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For the Downfall of My Beloved Chapter 3

Updated: Jan 24

The ability to read someone's heart just by looking into their eyes was both a blessing and a curse. 

 

Rohwa's eyes openly conveyed her inner tumult – confusion, yearning, and profound distress. 

 

If only Rohwa's gaze could have been less revealing, less candid when it rested upon Gion. Perhaps then, the pain of looking into those depths would have been more bearable. 

 

Gion saw in her the child of the enemy who killed his family, the last descendant of the royal family he vowed to destroy. Yet, when Rohwa looked at him with such eyes, it felt like a breath of fresh air. Gion felt an inexplicable disgust at this sensation. 

 

"Gion. What is this…" 

 

Gion's body shielded the king's lifeless form, yet the stark pool of blood on the floor lay bare the gruesome truth.  

 

He knew that Rohwa, with her delicate constitution, was ill-equipped to confront such stark brutality. 

 

She wasn't resilient but fragile, often breaking easily. And Gion's prediction was right. Rohwa, with trembling lips, forced a smile and slowly approached Gion. 

 

"I must have missed you too much. To the extent of dreaming such a dream. Right?" 

 

"...Rohwa." 

 

It was a single call. Rohwa shivered at the sorrow in her name but didn't stop. Despite her faltering steps, she approached Gion with desperate determination. 

 

"Why is my body reacting like this? You never visit my dreams, and now this…" 

 

Rohwa's hand reached for Gion's head. Only then did Gion feel the cold of his long, frozen hair. Chills ran down his spine as his hair brushed against his back. It was a painful, cutting sensation. If her delicate bare skin touched it, it would surely freeze instantly. 

 

"Don't come any closer." 

 

Gion stepped back from Rohwa. The sound of splashing echoed as the warm blood soaked his feet.  

 

The tragic sensation made his body stiffen. 

 

It felt like the spirits of countless people were grabbing his ankles, pulling him down. 

 

If only, as Rohwa said, this were a dream.  

 

To pretend it's a dream and ask Rohwa, with her fragility as a shield, to brush his hair back. 

 

But every sense was vivid. The screams of his comrades and the demons reveling in them. It couldn't possibly be a dream. 

 

"...You know this isn't a dream." 

 

Rohwa, stunned by Gion's cold tone for the first time, looked around. Her beheaded mother, her father being consumed by demons, the blood-stained path, and Gion's empty eyes.  

 

Rohwa's face, always glowing with a rosy hue, turned pale. 

 

"Gion. Do you realize what you've done?" 

 

"...Yes." 

 

"Ah, ah…" 

 

Rohwa slowly approached the king, where a black sword was embedded.  

 

But Gion firmly stood his ground, preventing her from getting closer.  

The already demon-possessed, blackened body showed no movement.  

 

Just another host-seeking shadow flickering. 

 

"Don't die! If you die…!" 

 

As the sinister mix of the king's blood and the demonic shadow nearly grazed Rohwa's feet, Gion's face contorted with disgust. He swiftly enveloped her in an embrace, willing to endure her rebukes indefinitely but unable to stomach the loathsome demon so much as touching her. Even if it meant overstepping boundaries with the princess. Even if it resulted in his execution. Rohwa, held by Gion, began to scream. 

 

"Let go! Let me go!" 

 

She continuously struck Gion's shoulders, not looking away from the king with the black sword. A crushing pain surged through his haphazardly aligned shoulder bones. But Gion did not stop. His hair, tied back but disheveled, brushed against Rohwa as little as possible while he walked towards the royal throne. 

 

Thump. 

 

Gion seated Rohwa on the throne. 

 

"This is now your place." 

 

"...What?" 

 

The throne, made of white jade and adorned with precious gems, with cushions and backrests of fine silk, seemed too much for the now frail Rohwa.  

 

She looked gaunt, dressed in simple clothes, a stark contrast to her former regal appearance. This was the seat once occupied by Rohwa's father. Her already pale complexion turned ghostly white as she realized where she was sitting. 

 

"How dare you sit me here. By what right...!" 

 

"..." 

 

"Do you even understand what it means to have killed my parents? Even if I tried to defend you, you're a dead man now! Are you planning to flee from White Flower Kingdom?!" 

 

"...Rohwa." 

 

"You may have seen them as corrupt royalty, but they were my parents! No matter who they were, they were my parents, Gion!" 

 

Rohwa began to struggle, trying to rise from her seat. 

 

Gion firmly grasped the armrests of the throne, leaning forward.  

