top of page

For the Downfall of My Beloved

17

Chapter 17

1

A lone gatehouse nestled deep in the western mountains, the Red Gate Library was once a grand structure, but it is now in ruins. The nameplate was destroyed, and weeds grew wildly as if no one had cared for it.

When Gion stepped in, Hwaran muttered, “Are you sure there’s someone alive here?” He said that for good reason. “Because the princess truly saved you, Lord Gion.”

An old man was bound by black energy. Both his arms were severed, and his legs had cut tendons that were rotting away. His beard and hair were completely white. He gazed up at Gion silently. His eyes clouded with cataracts, one pupil noticeably larger than the other.

Hwaran stirred the wind and began to use her healing power on the old man. After that, the old man was more at ease breathing.

Gion cut the black energy binding the old man and lowered his body. “I am looking for the historical books you wrote. I know you recorded only the precise truth in them.”

Mujun leaned against the door frame. He was surrounding the Red Gate Library with black energy.

The reason for coming to Seosan was ultimately to find the historical books. There was no need to kill the Fifth Chime or break the barrier. Gion knew the fastest route to enter the Red Gate Library and which point of the barrier enveloping Seosan to break first. Thanks to Mujun obscuring the Fifth Chime’s view with black energy, Gion could break the barrier without delay and enter the library.

However…

“I did record only the truth, as you say, but those records are not here.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“I’ve been bound here for fifty years. And searching won’t change anything. The historical books are just stories of the past, and currently, White Flower Kingdom is a land of demon spirits.”

This was a world where cutting off someone’s arms and banishing them to the mountains for telling the truth was trivial. That was what White Flower Kingdom had become.

“Knowing history is necessary to move forward. The people staked everything on those books, recording the truth. I will find those books and bring them out into the world.”

The old man also wished for this, but resigned, he shook his head. “Don’t sacrifice your life for White Flower Kingdom. There’s no hope in this kingdom.”

“Gion, we don’t have time. The Fourth Chime has noticed.” Mujun was watching the black energy that began to distort.

But Gion did not get up. He told the old man, “Your sacrifice to write those books is enough. I will take care of the rest.”

The old man said there was no hope, but the one who had actually created hope was the old man himself. Just the existence of a historical book with the truth was a great help to Gion.

“You just need to answer my questions.” Gion gripped the Chunhwa sword firmly and asked, “Who did this to you?”

Those who had done this to the historian were most likely the ones who distorted the truth. Someone vowing to restore the crumbling White Flower Kingdom stood before the old man. The old man had devoted his entire life to writing the real history. And here this person was, calling this book hope.

The old man slowly began to speak, but when he opened his mouth, the Chunhwa sword as if expressing rage, began to stir the wind.

“Leave now.”

“What?” Suddenly, Gion stood up. Whatever he had heard, Gion was biting his lip hard enough to draw blood. He told the old man, “You’re letting me go even though you need to capture the Chimes?”

“Now’s not the time to deal with you.”

Gion, exuding an aura of murderous intent, spoke to Mujun. “Do you wish to be killed now?”

Mujun knew. Provoking Gion now would only lead to a certain death.

“Hardly.”

A moment later, a crack started to form in the black energy encircling the Red Gate Library. The sound of the black energy tearing was heard, and shadows spilled onto the ground. A massive shadow flickered as it opened the library’s doors.

“…Where is he?” a voice demanded from the massive shadow.

Only the historian was keeping vigil in the Red Gate Library. The historian remained silent, not moving at all.

A demon spirit, trembling, followed the massive shadow, gauging the situation. “… The Fifth Chime.”

As the massive shadow inflated its body and moved slightly, the wooden floor of the Red Gate Library made a strange sound as it rotted away.

The voice commanded, “Bring him to me alive.”

***

“Kill him! Do you know how much I bet on you?” The demon spirit yelled, watching a human in a cell made of black energy.

A young boy, his rib bones visible, wielded a rusted sword opposite an elderly woman coughing up blood.

“What are you doing? A young man can certainly kill an old woman!”

Humans who would be next in combat were shivering, barely clothed. Some pleaded for their lives, some were resigned, but most seemed too drugged even to stand properly.

