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In a World without God Chapter 71

There are always gusts of wind in Rakura Canyon. The gusts of wind that whip through the canyon are said to sound like the roar of a dragon, hence why it’s also known as the Dragon Canyon. It is located on the border of Karnak and Sijia, and is uninhabited due to the harshness of the soil and the difficulty of obtaining drinking water. That's what the world knows.

 

A woman with long black hair tied back was running swiftly through the canyon.

 

"Bronya, it's been a long time! You look as beautiful as ever."

 

Someone greeted her.

 

"Thank you, Mr. Lard."

 

"Oh, to think you remembered me."

 

"Me? You shouldn't say that. Didn't Lord Rudra say that all humans deserve to be loved?"

 

While she said this, Bronya thought to herself. Wretches, I can’t stand having to converse with them 

 

The man scratched the back of his head and said. "You’re right, I misspoke."

 

"By the way, where is Lord Rudra right now?"

 

"Lord Rudra is over there...."

 

Bronya walked in the direction the man pointed. The green grass brushed against her ankles. The world would never guess that the Rakura Canyon would look like this. The soil on the ground was fluffy and moist, out of character for the canyon's terrain. From the soil sprouted a crop of blackened leaves and stems, each stem bearing a half-dozen fist-sized fruits. The blood-red fruit, they called it, the Gift of Rudra. A miraculous fruit that if you ate one, you would not go hungry for a hundred days; if you ate two, your organs would be revived; if you ate three, you would be rejuvenated. The people of Rakura, who lived on the fruit, never fell ill or grew old.

 

Bronya continued along the path and into the canyon, but someone stopped him and asked.

 

“Bronya there's something I want to ask you." a woman approached her. 

 

Damn, I'm in a hurry! But Bronya had to obey Rudra's orders. Rudra told them to answer everyone in the canyon with kindness.

 

"We live happily, never grow old, nor get hungry. We never freeze in the cold nor collapse in the heat. Is it right for only us to enjoy this happiness? Shouldn't more people experience it?"

 

Broña replied. “Soon, it will be so.”


"Why is it taking so long?"

 

"You are like a flock of gentle sheep, but what if a wolf in sheep's clothing gets mixed in with the flock? Fearful that the wolf will maul you, Lord Rudra is screening everyone to be allowed here."

 

"Oh...." The woman fell to her knees, overwhelmed with emotion. "To think that you would call us, a gathering of sinners, outcasts, tramps, and orphans, gentle sheep.... Each word of yours is our salvation."

 

What an overreaction. Bronya stifled her irritation and paced.

 

It wasn't hard to find where Rudra was. There was always a crowd where she stood. And the air around her was different.

 

These assholes.

 

One must not approach Rudra carelessly. One needs to prepare before approaching her. But these people, unaware, simply loved Rudra.

 

Bronya approached Rudra. A half-dozen men surrounded her in a corner where red crops grew.

 

"No, Rudra. You shouldn't be doing this, Rudra."

 

"What shouldn’t I do?"

 

Her voice seemed to pierce the people’s eardrums, echoing inside their brains. It was like a soft brush brushing the inside of your skull, and those who first heard it were stunned into ecstasy, unable to move for a time.

 

"It is our job to move the manure. You, Lord Rudra, have given us a place to stay, food to eat, and clothes to wear, so why do you want us to do this dirty, hard work?"

 

Then Rudra said. "Dirty and hard work? Manure is mixed with straw to make fertilizer, and fertilizer makes crops grow, and those crops continue your life, and what is more beautiful than that?"

 

"But Rudra, if your clothes get dirty, you can't...."

 

"If they get dirty, I can wash them. Is there any reason I shouldn't do this work?"


Over half the listeners sat down, moved by his words. Those standing shed tears. Only then did Bronya see Rudra's face—eyes red as rubies, hair the color of blood…


She was like the sun rising on the horizon at dawn or like a dancing flame, a flame sent down to earth by God to purify sin.

 

"Do we deserve such great love?"

 

"Ah, Lord Rudra. You are a true goddess."

 

"The world should know that! Lord Rudra deserves more glory!"

 

A strange scent wafted around Rudra. It was a fragrant aroma that didn't smell like manure, but one that would intoxicate you and make you lose your senses.

 

Rudra carried the manure to the fertilizer shed and stepped back outside. Everyone was looking at her. Everyone was talking about their love for her.

 

Bronya pushed her way through the crowd and spoke to Rudra. "Rudra. I have something very important to tell you-"

 

"Just a moment, Bronya."

 

Rudra turned away from Bronya and touched the head of one of the prostrate men with her hand. The man was moved by it and looked up at Rudra with tears in his eyes.

 

Rudra asked the man. "Theo, I see that there is hatred mixed in your eyes as you look at Vero, why is that?"

 

"Alas... shame, shame!"

 

 Theo said as Ludra waited.

 

"Vero, my friend of ten years, betrayed me and slept with my wife. That betrayal filled me with anger."

 

Then the man next to him said.

 

"Lenny loved me, and I loved her. We slept together out of mutual love. What's wrong with that?"

 

"Vero, how could you!"

 

Ludra stroked Theo's head.

 

"Theo, you are not someone who should live in anger or hatred. That's not the right way."


"Rudra?"


"People should love each other. You should love and love again. Vero and Lenny acted according to this principle. But why, Theo, do you view your friend's love with anger?"


