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In a World without God Chapter 32

"I'm sorry, Bosha. I can't move with you right now, it's hard enough just hiding the heart."

 

Laotou said. She reached out and touched the ground. Or, more accurately, Edulis's shadow. When she lifted her hand from the ground, a black thread snaked along her long, slender fingers.

 

"In exchange, I will be your refuge."

 

Laotou plucked a thread from her own shadow, then tied it to the thread from Edulis's shadow and knotted them together.

 

"If you are in danger, find the thread in the shadows. Follow it and you will surely reach me."

 

This is why Laotou is called the Goddess of the Loom, the Queen of Shadows, and more. Not only can she move from shadow to shadow, but she can also spin a thread in the shadows to do sorts of things. Then Laotou looked at Taharka.

 

"Taharka, may you fulfill your purpose with that spear."

 

Taharka bowed deeply to Laotou, then took Laotou's axe spear and followed Edulis.

 

It had been eighty years. Taharka walked out of the Spider Forest for the first time in eighty years. His blue eyes froze as he walked across Lake Kebese. Taharka muttered in a voice like a saw scraping against a rock.

 

"Akale... I must see your intestines spill out."

 

***

 

It was evening when Edulis arrived at the Fey household, a day before the sacrifice to the Black Orb.

 

"Oh... you've come, Lord Bosha."

 

"Father, didn't I tell you that the Saint will return, and when he does, he will break the witch's bonds!"

 

"Well, yes. I believed it too."

 

Kurzina greeted Edulis with excitement, but Hathor's face was somber. Unlike Kurzina, Hathor seemed to suspect that Edulis would not return.

 

"But who is this...?"

 

Kurzina looked up at Taharka. Edulis did not answer. When would he have the time to explain the intricacies of what the last Emperor of the Empire was doing?

 

"Send the people away. There must be no other people in this building."

 

As Edulis spoke, Hathor sent away all the servants, including the suddenly deceased. Edulis didn't even allow Aruru to be present. Only Edulis, Taharka, Hathor, and Kurzina remained in the throne room. Hathor took a box from his secret stash and placed the Witch's Orb on the table.

 

"It's even more hideous than the last time I saw it."

 

"According to the records left by Kindatu... it is a sign that it is time for a sacrifice."

 

The black orb was emitting smoke as if it were burning a demon corpse. At the same time, the smell of rotting corpses was everywhere. Everyone in the room is irked. 

 

"Everyone, stand behind me. Do not stand in front of me."

 

Edulis glared at the orb. His heart raced as if he had seen Granadilla herself.

 

Ygraine had traveled across the continent to destroy the Black Orb, the Witch's Eye. She persuaded relentlessly those who sought the power of the Black Orb. She bathed them in white light, freeing them from the witch.

 

 - Shouldn't you understand by now?

 

No matter how many times Ygraine travels across the continent, there are always humans who seek the Black Orb. People who don't mind sacrificing others. Still, Ygrainne believed. That's not what humans are made of. That one day, humans would be what they were meant to be. If Ygraine believed that, then there was only one thing for Edulis to do.

 

"Oh!!"

 

Hathor's eyes widened in wonder. White magick flowed through Edulis' body. The energy was far weaker than Luthea's, but the color was just as pure. It was pure and white as if Taharka's magick had been refined many times over.

 

A cold sweat broke out on the back of Edulis's hand as he gripped the sword. The black orb, Granadilla's eye, was such a pain in the ass. Once one decided to break it, they had to do it within seconds. Otherwise, all sorts of trouble ensues.

 

However, Edulis' magic is not as rich as Ygraine's. Nor does it flow as naturally as Ygraine's. Many fragments of his inner world interfere with the flow of white magick. Knowing that his power is imperfect, Edulis gathers his strength. And so, the white magick flowed through Edulis's curved sword.

 

"I will end your world, Granadilla!!”

 

With his right foot on the ground as his axis, Edulis' body spun like a top. The magical sword drew a black and white fan in the air.

 

Boom!

 

The explosive sound of the sword and orb colliding echoed through the office.