“Hey! I’ll increase the bet, so throw another weapon to that guy!”

“He’s sluggish because he’s drugged! Give him some stimulants!”

The demon spirits managing the arena received payments from the demon spirits placing bets.

A demon spirit, giggling, recorded in the ledger and threw weapons and stimulants into the cell. “Looks like we had good earnings today, guys. Isn’t it great?”

Gasping for breath, the boy desperately crawled across the ground to retrieve the drugs tossed by the malevolent demon spirit. Meanwhile, as the elderly woman struggled to rise, the boy ruthlessly plunged his sword into her without showing any mercy. The furious demon spirits got excited over this gruesome act.

“Yeah! Put the next one in right away. It gets hard to collect money if the momentum breaks.”

At that moment…

“Enjoying this?”

The demon spirits managing the iron bars turned their heads at the voice behind them.

Gion quietly observed the iron bars made of black energy.

“What? It’s a human. Why aren’t you managing this place properly?”

“What are you talking about? My livelihood depends on it. Of course, I keep a tight grip. There was definitely no one like him before…”

The demon spirit pulled at Gion’s shoulder. “Good timing, then. Next, you’ll be the one—”

The demon spirit couldn’t finish its sentence before screaming. “Aaagh! My arm!”

The hand that had grabbed Gion’s shoulder fell to the ground. “What… are… you?”

A chilling sound whizzed past the demon spirit’s head. The head burst like a balloon, and the torso rolled on the ground.

Having stepped on the waist of the demon spirit writhing on the ground, Gion drew his sword. As Gion swung his sword, the demon spirits rushing towards him were all decapitated in unison with one motion.

The iron bars made of black energy vanished. The demon spirits surrounding the iron bars all began to charge at Gion.

“What’s this?”

“Get out of the way, you jerk!”

Finally realizing something was off, the demon spirits tried to scatter. The White Qi fluttered and then grabbed the demon spirits.

“Aaaaah!”

“Ugh…”

The White Qi mercilessly bound the demon spirits, compressing their bodies. The demon spirit under Gion’s foot could only look on helplessly at the situation. Desperately, the demon spirit cried out.

“Why… why are you doing this suddenly? Who are you?”

Around, the people with wounds huddled together and trembled. Far from receiving treatment for their injuries, many people’s flesh rotted.

Without uttering a word, Gion forcefully tugged at the demon spirit’s back, peeling away its skin. The demon spirit uttered a piercing scream as its skin effortlessly ripped off like a sheet of paper. Stained with the demon’s blood, Gion retrieved the fallen ledger from the ground.

“Where is the money you’ve been sending?” Gion demanded, his voice filled with a chilling determination.

“The money?” The demon spirit stammered, its face frozen in terror as it gazed up at Gion.

Gion’s black eyes blazed with an unwavering intent to kill as they loomed over the trembling demon spirit.

The demon spirit started to beg as if pleading. “Money! If it’s money you need, I’ll give it to you! Just spare my life—”

Gion diverted his gaze from the demon spirit and looked somewhere. “When those people begged for their lives, did you do the same for them?” At the front was a carelessly stacked pile of human corpses.

Gion’s blade severed the remaining arm of the demon spirit. Overwhelmed by consecutive waves of pain, the demon spirit couldn’t even scream, its eyes rolling back.

Gion slowly exhaled and relaxed his body. He asked, “Where is the money you’ve made being sent out?”

***

A man began to sweep gold and treasures into a bundle. “Hurry up!”

Despite his trembling hands, the man made sure not to leave even the smallest jewel behind.

Those accompanying the man were also milling about, moving quickly. Even in such circumstances, the man looked around as if regretting having to leave this building.

Luxurious silk, beautifully embroidered wallpapers, lanterns emitting splendid light…

It’s all mine!

The man gritted his teeth. “If everything’s packed, let’s go!”

As he flung the door open. “Ah…”

A warm sensation seeped into the man’s feet. The hallway was splattered with blood, a shade of shockingly bright crimson. Gion, covered in blood, approached another man without a word.

The man, clutching the bundle, drew his sword.

“Kill him!”

Everyone drew their swords and charged at Gion.

