“Quickly transport all of these supplies to the central barracks!” A soldier clad in the standard red armor of the Red Thorn Army said as he led a trail of wagons through the city. Wagons brimming with sacks of grains stacked one on top of the other, dried rations, barrels filled with water and wine, and dozens of other various things could be seen as far as the eye could see.
All of the supplies on these wagons, of course, were being delivered to the Dark Legion under the orders of Lord Tang Hong. Since new of General Hei Ang’s capture and the death of the various high ranking officers of the Dark, Legion were suppressed, once the supplies arrived at the central barracks they were very much welcomed and quickly accepted.
Since the Dark Legion had lost a large portion of its supplies due to the fire that had occupied during Tang Pan’s rebellion they were filled with glee the moment the Red Thorn Army arrived with such a huge caravan of wagons.
“I thank you in place of General Hei Ang for the hospitality your lord has shown us.” A captain within the Dark Legion said as he had his men store away the supplies brought to them.
“No need for thanks, we simply doing our duty as fellow members of the Southern Alliance. Our lord also had us bring a freshly a few hundred freshly slaughtered pigs and cows that he says are a sign of his personal thanks to the soldiers of the Dark Legion for helping us defeating those traitors.” A captain within the Red Thorn Army said with a smile.
“I’ll make sure to have everyone gets a bit of Lord Tang Hong’s gift.” Replied the captain within the Dark Legion.
Once the supplies were unloaded and given to the Dark Legion, the Red Thorn Army made their way toward the provincial lord’s mansion while the members of the Dark Legion began to store away their new supplies.
Since regular soldiers rarely had the chance to eat fresh meat, since meat did not have a very long shelf life and would often go bad when an army is moving from place to place, the slaughtered pigs and cows were quickly processed and used to cook dinner for everyone apart of the Dark Legion.
As the day went on and meals were served, everyone drools with anticipation as they heard that tonight’s meal would be comprised mostly of fresh meat. Counting down the hours of the day before dinner time, the soldiers could not contain themselves when it came time to file into the mess hall. Before the meals were even served, everyone’s imaginations ran.
“No more beef jerky! No more pork jerky! No more chicken jerky! No more jerky! No more bread! No more plain rice with soy sauce!” The soldiers of the Dark Legion chanted as slabs of grilled meat were brought before them.
Like hungry beasts they devoured all that was given to them, leaving only bones and cartilage in their wake. But soon enough everyone would regret their gluttonous appetite as all of their stomachs began to rumble.
“Out of my way!” A soldier roared as he rushed out of the mess hall and sped toward one of the many outhouses located not too far outside.
In no time at all dozens more men charged outside and laid claim to their own outhouse before the rest of the men were able to. Before anyone realized it, every single person in the Dark Legion was assembled into lines leading to an outhouse.
“Damn it! I can’t hold it any longer! Someone give me a bucket or something!” One soldier cried as he gave up on trying to wait for a stall and resorted to relieving himself in a bucket.
Unknown to them, all of the meat given to them by the Red Thorn Army had been laced with super laxatives that would cause them to experience what could only be called hell for hours.
“Oh god, this is the fifth time already! Why must this happen to me!?” A soldier cried as he limped back in line to use the outhouse.
Of course, he was not alone because as hours passed on, every member of the Dark Legion would soon find themselves without enough energy to even stand.
“Tie them all up!” A voice could be faintly heard by some of the soldiers of the Dark Legion who were laying on the floor as if they were lifeless corpses.
“Wha-what are you doing here?” A few of the soldiers who had a bit more strength than the others managed to say as countless soldiers in red armor rushed into the barracks and began tying people up.
Without even the strength to stand, let alone resist, all of the soldiers of the Dark Legion were quickly rounded up and separated into small groups that would be dispersed to various places throughout Red Thorn City so they could be easily watched over. Many were left in the barracks that became a makeshift prison, while others were sent to various households belonging to government officials, some were even sent to the Eastern and Western forts for safe keeping.
Overall the mighty Dark Legion had been successfully split apart and even if some were able to by some stroke of luck manage to escape, they would not pose any threat to the Red Thorn Army.
In the meantime, while the Red Thorn Army was out capturing and splitting apart the Dark Legion, back at the provincial lord’s mansion’s garden, a banquet was taking place. The bodies of the dead officers of the Dark Legion were cleared out while General Hei Ang was given some medical treatment and placed in a holding cell and the garden had been cleaned and restored to its former glory by the mansion’s staff.
Broken floor tiles, dead plants, spilled food and demolished tables were all replaced while dancers, musicians, and singers resumed their performance so there was little to no sign of any fighting having taken place within the garden.
“I look forward to working together with you again in the future, Lord Tang Hong.” Zhang said with a smile as he offered a toast to Tang Hong.
Sitting right next to Zhang was Ai, who was not no longer dressed as a man but could be seen in a tight fitting dress that showed off her alluring figure.
“I hope our cooperation will last for a very long time also your highness.” Lord Tang Hong said as he returned Zhang’s toast. As things as now, he could only hope that their cooperation lasted because if it did not then the Red Thorn Province would certainly be crushed between the forces of Aurora and the forces of the Southern Alliance.
“To think we were played in such a manner…” Tang Wei whispered to his brother, Tang Shiang.
