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In a World without God Chapter 59

A platform was placed in the center of Vaidor Square. Upon it stood the king's emissary, Raghad, and Kurzina. A large crowd had gathered around. It seemed that almost everyone in Vaidor had come. There were also people from other towns, all there to see Raghad and Kurzina. 


The envoy unfolded a scroll and began to read its contents. 


"Hear this. I will recount the sins of Edulis le Fay, a descendant of the witch Ygraine, who traveled through five villages and murdered thousands of people, hundreds of soldiers, and regent proxies sent by the king. He murdered missionaries in the Gudea jungle and burned the homes of the Gudea natives. He slaughtered the young children of Agade and dug up the graves of the dead. He even murdered six archmages who tried to stop him, causing great harm to Astania."


The people murmured. 


"The Edulis? Is that true? I thought he was a saint."

 

"You're behind the news, my friend. The story is unmistakably true. Edulis slaughtered thousands of people."

 

"I heard it from an Erabu. He couldn't help but feel sick when he saw the villages covered in blood and guts. Far from being a saint, Edulis is a demon from hell."


The envoy continued. 


Kurzina Le Fay and Raghad Le Fay, you have done a revolutionary job in defeating Edulis, the embodiment of evil, and you must be commended for your efforts. In particular, Kurzina Le Fay, who saved Agade's children by taking them to safety on a boat, and who used magic to defeat Edulis, is worthy of the highest honor, and in the name of the King, Yurmir Astania, I grant her a new estate with a medal. Kurzina, you will die and be buried in Saint Trisis, and your deeds will be recorded by the cadet and passed down from generation to generation."


The sergeant turned to Kurzina and offered her the medal. But Kurzina refused to take it. Even as she stepped up to accept the award, her face was not bright. 


"Kurzina Le Fay, raise your head and accept the medal."


Kurzina's hand trembled. 


"Kurzina Le Fay!"


Raghad poked Kurzina in the back. "Zina, what are you doing?"


 Kurzina asked the envoy. 


"Is it really... Edulis who killed six archmages?"

 

The envoy frowned. "Who else would do such a thing? Cut the nonsense and accept the honor bestowed upon you by the King!"


The crowd turned to look at Kurzina. She reluctantly accepted the medal, and the gathered crowd cheered. 


"If it weren't for you, Kurzina, we would have been fooled by that Edulis guy."

 

"I'm horrified. Couldn't that have happened to Vaidor?"


Stepping down from the platform, Kurzina's heart was as heavy as a lead ball. She had done the right thing, she thought. She thought she'd done what she had to do for the safety of her people, for her faith in Lutea, and for justice, but she shuddered at the outcome. 


The king is in league with the witch. Her research in the secret libraries of the Fey family proves it, but the king has honored Kurzina far more than she expected as a result of killing Edulis. To be buried in the Heroes' Cemetery is the highest honor one can receive in Astania. It's a strange reward for killing a murderer. 


And no one can explain the questions that remain: who are the children left dead in the ruins of Rekabi, who killed the six archmages, and so on? 


"Long live Kurzina!"

 

"Hero! Please look after us!"


The increased authority and the praise from the people made Kurzina uneasy. The path of a goddess is supposed to leave nothing in its wake, nothing but a faint scent and nothing in its wake. 


 - Kurzina... I thought you would understand. It wasn't a child that Edulis killed. Edulis is fighting the witch alone. Can't you hear me?


 'No... I saw the child's body.' Kurzina shook her head desperately. 


 ***


The last day of the month, and the last day of the year. A day from now, a new year will begin. It had been twenty months since Kurzina had met Edulis, in the month of the Breeze last year.


Kurzina was restless. A strange uneasiness rose in her chest when she was still. So she didn't sit still. She threw herself into her work. She improved irrigation canals for farmers, repaired the exterior walls of her mansion, and sent food to famine-stricken areas. She worked only for her people, and they hailed her as a hero. 


As the months and years passed, the talk of the murderous Edulis died down, and then it happened. 

 

It started with a minor tension. On the grounds of the Fey family manor, a heavy snowfall had caused a collapsed building to fall on an occupied cemetery, destroying several graves. People dug up the graves to move the coffins to a safer place, but there was something there that could not be a human body. It had an eyeball in its mouth and teeth in its eye sockets. It spoke a constant stream of curses. 


 - Twist and turn, shell of providence. 


 Those who heard its voice bled from their ears and suffered from hallucinations and visions for days. They tried to burn it, but it would not burn, and they tried to cut it down with axes, but it would not cut them down. Finally, the people turned to Kurzina for help. 


Seeing something so terrible, Kurzina declared, "This is how a person who dies from a curse loses his humanity. His death must not have been normal."

 

"That's right, Lady Kurzina," said the man, "he died by spitting out a centipede from his mouth."

 

"Then surely, there must be someone who cursed him."


Kurzina called together all those who had been close to the dead man and his family. Then she asked them. 


"Did any of you hate this man?"


Despite covering their ears as instructed, they shuddered at the sight of the gruesome corpse. Kurzina slowly studied their expressions and noticed something strange. 


 "Strange, children. You two don't blink an eye at that horrible thing. You're still smiling from ear to ear."


Kurzina said, pointing at the two children. Their faces were familiar. They were the children Kurzina had helped flee from Agade, from Edulis. The poor and homeless among the fugitives had been taken in by the Fey family.


"Could it be… you children cursed him?"


The children were still laughing. Kurzina's hands shook as if she had frostbite. If these children were the source of the curse, what did that mean...


"No, no. It's my mother who cursed him. I just told her what she needed."


Then a woman collapsed on the ground. Kurzina, without taking her eyes off the child, asked. "How do you know about the curse? What are you?"

 

"What? You didn't know?" 


