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In a World without God Chapter 53


Faith is like the North Star that always points in the same direction, guiding the lost. Kurzina could always see it clearly. She always walked toward it. She vowed to look only to it until she died.  


- To Kurzina, Deputy Head of House Fey. The priest Armillo, around 400 of Lunia's inhabitants, more than 100 soldiers from Lunia Castle, and the regent proxy, Count Quentin, have been murdered. The murderer is a boy of about 13 years of age with a different hair color but is most likely Edulis Le Fay, who fled from the capital. Your House is commanded to mobilize all its forces to pursue and capture or kill the murderer. 


That was what the letter with the king's seal said, and two possibilities came to Kurzina's mind. The first is that the witch-infested royal family of Astania was spreading lies to hunt down Edulis. The second possibility was that the Boy Killer was real and was being mistaken for Edulis. The possibility that Edulis had indeed committed the murder did not enter her mind. 


But the king continued to write to Kurzina. The killer boy had killed in Lunia, then Lontes, then Peret, then Tiye, then Henut. In all, he had killed people of five villages, the castle garrison, and the regent proxy, urging the Fey family to mobilize their forces. 


Kurzina prepared her mages and mounted troops to move, then took her staff and went to the armory to equip herself with magical catalysts and amulets. The armory was located next to the cellar, where Kurzina's father, Hathor, was being held for kidnapping children. As Kurzina was getting ready for battle, Hathor called out to her. 


"Kurzina, come here. Listen to your father's story."


Kurzina was not pleased with her father, but she stopped in her tracks, unable to ignore their familial bond. 

 

“Father, with your mouth that harbors the heart of a witch, what more do you have to say to confuse me?” 


Then Hathor said.  "Heart of a witch...my child, no. To tell you the truth, there is no Granadilla or Lutea in my heart. All I have in my heart is you, and your late mother."

 

"Are you going to use me and my mother's name to justify your kidnapping?"

 

"No, Kurzina. That's not what's on my mind. I'm just worried about you."

 

"There is nothing for you to worry about, Father."


As Kurzina turned to walk past, Hathor spoke up. "Don't trust Edulis, he's a murderer."


Kurzina frowned. "How dare you slander a saint, who broke the witch's eye and defeated Tibea!"

 

"Kurzina, you are young and do not know the world well. It is not uncommon for a neighbor who gives you food to come to you the next day with a knife, nor is it uncommon for a high priest to secretly cover another’s wife."

 

"Even if the world is like that, the saint is not."

 

"No, Kurzina. Contrary to what the world knows, Bosha has no qualms about killing people, and he is a cunning manipulator. He may have put on a pretty good front under the guise of Edulis, but you never know when he will reveal his true colors. I’m afraid you will take his side and later get stabbed in the back." 

 

"Father, you deny it, but you do harbor the heart of a witch."


With that, Kurzina took her leave. With Raghad at her side, she led her troops toward Peret, the nearest town to Vaidor.


"It's horrible... It must be Granadilla's men who did this." Raghad said. The squeamish soldiers felt sick and dismounted from their Veloxes. The town was so covered in blood, flesh, and guts that they couldn't tell what the ground was made of. 


"This is unforgivable."

 

"But Kurzina... if one boy killed all these people... there is only one person I can think of capable of doing this."

 

"You have seen a miracle.  Do you not believe what you have seen with your own eyes?"

 

"I only believe it because I saw it. Is there any other thirteen-year-old boy on this continent, anywhere, who can sweep away hundreds of soldiers by himself, besides Edulis?"

 

"It's a witch's trick to make you believe that."


Kurzina's lips quivered as she said that. When she'd seen Tibea, she'd thought it would be hard to imagine anything more horrific, but the sight before her now was even worse— rotting flesh, human skin stretched across the floor, blood pooling in puddles. 

 

"This must be the work of a witch.


With that thought, Kurzina moved her troops. Tiye, and Henut, all looked the same. It wasn't until they descended into southern Ascidian that they encountered survivors. For some reason, they were all children. 


They looked lifeless, walking over a field of corpses... 


Kurzina approached them and bent low. "Children, the Fey family will take care of you in Lutea's name, so speak. Who has pointed a sword at your family?"


Then one of the girls said in between her sobs, "A boy... a boy who looked about a year or two older than me...."

 

"A boy? Did you hear his name?"

 

"Ed... He said his name was Edulis...."

 

Kurzina felt her heart sink. A dark cloud hung over the stars in her mind. Was the god testing her faith? No. Lutea does not test humans. The rats of the world would know the answer, but Aruru, the only one who can communicate with humans, hasn't been seen lately.

 

"No. The answers are within me. I don't need anyone else to tell me.”


Hearing the child's words, Raghad said. "Kurzina, I think my suspicions are correct."

 

"No…" Kurzina shook her head and continued south. When she arrived in Lunia, there were survivors besides the children. They were dark-skinned and lightly clad. When they recognized Kurzina, they approached and prostrated themselves. Then they appealed.


"Descendant of a great hero! A murderer has laid waste upon Gudea, killing the missionaries and burning down all our homes, so please slay him and give us back our land."

 

"He has the form of a boy, but he is covered in blood and guts, and he slashes people with no qualms!"


Kurzina stiffened and asked them if they knew the demon's name. Most did not, but there was one among the Arakir who did. 


"His name, I’m sure of, is Edulis.."


