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In a World without God Chapter 55

"Leaf! Leaf!"


The masked woman said in a squeaky voice. Regardless, Leaf was playing with the dragon's skull, flipping and twirling it. 


"It would have been nice to have a couple more horns on this thing,” she mused. 

 

"Leaf, you say he's a loyal follower of Lutea's will, but why would he kill a child? Why would a man who believes in Lutea do such a thing? It doesn't make sense, does it?" Kashti questioned.

 

"Maybe he used to, but now he doesn't. The human heart is always changing, isn't it?"

 

"Are you kidding me? What if we lose a shard?"

 

“Ah…this is so annoying.”


Leaf’s mouth twisted in displeasure. Even though she was wearing a veil, she could tell she wasn't happy. The woman shouted at her.


"Leaf. You're to blame! You gave me the wrong information. That Edulis guy, he's not even a Lutean, he's a murderer!"


"I don't care if I'm responsible or not...don’t you have confidence? I thought you said it was an elaborate, meticulous plan?"

 

"Who would've thought there'd be a guy who'd go around killing all those kids? His humanity is the problem, even we don't like massacres...."

 

"Well, if you didn't expect that, then it wasn't a very well-thought-out plan."

 

"Leaf, are you going to keep talking about it like it's somebody else’s problem? A shard is at stake here!”


Leaf ignored the comment and yawned. 


"That guy.. he wouldn't go around digging up graves, would he? He's a Lutean, after all, and humans consider desecrating graves to be the most blasphemous of all." Kashti pondered. 

 

"Ha." She's boring, Leaf thought and stood up from her seat.

  

 ***


Parents love their children. Every time he heard that, Bosha thought, "Is that really true? Is it so universally true that it is considered to be a law? If so, why was he abandoned in the Barus Swamp? 


As the children played in the dirt, Edulis killed them all, silencing their laughter from five of the seventeen islands of the Agade region. Hearing the death throes of the children, the adults ran out, saw Edulys covered in blood, and screamed.


"A murderer! A young murderer has killed our child!"

 

"Oh... Marcille... my baby.... To die like this......."

 

"Hide the children! Urukagina, please curse this man!"


A question blossomed in Edulis' mind: were they really crying, and was it really out of love for their child?


"You bastard, you who took my child's life, I will surely chew your liver out!"


The men came out with flails, sickles, and scythes and swung them at Edulis. Edulis dodged them with ease, then smashed the gate of a nearby house.


"Aaah!"


The child hiding inside the house cried. Behind the child lay a red stone. Edulis immediately lunged at it and plunged his sword into the child's chest. Then he struck the red stone with his sword, shattering it.


"Oh, no! Lucy!" A woman, presumably the child's mother, cried out. In response, Edulis broke down the doors of every house on the island. He broke them down, found the child hiding, and slit their throats. He smashed every red stone in sight.


"Aaaaah... Lord Urukagina..."


Urukagina. Everyone screamed that name. The Urukagina faith is indigenous to the Agade region. Instead of Lutea, the people of Agade worship a saint named Urukagina. Due to the geography of the islands, which are surrounded by salt water, it has long been difficult to find drinking water, but one day a saint named Urukagina came to the island and cast a spell, and clear, freshwater began to gush from all 17 islands. 


However, Edulys knew from the apostles that this saint Urukagina was also an incarnation of Lutea. But was this Urukagina they spoke of really the same being?


“Is there anyone among you who has heeded the words of the children?”


Edulis asked, standing in front of the people after all the children had been cut down. Some crouched on the ground and wailed, some threw stones at him, some never stopped attacking him. Edulis ignored them all and asked again. "Have any of you done what the children say?"


Three people flinched and squirmed. Sensing this, Murjana leaped forward and slit their throats in one swift motion acting on Edulis's instructions.


"Gah!" The people screamed, but it wasn't blood that trickled down their heads. It was a puff of smoke, like wet paper thrown into a bonfire. 


"This... what kind of trickery is this?"

 

"Blasphemy! That boy desecrates our neighbor's death!"


Amidst the commotion, a man ran away from the crowd. Edulis was after him in a flash, grabbing him by the nape of the neck. The man stuttered and said.


