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For the Downfall of My Beloved Chapter 4

It's Rohwa. 

 

There was no doubt that it was her. 

 

Although his vision was blurry, Gion was certain it was Rohwa. 

 

Gion furrowed his brow to focus his eyes. 

 

Gradually, Rohwa's figure became clearer. 

 

Finally, his eyes focused. 

 

But the Rohwa he longed to see was not the Rohwa he knew. 

 

'... It's a dream.' 

 

The blue shimmer in Rohwa's eyes had turned red, like the day when blood was abundant. 

 

Rohwa must be holding a grudge against him. It was natural for her to resent him after such cruelty. That's why, even in a dream, she appeared this way. 

 

'...Is this how Rohwa felt that day?' 

 

Rohwa started to understand why Gionhad mistook her for a dream on the day he killed the king. 

 

How much did he miss her to dream such a dream? Gion closed his eyes again. 

 

"Gion. This is not a dream." 

 

The lifelessness in her voice resonated with a languor that sent shivers down Gion's spine. The smile that faintly graced Rohwa's lips bore no resemblance to the one he remembered in the moments before his death. It was a smile tinged with an unsettling blend of madness and despair, far beyond mere bitterness. 

 

'...' 

 

Even though this Rohwa seemed a stranger, Gion found himself yearning to see more of her. It felt more real than any scene he had witnessed after death. It was so convincingly Rohwa. 

 

But could it be true that he had been lying there for a hundred years? Gion's muscles had weakened so much that it was hard to even hold up his head like a newborn baby. He barely propped himself up on his hands, feeling a damp sensation on his palms. 

 

'...What is this?' 

 

The white coffin where Gion had been lying was covered entirely with white flowers. The flowers Gion had pressed down with his hand were crushed, oozing their essence. 

 

The sensation was vivid. So vivid it gave him goosebumps. 

 

"...Rohwa?" 

 

Does being resurrected from death even make sense? 

 

This must be an illusion, just like the memories of his father he had seen. 

 

However, Rohwa, as if to prove she was alive, slowly descended the stairs. 

 

"Gion." 

 

Rohwa's hair, always neatly braided, now hung long and loose,  

reaching her waist, and she was barefoot, having apparently discarded her shoes somewhere. The fine silk clothes she wore were ill-fitting, covering her hands. 

 

Her attire was haphazard, disheveled in every which way. 

 

Eventually, Rohwa reached Gion. She looked straight at him and said, "You know this isn't a dream." 

 

Gion felt his heart sink. 

 

With that one sentence from Rohwa, reality engulfed him like a tidal wave. 

 

"How is this possible… I definitely died—" 

 

"It took a hundred years..." 

 

Rohwa, with her head bowed, knelt before Gion. 

 

"Yes, a hundred years..." 

 

Rohwa murmured, her tone laden with immeasurable exhaustion. 

 

"I've been alone for a hundred years in the place you put me…" 

 

Rohwa lifted her head to look at Gion. 

 

Her red eyes were calm, like the quiet before a storm, in stark contrast to Gion's wildly trembling gaze. 

 

"Gion. You wouldn't know, would you? How I spent all that time." 

 

Rohwa listlessly relaxed her shoulders. The clothes she was wearing slipped down past her shoulders. 

 

Then Gion saw Rohwa's shoulder and couldn't help but turn pale. 

 

There, on Rohwa's once pristine shoulder, was a horrifying scar. 

 

Gion had always guarded Rohwa closely, fearing she might fall or get hurt. 

 

There were scars from being attacked by a demon. 

 

The scar was indescribable, other than being horrific. 

 

Flesh had been torn away so severely that it had left a gaping wound. 

 

But that was not all. Upon closer inspection, Rohwa's body was so marred it was easier to find where she wasn't injured. 

 

Her hands, once gentle when stroking Gion's hair, were full of scars from blade cuts. 

 

Callouses had formed from holding a sword too often, and her feet, not protected by shoes, bore old, unhealed wounds. 

 

Her hands and feet were comparatively better off. The brutal scars that occasionally showed were so extensive it was hard to tell where they began and ended. 

 

And all these injuries were the kind only the demons of the 'Valley of Snow' could inflict. 

 

Gion felt as if all the blood in his body had turned cold in an instant. 

It was a sensation only the living could feel. How could he deny it any longer? Such pain couldn't belong to the dead. 

 

Gion was alive. 

 

"...You said a hundred years have passed." 

 

Why such scars? What exactly happened over these hundred years? 

