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For the Downfall of My Beloved Chapter 6

Updated: Jan 29

"Is it really okay to go out...?" 

 

The people asked without even sticking their heads out of the window. 

 

They were like turtles too afraid to stick their necks out into the world, relying on their fragile shells. 

 

The child began to comfort them. 

 

"It's safe to wander around like this! It's been five days, and not a single demon has been spotted." 

 

The child stepped onto the castle grounds as if to prove a point, and the people began to waver. 

 

"... Mom, I want to go for a walk too." 

 

From the young children. 

 

"It's already been five days. Maybe it's really okay now?" 

 

To the young and healthy adults. 

 

One by one, the people began to open the door, sturdier than anything else. 

 

Thud. 

 

A woman took her first step outside the door. 

 

She trembled as if standing on thin ice, but... 

 

Thump. 

 

As she took a step, the tension eased under the shining sun, and she looked around. 

 

"Ah..." 

 

The scent of earth enveloped her. 

 

The wind blew, drying her cold sweat. 

 

Dandelion seeds floated in the air, and the sensation of the ground was soft against her bare feet. 

 

Everything was precious; nothing was worth discarding. 

 

No one uttered a word. 

 

They simply stood there, seemingly absorbed in enjoying the moment. 

 

It was a silence more profound than any other. 

 

How much time had passed? 

 

"Sigh..." 

 

It was the everyday life they had longed for. 

 

One by one, those who started coming out quietly shed tears. 

 

Regardless of age or gender, everyone strolled slowly around the castle, like toddlers taking their first steps. 

 

Even those who had been too apprehensive to venture out, their faces previously unmarked by tears, gradually began to wear bright, beaming smiles. 

 

From his vantage point at the castle gate, Gion observed the heartwarming scene unfold: 

 

Children chasing butterflies. 

 

Students shedding tears in the embrace of a teacher they hadn't seen in a long time. 

 

Women making floral crowns and placing them on each other's heads. 

 

A girl and a boy walking lightly barefoot. 

 

Parents reminiscing memories with their children. 

 

Elders enjoying their leisure time as if their long-held grudges had been resolved. 

Thus, he quietly observed the life breathed into the castle by the multitude. 

 

"Why are you here alone?" 

 

Suddenly, a child approached Gion and asked. 

 

"Lord, you should get up and enjoy as well." 

 

Gion, sitting cross-legged, shook his head. 

 

"I'm fine. Don't worry about me. Go and mingle with the children." 

 

Jung Hyun looked down at the ground. 

 

He saw Gion sitting upon a thread that delicately straddled the boundary between the city's interior and the outside world, all bathed in a soft glow. 

 

"..." 

 

Thud. 

 

The child sat next to Gion and murmured. 

 

"My name is Jung Hyun." 

 

A sharp smell momentarily grazed his nose. 

 

Gion attempted to move away, but Jung Hyun did not distance himself from Gion. 

 

Instead, he took out something wrapped in leaves from his embrace. 

 

"Aren't you hungry?" 

 

A large rice ball, too big for his tiny hands, appeared. 

 

It was so tightly packed that the rice seemed hard. 

 

Carefully ensuring his hands didn't touch the rice, Jung Hyun offered the rice ball to Gion. 

 

"Have you not eaten anything for five days?" 

 

"..." 

 

"There's water too. It's not much, but it should stave off the hunger." 

 

-Health comes first. You should eat while training. 

 

A fragment of memory flitted through the mind. 

 

Gion immediately accepted the rice ball and took a bite. 

 

Though the rice grains had turned hard and cold, the warmth it held within made it tender. 

 

"It's delicious." 

 

Only after Gion swallowed the rice did Jung Hyun breathe a sigh of relief and smiled. 

 

"Lord Gion." 

 

Jung Hyun took a deep breath before calling Gion's name. 

 

At that, Gion put down the rice ball and turned towards Jung Hyun. 

 

"You know me." 

 

Jung Hyun simply nodded and asked. 

 

"Do you know Doa, the chief of the Black Sand tribe?" 

 

The name, carrying old memories, reached Gion's ears. 

 

The chief of the Black Sand tribe, Doa. 

 

Gion couldn't possibly not know her. 

 

"I do." 

 

At Gion's words, Jung Hyun knelt down. 

 

"I thought you might." 

 

"..." 

 

"I debated whether to speak or not, but it seems right to tell you." 

 

Sitting just like Gion on the line, Jung Hyun spoke. 

 

"I am a descendant of her." 

 

*** 

 

-Father, look at this! 

 

Gion's father made sure to have an outing with the family at least once a fortnight. 

 

No one in the family ever spoke against it, but it became an unspoken tradition that firmly bound the four of them together. Gion spent his entire childhood eagerly awaiting each full moon. 

 

-Alright, what is it this time? 

