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In a World without God Chapter 5

Updated: Jan 15

"Descendant of the Witch, Duel with Me!"

Here we go again. Edulis, sitting on a tree ledge in the Varus Swamp, lost in his spell, opened his eyes at the sound of the voice.

"How many times have I told you not to come here? What if you run into a monster?"

"It's okay. I'm only following in your footsteps. There are no monsters on your path." With that, Murjana laughed. It was a childlike, innocent laugh.

On the day of their first encounter in the swamp, Murjana asked Edulis.

"A great lie? What is it?"


"Have you never thought about the statue of Vala in the Memorial Hall, and why he holds a straight sword and not a curved sword?"


"Captain Vala was skilled with any weapon. There is nothing strange about what the statue is holding."


"But the swordsmanship that comes down through your family is curved swordsmanship, isn't it?"


"No, it is not. The swordsmanship of the Ishtar can be applied to any weapon that can be held and wielded. A spear, a club."


"Yeah, but it doesn't have any thrusting movements, does it? Why is that?"

At Edulis's question, Murjana's eyes widened and her pupils rolled from side to side. After a long moment, she answered.

"Um... it's because... Captain Vala doesn't like the stabbing motion...?"

Edulis was dumbfounded. That wasn’t the answer he'd been looking for. Maybe this child was like Vala in intelligence.

"Come to think of it, why is that? Why is there no stabbing? What's the answer?"

It's because the Black Fang's sword is not designed for stabbing. Vala was not trained with any other weapon than a curved sword. In fact, he wasn't all that good with it either. What he lacked in experience compared to the other mercenaries, he made up for with his overwhelming strength.


Murjana groped for an answer, but Edulis didn't tell her.

"Think for yourself. Don't be fooled by what others tell you."


"A statue with a straight sword... why was there no stabbing movement.... Ugh... I don't know, can't you just tell me, I don't want to have a headache."

Murjana was sleepy, but Edulis didn't tell her the answer. Edulis led an exhausted Murjana out of the swamp, knowing that if he told her now, she wouldn't believe his eyes.

But just before they left the swamp, Murjana said. "I don't know anything about Captain Vala. But I do know one thing: You are not a bad man. That’s what I think."

"Really? What made you think that?"


"It's easy. You're standing beside me right now, walking, matching my slow, exhausted pace, watching my surroundings to make sure I'm not being attacked by a demon."

Edulis didn’t speak a word.

Murjana smirked at Edulis. Edulis didn't bother to reply.

From that day forward. Murjana came to visit Edulis every day. She pursued Edulis relentlessly as if she had no one else to hang out with. There was no way the Ishtar family would allow Murjana to hang out with Edulis, but she seemed to be sneaking out of the house.

"Listen, witch's spawn... I had a duel with my cousin Nasser yesterday, and I won! You should have seen the look on his face after he lost to me. He used to disrespect me so much.."


“Yeah.”


"It's because of you, descendant of the witch. So I brought you a gift. It's jerky made from the thigh of a Sijia water buffalo, and the meat is very tender. It's the finest quality! Eat it and let's duel!"


"Hey, wait."


"What? What's wrong? Is it better to have a duel before eating? That's good. I've been on a roll lately. I'm not going to be beaten one-sidedly today!"

"No.... Hey, let me say something."

Only then did Murjana stop talking. When they first met, Edulis hadn't expected Murjana to be like this. He thought she had a mature sense of mission for her age, but in reality, she was just a kid. A child who was a little more talkative than others.

"What is it?"

"Don't do that. The witch thing."

"Oh."

It was almost a greeting now, but Edulis still hated the word "witch," no matter who said it. No matter whose mouth it came from.

"Okay. So... what do I call you then?"


"Call me something else. You're older than me, after all."

And with that, Murjana shut her chattering mouth. She tilted her head and squinted at Edulis. Her mouth twitched for a moment, as if she were about to say something.

"Eh... Edulis...."

It was a crawling voice.

"Why the sudden timidity?

There was a moment of awkward silence, and then Murjana jumped to her feet, uncomfortable with the silence.

"Oh, whatever. duel! Let's have a duel!"


