Twenty thousand cavalry soldiers were lined up in front of Red Mist city dressed in full armor with spears in hand and swords sheathed at their waists. Some held black banners with a golden threaded dragon head on them.
In the front of the army were four figures who we would recognize as Zhang, Yuying, Ai and Lu Xun. They were getting ready to head out to the Heilong kingdom. Zhang decided to leave Xi Ning in charge of Red Mist city and the rest of the province.
This was due to Xi Ning being the most senior of the three people were left behind and could be put in charge. Sima Yi was too new and could not be immediately put as the overseer of the city. And Sun Ce had yet to gain Zhang's complete trust yet. Although the man seemed trust worthy only time will tell.
At the very front of the army Zhang was fully suited in armor and had the Sky Piercer halberd out in his hand. On his waists were two dangling chains and daggers. While sitting onto power of a flaming black horse he gave off a very intimidating yet noble aura.
Beside him Yuying and Ai were both fully armed as well. On top of Yuying's helmet sat the Titanic Golden spider queen as usual only this time it was slightly bigger. Zhang has been constantly giving it the highly concentrated essence water from the underground lake helping hasten its growth rate. Next to Yuying was Ai who just happens to have a pitch black whip hanging at her side. This would be recognized at the Black Thorn whip.
Although she lacked experience with using a whip Zhang gave it to her simply so in a time of need she can use its special ability to grow. With that ability Ai could protect herself from people in times of need.
On top of the walls of Red Mist city stood one hundred thousand soldiers that had been recruited. Zhang left Xi Ning with orders to double the size of the army while he was gone. Within Jin Sho’s ring was a huge amount of gold that was enough to fund the entire city for the next fifty years even if taxes were not collected. This gave Zhang a lot of money to expand his army with.
Along with the huge amount of money there were a few very useful items as well. Such as something called as bottles of phoenix blood, seven colored mushrooms, elemental pearls which helped Zhang increase one level of cultivation and a few other things.
As the army was about to depart on their journey to the Heilong Kingdom a single lone rider appeared from the other side of the city gate and rode to Zhang.
“My lord your orders have been carried out a gag order has been placed on the entire city and no new of us taking over the city will be spread. Also as for your other orders once you depart we will carry them out according to your wishes.” The rider who turned out to be Sima Yi said.
“Good we will meet again very soon.” Zhang said.
“Now it is time to head out!” Zhang shouted to the rest of the army and his horse began galloping.
In two weeks the tournament in the Heilong Kingdom will commence and for the past month many dignitaries of other forces have been arriving one after another. From princes, princess, ministers, lords to generals. Each of them would come in very lavish and awe inspire ways as a show of wealth for the kingdoms or forces they represented. Carriages of gold and diamonds would line the streets when these people came.
Beasts from the far reaches of the continent would be used to pull their carriages. Beautiful women could be seen accompanying men of power.
Seeing all of this the common citizens of the Heilong kingdom were awestruck. Rarely did their king or any of the people in high standing show up in such flashy ways so this was somewhat of a treat for their eyes. Thus many of the citizens would gather and tell tales or gossip of what they saw. The most popular place to listen to such things was the largest diner within the capital city called the “Seven Spices Diner.”
Today a middle aged man was in the middle of a crowd telling them about the dignitaries that came yesterday.
“Yesterday a prince from the kingdom of Shu into our city while riding a giant sedan chair made of gold that took fifty people to carry and riding with him were ten of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen in my life. To top that off behind him were a thousand maids and servants.” The man said.
As the man top them about the important people that has come into the city the audience sat there listening in awe. Many of these people were just commoners who were too busy working to see this for themselves.
“Uncle! I heard everyone who our king invited has already arrived but the representatives from Aurora.” A young boy asked.
“Yes the representative from Aurora has not come yet but I heard that they are sending the successor of the lord of Aurora to attend.” The man replied.
“Successor of the lord of the city? What’s that uncle?” The boy asked once more.
“You see Aurora is a province in the far south east located in the warring states region and for now it is our only ally from there. Unlike us who is a kingdom they aren’t big enough to call themselves a kingdom. But although they can’t call themselves a kingdom yet the lord of Aurora is not the least bit off influential than a king. So that means his successor is the equivalent of a prince.” The man told the boy.
The man then continued to talk about the people that had already come into the city until suddenly a man wearing green outfit ran into the diner yelling.
“We’re under attack!! We’re under attack!!!” The man wearing a green outfit yelled.
“What?!” The man telling stories asked.
“Thousands of cavalry soldiers are heading for the city from the south east!! The city guards not knowing who’s soldiers those are even closed the city gates.” The man wearing a green outfit yelled.
“Let’s go see!” someone in the audience yelled.
