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In a World without God Chapter 58


Edulis stood up. He swung his knife in the air, brushing away the blood. With each swing, he tried to rid himself of the children's screams, Metena's severed face, and Enri's eyes blazing with rage. However, the sticky blood clung to his sword, just as his emotions clung to his heart.

 

"It's all my fault.”


Muttering to himself, Edulis stumbled toward the altar. His body was heavy and his footsteps staggered. Blood dripped from the corners of his mouth and trickled down his chin to the ground. But the gushing blood and pus couldn’t hold him back. 

 

As Edulis reached the altar, another white gem floated on top of it. A silver jewel as large as his fist. Edulis swung his sword and smashed the gem. 


The gem shattered into pieces, but the shards were nowhere to be found. Edulis looked at the floor where the gem had rested. There was a mirror. A mirror with eagles and wolves around the rim. Edulis was about to swing his sword at it when he heard a voice. 


"Filthy one, bloody one, I cannot be broken by physical force. Only the purest of the pure, those who have not grown up with the witch's darkness in their hearts can break me, and by the will of the wise and just Shamas, you dare not look nor touch what lies beneath." 

 

"Mirror, do you know the consequences of what you have done?" Edulis said in a voice like scraping iron. 


"What consequences are you talking about? I have guarded Lord Lutea's shard admirably for eighty years!"


Hearing the mirror's words, Edulis closed his eyes tightly. Then he swung his sword. With a snap, a short, clear burst, the mirror snapped in half. 


"How...." the mirror lost its voice, leaving the words as a groan. 

 

Then someone said, "Who? Who broke my mirror?"


A figure stepped through the cracks. It was a man with the head of a wolf and the wings of an eagle, but his body was injured. His wings were clipped and one of his fangs was broken. He bore a deep, unhealed stab wound in his chest, and he had missing one leg, so he leaned on a staff. His feral blue eyes looked Edulis up and down. Only after a long moment of staring did he speak. 


"You... what are you?"


Edulis stared at his mouth. Shamas had a piece of Lutea in his mouth. The piece, much larger than the one he'd gotten from Ascidia, glowed silver. 


"Your sword reeks of the blood of an innocent child. Your body reeks of witches and curses, and yet your magick is the most innocent and pure of colors. It's like one of us...."

 

"Stop talking nonsense and give me the shard."


Edulis raised his sword in a menacing stance. Shamas held his mace in his non-staffed hand, but he was not poised to attack. 


"I recognize the look in your eyes. Your harsh words are familiar…are you... Captain Bosha?"


In the past, Shamash had been known as Hyeonrang. Quick-witted and wise as he was, he understood the situation right away.

 

"The smell of this curse... it is Bashme. Bashme has had children recite his words, and with those words, he has sought to defile the shard I protect! And you......."

 

"Shut up. I said give me the shard."


As Edulis lunged at him, he spat out the jewel in his mouth. Edulis caught it in his hand before it hit the ground. 


Shamas dropped the mace to the ground and clutched his head. "I have made another mistake. It's no different than when I left Sijia without listening to Lutea!  I should have imagined what the witch would do if I used the mirror to block the altar... I was too hasty. What would Lutea say if she saw me now?"


"Alas... Bosha, you have laid the souls of those cursed children to rest! My foolishness has led you to bear sin, curses, and death. What should I do?"


Shamas threw his hands in the air and fell to the ground. Edulis spoke to him. 


"Go back inside and sleep." And as he turned around, he saw it. A spear of light descending from the sky. 


"That's..."


 ***. 


Gast-Ovora's spell had been successfully activated. 


"If Edulis dies, I will kill you all with my own hands." With that, Murjana began to run toward where the spear was headed. 


Kurzina stared after her. 


"Lady Kurzina, shall we follow her?"

 

"That child appears to be an ally of the killer."


Kurzina neither nodded nor protested. She just stared at Murjana's back with a blank face. 


‘What did she just say? That Edulis didn't kill the children? That Edulis is fighting the witch alone? No, that can't be true, I saw it all with my own eyes...'


“Lady Kurzina?"


"But is Murjana the type to lie? If she knows something I don't, if Edulis isn't evil, then what have I done?”

 

Kurzina felt sick to her stomach. She felt dizzy and the landscape spun. She felt like she was floating above the ground. 


"Lady Kurzina!"


With a thud, Kurzina's body slumped to the ground. 


"It seems to be the after-effects of using a great magic."

 

"Surely, Lady Kurzina is still young..."

 

"She is not in a position to give instructions. Everyone, go after that girl and defeat the killer's ally!"


The six mages, excluding Kurzina, began to run after Murjana. Kurjina watched their backs and thought. 


No, no. There’s something I need to confirm with Murjana..;


 But her thoughts did not come out as a voice. 


 ***

 

Murjana was swift but the six chasing her were among the top ten archmages in the kingdom. There were many ways to pursue a swift-footed warrior. 


"Gotcha!" A large boulder rose from the ground and blocked Murjana's path, but only for a second. "Huh?!"

 

The boulder collapsed. It melted into the ground like a block of ice left outside in the summer. 


