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For the Downfall of My Beloved by Dahn. A woman holding up a sword to a man. A white dragon behind.

For the Downfall of My Beloved

7

Chapter 7

1

On a night when the full moon hung in the sky, Rohwa sat by the pond in the White Dragon Castle. She stirred the pond’s surface with a delicate touch, sending ripples dancing outward. The moon’s reflection wavered, a silvery mirage following the whims of Rohwa’s fingertips.

A distinct and familiar voice cut through the stillness. “Rohwa?”

Gion’s voice reverberated, sharp in the night air. Startled, Rohwa swiftly turned, her movements sending a fresh flurry of ripples across the pond.

“…Gion?”

She looked down at Gion, gazing up at her with eyes rippling like the pond’s water.

Gion looked up to meet Rohwa’s gaze. “What are you doing here at this late hour?”

The moment Rohwa saw Gion’s face, her expression contorted. Her fist clenched so tightly that her shoulders felt numb.

Rohwa’s dark energy constricted around Gion’s neck. Contrary to her glaring red eyes, he merely gave a wry smile. “You’re not falling for it?”

Gion’s body absorbed the shadow of a tree planted behind the pond. The shadow enveloped his figure in an instant and then quickly disappeared.

A man with dark blue hair looked down at Rohwa: it was the Demon King. He said, “I thought you seemed down lately.”

The Demon King knelt next to Rohwa. “Even though what you wished for has been fulfilled, why such a face? That guy didn’t come back to life after all, did he?”

“You said you wouldn’t enter this place,” Rohwa said.

“Is there a place the owner of the White Dragon Castle cannot enter?”

Rohwa looked down into the water. “What do you want?”

The lake, rippling under Rohwa’s voice, began to calm down.

The Demon King scowled as he delicately pinched Rohwa’s chin. “You never smiled for me, not even once.”

His fingers were pallid, nearly devoid of blood, yet their hold was so firm that Rohwa’s face flushed crimson. However, Rohwa didn’t flinch, gazing silently at the Demon King as if impervious to pain. Only the Demon King’s countenance twisted in discomfort. Yet, before long, he grinned like a child who had discovered a new plaything.

“As the ruler of the White Flower Kingdom, I decided to bestow upon him a gift,” the Demon King said, a mischievous grin spreading across his face. “I intend to send him a Chime

Chime.

The Demon King had seven demons under his command. They were the top performers among demons, feared even by other demons. They differed from ordinary demons, having received special powers directly from the Demon King. Even Gion, who possessed the White Qi, would find it difficult to confront them without preparation.

“A crisis is necessary for the pinnacle of drama, isn’t it? It’s been a while since I’ve seen an entertaining play.”

The Demon King fixed his gaze on Rohwa’s brightly shining red eyes—eyes redder than the dancing blaze of a fire.

Seeing Rohwa’s head bow down, the Demon King continued with even more excitement. “A storm of blood will soon blow through the castle. Demons will devour the few remaining humans left.”

A faint smile appeared on Rohwa’s face. “Is that all you consider a crisis?”

She dispelled the dark energy. The surroundings became clear as if nothing had happened, and a gentle breeze blew. “Even if you send the Chime to him, the drama you expect will not unfold.”

Rohwa raised her face to meet his gaze, and her expression lacked any trace of killing intent or anger. She just looked unimpressed, as if the topic of conversation bored her

The Demon King, intrigued by her demeanor, stroked his chin thoughtfully. “You know the Chimes well,” he said.

“You also know him well.” Rohwa rose from her seat and walked past the Demon King.

“I wonder what you will do…” His voice was a soft murmur but more resolute than words could express. “I’m looking forward to it.”

As Rohwa walked away, the Demon King couldn’t help but smile to himself as if he were innocent of every crime he had ever committed.

***

“Rohwa…”

Perched outside the castle gate, Gion clutched the book tightly. Rohwa held the power to enact any form of retribution against Gion, and he would willingly bear it.

No matter the rationale, it fell upon Gion’s shoulders for heedlessly influencing Rohwa’s life. Even if Rohwa directed all her anger at Gion and Gion’s reclaimed life was filled with regret, it didn’t matter.

However.

Contributing to the destruction of the White Flower Kingdom was a grave mistake. Right after Gion’s death, Rohwa hastily made her way to Snow Valley. She didn’t even take the time to perform the succession ceremony or mourn her parents’ passing. When she returned, her eyes were red, a clear sign she had breached the barrier she had previously placed around Snow Valley.

Unsurprisingly, demons overran the White Flower Kingdom, making it unsafe for the citizens to venture outside. Simply walking the streets became a potentially fatal endeavor. Their own country became a danger zone. The demons unleashed their terror, tormenting the citizens and spreading fear as they pleased. Humans had become slaves, playthings, and tools for the demons.

All this time, Rohwa had done nothing except use the white energy to save Gion. Simultaneously, the Demon King took over the throne of the White Flower Kingdom, which had become a land of demons.

Gion bit his lip so hard that blood ran down his chin. Even amidst this chaos, there was so much unknown. Doa asked Gion to kill Rohwa, yet why was she with Rohwa in the White Dragon Castle? Why didn’t she kill Rohwa herself? Why leave such a message? What had happened to Rohwa over the past hundred years?

The white energy began to swirl around Gion. The power of the White Dragon. A force so immense that humans could hardly control it.

Memories of Rohwa laughing and talking with the citizens tore through Gion’s mind. The white energy raged uncontrollably.

“Look at this, Gion. A kid said I looked like him and made me a bouquet of white flowers.”

