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In a World without God Chapter 39

Episode 39 

Let it flow, Edulis thought, finally understanding the words. Edulis was still holding the leaf in his hand. He was waving it around, trying to get it to go where he wanted it to go.


He didn’t have to do that, he realized. All he had to do was gently flick the leaf onto the water.

 

Letting your heart wander where it will might seem effortless, but it's a daunting feat. Sometimes it is like putting your hand in a burning fire, or in a river with floating ice. Humans want to move their hearts as they please. They want to block sadness and open up to joy. They want to lead it in a specific direction.

 

Edulis was no different. He realized that he was blocking the flow, that his hand was holding onto a leaf. She then let it all go, and like desert sand in the wind, his mind slowly began to flow.

 

Edulis saw his impatience and observed her sorrow, her regret, her faults. He didn't try to suppress them or push them away rather he just looked at them. And the impatience, the sadness, the regret, and the blame, floated away, like leaves on water, and flowed slowly.

 

The flow was not as natural as Ygraine’s. If he was not careful, he would feel the urge to push or pull his heart. Before he knew it, he would find herself reaching out to the flow. All Edulis could do was keep pushing away that part of himself.

 

'Just watch. Only watch. Do not push, do not pull. Do not suppress, do not hide. Just watch.'

 

As the flow became smoother, the scent hovering around Edulis grew stronger. Buds peeked out of the ground where he sat.

 

Edulis felt like understood now how Ygraine could trust and embrace everyone in the world. It was because her heart was always flowing. It never stopped. She never held anything back.

 

Time passed along with Edulis' mind. He opened his eyes as something whispered in his mind to do so.  As he did, he realized that his legs were covered in morning glory vines.

 

“Uhh…uh…” There was a groan. It was Murjana. She was shaking uncontrollably, her body racked with chills. Her face was ashen blue, and blood trickled from her eyes, nose, and mouth.

 

Edulis knew what she was going through. She had gone through the same process herself.

 

To fight Akale, she must train her white magic. To do so, Muryana was breaking down the magick she had built up over the years, a process that meant facing herself.


Edulis knew this would happen, but he didn't stop her. He would have made the same choice if he were Murjana.

 

"I'm sorry... I'm sorry... I'm sorry... I can't...." Murjana mumbled in her sleep with her eyes closed.

 

"Murjana." Calling her name, Edulis reached out to touch her hand. Murjana's hands were wet with cold sweat. 

 

"It is you who hates you, and it is also you who does not hate you."

 

With that, Edulis closed his eyes. Then a wall separating his soul from Murjana’s appeared. A voice came from beyond it.

 

 - "You are a worthless human being, Murjana. You are not worthy of anyone's love.

 - You should have died, not Taharka.

 

It was a shadow that spoke. A shadow in the form of Murjana, its body coiled with blue snakes. Muryana spoke in a gravelly voice.

 

 - I am...

 

Edulis looked at Muryana. She was covered in blood. The hand that held her sword hung limply. Her trembling head was turned toward the floor. There was darkness, only darkness.

 

Muryana's magick was a flame of white light, but it seemed like it could be extinguished at any moment, like an ember left in the ashes.

 

Unlike Taharka, Edulis could not give Murjana his magick, but Edulis knew what he had to do. It felt natural, like a fish knows how to swim from birth.

 

Edulis looked at Murjana, and the white glow of Edulis' magick flowed through her. There was no need to cross the wall. Like a blanket of snow on a sleeping earth in winter, or a cocoon around a fragile insect's body, Edulis's mind swirled along the boundaries of Murjana's humanity.

 

 "Raise your head, Murjana."

 

 Then, a wind began to blow in Murjana's mind. A gentle breeze that fueled the wavering flame.

 A white flame burst forth. Murjana looked up.

 

 - You're right, I'm worthless.

 

Strength returned to Muryana's hand holding the sword. Muryana said,


-  So now, I’ll kill this useless me and move forward.


 

 Edulis held Muryana's hand tightly until she struck down her own shadow.

 

***

 

"The square is nice."

 

"What? Ah... thank you."

 

Kurjina smiled, trying to hide her nervousness. The investigator who had descended from the Holy City was a short woman, wearing a veil that covered even her eyes. Her name was Leaf.