"I... I was only following Lord Urukagina's will."

 

"Was it Urukagina's will that you curse your neighbor to death?"

 

"He was a bad man, secretly sleeping with my wife behind my back, and taunting me as if we were friends! Lord Urukagina blessed me by punishing him with divine retribution. I did nothing wrong!"

 

The corners of Edulis's eyes flared with rage. He grabbed the man by the scruff of his neck and slapped him as hard as he could. 


"Don't you dare attach anyone's name to your filthy deeds!"


Just then, a woman called out from the crowd. 


"Honey!"


As soon as Edulis heard this, he slit the man's throat, dropped him, and lunged at the woman. As he took the woman's hand, a white light enveloped her. The woman did not realize what had happened to her body.

 

She burst into tears, gritted her teeth, and charged at Edulis with her dagger.


"I will not be under the same sky as the one who killed my husband," she said, "and I will see it through to the end, whether you kill me or I kill you!"


Edulis would have none of it, and he broke the woman's arm and threw her to the ground. Then he thought to himself  ‘This woman has had an affair? That can’t be.’


The man must have been deceived by someone. He was deceived, and he cursed his friend and his wife. Who had lured him in? Edulis had a suspicion. 


 As he held the knife to the woman's throat, he shouted to the villagers. 


"Someone must have died a strange death in the last ten days. Tell me the location of their graves, or this woman's life is forfeit."

 

"No, you bastard! A grave is like a quilt that covers the soul, and you want to uncover it? Even the vilest fiend don't touch graves!"

 

"You don’t like it? If not, this woman dies."


Edulis held the knife to the woman's throat. Drops of blood dripped down the blade. 


"Aah...!"

 

The men lamented. One of them, a young man, stepped forward. "Let me guide you."

 

"You fool!" one shouted. 

 

"Regardless of the dead, the living must survive, right?"


Edulis took the knife from the woman and followed the young man's lead to find the graves. There were five graves in all. Edulis took the shovel from the men and approached the graves. No one was allowed to come near, including Murjana. 


As he plunged the shovel into the dirt, the sound of nails scraping against glass echoed through the air, making the wound in his back throb even more.


"Aargh…:” Edulis gritted his teeth and dug at the grave. A rust-colored skeleton emerged. Maggots and mealworms swarmed within the ribs. This is how decayed flesh returns to nature. But there was one part of the corpse Edulis dug up that hadn't returned to nature. It was the face. It had been stretched, twisted, and distorted like a jigsaw puzzle, unrecognizable as a human. There were only three holes for what he assumed were for the eyes and mouth should be.


"So, it was you, Bashme."


A pair of vicious yellow eyes peered at Edulis from within its tiny gaping mouth. Mouths protruded from both eye sockets, one of them screaming, the other muttering words of curse. 


 - Twist and turn, shell of providence. Those who swim in the rotten sea shall stand on top, and those with holy flesh shall lengthen the bottom.


Edulis slashed at the face that spoke the curse with his sword sheathed in white. The face screamed an eardrum-splitting scream, then crumbled to ash.


"Twelve islands left." Edulis hurried toward the next grave. Black pus gushed from the wound in his back.


 ***


"Hurry up and get on the boat. The boat won't float at low tide, so we have to hurry!"

 

"Thank you Lady Kurzina. If it weren't for you, we would all be dead at the hands of the killer."

 

"We don't even have time to say goodbye, please get on the ship," Kurzina said with a narrowed brow. 


After losing sight of Edulis, Kurzina circled the island in the opposite direction of where Edulis was going. As much as she wanted to kill Edulis, she knew that evacuating the living had to come first, and she knew she couldn't do it alone. 


"Mommy, where are we going? I'm scared. I want to go home."

 

"Don't worry, my dear, there's nothing to be afraid of. We're going on a trip together."

 

"A trip? What about our lunchbox? Do we have a lunchbox?"

 

"Of course. Don't you think mommy has prepared that too?"


Kurzina stared at the family as they talked. The child's face was sunny, the mother’s, warm, and there was not even a shadow of the witch in their faces. This was what Edulis had destroyed. She made that face contort with sadness and anger. 


