Bridget's Days Ch. 06bypatricia51©
I frantically hopped back, a move that was becoming tiresomely common. No matter how I tried to dodge or block, the razor sharp sword edge wove closer and closer to me. It danced like lightning, first threatening my head, then my body. It dipped towards my leg and I sprang sideways, only to have it curl around from the other direction. It hinted at my hand and then swept back at my neck. Grasping the hilt of my own blade with both hands I managed to block the blow. I leaped forward as I tried to bind the other blade with mine and then spin around to launch my own attack.
My blade hissed through the air, meeting nothing. Then a cold edge was laid on the nape of my neck as I stumbled with the wasted force of my own swing.
"Bridget, you're dead." A woman's tinkling laughter floated through the air as the two of us lowered our swords. "And it won't do any good to remark that you already are. A headless vampire is as dead as a headless mortal."
"I have no intention of arguing with you, Ling." I smiled at the incredibly graceful Oriental woman I knew to be a vampire at least a hundred years older than me. "I'm just grateful for you taking the time to teach me. My knowledge of sword-fighting has always relied more on our greater strength rather than any sort of finesse."
"I know that well." She laughed again and I would have blushed had I been capable of it. "No, no," she went on, sensing my embarrassment. "You are getting better each time we spar." Her eyes twinkled "You should just practice more rather than wander the city at night. I have an idea that a large number of men, and women too, find you fascinating with your green eyes and red hair and white skin. But pleasure needs to be balanced with work, even for us. Now, spend the next few nights following the movements that you have learned, while I am gone. Master them, Bridget."
I carefully saluted her and then bowed my head. "I will, Ling." She returned the bow, gathered her things together and left. If she was conscious of my eyes following her, just enjoying the sight, she gave no indication of it.
I gave a little sigh. Oh well. As attracted as I was to her, I wasn't going to risk the friendship that had sprung up between us just for a roll in the hay, or the silk perhaps. Beside, the interest I had in her became all the more keen for being delayed. After all, it wasn't like either of us was going anywhere. I hoped.
I dutifully followed Ling's instructions and exercised as she had taught me for another couple of hours. Then I scampered inside, cleaned up and changed from cotton trousers and shirt to a "giapo". Translated as "long dress", it was a high collared and tight waisted dress with a long slit up the side allowing the legs to be shown off. One day it would be known as a cheongsam. I buttoned it up the right side, luxuriating in the feel of the silk fabric. Silk had been exported to Europe for centuries but the quantities involved didn't allow it to filter down to the masses, like me. I marveled at the sensual feel of the fabric.
I ran my hands slowly over my body. I had planned to wander out into what remained of the night. Beijing was a tumultuous and exciting city and Ling was right, I had no trouble attracting companionship, either male, female or both. But now I decided that I wanted no lover other than myself.
I laid down on the sleeping couch and stretched, feeling cat-like in my comfort. The cushions were soft and the silk weave caressed my body. I brought my hands down from over my head and slid them down my sides. Deliberately, I tensed, arching my body slightly. I tightened my leg muscles, pointing my toes as my fingers slipped down my legs.
My palms retraced their down sweep, moving slowly up the front of my thighs. My extended thumbs pulled the silk taut for an instant between my legs. My fingers paused to stroke my flat stomach and then resumed their trek. Finally I relaxed against the cushions as my hands cupped my breasts, rubbing the silk against the skin and over my nipples.
I closed my eyes and lost myself in the sensations. I squeezed my breasts gently, then my fingers crept to the now erect nipples. Taking them firmly between forefingers and thumbs I began to roll them, then pinch them as they grew hard. The silk slipping over my stiffening nubbins felt incredible, bringing an involuntary moan to my lips.
I continued to play with my breasts, pressing them together as though offering them to a lover's mouth. I twisted and turned on the couch. I bent my right leg, shifting so the slit skirt fell away from it. I ran my foot up and down the inside of my other leg. The silk caressed the inside of my left leg as well as the bottom of my foot and I shivered.
I bit my lip. I could feel my fangs struggling to drop from the sheer excitement of the moment. In fact, I could feel my body trembling already as I built towards a climax just from my breast play. Almost hastily I slide my right hand down my side.
