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It was an unpleasant feeling to have to eat one's own words, and Wan-Hua had thought those days were long behind. Yet as she sat through the long-awaited performance of The Golden Demon, she found herself looking not at Shih Ming, easy on the eyes though he was, but Ru-Yueh. Gone was the girl who scampered offstage long before her exit: there was no mistaking the kimono-clad starlet who gazed remorsefully into the audience, hands clasped to her chest, as anyone other than Omiya.

If Wan-Hua was slow to stand during the ovation, no one else within the theatre noticed.