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The Empress (皇后)

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Blood. It covered the sheets of the huge king sized bed set at the middle of the large bedchamber. A body laid in the middle of it covered in that blood. A girl. A young girl of only twenty three years of age was now dead.

She hadn't been that way at first when her younger brother had came to see her. He had just came to her bedchamber to let her know that a carriage was being sent over to pick her up after breakfast was done for the morning. It was to take her directly to the imperial palace. Where she was to meet with her betrothed. Emperor Wu. Wu Yi Fan.

He had entered the bedchamber to tell her all of this only to find her sitting up in her bed crying her eyes out. Her long black tresses fell over her shoulders in waves above the white of her laced night robe. A knife, or maybe it was a blade. He wasn't so sure, was fisted in her hands. So much so that she had ended up cutting in to the palms of her hands with it without her knowledge of doing so.

As her brother began stepping closer to her bed, she started to apologize in soft murmurs as she gazed down at the blade still held by her own hands. Yet, he could still hear a bit of what she was trying to tell him. She did not want to marry their Emperor. For he was not the one already inside of her heart.

She did not care that her parents wanted this for her. Or that her marriage to the Emperor would give the family high honor amongst their peers and to their family name. She did not want to be an Empress or have high status for the rest of her existence. Especially if she could not be happy with the man she most truly loved. One of Emperor Wu's three Generals commanding over his extremely large army. General Xue Shu Yin.

She brought the knife to her neck once her brother was standing directly next to her bed. She slowly whispered out his name then quickly slashed her own throat after the words had left from in between her rose colored parted lips. Her body fell back against the pillows arranged behind her head. Her long hair flowing about her in a pool of black and blood. So much blood escaped from her newly crafted neck wound making a mess of the bed sheets.

At the mere sight of it all, an expression of horror crossed over on Huang Zi Tao's face at the sight laid out before him. His elder sister, Huang Yue Shi, had just killed herself. In front of him. His eyes alone. She had only just been crying her eyes out at the prospect of being sent away to marry their Emperor. A few words of anguish slipping past her lips before she had suddenly whipped up a blade and slit her own throat with it.

Now he stood over her casket a few mere hours later peering down at her seemingly peaceful sleeping face. She was beautiful. A vision of rare beauty in her favorite petal pink robe with intricate Chinese symbols spelling her name in the design that she was currently wearing.

General Xue, his sister's lover and the man she had intended to marry, standing at his side. He had arrived to their home to pick up Yue Shi and take her to the palace under the Emperor's orders himself. Even though the man knew of the General's feelings for her. Silence surrounded them for a while. Neither of them speaking a word until Zitao's parents walked up beside them.

It was Zitao's father that spoke first ebbing away the silence they both had created before their arrival, "After talking everything over with one another, we have decided to not tell the Emperor of Yue Shi's fate."

"What! But why? He deserves to know! You've put off his meeting with her for tomorrow! She's dead! You have to tell him the honorable truth!" Zitao exclaimed with shock hitching in his loud volume as he stared at his parents like they weren't born of this planet. He couldn't believe what he was actually hearing! Lying to the Emperor was not a joke! Especially when he can have their entire family executed for treason. They were treading on very dangerous ground.

His mother interjected with clear distaste at what her son was even suggesting, "And lose face within all of China! I think not!"

"Is that all you really care about? Your daughter is dead! She killed herself because of your selfishness!" General Xue hissed deciding to stand up for his dead lover since she could no longer do it for herself.

"No! She killed herself because of your selfishness! I warned you to stay away from Yue Shi countless times, but you still chose to ignore me and now look what has happened. If her death is anyone's fault, it's yours!" Master Huang gnashed back to the General with his anger increasing little by little. After all, if his beloved daughter had never met the man standing before them, then none of that would've never even happened in the first place. She would not be dead, but happily married off to their Emperor without a hitch.

General Xue gave out an enraged huff before departing from the Huangs household no longer wanting to be apart of their nonsense, "You know what! I'm glad that she decided to take her own life because she won't be able to be controlled by either of you any longer!"

"Now that the cause of our problem is gone, we can finally talk in private as a family." Lady Huang beamed delighted to be rid of the reason her only daughter had killed herself for as they turned their attentions upon Zitao once again.

"About what? Because I no longer see us as a family." Zitao sneered understandably disgusted with his parents moving away from his sister's casket when he began marching his way out of the chamber they were in.

"Huang Zi Tao! Bite your tongue and come back here right this instant!" Master Huang growled with his Wife interceding him to speak as well, "You will listen to what me and your father have to say or you will never see the light of day again, young man!"

"What! What do you want from me now that you could not get from my own poor deceased older sister?" Zitao glowered back to them as he ceased walking to confront his parents once more with their next set of words completely flabbergasting him,

"For you to actually marry the Emperor as her replacement..."