 

"Argh...." Hathor groaned. The orb hadn't broken. But Hathor was soon silenced, not like before. The orb cracked with a hiss, and soon a palm-sized groove formed. 

 

Edulis didn't stop attacking. He switched his pivoting feet and used the momentum to strike the other side. Then he stomped the floor, leaped up to slash at the top, and swung down to slash at the bottom. The table snapped in half.

 

But who cares about the table? Everyone was holding their breath, watching Edulis and the orb. The swordplay continued without a pause as if several people were attacking from different directions at once.

 

Crack, crack, crack!

 

The orb cracked everywhere, like a candy bar trampled by a cartwheel, and then it lost its shape and crumbled. Hathor's face, previously disappointed, lit up. 

 

"It's over! The orb is broken! That stupid orb has finally!!"

 

Hathor let out a sigh of relief, knowing that he could now relinquish his family’s responsibility to  the orb, but Edulis did not lower his sword and shouted.

 

"Don't move!"

 

Edulis's face was a mask of rage. The real need for concentration was now. Edulris knew what the shattered orb would turn into. Ygraine's overwhelming light would make it all go away in an instant, but Edulis couldn't do that.

Something began to flap its wings. The shards of the orb were nowhere to be seen. Instead, a swarm of butterflies sat in its place. A swarm of butterflies, black as rancid oil. Those butterflies are the witch's eyes and ears. If even one escaped, Granadilla would know that the Fey family had betrayed her, and she would know that Edulis could break the orb.

 

Edulis focused all his energy on his sword. The blade, now twice as long, shone with white light, cleaving through the middle of the butterfly swarm. Dead butterflies fell to the ground like chimney soot. But dozens more remained, hovering in the air.

 

Taharka stepped forward with Laotou's axe spear. Taharka's magick enveloped the spear, its glow an ashen color. Unlike when he had defended against Edulis in the Spider Forest, Laotou's spear couldn’t summon a whirlwind. Taharka did not catch a single butterfly. The butterflies flew through the air, avoiding Taharka's spear.

 

Edulis leaped into the center of the swarm. Then he swung, shifting his center of gravity in midair. A melee ensued. His body was like the eye of the storm. Papers and miscellaneous items lying around the office were torn or blown around corners by the gusts of wind he created. A swarm of dead butterflies stained the room with soot.

 

"Saint!" Kurzina shouted, raising a finger. The few butterflies that hadn't died despite Edulis' extensive swordplay were still flying toward the floor.

 

"Damn it!"


Edulis was in a hurry. She darted toward the floor... the butterfly went through the floor and downstairs. Edulis shouted.

 

"Hathor, we're going to destroy the house!"

 

"Huh... what?!"

 

A thud!

 

Edulis's foot, infused with Magi, rolled across the floor creating a large hole.  Edulis jumped through the hole and downstairs. As he leaped, he slashed his sword down in a quick vertical motion.

 

Third floor, seven butterflies left.

 

Thud!

 

Second floor, 4 butterflies left.

 

Thud!

 

First floor, 2 butterflies left.

 

Thump!

 

Basement 1, 1 butterfly left...

 

"What the hell..."

 

With only one last butterfly left, Edulis stopped his sword. Taharka followed through the hole Edulis had made in the floor, but there was nothing he could do.

 

"What the hell is this? Hathor... you bastard!"

 

The scene on the ground floor was different from upstairs. Grates, shackles, scattered rice bowls, and food emitting a rotten smell. There were six children gathered there, all around ten years old, their feet shackled together.

 

A witch always seeks out the weakest and most needy. A black butterfly perched on the bridge of the nose of the youngest, skinniest boy.

 

"Ugh! Bugs! Get them off me...."

 

The child moaned in a thin voice, as if he hadn't fed enough. His face whipped from side to side, his arms flailing...

 

"Hold still, kid, I'll take it off you!"

 

"Aaaahhh...."

 

Seeing Edulris with a sword, the child panicked, struggling even more. If he stayed still, he'd be able to kill the butterfly!

 

"Damn it, there's no time!"

 

"Ouch! Ouch!"

 

It was too late.

 

The butterfly was nowhere to be found. Instead, there was a tiny butterfly tattooed on the bridge of the child's nose. The child screamed in agony.

