top of page

For the Downfall of My Beloved

12

Chapter 12

1

It was a cold and chilling atmosphere. The damp darkness seemed to tug at Rohwa, drawing her further into its clutches. Surprisingly, it wasn’t particularly painful, but rather, it made her feel slightly…

“…sleepy.”

Rohwa blinked, trying to adjust to the shadow she had conjured around her. As time passed, she gradually grew numb to the discomfort, finding solace in burying her face within the encompassing black aura.

“What was it like back then?”

A hundred years ago, she also liked the shadows.

“Rohwa, come sit here.”

Just recalling the shadows brought back memories of resting under the shade of a tree with Gion.

Rohwa closed her eyes for a fleeting moment. What’s the point of dwelling on old memories alone? She just wanted to fall asleep quietly, without feeling the passage of time.

Rohwa slowly opened her eyes. “… Huh?”

A thin light beam pierced through the darkness, breaking the veil of shadows. Rohwa quickly sat up, causing the shadow to disperse. To her surprise, she discovered herself still sitting by the pond where she had fallen asleep.

Gion’s figure appeared above the water. “It’s late at night. You could have come when it was bright tomorrow.”

Gion knelt silently, presenting a blackened metal badge hanging on a charred string as proof of his capture. However, Rohwa remained expressionless, seemingly indifferent to the situation, like someone observing an apple falling from a tree. But when Rohwa caught sight of the moon’s reflection in the pond, a crack appeared in her emotionless facade.

“You did your deed at impressive speed, didn’t you?” she chuckled.

Being in the shadows, she had lost track of time, but the unchanging shape of the moon revealed the truth. Gion had managed to capture the Seventh Chime in just one night.

In front of Rohwa, he took lives effortlessly for the glory of the White Flower Kingdom. He then isolated the young princess and burdened her with the responsibility of governing the kingdom.

Now, with the glory of White Flower Kingdom in Gion’s hands, he returned, tenaciously clinging to life.

“Why go to such lengths?”

Did he know his flesh was torn and his blood was flowing? It was clear he came straight to White Dragon Castle without seeking any treatment.

Rohwa stood up and picked up the badge. The charred aura of fire belonged to Juya.

“You…” Rohwa, fully awake now, opened her eyes wide. “Did you use Juya to capture the Seventh Chime?”

Gion said nothing, but his silence was answer enough.

The corners of Rohwa’s mouth trembled slightly as they rose. “You’re quite something, aren’t you?”

“I’ve captured the Seventh Chime.” With his head bowed, Gion just recited the commands he had carried out.

But Rohwa only looked at the scorched marks on the badge. “How is Juya?”

What is love, anyway? Juya never said such things. She just embraced Gon, gradually turning to ash and disappearing. The pus hardened and turned dark, and the warmth vanished from the tattered flesh. Juya just sat there quietly, continually stroking Gon’s hair. By the time the sun set, Gon had completely dissipated. Juya sat there for a long time, quietly watching Gon’s remnants scatter in the air.

The night sky grew bitterly cold, casting a dark veil over the devastated tribe. Bathed in the gentle glow of the crescent moon, Juya remained seated, engulfed in the lingering scent of death left by Gon. Despite the wetness and chill that penetrated her bones, she showed no signs of shivering, her vacant gaze fixed ahead. Standing beside her, Gion was motionless.

“Thank you,” a single phrase shattered the silence that had engulfed them for hours.

Upon hearing those words, Gion couldn’t help but inhale sharply. “The expression of someone who has just taken the life of a loved one,” he uttered.

Juya rose to her feet, swaying but managing to stay upright. Her eyes, swollen from tears, held a glimmer of determination as she locked her gaze with Gion.

Gion’s face was pale, and the flow of blood had halted. His skin was cut up in places, much like the blade of his sword. His lips had turned purple, and he maintained a silence that said much in the absence of sound. The eerie figure stood, covered in the dark traces of the bloody battle.

Juya observed carefully, then said, “It’s not that I don’t hate you. I just feel the need to thank you for allowing me a final farewell.”

That one who knows love also knows resentment. However, as Juya stood steadfastly, it was clear that love could even overshadow that resentment.

