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For the Downfall of My Beloved Chapter 23

Updated: Feb 22

Fifty years ago, it was a day when the sound of spring rain that started to fall from the night made the mood gloomy instead. 

  

Rohwa silently watched the droplets falling with a plip, plop sound, resting her elbows on the windowsill. 

  

Until early morning, the clear rain continued, and the flower petals fell and floated precariously. 

  

Hwaran stood humbly small behind Rohwa, and Rohwa asked, 

"What exactly does 'human-like' mean, Hwaran?" 

  

Rohwa leaned against the windowsill. Her arms looked like a tree branch that could break at any moment. Her shoulders were tensely drawn, making her already small frame appear even smaller. Her eyes were swollen, possibly from not sleeping all night. Her body, leaning against the windowsill, seemed like it could fall at any moment. Shabby, frail, powerless... 

  

Hwaran, taller than the average adult woman, looked down at Rohwa and swept back her hair that reached down to her waist. 

  

"Is this the time to worry about such things when the White Flower Kingdom is in danger?" 

  

When Rohwa didn't respond, Hwaran sighed with frustration. 

  

After all, Hwaran is the king of spring spirits. She couldn't define what being 'human-like' is, as she herself isn't human, but paradoxically, that made it easier for her to answer. 

  

"When it rains, you indulge in emotions and ponder such things." 

  

"......" 

  

"Isn't being controlled by emotions and succumbing to depression when the air changes a bit what being 'human-like' is?" 

  

She should burst into laughter now. As always, laugh heartily, saying, 'You're right, that's true,' hiding the signs of struggle and standing up as if it's nothing. She's the only hope of the White Flower Kingdom, a descendant of the white dragon with white qi and Rohwa at the same time. 

  

"Does that make me human-like too...?" 

  

But contrary to hope, Rohwa murmured, leaning against the windowsill. Rohwa's blood-red eyes were filled with disgust, trembling violently, as if she herself felt disillusioned with being human. 

  

Soon, Rohwa's eyes filled with emptiness, as if everything in the world was trivial. 

  

Rohwa was drenched by the rain splattering on the windowsill, which twisted Hwaran's sentiment. 

  

Whoosh- 

  

A warm breeze wrapped around the White Dragon Castle, and the rain subsided. A small rainbow formed as sunlight touched the ground, and dewdrops on the grass blades sparkled. 

  

"Now, get up." 

  

Rohwa got up and moved away from the windowsill. Only then did Hwaran feel her tensed expression relaxing. 

  

Yet, Rohwa's eyes remained the same. Rohwa had spent many spring nights like that. 

  

Yes, those eyes are the problem. Even now, fifty years later, those eyes are unforgettable. 

  

Gion's eyes looking at Hwaran now are no different from Rohwa's eyes back then. 

  

Eyes filled with emptiness as if everything in the world is trivial, yet full of disgust and evident fatigue. 

  

Like a breathing corpse, a withered and twisted situation. 

  

"Put away the sword." 

  

Hwaran stood before Gion, not moving an inch despite feeling a chilling sensation wrapping around her neck. 

  

"Do you intend to kill the king of spring spirits with the Chunhwa sword now?" 

  

"It's not impossible." 

  

Plip, plop. 

  

Rain began to fall on the western mountains. 

  

The Chunhwa sword, emitting a gray light, looked colder with the dewdrops on it. 

  

Gion, like Rohwa, who used to lean on the windowsill and lose strength in her body, loosely hung his shoulders but firmly gripped the Chunhwa sword. 

  

"......" 

  

Once human doubt takes root, it spreads uncontrollably. 

  

Like how a stump remains even when a willow is cut. If it comes to this, Gion will kill Hwaran. However, to restore the glory of the White Flower Kingdom as quickly as possible, the king of spring spirits is a necessary element. 

  

So there's only one way. 

  

To uproot the doubt with honesty. 

  

"Rohwa plans to offer you as a sacrifice to the demon king when you obtain all the pieces of light and can properly utilize the white qi. In exchange, the White Flower Kingdom will preserve its form." 

  

A truth so brutally honest, it's horrific. Accepting it is up to Gion. 

  

Swish- 

  

A stream of blood flowed from Hwaran's neck as Gion's sword cut, and at the same time, heavy rain poured. 

  

Gion didn't sheathe his sword and asked, 

  

"Did the princess try to protect the White Flower Kingdom?" 

  

"So what?" 

  

Hwaran, feeling the cold blade on her neck, merely smirked. 

  

"It's not important that the child tried to protect the White Flower Kingdom. What's important is that the White Flower Kingdom has fallen. Does the integrity of the castle's structure mean the White Flower Kingdom hasn't fallen? Does it mean it's protected just because the people are alive?" 