“I know, here I thought that he was into men… I should have figured that fellow was actually a woman… No man could have looked like she did.” Tang Shiang said as he looked at Ai.
Besides the Tang brothers, their father, and Zhang, no one else dared to talk due to the heavy atmosphere that was present. As things were, today could very well mark the day that begun the Red Thorn Province’s descent into destruction or the day it ascended to greatness.
Most if not all of the government officials and generals present were torn between trying to get close to Zhang or distancing themselves from him since the future was still up in the air. If the forces of Aurora succeeded in capturing the southern regions, than those who got close to Zhang would obviously receive lots of benefits such as high government positions and wealth.
However, if the forces of Aurora failed, then those who closed up to Zhang would more than likely be put to death for openly betraying and opposing the Southern Alliance.
Since their decisions could go either way, no way dared to act rashly, thus evoking an awkward silence in the garden that was luckily masked by the singing and music played by the performers on stage.
“Hey brother, when do you think the other sisters will arrive?” Ai asked in a whisper as the atmosphere made her rather bored.
“Last I received news of them, they were unleashing mayhem in the Rainbow Rock Province and judging from the pace that news travels I’m guessing they’ll be here in a few weeks.” Zhang said with a smile as he used his chopsticks to put some food into Ai’s bowl of rice.
While everyone else was too frightened to even breathe, Zhang and Ai began to feed each other despite the hundreds of eyes present. It had been a very long time since they could act like a couple in the open so now that they could, there was no need to hold back.
“Those two remind me of us when we were younger.” Tang Wei’s mother laughed as she joked with her husband who had been somewhat tense.
As time passed and Zhang and Ai began to appear more like just any other couple and once everyone had their fair share of alcohol, the atmosphere was able to take a slight turn for the better. Soon enough a few brave souls who were able to come to the conclusion that they should try to gain Zhang’s favor began to approach the table where Zhang and Ai sat.
Although not every general and government official was able to figure out whether they should try to get close to Zhang or not, the banquet ended without anything going astray.
For the next few days, Zhang and Ai would often receive visits from various people hoping to bridge connections with them, but for the most part, the two of them either spent their time going sightseeing or within their room.
In a flash, a month had gone by like a breeze before a messenger rode into Red Thorn City with urgent news.
Upon rushing into the provincial lord’s mansion, the messenger reported that the hundreds of thousands of soldiers under the banner of Aurora were but hours away from the city.
Roughly eight hours later when the sun was at its peak, countless flags and soldiers could be seen marching toward Red Thorn city from the horizon.
“Sis, are you sure he’s?” Lingqi asked Ling as they rode toward Red Thorn City.
“I’m certain.” Ling said as she looked at the String of Fate that was wrapped around her finger.
“All forces, double our pace! Once we close in on the city you are to wipe out the enemy and save your prince!” Yuying commanded.
After her army’s marching speed increased exponentially and when they arrived in front of the city did Yuying realize something was amiss. The city’s walls had many missing sections while there were no soldiers or people in sight.
“Prepare in case of enemy ambush! All forces enter the city!” Yuying commanded. Generally, she would have sent scouts into the city beforehand to see the situation inside, but this time, Yuying was filled with the anticipation of reuniting with her husband so she chooses to move forward without waiting.
With swords drawn and shields raised up high, the soldiers of Aurora made their way passed what used to be large sections of wall and entered what seemed to be an empty city.
“Welcome!!!!!!” Loud cheers could be heard as countless civilians stormed out from their homes and filed into the streets.
Before anything could go amiss, Zhang and Ai could be spotted walking down the center of the city’s main street with silly smiles on their faces.
“Welcome to my city.” Zhang said with a smile as Yuying, Ling and Lingqi hopped off their mounts and sped toward him. Of course, despite how fast they running, they were running, the beauties were no match for a certain furry four-legged beast that pounced onto Zhang and covered his face in saliva.
“Little White!” Ai yelled as she pulled the furry liger that looked like a kitten off Zhang and cuddled it.
“We welcome you to our city your highnesses.” Thousands of soldiers said as they marched through the city streets and formed ranks behind Zhang.
Tang Hong, his sons, and his wives could also be seen paying their respects to the princesses who had just been reunited with their prince.
The three beauties yelled in succession as they jumped into Zhang’s open arms.
“He’s definitely not into men.” Tang Wei whispered to his brother with a laugh.
Once their soldiers were given a place to rest, Yuying, Ling and Lingqi accompanied Zhang to a large feast held in their honor where they were introduced to the various nobles, high ranking government officials and generals of the Red Thorn Province.
But of course, after a short while, they beauties opted to do something else with their time and dragged Zhang away from the feast.
Making their way to the rooftop of a very tall tower located in the heart of the city, Zhang and the beauties gazed into the horizon and watched the sunset. Various tales and happenings were recalled as they all spoke of what occurred during their time apart from each other.
Making up for lost time, the three beauties who were not by their husband’s side surrounded him and embraced him until the moon and stars were visible in the sky. Without a single thought about the past nor the future, Zhang and his wives watched the stars and gazed at the light given off by the city as they were in each other’s company.
It is often said that when given more space love is more likely to bloom. After reuniting with Zhang the three beauties felt like they had regained something that they had temporarily lost, something they made their hearts ache and gave them the feeling of longing.
But once they were reunited with him, these feelings blossomed and intensified by dozens of times.