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In a World without God Chapter 50

Ever since he left Lunia, Edulis had been quiet. He was never a talkative person, but he would say what he needed to say about their destination and plans. But after killing Armillo and the regent proxy in Lunia, Edulis became less willing to answer questions. He devoted himself exclusively to the care of his sword. 

 

His eyes were shadowed with blackness, and his pupils seemed to drift with thoughts as he stared into space. Edulis's white, clean skin reeked of blood and guts. The odor didn't fade even as he bathed in the flowing river. Kishi was horrified by this, but Murjana was not. 

 

She felt sorry for Edulis. She had seen Edulis weep as he swung his sword at Armillo, burying his bones in the ground. Edulis' expression as he sharpened his sword was no different than it had been at that moment, and so it seemed to Murjana that he had been crying continuously. 


She wanted to share that sadness, that pain, to comfort him, but she couldn't find a way. Before she could, Edulis said. 


"You must go a different way from me."


 Murjana immediately denied it. "There is nowhere to return to. Wherever you go, I shall follow."


Then Edulis shook his head. "If you don't like Kaldura, Kuzina in Vaidor will take you in, and the people of Garug in Ascidia will welcome you. There are many places you can go and a lot of people will take you in."

 

"No. I don't like any of the places you mentioned."


Murjana was stubborn. Just then, the guards on the floor began to stagger to their feet. 


"Find a place to leave. Take Aruru with you."

 

"I will follow you to the end." With that, Muryana climbed into the chariot. 


As they ran away from the guards, Edulis thought. ‘I need to find a place to get away from her.’


 Murjana, on the other hand, was thinking. 'I just want to go the same way as you, Edulis....'


 ***


Much of southern Gudea is rugged jungle. Intermittent torrential rains keep the soil soggy, and poisonous insects, beasts, and dangerous creatures abound, making it an inhospitable environment for humans. 


Nevertheless, some stay and live here. They are the so-called "forest people". They live in groups of dozens or even hundreds, gathering, hunting, and facing dangers together. Each group has a different name and personality, but people outside the jungle refer to them collectively as "forest people. 


"This is not a suitable environment for Velox to run in, so I'll wait at the nearby station," Kishi said, before entering the jungle. He was still looking at Edulis with fear in his eyes. Would he continue to wait for him? 


It doesn't matter if he doesn’t, Edulis thought and entered the jungle. Murjana followed Edulis. 


They came to a wide stone floor and a flowered entrance shortly after entering the jungle. It was the village of the Arakir, a tribe that lives in the farthest reaches of the jungle. They had to cross it to reach the ruins of Rekabi. 


The village was tucked away in the dense foliage, with little light and no view of the outside world, but the pathways and buildings were well organized. Being at the edge of the jungle, they've embraced a lot of outside culture.


The people were all dark-skinned, wearing thin and revealing clothes to cope with the hot and humid climate.


The looker rang a bell to announce the arrival of outsiders, and an old man with a bent back stepped forward. When he saw Edulis and Murjana, he greeted them. 


"Good to see you, young people, how long has it been since we’ve had visitors here... I am Chief Romus, and you are?"

 

"My name is Edulis."

 

"How old are you?" 

 

"I am about to turn thirteen."

 

"Oh! Then you will soon be able to make children, will you not? Look here, Ulmus, inform the eligible women!"


Then the one who had been following Romus ran back, not even listening to Edulis. 


“Welcome, truly welcome. Are you hungry? We have leftover meat from yesterday's hunt, eat your fill.”


With that, Romus led Edulis and Murjana to the largest building in the village.


It was a long way to Rekabi. Edulis had no reason to refuse. As soon as they entered the building, people began setting down charcoal-grilled meats and dried fruits in front of them. 


Across from Murjana and Edulis, Romus and a group of women in their late teens and early twenties sat and stared at Edulis. 


"Edulis, what is going on here?" Murjana asked, scrunching up her face. 


"The forest people are especially welcoming of outsider men to avoid incestuous marriages. Just play along without committing."

 

The women picked up meat and placed it on Edulis's plate, or popped small pieces of fruit into his mouth. 


"Come on. I don't know what it's like in the jungle, but back home, we didn't do this. Everyone eats with their own hands." Murjana said.


At that moment, Edelris abruptly stood up and approached a woman holding a fruit.


"Edulis?"


Edulis's face twisted. He approached with such force that the woman backed away in fear. 


"Where did you get that?" Edulis asked, pointing to the woman's neck. A small decorative dagger dangled from the woman's neck in a sheath. 


“It's a gift from the missionaries.”

 

"Where are these missionaries?"

 

"They are staying in the northern quarters...."


As soon as he heard those words, Edulis ripped the dagger from the woman's throat. White magic pulsed through Edulis' body. With a flick of his hand, the dagger shattered and fell to the ground. 


"What are you doing?" the woman cried out in anger, echoed by Romus and the others.


"We have welcomed you, and you respond with violence?”


Edulis didn't even bother to listen to their words and just grabbed the other woman by the scruff of the neck. 


"Tell me straight. Do you have a dagger too?"

 

"Ah!"


