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For the Downfall of My Beloved Chapter 31

Updated: Mar 5

Sssssss. 

  

A cold frost formed on the azure throne, even chillier than the throne itself. 

  

The majesty crossed his legs and rested his chin on his hand as he looked down at his subject. 

  

"So you're saying that this person named Gion took the princess away… Is that what happened?" 

  

The subject, trembling from the chill emanating from the ruler, bowed deeply. 

  

"I'm, I'm so-" 

  

Crack, crackle. 

  

Before the subject could finish speaking, the servant's body froze solid. 

  

Without a chance to scream, he became unmeltable ice, frozen in terror. 

  

Clang! 

  

"......" 

  

Blood-stained ice rolled and dirtied the floor. 

  

The surrounding subjects, beyond terrified, waited for death with a detached calmness. 

  

"How foolish I was to trust you." 

  

Rohwa had not yet been handed over to the Demon King. 

  

While Rohwa is in Gion's hands, they must recapture her. 

  

If not, it's only a matter of time before the situation completely reverses. 

  

Swooooosh. 

  

A chilly wind blew through the castle. 

  

The servants bit their lips, not daring to make a sound. 

  

Scrunch. 

  

The ruler rose from his seat, stepping on the ice fragments as he moved forward. 

  

"I'll go meet that man myself." 

  

*** 

  

Screeeech- 

  

A sound like a deep crack forming echoed through the fortress on what was once an unblemished crystal. 

  

"How warmly you all welcome me." 

  

Before the opened gates, the Demon King's army stood in dense formation. 

  

It seemed the soldiers had been arrayed in advance, standing rigid in their places. 

  

"This is the main fortress where the Western King resides. You shouldn't enter so casually." 

  

The Demon King, without responding, casually stepped forward towards the armed men. 

  

Creak. 

  

A heavy, oppressive step made a chilling sound. 

  

"I'm just here to see my son." 

  

Though his voice was soft, like a lullaby, the fortress instantly turned cold. 

  

Crack, creak, thud. 

  

The closer he got to the soldiers, the more the sound of his steps became dry and solidified. 

  

Beneath the Demon King's feet was rotten blood, and with each step forward, the smell of death intensified. 

  

Yet, the Demon King approached them with an untainted purity, not a drop of blood on him. 

  

"Is there a problem?" 

  

Perhaps the phrase 'the air was heavy' was made for moments like this. 

  

Despite their thorough preparation, the soldiers trembled involuntarily. 

  

"No, that's enough. You shouldn't come any further." 

  

They were indeed soldiers who guarded the main fortress. Even instinctively terrified, they didn't step back like the petty ones outside. 

  

"I don't want to resort to violence. Your Majesty." 

  

Swoosh. 

  

At the general's command, the soldiers drew their swords. 

  

"......." 

  

The smile vanished from the Demon King's face in an instant. 

  

He just stood there, gazing at the soldiers with an icy, frost-like stare. 

  

Whooooosh- 

  

Snow crystals began to flutter in the air. 

  

It seemed like a beautiful dance at a glance, but for the soldiers, it was no different than a noose tightening around their necks. 

  

The Demon King said nothing, but the soldiers involuntarily lowered their gaze, flinching as the snow brushed against their cheeks. 

  

"That's right. You guys are not my concern." 

  

The Demon King re-entered the fortress with a gentle smile. 

  

"How fortunate for my son to have such loyal subjects. How could a father harm his son's loyal subjects?" 

  

"......" 

  

"Why are you all so scared, sealing your lips tight? You just have to pass on the message." 

  

Crunch. 

  

Snow had piled up on the ground without notice. 

  

Unfrozen blood seeped into the snow, staining it red. 

  

"Tell him I have arrived." 

  

The soldiers flickered their eyes and lips. 

  

"......" 

  

Their lips were trembling in fear, yet they were unable to breathe properly. 

  

Their shoulders trembled, yet their hands firmly gripped the swords. 

  

Unable to move forward or retreat... 

  

The Demon King watched them, then covered his mouth with his hand and gave a peculiar smile. 

  

"The ruler isn't here, is he?" 

  

All the soldiers probably heard the same sound in their heads. 

  

A thud, as the weight of life plummeted to the ground in an instant. 

  

"If that man isn't here, it's as good as having Rohwa with him..." 

  

The blizzard stopped, and a scorching heat enveloped the fortress. 

