Two Chinese women have helped her bathe and dress in beautiful silks and heavy robes in the rich, ever-changing colors of the sea. They've arranged her hair and pinned a pretty, elaborate headdress into place; it feels like a crown, and Elizabeth holds her head high under its weight. The women don't speak much as they work, for which Elizabeth is grateful, and they won't hold her eye.
Why is it, she thinks, that some men enjoy dressing me up when they take me captive? It's puzzling, but at least Sao Feng hadn't threatened to make her dine naked with the crew if she didn't comply.
As if summoned by her thoughts, she hears the pirate descending the brief staircase to the round entranceway. He speaks in rapid Chinese -- probably to Tai Huang -- and Elizabeth turns to watch him approach, her face carefully inscrutable. Everything depends on this conversation.