I hesitated for a second when my fingers brushed my thigh and started to slip through the slit in my gown. If the silk felt like this against my breasts, I wondered how would it feel against my pussy.
I parted my legs, one bare, the other covered to my ankle. Using the tip of one finger, I delicately rubbed the material against me. My eyes opened wide at the feeling of the silk slipping between my swollen lips. I added two fingers and began to stroke up and down my open, wet slit.
Faster and faster I rubbed. My legs strained to part further, hampered by the gown bunching around my hips. I tightened my grip on my left nipple, pulling and twisting it. I jammed my silk covered hand inside of me and sought my clit with my thumb. The very first scrape against my clit set me off. My fangs dropped all the way and I pinched my nipple so hard that it would have bled had I been human. I barely managed to swallow the scream I so wanted to vocalize.
As the shudders of my body calmed, I slumped back against the couch. Now I felt deliciously weary from both the vigorous sword practice and from my orgasm. I started to drift off to sleep as I considered how I had ended such a long way from my native Ireland.
After my first attempt to reach the Orient had been checked in Budapest, I had returned first to France and then to Ireland. Always I found myself drawn back to the green country of my birth, and my death. But the countryside that was my home was could only be visited briefly. Vampires by necessity are creatures of the cities of man. We are solitary and secretive. We do not band together, lest we be noticed. We glide through the shadows. Our greatest safety lies in that we are a superstition, that we do not exist.
I had, along with all of Ireland, fought and been defeated, indeed crushed, by Cromwell in 1649 and 1650. Great cruelties incite horrible vengeance. I still strive to forget not only the horrors the Ironsides inflicted on my people, but the inhuman things I did trying to stop them. The nightmare still rides me sometimes, reminding me of what I did to save the village of my birth. For a long time I hated England. I know that it was not England, nor the English as a people who deserved my hate, but it took a century and more for me to come to terms with it.
So I began wandering again. Across Northern Europe and then down to the Middle East (carefully avoiding Hungary). I would have loved to have visited the Holy Land but that region was in turmoil. Had I known then what I know now, I would have gone. Its not as if its ever got better.
Finally I arrived in Baghdad, a major city on the route that would one day be called "The Silk Road". Although its importance had declined, the caravans still plodded from East to West. It takes more than revolution and the fall of empires and dynasties to stop merchants from trading. I would see what could have been almost the same caravans still moving across the ancient route centuries later when I was back in China watching the struggle between the Nationalists and the Communists.
I made an arrangement with one of the caravan masters to travel with his company. He attempted to enlist my services as a cook. This was something so beyond my ability as to be mind-boggling. I was not to learn the difference between a pot and a pan for 350 years, and only then mastered that art when my darling Mike casually mentioned he had found a loophole in church law that allowed for annulment in cases where the wife attempted to poison her husband.
I had contracted to have a special wagon built for me. I had remembered Susanna telling me of the wagons her Gypsy tribe used for travel and had one of those houses-on-wheels constructed. I hired a driver and spent the long days of travel across the rocky deserts comfortably inside. Whenever I touched the gaily painted wagon I thought of her and Yusef and hoped that they were still happy together and were doting grandparents at least.
Slowly we made our way East. When the ancient road forked, we took the northern route looping up through Mongolia and down through the Great Wall. I concentrated on what I could see of the passing scenery by night and learning enough to get by of a couple of the major dialects of Chinese. During the journey, various travelers joined and left the caravan as intermediate stops were reached. We were already in China when another closed wagon joined the caravan.
I, of course, was only out of my wagon at night. It was on one of those nights that I observed a group of men slip into camp and attempt to steal that other wagon. I had leaped among them and scattered them even as they were carrying off two mysterious passengers I had never seen.
It turned out the twosome were the young son and daughter of one of the influential noble advisors at the Imperial Court. Rather than make a big production of bringing his children to Beijing, he had sought to bring them there in secret.
His gratitude, and the worry that someone within the court itself was supplying information to rebels and outlaws, led to my introduction to Ling. She was a complex and fascinating woman. Slender and smaller even than myself, she possessed a speed and agility that took my breath away. And her prowess with the imported Japanese sword known as the katana was simply astounding.