 

But her words and actions were strange. As soon as she entered the square, her steps slowed and she looked around for a while. Then she said that the square was beautiful.

 

The square however wasn’t beautiful. The plaza on the grounds of the Fey family mansion was damaged by the battle between Edulis and Tibea. The marble on the floor was cracked and pockmarked with potholes. Was that a joke? Kurzina studied Leaf's expression, but couldn't quite put her finger on it.

 

"Let me show you to the parlor," Raghad said. At the moment, Kurzina and Raghad were the only two members of the Fey family running the household. All of the adults in charge of the household had disappeared. Kurzina's father, Hathor, had been turned over to the local tribunal for kidnapping a child.

 

Of course, there were other adults in the family, but they were far outranked by Kurzina and Raghad, and they didn't know the truth about the family, so they couldn't be trusted to run the household. So it was decided that the two would take over, at least temporarily.

 

The arrival of the investigators from the city had been anticipated for some time. Through the rats, they had already discussed the matter with Edulis.

 

Kurzina is the better conversationalist. Leaving the other tasks to Lagarde, Kurzina decided to attend to a woman named Leaf. As soon as they sat down in the parlor, she spoke up.

 

"You can probably guess why I'm here. I wanted to ask you about Edulis Le Fay. Did you know that he was the reincarnation of Bosha?"

 

"We didn't know."

 

"The Fey family allowed him to take the first place in the Holy Order, and not only that, but you failed to prevent the descendants of Ygraine from fleeing, and you are unable to find them. How will you be held accountable for this?"

 

Kurzina studied Leaf's complexion. Despite her words, her tone was not reprimanding. She was even smiling wryly. The questions were the same ones she'd discussed with Edulis. Kurzina pulled out her prepared response.

 

"With all due respect, I believe that responsibility is proportional to discretion. The procedures of the Festival of Saints are set by national law, and we had no choice but to proceed according to the established procedures. We could not prevent Edulis from taking the first place while respecting the procedures of the Festival of Saints. In other words, there was no room for discretion. Wouldn't it be fair to say that the Sainthood garrison, which failed to catch him as he fled, bears a greater responsibility than we do, who had no discretion?"

 

It's an excuse that Edulis couldn't have made if he hadn't gone to the Holy City. Kurzina spoke, and Leaf replied.

 

"You're right."

 

Kurzina swallowed nervously. This was strange. It was too easy.


With doubts, Kurzina continued, "We also lost a key member of the House due to the rampage unleashed by Edulis and Tibea, and while we are currently making no progress in our search for Ygraine's blood, we sent out our personnel to form a search team in the expense of delaying the reconstruction of our family. I hope you understand that it was the best we could do."

 

"I understand."

 

The conversation ended much more simply than Kurzina had anticipated. They had prepared all sorts of excuses with Edulis, but the conversation ended without even using a tenth of them.


"What the hell?

 

As Kurzina swallowed her doubts, Leaf lifted her veil. A head of dark-brown hair was revealed. She was hauntingly beautiful. Her skin was pale, almost morbidly white.

Most beautiful of all were her eyes. Kurzina had seen jewelry similar to those eyes before. A gemstone that seemed to reflect the depths of the ocean....

 

"Kurzina, you are very intelligent for a child, and I have heard that your magical skills could challenge any adult." Leaf chuckled.

 

"How about it? Would you like to work beside Lady Luthea instead of the runaway Edulis? Someone like you should be by Lady Luthea's side."


Her face looked as generous as a goddess.

Kurzina's breath caught in her throat as she looked at Leaf's face. Her heart pounded in her chest, and she felt like she was floating in the air. It felt like she was floating and being held by clouds. A tidal wave of ecstasy.


The giggling Leaf had never looked so adorable.

 

At that moment, with a snap, the bracelet Kurzina was wearing broke. Kurzina hurriedly looked away, avoiding Leaf's gaze.

 

"I apologize, but standing by Lady Luthea's side is reserved for those who have taken the first place in the Festival of Saints, and as a citizen of Astania, I cannot ignore that and accept the position. In addition, I have a responsibility to stabilize the unstable Fey family. As the daughter of a duke, I cannot leave my responsibilities behind and accept the position."

 

Hearing that, Leaf asked.

