Perhaps it is due to the conditions I was brought up in. My father was a man of trading, and my mother came from a family of servants to the court. I was the only child. They longed for a son, surely they did, but my brother never came.

I then grew up being the sole young one of the house. Mingling around grown-up people who mingled around my parents, I became an expert in identifying a courteous complement, which in plain word means lies, from a sincere suggestion. I became an expert in distinguishing a person's personality at first sight. I became an expert in social behaviors.

When I was thirteen my family wanted me to have a favorable marriage, therefore my uncle brought me to the Palace. By chance, I was seen by the Emperor, and two months later I was summoned and married to the man as one of his many wives. I was admired by the Emperor for three months when he met another younger and more delicate girl who was a daughter of one of the low-ranking generals. Not only was she able to knit and sing, being a general's daughter she was good at swordplay as well, and that was something so rare among the Emperor's wives that she had his attention instantly, and I never saw the Emperor again in my heart-beating years. Not did I actually care.

When I first arrived at the palace I was hated by all wives. True, who doesn't hate your enemy? Especially when you are burdened with the name of your family, and your own life. But when the general's daughter came, she became the enemy of all, and I was forgotten. Some wives still worried the Emperor might come back to me, but when years after years I was not summoned, I was pitied. To be honest I didn't mind being pitied, it was better pitied by all than loved by the only one. I became friends, or ally to be precise, to all the wives, princes and princesses, particular one, the eldest son, heir to the throne.

How odd that he was just a year younger than me, but I was his old father's mistress. He was so dashing, strong and kind. Yes, we loved each other romantically, but it was also just a polite affection. I would sit across the pond drinking tea as he sat in front of the window of his study, and wrote calligraphies of my nickname, the name that only he would call me, Bell.

On the fifth year when I was in the Palace, three years when the Prince and I were in love, a pale-skinned-gold-hair creature showed up at the court. He was a missionary from Nederland, and he came to teach China some western ways. His name is William Tucaost. He was disliked by the Emperor and the court, nevertheless, he was allowed to stay at the palace. Though his Chinese was fluent and his behavior decent, everyone fled at the sight of him. Ghost, demon, they called him. All but one, my Prince. The Prince was attracted to the missionary in an unexplainable way, and they soon became friends. They were always beside each other that the Prince began to forget about me. He no longer looked out of the window and smiled at me when he was in his study. He no longer glanced up at me when we met in the gardens. Instead, he was constantly engaged in conversations with that demon-missionary.

Being unloved twice, I had enough. I went to confront William Tucaost on that moonless night. He was at the study with the Prince, as usual over the past few months. The room was dimly lit, unusual for a night that dark. My instinct told me something wrong was happening, and I was verified by the sight of the place left unguarded by the usual securities. Slowly I neared the study, and I was horrified as I heard moan, or moans of men escaping from the cracks of the wooden door. Very lustrous moans, so disturbing that I stood frozen.

"Mr. Tucaost…it hurts…" I heard my Prince saying. Then I heard another man giggled.

"Can't be too gentle on you, my Prince," calling my Prince in the same fashion as I did, only, more playful, more devilish.


"Hmm…" and I heard something dropped heavily onto the ground. "Smells like dessert waiting."

Almost at once, the wooden door flew out of place and knocked me down. When I regained myself, a dark figure came – flew – towards me.

"Pleasant evening, Lady Jade." It was William Tucaost. Before I could speak, he brutally grabbed my arms and dragged me into the dark study effortlessly.

"Bell!" I responded to my name, and found my Prince lay powerless on the ground. His clothes were a mess, his neck bare with two bite marks, bleeding.

"Your highness – " My words were cut short as William Tucaost gripped my neck and hang me high in midair.

"Don't hurt Bell!"

The missionary's laughter that belonged to hell. "Who are you to command me?" he said.

"I am the heir to the throne! I trusted you! And a betrayal is what I get!"

"Betrayal is not all you shall get, heir to the throne, I promise you tonight may as well be your sweet death."

"How dare you! Release her!"

Then I was tossed towards the ceiling, only to land painfully on the solid ground.


"My…" Through a pair of unfocused eyes, I saw my Prince cornered by the Demon. As the Demon bent down on him, my strength gave up on me as I heard the most heart-breaking scream I shall ever hear for eternity.