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So few have known me, and that has been an advantage. So many times I have been appraised to be a vain, shallow vessel – containing no complex thoughts, no refined emotions, no higher purpose. I was entertainment, decoration, and as such posed no threat. Even sober, men talk freely around vases and curtains.

But some .. some came to realize that their initial assessment of me had been wrong. I learned to watch for it, that dangerous instant, and to take quick action once I scouted the nature of their reaction. Those who felt humiliated by their error wanted to crush me. Those who had dismissed me as trivial on first glance were often stimulated to find that the treasure chest was not empty, and usually pursued my companionship. And those that had thought I was a woman? Even when they didn't offer to pay for my silence, the sort of simpleton who can look at a bowl of figs and see a fish was sometimes amusing.

Which leaves those others, those very few others: Sarasa, Madame, Nagi, Raizu – who somehow saw the true Ageha from the first, even before I was aware of who I was. Who I would become. Did their vision truly reach so far? Or was it simply that my love for them drove me to change into what they thought they saw in me?

Of course all of this is pointless speculation. But what else am I to do as I wait for the flames?