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In a World without God Chapter 38

In the southern jungles, female jungle crows thin drastically away after giving birth to their young. She is so busy bringing food to her young that she starves herself. By the time the young are independent enough and can leave the nest, the mother dies in exhaustion.

 

It's a noble death. A maternal creature. Everyone should learn from this! That's what foolish humans often say.

 

However, there's a behavior most people overlook. If a predator comes near the nest before the chicks are old enough to fly, the mother crow will peck at their throats with her beak, killing them all. Then she'll fly off on her own to escape the predator. A wise choice.  If she didn’t leave her defenseless chirping young behind, they would all be annihilated together.


And so, can one call the feelings a jungle wren has for its young "love"?

 

"Uh... mommy... why did you... abandon me?"


"No! Noooo, go away!"

 

Amid the chapel of St. Trisis, in the middle of the synagogue, something that could hardly be called human was walking. Its hoofed legs clacked like those of a cow or a horse, its nails long and sharp like the scythes of a mantis, and a youthful face that didn't match its body. It was staring at a woman. 


The woman threw everything she could grab at the creature. A cane, a chair, a book....

 

“Lady Lutea, isn't this different from your promise? You said that if I sacrificed one child, you would spare the rest of my family!"


"Yes. That's what I was going to do, but didn't you make a wish? But you wished to see the face of your sacrificed child again, didn’t you? I just granted your wish. Was it a lie?”


“I never imagined... it would be like this!”


"Ha! What? You changed your mind just because your child looks different? What kind of mom does that?"


Akale giggled as she sat cross-legged on a blue sphere. See, how is a human any better than a jungle crow?

 

 "Mommy.... Why.... did you...."

 

"I had to, we can't all die, you have to understand Mommy, please!"


 "Didn't you... love me...?"

 

The monster's nails dug into the woman's neck. Blood spurted like a fountain, and the woman collapsed to the ground.

 

 "How heartless. How could she not tell her child that she loves her?" Akale wonder. 

 

"Mom... why...."

 

"Shut up. Stop whining and go back to the basement."


"Mommy......." the monster kept mumbling. 


"Kashti, put it away!" Akale shouted, and a blonde woman in a priest's robe stepped forward. She pulled aside the carpet, opened the iron door that had been concealed, and kicked the creature. It fell to the ground, still calling out for its mother.

 

 "See, they're all the same, Blood spurted like a fountain, and the woman collapsed to the ground. The nerve to claim that I don’t know humans?"

 

"Lady Akale."

 

The woman called Kashti knelt before her. However, Akale didn't even look at her and muttered.

 

"Just to survive, they casually toss each other aside and only speak of love when it's convenient for them... Humans are like that!"


“Lady Akale... this is the thirty-fourth time.”

 

Akale kicked Kashti in the cheek with her foot.

 

“So what?! What am I supposed to dot?"

 

 Blood trickled from Kashti's lips.

 

"With all due respect, I don't think this is the time for this. We need to find Edulis Le Fay, he is the reincarnation of Bosha, the leader of the Black Fangs."


"I know! I was going to do it anyway! Now I don’t feel like it because you’re rushing me!"


“You’ve said that thirty-four times already…”


“Shut up!”


 

 Akale kicked Kashti across the cheek once more.

 

“If you had found him, there would’ve been no problem. Why do I have to do everything myself?”


“I’m sorry. My abilities could only track him to the eastern desert.”


“Incompetent!”


 "Lady Granadilla is taking this case seriously. Lutea’s involvement is inevitable in human reincarnation. I don't know why Bosha was reincarnated, but Lutea likely has some trick up her sleeve.”


"I know! I know!" Akale whined. She felt sick to his stomach just thinking about Edulis and Taharka. Worst of all, Taharka was dead. He'd died a hypocrite, unable to reveal his true colors.


Forming a search party to find Edulris was not something Akale was keen on. After all, to Akale, humans were no more than mosquitoes or flies. How ridiculous would it be if someone ran through the streets trying to catch a mosquito or a fly?

 

“I’m not playing tag. It’s boring.”


“Lady Akale…”


"But... that Bosha..."

 

Akale turned away from Kashti and introspected. Akale had met Bosha before. She hadn't done anything to him. No brainwashing, no snakes in his mouth. Because Bosha was the kind of human Akale liked. A man without pretense.

 

After all, Bosha was just like Akale then. He thought all humans were animals. He laughed at humans and hated them. Akale had looked at him and laughed, thinking he was a human who knew something. But....

 

"You've been tricked by Lutea. She always tricks you with bullshit. She made you believe there is love in the world, that there is hope. But that’s what she said ever since she created humans! It's stupid, and the people who believe it always lose!"

 

"Do you pity Bosha?"

 

"Pity? Yes... yes, I do. Because I'm kind."

 

 Chase, catch, kill, Akale thought. What a barbaric, boring thing to do.

 

 "Lady Akale?"

 

 Akale was silent for a moment, then chuckled, as if remembering something. Then she said.

 

"You know, Kashti, don't you think it would be a good idea to put Bosha back in his state before she was tricked by Lutea?"


"What?"


"I want to see him. The one reincarnated by Lutea slaughtering loads of humans."

