we’re supposed to just let this happen?!"

 

Dersh pawed at the ground with his right hand. He grabbed his spear and tried to throw it, but vines wrapped around it and he couldn't reach it.

 

Enri rose to his feet. The vines didn't hinder his steps. Enri hurriedly picked up his sword and moved to Edulis's side to block Ashur's blade.

 

Edulis's body glowed, surrounded by pure white magick. A white flower blossomed from his hallowed chest. It dropped its head, bore fruit, and scattered its seeds across Edulis' body.

 

People gathered in the square, even those inside the buildings, walking out to see where the scent came from. They couldn't take their eyes off the white glowing thing in the center of the square.

 

The white light spread like a mist, and at that moment, a memory of someone entered their minds.

 

 - They just wanted everyone to have fun and get along.

 - Doesn't Captain Bosha want to play with the children?

 - The heart is like a newborn chick....

 - I hate children.

 

It used to be like that. Everyone knew each other's feelings even without words. They could understand each other completely just by making eye contact and smiling. Another’s joy was their joy, another’s sorrow was their sorrow.

 

How did this happen?

 

How did everyone end up in a world where understanding others is considered a miracle?

 

"Edulis.... Who the hell are you...." Enri muttered. And then, a miracle happened. A miracle of understanding.

 

It wasn't like reading a book or listening to someone tell a story. The memory leapt into their mind, unhindered by doubt and preconceived notions, leaping over the wall separating oneself from the other.

 

 "Captain…Bosha?"

 

 Someone muttered, then fell silent. Adults and children alike were speechless. None of the hundreds of people in the square spoke.

 

For that one moment, everyone in the square became Edulis. Edulis, who claimed to be Granadilla and stood alone against the lies to save the children. Bosha, who risked his life to defeat the witch's incarnation....

 

Gradually, their firm sense of self and longstanding beliefs surged like a tide, but fragments of understanding were embedded like shards of glass in people's hearts.

 

Some sank to the floor and sobbed, others shouted that it couldn't be true. But most of them just stood there and said nothing, for the truth was too heavy for them to bear.

 

 "...Do not be fooled by his visions, they are all lies! We will deal with the remnants of the witch, and you will all return to your homes!" shouted Dersh.

 

The people stood motionless as if they hadn't heard the words. Too many shards of truth held them back. They feared the authority and power of the Fei family to move forth.

 

"What are you doing? You're not moving fast enough, Ashur... Are you still out of reach? Come on, come on, move your sword!"

 

The people are weak. Weak as ants. At the whim of those in power, they are crushed to death. Everyone was wondering. What's more important, the truth or the weight of life? If they retreat, the descendant of the saint will die, and if they advance, they will likely die...

 

Then it happened.

 

"What's wrong? Did everyone forget how to walk? Look at me. This is how you do it."

 

The voice echoed in the square. It was the same as Aruru's. There was a hint of magick in it, and even though it wasn't that loud, it flew right into everyone's ears. It was the voice of a boy just past puberty.

 

Thump, thump, thump.

 

He strutted forward. Toward Edulis, Enri, and the three members of the Fey family.

 

"Is it that, or are you all afraid? When it comes to the descendants of a witch, you get so excited to throw stones, but you're afraid to fight for the great Lutea. If so, then...."

 

The people looked. The boy's eyes were glowing red.

 

"Then... you are the witches. Nothing but witches, siding with lies and suppressing the light to save your own lives!"

 

The boy's voice grew harsh. It was like the cry of a wolf roaring in the valley. The people flinched and shuddered at the sound of his voice.

 

"Shut up, Ishkur! What kind of child would dare to bite his own father?!"

 

"Father? What nonsense" Ishkur's shadow lengthened. It grew longer and darker, and then it rose from the ground and began to walk.

 

The shadow approached Ashur who was facing off Enri. Enri, with his curved sword, was blocking Ashur's blade.

 

Ashur was said to be the second-best fighter in the Fae family after Kindatu, but he was in no shape to fight now. His left arm was severed and his magick was sealed. His entire body was tangled in vines and his movements were sluggish. It was hard enough to take on Enri alone.

 

As Enri parried Ashur's blade, the Shadow of Ishkur snatched the longsword from Ashur's hand and severed his remaining right arm. Blood gushed from his shoulder. He groaned in pain and glared at Ishkur.

 

"Pfft.... Hey, Ishkur, why are you suddenly...."

 

"You could have done better, uncle."

 

Ishkur then turned his head toward Dersh and spoke in a low voice so as not to be heard by the public. "Dersh. There's something I learned from you, and it's that when the opportunity presents itself, don't let go, even if it twists your fingers."

 

"You... you ungrateful bastard!"

 

"Ungrateful? Ha... All the men in this family are like this. What makes you so shameless?"

 

Ishkur sighed and turned away from Dersh. The astonished crowd was in front of him. Ishkur shouted in a magical voice.

 

"I, Ishkur, will rise up against false authority! I will serve those who deserve to be served, and I will defeat those who call the ships of falsehood and hypocrisy! As the night recedes and the morning dawns, so shall the truth lighten the darkness! Bosha, the hero reborn as Edulis, is here. What will you do, remain a cowardly crowd and continue your lives as worms?"

 

At that moment, the people began to move.




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