Conspiracy of the Dragon

July 31, 1914

Most Honorable Shining Sun:
The Eagle Flies To The Sea,
Waking The Bull Dog,
To Join The Cock and Bear
And Destroy Them All.
The Dragon Will Rise Again.
Your Eternal Servant,
The Golden Claw
She sealed the note and handed it to the young man as he leaned forward, halfway through a hidden door.  She kissed him slowly, pressing the note into his hand and he held her until she let go.  She bowed low and locked the hidden door behind him before looking at herself in the wall mirror and hearing a key click in the front lock.  She turned, closing her robe and kneeled on the carpet, her eyes low.  
“I knew England would fall into our trap,” a voice said, pushing open the front door and waving away those around him.  “Now we will show those shopkeepers what a fighting navy can do.”
He came into the small apartment and saw her, shutting the door behind him and looking into the mirror.  “The English have thrown down the gauntlet.  Now, we will show them and those damned frogs how to fight as we stand tallest in the world.”  He smiled at himself.  “They will cry at the beating we give them, but thank us for leading them to a better tomorrow.”  
He took her chin into his hand, caressing it and looked into her eyes.  
“This war has been coming for years, and now we will make them bleed.  First Paris, then London, then all of Europe and Russia will see the virtue of Prussian wisdom.  I know you don’t understand, but you savages will thank us for bringing you civilization.  No more dog eating, feet binding and whatever other humiliations you visit upon each other.”
She watched as he looked at himself in the mirror.
“Emperor and savior of civilization,” he said and patted her head.
She stood up slowly, and started undoing the buttons of his jacket.
“Of course I’ll need several new uniforms once we win the war,” he said to the mirror.  “Something in blue would look good.”
She loosened his uniform and removed his clothes slowly, trying to avoid looking at his pale skin and withered, useless arm.  She grazed it and winced before laying out his clothes on an oak chest at the foot of the bed.  He nodded and she removed her own robe slowly, taking a deep breath and pressing her body against his.
He turned to the mirror again, watching her naked back with a smile.
She kept her face calm as her hands moved slowly over his body and then kneeled on the floor.  
“That’s right, my little whore.  Some things you do understand.”
“I understand everything.”
His eyes opened wide.
“I’ve always understood,” she said and yanked him forward, throwing him to the floor.  He looked up and she kicked him in the head.  “Since Moltke gave me to you four years ago, saying, “to indulge in pleasures that are beneath the empress,” I’ve understood every single word.”  She kicked him in the stomach.  “I’ve understood how pathetic and helpless you were since you first touched me.  How scared you were of anything different, and how you drove away smarter men who could’ve pointed you to a better future if you hadn’t felt so small and inferior to them.”  She kicked him in the chest, turning him over.  “I’ve kept you happy and distracted, and used your stupidity and arrogance to make you do whatever I wanted.  I’ve made sure that you pursued your destructive obsession with the English, and never saw your ministers’ recommendations to avoid war with France and Russia.”
He tried to catch his breath and she kicked him in the chest again.  
“You were so easy to manipulate.  Ignoring your better ministers, believing you were right because of your birth and crying like a baby when the world mocked your stupidity.”  She looked down at him and kicked his useless arm.  “I could’ve done almost nothing and you would’ve dragged Europe into a stupid, senseless war.”
She kicked him in the arm again and he curled into a ball, clutching it.  
“Now you’ve got what you’ve always wanted, and it will destroy your precious Prussia and the husk of the Dual Monarchy,” she said, pulling out her clothes hidden under the bed and beginning to dress.  “You’ve guaranteed the fall of Europe just like we’ve always planned.”
“What?” he said, trying to get up, but she knocked his head into the floor.
“Your soldiers shouldn’t have raped and plundered their way through Beijing as they destroyed the Boxers,” she said, dressing.  “You all should’ve stayed out of affairs that were none of your concern.”
“We didn’t…”
“Europe shocked us with its armies arriving so quickly to save its ambassadors,” she said, pulling him up by his hair and looking into his eyes.  “We realized how truly powerful and dangerous you were then.”  She smiled.  “But we also saw how much you envied and hated each other, and how we could use that to destroy you.”
