top of page

For the Downfall of My Beloved

9

Chapter 9

6

“If I had known it would come to this, why didn’t you tell me from the start? It was a waste of time going back and forth.”

Rohwa rolled her eyes at Gion’s words. Leaving a trail of blood on the delicate silk path, Gion slowly approached Rohwa. She was seated on the throne with legs crossed, idly flicked her toes.

“Don’t you think you should clean up the mess you made, knowing how hideous your actions were? Besides, you’re the type who needs to see things with your own eyes to be satisfied.”

The Princess spoke indifferently as if she had known Gion would have come. “How was your little outing after such a long time?”

Gion sheathed the long sword stained with demons’ blood. His voice was firm, neither angry nor resentful. “You could have done anything else, but you shouldn’t have ruined the White Flower Kingdom.” He talked like he was merely pointing out the errors of a misbehaving child.

Rohwa ascended the stairs, stopped, and stared down at Gion. “Are you saying it’s my fault the White Flower Kingdom was destroyed?” Her face hardened, but she quickly regained composure, murmuring, “Fine. Let’s say it was my fault. You won’t ever understand how those hundred years were, even if you die again.”

She didn’t shed a tear. Nor did she seem to be holding back from crying. She merely looked like an empty shell, devoid of all life’s brilliance.

“Even if you found out, it wouldn’t erase those hundred years…”

Rohwa, wrapped in dark energy, ascended further up the stairs, her tiny feet barely touching the ground.

“In the ruined White Flower Kingdom, with no ally by my side… I, who desperately hoped for the war in Biryu to end quickly… suddenly…”

Rohwa muttered so softly that Gion could barely hear. The main focus wasn’t speaking; instead, her heart bore a heavy burden that overflowed uncontrollably with its weight. She let out a soft sigh, filled with melancholy. Her shoulders dropped lifelessly, and her clothes slipped down. The scars on her shoulders stood out prominently.

Her empty gaze seemed to ask, “What’s the use of all this now?” Though Gion couldn’t hear exactly what she was saying, he could tell how tired Rohwa was.

Gion looked at Rohwa, who stood still. She was three steps above him, vaguely watching him.

Gion was about to approach Rohwa. As he prepared to ascend the stairs, his gaze met Rohwa’s, who was peering down at him. He promptly halted his movement, stopping just before taking the first step. “I’m sorry.”

Gion offered no further words, simply tilting his head slightly to watch Rohwa. She paused momentarily, her expression blank, and then the veins in her neck bulged.

Blood vessels surfaced in her whites, and her eyes shone crimson. Gion looked at them. Rohwa used to have blue eyes that admired the beauty of the world. But now, her red eyes seemed filled with bloodlust.

Gion seated her upon the magnificent throne and declared, “Now, the throne is your rightful place.”

It was Gion who orchestrated Rohwa’s current predicament.

“It’s my responsibility, however insignificant,” he admitted solemnly. “I will restore the glory of the White Flower Kingdom and then surrender my life.”

Despite Rohwa’s momentary hesitation, Gion continued, undeterred. “If that’s still insufficient,” he asserted, “you have the power to end my life, resurrect me, and guide me to death once more. You hold sway over my entire existence, life and death alike. I promise.”

Gion never broke a promise. He vowed to return alive from Biryu, and indeed he did.

“So give me the crystal of light.”

The crystal of light was essential for fully controlling and applying the White Qi, which could annihilate demons. A successor without the crystal of light was no more potent than a baby holding a sword.

If anyone other than Gion had manifested the White Qi without the crystal, they would have died, and their bodies would have turned to dust.

A brief silence ensued.

“Are you referring to this?” Rohwa smirked and levitated a crystal above her hand. The crystal sparkled vibrantly as if containing all the light in the world.

That moment.

“Power should not be gained so easily.”

Rohwa’s dark energy enveloped the crystal. It was too quick to catch with the naked eye, a fleeting moment. The crystal of light in her hand shattered into seven pieces.

However.

Gion remained unflustered, his expression unchanged. Instead, Rohwa furrowed her brow and tilted her head in confusion.

“You’re not troubled by the shattered crystal of light?” she questioned.

“Having the crystal of light would have made things easier, but it’s not the end of the world without it. I’ll just take a more difficult path,” Gion said.

Rohwa was momentarily speechless.

Gion said, “If breaking the crystal of light eased even a little of your resentment from those hundred years, then that’s enough for me.”

“…Huh,” Rohwa uttered, somewhat taken back. She covered her face with trembling hands. Then she burst into laughter, teetering on the edge between crying and laughing. “Not only are you abominable, but now you’re saying you’ll restore the glory of your White Flower Kingdom without the crystal of light?”

“It’s yours, not mine.”

“How arrogant.” Rohwa instantly hardened her expression and said, “Kneel and bow your head. Maybe then my mind may change.”

Gion hesitated momentarily before obeying, dropping to his knees. Just like a warrior paying homage to a princess, he bowed his head and placed the sheathed sword in front of his knees, as he had done a hundred years ago.

“I will return alive. I can do it,” he resolved to himself.

He looked up at Rohwa earnestly, just like back then. He said, “Have I ever failed to keep a promise I made?”