“Go see? You fool we might be under attack.” Someone yelled. “What’s there to be afraid of he said cavalry soldiers we will be safe on top of the walls. Also think about it you fool we are in the capital city of the kingdom how could an enemy army come in this far without anyone knowing.” A sturdy looking man said.
“Then why did the guards close the gates!” the man wearing a green outfit yelled.
“Who knows maybe they got here ahead of schedule and the guards did not receive any correspondences yet.” The sturdy looking man replied.
Soon the curious and brave people got up from their seats and went to the walls of the city. Soon the city gates were bustling with people trying to see what was happening. Normally the guards wouldn’t allow people up on top of the walls when possible enemies could be attacking but since the soldiers outside of the walls were cavalry soldiers they did not stop the people from going up. Had it been archers or infantry then that would have been another story. Also they were sure that no one was dumb enough to attack the city at this time due to how many people from various forces were present in the city.
A distance away from the city gates were thousands of cavalry soldiers all dressed in black armor formed into hundreds of orderly rows. Some held black banners with a golden threaded dragon on them. In front the army were four people also dressed in armor. From afar some people with good vision could tell that two of them were male and two of them were female.
One of the four people in front of the army rode upward to the front of the city gate.
“We are the soldiers of Aurora here to escort our future lord and his two madams to attend the tournament.” The man yelled toward the guards on the top of the city walls while pulling out an emblem from his behind his breast plate.
Once the people on top of the walls heard the man say Aurora then they were put at awe. If these were really the escorts for the representative of Aurora, then their entrance would have topped everyone that came before them.
Although the other representative also brought soldiers but no one brought this many and on top of that cavalry soldiers. One should know that a single cavalry soldier was the equivalent of ten regular soldiers due to the price of horses and training it would take to produce one cavalry soldier.
Soon a soldier from the city was sent out from a side gate to confirm the identity of the people outside of the walls.
After a while the soldiers opened the main gate and let the army of cavalry soldiers in. They had confirmed that these soldiers were in fact from Aurora.
The cavalry soldiers had dismounted and formed two rows as they walked with the reins of their horses in hand into the city. They had formed two human walls to keep the street clear for their lord.
The streets soon became filled with people trying to catch a glimpse of the successor of Aurora’s lord. People were filled with curiosity when they heard that twenty thousand cavalry soldiers were escorting him. Once they save that all of the escort soldiers were wearing matching black armor along with their war horses these people stood watching with their mouths open.
Shortly after the soldiers came in four people rode into the city. Three of them were sitting on top of fiery steeds while dressed in black armor that looked many times more expensive than what the soldiers were wearing. One of the three had a very strange looking thing on top of her head which looked like a large spider.
A man rode in front while three others rode behind. They could tell that this man was probably a general of sorts while the three behind him were the important guests.
Many men when looking at the two women on the fiery horses lost their breathe.
Zhang and his forces had sped day and night all the way from Red Mist city to the capital of the Heilong kingdom. They were on track to arrive roughly one month before the beginning of the tournament but after they entered the borders of the Heilong kingdom every time they tried to find a city to rest in they would have to wait for the soldiers inside the cities to check their identities.
After a while they gave up on trying to enter cities and camped outside in the wilderness. But due to avoiding cities they ended up somewhat lost since neither did Zhang nor anyone else knew the exact geography of the Heilong kingdom.
He had lived in Blue Tear city all his life and his soldiers were all from the warring states region so no one knew their way around. But eventually they reach the outskirts of the capital of the Heilong kingdom.
After confirming their identity Zhang and his force were admitted to enter the city. Of course his soldiers after escorting him inside of the city would camp outside with only a few staying to provide Zhang with guards.
As the trio rode down the streets of the capital thousands of commoners could be seen crowding the streets trying to get a glimpse at them. This made Zhang feel somewhat weird that he caused such a huge commotion.
“Brother maybe we should have entered secretly.” Yuying said.
“Yea brother!” Ai also added.
Many gazes were on the two beauties staring in wonder. Yuying and Ai were not wearing their helmets but were using veils to cover their faces. They had their black armored dresses on which gave off a noble air.
The men in the crowds let their imaginations run wild about how the two girls looked under their veils. From the parts that weren’t covered they could tell that Yuying and Ai were world class beauties.
Originally Zhang wanted to go directly to where his father was living. But then he thought otherwise. He had found out from a while ago that his father had become the minister of finance of the kingdom. So he did not want to cause trouble for his family due to his current status. If he as the successor to a foreign power had went directly to meet the minister of finance instead of the king of the kingdom that would cause unwanted troubles.