The woman flailed at first, but when Edulis drew his sword, he cowered and handed him the dagger. Edulis shattered it, then pointed it at Romus' throat and shouted.


"Give me all that is like this, or there is no life for the chieftain."

 

"This... this... how could this happen?"


People cursed Edulis as a brute, a beast, a robber, and not a guest. Only Murjana understood his intentions.


"No, Edulis is...!"


But no one listened to her. Who would do that when there was a knife at their chieftain's throat?


What the woman wore like jewelry was a cursed object. A dagger shaped like a coiling snake, the Witch's Tongue. It was the same one that had corrupted the Assyrians.


They listened to Edulis to save Romus. Only after dozens of daggers had been shattered did Edulis let Romus go, and he ran north. Murjana followed, sword drawn, but much slower than Edulis.


"They're coming for the missionaries! Warriors! Defend our guests!"


The woodsmen had well-developed upper-body muscles. Men with large forearms hurled javelins loaded with magick at Edulis, but Edulis and Murjana could run faster than the Javelins. 


Edulis flew to the building on the north end, kicked in the door, and set it on fire. Five people from the upper floors scrambled up the ladder to the second floor. 


"What’s happening?!"


The missionaries seemed to have earned great trust from the tribe. Almost all the villagers rushed out to surround Edulis. Murjana watched from the edge of the crowd. 


"You villains, don't hurt the missionaries!" they shouted.

"They taught us writing; they gave us food and clothing in the winter when we were in need. You dare not touch them!"

 

"You must be the witch's minions, bringing swords to bear on those who carry the will of the Goddess!"


The angry warriors pointed their spears at Edulis. The non-warriors stayed back and threw stones at him, but he didn't even turn his head to face the flying stones and spears. 

He only looked at the missionaries. There were three men and two women, all dressed in pure white priestly robes. 


"Which one of you gave these daggers?"


Then one of the priests said. "We have come here to deliver a great will. The will of the Master of all men."

 

"Who gave you the dagger?" he asked.

 

"We are all comrades in arms. You are against our master's will. Why do you stand in our way?" 

 

"So... you're saying that all five of you acted in concert, knowing full well what this dagger was and what would happen if you gave it away?"


Edulis said in a voice like scraping iron. The missionaries' faces were white and glowing, not a black butterfly tattoo anywhere on their faces. Their eyes were alive. They looked at each other, gauging reactions.


In other words, they were human. They hadn't been brainwashed, nor had they accepted the black butterfly into their hearts. They distributed soul-corrupting cursed objects with clear minds, knowing what they were doing, and spread lies. As a result, the villagers believed their 'master' to be Lutea.


 - Why don't you tell me to love my parents who disowned me?

 - Yes, that's right, you should love them too. 


An old conversation flashed through Edulis's mind, the meaning of the words seeming so close at hand, but now they seemed so far away. Edulis thought.


 "If we meet in the fires of hell, maybe I can love them.”


The five missionaries glanced at each other, and in unison, they ran in different directions. They tried to blend in with the crowd. 


Edulis's sword was swift. In the darkness of the jungle, only Murjana could see his blade. 


The floor of damp earth and broad stones was stained with blood. Three heads rolled on the ground, wide-eyed. 


Two of them escaped. An Arakir warrior stood in the path of his blade, and Edulis had no choice but to stop it...


“Murderer! He's killed the missionary!"

 

"A demon! It must be a demon! We must call for help from the neighboring tribe!"


The people started screaming and running in a panic. Meanwhile, the Arakir warriors surrounded Edulis.


"Hide behind us, we will protect you with our lives!"


Edulis broke their spears and kicked them in the stomach, but the warriors picked themselves up off the ground despite their broken spears. 


"How can we show our faces if we can't protect one guest?"


Spears and swords lunged at Edulis, but he, wrapped in white magic, was unharmed. He grabbed the warrior who stood in his way like a sack and threw him away. After tossing dozens of them, his eyes shone.


"Found you."


Edulis' sword sliced through the air, and blood spurted among the warriors like fireworks.


"One more to go."


Those who had stood at a distance, trusting the warriors, those who had not yet made it out of the village, cried out at the sight. 


"All those warriors, he defeated all those warriors...!"

 

"Tell everyone in Gudea! A young boy, a murderer, is on the loose!"


"Lord Lutea, please look upon us! Save us from the witch's influence!"


Watching the fleeing people, Edulis remembered Ygraine's words.


- You'll get hurt. Your heart will get hurt

- Captain Bosha's body is as strong as iron, but his heart is as fragile as a newborn chick.


It was not the words of men that hurt Edulis's heart now. It was the fact that Ygraine had valued Bosha's heart more than Bosha himself, and now that heart must now be thrown into a pit of blood.

 

"I'm sorry.”


Muttering to himself, Edulis pushed his way through the warriors, leaving all the curses and insults behind him, and no one stopped him. But....


"Murjana...." Edulis's mouth dropped open at the sight. 


"I told you, I'm going the same way as you."


Murjana, with a smile on her face, as if she was holding a basket from the market, showed it off. A severed head, its tongue sticking out, held by its hair like a handle. Drops of red blood dripped from Muryana's white curved sword.


"I am a murderer, too, Edulis." 




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