Gion grounded himself. His legs trembled, and his vision spun. His whole body ached as if his bones were turning to powder. Gion clenched his teeth and endured. “Should there be a White Flower Path in the castle too? Maybe I should ask Father to make a walking path for the citizens.

A light beam merged into a cluster of radiant white energy, extending outward. Dust danced in the air, swirling around as the fragmented white energy formed a hazy veil. The scent of earth wafted through the misty fog.

“Shouldn’t the school for the children operate for free? This won’t do. I must go to Father.”

Gion’s heart pounded violently. “Phew…”

Struggling to breathe, Gion took deep breaths to regain his composure. Blood dripped from his palm where his nails had dug in.

“…Ha.”

A hollow laugh escaped involuntarily. Even with such power, he had failed to protect the White Flower Kingdom and instead contributed to its ruin.

Gion could have chosen to protect the White Flower Kingdom and the Five Guardian Tribes. What frustrated him the most was that, despite possessing such power, he couldn’t control it and found himself panting, unable to gather his thoughts.

At that moment, a sharp sound of applause echoed.

Clap, clap, clap!

“Wow. This is beyond my expectations.”

A young boy’s voice sounded. Gion recognized this voice. It was the voice he had heard at Valley of Snow.

As a short whistle sounded, the dust and fog cleared.

A boy appeared. “It’s been a while, mister.”

Gion locked eyes with the boy. The boy smirked back at him. At first glance, he appeared like any other child, but...

It was the Seventh Chime. The one responsible for the deaths of most of Gion’s comrades at the entrance of Snow Valley.

Gion steadied his trembling legs and straightened his posture. He adjusted his appearance, wiping the sweat from his brow, then met the Seventh Chime’s gaze head-on.

“I’m glad you’re here. My thoughts were in disarray, but now I can ask you what I’ve been wondering.”

“Ahaha! That’s why you’re my favorite!”

Observing Gion, the Seventh Chime’s eyes sparkled with anticipation, as if he was about to enjoy himself immensely. His grin stretched from ear to ear, and his eyes turned deep black, the whites disappearing entirely. “Yes, approach me like that. You can’t afford to lose your composure just yet.”

The Seventh Chime casually glanced toward the castle gate while perched on a tree. “That’s the Protected Demon Zone. You need to defend it.”

Demons that had lain dormant underground emerged as if under a spell.

“You must entertain me this time as well. Snow Valley was truly exhilarating.”

The demons manifested their dark energy and displayed their killing intent. But there was no hesitation or fear. Instead, as Gion witnessed this scene, his swirling thoughts settled. The disgust that heated his throat now made his mind feel icy cold. Being swayed by emotions in this situation was a luxury. This was a time for confusion.

“Haha. Protected Demon Zone, my foot…” The most enormous demon among those rushing in smirked, stepping over the boundary line.

That instant, there was an explosion.

Gion’s sword sliced through the demon’s thigh, allowing him to feel the sensation of tearing muscle all the way to his fingertips.

“Aargh!”

Before the scream could fade, Gion grabbed the demon by the hair. “Good, you’ll serve as an example.”

The demon trembled, feeling the intensity of Gion’s pitch-black eyes exuding an overpowering, murderous aura. Gion slashed at the demon once more, severing its leg.

“Aaagh!!”

But the ordeal was far from finished.

“Don’t glare at me with resentment. The Seventh Chime brought you here. Blame him for your misfortune.”

Following this, Gion targeted the demon’s arms, hands, feet, shoulders, ribs, and back.

The demon was further hacked and crushed. After several strikes, the surroundings fell silent.

“You mentioned a Protected Demon Zone.”

Beneath Gion’s foot, the demon lay as a twisted and unidentifiable heap of flesh. It never had the opportunity to let out a proper scream before it was utterly crushed.

The demons began to back away slowly, and Gion stepped forward. He shouted, “Spread the word to the other demons! And tell them what happens when they step into the Protected Demon Zone.”

Gion flicked the blood off his sword. “Ah, I guess you won’t have the opportunity to do that.”

He beheaded twelve heads of the dozen demons with one swing of his sword.

White light enveloped the sword, emitting a faint whining noise. Gion’s arm felt numb, either from lack of strength or the impact of clashing with the demons. Nevertheless, he pressed on, relentlessly swinging his sword.

Gion, drenched in demon blood, took a deep breath.

Disgusting.

More revolting than the sticky blood that bore the warmth of the demons was himself, buried in nostalgia and reminiscing about his family. How dare he reminisce when the present was like this state!

This life was an opportunity: a singular chance to kill the demons that tore apart his comrades. This was the last chance to restore the glory of the White Flower Kingdom. So, instead of indulging in memories, he should kill one more demon. Gion, who had been granted life and the White Qi, had the duty to kill the demons that slaughtered his comrades.

“I must fulfill my responsibility.”

Despite their weakened state, the remaining demons quivered in fear before Gion, who exuded an air of indifference.

“Mister? It seems you’re out of breath. Can you really kill them all?” the Seventh Chime asked Gion, barely standing and dripping with cold sweat.

The hundred years felt so futile. During this time, such lowly demons occupied the White Flower Kingdom.

Gion erupted into thunderous laughter, souring the expression of the Chime. “This is the greatest gift I can offer you.”

Rohwa had been correct. The White Qi had granted him the power to vanquish such insignificant demons. If that wasn’t a gift, then what was?

Rohwa had resurrected Gion, ostensibly to seek vengeance upon him.

“What an unexpected twist of fate.” Gion firmly gripped his sword with both hands, the White Qi coursing through them.

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