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In a World without God Chapter 21

Updated: Jan 18

Faith is like a bonfire swaying in the wind. When a gentle breeze blows, the embers glow red and roar with energy.

 

Ishkur was a gentle breeze. Ishkur fanned the flames that Edulis's memory had ignited in the hearts of the people. The shouts of the angry people seemed to swallow up the old lies.

 Ishkur smiled at the sight of his followers.

 

"It's over, Kindatu. I will drag you to the ground.

 

There was no bonfire in Ishkur's mind; his heart was as cold as iron in the winter chill. Lutea, Bosha, the children of Ygraine, none of them mattered to him.

 

Ishkur remembered clearly. He remembered Kindatu plunging a knife into his father's sternum. He kicked his mother in the stomach and snatched Ishkur from her hands. It happened when Ishkur was three or four years old.

 

All this time, he had pretended not to remember. He ate, slept, and idled around like he didn't care. Ishkur, the lazy one! No one noticed that the sharpened anger in his heart was waiting for the right time.

 

“Wait for me, mother, I will soon....”

 

However, faith is like a bonfire shaken by the wind. When a strong wind blows, it is snuffed out in an instant.

 

Thump! Thump!

 

The floor began to shake.

 

"What, what is it? An earthquake?"


"But... what's that smell? Did a bucket of manure spill out?"

 

People were stunned. The thud, thud, thud went on for a while. Eventually, "it" lifted itself out of the ground.

 

When they first saw it, they couldn't even scream. They couldn't believe that such a thing existed in the world. Could God have made that? No, it couldn't be. If not God, who could have made it? It could have been........

 

"...This is a nightmare."


"Ugh...ugh...ugh...ugh......."

 

Many people started vomiting as soon as they saw it. It looked like a giant worm at first glance. A worm covered in countless bristles like a centipede. But what looked like bristles were actually human arms. Their pale, bloodless arms were infested with maggots. Between the arms were festering boils, each with a tiny hole in it, and from that hole came a voice: 


"Kill me... kill me.”


“Curse you, Lutea” 

 

Attached to the head of the hideous body was the upper half of a woman. A woman with a beautiful face, her eyes closed and her hands clasped together in prayer. Then she... no, it opened its mouth.

 

"Those who call upon the name of Lutea."

 

It spoke in a soft voice as if singing a lullaby.

 

"I will take death from you. I will give you eternal, unending suffering. Even if your flesh rots and your face decays, you must move as my feet."

 

It chuckled.

 

"All of that pain is because you called out Lutea's name. Lutea does not reward your faith. Lutea will never save you. Curse Lutea, blame her, and beg for mercy from me."

 

Then it moved. Countless hands pushed at the ground like oars, and with each movement, rotting flesh and maggots rained down like rain. One by one, the flowers in the square began to wither.

 

Dozens of people were caught by it, like flies on a flypaper. Its hands tore the bodies of its captives to shreds, like a child tearing confetti. And then the torn flesh was sucked into its own body.


Afterward, dozens of pairs of arms and dozens of new heads sprouted from its body. The people realized that the heads belonged to their colleagues, family, and friends who had been beside them just moments before. The boils on its body were human heads, each with a small hole from which these sounds emanated.

 

The heads screamed.

 

- No! Why...!


- Ishkur, save us!

 

Their faces turned blue.  Their bodies and minds crumbled as they recognized their loved ones among the heads. If only they had died, they would have been honored.

 

- Daddy... where are you? I'm hurting... so much....


- Run away, honey....

 

"My daughter, my wife...."


"Hey, sitting here won't help! This is not the time to be like this! Hurry...."

 

Ishkur was clenching his teeth. His molars grinded together, making a snapping sound. What in the world was that monster?


"What the hell did you summon, Kindatu?"


His fists were clenched so tightly that his nails dug into his palms, drawing blood. Ishkur swallowed his frustration and shouted."North! Everyone, run for the north gate!"

 

The north gate was the closest to the square. The road to the North Gate was wide and flat, perfect for a crowd of people to flee. It was Ishkur's best judgment.

 

That was the most important thing to Ishkur now, for only if they made it out alive and spread the truth would they be able to bring down the Fey family. If they made it out alive, they would be a force in Ishkur's favor.

 

Ishkur's shadow darkened, and out of the shadows stepped twenty shieldmen and twenty archers. The soldiers were as black as their bodies and advanced toward the monster.

