"Reborn?" A calm voice asked.
Mingxia immediately turned around to see a dark shadow under the shadows of the forest.
Mingxia pointed her sword at the shadow. "Who are you? Come out."
Very confidently, out of the shadows walked out a young man. Mingxia's eyes widened as she recognized who this man was.
"Zong Qiu?" Her hand lowered a bit as he walked closer to her.
Very slowly, he walked closer and stopped until they were about a foot away from each other.
Zong Qiu raised his eyebrows before speaking. "Well? Mingxia do you plan on answering my question?"
Mingxia lowered her sword and bit her lips.
'Why does it has to be him? Of all the people it's him?' Mingxia let out a sigh.
'Wait. Why am I getting so worked up? I may look 15 but I'm actually 25, I'm older than him. Mingxia get yourself together, you have a goal to accomplish.'
Mingxia looked up at Zong Qiu and spoke loud and clear, "No."
Zong Qiu smiled. The little kitten in front of him is pretending to be a tiger.
"I see. Well then I shall head back to my tent." He turned around to leave.
"Wait." Zong Qiu turned around.
"Zong Qiu you know martial arts right?" Zong Qiu nodded.
"Do you excel at shooting arrows?" He nodded again.
"Horse riding?" Another nod.
"The sword?" Another nod.
"Why do you ask?"
Mingxia thought for a moment before answering. "Train me."
Now, this response surprised Zong Qiu. "You will have to give me a reason."
"The games. I want to win." Mingxia answered.
Zong Qiu stayed silent for a while before stepping closer to her again. This time he did not stop and continued to walk towards her until they were only about 8 inches apart. Mingxia took a step back but what she did not realize was that she was going to step into the pond. Zong Qiu immediately wrapped his arm around her waist which pulled them together again.
"I'll do it but there is a price."
"A price? Is everything about money to you." Mingxia fidgeted a bit but Zong Qiu did not budge.
He sighed and flicked her forehead with his other hand. "Does it look like I need anymore."
"That is true. You could probably build your own army with thousands of men with the amount of money you have." Zong Qiu chuckled at her comment.
"Then what do you want." Zong Qiu suddenly let go of his arm and stepped back.
"A favor." He answered.
"A favor?" Mingxia repeated.
He nodded. "I will tell you after the games."
Mingxia raised her eyebrows, something inside of her was telling her that this was a bad idea but she agreed. The assassin attack has reminded her of how unskilled she was at martial arts and that the games would have people just as skilled as those assassins. Right now the only way for her to upgrade her skills would be to train under someone who is just as skilled and her only option is Zong Qiu.
The training began the next day with Zong Qiu personally training her. Surprisingly Zong Qiu's lessons were stricter than the teachers back home but Mingxia did not complain. She followed his instructions and executed every direction he gave. The training continued as they traveled out of China and into India.
"Jia!" A brown stallion neighed and sprinted forward.
The women on the stallion wore blue robes and her hair is tied up into a high ponytail. She reached her hand into her quiver and took out an arrow. She lifted the arrow to her bow and very precisely pulled back the bow. With a smile, she locked onto her target then released the arrow. The arrow hit the bull's eye on the wooden board but she did not see it since she has locked her eyes on the next board. On a galloping horse, she shot her arrows and was successful to hit 8 bull's eye out of 10. After hitting the 10th board she jumped down and surveyed her score.
"8 out of 10. Could be better." She critiqued.
The sudden sound of someone clapping brought her attention to the man beside her.
"Not bad for someone who only began a few weeks ago."
The women sighed. "For a normal person yes. But for me, it's still pretty bad."
"As expected of Mingxia." The man said and smiled.
Mingxia chuckled. "Zong Qiu, it seems that you know me pretty well."
This time it was Zong Qiu that chuckled.
"Sahib." A darkly tanned man bowed down to Zong Qiu with his hands together.
Zong Qiu turned around and sighed. "Adhrit. I told you not to call me sahib."
A small smile crept up the man's face. "Young master. It is time to go back the ceremony is about to begin."
When they heard the ceremony Mingxia and Zong Qiu's faces became serious. Mingxia walked forward and followed Adhrit to the ceremony and Zong Qiu followed her. Mingxia and Zong Qiu were led to a carriage pulled by two brown horses. They got on and the horses sprinted away at a very slow speed. Before long the carriage slowed down and stopped in front of a giant stadium. Giant columns that looked like they were at least five yards, supported a sleet red marble roof. Two groups of servants came out and escorted Mingxia and Zong Qiu separately into the stadium.
Mingxia was being escorted by a group of young girls while a bunch of young men was escorting Zong Qiu. The moment they passed through the entrance Zong Qiu was led to the left while Mingxia was led to the right. Mingxia climbed multiple stairways until she arrived a wooden door which she had to open.
Bright light welcomed her and she stepped out to see a large field was located at the center of the stadium. Multiple tents were placed surrounding the field and she was escorted to one with her name on it. The nobilities that were not participating in the games were sitting comfortably on the balconies hanging off of the stadium walls and were chatting nonstop.
Mingxia opened the flap and walked in to see Xing there waiting for her.
"Mingxia. Let me help you get dressed." Xing offered and Mingxia looked at the outfit she was to wear before nodding.
Mingxia is to wear a leather jacket, a white blouse, and maroon colored slacks. Her hair is tied up into a high ponytail and is to wear a black helmet since she is participating in the archery competition. This competition has a dress code for all the participants and there would be specific outfits for certain games. The outfits were heavily influenced by the eastern countries so Mingxia felt very uncomfortable in the outfit but she could not complain.
"Mingxia are you ready?" Xing asked, concerned Mingxia's safety.
Mingxia looked into the mirror and smiled before replying confidently. "Ready as I'll ever be."
I am so sorry for the very long delay. Right now I am going through writer's block and didn't know how to continue the story. But I am happy to be able to update now. Thank you for your patience.
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