Ten days later, on another visit to the swamp, Edulis said to Murjana. "From tomorrow, I won't be here, so you shouldn't come."

"Uh, why?!"Murjana looked shocked by the words. That was the look on King Astania's face when Sijia was taken over by the witch.

Edulis wondered if she could be that disappointed.

"Are you... tired of dueling with me, because I'm too weak...."


"No."

At Murjana's uncharacteristic pout, Edulis said."You know, don't you, what's going on in the Fey family during the first week of the month of the Breeze."

"Ah, the Festival of Saints...." Murjana grimaced. She understood what the Festival of Saint meant to Edulis.

The Festival of Saints is a ceremony to determine who is the strongest child within each eligible family, between the ages of eleven and sixteen. The Astania consider it a great honor to take first place in the Festival of Saint, and the child who wins is given a job in the Holy City of Trisis.


However, the Fey family's Festival of Saints has a special meaning unlike any other family's.

"It's unreasonable. I don't see why it's acceptable to hold the Saint's Festival in such a way. It's the honor of the goddess Lutea, shouldn't the duel be fought fairly?"Murjana said.


"I suppose it's not necessary to fight fairly against the descendant of an evil witch."

"I don't know. Are all witches' offspring evil, eh... Edulis. At least you're not."

House Fey is divided into two factions. Those descended from the blood of the hero Bosha Le Fey, and those descended from the blood of the witch Ygraine Le Fey.

The Fey family saint's festival is meant to show the people that the offspring of a hero triumphs over the offspring of a witch. For this reason, only the Festival of Saints in the Fey family is open to the public.

There's a reason Murjana calls it unreasonable. The children of the Ygraine clan could never defeat the children of the Bosha clan.

The children of the Bosha school receive special training from a very young age. They refine their magick from an early age with the help of aids and are taught by a martial arts master, a magic master, and a swordsmanship master.

Children of the Ygraine school, on the other hand, don't even learn what a magick is until they are old enough. Even if they do learn them on their own, Ygraine children are not allowed to use magic during the Saint's Festival.

It's a game that's decided from the start, and the children of the Ygraine clan have no choice but to prostrate themselves and beg for their lives.

"I have heard that the descendants of the hero Bosha are very strong. You are strong, but if you can't use your magick, you won't be able to defeat them...." Saying that, Murjana sighed.

Edulis narrowed his brows. "The offspring of the hero Bosha."

Of course, the orphaned Bosha had no family name. It was his teacher, Karayan, who named him Bosha, which means "stink" in Kaldura. When he first met her, she said it was because he smelled rotten.

Why would a family like the Fey name their child 'Stink'? Bosha le Feyi, the name itself is a contradiction in terms.

What's even more absurd is the existence of the "Fey faction" called the Boshah faction... Bosha died at the age of twenty-eight, and until then, he had no relations with women. Except for Ygraine and Laotou.

The men who claim to be Bosha's descendants now have no relation to Bosha or the Fey family. He has even heard that they don't even have silver hair. When Bosha was alive, everyone in the Fey Family had silver hair.

"Who are these bastards? What are they selling my name for?

Not only that. The content of the Saint System doesn't make sense either. Only certain families are eligible, and only the strongest within those families are called saints. There's no way the goddess Lutea and Ygraine would allow that. Ygraine abhorred all things unreasonable and unfair.

Sainthood. In the name of honoring the goddess Lutea, the ceremony reflects nothing of her will. Rather, its contents are an insult to Lutea. This is not the world Lutea wanted, and this is not the world Bosha wanted.

"I see you're worried, too."

Murjana said, studying Edulis's expression...

Of course, I am, and it must be terribly frustrating. To have all that power and not be able to use it. Just thinking about bowing my head in shame makes me angry too."

Murjana gritted her teeth and contorted her face as if she experienced it herself.

"But... you said that if I bore the shame, there would come a day when I could wash away the humiliation. I want you to do the same. Endure the humiliation, and somehow come out alive."

In the Saint System, if someone dies in a duel, the opponent is not held accountable. For those of the Bosha faction, there are even those who urge them to kill the offspring of witches. Because of this, some children don't make it out of the Sainting alive. That's what Murjana was worried about.

