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In a World without God Chapter 69

Time seemed to stand still. The morning sun warmed the ground, and a cool breeze blew through the ruins. Is this real? Could it be a dream? I've felt this way before... Enri remembered. Yes, that's when Methena died, her head severed at the hands of Edulis, but why? Why would Raghad do the same to Methena now?

 

Was it because Methena had tried to defend Edulis? Had anger already overtaken love in Raghad's heart? Was it not love but madness that shone in his eyes?

 

A million questions flashed through Enri's mind in the space of a few seconds, and then a glaring realization. They have to move now! They have to do something!

 

"Aaaah! Methena!!"

 

"What are you doing, Raghad!"

 

"You're crazy! We shouldn't have left you with Methena!"

 

Time began to move. People rushed toward Raghad. To tear him away and save Methena.

 

"Ugh...ugh...." Methena struggled to push Raghad's body away from his sword, but it was no use. 


Enri, who was the first to reach Methena, pulled the sword out of Raghad's body. Raghad let go of the sword and fell to the ground in a heap. Mari, Shuri, and Harsh surrounded his body.

Raghad was dead. His eyes were open, but he saw nothing. But his magick still pulsed from the sword he had plunged into Methena's back.

 

How did it come to this...Enri thought for he knew it was not his usual magick. The flames that surrounded the sword were black-red and as sticky as blood. It wasn't just magick that Raghad had put into his sword; he had burned his own life into it, adding it to the blow that stabbed Methena.

 

"Come on...." Methena said. “Hurry up... take the sword...."

 

Enri tugged at Raghad's sword to save Methena, who groaned in pain. But then he had a question. Methena, what did you just say?

 

Raghad was dead. Methena is a kind person. She sheds tears over the deaths of people she doesn't even know. The usual Methena would have worried about Raghad first...

 

"Hurry!" Methena shouted. Enri was puzzled, but he pulled Raghad's sword from Methena's chest. Methena crumpled to the ground.

 

"Ugh...."

 

A white light gathered in Methena's hand and she pressed it to the hole in her chest. The flesh began to wriggle. Red smoke rose from the punctured flesh, which would not heal easily. As Enri watched, he still had questions.

 

Why... why won't she even look at Raghad's body?

 

Moreover, there was another question.

 

How could Methena... be able to use this kind of healing magic? We've never even learned magic properly...

 

Enri looked around. He realized he wasn't the only one who felt uncomfortable with Methena. Mari, Shuri, and Harsh looked at her, fear written all over their faces.

 

Just then, someone came out of the bushes. A wolf-headed man, a black-haired woman, a girl with a black butterfly on her cheek, and a silver-haired boy.

 

"This is where it ends for you," Edulis said, looking at Methena.

 

***.

 

The murderous Edulis appeared. The enemy of Methena, the enemy of Kurzina, the enemy of Lutea's will. We must stop him from killing our dear ones again!

 

Some of those gathered shouted this and ran toward Edulis.

 

"Laotou, Shamas, stop them."

 

At Edulis' command, Shamas tripped the charging men and knocked them down. Laotou tied their limbs tightly with spider webs.

 

Some of those who remained standing shouted.

 

"Are you not apostles? We have certainly seen the light of an apostle, so why are you siding with a murderer?"

 

"You fools."

 

Laotou started to say something, but Edulis shouted.

 

"Shut up, Laotou!"

 

"I know, I know!"

 

Edulis stepped toward Methena. Enri, Mari, Shuri, and Harsh, who surrounded Methena, glared at him. Edulis, betrayer of the faith, an enemy of Methena... Normally, anger would have flared, but this time, doubt prevailed.

 

 - Edulis didn't just slaughter people without thinking!

 

Aruru's words flashed through Enri’s mind, and guilt weighed him down. The words had struck him as terribly offensive. So when Raghad killed Aruru, he couldn't block the blade. But why did it offend him? Enri knew that Aruru didn't do anything wrong... Wasn't it because he wasn't sure that Aruru's words were true?

 

Edulis stepped in front of Methena and the children surrounding her. Enri looked into his eyes. But Edulis wasn't looking at him. He was only looking at Methena and the fallen Raghad.

 

"Step aside," Edulis said.

 

Enri didn't answer. There was no clear reason to move, nor to stay put. Edulis's eyes were the same as before. He had those eyes when he fought alone against Ashur, Dersch, and Dumuzi. When he fought for someone else...

 

"Why are you standing still, children?" Methena said. "Are you going to let me die again?" 


With that, Methena slowly crawled back across the floor.

 

"Methena?" Mari looked down at Methena's form. Methena who left Raghad's body alone, focused on her wounds and asked them to fight. Was this who Methena was?

 

"Can you buy me a little time, or Edulis will kill me again, and I'm so afraid of that...."

 

It was strange. Methena defended Edulis, saying that there must be a reason, but now how could she say something like that?

 

"It hurts. It hurts so much, kids. Do you have any idea how painful it is to die?"

 

Yes, death made her heart tender, and we can't lose her again. With that thought, the four children wrapped Magi around their bodies, then charged at Edulis.