“Aaaah!”

The head of a man standing beside the bundle holder fell to the ground in just a blink of an eye. Gion swung his sword with ease, effortlessly severing the man’s head like a stalk of grass.

The people in the room who were observing the scene stood motionless. As Gion approached, they staggered backward, retreating step by step. In fear, they dropped the bundle. Sparkling jewels rolled on the floor, soaking in the blood.

Gion crushed the jewels with the White Qi and approached a man trembling in fear. The man, choked by terror, squealed, “W-we had no choice! How can we survive in a kingdom that lacks a king?”

Blood splattered on Gion’s cheek. “I didn’t ask.”

The others remained silent. Gion approached a woman who was covering her head and weeping.

“Where are the books?”

“What books?” Clearly, she was pretending not to know.

The sword pierced the woman’s throat as Gion inserted it without uttering a word. His demeanor seemed indifferent, as if he were cutting through wood and not flesh.

Approaching a groaning person, Gion brandished a dagger. He swung it with an expressionless face, causing fear in everyone.

The person next to the woman knelt down and began to beg. “Please, just spare my life! It’s all my fault. I’ll leave all this behind and go…!”

Gion bent down before the man who babbled anything to save his life. “Does doing so bring back the lives of those you killed?”

Gion pierced the leg of the man who was kneeling with his sword. “Aah!” The deeply thrust blade passed through the man’s shin and stuck into the ground.

“Who ordered you to hide the books and distort history?”

“I-I don’t know! Ah!”

The man’s screams were unending, but Gion kept stabbing with the blade. The man began to foam at the mouth. From the thigh to the flank, Gion only penetrated the most painful parts that wouldn’t cause immediate death.

It was unlikely that such scum could distort a hundred years of history. There must be someone in power around here.

As Gion was stabbing the man, another person aimed at Gion from behind. Gion instantly severed the neck of the attacker. The man, writhing in pain, gradually began to die.

Just before the man’s breath was about to fade, Gion brightened the emerald light on the Chunhwa sword, used its healing power, and then stabbed the man again with the sword.

Gion, without wiping off the blood, looked at the man. The last man left was gasping for air, his eyes clouded with tears.

“Where are the books?”

“…Please, please.”

For the man, it no longer mattered who the person before him was or why this was happening. The man was only desperate not to end up like the one who had just died.

“I am a citizen of White Flower Kingdom! You cannot do this to me!”

“Citizen? If you call yourself a citizen, even after selling the country to demon spirits and preying on the lives of people, then yes, you might be a citizen.”

Gion gripped the man’s throat. “But if I spare you, won’t more citizens die?”

The veins in the man’s neck bulged purple.

“I asked where the books are.”

The man could instinctively tell. If he pretended not to know, he would suffer even more pain than the one who had just been butchered and died.

The man, shivering, barely managed to speak. “… Si-hwan.”

Gion’s expression hardened. He was familiar with the name. The chieftain of the Black Tortoise tribe ordered it, and he joined forces with the Fourth Chime.

Hwaran was seemingly perturbed, making the Chunhwa sword shake violently.

However, Gion loosened the grip on the man’s neck without any reaction. At that moment, blood spurted from the man’s throat. Under Gion’s blade, the man’s eyes rolled back as he collapsed.

Gion’s calm demeanor was so pronounced that even Hwaran could feel it.

“You’re not even surprised?”

Gion muttered, staring into the void. “It’s a hundred years of history. Those who distort it must be capable of at least that much.”

With a chilling tone, Hwaran couldn’t find words to respond. The Chunhwa sword flickered with light, making a strange sound. The ground rumbled, echoing as if an earthquake had struck. Something was approaching.

“Gion!”

As Hwaran called out to Gion, the wall shattered. Dust swirled in the sudden gust of wind.

Gion must capture the Chimes. But should he spend time chasing after them? If he must confront them, then he would make them come to him.

As the wind died down, a demon spirit revealed itself. “You… Because of you, the Fourth Chime…”

Gion looked at the Fifth Chime standing there indifferently. The Fifth Chime was utterly terrified, having lost its sanity.

Gion said, “I’ve been waiting.”

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