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For the Downfall of My Beloved

16

Chapter 16

1

During the current era, a barrier was erected in Snow Valley to confine the demon spirits. This action not only separated them from the people but also unintentionally granted them their own territory.

Within this space, the demon spirits also established their own society. This was akin to making progress. Therefore, the successor of the White Qi had to reinforce the barrier to prevent the increasingly powerful demon spirits from breaking out.

The barrier was not permanent because it was a physical tool made of White Qi. But what about the 16th King, who was also the father of Rohwa?

“After all this time, you still have that stern look in your eyes.” Mujun looked around with a sneer. “What happened to the White Flower Kingdom is regrettable. But the situation there isn’t due to me. It’s because of the king of White Dragon Castle, who failed to reinforce the barrier surrounding Snow Valley properly, isn’t it?”

Mujun looked amused. “Oh, I see. Or maybe it’s your fault for killing that king and dumping everything on the young princess!”

A strong wind blew. But it wasn’t Gion’s energy. A shimmering light of emerald green flashed from the Chunhwa sword (Spring Flower Sword), and Hwaran’s stern words struck Mujun’s mind sharply.

“How dare a general from a minor country, incomparable to the kingdom, insult the king of the White Flower Kingdom!”

Gion did nothing, but the trees around the temple started to vibrate, stretching their sharp branches toward Mujun.

The power to move nature was the true power of the Spring Spirit King.

Hwaran scowled and said to Gion, “I’ve never been in such a cursed situation.”

Gion quietly observed the demon spirit. It was unmistakable that Gion made the scar across the demon spirit’s chest.

It was indeed Mujun, the general of Jiyeon Kingdom.

“The general of Jiyeon Kingdom has become a demon spirit and is entering White Flower Kingdom.”

Hwaran stood next to Gion, exuding a threatening aura.

Mujun chuckled. “Just wait. I only wish to talk with this creature.”

“What nonsense is this demon spawn spouting.”

Hwaran’s eyes flashed, but Gion stepped in front of her.

“There’s something we need to find out from him.”

Hwaran glanced at Gion as his thoughts echoed in her head: “Is this because of the painting inside the temple?”

Gion remained silent. To understand its content accurately, a book should be read word by word, sentence by sentence. But a painting is different. A single painting contains numerous stories. For instance, a landscape painting can reveal a period of someone’s life.

“I already know that you are the Sixth Chime. That means you’ve been alive in White Flower Kingdom for a hundred years.”

The existence of the Sixth Chime was unmistakable as soon as he entered the temple. Paintings of demon spirits filled the nameless and nondescript temple. Among them were also portraits of the Chimes. However, what mattered to Gion was not that Mujun had become one of the Chimes.

Gion tightly grasped the painting in his hand. “Was it not Rohwa but the Demon King who broke the barrier surrounding Snow Valley?”

The painting depicted the Demon King and the demon spirits descending below the capital after breaking the barrier. But there were several dubious points. The demon spirits revered Rohwa as a princess. If Rohwa had broken the barrier, the painting should have depicted Rohwa’s actions, not as if the Demon King had broken the barrier. However, the painting seemed to exist to glorify the heroic tales of the Demon King.

Gion, who had studied history through numerous books and paintings, could not have missed such a detail. So there was only one answer: either the painting was telling a lie, or someone had written falsehoods in the historical records.

With the credibility of historical documents diminishing, there was only one way to verify the truth. To uncover the truth about the history, it was essential to tap into the experiences of those who actually lived through it. Knowing the truth would naturally unravel the reason why distorted history was recorded. For now, finding out the truth of history was the priority.

Mujun, as if reading Gion’s thoughts, shrugged and said, “I wondered what you would ask. So you’re curious about that? But what can I do? Besides, I don’t see why I should tell you anything.”

“No. You have to tell me.”

“What?”

“You have your own wishes, too. Hence, you came to me on your own.”

At Gion’s words, Mujun furrowed his brow.

The two had faced each other with swords on the battlefield, spending days and nights strategizing to avoid falling into each other’s tactics, engaging in relentless combat. Those times were enough for Gion to understand Mujun thoroughly.

“I know that you also want to break the barrier of Seosan.”

Gion precisely knew what Mujun wanted at the moment. And Mujun, realizing he was seen through, had the habit of furrowing his brow for a moment.

To break the barrier, two things were needed: One was the painting inside the nameless temple. And the other was the White Qi.

This meant that Mujun, who had become a demon spirit, could never break the barrier alone.

