now sleeps the crimson petal

The glassy pool no longer holds reflected dreams; all the mirrors in the house are empty, and the women are gone; only shadows and dust track through the long corridors. The paper doors hang silent, and the trees outside have lost their leaves now that winter has come.

There is no trace of Muraki here. He might as well have never come. He might have been anywhere.

Oriya lights a lamp, and listens to the empty silence, and does not know what he is waiting for.

He turns his head slightly at the sound of footsteps on the wooden floor.

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