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For the Downfall of My Beloved Chapter 32

Updated: Mar 6

Who would willingly walk into a place where death awaits them? 


Or rather, does such a person even exist? 


The answer to that question was right in front of Hoyeong. 


With a voice as brittle as dry twigs, Hoyeong firmly composed himself and began to speak. 


"You knew coming here meant death." 


It was akin to asking why one would come to a place where death was certain. 


Gion must have known this as well. 


Amidst the menacing shadows encircling him, Gion stared straight at Hoyeong. 


"You know why I came here." 


No one wishes to enter a place of certain death by their own volition. 


It was as if there was a compelling reason he had no choice but to come. 


And that reason was created by Hoyeong. 




Hoyoung's lips turned pale, and he pressed them tightly together. 


Gion was someone who would not hesitate to destroy himself to achieve his goal. 


And his current goal was to safely return Rohwa to the White Flower Kingdom. 


Then, there was only one thing Gion could do. 


To become bait until Rohwa reaches the Demon King. 


To divert the attention of the demons pursuing Rohwa, allowing her to escape. 


In this endeavor, Gion's safety was of no concern. 




The Third Chime sighed deeply, staring blankly at the ground. 


"What the hell are these guys up to…" 


Though her long hair partially covered her face, it was clear that her expression was distorted. 




A black light shimmered, circling around the Third Chime. 


The light, sharp and solid, turning into crystals, aimed fiercely at Gion, sharper than any blade. 


"So, the princess is on her way to father, isn't she...?" 




Shredded tree bark fell over Gion's head. 


The sharp crystals were burrowing into the tree at an unfathomable speed. 


Flesh split open in unison, where the crystals passed, bleeding. 


If he hadn't instinctively ducked, his entire body would have been gruesomely torn apart. 


"What are you doing?" 


Without even looking at Gion, the Third Chime gazed past him as if searching for someone on the horizon. 


Hoyeong recognized that cold gaze. 


It was the same expression the Third Chime wore when she nonchalantly burst the heads of his tribesmen like fruits. 


Now, she wore the same expression, casually floating ice crystals in her hand. 


"Aren't you going to kill him?" 


The Third Chime cocked her head, questioning the demons. 




The demons, exhaling frost, charged towards Gion. 


Gion just watched them. 


It was futile. 


Facing such numbers alone would inevitably lead to fatal injuries, and instilling fear by brutally killing one of them was impossible with the Third Chime present. 


Even if he somehow managed to survive, some would get past Gion and reach Rohwa. 


So then… 




Swiftly, Gion turned and began to run. 




The demons' morale soared as they saw Gion's back, chasing after him with cackling laughter, their tension now gone. 


Just as Hoyeong was about to step forward: 




A thin layer of frost began to form around Hoyeong's Adam's apple. 


"You're still breathing, I see." 


The Third Chime brushed her hair back behind her head while standing behind Hoyeong. 


"What have you actually accomplished until now?" 


In an instant, the Third Chime was in front of Hoyeong, her radiant eyes filled with murderous intent. 




Hoyeong's already pale lips began to freeze, flesh sticking to the ice. 


"You were the one who said it. You promised you'd bring me that man running away with the princess right before my eyes." 




"But none of what you've said has come to pass, has it?" 




The Third Chime gripped Hoyeong's throat tightly. 


As her long nails dug into the frozen throat, Hoyeong felt as if his bones were being crushed. 


"Such a waste of air. You are merely breathing without fulfilling your role…" 


Blood vessels burst in Hoyeong's blue eyes. 


The Third Chime loosened her grip as the veins in Hoyeong's eyes surged. 


"I'll give you one last chance to save your tribesmen." 


With pupils narrowed like a cat in the sunlight, the Third Chime's eyes sparkled as she spoke. 


"Bring that bastard here, now." 


Just a little more. 


That phrase held no meaning anymore. 


This was the last chance. 


The last opportunity to protect the remaining tribesmen and honor the souls of those who had died. 




Without a word, Hoyeong drew his sword from its sheath and began chasing after Gion. 


As he ran faster, wounds opened, and blood flowed. The mere touch of the wind on his wounds was enough to make him dizzy, but Hoyeong quickly closed the distance between himself and Gion. 


Soon, Gion's figure came into Hoyeong's sight. 




Hoyeong's blue energy grazed past Gion's hair. 


Had the attack landed slightly more to the side, a long scar would have surely been drawn across Gion's neck. 


Hoyeong swiftly cut through the demons, entering their midst. 


"Clear the path." 


After a glance at Hoyeong, the demons made way, catching sight of Gion's bloodied hair fluttering in the air. 


It was a natural progression for the demons, who had not even been able to touch a single hair on Gion despite their rampant dark energy. 




Gion looked at Hoyeong reflected in the frozen tree. 


Just like the times during the war in Biryu, leading countless soldiers and charging at the enemy. 


The difference was that back then, those who followed Hoyeong were his people, but now they were demons. 


And that Hoyeong was no longer an ally. 




He had anticipated this would happen. 


It was clear that Hoyeong alone couldn't defeat the Third Chime, and with the demon attack on Seosan, it was obvious that the Third Chime had taken Hoyeong's tribesmen hostage. 


But even so, Gion couldn't just allow himself to be captured. 


"Hey, where are you going...!" 


"Hurry, catch him!" 


Seeing where Gion was heading, the demons seemed to finally realize why Gion had been running, and their desperation grew. 


Understandably so. 




A stone bridge laid over a vigorously flowing river. 


Gion stopped there. 




It was narrow enough for only one person to pass. 


The demons, unable to set foot on the bridge, gritted their teeth in frustration. 