  

Mirages twisted the space around them. 

  

Thud. 

  

The snow turned into water, and the water into steam, evaporating instantly. 

  

In that brief moment, the fortress seemed to be melting. 

  

How could this sensation be described? 

  

The soldiers felt as if all time had stopped. 

  

The Demon King's smile widened, the corners of his mouth stretching long enough to reach his ears. 

  

"Then there's no need to keep you alive, is there?" 

  

*** 

  

"Why did you come instead of the Demon King?" 

  

It was the first thing Rohwa said, speaking without a word until then. 

  

Silence. 

  

Gion moved branches aside as quietly as possible, moving deeper into the forest. 

  

"Whether it's me or the Demon King, who came doesn't matter. What's important is that you'll return to the White Flower Kingdom." 

  

Scrape. 

  

He felt blood trickle down his bare feet as branches brushed against them. 

  

Rohwa stood still, not moving from her spot. 

  

"Did you join hands with the Demon King?" 

  

Gion immediately turned around. 

  

"Move." 

  

"......." 

  

"Don't you understand the urgency?" 

  

Thud. 

  

Rohwa took a step forward. 

  

"Then you can answer while we walk." 

  

Rohwa walked beside Gion. 

  

"Where are we heading now?" 

  

"We're heading to where the Demon King is." 

  

Scrape. 

  

With each step Rohwa took, a sticky sound followed. 

  

Gion looked down at his feet. 

  

The blood flowing from his bare feet was seeping into the rough ground. 

  

Thud. 

  

Gion moved a step ahead of Rohwa. 

  

"By now, the Western Kingdom must also be aware that we are heading to the Demon King." 

  

Slice. 

  

Gion used his sword to clear the air, pushing aside leaves and branches. 

  

As he lightly scraped the surface of the ground, moist soil was revealed. 

  

"So hurry up." 

  

Whoooosh- 

  

A gentle breeze blew, and sand swirled in the air. 

  

The sand that rose settled back down, covering the bloody footprints left by Rohwa. 

  

"......" 

  

Crunch. 

  

The sound of footsteps was much softer, perhaps because the surface was filtered.  

  

Instead, the sound of fluttering clothes in the wind was louder. 

  

"Is there a way?" 

  

This is the Western Kingdom. 

  

No matter how much they ran, it was like being in the palm of the ruler. 

  

If the ruler wanted to blind Gion, he could do it in any way he wanted. 

  

He could mobilize all the demons in the Xuan Kingdom to find the two of them. 

  

It was a race against time. 

  

So, it wasn't about how fast they moved, but how they moved that mattered. 

  

Clatter. 

  

A cliff appeared as they reached the end of the steep mountain path. 

  

Small stones tumbled off the edge from Gion's feet, but no sound of them hitting the ground was heard. 

  

Before the profound darkness, Gion stopped in his tracks. 

  

At that moment. 

  

Boom-! 

  

A different light burst into the night sky shrouded in darkness. 

  

The spark, starting like a small star, soared high, adorning the dark with vibrant colors. 

  

At first glance, it was a beautiful sight, but the expressions of Gion and Rohwa watching it were desolately grim. 

  

"That's our way." 

  

At Gion's words, Rohwa, who had been looking at the light, turned her gaze to Gion. 

  

"What is that?" 

  

Gion watched the remains left by the light, estimating where the fireworks had been launched. 

  

Hoyeong had sent the signal. 

  

It was not far away, so they had enough time. 

  

Gion started to crouch down and pull something out. 

  

Rohwa squinted her eyes, trying to see through the dark. 

  

"You..." 

  

When a bright light disappears, it leaves behind a greater darkness. 

  

After a while, Rohwa realized what Gion was holding and let out a hollow laugh. 

  

"So it was just the beginning." 

  

The soft murmur scattered quietly through the mountain. 

  

In Gion's hand were about a dozen fireworks. 

  

"These will go off three hours from now." 

  

Crunch. 

  

Gion set the fireworks at the edge of the cliff and then rose from his spot. 

  

"We'll start moving then." 

  

*** 

  

Swoooosh- 

  

A refreshing breeze dried the moisture in the forest. 

  

Hoyeong leaned against a large zelkova tree, fully embracing the wind. 

  

It stung. 

  

His skin was so tattered that even a mere breeze made him bite his lip. 

  

Each wound throbbed, not letting blood flow naturally but rather forcing it out. 