Mujun refrained from questioning Gion, recognizing the futility of doing so in the situation, regardless of whether it was pride or something else that heightened Gion’s awareness.

However…

“Do you think I wouldn’t know what promise you made with the princess?” Mujun descended from the roof and stood in front of Gion. “Defeating the Chimes and receiving the pieces of light is your goal, isn’t it? You’re ultimately going to break the barrier and kill me, and yet you ask for information and even my life?”

“You still only see what’s right in front of you.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“The promise I made with the princess is to receive a piece of light if I defeat a Chime.”

Hwaran, who had been silent, quickly grasped Gion’s thoughts and exclaimed: “Are you out of your mind?”

Hwaran shouted, but Gion did not blink an eye. “No rule says I have to capture the Chimes in order.”

Mujun chuckled at this. The Chimes become stronger as their numbers approach one. Gion must first kill the Sixth Chime, Mujun, and then gather the fragments of light to face the Fourth and Fifth Chimes. Even if he did that, victory would not be guaranteed.

“Don’t assume the Fourth and Fifth Chimes will be at a similar level to the Seventh. How can you be so sure you can take them on in your current state?”

“You talk too much.”

The Chunhwa sword began absorbing the White Qi, its emerald light flickering. Even without attacking, the fluctuating energy was enough to whip up the sand lying on the ground.

“Do I look like I’m begging or trying to persuade you?”

Gion might instantly annihilate Mujun. However, the reason Gion refrained was apparent.

“I know you also wish to kill the Chimes. That’s why I’m not killing you.”

“…How much have you figured out?”

When Gion obtained the painting, he almost found the method to break Seosan’s barrier. Anyone other than Gion couldn’t break this barrier. Mujun was well aware of this.

If any more conditions were proposed at this point, Gion would take care of Mujun and actively search for a way to obtain the information. If there weren’t a way, he’d create one. That’s who Gion was.

Moreover, Mujun couldn’t die now. After a brief pause, he continued, “It’s true that the Demon King broke the barrier in Snow Valley. But it’s also true that the princess was there.”

This made the method of destroying the barrier clear. Although it was still uncertain what exactly happened back then, all the necessary information to break the barrier now was gathered.

“I’m saying this in advance: I really don’t like that guy.”

*Cough*

“Don’t forget why you had to engage in war for five years in Biryu, Gion.”

How could Gion forget? It was something he could never forget. But that didn’t mean he could walk the same path as Rohwa. Being consumed by resentment and stuck in the past wouldn’t allow him to move forward.

Gion said to Hwaran: “That matter is secondary. Breaking the barrier of Seosan comes first.”

Hwaran, seemingly displeased with the situation, didn’t say anything but didn’t oppose Gion’s stance either.

Gion, holding the painting and Chunhwa sword, looked at Mujun.

“You’re coming with us.”

***

In front of the ruined Hwayang Palace, Doa spoke to Rohwa, who stood with dignity. “You’ve been hasty.”

Rohwa responded without any change in expression. “I plan to continue acting hastily.”

“I know it’s already overwhelming for you to pour your energy into the Seosan barrier.”

“And?”

As always, Doa nagged, “Your role is to focus your strength on reinforcing the barrier, nothing more.”

Hwaran was assisting Gion. Going straight to the Nameless Temple right after reading the books must be to capture the Fourth and Fifth Chimes.

And with Mujun in tow…

It was unexpected. According to Rohwa’s calculations, Gion should have killed Mujun and faced the Fourth and Fifth Chimes immediately. After defeating the Fifth Chime, he was supposed to break the barrier and meet the Fourth Chime to see with his own eyes how Seosan had changed.

Gion, who should be obsessed with collecting the pieces of light for the glory of White Flower Kingdom, wouldn’t spare Mujun simply for old time’s sake.

Something is odd—

At that moment, a tearing sound echoed in her head. “Rohwa!”

Rohwa collapsed on the spot, bleeding from her nose. It felt like every cell in her head was smoldering, her skull ringing as if it would shatter, and a knife slashing through her core. However, for Rohwa, pain was not the most pressing concern.

Even as her eyelids trembled, a hollow laugh escaped Rohwa. “Ha…”

The barrier is breaking even though the Fifth Path is not dead?

The Fifth Path was the guardian of Seosan. It was unthinkable for the barrier to break without the death of the Fifth Path…

Could it be…

The fleeting suspicion that crossed her mind made Rohwa’s expression contort momentarily. The barrier of Seosan was broken.

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