Gion turned around, drew his sword, and spoke to the halted demon. 


"Weren't you trying to follow me?" 


Gion's remark instantly contorted the demons' faces. 


"You bastard!" 


One of the demons charged at Gion right away. 




The demon was split in half and fell under the bridge. 


The corpse was swept away by the current and disappeared under the waterfall. 


"... Don't give him a chance to breathe! Keep attacking!" 


The demons started attacking Gion one by one. 


Hoyeong quietly observed the scene. 


The number of demons remained unchanged. 


However, on the stone bridge, it wasn't one against many, but one-on-one. 


It wasn't a situation that was only disadvantageous for Gion anymore. 


In fact, there were no demons that could survive against Gion here. 




One, two… 


All the demons that went ahead bled and fell under the bridge. 


Seeing this, the demons who were about to rush forward also started to hesitantly step back. 


"Move aside." 


The demons, while looking disgruntled, stepped aside as if they had met their savior. 




It's a step of no return. 




A step that should not be retraced. 


Hoyeong continued to take steps from which he couldn't back down. 


Each step held countless moments within it. 


Those not properly protected during a hundred years. 


Those not protected even after a hundred years had passed. 


Recalling each face that had passed by, Hoyeong walked resolutely. 




Neither Gion nor Hoyeong spoke a word. 


More precisely, there was no need to speak. 


Hoyeong simply ran towards Gion, and Gion ran towards Hoyeong. 




There was nothing for Hoyeong to say here. 


He was just a powerless tribal chief who had turned his back on humans and sided with the demons. 


The kind of chief who only secured the safety of his tribespeople after trading Gion's life. 


Apologies are for those who are entitled to offer them. 


So, there was only one thing Hoyeong could do here. 




Hoyeong stepped back, firmly gripping his sword. 


These two people have trained together for their entire lives.  


They are companions who have fought together on the battlefield, risking their lives.  


He couldn't possibly be unaware of the meaning behind that blade. 


Hoyeong leaped forward, swinging his sword. 




Thus, he wanted to convey his sincerity, hoping this meager wish would reach him, even if just a little. 




It was okay if he didn't understand as long as they could connect, even just a bit. 




He knew this might be selfish, but even a fleeting moment was enough. 




Hoping the final farewell would reach him. 




The sword strikes, unrefined enough to wear out the blade, stormed through. 


Encapsulating apologies, atonement, hope, and wishes. 


Hoyeong relentlessly swung his sword. 




Instead of deflecting, Gion received each strike, gathering the embedded sentences in his hands one by one. 


When a few words formed a sentence, and sentences smoothly became a context, creating a narrative. 




Gion's blade grazed past Hoyeong's flank. 


- Survive, Gion. 


The words Hoyeong had spoken during the five years of battle flashed through Gion's mind. 


"... You have no intention of killing me." 




Gion leaned forward, crossing swords with Hoyeong. 


Looking past the cold blade, Gion gazed quietly at Hoyeong. 




Anyone who saw those eyes once would never forget them. 


The eyes of someone willing to risk their own life to protect something. 


Eyes he had seen countless times in battle were now shining in Hoyeong, even a hundred years later. 


"You can't mean-" 




Hoyeong immediately retreated, thrusting his sword into the ground. 


"The lives of our tribe members were at stake." 


The members of the White Tiger tribe and Gion. 


There was a way to save them all. 


For Hoyeong to throw his life into this place. 


"Hurry and go." 


Hoyeong turned and faced the demons. 


"I couldn't, but you might be able to." 




The sword, unstained by blood, was aimed at the demon. 


"Return the White Flower Kingdom to its rightful place." 


Just a little more. 


The words Hoyoung often recited to his tribe members were, in fact, meant for himself. 


If only he had been a little stronger. 


If only he had been a little more courageous. 


If only he had strived a little harder. 


That was his fervent hope, wondering if the outcome might have been slightly different if so. 


And no one understood this desperation better than Gion. 


- If only I had been a bit more intelligent, a bit more resilient. 


- Could I not have saved at least one life? 



Floating somewhere after death, these were the words Gion agonized over. 




Right before Gion could finish his sentence. 






A hole the size of a human head appeared in Hoyeong's shoulder. 


-Hoyeong. If you die, who will take over as my sparring partner in swordsmanship? 




With his remaining arm, Hoyeong firmly held his sword, filling the width of the stone bridge with his body to block Gion from coming forward, and he stared straight ahead. 


"This detestable creature..." 


The Third Chime appeared, emanating dark energy, cutting across the demons. 


The demons trembled, fearing the wrath might be directed at them, and cast their eyes down. 


"So you bring doom upon yourself after all." 




Hoyeong's knee vanished as if it had never existed. 


-If I had planned to return alone, I wouldn't have come this far. Rise, it's an order from the general. 




Hoyeong, putting all his weight on his sword, unleashed a blue aura. 


Burning fiercely, almost showing a blue flame, it blazed intensely. 


Gion watched as bits of Hoyeong's flesh fell off. 


His hand felt sore. 


The aftershock of the clash of swords coursed through his body, causing a tumult all at once. 


His brain cooled down from the blood splattered on his face. 


"I will restore it." 


Only then did Hoyeong exhale. 


The sentences left by Hoyeong were held in Gion's hand. 


Gion pondered over each sentence and punctuated the ones that couldn't be completed due to lack of time. 


Engraving, reciting, holding them tightly in both hands so they wouldn't drift away. 


"I'll reclaim the glory of the White Flower Kingdom." 


As Gion moved away from Hoyeong, he recited the reply to the assembled sentences. 


"Let's meet again soon." 


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