Ling Zhen was from Yanling, and was an expert in gunpowder, cannons and pyrotechnics. Besides that, he also excelled in martial arts and was an excellent archer as well. Thus, he was nicknamed 'Heaven-shaking thunder' (轰天雷).
When Huyuan Zhuo led the imperial forces to attack Liangshan, Huyuan gained the upper hand with his majestic chain-linked armoured cavalry, but his surbordinate Peng Qi had been captured and had joined the Liangshan band. So, Huyuan sought permission from Gao Qiu to allow Ling Zhen to help him in the battle.