 

A simple invitation to observe something was their code for, 'Come, walk with me.' The father was attuned to the unspoken nuances of Gion's expressions. 

 

-Are you looking at swords even when we're out in the castle for a walk? 

 

-Are you going to buy me one? I want to be a great general like you, so of course, you will, right? 

 

When asked playfully, the father would suppress his laughter and pretend to ponder. 

 

The brief silence while stroking his chin was the father's way of teasing, and Gion knew it was out of love. 

 

-Alright, I'll buy you one. 

 

Although he always appeared to weigh the decision carefully, the father inevitably indulged the requests made. 

 

As a bright smile appeared, the younger sibling would run up and embrace father from behind. 

 

-"What about me?! Father, me too!" 

 

As the younger sibling dangled, the gentle mother approached leisurely. 

 

Merchants, charmed by Gion's family, smiled and repeatedly thanked the father, sometimes trading fine silk clothes at half price and giving snacks to Gion and the sibling. 

 

Though it was a memory from over a hundred years ago, it was a scene etched deeper than any scar. 

 

"Mother! Look at this! I made it!" 

 

A young child, making a flower ring, approached a woman and hugged her. 

 

"..." 

 

Jung Hyun blankly stared at Gion, who was lost in the scenery. 

 

"Lord Gion. Please get up." 

 

"... Why so suddenly-" 

 

"Just get up once. It's because the bare ground hurts." 

 

Led by Jung Hyun's hand, Gion stood up. 

 

It was his first time entering the line. 

 

But. 

 

"Yuna! Come here!" 

 

A woman embraced the child who was making a flower ring. 

 

"Father!" 

 

Young children, seeing Gion, started clinging to their parents in fear. 

 

Those unarmed quickly retreated into their houses. 

 

"Why is everyone..." 

 

Jung Hyun stopped, bewildered, but it was already too late. 

 

Farmers resting in the fields backed away with trembling hands holding their hoes. 

 

A man, scarred as if attacked by demons, held his head and murmured for salvation. 

 

The once lively castle was now shrouded in heavy silence. 

 

"... Why is everyone acting like this." 

 

Jung Hyun spoke with a trembling, faint voice to those watching the situation from behind their windows. 

 

"It was all thanks to this person that we could lie on the grass and look at the sky. It was all thanks to him that we could come outside." 

 

"......" 

 

"How can those who received help... How can they...! You all saw this person fend off the demons...!" 

 

"Jung Hyun." 

 

It was Gion who caught Jung Hyun's words, filled with bitterness. 

 

"I'm alright." 

 

Jung Hyun looked up at Gion. 

 

"Ah..." 

 

It was then Jung Hyun realized why everyone was acting this way. 

Gion, covered in blood and scars, was smiling with weary eyes. 

 

The clothes were unchanged and stiff with dried blood, and the dagger in his hand was stained with dark red blood. 

 

Just as Jung Hyun said, everyone must have seen Gion dealing with the demons. 

 

Would everyone feel gratitude for that sight? 

 

No. 

 

In their eyes, Gion was no different from a murderous demon. 

 

"I'm sorry. It was my fault for... Let's go inside..." 

 

His voice trembled involuntarily. 

 

He unwittingly gripped the hem of the robe he was holding tighter. 

 

Gion stepped back from Jung Hyun and knelt down. 

 

"No, it's not your fault." 

 

Gion looked at the crushed flower ring. 

 

"This is the treatment I rightly deserve." 

 

*** 

 

- Princess! 

 

Rohwa was often clumsy, losing her footing while watching a bird on a branch, feeling the breeze, or gazing at the sunset. 

 

Usually, Gion would catch her, but when he was training, Rohwa would walk alone and often get hurt. In such times, Doa's voice could be heard shouting from afar, and hearing that, Gion would rush towards where Rohwa was. When he arrived, he would see Doa scolding Rohwa. 

 

-You must be careful! You're the only princess who makes me this worried! 

 

Probably, the only person who could scold the princess like that was Doa. 

 

Doa's silhouette, her long hair tied up high, radiating a purple hue, looked warmer than anyone else's. 

 

Perhaps that's why, even while being scolded, Rohwa always had a bright smile. 

 

-Doa, I'm sorry. Don't be mad. 

 

-You're bleeding. 

 

Doa fussed for a while, but she quickly treated Rohwa's wound. 

 

Even though it was Rohwa who was injured, Doa acted as if she was the one who had been mortally wounded. 

 

Doa was a very emotional person, and she would often get teary-eyed when she saw someone she cared about hurt. 

 

Then, Rohwa would put her favorite candy in Doa's mouth. 

 

-You'll take care of me forever, right, Doa? 

 

-Just don't get hurt! 

 

-Huh? Gion! 

 

-Stop changing the subject to Gion! 

