Ling was in the technique hall of the Royal Academy reading up on a technique manual that she had found a while ago. This book was called the Water Slicer technique. It allows the user to form a blade of water that was sharp enough to cut through steel. The blade would be made from condense water in the air allowing the user to be armed as long as there was water around.
She had found the book a few days ago and had been engrossed in studying it because it matched her high amplitude to the element of water. Ling wanted to master at least the first stage or two of the technique before the tournament started.
The tournament’s reward had been released and it was said that whoever ranks in the top ten could go into the treasury of the Heilong Kingdom and pick one item. Ling knew that in the treasury there was one item called Yue Lao’s red string. The story of the Yue Lao’s red string goes like this hundreds of years ago there was a young girl who was waiting for her beloved to come back home from war.
This girl after waiting for many months began thinking that her beloved would never come back to her since the war had ended and many of the soldiers had returned so she sat under the moon every night and wept. The sight of her weeping even made the heavens sad and eventually it began to weep with her. From the heavens rain began to pour and to the point the walls to the city she lived in collapsed.
One day a man by the name of Yue Lao happened upon the sight of this girl weeping in the rain. He had heard tales about her from his travels and true to their words she would come every night and cry while waiting for the young man that left for war to return.
Touched and feeling sympathy for her Yue Lao gave her a mystical treasure. It was a single strand of red string. The red string looked just like any other strand of string however it had a very unique power. The red string was also called by some as the String of Fate which helps guides lovers to one another.
“Young maiden waiting in the dark, tear no more, wait no longer, for this string will guide thy.” Yue Lao said to the young maiden as he handed her the string and flew up into the sky toward the moon.
Once receiving the string from Yue Lao the young maiden set out to find her beloved. In her hands the red strand of string became invisible to everyone but her it also became incredible long and one of its ends could not be seen due to how far It was from the other end. She tied it to her pinky finger and followed it.
After many months of following the string it led her into a deep forest in a remote valley and then to a small cottage. Once she opened the door she could see the young man that had left her laying on a bed wrapped in bandages.
Later a middle aged man returned to the cottage and after sometime told her what had happened. The middle aged man was a hermit who lived off the forest and one day while scavenging he happened upon this young man.
“It was a miracle that this young man even survived the fall. There were many arrows sticking out of his back when I found him and it seemed like he had fallen off the cliff above. But amazingly he was alive and kept on mumbling someone’s name before he went unconscious.” The hermit said. The hermit decided it was fate that they met so he took care of the unconscious man.
The young maiden then began living in the small cottage to help take care of the unconscious young man and one day he woke up and they two of them lived on happily ever after. From then on Yue Lao was known as the god of love. (Part of the story is based on Chinese mythology about the god of love being the man sitting on the moon. Most of it is made up though.)
Ling had found out from her father that the Red String of Fate was within the treasury of the Heilong Kingdom. Her father had tried to acquire it for her but the king rarely gave out such mystical items so all was in vain. But if she placed in the top ten then she would have a chance to enter the treasury and pick one item.
As Ling sat in the library reading her book a voice rang out.
“Hello there I’m a bit lost can you help me find my way?” The voice said.
Once Ling heard the voice a wave of nostalgia hit her. The voice sounded so familiar yet she could not tell who it was. When she looked up she saw a tall man dressed in full black armor. From the small opening in his helmet Ling could see his eyes.
The second she saw his eyes a face flashed through her mind.
“It it’s you.” She said as tears began rolling down her rosy cheeks. Despite her words her mind was screaming, “it can’t be him.”
She always believed the he did not die and waited for him to return to her however seeing him in front of her was an entirely different story. It had been so long and for him to suddenly appear her mind could no process everything.
Ling had always imagined that they would meet in some far away land where Zhang ended up and was so injured he could not return just like in the story of the red string. One could say that she was in denial the entire time but then it turned out that she wasn’t in denial at all. A mass of contradiction happened within her mind.
Zhang stood there staring at Ling not knowing what to say. Of course the question is what could he have said in such a situation? He had been gone for almost three years and everyone thought he was died. Well he actually did die to make things worse.
As he stood there he could see the tears rolling down her eyes which made his heart clench. His reasoning and logic told him that he shouldn’t have approached her yet however a part of him longed to be with Ling and his family and in the end that part got the better of him. Plans and strategies could only take one so far in the end it is the heart and soul of a person that is the deciding factor in life.
Thus he began slowly walking toward her. It also seemed that Ling had recognized him and got up from her chair and slowly walked toward him. The slowness soon began to grow quicker and eventually turned into full on running. Well of course they weren’t running more like speed walking because who runs in this sort of situation.
The table where Ling sat was pretty far from the door but after a few moments the two were in each other’s embrace. There were no words that needed to be said because the warmth that they gave off was more than enough.
Zhang had taken off his helmet and tossed it into the air where it turned into white light and was stored into his interspatial ring.
Once Ling saw his face she was one hundred percent certain that it was him. She used her delicate hand to trace his face and more tears could be seen rolling down her cheeks.
Zhang pulled off one of his gauntlets and used his hand to wipe away the tears on her face then went back to hugging her by the waist.
Yuying and Ai watched from afar with a hint of envy in their eyes however bright smiles could be seen on their faces. They were envious of the relationship that Ling had with Zhang while they were happy for Zhang. They knew that had they been in Ling’s place he could certainly embrace them like he is doing to her.