"Die!" Dozens of ice daggers summoned by the oldest mage rushed toward Murjana, but they too were blocked. They melted into the water before they reached her. 


"What... what kind of sorcery is this?!"

 

"Nonsense! No one on this continent can block our magic!"


They couldn't even run forward. An invisible wall blocked them. Murjana's figure grew smaller and smaller until it became a dot and disappeared from view. 


Suddenly, a figure stepped out of the bushes, from the forest path where Murjana had disappeared. 


"Who are you!"


A woman in a black dress stepped out of the bushes. She was tall and thin, and despite the veil she wore, she was extremely beautiful. She held a dragon skull in her hand, fiddling with it, and turned to the six of them. 


"Hey, you know what, can I have a word with you?"

 

"Move!" One of the mages chanted a wind spell. A razor-sharp whirlwind threatened to engulf her, then dissipated in an instant. The wind didn't even lift her veil. 


"I was just wondering. What do you live for? Money? Honor? Or is it faith?"


"What, what is this? Are you part of the witch's coven?"


There was a flurry of attacks. Fireballs flew and the ground shook, but the woman stood in the middle of the road, unmoving. 


"You’re not answering." The woman lifted her veil and her blue eyes shone. Blue eyes as deep as the abyss. 


"Ugh...." Seeing those eyes, the wizards grabbed their chests. They pounded their fists against their chests as if choking for breath. Fear grew in their eyes. They realized that this woman was something much different than them.


"Tell me, what do you live for?"


The woman approached one of the wizards and said. The wizard choked and drooled from his mouth. 


"I... I... I live for this country and its people...."

 

"Ah, lie."


The woman waved her hand. Blood gushed out of the mage's eyes, nose, mouth, and ears. The wizard writhed in agony and eventually died. The woman walked over to the other wizard and asked.


"Ugh…You...! You can't be...!"

 

"What about you? What do you live for?"

 

"Mo... money! I make money so I can live in a nice house and drink expensive drinks! I'm honest!"

 

The woman gestured again and the mage's stomach split open, and his entrails spilled out. 


"Aww, that's so boring, do you think I came here to hear that?"

 

“Aah…What do you want, what the hell!"

 

"What about you?" The woman asked the question six times, and it killed all six of them. 


"They all have the same boring answers." The woman muttered as she walked through the blood-covered streets.


"I wonder what Edulis would say if I asked him?"


***

 

There was no one alive. The bodies of children filled the spring, and blood soaked the ground. Murjana stood before the altar of the Rekabi Ruins and looked around, dumbfounded. The one she sought was nowhere to be seen.


"Ed...dulis…"


No one answered. Murjana looked at the bloodstains on the altar. As she followed the unclaimed blood trail, she saw bloody scales. The scales of a mermaid, the ones Edulis had prepared before reaching the Rekabi ruins.


Murjana froze in place, taking a moment to process the information the scales held. 


Why? Why had this happened? Edulis had always done the best he could, always moved for the good of others, never to fulfill his greed. 


"Sad! It's sad but... Murjana! You have to run away from here! Someone...."


Aruru shouted, but Murjana didn't listen. Murjana remembered the time she and Edulis had fallen into the Fey waterway. She had told Edulis then that if he died, she would die with him. But when the time came, she couldn't keep her word. 


"I don't forgive you." Her voice was flat, the words as cold as an ice pick. The emotions vanished from Murjana's face and now it was as if she wore a mask, as if her soul had escaped. 

 

Then, someone spoke. "What do you live for?"

 

"No! Don't listen, Murjana! Ek!"


Murjana grabbed Aruru and threw him into the water. Then she raised her sword. A crescent-shaped curved sword. The sword Edulis had handed her. Murjana thrust it at the person behind her. 


"Tell me, what is your reason for living?"


Reason to live? There was none. As she thought this, Kurzina popped into her head. She remembered the people who didn't believe in Edulis, the people who called him a demon. She remembered the coven of witches who had cursed him. 


Murjana answered. "Kill them all, and then I will die."


Then she swung her sword at the woman behind her. The woman lightly stepped back, dodging the blow. Murjana glared at her. The woman was smiling.


"That's a good reason. Most people don't even know why they live, and you're a pretty good one."

 

"I am familiar with your aura. Are you not one of the witch's servants?"

 

"Well... technically, yes...."


White magic enveloped Murjana. She lowered herself until her chin was almost touching the ground, and braced herself on her legs. 


"Does it matter? The important thing is, you and I seem to get along quite well."


Murjana's sword charged like a thunder dragon, but the woman's body moved like a mirage. She seemed to be there, but when Murjana turned, she was standing somewhere else. Murjana narrowed her eyes at her.


"Murjana, my name is Leaf, and why don't you include me in your quest to defeat your enemies? I can give you strength."

 

"My enemies include the witch's minions."

 

"Okay, let's take them down too, how about that? I've got quite a few I don't like. Bashme, Lucreta, Ambrosia.... They're all no fun."


Murjana glared at Leaf and asked. 


"What is your purpose?"


Then Leaf cackled and laughed. 


"I want to see you fulfill your goal, that's all."







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