This is a serialized story, Part 1 can be found here
When the morning had broadened into day and the duties of the Empire allowed for a pause, The Emperor, the Incarnation of Justice, made it known that he would visit his garden of the rarest and most precious women of his vast dominion. Word was speedily sent, and the women prepared themselves. The-evening-star-in-winter, most beautiful of the women of the North, knew at once what this visit meant for her friend. Hide yourself, she instructed The-moon-as-it-is-waxing, wrap yourself up and go to your bed and do not show your face to anyone. The sternness of her tone frightened Moon, and she obeyed. The Emperor was preceded by trumpets, then guards, then lavishly dressed courtiers. Engaged in conversation with the Grand Duchess of the Valley of this Sun, he swung into the garden on wide strides of studied nonchalance. The women of the garden cooed; Star bristled. She allowed the abundance of greetings to ebb before informing The Emperor that his newest acquisition was unfortunately unable to present herself on this most gracious visit; having dined yesterday on foods so lavish and exquisite her stomach, used to far coarser and simpler fare, was in revolt. The Emperor was flattered and relieved of the obligation to impress the Duchess; he barely repressed a smirk, taken for amused condescension, and turned to delight himself with the company of the woman from the rocky steppes. The Lady of the Sun narrowed her eyes knowingly at Star, and led the courtiers’ exit.