The children tilted their heads, their innocent expressions unchanged. "Didn't Kurzina save us because she knew what we were?"


The moment she heard those words, Kurzina felt as if all the blood in her head had drained out and poured to the ground at her feet. 


"The Fey serve the same master as we do, isn't that why you helped us?" 

 

Kurzina's lips quivered. "You... you can't be... you're not human...."

 

The two children giggled. "Human??"

 

"The new head of the Fey family tells the funniest jokes!"


Suddenly, a spear of lightning pierced their chests– a spear Kurzina had summoned. 


"Cut it down!" Kurzina gestured. Men with covered ears swung their axes at the twisted corpse, and only then did it stop cursing. 


People stumbled back as Kurzina rushed to examine the bodies of the two children like an animal seeking their prey. Her breath came in short gasps as if she had been running for half a day.


Red, warm blood, childlike skin, innocent faces. She couldn't find a single thing that made her different from a human. Just like the bodies of the children in Agade.

 

It was only then that she understood what Edulis had been doing in Agade.


"Thank you, Kurzina! You have defeated the demons!"

 

"This is terrifying! A demon in the form of a child! It must be true! They must be something like Edulis!"


'Demons...'


Kurzina remembered the voices in the crowd that had criticized Edulis. She realized she was the one who had drawn them out. She remembered how she had listened to those voices and resented Edulis. Then, all the accusations seemed to come from her own voice.


Die, Edulis. Devil! Murderer! Burn in hell!


'Stop it, all of you....' There was no voice. Kurzina's throat choked up. A tear rolled down her cheek, with a thin stream of blood mixed with it. 


"Lady Kurzina?"


Kurzina dropped to her hands and knees, vomiting. Tears and saliva poured onto the ground. Always kind, humble, and dignified, Kurzina's breakdown shocked everyone.


‘Lord Edulis...'


A memory flashed through her mind— Edulis' face as he mowed down the child. What was his face like then? Was that the face of a cruel killer? 


- Reality is what you see.


She had seen Edulis’s face, but Kurzina hadn't really seen him, only the children’s corpses.


 - You all witnessed Edulis’s deeds. His actions first violated the kingdom's laws and second, contradicted the teachings of Goddess Lutea...


"No…no…” Kurzina remembered the words she had spoken. She remembered the thoughts she'd held in her mind. She ordered an attack on Edulis, unleashing a barrage of magic and accusations.... 


"Lady Kurzina!"

 

She had eventually killed him. Joined by some of the continent's top magicians, they cast a spell to kill Edulis. All that was left at the Rekabi ruins' altar were his bloodstains.


"I... I…!" Kurzina's pink lips let out an animal cry.


"Fetch Lord Raghad, now!"


Murjana's voice echoed in Kurzina's chest.


 - Kurzina... I thought you would understand.


But she hadn’t.


 - Edulis is fighting the witch alone.

 

She hadn’t joined him. Instead, she stabbed him as he fought alone. 


In a world ruled by witches, she has killed the only hope of carrying on Lutea's will. 


"I... with my own hands... ha... hahaha...."


And after doing so, she was then honored by the witch's forces. The people don't realize they've lost hope and call her a hero. 


Kurzina ripped off the medal from the king. 


"Lady Kurzina, that is tantamount to treason...."


Before they could finish their sentence, she burned the medal. 


Laughter and tears wouldn't stop. After a long bout of crying and laughing, Kurzina fainted on the spot.


 ***

 

"Leaf... what the hell is going on?"

 

"Ah, Kashti, it's been a while, good timing."


It was a forest path. Murjana drew her sword at the blonde woman who had appeared out of nowhere, but the blonde woman didn't even bother to look at Murjana. Instead, she pointed her sword at Leaf. 


"What are you doing?" Kashti asked, "When did you betray Granadilla, and now you're trying to betray Akale?"

 

"What's the point of picking sides, anyway? The world is your oyster, and we're all destined to meet and part ways, just like sailing ships at sea...."

 

"Cut the bullshit!"


Kashti swung her sword and black energy swirled. It was more powerful than any aura Murjana had ever encountered. It was a force that could easily demolish a mountain or two.


"I don't like people who don't have fun."


But it was over in an instant. Leaf waved her hand, and a black blade rose from the ground, slicing through Kashti's throat. 


"To be this strong... Leaf... you can't be...."The severed head said. Leaf then stomped on it, crushing it. Then she pulled the heart out from Kashti's chest and gave it to Murjana. 


"Eat this Murjana."

 

"What... what?!" The black thing in Leaf's hand was still beating.


“Aren't you avenging Edulis? But you're too weak now, aren't you?”


“But... this is a witch's....”


“Does that matter?”


Murjana stared at it for a long time. 

 

Does it matter? No, it doesn't. What did it matter if it was a witch's power or Lutea's power, as long as she could kill all those who murdered Edulis?


Murjana bit into the heart, and the magick that enveloped her began to turn black. It was painful. Instead of blood, lava seemed to flow, burning her veins. But at the same time, she felt a surge of power, just like when she'd been swallowed up by Akale. 


"What do you think? Tastes bad, right?"


Murjana didn't answer, but chewed and swallowed the rest of Kashti's heart. It was different than when Akale swallowed her. Each bite of the bloody heart strengthened her resolve. 


"Nice pattern," Leaf said. 

 

A black butterfly was tattooed on Murjana's cheek.


“I'm going to Vaidor to kill Kurzina.”


Leaf smiled and nodded. 


"Then Akale, and if you interfere with that-"

 

"Okay," Leaf answered before Murjana could finish her sentence, then muttered to herself.


"I'm glad you're the kind of person who can think like that because I was going to end it here if you turned out to be an idiot like Kashti." Leaf chuckled softly. 





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