 

"That bracelet, is it fashionable these days?"

 

Kurzina couldn't tell what expression Leaf was wearing. She was careful not to let her gaze drift above Leaf’s neck.

 

"It was a gift from a friend, and it's a shame it broke."


Kurzina heard Leaf mutter something low, like "boring.”

 

Kurzina patted her chest. If it weren't for the bracelet Edulis had prepared for her, she would have been in trouble. The bracelet was the Hair of the Seven Sages, which Edulis had insisted she wear when greeting someone from the Holy City.

 

"Leaf...she’s definitely not human. Is this Akale, by any chance?

 

Her eyes met hers for a split second, and it was enough to break the bracelet. The Seven Sage's hair was the best protection Kurzina had ever known.

 

"Well, okay..." Leaf's tone changed, now sounding bored.

 

"The Fey family is in a lot of turmoil right now, so you're asking me to understand the situation, right?"

 

"Yes, ma’am."


"In that case, we will also be considerate of the Fey family."

 

"What... consideration... do you mean?"

"The Fey family's territory is vast, but given their current situation, it would be difficult for them to control all of it. Until we determine that the Fei family has stabilized, we will centrally manage Ascidia, Sijia, and the surrounding areas adjacent to it. We will send an administrator from the central in the near future."

 

"Is that something that has already been decided?"

 

"Yes."

 

After explaining the specifics of the tax revenue distribution and the areas to be managed by the central in a mechanical tone, Lifa left. Kurzina recalled Edelis's words.


- Even if they accept the excuses we've prepared, they won't just back off. We'll have to give up something. If we have to give something up, do it willingly.


"Are you sure this will work?

 

The central overseeing the Fey family's territories meant a narrower range of movement for Edulis and his group. Especially Ascidia, which was where Edulis's group intended to go...


"Rats, quickly relay what you've seen and heard to the saint. As soon as possible!"


***.

 

Bang! A loud noise resounded, and a cloud of sand dust spread across the floor like fog. Ishkur couldn't believe what he had just witnessed.

 

"I thought we were going through the Tefnu rock formation."

 

The Tefnu rock formation, located in the northern part of the Barba Gorge, was a rugged, untraveled area. The reason for this was simple. It was a breeding ground for a subspecies of sandworm called rockworm.


Rockworms are similar to sandworms in every way, with rock-shattering teeth and skin as hard as stone.

 

But when Edulis and Muryana leaped off the ground, the rockworm was sliced into three pieces in an instant. Ishkur couldn't even see their movements. He only saw their bodies glow with white light.

 

What kind of training did they do to become such monsters? Although curious, that wasn't important for Ishkur at the moment. He could already see the end of the Tefnu rock formation—  the Masataba hill.

Ishkur had cast a dye spell on Edulis and Murjana's bodies, stained with rockworm blood. They needed to look like begging children.

 

In the distance, over the Masataba hills, he could see the harbor of Ascidia. As Ascidia drew closer, Ishkur's memory became clearer. Somewhere out there, overlooking the sea, his father had died. Kindatu had plunged a knife into his chest. Then he snatched Ishkur from his mother's arms.

 

At that time, Kindatu didn't kill his mother, but no matter how much he searched for information, he couldn't find any clues. There is nothing but distorted information about the Ascidians.


Under these circumstances, he has no choice but to look for them himself. It was years ago that he decided to do just that.

 

'Please... stay alive....'

 

Meanwhile, Edulis stared at Masataba Hill—the place where Ygraine fought her final battle with Granadilla. 


It’s called a hill but the path up is so rugged and steep that it was barely travelled. It was so steep in fact that buildings couldn’t be built on it, but….

 

"From what I've heard from the rats, it's huge."

 

At the top of the hill, a huge fortress stood. A fortress that hadn't existed when Bosha lived. It had been built by the witches' forces after Ygraine's disappearance and was known as Fort Masataba.

 

"Murjana, we're going into the heart of that fortress. Are you ready?"


"Just say 'let's go'. You don't need to ask me anything."

 

Muryana stared at the fortress with a resolute expression, until Ishkur interrupted.

 

“You haven't forgotten, have you?" Ishkur said, "We need to find our mother's clue first, and then we can break through the fortress or enter the demon's den."






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