Inspired by the film, The Banquet.
Three dead bodies.
Two, like lovers, died of the same cause. One, like a general, died by a wound, given by a woman.
It was apt.
He watched, avenged. She, the Empress, could only wail. Her wail lasted only as long as the time it took the Head Eunuch to pronounce her rise as the new Emperor. No more would she be a Phoenix. No more would she be the Maiden Wan. A woman she was no longer, consumed by desire.
It was not long after. She pulled down the cloth of red from whence it hung. It fell easily past her hands. She sought to gather them in her open arms like how she had once before, but failed. In a bitter voice, she spoke. The handmaidens who weaved for her paid her no mind. She spoke of fondness for the colour red, of how it symbolised the hunger for power. She spoke of her childhood. Of the time spent as the Emperors’ wives. She had outlasted two husbands and her only beloved child.
The most dangerous poison, the master poison-maker had once said, was the human heart. She abandoned her humanity in a desire for power, and so used others’ hearts to reach her goal.
When the blow came, it came fast. It came without warning. She dropped the red cloth she hugged so tightly, reluctantly. The blood soaked her white robe, like a red flower. The end of the dagger portruded from the front of her dress. Turning, she confronted her assailant. Shocked at her state, and despair at the person who had attacked her.
The Empress-Emperor was no more.