Even now, he still half expected her to whisper into his ear: “What are you brooding about now, my Lord?”
Except she was dead over a year now, and he sulked in silence.
That damn kid. It was his fault he was feeling this way. He had her eyes. And when he spoke, it was with the same imperious coldness that she used.
“You’ve already killed the mother. I see no need to kill the son as well.”
Her son. Perhaps not his. Perhaps this was his brother’s revenge.
He wanted to laugh at himself, but no sound came out.
Unnecessarily Long and Tiresome Authoress’ Notes:
Zhen Ji and Cao Zhi (another one of Cao Cao’s sons in the running for the throne) were rumored to have had a love affair before she married Yuan Xi (this was, of course, before Cao Pi offed Yuan Xi and married Zhen Ji himself); Cao Zhi wrote an ode to the goddess of the Luo River that was supposedly dedicated to her. Plagued by suspicion, Cao Pi eventually ordered Zhen Ji’s death on pretense that she was being too jealous over his other wives.
Some time later, Cao Pi went hunting with Cao Rui (his son by Zhen Ji) and shot a doe. In high spirits, he shouted to Cao Rui to get the calf as well, but the quote above was Cao Rui’s answer, and this shamed Cao Pi into leaving Cao Rui as the heir apparent.