As a favor to the nobleman, she took me as a student. She worked me mercilessly, without criticism but without praise. I was therefore floored one day when she presented me with a sword similar to her own.
"Its about time you learned to use a civilized weapon Bridget. I don't think we can progress any further with that sword of yours."
I was slightly offended by the description of my Italian rapier, but at the same time was grateful that she thought me worthy to continue to train. I took the offered sword with thanks. It was because of that I made a discovery.
One night we were engaged in a long practice bout. She had never questioned why I only was around after dark, and the thought didn't even cross my mind that I never heard from her except at night. She was showing me an intricate movement. As I went through the steps with her beside me, her attention was momentarily diverted just as I slipped. I wavered, trying to regain my balance. I flung my hands out and the edge of my sword gashed Ling's arm.
I gasped and tore off a piece of my loose fitting shirt to bandage her arm. Then I gasped even deeper. Her arm was not bleeding. As I watched, the wound began to knit itself.
"Oh my GOD." I covered my mouth with my free hand. "You too?"
For the first and only time I saw Ling surprised. Then she laughed.
"I wondered why you never seemed to offer any arguments about training at night. I thought you were being polite. I never realized that you were like me."
"A vampire." I stated. Might as well get it out in the open.
"Yes, a vampire," she replied. She went on to explain a bit about her history. She never told me the circumstances of her turning, that is a subject that vampires rarely share with each other. But I found out that the Emperor, and his predecessors were aware of her nature. She remained loyal to the Throne and they to her.
For some time the only result that I could tell of our mutual discovery was that Ling pushed me harder and longer than any human could have tolerated. That was why after practice that night I had elected to forego a visit to the city proper and instead satisfy myself s I had. Now all I wanted to do was sleep.
Had I not been what I was, I doubt that I would have heard the stealthy footsteps in my chamber. As quietly and as naturally as I could, I rolled onto my side, my hand questing for the sword tucked under my sleeping couch. My fingers curled around the hilt. I did not draw it from its sheath, but tensed myself, my eyes straining through the darkness.
This was an unsettled time in China. The Qing Dynasty of the invading Manchu's had just completed the conquest of the country. They had captured Beijing in 1644 and the last rebel Ming prince had been seized and executed only three years previously. K'ang Hsi had become Emperor that same year, following Shunzhi. Ling had told me he was consolidating the Manchu power throughout China and had his eye on conquering Tibet. He would eventually do that. At the same time, he was promoting science and the arts were beginning to flourish under his encouragement, stifled as they had been under the last Mings.
I felt more than heard the intruder draw nearer. I did hear a whisper of sound that I realized was a sword being stealthily drawn. I rolled from my sleeping couch, the hilt of my katana in both hands, poised to strike. Barely did I glimpse a shadowy figure dart across the room and out the door. I sprang to the window, ducking under the thick curtains that hung there, my eyes straining through the gloom. Was that someone or was it only a trick of my eyes that seemed to flow from the tree in the courtyard to the wall and into the night?
I carefully barred the door and waited until I knew the sun was up. Then I laid back down and returned to a fitful sleep. From that night on I slept all day as usual, but spent almost every waking moment practicing. Somehow, something was up. I was sure the intruder had been in my chamber because I was Ling's pupil.
Finally one night Ling was back. I could see exhaustion in her face. Even vampires can wear themselves out with lack of sleep and too much work and worry. As soon as possible I drew her to my side. She listened to my tale without comment until I finished. Then she sighed.
"Bridget, among other things, I serve as a bodyguard to the Emperor. I also prowl among the people at night, listening to them. Most of the populace doesn't care who occupies the throne, they simply want to be left alone to live their own lives. Of the remainder, the majority are in favor of the Manchus. But some are not. There is a group of Ming nobles that aches for their restoration to favor and power. I suspect they have hired a group of nin-sha assassins to kill the Emperor and the Manchu Royal Family. I am determined to prevent this."
