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In a World without God Chapter 22

What could it be compared to? A wildflower blooming through the snow, heralding spring. Raindrops that moisten the parched earth. A star in the northern sky to guide sailors. The moonlight that warmly embraces those who wander through the night...

 

"This can’t be...Why, why are you here?!"

 

Tibea shouted. Her voice shook uneasily, and her hazel eyes darted from side to side. Tibea retracted all sixteen tentacles she had been wielding, then crouched down and stared straight ahead. She looked like a frightened snake.

 

The people stared, stunned as if awakening from a long winter's sleep. They looked at her.

 

"No…it can’t be."


"No, no! If that's really her... why didn't she come sooner?"


"You're right, she could have saved us earlier!"

 

And then a step. She, finally, took a step forward. Her feet hit the floor, white as sheep's milk, stained with blood, maggots, and rotting flesh, and the air shook. It rippled around her like a pebble dropped on a still lake. Blood, maggots, and rotting flesh were pushed dozens of paces away from her. A white cobblestone pavement appeared, and grass grew around her feet. Another scent wafted through the air, driving away the stench that Tibea had spread.

 

She had only taken one step, and their demeanors had changed.

 

"That look... that smell... .... Is she really...."

 

Several people knelt on the ground. The kneelers clasped their hands together and chanted with tears in their eyes.

 

"Oh... I, in my weakness and foolishness, spoke disrespectful words without believing that the light would come...


"Please forgive us, and please dispel the darkness before our eyes...."


No one dared to utter her name. Not even those who had become Tibea’s feet.  Maybe they were ashamed, maybe they were afraid, but Ishkur didn't care.


Ishkur did not kneel. He stood tall, frowned, and clicked his tongue. Ishkur was disgusted with the people. How could the masses be so shameless, swearing and cursing her a second ago, but now expecting redemption?

 

Ishkur studied her form; what did he care if she was a goddess or not? What did it matter if she was a goddess or whatever? What Ishkur was curious about was one thing: could he use her or not? Could she stand against Tibea with her power?

 

As she took her second step, her form twitched, and Tibea began to laugh.

 

"Hahaha! So that's it, you're just a shard after all!"

 

Tibea leaped to her feet and spread her sixteen tentacles wide. Tibea didn't care about the others anymore. She swung her tentacles, aiming only for her. But the tentacles could not reach her body. The rotting human flesh that made up the tentacles could not reach her and disintegrated. She clasped her hands together and chanted.

 

" 'O ye who have no footing on my father's earth.'"

 

Ishkur stared at the wall, racked his brain, heard the voice, and stroked the back of his hand. A cool, tingling sensation ran down his spine. It was like clear, cold water running through his ears.

 

"Return to the earth as Uraeus has ordained."

 

Then a huge circle appeared on the ground. It was so large that it covered the entire square. The circle shone as brightly as the full moon.

 

"Get lost, Lutea, how dare you do such a thing, you’re just a shard!”.

 

Tibea screamed, but she couldn't move. She lay motionless on her stomach, her body shaking as if she were being weighed down by something heavy.

 

"You wretched remnants of a goddess, do you think you're worth saving? They have cursed and resented you. They swore to serve me, distrust you, and they cursed you endlessly."

 

But she did not even listen to Tibea's words. The glowing masses began to rise in a great circle. Thousands of tiny balls of light flitted through the air like fireflies. The feet of Tibea cried out in ecstasy.

 

 - Finally... finally I can sleep....

 - Thank you....Thank you...!

 

Their rotting flesh hardened like a rock. Then, as if weathered, they scattered and became dirt and dust. Those who hadn't rotted, those who had recently been swallowed by Tibea, walked out alive and looked for their families.

 

"Daddy, where are you?"

 

"Honey, they saved us...."

 

Then the light faded. Tibea's body had no legs left. She was now shaped like a giant earthworm or snake. The people cheered.

 

"Oh, light! The light that drives out darkness!"


"Lord of our souls!"

 

But then they backed away. Tibea glared at them. The circle on the floor disappeared, and she could move again. Tibea stood up and glared at her.

 

"You disgusting piece of Lutea, look at yourself now."

 

Her body blurred like a mirage. A glimmer of light shimmered like a setting sun.

 

"You are a fool, and you should have killed me before you flaunted your hypocrisy. You will soon be gone, and I will consume everyone here again! I will cause them all terrible pain!" 

 

Tibea laid down her threat. But then the piece of Lutea said.

 

"Tibea, the girl who swallowed the witch's finger. Look at yourself, you are suffering more than anyone else."

 

Tibea's face hardened at the sound of her voice."Shut up."


"Hatred is a knife that stabs its wielder. Spit out your hate along with the finger. It’s for your own sake. 

 

Tibea snarled. "What kind of a fool do you think you are to say such things now! I have waited for you, and you have never come to my rescue. All humans turned their backs on me, and it was only Granadilla who saved me, so how can I not hate you and humans?"

 

Tibea coiled and then sprang up like a spring. It was an intimidating move, even without her legs. The behemoth lunged at her.

 

"It is because of my lack of strength, but Tibea, I will always love you, even if you hate me...."

 

Bang!

 

The sound of a large pestle piercing the ground was heard. Tibea's long body writhed in the place where the glowing silver specks had been.

 

"Hypocrite bitch!"

 

Tibea muttered, her gaze turning to the people. They stumbled backward. They never thought a goddess could be this powerful...

 

But then it happened. Dozens of butterflies flew out from beneath Tibea's body. They glowed silver, like the shards that had fallen from Enri's heart.

 

"Till, the end of time, bitch!"


