*None of this may be reproduced without my express permission. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.*
The ornate, beautifully decorated mirror reflected a fifteen year old girl. She had almond shaped dark eyes, long ebony hair that flowed past her waist and delicate lips curved in a frown.
Lan Meili was the youngest member of the royal Cheung family. She had three sisters, Lan Jiao, Lan Yin and Lan Zan. Her mother, Queen Mei-Zhen, had passed away eight years ago, and her father, King Shiang Hao Ji, was awfully strict.
Meili was fed up of her sheltered life as a princess. Nobody except her family was allowed to look into her eyes because Shiang had proclaimed it disrespectful, and Meili could never play with the peasant children. None of the peasant children were allowed to even speak to her, so Meili was very lonely indeed.
"Are you quite fine, dear sister?" Lan Zan asked one day, looking concerned.
"Oh, sister Zan, I despair of being a princess. I wish I could flee to a country where nobody knows about my position."Meili whispered dolefully. She had to whisper because if her father had heard her, he would have dismissed her from the castle in disgrace, which was a terrible punishment and the dismissed person would be subjected to public rumors.
There was a miniscule gleam in Zan's dark eye. "I do declare, sister Meili, I too am unhappy as a princess. We could leave China for England together, where nobody knows us!"she whispered with glee.
Meili considered this and a big smile lit up her face. "Well, Zan, dear, we must begin preparations at once."