Ling and Zhang stood in the middle of the hall embracing in their own little world until a voice rang out from the door.
“There you guys are! I’ve been looking for…. you…..”
When everyone turned and looked to the door they could see Huang Zu standing there with a stunned look on his face.
“Wha-what are you doing to my future wife!” Huang Zu yelled still confused by the sight that he saw. He had noticed that the trio was gone after walking and talking by himself and turned back to look for them. When he entered the room he only saw Zhang’s back but when everyone turned around he saw that Zhang was embracing Ling.
“Your future wife? I’m sorry but even though this is the first time I met her it seems she has taken a liking to me.” Zhang replied trying to make it seem like he did not know Ling.
“First time we’ve met?” Ling asked in her mind. But as smart as she was she could guess that Zhang was up to something so she did not say a word.
“Bu-but you already have two wives.” Huang Zu said.
Upon hearing his words Ling’s gaze fell onto Yuying and Ai. Although half of their faces were covered she could tell that they were very beautiful maybe even more then she was.
“Who are they?” She murmured.
“So what if I have two wives already? I can have a third and even a fourth if I wanted to. I’m the next lord of Aurora I could have a hundred wives and no one could stop me. I’m sorry brother but it seemed like she really has taken a liking to me and I to her.” Zhang said to Huang Zu as he pulled her closer to him with his arm wrapped around her waist.
“Don’t worry even though I believe love at first sight is for lonely people I feel that we can spend some time to get to know each other and perhaps then we can marry.” Zhang said while turning back and looking at Ling with a wink.
“Ye-yes I don’t mind that he has two wives.” Ling said in a whisper with a blushed face.
“See? I’m sorry brother but she doesn’t mind.” Zhang commented. As he saw it Huang Zu was his equal in terms of status. Although Aurora was not big enough to be labeled a kingdom it was still a force to be reckon with so the king of the Heilong kingdom would not get involved in something such as this. Also this was the Aurora of the past the current Aurora could most likely consider itself a small kingdom after Zhang had taken Red Mist city.
“You you! Gahhhhh!” Huang Zu yelled as he stormed out of the room.
“Welp glad he’s gone.” Zhang said with a shrug.
“You mind telling me who they are?” Ling said while pointing at Yuying and Ai. Although she said what she said she was still utterly confused and had no idea who these two girls were.
“My second and third wives after you of course.” Zhang said as he hugged Ling once more.
“Waaahhh?” Ling said.
“Who who said we are going to marry you brother!” Yuying yelled along with Ai.
Zhang stopped hugging Ling and held on to her hand and lead her to the door where Yuying and Ai were standing. Once in front of Yuying and Ai a big silly grin appears on Zhang’s face.
“Who said? I did.” Zhang said while laughing as he used his free hand to pull Yuying and Ai toward him by the waist and then hugged them with Ling. Physically Zhang was stronger than the three beauties so they could not break out of his embrace and after a while just went along with it.
After a while the group of four sat down and Zhang told Ling what he had gone through over ever since the day the Siwang Empire attacked. They gone to Ling’s room to make sure no one was around to eavesdrop on them.
Once everyone sat down Zhang began telling his tale. He started off from when he fought the general in golden armor back in Blue Tear city and how he had died. Then he went on to talk about the underworld and how he had tried to escape but failed. His encounter with Xin Tao was also spoken of.
From there he met and Yuying escaped to through the Pool of Regrets and ended up back in the world of the living. And how Ai came out of nowhere. Zhang went on in detail about the Lightning Eater snake, Frost Emperor ape, and the Voracious Eater lion while pointing at his scale armor and showing Ling the two daggers.
Then came Jian Wei and the pirate raid at sea which almost costed them their lives. From there Zhang went on to talk about Red Mist city, and the ruins of the Sai empire.
Ling sat listening in silence and awe at some of the things he was talking about. In three years Zhang had been literally to the pits of hell and back. The things he did and encountered were not what regular people would go through in their entire lives.
She found some parts hard to process, other parts to be very exciting, and listened quietly. From the story Ling could tell the Yuying and Ai had been through thick and thin with Zhang which made a part of her somewhat accept their being around him.
As a woman of course she did not wish to share her man with anyone but realistically in this time and age most men had multiple wives and who was she to deny Yuying and Ai’s love for Zhang. The three of them had been through countless hardships so it was not her place to tell them what they could and could not do.
After completing his story Zhang asked Ling no to tell anyone of his identity. He did not want to cause unwanted trouble for his family. He still thought that it would be better to secretly meet his family then to do it publicly. Because as the next ruler of Aurora people will find it odd that his father is a minister in the Heilong kingdom. That would then make the king suspicious of his family and that wouldn’t lead to anything good.
“Brother where will you be staying?” Ling asked.
“The king had made arrangements for us to stay in a private villa. Do you perhaps want to stay with me?” Zhang said with a grin on his face.
“Sta-stay with you?” Ling said with blushed cheeks.
“Yea then we can go sightseeing together, I’d much rather you take me around then that other guy. And you get three can get to know each other better. Since I’m going to marry all three of you.” Zhang said in a playful tone while getting up from his seat.
Yuying, Ai and Ling all could be seen blushing once they heard his words.
“Who’s going to marry you!?” All three of them yelled.
“You three of course!!” He replied as walked to each of them and planted a kiss on their cheeks.