She slammed his face into the floor.  
“You’re so convinced of German superiority that you can’t see that the world will slip away from Europe’s grasp as your armies destroy one another.  Germany may well cripple France and Russia, but the English will bleed you dry just like they did Napoleon one hundred years ago.”
“We took Paris before, and London will…”
“Bismarck took Paris because he attacked only France, and he got lucky.  You’ve already sent your armies to Russia and they’ll cross Belgium tomorrow or the next day.  In a week the English will create a third front, choking you off from the sea and draining the life from you,” she said, looking into his watery eyes.   “You can tell yourself whatever you like, but in six months, maybe a year, Europe will be a graveyard, and it will all be your fault.”
“They’ll lie down when they see our guns.”
“And you’ll see theirs.  And all of your armies will fire every bullet, dull every bayonet and bloody every fist until all of the soldiers are all dead and gone.  In a generation Europe will be nothing but ruins on the western edge of Asia.”
“No,” he said, not looking at her.  “No, I’ll call my armies back.  Cousins George and Nicky will listen to reason.  Together we will…”
“Die.  You sealed your fate the moment you gave the order to mobilize your armies.  Your soldiers can’t and won’t stop, and you’d know that if you had listened to your ministers and generals for even a minute.  All that waits is their deaths and your subjugation to the Middle Kingdom.
“You coolies aren’t even human.  You won’t…”
She kicked him again and again, doubling him back into his ball.
“We ruled for millennia before you white devils rose from the mud, and soon you will be nothing more than a historical stain.  With the boot on your throats, we’ll return to the glory that was and is China.  And you?  You’ll be nothing more than the cabbage eaters you always were.”
“You won’t get away with this.”
“I already have,” she said, looking right into his eyes.  “You won’t tell a soul that your yellow, slant eyed whore destroyed your empire as you moaned your pleasures.  You can’t even believe it now after all I’ve just told you, and once I’m gone you won’t be able to forget it fast enough.  It’ll be like I was never here.”
Tears started down his face.
“I should kill you for what you made me do in the last four years.  But it’s all worth it knowing that you’ll watch as Germany and Europe destroy each other; knowing that in a generation you will all be serving the Middle Kingdom, and knowing that we will be the masters and you will be the slaves.”
He sobbed and she stood up, opening the door hidden in the wall.  
“I want you to remember my face when your empire dies and you have nothing left but nightmares,” she said, standing over him.  “I want you to remember how a Chinese girl destroyed you and your world.”
She turned her back on him, leaving him crying in a little ball on the floor.
Seven years later he could think of nothing else as an Englishman listened to his story and reread the note written in coded Mandarin.
“That’s quite a tale, your majesty.”
Wilhelm II, the former Kaiser of Germany, frowned.  “You don’t believe me?”
The Englishman looked up at the former Kaiser.  “I do.  And we won’t let this stand.”
The former Kaiser’s eyes narrowed on the Englishman.
“I’ve already talked to my Russian friends, your majesty, and despite our current differences, they are going to make this right.  It might take a few years, but your little whore and her country will feel our wrath.  They will pay for what they’ve done.”
The former Kaiser blinked, tears forming in his eyes.  “Thank you.”
“Don’t thank me,” the man said, leaving a pistol in front of the former Kaiser and opening the only door in the room.  “It’s all I can do not to kill you myself.”
The former Kaiser watched the door close and picked up the pistol.  “I know,” he said, staring at the pistol before putting it down and sobbing.

Joe Reister

Joe Reister is from the United States and spent his formative years in upstate New York raised by loving parents with a younger, better-looking brother. He studied a bit in Latin America before taking his SUNY Binghamton degree to live and work in Chicago and California. Deciding a degree in History didn't quite cut it, he earned a Masters in International Affairs and worked in Washington, DC, before returning to the northeast. He has worked in a variety of fields, published a few short stories years ago and once surprisingly won a teamwork award. He lives with his two beautiful children and successful wife near New York City.