She responded as if understanding Gion’s thoughts. “I told you I was valuable.”

Gion didn’t respond.

“This is what love should be.”

Juya, holding Gon’s scent, handed something over. With a clinking sound, a badge fell into Gion’s hand.

Her fingertips, which briefly brushed past, trembled faintly, but her voice was firm. “Go to the princess.”

Juya placed the badge, filled with memories of Gon and Jooya, in Gion’s hand. “There’s a place in Buksan where you can stay.”

Gion had prepared a place for Juya to stay through Hoyeong. It was impossible for her to live in the devastated tribal land, which had turned to ruins.

But Juya shook her head. “I will stay here.”

She looked at the desolate tribal land, even in the moonlight. “I burnt it, so it’s only right that I restore it.”

There were no mentions of the Seventh Chime, Gon, Gion, or resentment in her words. There was only Juya.

Gion believed Juya was completely broken. But no matter how shattered, a certain solidity remained. Juya was like a blade that didn’t lose its strength when broken.

“Is everything over now?” Juya asked.

“Yes.”

Without brushing off whatever clung to her body, Juya continued on her way. “Let’s not cross paths again. Take care.”

Carrying everything inside her, Juya ventured deeper into the tribal land.

Gion and Hoyeong remained silent until her figure disappeared.

To Rohwa, Juya sparked her curiosity about love, an intriguing question that expanded her worldview. However, Rohwa also broke Juya’s heart.

Gion had finished telling his story about Juya. Rohwa, silent and lost in thought, stared at the rippling pond without saying a word. She chewed on her lip, ran her hands through her hair, and slowly opened and closed her eyes. Finally, with a detached expression, she murmured emptily, “We have truly committed many sins...”

Memories flashed before her, each prompting those words. She couldn’t disregard any of them. They violently pulled her back into the past, vivid and almost cruel.

Gion’s voice broke through the haze, returning Rohwa to the present. “Nothing will happen,” he said. His words seemed comforting, but his expression was chillingly cold.

The contradiction between his words and his expression snapped Rohwa back to reality. Was it even appropriate to use ‘we’ in this situation? There was no longer a ‘we’—just Rohwa, Gion, and Juya. They were individuals, nothing more.

Looking down at Gion who was still kneeling, Rohwa said, “It’s late. Stay at White Dragon Castle tonight.”

Walking past Gion behind, Rohwa added, “I’ll have something to show you in the morning.”

***

“Did you say that nothing will happen?” Rohwa asked Gion as they stood on the desolate White Flower Path in the morning sun within the walls of White Dragon Castle. “Take a good look around. Then tell me, can you still claim that nothing will happen?”

The scene rendered Gion speechless before them. The sunlight illuminated the landscape, making it sparkle. Despite the tranquility, many people were going about their daily activities within White Dragon Castle—sweeping the courtyard, tending to the garden, enjoying the serene pond, and drawing water from the well.

“Did we really have to go this far?” Gion’s expression hardened, even though the sight was undeniably beautiful. These were all people Gion knew. The peaceful scene unfolded, yet he couldn’t shake the feeling of discord. The lifespan of a human is fleeting, barely lasting a hundred years. However, here they were, over a hundred years later, the same individuals Gion had seen a century ago, standing at White Dragon Castle as if time had stood still. Unaffected by age, they defied the natural order of human existence.

In other words, they were not human. If that were the case, then there was only one possible explanation.

“There must have been a reason for going to such lengths. Was there no other way than turning humans into demons?”

Gion’s jet-black hair fell over his face, concealing his expression. However, Rohwa, observing Gion’s profile, spoke up, saying, “Gion, speak louder. You claimed that nothing significant would happen. Do you even realize the consequences of your reckless words?”

Despite his hidden expression, Gion’s darkness was no match for Rohwa’s scrutiny.

“Such feeble consolation can only stem from ignorance,” Rohwa asserted.

Gion hung his head wearily.

Stepping closer to him, Rohwa continued. “Now, how will you respond? Will you choke me with your heavy hand, just like when you first woke up? Even if you do, witnessing those furious black eyes wouldn’t be so bad.”