With hands full of scars, he did not dare to reach out to Rohwa but instead clenched his fists tightly. “Please forgive me.”

Even while kneeling, Gion kept his back straight with his black hair cascading down. Like a loyal subject awaiting his sovereign’s command, Gion didn’t show the slightest movement.

An hour passed, and the prolonged kneeling made his back tingle with numbness. Not long after, the wound on his side from the fight with the Seventh Chime opened up, and blood trickled out.

After two hours, sweat formed on his knuckles, and the nape of his slightly bent neck felt sore. As dawn broke and the sun began to rise, the light shining into White Hall illuminated the pool of blood where Gion sat. Yet, he did not falter in his posture, maintaining his position.

“Raise your head.”

It was not until the morning sun illuminated White Hall that Rohwa, who had been quietly observing Gion, finally spoke up.

She said, “General of the White Flower Kingdom, Gion, lift your head and receive the command of the 16th descendant of the White Dragon, the Princess.”

Gion slowly raised his head to look at Rohwa.

She began to give her command with an unwavering gaze, just like a hundred years ago. “Every time you take a life, you will be rewarded. Go and kill the Seventh Chime.”

Gion reached for the long sword before him, lifting it and drawing it from its sheath. With a swift motion, the sharp blade pierced a cavity in the marble floor beneath him. Gracefully, he knelt on one knee and respectfully bowed his head. “I will heed the command,” he declared.

After withdrawing the embedded sword from the floor, Gion departed from White Hall.

Rohwa quietly gazed at the recess on the floor.

***

“Are you saying the one I killed wasn’t the Seventh Chime?” Gion asked.

Hoyeong looked at Gion, who was wrapping his wound with a cloth. Hoyeong said, “Before anything, tell me if you met the Princess.”

Gion hesitated momentarily, then nodded his head while tying the cloth tightly. “I did.”

“What happened to the crystal of light?”

“She said she’d give it to me if I brought the Seventh Chime, so I’m asking you.”

Hoyeong furrowed his brow, sighing. “That one was only the Seventh Chime of the past. The current Seventh Chime is someone else. Unlike a hundred years ago, new ones have taken over the position of Chimes.”

“Then where is the Seventh Chime?”

Hoyeong shifted his gaze to the western mountains. He said, “Before that, there’s a promise you need to fulfill.”

“A promise?”

“If you say you will keep the promise, I will consider your request.”

Gion nodded quietly.

“The hundred years you missed were a period of disgrace.” Hoyeong gazed out at the field, where only circular burial mounds remained, lacking proper tombstones. “For a hundred years, the capital was a stronghold of demons, not humans. The lone princess went mad, pouring the White Qi only towards you.”

Gion nodded his head silently, his eyes narrowed with concentration.

“Countless lives were lost. Not only the members of the White Tiger tribe but also half of the citizens met their end at the hands of demons.”

Gion observed the remnants of the distant past in his mind, then looked back at Hoyeong.

Hoyeong said, “And at the end of all those events was Rohwa.” He stood up, his golden eyes flickering, like a warrior about to enter a bloody battle. He said, “To avenge them, you must kill Rohwa.”

Gion froze.

“Then I will give you the information about the Seventh Chime.”

The wind blowing through the mountains was chilly.

“Alright,” Gion said. “Let’s proceed with that. But there’s a condition.”

The short silence was broken by the sound of Gion unsheathing his sword. “I will show her the glory of the White Flower Kingdom before she dies.”

“…What?”

Gion grasped the sword with his blood-stained hands. “I’ll make her fully aware of her deeds before I personally end her life.”

***

Can humans and demons truly love each other? In a reality where even humans struggle to love each other properly, can love between a human and a demon be feasible or sustainable? If a human and a demon were to love, it would undoubtedly be a tragedy.

At the center of this tragedy was a person named Juya. Juya loved the Seventh Chime, and the Seventh Chime loved Juya. And now, Gion needed that love.

“Juya caused this?” Gion asked.

The trees on the northern mountain had burned down, leaving only ash swirling in the wind. Once teeming with life, the forest was silent as if it had never harbored any living creature.

Hoyeong, drawing his sword, said, “Believe it or not, that’s the truth.”

What exactly had happened to Juya was a fleeting thought. There was no time to be shocked. Juya had burned down the entire mountain. In the face of the White Flower Kingdom’s downfall after countless years, nothing was left to disbelieve.

It was time to act.

Hoyeong gathered the energy of the White Tiger and stretched out a blue line, which spread throughout the mountain.

“It’s that way.”

The blue line mingled with red and gradually darkened. Gion quickly followed the faded line. At the place he arrived, a woman appeared.

Juya’s words came to mind: “Love truly makes a person strong.”

A person who, in front of love, held the most genuine desire, knowing how to give heartfelt love every moment. Not one to wring out love but someone whose inner warmth overflowed and permeated the other person.

That was Juya.

Now, Juya, with her amber eyes shining and her long red hair flowing, could barely stand, intoxicated by alcohol. The whip she once wielded to ward off demons was now completely frayed. The scent of the drink mingling with the ashes of burnt lives was overwhelmingly bitter.

Once brimming with love, Juya now lay shattered like pieces of glass.

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