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For the Downfall of My Beloved Chapter 11

Updated: Feb 5

"Do we really need to go this far?"  


At Hoyeong's words, Gion stopped in his tracks.  


"What do you mean?"  


The ash scattered by the wind stung his eyes.  


Though the dust swirling around seemed to carry someone's time, life, and soul, it floated weightlessly in the air.  


Hoyeong quietly observed the drifting presence of death and continued speaking.  


"Juya has already lost so much. You are the one who intended to kill The Seventh Chime. Even at the cost of deceiving Juya."  




"One who knows love well knows resentment just as well. Are you ready to bear the burden of such resentment and live this life?"  


-I hoped you would feel what I felt, and I spent a hundred years doing so.  


Because of genuine love, there was another, aside from Juya, who nursed a deep-seated resentment. 


The words of Rohwa, who leisurely recited his resentment, suddenly crossed his mind.  


From a distance, he could see the slumped figure of Juya.  




Living with resentment...  


Is that really what matters now?  


Gion was ready to bear any karmic retribution.  


"Are you prepared for what I've mentioned?"  


Hoyeong's question dispersed into the air, unanswered, like ashes.  


Hoyeong nodded bitterly.  


"I'm prepared."  




Gion resumed his halted steps.  




Beneath his feet, the ash yielded with fragile ease, crumbling into nothingness. 


It's light. Too easily shattered. 


Yet this ethereal lightness lent an unexpected weight to his stride. 




The sensation of ash scraping under his shoe felt chilling.  


-You might eventually find something better than love... but it's so precious that I'd rather live in ignorance of anything better.  




Gion looked at his shoes, now dirty with ash.  


The things Juya dearly loved clung to him like dust and wouldn't shake off.  


It's heavy, far from light. 


His steps naturally slowed down. But still.  




Gion didn't just stand there motionless.  


He quickened his slow pace and moved towards The Seventh Chime.  


Despite the oppressive sensation, he kept his back straight.  


"No need for greetings."  


Despite Gion's words, the Seventh Chime didn't take his eyes off Juya.  


"Do you think you can kill me?"  


The Seventh Chime murmured in a faint voice.  


It sounded like he was talking to Gion or maybe to Juya.  


"Juya. What are you relying on, bringing such a man before me? Someone who's swayed by deceit without even possessing the Crystal of Light."  




"Have you forgotten? I am the Seventh Chime. I am not just a young demon whimpering for life while covered with wounds." 


Only with those words did the Seventh Chime finally direct his attention toward Gion. 


A murderous intent arose in his dry eyes.  


"Unlike that fool who can't control his own power, I can eliminate even a phoenix from its tribe—"  




The Seventh Chime's words were cut short.  


Gion chuckled sardonically and drew his sword from the sheath.  




The blade, drawn through the air, caused ripples in the puddle.  


"You talk too much."  




The Seventh Chime unsheathed his sword in a heartbeat and charged at Gion.  


The chilling clash of their blades resonated sharply.  


Crack, crack.  


The blades began to damage each other in a flash.  


The truth was undeniable. 


The demon Gion had mistakenly slain, believing it to be The Seventh Chime, was significantly weaker. 


Even a single exchange of blows made it clear.  


It was going to be a tough duel.  




As Gion swung his sword, both he and the Seventh Chime were thrown back by the recoil.  






Their shoes were drenched in the mixture of ash and water. 


Gion immediately sprang towards the Seventh Chime.  


"I thought you'd be more prepared than this."  




With a speed hard to follow with the eyes, the Seventh Chime fiercely swung his sword.  


Gion instinctively dodged the attack, but not before a fresh wound was drawn on his arm.  


Had he been even slightly slower, the injury would undoubtedly have been on his neck.  




Before even landing, the ash swirled up, forming a puddle.  




The earth beneath them transformed, waterlogged and treacherous. 


The floating ash added a deceptive heaviness to their steps, each movement a battle against the ensnaring mire. 




