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Backstory

        Walking out of red curtains, the charming Cleo stood on a stage confidently. The lighting went dim with only a few spotlights converging at the center, coating her ornaments with glistening gold color.

        Cleo held the microphone, lips opened. She transformed her inner desires into a tune, singing the audience’s long-awaited classic “Golden Flower”.

        The gentle, heavenly voice was echoing through every corner of the ballroom. Each audience was brimmed with satisfaction, soaking in her amazing melody. All was seen in the eyes of Cleo.

        Wearing a smile, she looked down with her thought enjoying a beautiful scene she had never been tired of.

        She imagined herself on the top of a towering pyramid under the sunlight. Surrounding herself was crowds of people like an endless stream. They came here from afar just for Cleo the diva.

        Under the spotlight, every single move of Cleo had come into sight of audience. Her mind was overjoyed along with pumping heartbeat.

        “Mortals, gaze all you want. Tempted by beauty is not a crime.” Then, Cleo raised her head and sang the last lyrics. “Gold never fades but bronze will age; leaves never shine but flowers will thrive.”

        Immersed in the deafening applause, Cleo quietly received all the attention of each audience, except one who was unsightly to look at.

        A young boy had fell asleep during her performance, until his neighbour woke him up by patting his shoulders. Then, he gave a yawn with a drowsy look.

        This scene was such a nightmare haunting Cleo’s heart, as if a needle was stuck into her skin. The provoked diva went through the red curtains and returned to the backstage.

        “Is the audience tired of my voice already,” she asked in her heart.

        “Bravo, what a performance Cleo. You’re truly a very experienced singer. The way you sang the Golden Flower is as beautiful as that of I heard when I was young.”

        A young performer sitting in the backstage accosted her with a grin; Cleo could feel her sarcasm in her tone.

        “However, flowers eventually wither some day. And fake gold is bound to fade and rust.”

        “Not for authentic gold,” she refuted. Cleo acted calm on the surface, but ripples of anxiety were sent through her heart when she thought of that asleep audience.

        “Well, age will rule you out sooner or later.” The young performer sneered at her ego. Then, she stood up walking towards the red curtains. “Let me show you a real performance that belongs to this era.”

        As soon as the young performer stepped on the stage, a rapid drumroll kicked in immediately. Grabbing the microphone, she sang the catchy lyrics and danced with the rhythm.

        Peeking from the backstage, Cleo saw the audience was completely indulged in the performance. They waved their hands and shook their bodies with satisfied smiles by following the music.

        Cleo tried to find anyone sleeping or dissatisfied with the performance, but none of them was. Their cheers and applause made her even more annoyed.

        These few days, everytime when Cleo performed on the stage, she thought of that scene, but the audience wasn’t smiling for her anymore. The seats started to become empty; and claps started to be scattered.

        At this moment, she recalled the words left by the young performer before she stepped on the stage.

        “If one day I can witness this flower wither, then it will be a blessing to me.”

        Cleo’s thought went back to the pyramid in her memory. She seemed to see cracks appearing on the surface. People were leaving to watch another rising star.

        This poor scene was a torture, and Cleo hated it with her teeth gritting.

        “You cunning performer, I won’t let you steal my spotlight!”

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