Rohwa hesitated for a moment as their faces drew close. Gion stared quietly at her. 

 

"Princess." 

 

Rohwa is smart, but she doesn't understand the situation as well as Gion, who has traversed the 'Valley of Snow.'  

 

The king only used the White Qi to extend his own life, enjoying prolonged wealth and honor, never teaching Rohwa how to inherit it. However, the White Flag began to fade, and the demons of the 'Valley of Snow,' realizing this, started to hope for the blood of the royal heir and a chance to escape the valley. 

 

The problem was that all this would result from Rohwa's death, and Gion was the only one aware of this.  

 

The only way for Rohwa and White Flower Kingdom to survive was for her to inherit the White Qi, a secret Gion discovered in the 'Valley of Snow.' 

 

First, the White Qi can be inherited if the current holder dies or renounces it.  

 

Second, it can choose a new holder who is strong enough. 

 

The first condition was met, but the second depended on Rohwa. 

 

To become strong, she needed to rise above her wounds, fiercer and more intense, like forging iron. 

 

And the one who could inflict the greatest wound on Rohwa was none other than Gion.  

 

They had both crossed a point of no return, and Gion was acutely aware of this. 

 

If so, he was willing to become the object of Rohwa's hatred. If stepping on a hated Gion made her stronger, then so be it. 

 

"Listen carefully to what I say." 

 

Gion took a deep breath and tried to steady his trembling voice. 

He hoped that Rohwa would not see through his true feelings this time. 

 

He hoped that his much-changed self could hide from Rohwa's unchanged eyes. 

 

He hoped that the abyss that had been consuming him for six years would help him this time. 

 

"Don't act like a child." 

 

He deliberately chose words that would hurt Rohwa the most, the cruel words he had spat out before going to battle. Each word was meant to be as cold as frost, freezing in her heart, never melting, leaving a permanent mark to strengthen her in moments of weakness. Rohwa's expression began to distort. 

 

"Your father lived off the blood of White Flower Kingdom's people. He deserved to die." 

 

"Gion!" 

 

"Now you are the king of White Flower Kingdom. No one will indulge your whims." 

 

"How dare you…!" 

 

Rohwa, in a fit of rage, drew the dagger from Gion's waist and held it to his throat.  

 

It was the same dagger she had used to threaten him not to leave for battle. 

 

Rohwa bit her lip hard, trying not to let tears fall, biting until she bled. 

 

"I will kill you myself…" 

 

Her voice shook with betrayal. Yet, the blade she pointed at Gion was not aimed at a vital spot.  

 

There was no king in White Flower Kingdom; only Rohwa, the royal heir, could sit on the throne. 

 

 If Rohwa failed to manifest the White Qi, White Flower Kingdom would face true destruction, along with her life. Gion would have liked to inherit the White Qi and restore White Flower Kingdom's glory for Rohwa and her people if possible. But that was impossible, as the White Flag only manifested in the royal bloodline. 

 

Rohwa had to manifest the White Qi. 

 

"...Do it." 

 

"What?" 

 

Gion gritted his teeth and grabbed Rohwa's wrist, holding the knife. 

 

Scrape. 

 

A long cut formed on Gion's left neck.  

 

The knife missed the artery by a hair because Roha pulled her arm away at the last moment. 

 

Blood spurted onto Rohwa's face, and Gion collapsed onto her lap. 

 

"...What?" 

 

Rohwa was speechless, holding the dagger. Gion gasped for breath. 

There was no sign of the White Qi manifesting in Rohwa. 

 

It wasn't enough. She needed to become more desperate, more miserable.  

 

Only then would the White Dragon protect her. Only then could he close his eyes in peace. 

 

She needs to see with her own eyes the last person she had was gone. That's the only way she can become stronger. 

 

Survive. 

 

Gion began to pour heartless words onto Rohwa. 

 

"Twelve years ago, that day... I regret ever catching your eye." 

 

'If I could go back to that time, knowing the end, I would still gladly return.' 

 

"Returning alive from the Valley of Snow... and being able to annihilate your family is a blessing bestowed by the heaven..." 

 

'I am glad to see you like this, even in this way.' 

 

"The last face I see in my life... being yours... is a lifelong regret." 

 

'I wish the last of my life could be a stepping stone for your survival.' 

 

"If there is a next life, I never want to... encounter you again." 

 

'If I am granted another life, then I wish to be with you longer.' 

 

Tears streaming, Rohwa strangled the wound on Gion's neck with both hands. 