  

"......" 

  

"Being a descendant of the white dragon and passing the white qi to someone else, avoiding the responsibilities you should have carried. That's what's important." 

  

Swoosh. 

  

Hwaran approached Gion, even though she felt the sword grazing her skin. 

  

"Yes, I don't blame you for not understanding. How could any human endure that situation?" 

  

One step, then another. 

  

"And the same goes for you." 

  

Humans are weak. Easily swayed by circumstances, shaken by the past, causing disruption in the present. 

  

That's not to say they deserve blame. But Gion must not do the same. 

  

Like Rohwa, crumbling and leading to the sacrifice of many, it's sad, but that's the reality. 

  

"I've seen with my own eyes how that fragile girl crumbled. Tethered to the past, she ended up that way. Was it because the child was foolish? It's an inevitable part of being human. Can you guarantee you won't end up the same, being human yourself?" 

  

"....." 

  

"If you knew this story, you would undoubtedly be swayed by Rohwa. In the end, you would think Rohwa made the White Flower Kingdom this way to exact revenge on you." 

  

Crack! 

  

Hwaran firmly grasped the Chunhwa sword with her tiny hand. 

  

Even with rainwater entering her eyes, she stared at Gion with wide-open eyes. 

  

Blood diluted with rainwater pooled in a puddle. 

  

"Are you sure your sympathy for that child won't hinder the glory of the White Flower Kingdom?" 

  

A brief silence followed. 

  

Gion, drenched in the rain, quietly lowered his sword. 

  

"That's a relief." 

  

"...What?" 

  

"That the princess did at least that to preserve the form of the White Flower Kingdom. That means there is a chance for me." 

  

Gion spoke without a tremor in his voice. 

  

With a mention of only White Flower Kingdom's glory, Hwaran blinked her eyes. 

  

That's a relief?  

  

Is that something that can be said in this situation? 

  

More shocked than puzzled, Hwaran spoke, 

"Rohwa is planning to offer you as a sacrifice to the demon king. Ultimately, the demon king will try to kill you." 

  

But Gion didn't respond to her words. 

  

He just sheathed his sword and moved. 

  

"If our conversation is over, let's move on." 

  

*** 

  

When you're drenched in blood, you realize anew that there's such a thing as gravity in the world. 

  

Heavier than when soaked in water, the body feels heavier. Along with a damp, hot sensation, steps also become heavy. Sticky and quickly hardening, cracking with every movement. 

  

Even if the blood soaking the body is washed away by the rain, the smell of blood and the heat linger for quite some time. 

  

But Gion didn't care how long those remnants stayed on his body. 

  

He would have to be drenched in blood again anyway. 

  

Creak. 

  

As Gion stepped onto the porch of the Jeokmungwan, a strange sound echoed. 

  

That moment. 

  

Boom! 

  

Gion stopped in his tracks. He immediately turned around and swung the Chunhwa sword. 

  

A solid dark force blocked the sword strike, rippling. 

  

"I didn't expect to see you here." 

  

As Gion quietly observed the shadow, a woman revealed herself. 

  

"Move aside." 

  

Rohwa, with a scrunched face, glared at Gion, who was blocking the entrance to Jeokmungwan. 

  

But as if he didn't hear Rohwa's words, Gion just calmly observed her, his back still turned to the entrance. 

  

Rohwa must have come to find Seogi and the Fourth Chime, knowing that Gion was working to correct the distorted history. It was a logical step. 

  

Hence, questioning each other's presence there was unnecessary. Rohwa and Gion firmly stood their ground, facing each other in front of the Jeokmungwan. 

  

"You were planning to offer me as a sacrifice to the Demon King." 

  

"...Yes. That was the only way the White Flower Kingdom could even maintain its form." 

  

Rohwa, with a faint smile, flipped her long hair that reached down to her waist. 

  

She approached Gion slowly and said, 

  

"Did you think I spared you because of some lingering affection, even as small as a speck of dust?" 

  

Creak. 

  

A precarious sound came from the floor, bearing Gion's weight. 

Gion glanced at the ground but did not move. 

  

Still guarding the entrance of Jeokmungwan, he muttered, 

"A little." 

  

At Gion's words, Rohwa's red eyes momentarily wavered. 

  

Then, 

  

Thrum, thrum, thrum. 

  

The ground seemed to vibrate, and a massive shadow began to cast over Jeokmungwan. 

  

"I asked the Fifth Chime to bring you, but you came of your own accord." 

  

The Fourth Chime, with its massive stature, resembled a bear. 

  

Its body was covered with brown fur, and it had three heads. 

  

The face on the left showed sadness, the right joy, and the one in the center anger. 