 

"Aaah! Aaah! Aaah!"

 

"Kadesh??"

 

"What's wrong?"

 

The other five children looked at the child named Kadesh with concern.

 

"Get out of the way! Don't go near him!"

 

"Eek!"

 

Edulis swung his sword, shooing the children away, and then pointed it at Kadesh. Black smoke rose from Kadeshi's body.

 

"Ugh...."

 

Kadeshi's legs twisted and thrashed around. His thighs grew shorter and shorter until his knees were next to his pelvis. His feet and toes elongated. All four of his fingers, excluding his thumb, merged,  elongated, and stretched forward.

 

Kadesh was unable to walk on two feet. His legs shortened and his arms lengthened, giving him the appearance of a four-legged beast. His eyes glowed red, and his fangs grew an inch longer.

 

"Eeek!"

 

"Ka-kadesh...."

 

The children were terrified and tried to get as far away from Kadesh as possible.

 

Edulis frowned. This is why he said there shouldn't be anyone in the building!

 

By the time Kadesh broke the chain and lunged for Edulis and Taharka, Hathor and Kurzina had arrived.

 

"What the hell.... Father, what did you do...!"

 

"Uh... I had no choice!  Isn't that what being the head of the household means?  I had to be prepared in case Lord Bosha didn't come!"

 

"I am ashamed, father, that I am your daughter!"

 

Kurzina cried out, her voice sharp enough to taste blood in her mouth., but there was no time to blame. The problem was Kadesh. He was now in the witch's clutches. If left alone, he would run to the witch and tell her everything. But if they don't leave him alone, he's going to...

 

Edulis's sword clashed with Kadesh's fangs, and it was not easily directed.

 

***

 

As Bosha, there is only one decision he can make. Kill Kadesh and destroy the butterfly. The situation will be resolved. But Edulis couldn't do that.

 

'If it were Ygraine....'

 

Ygraine would not cut the child. She would not allow anyone to cut down the child. If Bosha pointed his sword at the child, Ygraine would cut his sword in half and scold Bosha loudly.

 

"It couldn’t be helped!”

 

If he shouted that how would Ygraine respond? It wasn't hard for Edulis to imagine. She'd probably look very sad and lower her head to the ground.  He couldn't have Ygraine looking like that.

 

'Think! Aren't I called the fox of Kaldura? Damn this brain, please work!'

 

Swish!


 Bouncing off Kadesh's fangs, Edulis frowned bitterly. He had an idea, but it was terribly uncertain.

 

''Although their magical crest are different, Ygraine's magic and mine are essentially the same. If that's the case, shouldn't I be able to do what Ygraine did?”

 

He had no choice. He had to try.

 

"O being who has lost the original form bestowed by the father." Edulis kicked Kadesh in the shoulder and muttered.

 

"Return to your original form, as Uraeus has ordained."

 

A glowing circle formed at Kadesh's feet, but it was very blurry. Edulis poured his power into maintaining the circle, but it was not enough. Understandably so.. Edulis was not skilled in magic, and the white magic was not working as he had hoped. He couldn't replicate the miracle that Ygraine had performed. Like the moon swallowed by clouds, the circle on the ground quickly lost its shape.

 

"Damn it!" Edulis cursed.

 

Just then, Taharka came to his side, holding the spear of Laotou. Edulis cried out, fearing he would kill Kadesh. "Don't touch him! Taharka!"

 

Contrary to Edulis' fears, Taharka plunged the spear between Kadesh's face and legs, restraining him. . With Kadesh immobilized, he asked Edulis.

 

"Bosha, why don't you cut him down? Knowing you, you would have done it in a heartbeat."

 

"Shut up. I'm thinking."

 

"Answer me, it's a very important question,"

 

Edulis replied nervously. "Because it's not what Lutea wants!"


"Is that so?"

 

Taharka stood silent for a moment as if considering something. Then he spoke. "Bosha, you said you were curious about the secret arts of the Royal Family."

 

Taharka took a step forward and grabbed Kadeshi's face with his bare hands.

 

"I'll tell you what it is now."





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