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In a World without God Chapter 8

Updated: Jan 17

Faith is like the wheel to the goddess Luthea, and those who believe could find her in the darkness even without a spark of light, and he who does not believe cannot grasp her hand even when she extends it. 

This is Kurzina's favorite scripture verse. Ever since she was a little girl, Kurzina had dreamed of meeting the goddess Lutea. She thought that if she kept her faith, it would happen. But then....

  

"Huff... Huff...."

  

Kurzina ran away. She ran like she was being chased by a demon and ran into her bedroom. She shivered under the covers. Her heartbeat wouldn't calm down. Instead, it was beating faster and faster. Thump, thump, thump!

An earth-shattering sense of unease engulfed Kurzina. Her faith was shaken. The world as she knew it was shaken. 

Lutea, Abramelin, and Tasser....... What the saints of history said and how they behaved, Kurzina remembered clearly. Every night she read the stories with excitement, which is why she had questions. 

  

"Is that child a saint?

  

Edulis has the power of a saint. She speaks like a saint. How could a cursed child do that? 

  

'If she is a saint, then the witch Ygraine... Luthea is....'

  

She couldn't stop her thoughts from running wild. Kurzina's thoughts swirled around a conclusion she shouldn't have reached. 

  

"No. That doesn't make sense.”

  

Kurzina shook her head. If what she was thinking was true, then most of what the world knew was false. It's unreal. Instead, it was more realistic to think that Kurzina had been tricked by Edulis. As my father had said, Edulis had deceived her by pretending to be a saint!

  

Even with this conclusion, Kurzina was not at ease. Edulis's expression, his words, and his actions kept replaying in his mind.

  

- A child swallowed up by lies is a child unaware of miracles.

  

The next day, finally able to sleep, Kurzina sought out the study hall. The study hall is a combination library and training room, where the children of the House of Saints gather almost every day.

But Kurzina's early arrival means there's no sign of a crowd. Only one person in sight. 

  

"You're early, aren't you?"

  

It was Raghad who greeted her. A direct descendant of the hero Bosha, Raghad is the oldest of the Saints. He's so tall and sharp-featured that he looks exactly like the statue of Bosha that some people say he's the reincarnation of the hero. 

  

Though she didn't think of him as a reincarnation of a hero, Kurzina was inclined to believe in Raghad. Raghad was straightforward and steadfast compared to his peers. For her, Raghad was almost the only person she could talk to openly.

  

After introductions, Kurzina told Raghad her questions. She left out the part about Edulis' wound healing on its own, and Lagarde pursed his lips. 

  

"Zina, you're usually so smart, but sometimes you can be so blind. Don't worry, it's because he's possessed you."


"How can my cousin be so sure?"


"It's simple. A saint is someone who embodies the physical form of the goddess Luthea. But Luthea is currently in Saint Trisis, right? So how could there be another saint?"

  

That's right. The goddess Luthea is now ruling Astania from Saint Trisis in human form. 

According to records, Luthea descended upon the mortal realm about 50 years ago to set things right and begin ruling the continent alongside the King of Astania. 


As such, it is the highest honor to be given to the first place in the Festival of Saints. It is the greatest honor of all, to be able to recognize the goddess Luthea and work for her. 

  

"Let's stop thinking and start training. I'm thinking of this as a battle between you and me."


"...Yes,"

  

Raghad replies. Kurzina nodded and picked up her staff. Just as they were about to begin, someone spoke up. 

  

“There could be another possibility."


Kurzina and Raghad turned toward the sound of the voice. A boy with slicked-back hair poked his head through a bookcase. Raghad saw him and shouted.

  

"Ishkur, are you there?"

 

Then the boy called Ishkur spoke.

  

"If the Luthea in the castle is a fake, that explains it, doesn't it?"

  

As soon as he heard that, Raghad scowled. 

  

"You bastard! That's blasphemy! Watch your tongue! If the adults found out, you'd be in solitary confinement again!"

"All we need is for you and Zina to keep your mouths shut. Zina, what do you think? Lutea in Trisis is a fake... Isn't that a funny idea?"

  

Ishkur's words made Kurzina shake her head. 

In the end, Kurzina was unable to answer Ishkur's question. 

  

  ***

  

Edulis was having trouble with the White Magick. Ygraine's Magick healed Edulis. A free Magick who is not bound by a magic stone. If only he could utilize it, he could escape from his bonds, but he couldn't. Ygraine's magick was completely independent of Edulis' will.