 

"Shadow soldiers, face the monster and protect the people!"

 

The people rushed toward the north gate, some of them thanking Ishkur.

 

"May Ishkur be blessed by the goddess Lutea!"

 

Hearing that, the girl at the head of the monster said.

 

"How unpleasant."

 

The monster swung its tail wildly in a great circle. The shadow soldiers who had fallen out of the way melted into the snow and then vanished.

 

"Damn it...."

 

Ishkur narrowed his eyes. But that wasn't the end of it, for a crack appeared just below the creature's head. The long, vertical tear widened from side to side, and it began to spit out something. A clay-like goo.

 

- No... no more....

 

- Lutea! Lutea! Lutea! Lutea!

 

The goo piled on top of each other, forming a wall. The wall stacked high enough to block the mansion and block the road. Only the rolling eyes and the mouth screaming in pain gave away what they originally were.

 

"No!!"

 

The man in the lead groaned. Just a step in front of him, eyes in the wall stared back at him. No one had gotten through. Not a single one.  

 

"What did Lutea did to protect you? I, Tibea, am the only one who can give you protection now."

 

The hands of the monster, Tibea, struck the people once more. The same scene repeated itself. Horrific screams, flesh and blood splattering everywhere, and the cries of those who couldn't die...

 

Tibea cackled and laughed as she watched the chaos. Ishkur clutched his head with both hands.

 

Think. Think of something. Think of anything. Please...!

 

It was at that moment…

 

"If we're facing that thing, there's only one way out." It was Ashur, who had lost both arms, who shouted.

 

“Oh no…”

 

Ishkur clicked his tongue. The shadow ropes that bound Ashur, Dersh, and Dumuzi were gone. He'd been so focused on summoning the shadow soldiers that he hadn't realized the rope had broken.

 

"What was that?" One of the men asked. Ashur replied.

 

"Simple, Dumuzi!"

 

The moment he said Dumuzi's name, Ashur's neck rolled to the ground. Dumuzi had struck him in the throat with his sword. The men stared in disbelief at the gush of blood.

 

 "You'd better hurry, Ishkur, before it's too late."

 

With that, Dersh's head fell to the ground. Dumuzi then plunged his sword into his own throat after killing Ashur and Dersh.

 

 "What the hell…”

 

The crowd, with mouths agape, soon realized that Ashur, Dersch, and Dumuzi had made a wise decision. Once captured by Tibea, there was no escape—better to die quickly while there was a chance.


However, who could so easily end their own lives? Was it to take one's own life or fall victim to Tibea's cruelty? Were those the only two choices?


"Lutea, why...."

 

Despair spread through the square.

 

"Why won't you save us? We stood up for you, Lutea...!"

 

Faith is like a bonfire swaying in the wind. When a strong wind blows, it is extinguished in an instant.

 

"Why should we follow a light that cannot defeat darkness?"

 

At that point, faith is reduced to insignificant rubbish. Charred pieces of wood rolling across the floor, ashes scattered by the wind.......

 

"If I had known this would happen, I would have sided with Lord Kindatu!"

 

People cursed at Lutea. Some prostrated themselves on the ground, begging Tibea for their lives.

 

"Lord Tibea, I have been deceived by Lutea! If you spare me once, I will serve you for the rest of my life!"

 

Ishkur's entire body weakened at the sight. He realized that the armed crowd was no longer on his side, and he felt foolish for desperately trying to think of a way to get over the wall, a way to lure the creature away. Even if he could come up with a plausible plan, no one would listen to Ishkur now.

 

"Is this what they call the will of the people?"

 

Ishkur's fiery mind let out a frustrated sigh and crumbled like a matchstick in water. Ishkur closed his eyes.

 

“Pathetic. I’m pathetic. This world too.”

 

In the current situation... it was frustrating, but Dersch's words were correct. It was the most rational decision.


"Mother, I'm sorry. I'll wait for you in the afterlife with Father."


Ishkur drew his dagger from his bosom.

 

 ***

 

Many took their own lives. It was unbearable to see them become instruments of Tibea. But Ishkur's dagger stood still in midair, unmoving. A sight caught his attention.

 

The pure white blade drew a large semicircle in the air. Tibea's rotting flesh scattered to the ground.

 

Ishkur holding the dagger in his hand, looked at the wielder of the blade. It was Enri.

Landing softly on the ground, Enri leaped up once more and lunged at Tibea.