She looked into the distance. "I am not Manchu but Han. Never-the-less, peace, safety and stability mixed with more freedom than generations have seen are spreading through my land. I will do whatever I must to keep things as they are."
She turned to me. "You are perceived as a threat because of your closeness to me. Perhaps you should go. I have no right to put you in danger."
"NO!" I exclaimed involuntarily. "I don't want to leave you."
Ling looked sharply at me. I stood firm under her gaze. Something flickered through her eyes and I felt my heart surge up in my chest for a moment.
"Then we must make you a match for them, Bridget. We must train."
So we trained. I was determined to show Ling that I could be a valuable companion. It also gave me the opportunity to spend lots of time with a woman that I realized was enthralling me. The shape of her body, the slight twist of her eyebrow when she was surprised, the way she would nibble her lower lip when she was in deep thought.
I accompanied her on occasions when she slipped through the night to seek information. These were training sessions too. Sometimes she threw up her hands at my blundering through shadows that she moved noiselessly through. I never came close to her grace of movement, not her lightning speed with a sword, but I grew much more adept at both than I ever thought I could. And every progression, every word of praise, drew me closer to Ling and made me crave her even more.
Things came to a head one night when she had gone out on her own. I had nervously waited for her, walking the floor well passed the midnight hour. When she finally returned I was struck by the look of worry on her face.
"Bridget, events are overtaking us. Whatever attempt the plotters are going to make is coming soon. You are not safe here. I want you to leave Beijing now."
"No," was all I replied.
"Bridget, listen to me! These assassins are deadly. I have done my best to prepare you but you are still no match for them. Perhaps if we had more time..." Her words trailed off as I shook my head.
"Ling, I am not leaving. I am not running away from here, from YOU." I searched her face, looking for a hint of what I thought I had seen before. "Don't you understand Ling? I love you."
The silence stretched out between us for what seemed like hours. Then Ling's hand rose.
"Oh Bridget," she touched my face with her fingertips. Her eyes misted. "Its been so long. I always thought I feared nothing. But I fear losing you. I love you too."
I turned my head and kissed each finger. Her hand ran gently down my body before she interlaced her fingers with mine.
"Come with me." She led me through corridors and doorways until we reached rooms that must have been her own chambers. We faced each other beside her sleeping couch, holding hands and staring at each other.
Finally I managed to lean forward and kiss her. Our lips clung to each others, sharing a thousand tiny kisses. Our fingers unlaced in order to run down arms and over hips, to brush over hidden breasts and trace the curves of legs and bottoms.
"Close your eyes," whispered Ling.
I stood motionless, my arms outstretched as Ling slowly stripped me. Her touch was a light as a feather. I felt her move away from me and yearned to follow but I resisted, remaining where I was although I trembled with desire.
"Open your eyes Bridget."
I did, and if I could have fainted I would have. Ling stood in a square of moonlight. She lifted her arms over her head and let the pale light wash over her slender, nude body. The long black hair tumbling around her shoulders was all her body possessed. She raised herself on her toes and stood motionless, an exquisite statue formed in porcelain.
I took one faltering step after another, afraid that this vision of Oriental beauty would somehow prove to be an illusion. She moved not until I reached her. Even then, she simply lowered herself to the balls of her feet and slid her feet slightly apart.
I could not stop. I could not stand before her. In one motion I fell to my knees. I wanted to worship every inch of this woman. I managed to hold myself back from diving into her. Instead, I touched her legs. My hands crept around to the back of her thighs and then slowly I followed the curves of her legs, down to the back of the knees and then over the smooth, slender calves. She shivered. Her bare womanhood glistened with a single drop of nectar. My hands rose up the sides of those wonderful legs, feeling the muscles bunch. Then I brushed over her tight, taut ass and I could resist no longer.
I placed a soft kiss on her bare pussy. Oh so slowly, I dragged my tongue over her, exploring the folds and creases and hidden places of her. I dipped down to run my tongue over the inside of her thighs and then up over her to kiss her firm, flat belly. I reached up to her breasts. Even smaller than mine, they were works of art as delightful as any that I have ever seen, or touched. My hands cupped them, holding them, feeling the nipples poking into my palms even as I slipped my tongue inside Ling.