The corners of Edulis's mouth twitched when she saw the look on Murjana's face. It was a strange feeling. Bosha had rarely been worried by anyone. Who would dare to worry about the mighty Bosha, the red fox of Kaldura? But to think that this little child was worried about him, Edulis felt a pang of affection.

Edulis looked into Murjana's eyes and said.

"Don't worry, I'll be back."

***

People of the Ygraine clan are not allowed to travel to other regions without permission from the state. Even when they do, they must use only the means of transportation prescribed by the state.

This time was no different. An Erabu had been sent by the House to take Edulis to Vaidor, the home of the Fey, where the Saint's Feast would be held, arrived at Edulis's doorstep.

In Kaldura, an Erabu is a "charioteer," and a single Erabu is usually accompanied by two or three velox. A velox is a beast of burden that looks like a cross between a bird and a dragon. Their wings have degenerated and their glutes have developed, making them well-suited for running. They are usually bred as sustenance for Erabu, but many nobles keep them as pets due to their cute appearance and gentle nature. Their heads are topped with two finger-length horns that point skyward, and their wings, the size of a baby's palm, flap in response to their emotions. They are especially popular with women and children because of their bright eyes and bushy fur.

The Erabu who came for Edulis was a person pulling two Velroks. Upon seeing Edulis, he grimaced

"Your cursed hair always feels dirty! Whenever I see the hair of you cursed lineage people, it feels like my luck is bad for a month. Doing this once every three years is necessary, can't help but endure it!" Kishi, the Erabu, complained. He didn't seem in the least bit inclined to hide his displeasure. He was an old man with a scruffy beard, and there was a gleam of contempt in his sunken eyes.

Edulis's stomach churned. This hair, this hair was from the cleanest, purest person in the world. Why would it be considered unlucky?

If he had been Bosha before he met Ygraine, he would have slit the Erabu's throat the moment he heard those words, snatched the Velox, and fled. But not now. It would put his parents, who are seeing him off, in an awkward position.

Edulis glared at Kishi for a moment, then meekly climbed into the wagon led by Velox.

"Lutea, do you see how docile I've become?

The cart already had someone on it. It was a boy with silver hair like Edulis', but his face was lifeless. His half-closed eyes stared into nothingness, and his skinny limbs hung limply like a doll.

Edulis groaned inwardly. This is what a descendant of Ygraine looks like! A descendant of the goddess who protected humanity. She deserves all the glory in the world, but instead, her descendants are being dragged around on a rickety cart like a cow to the slaughter.

On the rattling cart, Edulis swallowed his anger. He clenches his molars to keep his anger in check...

With his burning heart, Kishi threw fuel."Cursed child, I'll give you a piece of advice, I've been doing this for over fifteen years now. No one with eyes like yours has ever come back alive, and when they do, it's usually the one next to you, with a face like a corpse. Haha!"

Before climbing into the wagon, Kishi didn't like the way Edulis looked at him. Traveling from Kaldura to Vaidor is hard work. Shouldn't he be able to relieve some of that stress by cursing at the children of witches?

"Do you know what this means? Your witch bloodline must live as if they were dead! Beat your heads into the ground and beg for forgiveness at the Festival of Saints, and after that, rot slowly in Kaldura, and if you can't do that, just die!"

At that moment, Edulis' patience reached its limit. The red-haired Bosha had a reputation for having a nasty temper. The fact that he held out this long would have surprised anyone who knew him.

Edulis scrambled out of his seat and walked over to where Kishi sat. He walked over the rattling cart as if it were level ground. Then he put his elbow on Kishi's shoulder. Then he said.

"Hey, mister."

"What, what?!"

Kishi was understandably flustered. Edulis's mood was odd.

"I mean, you're pretty sure I'm going to die, aren't you?"

The corners of his mouth lifted to one side, though he wasn't smiling... For some reason, Kishi's mind flashed back to the bandit she'd met in Ascidia last year. Though he was just a kid...

"That... that is if you don't beat your head against the ground!"

"Okay. Then how about you make a bet with me?"

"A bet?" Edulis said with a giggle.

"I'm not going to clamp my head down on anyone, and if I'm still alive, you give me these two Velox.





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