 

Their training had paid off. It was perfect coordination. The four moved in different directions, almost simultaneously. The movement of the four curved swords was like the threat of a viper baring its teeth.

 

But it was not enough to stop Edulis, who had gained the strength of an apostle. Edulis swung his black curved sword like a fan, and this alone caused all four swords to change direction.

 

"Ugh..."

 

The children groaned, and Edulis took advantage of the opportunity to push through them and run toward Methena. Methena was trudging toward where the youngest children were hiding, including the eight-year-old Yuri.

 

Enri, Mari, Shuri, and Harsh stiffened at the sight.

 

"Methena, you can't be…”


“There's no way that Methena would try to use the children as shields…”

 

Edulis ran toward Methena.

 

"Enri, Mari, please, you're the only one who can help!"

 

"Save Methena!"

 

The adults tied up in Laotou's web shouted. The adults didn't know what Methena was like, so they didn't recognize the incongruity. Enri, Marie, Shuri, and Harsh, on the other hand, were different. They were clearly bewildered. Besides, Edulis's swordplay just a moment ago....

 

The children swung their swords every day. They now had a sense of what it meant to cross swords. They could feel the purpose behind the opponent's sword movements. Whether it was to kill, to test, or for some other intent.

 

The intent of a sword is easy to read. A sword wielded with murderous intent would move with the sole intention of causing the most damage to the opponent. But Edulis' sword was not like that. In that one moment, a slight change in the sword's trajectory would have killed Enri, Marie, Shuri, and Harsh in an instant. There was no way Edulis didn't know that. But he didn't.

 

Edulis's sword was soft and gentle. It didn't want to leave even the slightest scratch on the children. Like the maw of a mother wolf biting the nape of a drowning pup's neck, the sword was speaking.

 

It's dangerous, stay away.

 

All four of them knew that, but they couldn't decipher its meaning. Why didn't he kill them? Why was Bosha, who killed on a whim, so gentle with his sword?

 

The thought caused a moment of hesitation. During that moment, Edulis reached Methena.

 

"This is not fun. It shouldn’t be like this,"

 

"You will never be able to speak of fun again."

 

Edulis' sword sliced through Methena's body.


 ***.

 

"Aaaah! Not again!" Those who saw the fallen Methena screamed. 


"Demon! Servant of the witch! Damned forever!" Some cursed Edulis. 

 

"Lord Lutea, why are we so helpless?" Some prayed to the goddess.

 

Ignoring them all, Edulis turned away from Methena's body.

 

Enri, Mari, Shuri, and Harsh stood, alternately staring at Edulis and the fallen Methena. There were too many questions in their minds to be sad or angry. It was frustrating. It was as if something like clay had settled in their chests, choking them. Just then,

 

"Huh?" Someone groaned. After that, everyone was silent. Everyone's sadness and anger had subsided. Methena's body was melting, like ice in the sun. Her body had melted into a black, turbid, muck. Something unimaginable that the goddess Lutea could have created, something repulsive to look at.

 

Enri and the children stared at it, too. The thing coalesced, forming the shape of a woman. A woman dressed in black, taller than Methena, paler than Methena, and unlike Methena, had blue eyes.

 

"Whoa, who is this...."

 

"That wasn't Methena?"

 

"Ominous. That looks like...."

 

Questions swirled in everyone's minds. Who is this person, and for what purpose was she impersonating Methena? Could it be that he was never Methena in the first place? And what did Edulis and the apostles do?

 

All eyes now turned to Edulis, for he seemed to be the only one who could answer all the questions. But Edulis didn't say anything, just turned away from the woman in black and walked off into the distance.

 

"Wait, Edulis," Laotou called after him. "Can't you just say something? Don't you have to explain things, at least tell them who she is?"

 

"What benefit is there in doing that?" With that, Edulis didn't stop walking.

 

As he turned to leave, Enri, Mari, Shuri, and Harsh approached him. They didn't know what to make of him. Questions, questions, and more questions. 


Approaching Edulis, Enri asked. "Edulis, who is he? What’s happening to us?"

 

Edulis didn't answer and moved forward. Henri and the children shouted as they followed him.

 

"Edulis, why didn't you kill us? Didn't you say you were a killer? What are you trying to do now?"

 

Edulis kept walking without answering.

 

"Edulis....did you have a reason for killing Methena, then are we…."

 

"What you saw is the truth."

 

Enri felt his chest tighten. The truth is what we saw? The truth is invisible. Methena was not Methena, and yet she looked like Methena. The world is full of such lies.

 

“Where are you going now?”

 

"To Aruru's tomb,” Edulis replied. 

 

Laotou and Shamas followed him. They talked about how they were running out of time and how they had to move quickly, but the words fell on deaf ears.

 

It felt like someone was driving a nail into Enri’s chest. He remembered Aruru's death. He remembered his own sword, stopping short of parrying Raghad's blade. He remembered his cowardice.

 

Enri, Mari, Shuri, Harsh, all of them. Edulis had already moved far ahead, but none of the children dared to follow him and ask more questions.




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