  

'Just like Ygraine, she wouldn't listen to me even if she were dead. When I tell her we're going to bait the village and ambush them from behind, she pretends she didn't hear me and charges in alone....'

  

Edulis had spent days and nights trying to get Ygraine's magick to move, because he felt it was the only answer. In the end, he succeeded in making it move. It was a thin, delicate magoi, about the size of a fingertip. It was so thin and short that it could barely be threaded through a button.


"Ha... okay, okay, I'll get some sleep.

  

Edulis closed his eyes for the third time in three days. All of his wounds had healed, except for his hands and feet, which had been pierced with stakes, but the Feys didn't know that. They couldn't tell because of the loosely wrapped bandages and hardened crusts. It was hard to tell that the wounds had healed unless you looked closely. 


Perhaps because of the order to keep her alive until the Festival of Saints, no one took any interest in Edulis anymore, except for the girl who came to visit a few days ago.

  

He didn't know how much time had passed when someone called out to her. 

  

"It's you, the one who broke the gates of the hated Fae family!"

  

Someone said. But he couldn't make out who it was. 

  

"I like it! I like it! I like it! We've got a bully in here after all these years! A witch's offspring deserves it!"


"...Who are you."


"I am Aruru, the field mouse, a descendant of the witch, come with me to take revenge on the children of Bosha!"

  

Edulis lowered his head and looked down at his feet. A brown ball of fur had risen to its feet and was screaming. It was a rat, about the size of Edulis's palm. Its tail was shorter than her pinky finger. 

  

"Revenge? What revenge are you talking about?"


"They killed my mother. They accused her of gnawing on a spellbook and executed her!"


"The descendants of Bosha framed your mother? Why?"

  

What kind of accusation would they make for killing a rat, Edulis thought, but Aruru's next words changed his mind. 

  

"You'll be surprised to hear what I've discovered! In fact, the Loutou displayed at the Memorial of the Holy War is not the real Lautou. It's someone else!  The real Loutou is the queen of the spiders, a servant of the witch Ygraine! My mother was executed because she befriended the spiders and worshipped Loutou! The kingdom is hunting down anyone who recognizes Loutou in her spider form, framing them and killing them!"

  

Edulis was surprised. Aruru was telling the truth. For the first time in all of history, Edulis had met someone who knew the truth. No, not a human, but a field mouse.

  

"Are you too stunned to speak, or do you think, like the others, that I'm delusional and talking nonsense?"


"No. Believe me, you are telling the truth. "

  

And with that, Aruru leaped out of the mold with a clatter. He landed on Edulis's shoulder and whispered.

  

"You're the one who sees the light! Good! I'll gnaw on the mold to get the magic stone off! I'll sneak into the storeroom and steal the sword, and you can run out into the square and kill as many people as you can! If you can break down the gates, you can kill a lot of people!"


“What?"

"It's a lowly life for you and me! Let's have a big fight before that fire is extinguished! I'll gnaw their ankles and make them stumble, and you'll drive your sword into their backs!"

  

Those eyes, that voice, they were all so familiar to Edulis. Edulis could almost feel Aruru's heart in his hands. 

  

"Are you afraid, descendant of the witch? Can you forgive them for laughing and talking? Can you forgive them for sleeping easily? Those who pushed us into the pit deserve to burn in hell!"


The Bosha of the past was before his eyes. In the form of a field mouse.

Bosha hated the smiles on people's faces. He hated children walking with their parents. He hated the flesh-and-blood lovers. He wanted them all to be unhappy, and he had made them unhappy. 


Before he met Ygrainne, Bosha was unhappy. He didn't even realize he was unhappy. 

 

He wonders what the Bosha of the past would have done: would he have shared Aruru's hatred and wielded his sword, or would he have walked away the moment Aruru gnawed on the magic stone? But now, Edulis's mind is on Ygraine. Ygraine nags at her, endlessly.

  

- Captain Bosha is not a man driven by hatred. 

  

In Edulis's mind, he cannot ignore Bosha's voice. He must see the strength of his resolve. If he could, he wouldn't die.

  

"Hey, rat."


"What do you mean, rat? Call me Aruru!"


"I have a better idea, a better idea than going around killing random people."


"What's that?!"


"I'm going to beat the crap out of everyone at the Saint Festival, and then I'm going to find proof that your mother is innocent. Because no one can do anything to the one who took the first place in the Saints' Festival."

  

Aruru shook his head. 

  

"You say you beat up those six people? That's impossible!"