Gion raised his head slowly, his face emerging from the shadows. Bright sunlight illuminated Rohwa’s red eyes, causing her to furrow her brow. Rohwa couldn’t help but release a hollow laugh.

“You must have put in a great deal of effort,” Gion muttered in a low voice. His eyes were no longer clouded but clear and detached, as if devoid of any emotions, accepting the situation objectively.

“Do you even find it pointless to be angry with me?” Rohwa questioned.

“Does anger change anything?” Gion’s tone lacked any trace of anger.

Rohwa understood his meaning: Holding negative emotions towards the enemy did not benefit them. The enemy was nothing more than an adversary to be faced and confronted.

Gion’s past words flashed through Rohwa’s mind.

“Do you think you should treat me solely as an enemy for their sake? Is assessing the situation objectively without getting angry your way of honoring them?”

While keeping his head turned towards them, Gion glanced at Rohwa from the corner of his eyes. “It’s just one more thing to do. When it’s time to restore the White Flower Kingdom to its rightful place, it will also be time to put them back where they belong.”

After a moment of silence, Rohwa kept her frown intact as she gazed at the sunlight without closing her eyes. She casually turned away from the light, appearing uninterested.

“Now that you’ve seen everything, it’s time to move,” she said nonchalantly.

Wind carried the darkness while a faint light flickered within it. That speck of illumination penetrated Gion’s soul, causing a searing sensation in the pit of his stomach. His insides twisted, forcing him to involuntarily bend over. Beads of sweat formed on his forehead and breathing became difficult, his head pounding. Despite all this, Gion stood his ground with unwavering determination.

“There are six more left. Bring the next one,” came the command.

Rohwa swiftly disappeared into the shadows, leaving no trace behind. Gion stood in silence, observing the people within the White Dragon Castle.

Enduring the excruciating pain in his core, Gion focused on absorbing the fragment of light. However, that was not what mattered most. He needed to take it all in, ensuring they would never be forgotten. While glory and downfall were considered opposites, Gion understood that his downfall was essential to the White Flower Kingdom’s glory. Hollow and false glory was unnecessary.

In his pursuit of restoring the White Flower Kingdom, Gion understood the importance of recalling this scene whenever exhaustion took hold. He made a point of always keeping it in his mind. As he approached the people, Gion observed how his shadow elongated and flickered in the sunlight.

“It has been quite some time,” Gion spoke, breaking the silence. His words caused the shadow to swiftly disappear. “I purposely waited since you appeared lost in thought… Were you aware of my presence?”

“How could I ever forget your existence?” came the response.

“I assumed you were responsible for this as well, so I expected to find you here,” he stated.

In return, a woman with tightly bound, purple hair smiled.

Doa, the leader of the Black Tribe, stood before him, resembling her appearance from a century ago.

Previous Chapter
Vote button
Next Chapter

Small Title

Comments
Couldn’t Load Comments
It looks like there was a technical problem. Try reconnecting or refreshing the page.
New Stories You May Like

Manhwa Similar to Lookism

Imagine waking up one day and suddenly you're hot stuff. Like, seriously good-looking. That's what happens to Daniel, a lonely guy who's never been popular and has always been a target of bullying. Now he's got this new body and a chance to finally live the life he's always dreamed of. Daniel has to figure out how to navigate this new world of popularity and good looks while keeping his old life hidden. How far will he go to protect his new body... and his secrets? If you are looking for a manhwa similar to lookism, you are in the right reading list.

Books Similar to A Court of Thorns and Roses

We have this young huntress named Feyre who's just trying to survive. She kills a wolf in the woods, thinking it's just another day on the job. But then this scary creature shows up and demands payback. Feyre's been dragged off to a magical land straight out of fairy tales, and her captor isn't a monster. He's a faerie, one of those immortal beings that used to rule her world. At least it's not the Beast with speaking Candelabra and Tea Cups. Anyway, Feyre starts to get used to this new world, and things get complicated. She starts falling for the faerie, Tamlin, even though she's always been taught to hate his kind. But something's off in this magical land- there's a darkness looming. Feyre realizes she's the only one who can stop it. If she doesn't, Tamlin and his entire world are doomed. So if you are looking for books similar to A Court of Thorns and Roses, we got you.

bottom of page