Ling Guo has always been intelligent. And because she was smart, she also grew cunning. It was the only way she would be able to get out of her situation.
Her family was at the bottom of society by Asian vampire standards. Even pets were treated better than them.
You see, her family was weak. They used to be adored by the Chinese steward for their rare abilities, but somewhere along the way, the recent generations forgot how to use those precious abilities. And as they heavily depended on them, they neglected to train their strength. The result was that they were now weak by vampire standards.
Because of that, they were basically the pets of the current steward. He wasn't allowing them any time to train or try to remember how to use their abilities, so they were getting weaker and weaker as time passed. The new generations were becoming even more useless than the last.
And Ling Guo was this useless new generation.
But to get back to what I was saying at the start, she was intelligent and cunning. And hard working.
Nobody worked as hard as she did. She worked so hard that she could complete most of her tasks twice as fast as the average person. However, she knew that if people were to learn about it, they would only give her more jobs, so she remained silent.
She kept silent, and once she finished her tasks, she worked in secret.
She had already read all the books that referred to her family. Even the ones containing only one line about them. She has read and memorised them all over the centuries. Now she needed to replicate the runes that were contained within.
So, while everyone was sleeping, she would practice writing them everywhere she could. In the sand, on wood, on rocks… Everywhere she could without being discovered.
She also took the time to practice her embroideries for two reasons.
The first is that being able to create and activate runes is a useful skill, but it's even better on objects. And clothes are the easiest thing to practise on. The second was that her value would go up if she had the skills that nobles searched for.
She needed to find a powerful partner to get away from this situation. If she could be the epitome of femineity and have her family's power back, she would be the most prized woman on the whole continent.
However, she needed to be clever about it. Because if she managed to make magical runes and her current Master were to discover it, he would exploit her even more.
So, she was working in the small timeframe when everyone was sleeping. She rarely slept. Vampires don't need sleep, and she trained her brain to support the strain of never shutting off.
Thanks to that, after a few centuries, she managed to create working runes. Then, a few centuries after that, she implemented them on clothes. Then on objects.
She learnt to dance, sing and play instruments on her own. The last two were the trickiest ones as she couldn't make too much noise, or she could have woken people up.
She observed the noblewomen coming to the palace and mimicked how they were walking and talking.
She created runes to keep her ivory skin pale. Being tanned here meant you were a worker. The paler you were, the nobler you appeared. She kept her skin ivory pale as could be. She also took care of her hair to make them long and silky.
She needed to be able to bewitch anyone in an instant.
So, she trained herself to smile even when she didn't want to. She trained her eyes to be able to hold any conversation for her.
She needed to be the perfect woman as she was still frail for a vampire. The only ways to improve her strength were out of her reach.
She trained so hard, and one day there was nothing she could train anymore with what she had at her disposal. So, she waited.
She waited for the perfect occasion, and one day it came.
Xiao Long came to visit the steward's palace.
She had heard his name before, but she had never seen him. People were talking about him as the one that would become the next steward one day. He was a young, powerful, and ambitious vampire. Everything she needed to get out of her misery. She just needed to find a way to approach him.
The method came to her when she heard him discuss something with the steward while she was serving them food. Xiao Long barely looked at her because he was too focused on telling everyone that he found some rare ore that could be made into a Sun Blade weapon once in the hands of a talented dwarf.
She waited for him to be alone later that night and told him that he didn't need a dwarf. He only needed her.
Of course, he laughed at her face, but then she showed him some of the runes she had made. That made him silent.
She asked for the ore and told him if he came back in a century, she would have the weapon for him. When he asked her why he should give her that precious metal and risk losing it when he could find a dwarf that would be quicker in making the weapon. She answered that by giving him the ore, she could prove that she could be a valuable partner to him. It would show that she can be secretive and trustworthy, as hiding the creation of the weapon would be a feat in itself. But it would also prove that she is capable of mastering her family's ancestral powers and transmitting them to their children. If they joined forces, his house would be the most powerful one in Asia.
He accepted and gave her the ore.
As soon as he left the estate, she started to work. She had no idea about how to forge weapons, but she knew she could learn. And learn she did. After a century, the blade was a masterpiece.
She also crafted a sheath so that the sword could only be removed by a member of her family.
So, when Xiao Long returned a century later, she was ready.
When he saw the weapon and the sheath, he knew she would be the perfect ally. They stayed side by side for thousands of years and grew together in power and influence. For a long time, she thought she couldn't have chosen better as his wits were almost on par with hers.
So that's why she couldn't believe how stupid he was now.
How could he think he had a chance against the King? Even without taking the King into consideration, how could he believe that he would get away with using vampire children as a blood bank? What an idiot.
It hurt her pride to realise that she had been considering a fool as an ally for so long. Maybe she wasn't as clever as she thought she was. She needed to do better.
She didn't fight for centuries to rise above her misfortune to let an idiot destroy everything now.
She would take care of it herself. She would be damned before someone, anyone, made her go back to where she started.