There was so much to ask. But he swallowed the questions that came to his lips. 

 

Gion bit his lip. 

 

"What happened to the White Flower Kingdom?" 

 

He knew. He somehow knew that Rohwa might bear such scars. 

 

When Gion killed the royal family, sacrificing their lives and his own to trigger the manifestation of the White Qi in Rohwa. No, even when he resolved to do so, he knew. Yet, this was the only way to save both Rohwa and White Flower Kingdom. 

 

The White Dragon's White Qi absorbs the black Qi of demons. 

 

Like a single ray of light clearing the darkness. 

 

This meant. 

 

If Rohwa possessed the White Qi, she would not die at the hands of demons. 

 

That's why Gion had risked his life. 

 

For the glory of the White Flower Kingdom and for the safety of Rohwa, who would build and enjoy that glory. 

 

But even so, Gion had no right to worry about Rohwa. 

 

Just when he hoped she would say something,  

 

Rohwa gave a faint smile and spoke. 

 

"I knew you would say that." 

 

"..." 

 

"Are you so curious about what happened ?" 

 

A brief silence fell between them. 

 

Rohwa broke it. 

 

"...Which day of the hundred years should I talk about?" 

 

Those hundred years. 

 

A period of time Gion couldn't even begin to fathom, full of misery enough to change Rohwa. 

 

With a lifeless face showing no vitality, Rohwa sifted through her memories before continuing. 

 

"Should I talk about the day the lone surviving princess of the White Flower Kingdom, walked into the Valley of Snow by her own feet?" 

 

Miserable and... 

 

"Or the day when the demons finally invaded the White Flower Kingdom?" 

 

Heartbreaking and... 

 

"Or should I talk about the day I was stoned by resentful citizens?" 

Hopeless and... 

 

"Or maybe, the day you died and I was left alone in White Flower Kingdom without a loved one?" 

 

Rohwa cast these fragments of her desolate days at Gion. 

 

And to these thrown fragments, Gion had no words to say. 

 

"Gion." 

 

"..." 

 

"You made me this way." 

 

Gion didn't even know what expression he was making. But Rohwa, as if understanding the meaning of his face, spoke. 

 

"Do you now understand what you've done?" 

 

"...Even if I could go back, I would make the same choice." 

 

Death. There is nothing more painful than that. 

 

Gion had witnessed countless deaths before his eyes. The death of a young soldier calling out his mother's name. The death of a father who couldn't even close his eyes, clutching a photo of his child. The death of a soldier who, despite being prepared for death, shed tears just before dying. He had seen them countless times. 

 

No matter what kind of life one leads, no matter how much life is like hell, it is better than death. 

 

It didn't matter if he was cursed for meddling with her life and death. It didn't matter if he was resented by Rohwa. He was prepared for such criticism. He couldn't let Rohwa die. 

 

Rohwa seemed to have read Gion's thoughts and said, 

 

"Do I look alive to you?" 

 

He was at a loss for words. Just like Rohwa said, she didn't look alive. She was closer to being dead. Like his comrades who died on the battlefield, unable to close their eyes, filled with resentment. Like Gion himself, when he was heading to White Dragon Castle to annihilate the royal family. 

 

Gion bit his lip so hard that it bled. 

 

Rohwa stared at him and then smiled with madness. 

 

As if she had been waiting for this moment. 

 

"Yes. If the general of the homeland does not think of the glory of White Flower Kingdom, it would be wrong." 

 

"..." 

 

"Having lived for a hundred years, I see now. I understand why you did what you did during the five years of war and the year in Valley of Snow. Are you so curious where the White Qi is?" 

 

At that moment, a cool breeze swept through the inside of White Hall. 

 

A sound that was like a scream or a cry echoed in his ears. 

 

And then, energy began to swirl around Rohwa. 

 

"I don't have it." 

 

A black light flickered and enveloped Rohwa. 

 

It was the light of death. The white flower that Gion held in both hands turned black and crumbled. 

 

From Rohwa, radiant with brilliant light, Gion could feel the black qi of the demon he so hated. Before Gion could say anything, Rohwa continued, 

 

"For the glory of White Flower Kingdom, someone needed to hold the White Qi, right?" 

 

Rohwa pointed at Gion's hand. 

 

"That's why I gave it to you." 

 

"...What?" 

 

That can't be. The White Qi only manifests in the prince. 

There has never been an exception since the founding of White Flower Kingdom. 

 

Gion clenched his fists tightly. 

