Dragon Sword

A blind swordswoman in China seeks revenge on the cunning and deadly Manchu general who killed her parents.

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31. alive

 

 

 

Edward wakes up lucid, no longer feverish but thirsty, hurting from his sword wounds, sweating and cursing a little as he sits up. The cuts hurt like flames, it's agony, and he's dying of thirst. He dreamt he was walking in a desert, he tried to catch a lizard and eat it for the blood, because he was so terrifying thirsty, he would have drained that slim gray lizard like a vampire. But it kept slipping through his fingers and jumping from rock to rock and he had to give up chasing it because his heart was thumping so hard. Then he remembers Zu, the beauty of this swordswoman, this wild and drunken assassin. He opens his eyes remembering her as she looked fighting the Clan of Tattooed Assassins on the dark road and in that dark, windy bamboo grove on the mountain. The sleek lightning flash of her sword. He opens his eyes and there she is, sitting up but asleep in the clear slats of sunlight shining through the dust and the shuttered window. Her hair still dusty and wild.

 

 

 

 

He turned and the boy was looking at him. He pointed to his mouth. Water. The boy got up and brought him a clay jug and put it to Edward's lips and Edward tilted his head back, drank. Ecstasy. He drank long cool swallows and then nodded and the boy took and jug away. The water had tasted slightly brackish but it was cool and delicious. Edward sat up straighter, easing himself up, resting his shoulders on the wall, a little out of breath, the wounds hurting him. Zu stirred. Her eyelids stirred. She put her hand out and touched the lacquered bamboo sword cane leaning on the wall beside her. And so she was awake. Her eyelids lifted a little to show the dull blind eyes, just the lunar whites. In a monotonic and mild voice that was strangely moving and even made him tremble a bit from a feeling like desire she asked Edward how he was doing, what his wounds felt like now, how he had slept. The boy was now busy cooking some mush for breakfast, stirring the thick stuff in that little blackened pot and licking the wooden spoon. Edward was very hungry. He stared at the window, sunlight piercing the slats. He felt bad for Zu that she was blind, that she couldn't behold sunlight. It was good to be alive.

 

 

 

He says it. It's good to be alive. Zu laughs. A drunken wild laugh.

 

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