  

His thighs were wrapped in cloth, but the area around the femur was devastatingly damaged, making it hard to even stand. 

  

The upper third of the body was almost a mess, with blood vessels protruding.  

  

The flesh was so tightly crushed that everything was stuck together, so there wasn't much blood. 

  

Yet, his head was so foggy that he couldn't even smell the blood. 

  

Am I about to fall asleep? Not yet. 

  

Just a little longer... 

  

How long must we live like this? 

  

Hadn't he always answered 'just a little longer' to that question? 

  

Faces of tribe members, whose heads burst open like pomegranate seeds, flashed before his eyes. 

  

"......" 

  

Hoyeong immediately dismissed his thoughts. 

  

He had to save the remaining tribe members. 

  

So this was the only way. 

  

Hoyeong gazed over the mountain horizon like someone searching for a mirage. 

  

Gion should come before consciousness fades. 

  

That would save the tribe members. 

  

But in doing so, Gion was sure to die. 

  

Ssshh. 

  

A shadow cast behind him seemed to press down on his chest. 

  

Huff. 

  

Hoyeong took labored breaths. 

  

Inhaling and exhaling. 

  

He struggled to get air into his injured lungs. 

  

Even breathing was painful. 

  

"......" 

  

Hoyeong's breathing grew faint. 

  

Gion shouldn't come. 

  

That would save Gion's life. 

  

But then, the tribe members would surely die. 

  

No matter where Hoyeong turned, someone precious would lose their life. 

  

Hoyeong stood still, dripping blood, in that place. 

  

Contradictory sentences endlessly collided and entangled until a certain moment. 

  

Rustle. 

  

There was a sign of someone's approach from afar. 

  

Hoyeong, waiting quietly for the arrival, composed his thoughts and straightened his clothes. 

  

Though the dried blood made his skin crackle with each movement, Hoyeong didn't falter, flowing like water. 

  

"......" 

  

The figure approached, its form unclear in the blurry vision. 

  

Hoyeong furrowed his brows, watching the approaching figure. 

  

"... Finally, you've come." 

  

Gion was approaching Hoyeong. 

  

But. 

  

"... What-" 

  

Gion was alone. 

  

Thud. 

  

Hoyeong stepped forward and asked. 

  

"Gion. Where is the princess?" 

  

He had stormed the inn to save Rohwa. 

  

He must have seen the fireworks signal, and if so, both Rohwa and Gion should have arrived here together... 

  

"Hoyeong." 

  

Before Hoyeong could organize his thoughts, Gion called out to him. 

  

"How could I bring the princess when you're trying to capture me?" 

  

Gion stood firm, without a trace of movement, speaking in his usual languid tone, devoid of anger or resentment. 

  

Crack, crack, crackle. 

  

The sound of solid ice fracturing echoed. 

  

Demons, hidden in the shadows, approached armed. 

  

As if to block even a speck of wind, they surrounded Gion tightly. 

  

Gion watched the scene without any change in his expression. 

  

In the forest, there seemed to be more demons than trees. 

  

"Sigh..." 

  

Soft as fluttering petals yet laced with annoyance, a voice drifted through. 

  

Click. 

  

A woman walked over the thin ice. 

  

"Really bothersome..." 

  

The Third Chime pulled out her hairpin and held it in her hand. 

  

The silver hairpin, adorned with tassels and jewels, transformed into a long sword. 

  

She glanced at Hoyeong with her already sharp eyes and slightly nodded her head. 

  

"You foolish one... What have you done?" 

  

The Third Chime asked irritably, sweeping back her hair. 

  

But Hoyeong had something else that was important. 

  

How long had they known? 

  

Where did it all go wrong? 

  

What would happen to the tribe members now? 

  

His head was pounding so much that he couldn't hear anything. 

  

It felt like he was being pressed down on his shoulders and sucked into the ground. 

  

Even in the bottomless black eyes that showed no blame, he felt suffocated. 

  

Yet, Hoyeong did not take his eyes off Gion's, bravely facing the overwhelming heaviness that swirled around him. 

  

"......" 

  

Questions piled up endlessly, too numerous to form a sentence, nor to add a comma to elongate the sentence. 

  

The tangled and mixed-up times pierced deeper than the wounds bleeding on his body. 

  

Soon, Hoyeong, like a mummy drained of all blood, dryly muttered with desiccated eyes. 

  

"I need to put a stop on this." 




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