 

"What are you talking about-" 

 

At that moment. 

 

The crumbled white flower in Gion's hand bloomed white. 

Gion stared at his hands as if mesmerized. The white flag that should have been with Rohwa was swirling in his hands. 

 

As if it rightfully belonged there, cruelly vivid. 

 

"Gag..." 

 

As if trying to vomit out the revulsion, he retched. His mind was in turmoil, his ears ringing. 

 

What situation is this? Why is the white qi, which should be with Rohwa, with Gion? 

 

The white qi that was meant to protect her and the people. 

 

Why is it in Gion's hands? 

 

But as he covered his mouth with the hands where the white flag was swirling, he felt it more clearly. 

 

The White Qi of the White Dragon, a power existing to annihilate demons, unlike the black qi that carries death, it holds the power of 'life.' 

 

"This is the best gift I could give you." 

 

Rohwa stroked Gion's hair. 

 

"Wishing you would feel exactly what I felt, I spent a hundred years." 

 

Then, looking into Gion's eyes, she said, infusing each word with the same resentment that Gion had harbored. 

 

"Your irresponsibility has led to the downfall of White Flower Kingdom." 

 

As cold as frost and sharper than any blade. 

 

"That can't be…" 

 

But even as he spoke, Gion's gaze was spellbound by the scenery of White Hall. 

 

And he was left frozen. 

 

Right before his death, the White Flower Path that Gion had walked on was in full bloom with white flowers. 

 

It was the path of white itself, the one that Rohwa loved the most. 

But now, the White Flower Path was not just empty. It resembled a desolate wasteland. The mark that was made when Gion dragged the queen to White Hall. Only the black line that split the center of the White Flower Path remained. 

 

The desolation of the White Flower Path in White Dragon Castle 

meant that the situation outside, where the people lived, was not any better, if not worse. 

 

That was White Flower Kingdom, which Gion had protected with his life for a lifetime. 

 

"Could it be that White Flower Kingdom has been without a White Qi for a hundred years?" 

 

"..." 

 

"Rohwa!" 

 

"It was here. Inside this coffin." 

 

This meant that there was not a single protector of White Flower Kingdom. 

 

On the borders infested with demons, no one protected the people. 

Gion felt blood boiling within him. 

 

"Why!" 

 

He grabbed Rohwa's shoulders. 

 

It was White Flower Kingdom, protected by the blood of countless people. And to hear it had fallen in a hundred years. 

 

What about their deaths? How could the souls who nobly sacrificed their lives watch this from the afterlife? 

 

Gion's grip tightened. 

 

But Rohwa did not blink. She just smiled as if she enjoyed it. 

 

"You didn't even realize that I have the Black Qi. Perhaps your skills have dulled over a hundred years, not realizing the White Qi circulating in your body. I wonder if you can even walk with that body." 

 

"..." 

 

"Your White Qi is merely a speck. On the other hand, how was my Black Qi that you saw?" 

 

Rohwa's Black Qi was stronger than any demon Gion had seen in The Valley of Snow. 

 

Maybe even more than the 'Demon King' himself. 

 

"You can't kill me now." 

 

But Gion wrapped his other hand around Rohwa's shoulder too. 

There was no sorrow in Rohwa's expression. Instead, it was a look of relief. 

 

Gion gritted his teeth. 

 

Bang! 

 

With an unknown strength fueled by rage, Gion overturned the coffin. 

 

Whether it was because his muscles were all worn out, just that made his arms and legs tremble. 

 

"I will see it with my own eyes." 

 

Rohwa quietly looked at the scattered white flowers and said, 

"Do that then." 

 

Gion took slow steps. Staggering, he moved one step at a time. 

 

Following the black line that was drawn when he entered White Dragon Castle, Gion headed out of the fortress. 

 

Rohwa watched Gion's back for a long time. 

 

"Rohwa." 

 

A man's voice came from behind Rohwa. 

 

Behind the throne, the dark shadows flickered. 

 

Rohwa's tone, different from when she was talking with Gion, became dry. 

 

"I asked you not to call me that." 

 

"Are you in a position to make requests of me?" 

 

"....." 

 

"Anyway... once a princess, always a princess." 

 

The man revealed himself. He had the same red eyes as Rohwa. 

 

He brushed back his black hair with a faint blue sheen and stood beside Rohwa. 

 

"Is it alright to let him go? It did not take a hundred years." 

 

"... It's okay." 

 

Rohwa, without taking her eyes off Gion, said, 

 

"He will soon return." 




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