  

The face showing sadness muttered, 

  

"Why... Why, Princess... you too..." 

  

"Stop." 

  

The head in the center spoke firmly, causing the left head to pout and shut its mouth. 

  

"There is no Seogi you're looking for." 

  

The right head smirked at Gion and snickered, 

  

"......" 

  

Screeee- 

  

The Chunhwa sword began to be enveloped by the white qi. Gion descended from the porch, passing by Rohwa. 

  

Looking up at the Fourth Chime before him, a shadow swiftly flew down from the sky. 

  

Swoosh. 

  

A man with massive wings landed softly, flapping them gently. 

  

The wings were so black they almost seemed blue. 

  

They were covered with ice crystals as if frosted. 

  

The man who landed gracefully opened his eyes slowly. At his appearance, the Fourth Chime chuckled. 

  

"Instead, I intend to give you a different gift." 

  

Rohwa, with a twitch of her eyebrows, looked at the man. 

  

Calmly holding his ground but seemingly displeased, he let out a small sigh. 

  

"Why is the Second Chime here?" 

  

The Second Chime folded his wings with an impassive face. 

  

"When you so openly hunt for the Chimes and disrupt the White Flower Kingdom..." 

  

The Second Chime glanced at Gion. As their eyes met, the man's eyes curved into a crescent. 

  

"Do you expect us to just wait idly?" 

  

His tone was polite yet languid but eerily cold. 

  

It seemed as if he might attack Gion, showing a murderous intent, yet also appeared to be observing the situation as if it were merely amusing. 

  

Even with Gion wrapped in the white qi, the Second Chime bowed to Rohwa. 

  

"Will you join us, Princess?" 

  

Rohwa did not acknowledge the Second Chime's greeting and turned away. 

  

"Handle it amongst yourselves." 

  

The Second Chime smiled broadly, his smile splitting his face. 

  

The dark energy emanated by the two Chimes rippled, obscuring the sun that floated in the sky. 

  

Darkness descended upon Seosan in an instant. The visibility was reduced so much that only the forms of the Chimes could be discerned. 

  

Whirr- 

  

The Chunhwa Sword, which was imbued with the white qi, emitted a light green glow that illuminated the surrounding area in a blue hue. 

  

At that moment. 

  

"How beautiful." 

  

Thud. 

  

The Chunhwa sword began to throb at the words of a man. 

  

"Why wasn't I invited to this intriguing play?" 

  

"Ah… Father…" 

  

The Demon King stood by Rohwa's side, looking at Gion. 

  

Thud, thud. 

  

The vibration of the Chunhwa sword was so intense that Gion's wrist almost trembled. 

  

Before Gion could move, the Demon King was instantly in front of the Fourth Chime. 

  

"It's interesting, but not the play I wanted to see." 

  

"...What do you mean-" 

  

"Do not intervene, Second Chime. The Fourth Chime will fight him alone." 

  

"What…?" 

  

All three heads of the Fourth Chime, previously showing different expressions, now mirrored the same look. 

  

A face mixed with fear and confusion. 

  

At their reaction, the Demon King smiled as if amused and said, 

  

"Are you planning to defy your father's words?" 

  

Although the tone was playful, the Fourth Chime stepped back, shaking its head. 

  

"......" 

  

Crack. 

  

Gion gripped the handle of the Chunhwa sword tightly. 

  

The handle, made of white stone, felt crushed under his grip. 

The Fourth Chime and the Second Chime could join hands to kill Gion. 

  

It was natural for them to find a way to kill him as they wreaked havoc in the White Flower Kingdom. 

  

But the actions of the Demon King were puzzling. 

  

Step. 

  

Gion approached the Demon King. 

  

Why would the Demon King, who held the White Flower Kingdom in his grasp, want to take Gion as a sacrifice as well? 

  

The reason was unknown, but two things were certain. 

  

First, Gion had no intention of being manipulated by the Demon King. 

  

"Demon King." 

  

The second reason was that the Demon King wanting Gion as a sacrifice might be the key to unlocking the secret Gion sought. 

  

Screeee- 

  

As if reacting to the dark energy enveloping the space, the Chunhwa sword shone brightly white. 

  

The Demon King showed a smile at this spectacle. 

  

At that moment. 

  

"What are you doing?" 

  

The Demon King furrowed his brows and asked. 

  

And for good reason. 

  

"Do I need to fight?" 

  

Gion sheathed his sword in its scabbard. 

  

Whirr. 

  

Instantly, the white qi dispersed from Gion's form. The white qi sparkled as it scattered, resembling falling snow. 

  

Gion glanced briefly at the Chimes and then addressed the Demon King. 

  

"You kill them." 




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