"My dear, did you get that?" one of the villagers said.

 

"Of course, without it...."


Kurzina shifted her feet as she observed the villagers evacuate. This was the tenth village Edulis had decimated. 


"If we don't get ready soon....”


It was then, a silver head of hair caught Kurzina's eye. Thinking it might be Edulis, Kurzina quickly raised her staff and prepared to attack. Her opponent, however, was shorter than Edulis and had a more delicate aura. He was followed by some others, who also had silver hair.


"Enri, and everyone else... how did you get here?"


Enri, Marie, Methena, Shuri, and Harsh. They were the children taught by Edulis. Enri looked so different from the last time Kurzina had seen him in Vaidor, the glaze, and hesitation gone from his eyes, the sword moving as if it were attached to his hand. 


Even knowing he was not Edulis, Kurzina did not let her guard down. 


"I've come for Edulis," Enri answered, and Kurzina tightened her grip on her staff. The tomb of the royal family, where the children were staying, lay at the northwestern edge of the continent, and the Agade region at the southern edge. It was not a distance one would normally travel on a whim.


"What have you come to find out? Have you come to kill him, or have you come to join his side and kill me?"

 

"Lady Kurzina..."


Enri said, rolling his large eyes. "I would not attack Edulis, nor would I attack you. I would have done the same thing if I were Edulis."

 

"Enri, what you think you know is wrong."

 

"Why don’t you trust Edulis, Lady Kurzina?"

 

"I did! But he destroyed my faith. But he destroyed my faith with the corpses of children, with the blood of innocent people, he destroyed it all!"


Enri looked at Kurzina's face, which was still beautiful, but her skin was rough, her eyes were darkly circled, and her lips were dry and flaky. She had followed Edulis, believing him to be a saint. It's easy to imagine how much she must have suffered as her mind turned to disbelief. 


Nevertheless, Enri believed in Edulis.


 - Your hesitation now is the will of your life. If you wish to follow that will, pick up the sword. 

 

With those words, Edulis handed Enri the sword, which was surely the hand Lutea had extended to Enri. A beacon to lead the way. 


"Could it be that the witch has tricked us? Could it be that an evil being has made us suspicious of Edulis?"


As Enri spoke, Kurzina bit her lip. The dead skin on her lips tore away, and blood trickled down.


"Enri, do you know how many graves I have made? Do you know how much blood I have seen? If you wield a sword on his side, I have no choice but to stand up to you."

 

"Lady Kurzina, I swear to you, if Edulis has betrayed Lord Lutea, I will surely stand by your side and kill Edulis, but if not, please join me in helping Edulis."

 

"I hope you're right, Enri. Desperately so." Kurzina pressed her forehead and sighed deeply. She thought for a moment, then spoke again. "Very well, Enri. I'll leave the final judgment to you."

 

"What do you mean, the final judgment?"

 

"I intend to cast the Gast-Ovora spell. Six mages that will help me will arrive in two days."


The Gast-Ovora spell is a powerful magic circle with enough destructive power to take the lives of 100,000 armies in one fell swoop. Created by the legendary wizards Gast and Ovora to use against the kingdom's forces, it requires at least five archmages to wield it properly.

 

Enri didn't know this, but he could tell from Kurzina's tone that this was no ordinary spell.


"Enri, you decide whether or not the circle is triggered. If you think there's even a slight possibility that Edulis is not evil, then I will trust him once more."



***


In the very heart of the Agade region, on the island of Nindua. The Rekabi ruins were located here. After passing through the crumbling walls and marble columns, they arrived at a spring. It was as wide as a plaza. 

 

Edulis walked toward the altar in the center of the spring. He didn't hear a bug flapping its wings. There were no animals, no plants. Edulis crossed the bridge that stretched toward the altar. When he reached it, a gleaming white jewel appeared before him. 


"I knew it," Edulis muttered, then drew his sword. 


Boom! 

 

Edulis' sword struck the jewel, shattering it and sending it crashing.


"Why did you wait until now? I thought I'd see you sooner." Edulis said, turning around. 


Cick-clack, click-clack. 


Footsteps that did not belong to Edulis echoed. 








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