and god said, ::let there be light::
[and there was light]
(August 9, 1900)
"Nonsense," says Austria, pushing his glasses upwards. He has not spoken until up to this point, and the sudden sound of his voice is enough to cause Francis, beside him, to start in shock. "He is China." He points to the subdued Yao, brows furrowed in thought. "I'm afraid I must repeat the English bastard's words, pardon me—who are you?"
"Who says there cannot be two Chinas?" Mei says, and from her sleeve she draws out a dagger. "Fight me if you must. China is too large to be controlled by one single entity, and you, who wish to exploit this land from its natural riches, will lose instead of gain if you attempt to take too much."
"Nee-san," Kiku says, pleading. "You must stop this foolishness. I do not wish to see you hurt. Prease, accept defeat and come with me. You will be treated well."
"You cannot be serious," Yao says, but does not move while Ludwig's gun is still on his temple. "Why would she come with you, you wang ba dan? You, who slaughtered our people, who pillaged our land and raped our women—"
"...Fine," Mei says, her voice reluctant, her eyes strangely unfocused. She does not look at Yao, look at anyone, staring into a realm of things nobody else can see. "I surrender."
Kiku nods, bowing his head. "Let us commence then, sister."
"Mei!" Yao screams, and he does not care if his throat is raw and painful and numb, if Ludwig's gun digs into his forehead painfully. All he knows is the sharp agony of betrayal, something that stretches out within him in a web of lies and deception.
"This is for the best," Mei says, and her tone is sorrowful. "Our people, my people, they will be treated well in the island. This corruption, this splitting of nations, it is caused because the Han Chinese were foolish to believe in such naive ideals of one great harmonious country. I have been given a chance to start over in this world, by the shen himself—I will not fail him this time."
"W—what do you mean, Wang Mei?" Yao asks, and feels the saltwater anger burn his eyes. "You are me. We are China. What is this so-called island that you talk about so reverently, more important than us?"
Mei smiles, although it more resembles that of a grimace. "I am China, that is true," she whispers, and all ten eyes are on her, unable to tear their gaze away. "But now, I understand. I am destined for something else, something greater, so much that the great shang di removed my mantle as the Middle Kingdom."
And then, in a tone far more ironic, she laughs. "I am meant to be Fu er mu sha."
Historical Anecdotes: I've gotten so lazy, I'm not even going to bother, haha. Anyway, most of the notes were basically explained last chapter, but Taiwan was gifted to Japan back in 1895 (which I might have forgotten to mention earlier) and basically what's happening here is that Taiwan is agreeing to submit quietly to Japan after the Boxer Rebellion. Now, the Japanese treated the Taiwanese pretty well (way better than the Chinese, at least), and even though there were several rebellions, which will be mentioned later, both sides were pretty passive.
Fu er mu sha, or Formosa, is an archaic name for the island of Taiwan. Yay, Mei/Yao Sr. finally found her [his?] purpose in life! Only now s[he's] been either possessed or drugged, because s[he] is acting seriously out of character. Everything will be explained later. Also, serious notes will be done next chapter, promise, which will probably be published next century. Thanks you!~
shen (Chinese): lit. god/God
shang di (Chinese): Heavenly Emperor; God
Fu er mu sha (Chinese): Formosa (archaic name for Taiwan)