"You don't believe me?" Edulis asked, his voice full of confidence.

  

"I have Ygraine's blood in my veins, and as proof, my magick is not bound by magic stones. Behold, I have healed all of my wounds by manipulating Ygraine’s magick without their knowledge."


"No...!"

  

Aruru climbed onto Edulis' body and examined his wounds.

  

"You did! Then why are you hanging on instead of escaping?"


"Waiting for the right time. I plan to continue my preparations quietly until the Faint of Saintl. I will crush them there."


"I see! You must be something special!"


"Yes. That's why you don't need to remove the magic stones, you just need to wait quietly until the Festival of Saints."


"Oh.... Ohhh...! I see, I see, I see!"

  

 Aruru jumped up and down around his friend.. 

  

"My mother's innocence! My mother's innocence! I'll do anything for it! What can I do?"


"What can you do?"


"Surely you must be hungry, and water-soaked bread will not suffice! I know a good trash can! Meat in good condition is often thrown in there!"

  

With that, Aruru stomped off. Edulis watched Aruru's back as she stomped off. 

  

“That was a lot of trouble, little rat.

  

Gnawing away at a mineral stone leaves teeth marks. When people see the bite marks, they'll quickly realize it was done by a rodent. Then the Fei family would have no choice but to exterminate the rats. Aruru seemed to live off the trash cans on the mansion grounds. If the Fei family tried to exterminate the rats on the grounds, it was unlikely that Aruru would be safe. That was why Edulis had bluffed.

  

It was something the old Bosha would never have done, but she didn't feel bad about it. It reminded her of a conversation she'd had with Ygraine in the past.

  

  - Well done, that's what Captain Bosha really is.

  - You're funny. I did what you told me to do because you nagged me, so how can that be me?

  - It's unmistakably Captain Bosha. After all, Captain Bosha decided to do as I said.   

  

***

  

"Cousin Raghad, cousin Zina, let me show you something fun!"

  

It was Yug who said that. Yug was the youngest of the six participating in this saint festival. He was always up to something with his brothers and sisters. Most of the time, it was something childish and cruel, like taking a magnifying glass to burn ants or knocking down a beehive, so Kurzina didn't like to hang out with him. 

  

Nevertheless, Kurzina and Raghad would hang out with Yug often. This was because Yug had grown up very lonely. Yug was the weakest of the Bosha bloodline, and even his parents paid little attention to him.

  

"Just a moment, then we'll go to the chamber of learning,"

  

Raghad said and Kurzina followed. Yug was carrying a small pouch, and he was twirling it around by the string to see what was so exciting. Kurzina, staring at it absentmindedly, soon figured out where Yugh was heading.


"Yug, if we go this way..."

  

Yug was heading toward the frame where Edulis was hanging. The section of the square where Edulis was hanging was now off-limits. No one was allowed to enter except for the couriers who brought water and bread to Edulis.


Raghad said. "It's okay, there's no one watching."


"Yug. The witch's offspring must live until All Saints' Day. No more harm must come to him."


"I know, big brother. I'm not trying to."

  

Yug chuckled and laughed, as if he had a funny idea. Raghad and Kurzina finally gave in to Yug's foolishness.


By now, Yug, Raghad, and Kurzina had arrived at the mold. Edulis's head was bowed low, her eyes closed, as if he were dead. 


Yug shouted. "Descendant of the witch, look at this!"

  

Yug unzipped his pouch and pulled out the contents. Upon seeing it, Kurzina cried out in horror. 

  

"Yug! That's...!"

"Hahaha! Are you surprised, sis? He's rummaging through our trash, and he's running off with a piece of meat, and I'm sneaking up behind him to kill him if he's got any babies, but my God, don't you think he's going to put that piece of meat in his mouth?"

  

Raghad scolded Yug.

  

 "Yug, this is not funny."


“Not funny? It’s hilarious, I'm friends with a rat, who must be the spawn of a witch!"

  

Yug snorted and laughed. Unaware of the look Edulis was giving him.

  

"Look! Descendant of the Witch, look what your friend has become!"

 

Yug yelled, holding a bloodied Aruru in his hand.

  

Thud.

Clang.

  

"Huh?"

  

Yug looked down at his feet. His arm was wriggling on the ground, holding a small pouch. Only now did Yug realize the emptiness on his right shoulder. On the ground, a pool of crimson liquid was forming.


"What's... this..."


Yug looked up at the frame. No one was hanging there.





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