 

***


"In Vaidor, they're still searching for nothing! They say there's been no movement in the Holy City!"

 

 Aruru said, climbing onto Ishkur's shoulder.

 

"Huh? No movement? That can't be right, I thought they'd put out a wanted order or something?"

 

"You don't believe me? Are you disregarding the communication network of mice and spiders, or are you ignoring me?"

 

"No, I believe you, I believe you... I just can't figure out why."

 

Edulis and her party were still in the Imperial Tomb. Their next stop was Ascidia, but they couldn't move quickly enough. They intended to move only after seeing how Akale would act. But nothing was happening…

 

"I don't know! I can't enter the synagogue, because if I do, I won't come out alive!"


"Hmm... what are they up to?"

 

"From what I hear, he's been taking children and their mothers and doing something with them....I don't know what!"

 

When was he supposed to make a move? He couldn't hide here forever. Ishkur thought to himself. 

 

"By the way, where is Edulis? As a comrade bound by soul, I, Aruru, have come to visit after a long time, and yet there’s no greeting! It seems Murjana and Taharka are also missing!"

"Taharka is....... No, never mind, they're all concentrating on their training right now, so leave them alone."

 

In the crevices made by the collapsed royal tomb and broken tombstones, Edulris and Muruyana were hiding in the deepest and most obscure place.

 

 - Do you have time to wallow in self-pity right now?

 

Edulis had said to Muryana. It was also what he said to himself. Very few humans are immune to the whispers of the Akale. Edulis thought Taharka had died because he had no power to drive Akale away.

 

Edulis wrapped himself with his mana. Shedding some parts of himself and accepting others, Edulris opened paths for the white magic to flow. But there was still a long way to go. Ygraine's magick flowed smoothly, like a river of stars in the night sky. It changed its form freely, becoming clouds, then rain, then ice.

 

Edulis, however, was merely copying Ygraine's color. His mana moved, but its movements were very rough and stiff. It was even worse than his magical flow when he was Bosha.

 

'This is why I can't use my purification spell properly. If I had been as skilled as Ygraine, Taharka wouldn’t need to sacrifice himself.’

 

Because magic is a manifestation of the mind, Edulis had to let go of even those thoughts. That's why it was more difficult than usual to prepare the spell. Taharka's death kept haunting him.

 

He died very similarly to Bosha. The witch's clone that Bosha faced was weakened after many battles. It attacked the rear supply lines to absorb human souls and regain strength. Even though the clone was that weak, Bosha was still overpowered. In the end, he could only resort to self-destruction, condensing all of his magic and detonating it.

 

 "But Taharka was different”

 

The condensed white magic turned into a spear and pierced Akale’s clone in one strike. To defeat Akale’s main body, one must be able to use such powerful attacks routinely, like Lutea’s apostles.

 

But how can Edulis do that? There is no one to teach him. No human being has gained the strength of an apostle through training. Then he must learn it by himself. 

 

Edulis could only think of one person. Using white magic meant he should focus on Ygraine. 

He could still see her image in his mind. Even the witch's army found it difficult to look at her.

 

“Ygraine didn't wrap herself in magic.”


To wrap implies an active effort to maintain it. Ygraine didn't wrap herself in magic rather magic always flowed around her. Flowing was its natural state.


Flowing things change quickly. To change, one must be allowed to flow, just as a flowing river flows to the sea and becomes a rain cloud. But Edulis, and all humans in general, are "wrapped" in mana when they wield magick. So it's hard to change.

 

Edulis once asked Ygrainne. How do you keep the magick flowing?" And Ygrainne replied, "You let it flow.

 

"What the hell does that mean?

 

 At the time, Edulis thought it was bullshit, but now it's the only clue he has.

 

Sitting side by side with Murjana, Edulis continued the refinement. He didn’t know when he started. when he ate, or when he slept. He just thought, thought, and thought. Then, one by one, anxieties arose. He drew his sword as things that hindered the flow appeared. Cutting them relentlessly/ 


"Eat your food, you crazy bastards?" Ishkur came by again and again, but he didn't pay him any attention. He and Murjana were immersed in their inner soul world. 

 

No matter how hard they tried, the magick would not flow. t only moved sluggishly when Edulris exerted his will. 

 

"At this rate, I'll never be able to defeat an earthworm, let alone Akale.”

 

He felt suffocated. Frustration and impatience became barriers to progress. The thought that Taharka's death would not be in vain was a constant reminder.


Edulis thought of the things that flow in the world. Desert sands, rivers, waterfalls, winds, and stars in the night sky... why couldn't Maggi flow like that?

 

Then one day, it rained. It poured down in torrents, creating ditches and streams. Frogs croaked and crawled around Edulis and Murjana. Leaves floated in the slow-moving rainwater. Edulis stared at the scene.

 

“Why does this rain flow without anyone urging it, but my heart doesn’t?”

 

He stopped wrapping himself in magic and just watched. As he looked at the rainwater, a thought suddenly occurred to him.

 

"Why am I looking at the leaves when the water is telling me what to do?”

 

The water flows without the leaves. Moving the leaves with my hands doesn't make the water flow.

 

"My heart is not a leaf.

 

That was the moment I thought.


A nostalgic scent wafted faintly around the Edulis.




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