Once, in Beijing, a young girl in a red gown huddled in a doorway. She had just made it home. It was 11:58 p.m. The night would end in a couple of minutes, and with it, her glittering ruby gown, the silken slippers, and the jade hairpins keeping her silken locks in its elaborate up-do. But for now, she would savor the evening she'd just had: eating the most sumptuous food she'd ever had, mingling with the guests she'd once called neighbors, and most of all, dancing in the yellow throne room with the prince's half-brother.