With the energy of water infused in his black aura wrapped around his sword, the Seventh Chime charged ferociously at Gion.  


Six years of strenuous efforts to cling to life were put to use in this moment.  


Had Gion not gone through those times, he would have been torn to pieces by that blade by now.  


The skin tears as easily as rotten flower roots in water. Blood continually flows and pools in the puddle, rippling. The hands tremble with the onslaught of attacks, leaving no moment to feel the pain.  


The splashing water makes the footing slippery, and the body wobbles.  


"...Why aren't you using the White Qi?"  


Contrary to The Seventh Chime's sword, which flickers with darkness, Gion's blade was merely swirling with a grey hue.  




Gion said nothing and just fiercely swung his sword.  


Screech! Splash!  


The puddle became murkier with their blood.  


The water's surface rose, and the black aura on the Seventh Chime's blade became darker.  


But there was no change in Gion. Continuously slashing, stabbing, swinging… Gion's wounds kept increasing, but there was no sign of the White Qi.  


He had bled so much that his vision was blurring.  




"Gion. Three inches below."  


Amidst the clanging symphony of their duel, these softly uttered words resonated with a chill more piercing than any blade. 


The Seventh Chime momentarily turned his head towards Juya.  


Sitting quietly above the puddle, Juya looked up at them.  






Gion's blade precisely struck the area Juya had mentioned.  




The blade, slipping between the ribs, made the Seventh Chime immediately cough up blood.  


Staggering, the Seventh Chime retreated.  


One step. Two steps.  


And as he took five steps back,  


"Five steps back, and there's an opening in the left thigh."  


Juya's words were precise. The Seventh Chime tried to steady his wavering stance, but it was too late.  




In a breath, Gion bridged the gap, driving his sword into the Seventh Chime's thigh. 


"... Juya, you!"  


The Seventh Chime shouted with a resentful look towards Juya.  


They knew each other too well.  


Being so close for so long, it was impossible not to know each other thoroughly.  


That meant they also knew best how to harm one another.  


The Seventh Chime immediately turned towards Juya.  


"How dare you...!"  


A resentful outcry filled the western hills.  




Juya remained still, his gaze unwaveringly fixed on the Seventh Chime. 


Alone, guarding his spot above the blood-filled puddle.  


Just like that day when he was left alone in the burning tribe.  




The Seventh Chime gritted his teeth hard enough to draw blood.  


With a surge of animosity and bewilderment fueling his resolve, the Seventh Chime momentarily shifted his blade, intending to lunge at Juya, before abruptly redirecting his attack towards Gion. 




The blade, filled with resentment and confusion, became even more fierce.  


The emotion in the blade wasn't directed at Gion.  


Who was its true target? Perhaps Juya, or possibly even the Seventh Chime himself. 


Gion, brushing aside the Seventh Chime's resentment, aimed for the vital spot.  




Despite being surely drained of strength, the Seventh Chime didn't fall.  


The Seventh Chime gritted his teeth, seemingly oblivious to the agony he endured. 




Despite the fatal wound, the strikes carried even more force.  


With a crunching sound, Gion's collarbone shattered. The blade coldly passing by the neck left a burning sensation on the shoulder. The feeling of torn muscles was vivid in the ankle that had been twisted for too long.  


"Between the shoulder blades, the core."  




Soaked with water, Juya rose from his spot.  


"That's The Seventh Chime's deathly point."  


Juya, with more intensity in his eyes than ever, gazed at The Seventh Chime.  




Teetering on the precipice between life and death, the Seventh Chime lay, each cough a struggle, as blood flecked his lips. 




Drenched and defeated, the Seventh Chime's form was sprawled in the shallow water. 


Juya stepped over the water, mingled with the Seventh Chime's blood, and approached him.  




With empty eyes focused solely on the Seventh Chime, Juya gazed down at his impending end.  




A chilling silence directed at Juya.  


"I'll let you end it with your own hands."  


