Dragon Sword

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


27. drunk


She walks through the teeming night crowds of Dragon Gate among the fire-eaters and the ware hawkers, the veil-wrapped prostitutes and the sullen soldiers, the ragged bandits and the leather-clad fighters, the strolling monks and the singing catamites.




She enters the inn and goes to her room, her hair wild.





The boy leaps up and lights the oil lamp, striking flint and steel -- sparks flying.




Zu sits, holding the sword against her skinny chest.




The boy lights the stove now. Throws in more charcoal. Blows into the flame. Huff huff.




She listens. Everything is spinning.  Wild. Clear. Inevitable. She laughs. The boy blows on the flames, puts on more crackling tinder.




She wishes she had another jug of wine. She's not hungry. But the boy starts cooking something he's taken from an oiled paper package thrust down inside his ragged shirt. It's meat. It sizzles in the fire.




Zu settles back against the wall.



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