 

Watching the two bicker would even make the usually serious Gion crack a smile unknowingly. 

 

But those days would never return. 

 

"What are you thinking about?" 

 

Jung Hyun asked while brewing herbs. 

 

"Nothing." 

 

Gion looked around Jung Hyun's pharmacy. 

 

It was filled with numerous herbs, no different from Doa's pharmacy, making him realize that Jung Hyun truly was a descendant of the Black Sand tribe. 

 

"Give me your hand." 

 

Jung Hyun sat in front of Gion with not just herbs but warm water and a clean cloth. 

 

"You must have gotten hurt wielding that dagger so fiercely." 

 

"It's nothing. I'm fine." 

 

However, Jung Hyun rolled up Gion's sleeve with tiny hands. 

 

"If this is fine, then what is not! The wound is deep!" 

 

Jung Hyun snapped at Gion, face crumpling in anger. 

 

-Gion! Saying you're fine isn't for times like this! This is pain! 

 

Jung Hyun's frown reminded Gion of Doa. 

 

"..." 

 

Gion quietly entrusted his wound to Jung Hyun's care. 

 

Only then did Jung Hyun seem slightly relieved and began to treat the wound swiftly. 

 

Jung Hyun's young hands were full of calluses. 

 

Despite the deep wound that could make one feel nauseous, Jung Hyun's eyes did not waver. 

 

In a situation where any child would be terrified and run away from Gion, this child stood firm. 

 

As if not just a child. 

 

He has grown up too fast. 

 

A child is a child, and an adult is an adult. 

 

But Jung Hyun was a mature child. 

 

"... It must have been tough for you too." 

 

There was so much to ask. 

 

About Doa, about what happened in White Flower Kingdom over the past hundred years. 

 

There was a mountain of things to know, but he felt he couldn't ask this child. 

 

No, he didn't have the right to ask. 

 

"......" 

 

Jung Hyun smiled gently at Gion, who was looking down. 

 

"If you have questions, feel free to ask." 

 

"No. There's nothing you need to tell me. From now on, I'll figure things out on my own." 

 

"You don't have to think that you're causing me pain." 

 

Jung Hyun skillfully cleaned the scab while speaking. 

 

"Then, I'll start with what I'm curious about." 

 

"What is it?" 

 

"... Can we go back?" 

 

The hands wringing the wet cloth trembled delicately. 

 

"Can we truly return to a peaceful country like the White Flower Kingdom was a hundred years ago?" 

 

"..." 

 

"If that's the case, I can do anything." 

 

The determination in the young child's eyes made it impossible for Gion not to respond. 

 

"Again, you don't have to do anything for me." 

 

"..." 

 

"Just study the herbs you like and go on outings. Before you know it, you'll find everything has returned to how it used to be." 

 

Jung Hyun hesitated for a moment before speaking. 

 

"Lord Gion. For that to happen, there's something you need to know." 

 

Jung Hyun finished treating Gion and adjusted their posture to sit properly. 

 

"The current king of White Flower Kingdom is not Princess Rohwa, but the Demon King." 

 

A sharp pain throbbed in the wound just treated. 

 

"... What do you mean?" 

 

"It's not over yet." 

 

Was there something even more shocking than this? 

 

The king of White Flower Kingdom wasn't a descendant of the White Dragon but their enemy, the Demon King. 

 

"Doa... she is currently staying in the White Dragon Castle with Princess Rohwa." 

 

Gion had hoped this foreboding feeling would be wrong this time. 

But his hopes were in vain, and Jung-hyun's words proved Kion's fears to be true. 

 

So, is Doa siding with Rohwa? 

 

Or with the Demon King? 

 

Before Gion could sort out his thoughts, Jung Hyun brought a book from the shelf. 

 

"It would be better for you to read this book than to listen to my story." 

 

"..." 

 

"There are words in it that only you can read." 

 

Truth is always cruel, yet it must be confronted. 

 

A child, claiming to do anything to restore White Flower Kingdom, offers this information. 

 

Without a word, Gion accepted the book. 

 

"......." 

 

The first page of the book was blank. Gion calmly flipped through the pages. 

 

The familiar handwriting of Doa was densely packed in the last pages. 

 

Could it be… 

 

If there are words that only Gion can read, it implies that something unique to Gion must be utilized to decipher it. 

 

What could be so important that it had to be hidden this deeply? 

 

The feeling that there was a truth greater than any story heard before was overwhelming. 

 

Gion swept his palm, tinged with white energy, across the first page. 

 

[To the noble soul blessed by the White Dragon, Gion.] 

 

[After you finish reading this book…] 

 

The white energy gradually seeped into the paper, revealing the last words. 

 

[Put an end to the life of Princess Rohwa, who holds the heart of the Demon King.] 

 


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