Gion handed the sword, dripping with The Seventh Chime's blood, to Juya.  


"...You are truly cruel."  


Juya immediately understood the implication of Gion's gesture.  


"If I kill this man with my own hands, you will become a human on the side of the demons." 




A human who loved a demon, a human adversary.  


To reclaim his place as the chieftain of the five guardian tribes, to evade the scorn of both humans and demons, the Seventh Chime's demise had to be by Juya's hand. 


Juya's love had indirectly led to the death of the Phoenix tribe members and the hiding populace.  


It was her last chance.  


The last opportunity for Juya to return to a time before loving the Seventh Chime.  


Gion held out the sword without withdrawing it, adding,  


"The choice is yours."  


After that, Gion said nothing more.  


He just waited for Juya's response, offering the sword.  


How much time had passed?  


Juya grasped Gion's sword.  








The Seventh Chime's eyes trembled faintly.  


"Does it hurt?"  


The once calm puddle rippled.  


The long sword was plunged not into the Seventh Chime's body but beside Juya's knee.  


"Do you hate me now..."  




"Even if so, can I be selfish just this last time...?"  


Juya lifted the limp Seventh Chime into his arms.  


Despite the opening wounds and swollen flesh falling apart in the water, the Seventh Chime did not resist Juya's touch.  


Though the blood mixed with pus seeped into Juya's skin, Juya only held the Seventh Chime tighter.  


"Talking to you always hurt my heart. Even while smiling, I'm holding back what I wanted to say. I wondered if I should be happy."  




"I feel like you'd suffer less if you stopped breathing now, but I still want to talk, just a bit more..."  


Like someone trying to cling to a fleeting moment, Juya poured out numerous words anxiously.  


After all, this moment might be the last chance to speak with the one he loved.  


"I'm sorry. That day I first saw you, I should have just treated you and sent you back. My shallow sympathy bound you... involved you with me..."  


Starting with an apology.  


"It hurts, doesn't it? A lot. I asked him not to use the white qi. It hastens our parting, leaving us no time for conversation... That's why. I wanted to talk. Only this way can we... can we hold each other..."  


His words morphed into a heartfelt confession. 


"Why did you do it? Why did you make me burn everything precious with my own hands? Was it necessary? Because I'd abandon you? What does that even mean? It was you who left me."  


Pouring out countless resentments.  


"No, that's not it. It can't be. How can I abandon what I never possessed? It wasn't petty possession; it was love. It was just you and I, us."  


Resentment intertwined with love.  


Juya murmured like that for a long time.  


Resenting The Seventh Chime, the demons, the White Flower Kingdom, the world, the gods, and finally, circling back, resenting herself.  


Gion, dripping blood, kept his place without interrupting their conversation.  




Then, Juya called the Seventh Chime by his name as she held him tighter.  


Demons have no names. So, the name 'Gon' must have been given by Juya.  


Juya continued to murmur only the name 'Gon.'  


Gon's skin mashed and stuck to Juya's body. Trying desperately to stop the seeping blood with his hands, Juya tried to prevent even a small piece of torn flesh from falling to the ground.  


The scent of death was seeping into Juya as well. More pungent and nauseating than expected, but Juya didn't leave Gon's side.  


After Juya's murmuring ended, the Seventh Chime finally spoke.  


"I hate you."  


Gon, having taken in every name Juya murmured, said it clearly, even while coughing up blood.  


"If there's a next life, I hope never to encounter you again."  


Juya is someone who knows what love is.  


He couldn't be unaware of the true meaning hidden in those words.  


And Gion knew it too.  


He could not help but understand. 


-The last face I see in my life... being you... is my lifelong regret. 


-I hope you live on, stepping over the end of my life. 


-If there is a next life, I never want to... meet you again. 


-If I'm given another life, then I want to be with you for a long time.  


Because those were the words Gion said to Rohwa as he was dying.  




A brief silence lingered, but Juya didn't let go of Gon.  


He just nodded his head.  


"Yes. I will." 

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