The Concubine Lady Feiyan slipped into the Emperor’s chambers carrying a piece of paper. Her blue silk gown and her hair in curls like clouds on top of her head made her a ravishing sight. She had slipped in to ease his depressed feelings knowing he had been unhappy for some time. He could count on her. She was tender towards him, offering an almost maternal love, which he sorely missed since the death of his mother, although he would never admit it.

She could bring him out of his pessimistic moods and extract from him what little confidence was left there. Lady Feiyan sat alongside him, leaned against him and stroked his hair.

“You threw out this note,” she said quietly, handing him the small parchment paper. The note was inscribed with the most beautiful calligraphy.

“I found it and kept it for you.”

The Emperor looked up excitedly and snatched the note which simply read:


My dearest friend, my Emperor of the Sui,

You will pass through many incarnations to correct all the errors you have committed in this life. When you have done so, we will know each other again.

Your loving Monk Attendant,

Servant and Friend


The Emperor let his wrist fall, the note still dangling from his hand. Lady Feiyan stayed by his side all afternoon. As he brought the note to his chest, tears seeped from the corners of his eyes.

In another part of the Court, the Sorceress crept through the corridors, sniffing the air. She pulled aside a curtain hiding a cabinet and silently slid open the drawers. The mirror on the cabinet reflecting her profile revealed a face of insatiable craving. She wasn’t certain in this moment that the Box was hidden inside the Palace. Perhaps it was just outside? She hissed and turned to leave. She would not return to the Sui Court for some time.

A momentary idea floated through her mind that she might concoct a poison to cause everyone in the palace to die suddenly. In that way, she could turn over every piece of furniture and search to her heart’s content. That malevolent thought was short-lived as she knew she would need the Emperor in power for a while longer.



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