Also the king might grow suspicious of his father because anyone would find it odd that the son of a minister of the kingdom was a successor to a foreign province. This may cause the king to lose trust in his father and that may lead to unwanted trouble.
So Zhang decided to meet the king first and then find an opportunity to meet with his father and have his family come back with him and stay in Red Mist city. Of course he would ask Ling’s family to go with them.
As Zhang’s soldiers lead their horses down the street a group of soldiers came from the opposite direction and blocked their path.
“Everyone kneel! Prince Huang Zu has arrive.” A voice rang out.
Upon hearing this all of the people present kneeled on the spot. Well everyone but Zhang and his soldiers. They were soldiers from the warring states region so they did not care about some prince from another kingdom.
“Insolent! Bow to the prince!” A man dressed as a red robe yelled as he pointed toward Zhang.
Without a single word all of Zhang’s soldiers raised their spears and pointed them at the man.
“You kneel to our lord!” Lu Xun said as he rode up to where the man was.
“Wha-what's the meaning of this! Do you know where you are?!!!” The man yelled.
“Of course we know where we are, is this how you treat honored guests?” Lu Xun replied. How Lu Xun saw it unless it was a king no one could order his future lord to kneel. As the next lord of Aurora, Zhang represented the future of Aurora.
“Stand down.” Zhang said as he rode up along with Yuying and Ai.
“Let’s not cause unwanted trouble.” Zhang said to Lu Xun.
That was when a young man rode up from behind the man in the red robe and said “no need to kneel let’s not make a commotion over something so trivial.”
Once the young man said that the man in the red rob said “but prince Huang Zu everyone must bow when greeting you.”
“Enough! I am the prince what I say goes.” Huang Zu said.
The man in the red robe stopped talking once Huang Zu yelled at him.
“Greeting and welcome to our kingdom.” Huang Zu said to Zhang.
“Thank you and nice to meet you.” Zhang replied.
“I was tasked by my father to guide you around the city for some sightseeing and to an estate that we have prepared for you.” Huang Zu said.
“Please lead the way.” Zhang replied.
Huang Zu began escorting Zhang to the estate that they had prepared for him. Zhang had told Lu Xun to tell the soldiers that after they pitch camp outside of the city they were free to enjoy their free time in the city as long as they did not cause trouble. Lu Xun then led a majority of the soldiers outside of the city upon Zhang’s orders leaving only around a hundred or so as guards
As Huang Zu led the Zhang around the city sightseeing they passed by the Royal Academy. The Royal Academy was huge with many buildings within its walls. Some buildings towered into the sky while others were said to tunnel into the ground. From the outside the Royal Academy looked magnificent.
“I’ve always heard about the Royal Academy of the Heilong Kingdom perhaps we can take a look inside?” Zhang asked.
“Of course and maybe you’ll catch a glimpse of my future wife too.” Huang Zu replied with a smile.
Over the course of sightseeing Zhang had been able to somewhat guess Huang Zu’s character. Huang Zu was somewhat of an oddball but overall he did not seem like a bad person. But he did seem to talk a lot. He would go on and on about this and that for hours if Zhang did not ask to move on to the next destination. From this Zhang could tell that he was somewhat lonely and wanted someone to talk to.
Huang Zu had left behind all of his guards and lead just the trio into the academy. Once inside the four of them walked through the large halls of the academy. Huang Zu was a student in the academy himself and had told them they due to the tournament approaching everyone in the academy was busy training.
Huang Zu continued to tell the trio about this and that about the academy as they walked through its halls.
But most of his words were somewhat toned out by Zhang. The entire time he was imagine what he would say when he met Ling again. Just imagining the surprised look on her face put a silly grin on his face.
Yuying and Ai seeing the silly grin on Zhang’s face also had a silly grin on their faces. They knew that Zhang was looking forward to meeting Ling and his family. They themselves were somewhat excited too, from Zhang’s stories about his home they felt anticipation for the meeting also.
As they walked through the halls and past what Huang Zu said to be the technique library of the academy through an opening through the two doors that lead into the library something caught Zhang’s attention.
Huang Zu was too busy talking about the library itself to notice but Zhang could see through the small opening there was a very familiar looking girl sitting inside and reading a book. She has long flowing black hair and was wearing a very pretty pink dress that emphasized her figure.
Zhang’s heart began to beat rapidly as he recognized who it was. He stopped in his tracks and continued to look in the opening. Seeing him stop Yuying and Ai also stopped leaving Huang Zu to walk along and continue talking to himself.
Yuying and Ai too began peeking into the small opening. From the look in Zhang’s eyes they could tell that this girl sitting inside will most likely be their rival and their sister in the future.
The doors into the library slowly opened as Zhang pushed them part.
“Hello there I’m a bit lost can you help me find my way.” He said.