***

On the canyon road leading into the Gudea jungle, Murjana grabbed the hem of Edulis's shirt. 


"Edulis?"

 

"What's wrong?"

 

"Your condition is strange…your shoulders are tensel, your steps are weak, and there is an odor coming from your side, like rotten oil."

 

"Ha, what nonsense." Edulis clicked his tongue. "My shoulders are stiff from the exhilaration of defeating the sneaky Nekveta. The only reason my steps aren't strong is because of the pebbles in my shoes. I’m covered in blood and guts, and I haven't bathed, so it's no wonder I smell rancid. And to be honest, Murjana, you smell rancid too."

 

"Really? No, it’s not that. Edulis, your condition is definitely unusual. Stop walking. I need to examine you." With that, Murjana tugged on Edulis' shirt but he swatted her hand away. 


"We have no time to waste, Murjana. We've lost too much time in the jungle. We must get to Rekabi and find the shards of Lutea."

 

"But...." Despite Murjana's protests, Edulis forced himself to walk. Pus oozed from the wound on his back, roughly wrapped in cloth. 


As soon as Edulis and Murjana were out of sight on the canyon's outskirts, two figures approached from the distance. One was a blonde woman in black armor, the other a woman in a black veil. 


"This is more than I expected. I hadn't realized he could defeat Nekveta. I was wondering when to intervene, but it seems unnecessary now. Akale's will is getting closer."

 

With that, the woman called Leaf bowed low before Nekveta's body. She then removed the dragon skull helmet from Nekveta's head. 


"Actually, I've wanted this for a long time. It would fit perfectly as a decoration in our room, don't you think?” Leaf said with a smirk. The blonde woman, on the other hand, narrowed her brow.


"Leaf, what did Akale order you to do?"

 

"I don't know. Probably the same orders he gave you, Kashti."

 

"He told me to go after Edulis, that was all, but he didn't tell me what to do with him."

 

"She said the same to me."


Kashti glared at Leaf, being careful not to look directly into her eyes.

 

Kashti thought Leaf was lying. Hadn't Leaf just said she was wondering when to intervene? 


"You... you stopped me from intervening. Could it be that the order Akale gave you was to help Edulris and kill Nekveta?

 

"Look at this, Kashti. Does it suit me?"


Ignoring whether Kashti was mad or not, Leaf was giggling as she put on the dragon skull helmet. 


"Leaf, aren't you loyal to Granadilla? Are you planning to join forces with Akale?"

 

"Ha...you’re so serious Kashti, it's not funny. Whether it’s Granadilla or Akale, does it really matter who’s in what position?"

 

"Huh?"

 

"Our lives are long, and if we don't always look for something fun to do, we'll get bored quickly. Oh, someone is coming, let's put the body away...."


Kashti looked at Leaf and thought to herself. One of these days, she’s going to make enemies with this woman. 


 As Kashti and Leaf ducked for cover, the soldiers descended. The girl in the lead muttered. 


 "...No, it can't be. The saint is...."


 *** 

 

 Faith is like the North Star, always pointing in the same direction, guiding the lost.


"Why is this happening?"


But for some reason, Kurzina can't see the star. It's cloudy. Her mind is all foggy.


"I am foolish, I do not understand the meaning of this situation. Please, saint, give me an answer."

 

"Move aside, Kurzina, and prepare your magic behind me!"

 

"No, Raghad, surely... surely the Saint must have a reason...."


Edulis held up a head. A child's head. Its face contorted into a screaming expression. On the ground, the fist-sized head rolled around like a ball. Everyone's face contorted at the horrific sight. No one should kill a child like that, even if it's the child of an enemy soldier....


- Contrary to what the world knows, Bosha has no qualms about killing people, and he is a cunning manipulator.


In Kurzina's mind, the words of her father, Hathor, came to life. Kurzina desperately pushed them away. 


"Give me an answer, give me faith. Edulis, were you not the light of Lutea? The witch's schemes and the witch's visions have clouded our eyes. Please remove the fog from our eyes."

 

"Lord Kurzina, please order an attack! If we let him get away with this, the South will be devasted"

 

"No! He is not one we should dare to point our swords at!" Kurzina's voice cracked and hissed. Edulis said. 


"Kurzina, haven't I told you? You always think everything is too complicated."


Kurzina's heart felt crushed like a pot trampled by a demon. A heart believing in the light muttered: Tell me it's not true. Tell me it's all a witch's plot


But Edulis did not give Kurzina the answer she wanted.


"Behold, I slit the throats of little children with this sword. I killed every single one of them with my own hands."


Blood dripped from Kurzina's clenched hands. She had clenched her fists so tightly that her nails had dug into her palms. Tears streamed from Kurzina's eyes. She wanted to walk to the stars, but in her path lay the innards of a child and heads with screaming faces. 


"Are these children guilty of anything, or have they perverted providence in favor of the witch's will?"

 

"No. What you see in your own eyes is the truth."

 

"Why would a saint want to...."

 

Edulis laughed, the corners of his mouth twisting. "I am not a saint, I am a murderer."


Kurzina's knees buckled, and she collapsed. Raghad shouted,


"Cavalry, surround the enemy! Kurzina, snap out of it! You need to lead the mages!"


As Edulis turned to flee, Kurzina, trembling in voice and body, said,


"Mages… Attack the enemy."







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