The butterflies fluttered and flitted through the air, then split into two groups. One landed on Enri's chest, the other on Edulis'.

 

A fragrant, warm breeze blew. The wind carried a voice.

 

- Captain Bosha. Please be everyone's hope.

 

Then, Edulis opened his eyes.

 

 ***

 

"Eh... Edulis! How did you...."

 

Enri shouted. Everyone was staring at Enri and Edulis. With Lutea's image gone, they were the only ones left to hope for.

 

Edulis pushed himself up, feeling nostalgic. It was exactly how he'd felt in Ygraine's arms. The scent wafting through the air was unmistakably Ygraine's.

 

Edulis sheathed his sword and rose to his feet. He wondered how he had survived, what the monster in front of him was, why Ygraine's scent was wafting through the air, and what he should do next. .... but the answers to these questions were already in Edulis' mind. It was as if he had been talking to Ygraine for a long time.


There was only one question left in Edulis' mind. "I wanted to see your face...


Just then, Tibea shouted. "You smell disgusting!"

 

A huge piece of bone jutted out of Tibea's body. It looked like a vertebrae, and it was as long as three adults. The girl's body atop Tibea's head hoisted the spear. No, it looked like it lifted it, but it was more like it was wedged in her.


Then Tibea lunged for Edulis. Her momentum was like that of a runner and a deep trench was left in her wake.

 

"Long time no see, worm. You're still ugly."

 

Edulis muttered. With his memories as Bosha, Tibea's appearance was familiar. The witch's army was infested with them.

 

Edulis put his weight on his sword and swung wide. His foot landed a good distance away, diagonally from the direction Tibea was charging.

 

"You!!"Tibea shouted, but with her legs gone, it was hard to change direction. Edulis spun in place like a top and disappeared from view. Then he reappeared at Tibea's side. It was a leap that would have been impossible for a normal human to make.

 

A blue aura rose from Edulis' body like the color of forget-me-nots, and then a white aura enveloped it. It looked like snow covering the ground. 

 

'Ygraine.'

 

Edulis felt the warmth of a spring breeze on his body. It was as if Ygraine was holding the sword with him.

 

Edulis then swung the glowing sword wildly like a wolf. Then a thick, rancid liquid like rotten oil spewed out of Tibea's body. It wasn't like when Enri swung his sword. A deep gash was left on Tibea's body.

 

"Aaargh!"

 

Tibea twisted violently from side to side from the pain.

 

"Everyone, get back!"

 

Enri shouted and leaped forward. Enri's sword couldn't cut through Tibea's flesh. But he would try to lure it away. Protecting people, he thought, was why the goddess had given him life once more. Enri clawed at Tibea's flesh, then ran in the opposite direction of the gathering.

 

"I hate you, Lutea, why... why only them...!"

 

Taking advantage of the opening, Edulis launched himself once more. Aiming for the wound, he swung his sword again. Edulis's curved sword drew a silver half-moon in the air.

 

"Lutea!!!"

 

Tibea screamed as her blood gushed out, staining the floor black. The severed torso wriggled. Tibea crawled across the floor, dragging what was left of her body. Her mobility was greatly impaired. Edulis once again kicked off the ground and charged towards Tibea. The remaining half of Tibea's body was torn into pieces once more.

 

Tibea's mangled remains were pitiful. Like a planarian in a child's laboratory, her dismembered torso struggled. The girl's body, attached to Tibea's head, screamed and swung its bone spear wildly. Edulis dodged it, watching for an opening to strike.

 

"I'll distract her, Edulis!"

 

Enri shouted, stomping the ground. The two of them circled Tibea, distracting her. How much time had passed?

 

"...Daddy, why did you leave me? Mommy was hungry and went to the market." Tibea's voice changed. It sounded like a child's temper tantrum. They couldn't understand what she was saying anymore.


Blood dripped from Tibea's hazel eyes. The blood was red, unlike the blood of the elongated body. Then Tibea's spear clashed with Enri's sword. Enri's body rolled across the floor. Tibea, with a sluggish motion, approached Enri.

 

"I ate a rat's intestines two days ago. I was craving bread, but...."

 

"Edulis!" Enri shouted and Edulis seized the opportunity.


A snapping sound echoed as Tibea's bone spear broke, rolling on the ground. The crowd cheered.

 

"He won! Edulis... no, Captain Bosha saved us!"

 

"Come on, end that bitch’s life!"

 

"She's a rotten woman, she would have used us as pawns!"

 

Edulis walked up to Tibea.

 

"I'm scared, mister. Please don’t...."

Seeing Tibea trembling in fear, the people became furious. Disgusting! What kind of trick is this now? After what she did to their husbands, wives, and children! “Finish her! Kill her!” they clamored. 

 

Edulis looked into Tibea's eyes. His heart pounded in his chest, Ygraine's words echoing in her ears.

 

- Captain Bosha. Please be everyone's hope.

 

Edulis could tell how Ygraine would have acted if she were here and how she wanted Edulis to act now. Ygraine told Edulis to be the hope of all.

 

Edulis laid his sword on the ground. She walked over to Tibea and hugged her. Tibea's yellow eyes flickered open.

 

Unlike the girl's body and head, Tibea's body was struggling violently. Maggots flew and clung to Edulis's cheeks. But Edulis didn't care. It was as if Ygraine and Lutea herself were speaking through Edulis.

 

"I'm sorry I took so long…"


Tibea blinked her hazel eyes. Then Tibea stared into Edulis's face. And her body stopped writhing. Tibea spoke.

 

"I've been waiting."

 

Then, Tibea spat something out of her mouth.



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