 

"How can you leave like this! How can I... How can I alone uphold White Flower Kingdom without anyone!" 

 

Her voice, pleading at first, quickly tainted with hatred and confusion. 

 

"No! Not now! You... Yes, you must witness the downfall of White Flower Kingdom and die in agony. You must suffer and die witnessing the destruction of White Flower Kingdom, which you treasured so much!" 

 

At that moment, a chilling sensation enveloped Rohwa and Gion. 

 

'...Ah.' 

 

Gion clung to his blurring vision. 

 

A clear White Qi fluttered around Rohwa's form. 

 

It was pure white, the essence of the White Qi. 

 

The White Qi enveloped Rohwa gently, emitting a bright light. 

 

There was no other way to describe it but brilliant. 

 

A wave of relief washed over him. He felt as light as if he had thrown off a heavy sandbag he had been carrying on his body. 

What happens to White Flower Kingdom now? Will it move forward for the glory of everyone as before? With the protection of the White Dragon, and since Rohwa is the one receiving this protection, it must be different. 

 

'... It's beautiful.' 

 

Rohwa's voice was fading further away. 

 

Gion quietly closed his eyes. 

 

*** 

 

Engulfed in impenetrable darkness, Gion felt as if he were submerged in the unknown depths. Is this the realm beyond life? If so, could he reunite with his fallen comrades and family? Even the torments of hell seemed a worthy price for such a reunion. With resignation, Gion allowed the darkness to envelop him. 

 

Then, suddenly. 

 

[Gion.] 

 

A familiar, heart-wrenching voice. Just hearing his name made his heart ache. Gion opened his eyes. 

 

"...Father?" 

 

But what he saw was the day his father left for battle. A young Gion, not even ten years old, begging his father not to go, fearing he would lose him. 

 

"Why must Father bear the glory of White Flower Kingdom?! There are others; why must it be you!" 

 

Right. That was how it was. He clung to his father's hem, crying. And his father's words still echoed clearly in his mind. 

 

[Before the glory of White Flower Kingdom, it's for the safety of our family.] 

 

[Who would question when it's for the life of a loved one?] 

 

[When they come together, it's for the people of White Flower Kingdom, and that becomes the glory of White Flower Kingdom.] 

 

[My role is to ensure that as many as possible who fight for White Flower Kingdom's glory return home.] 

 

[Gion, when you have someone precious, you'll understand what I mean.] 

 

Father, you are right. Not a single word of yours is wrong. 

 

Yet, unlike my father, I have failed in my duties. I couldn't bring even a single soul back to their loved ones. Not my family, not my comrades, not the glory of our nation, nor a loved one. 

 

I couldn't protect them. 

 

If only I had been smarter, stronger. 

 

Could I have saved at least one life? 

 

With this fleeting thought, Gion halted his musings. 

 

How dare I entertain such a fantasy? 

 

A powerless, incompetent general- that's who Gion is. 

 

The sin of not saving his comrades in the 'Valley of Snow' of barely preserving a wretched life. 

 

And the only thing he could do with such a life was to assassinate the king. 

 

And so, Gion's legacy was tainted further by the grievous wounds he inflicted upon Rohwa. 

 

In the end, death was the only outcome. 

 

'...I am no different from the king.' 

 

Gion closed his eyes. Memories with Rohwa flashed through his mind. 

 

Rohwa, who always ran to him with a bright smile. Rohwa, who taught him new emotions at every moment. Rohwa, who would stroke his hair despite her awkward and sharp words. Rohwa, who insisted on coming to the training ground on hot days, only to catch a heatstroke. 

There wasn't a single moment he could let go of. He missed her terribly. 

 

As these numerous scenes passed by, a warm voice emerged from somewhere.  

 

He had never heard it before, but it was gentle yet solemn... 

 

[In the land spread with the dark qi of demons, the beloved White Dragon of the heavens will descend.] 

 

'...What?' 

 

Even with his eyes closed, Gion could see light seeping into his body. 

 

[Finally, the darkness will clear, and the White Flowers will bloom in full.] 

 

*** 

 

"Gasp!" 

 

Gion opened his eyes to a cold sensation. 

 

'...What is this?' 

 

Surely, Gion had died. He had cut his own throat with Rohwa's dagger, undoubtedly. 

 

The sensation was still vivid, yet Gion was breathing. 

 

'Where am I…' 

 

Then came a voice, painful even in dreams. 

 

"...It took a hundred years." 

 

Rohwa, sitting on the throne in White Hall, was looking down at Gion. 




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