Ishkur frowned. "Why is he doing such a pointless thing?”

 

Enri's attack didn't even leave a scratch on Tibea. It was more like scratching off dead skin. It was like a mantis lunging at a samurai with a sword.

 

"Enri! Enri, descendant of a saint, has come to save us!"

 

Some shouted, but it didn't take long to realize that Enri's attack was a futile effort. 

 

"Is there no salvation...."


"Ah…Lady Lutea…why…."

 

But Ishkur was curious. What was going on with Enri, was it a last-ditch effort, or he have something else in mind? 

 

“How annoying,”

 

Tibea muttered, and a long tentacle, made from human arms, extended from her body. At the tip of the tentacle, eight palms opened like jaws of hell. 

 

Meanwhile, Enri was muttering to himself incessantly, repeating what Edulis had taught him.

 

"The body holding the sword is the axis of the spinning top, the eye of the storm. The black fangs of the sword are the front paws of a charging wolf.......'

 

Enri spun, dodged, leaped, and slashed. His gestures were no longer futile, but they were still no match for Tibea’s behemoth body. When Enri was not easily caught, Tibea extended more tentacles. Two, four, eight, sixteen....


Eventually, Enri had no way to escape from any direction. Maggot-infested hands clamped down on Enri's body. Tibea stared at Enri with catlike eyes, then muttered.

 

"Wait. You've inherited a shard of Lutea, didn’t you?”."

 

Tibea giggled like a girl who'd just thought of a funny prank.

 

"You will now suffer a fate worse than death. And yet you trust Lutea?"

 

Without hesitation, Enri answered.

 

"I do."

 

People looked at Enri as if he were a pitiful child who was not good enough.

 

"Hehe... You're a pretty child. All right, I'll give you a chance. Curse Lutea and swear to serve me, and I'll spare you. I will pamper you as a subordinate."

 

When the people heard this, they began to shout: Why only her! I will serve you, too, Lord Tibea! Curse you, Lutea!

 

But Enri said."I can't. I serve only one Goddess, Lutea."

 

Tibea furrowed her brow and narrowed her eyes.

 

"Look around you! Lutea has done nothing. She hasn't helped anyone. I am the one who can save you, not Lutea. So why do you serve Lutea and not me?"

 

"Bullshit." Enri said, looking Tibea straight in the eye.

 

"I doubted Lutea twice, but now I know. Lutea has given me bread, she has given me companionship, she has given me a teacher. She has given me joy, she has given me hope, and she has given me meaning. She put a sword in my hand to cut through despair and a silver flower to reveal the truth."

 

Tibea's face contorted. But Enri continued, unperturbed.

 

"You who crawl underground, you who hide in darkness, you who can't even begin to fathom what Lutea has given me, what reason do I have to serve you?"

 

Then Tibea cried out.

 

"You speak disgustingly! Good! Suffer forever."

 

"You cannot cause me any pain. My flesh may rot and my face may blister, but I have Lutea in my heart. There is one true light, and that alone will fill my life with joy!"

 

Silence fell. There were still those who worshiped Tibea and cursed Lutea, but many had fallen silent. The sight of Enri silenced them.

 

Ishkur thought it was all nonsense and yet he couldn't take his eyes off Enri. Useless gestures, foolish words.... but of all the people in the square, Enri was the only one who baffled Tibea.

 

But that was only it. Enri's words excited Tibea so much that she flailed her tentacles. Tibea, having heard Enri's words, became extremely excited and swung her tentacles wildly. Despite being pierced by tentacles made of rotten arms, Enri didn't utter a single groan. Finally, Enri's heart plummeted to the ground.

 

But it wasn't the only thing that fell.

 

It was a piece as small as the palm of his hand. It was silvery white and glowing. It transformed into a white butterfly and began to flutter its wings.

 

"Go away...!"

 

Tibea, apparently irritated by the annoying butterfly, swung her tentacles wildly.

 

But the tentacles were no match for the butterfly. The butterfly flew through the tentacles, dodging maggots and flesh. It looked like a dancer wielding a fan. The people were speechless and stared at the butterfly.

 

It flew and flew and flew until it finally landed on a flower. The butterfly emitted a white light, and a moment later it was gone.

 

All eyes were on the spot. The spot where the flower and butterfly had disappeared. Next to Edulis' closed eyes, only a glimmer of light remained. 


There, someone was standing.









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