"Ah…” Theo looked at Rudra with wide eyes, then suddenly bowed his head to the ground as if he had a great realization. He repeatedly bowed his head and said to Rudra,


"Ah... I was wrong, Rudra. Only love is true in this world, and I was momentarily blinded by hatred. I tried to constrain and break the love between my friend and my wife. Punish me for this!"


"Stand up, Theo, Vero." Rudra took the hands of the two men who stood up. "I don't punish anyone. Vero, do you want to punish Theo?"


"No, in life, sometimes we forget the existence of love. Theo just momentarily fell into that state."


Then Theo embraced Vero.


"Oh, Vero... my old friend. I hated your love, but you even love someone like me. Rudra's teachings are clearly in your heart. If I ever forget love again, I hope you will remind me as you know."


Everyone stood up and applauded.

 

Only when everyone had calmed down was Bronya allowed to enter the house to speak with Rudra.

 

Rudra's room was piled high with fruits, vegetables, and dried grains. The sounds of people talking drifted in through the worn walls.


"Rudra and Bronya, what are you two talking about?"

 

"Hey, don't even think of eavesdropping! What a disrespect to those who took us in and fed us!"

 

"Who's eavesdropping? I'm just curious!"

 

"What's there to be curious about? You two saints are here, so of course you'll talk about how to better the world..."

 

Rudra looked at Bronya with her red eyes, and Bronya immediately bowed her head. Then she crouched down, knees on the ground.

 

"Lord Granadilla, this is urgent. It is treason. You must move quickly."

 

"Please be mindful of your words, Bronya. Even when you are alone with me, I expect you to call me by my proper name."

 

"Oh... I apologize, Lord Rudra."

 

"And please stand up. I don't want anyone kneeling before me."

 

Bronya rose to her feet, and Rudra smiled gently. It made her heart skip a beat. Rudra's smile was so beautiful, so lovely, and so terrifying all at once.

 

"So, what did you say happened?" Rudra asked. Bronya clenched her molars and told her what had happened.

 

 - It's been a long time, Ambrosia.

 - What? You came here by yourself? Aren't you underestimating me?

 

Edulis, Murjana, Laotou, Shamas. Each is a force to be reckoned with, but can the four of them stand against the witch's forces? Bronya…or Ambrosia's power exceeds even the Apostle's. Each member of Ambrosia's army has swallowed a witch's finger or been pricked by a witch's tongue, and their powers have long been cultivated.

 

Despite the overwhelming difference in power, Edulis spoke with an air of calm and ease.

 

 - Ambrosia, you will not lay a finger on me. You won’t have time for that.

 

 Edulis told Ambrosia what Akale was doing. Akale has swallowed a piece of the goddess and is about to devour her heart.

 

 - Am I to believe that? And you are not to be her apostles and protect her?

 - Aren't we trying to protect it right now? Ambrosia, I thought you were smart. Think about it. If you don't act now, both Granadilla and you will die at Akale's hands.

 

Ambrosia thought, and then her face fell. She couldn't contain her anger. If Ambrosia had been as stupid as Ayresha, she would have failed to understand the situation and attacked Edulis and the apostle. But Ambrosia realized the truth. Edulis was not lying. Edulis had made the best decision to protect the Heart of the Goddess and the means was Ambrosia herself, and she had no choice but to follow Edulis' will. Protecting Granadilla was more important than killing Edulis. It was an obvious fact.

 

 - I can see by the look on your face that you understand. Ambrosia, I'm glad you're smart.

 

Edulis said. Ambrosia wanted to rip him to shreds. She thought about it, but there was nothing she could do. It was obvious what they would do next. They would now run to Akale and tell her that Granadilla was coming. Then Akale would surely come to kill her. If she wanted to deal with Akale, she couldn't afford to have her army disorganized. She couldn’t divide her forces to attack Edulis and his group.

 

It was a dead end. The best course of action was to rush to Granadilla before Akale arrived.

 

 - I look forward to meeting you again, Edulis. And you, disgusting hypocrites.

 - Good. But for us to meet again, you'll have to survive Akale first.

 

Hearing Edulis' last words, Ambrosia took her anger out on the cliffs of Karnak and turned her troops away, then turned to Granadilla.

 

"Very well, Bronya," she said, "and what do you want me to do?"

 

"You need to kill that bitch Akale right away. She's a danger. I can't believe she's plotting something like this even though I've locked her up in a castle and left her under the watchful eye of everyone...."

 

Then Rudra shook her head slowly. "Bronya, Akale is our comrade, we've been together for a long time, so why are you only thinking about getting rid of her?"

 

"That’s because…."

 

"Remember, Bronya, our hearts can meet through words, and if my words can reach Akale's heart, and her words can reach mine, we can be together again, at peace, because that's what humans do."

 

Human.

 

That's what Rudra said. Beings whose hearts, souls, and very existence were twisted, those who had black butterflies settle in their hearts, Rudra called them human.

 

 "You’re right. I spoke rashly..."

 

 Ambrosia bowed her head. Old memories flashed through her mind.

 

 - The famine would last another month... At this rate, we'll all starve to death.

 - Honey... actually, they asked me if I would trade - you, us - for two pigs....

 - Two pigs? With two pigs...

 

Ambrosia was not a human being; she was a piece of meat to be traded for two pigs. The merchant who bought her for two pigs was going to roast her in an oven. When she stared at the furnace, her hand and foot bound, when she gave up on life and accepted death, when she cursed the world and her parents, a black butterfly descended. Only then was she treated as a human being for the first time.

 

"Words will get through. If we are human..." As Ambrosia spoke, Rudra stood up.


"Let's go meet Akale. Surely we can understand her, and she can understand us."







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