Rin's mind blanked for a moment.
When she was younger, she was informed by Bai Han the differences between a man and a woman's body- especially during puberty.
Awkward as it was, Bai Han was rather composed while explaining to her what happened to a girl's body when she reached adulthood.
One thing, in particular, stuck into Rin's mind that fateful day about when a girl became a woman.
They bled from her lower area.
This was bad.
Rin had no words to describe the shock she was in. She was knowledgeable with the concept of puberty, but not to a full extent.
She hadn't expected it to hurt. Then again, she was bleeding in an area she never imagined.
Remembering the soldier outside, Rin's eyes narrowed. The pain near her lower abdomen remained, the sensation of something leaking down her thighs only seeming to increase.
Moments later, she bit her lower lip and said, "Please kindly inform Lord An I'll need to take a rain check for the day."
"Ah? A rain check?"
Clutching onto her stomach tightly, Rin grits her teeth. "Yes. Please tell him I apologize for the inconvenience, but I'm currently not feeling too well, we'll have to reschedule today's plans for tomorrow."
The soldier was about to refute but closed his mouth upon remembering the boy's newly appointed status. He was the camp's military advisor - a rank far higher than his. Another reason for why he hadn't entered Rin's tent without proper permission.
"Yes, Advisor Bai. I'll inform Lord An right away."
In response, a faint sound could be heard from inside the tent. Quickly, the soldier ushered away to report to An Sun.
Sighing tiredly, Rin's eyes close shut while she curls up into a fetus position near the brazier – her arms clutching tightly to her stomach.
Within An Sun's tent, the man looked over the map spread over the table while waiting for Rin's arrival.
"Tsk, that Duyi Zhong is quite a cheap old man, isn't he? Only one thousand of his men, he can't possibly assume that's enough."
Manchu, sitting quietly in a small corner with a scroll in his hand and head propped by his chin, sighed.
"Indeed the number is small but it should be enough. After all, they're quite a strong pair of troops."
An Sun nodded. He was right, Duyi Zhong's army was not one to underestimate.
"Hopefully they'll improve even more with that kid's training. He grew up with that old man Bai, so I'd expect him to be somewhat knowledgeable in training a group of soldiers."
Manchu's gaze lifted as he stared at An Sun for a brief moment in silence before he spoke. "I'm surprised you're allowing him to train such a large group of men by himself. Don't you worry he'll utilize them against you?"
The space between An Sun's brows was tightly furrowed as he stated coldly, "Of course. I've thought of that possibility, but it's nothing to worry over. If anything I still don't trust the little brat, but…"
An Sun's rough fingers tapped the edge of the table as he stared intently at the map before him.
"But he has potential that's all. I don't see an issue with giving him a little power to show himself." An Sun slumped down in his seat.
Manchu sighed and shook his head, not saying anything further on the matter.
While the two men spoke in the tent, a soldier from outside announced his presence.
Accepting his request to enter, An Sun's eyes lifted expecting to see Rin yet was merely met with the lone figure of the solder.
"Where is he?"
"To answer Lord An, Advisor Bai wished for me to inform you to reschedule today's meeting for another time."
An Sun frowned, his gaze slowly darkening. "And why exactly is that?"
Feeling a cold sweat form on his back, the soldier continues to answer with his head lowered. "Apparently Advisor Bai is feeling unwell today, which is why he has requested a rain check."
"Little brat…" His brows twitched irritably. "He can't handle a bit of discomfort or queasiness? I swear there are times when he acts more like a woman than a man."
Standing up from his chair, An Sun marches out of the tent with a forbidding expression.
Manchu watched the scene before him unwind with a helpless expression - his eyes looking back to the scroll in his hands.
Mr. Strategist you better be prepared…
Rin had long drifted away into an unconscious state. She found it troubling to fall asleep with the discomfort in her stomach and the uncomfortable sensation on her thighs.
She never imagined being a woman would be so painful.
"Oi, kid, what's the deal?"
An Sun's deep booming voice rang through Rin's ears, breaking her from her daze.
Looking up, Rin saw An Sun's figure entering her tent with an irritated expression.
"Get up." He ordered coldly.
Propping herself up, Rin stared at the man with a weak smile. "Lord An, I apologize for the trouble, but I truly am not feeling well today."
"Tsk, you've been saying that all week."
"Lord An, that was a month ago."
"Tsk, two complaints is enough. You're a man. A little discomfort shouldn't bother you so much." An Sun said while walking toward Rin's hunched figure. "Now come on, get up."
Being lifted up roughly by An Sun, Rin's eyes widened before her sight suddenly became dizzy – another shot of discomfort penetrating through her stomach.
"Nn…" Rin groaned and her eyebrows knitted tightly together.
Noticing the unusually pale complexion on the boy's face, An Sun's brows furrowed as he carefully set him back down on the floor.
"Hey…is it that bad?" An Sun carefully spoke.
Rin curdled up into a fetus position, her back arched. Frowning, An Sun examined Rin's face intensely.
He wasn't faking it.
Slightly agitated, An Sun stood up to contact a nearby physician. However, before he could leave, he felt a light tug on his pants.
Looking down, An Sun's frosty eyes stared at the frail hand gripping weakly onto him.
"Don't…Don't call a physician." Rin panted heavily, her eyes slightly blurry.
"Are you an idiot? You're clearly in pain." An Sun's tone was harsh.
Laughing softly, Rin lowers her hand from his pants and lifts herself to stare at An Sun.
"I thank you Lord for your concern, but I'm truly alright. This is only minor, it'll be gone in a few hours."
She hoped. Speaking truthfully, she was unaware of how long menstruation pains lasted.
However, to ensure An Sun wouldn't summon a physician, she reassured him with a lie.
From the faint smile on Rin's face, An Sun could tell she was lying but simply chose to disregard it.
If he didn't want a physician then he wouldn't force him.
Sighing, An Sun casually slumps himself down beside Rin's hurdled figure and lazily plopped his head on his hand. His long black, satin hair draped down the side and framed his gorgeous, masculine face.
"You sure are weak for being a descent of the Bai family." An Sun said while staring at Rin.
Surprised by his sudden decision to sit beside her, Rin blinked her eyes dramatically before shifting into a comfortable position.
"Actually my Lord, I'm not a blood descent from the Bai family."
Hearing these words caused An Sun's brows to wrinkle, a look of confusion shadowing on his face.
Smiling gently, Rin's eyes dropped while she stared at the brazier's flames.
"Just like my Lord, I was adopted."
An Sun's dull, gray eyes immediately lit up with a spark of surprise.
"Really…" His husky tone was faint.
He somewhat felt her words explained a lot. The boy's emerald eyes, they were unlike any of the Bai family members - or anyone in China for that matter.
If anything the boy's features were quite foreign, reminding him of Manchu who was also a foreigner with his light blue eyes.
"After my village burned down, he took me in." Rin's voice was soft. "He raised me as his own. For that, I'll forever be eternally grateful to him."
Time seemed to have stopped as An Sun stared at Rin's distant expression, the flames of the brazier reflecting against her emerald eyes.
An Sun's expression was cold and indifferent but inside he couldn't help but soften after hearing Rin's words.
He was just like him.
He too was an adopted member. At age seven he was brought into the An Clan among the Tuhan men.
He was grateful for being taken in and extracted from the darkness he formerly lived in. His past forever being a shadow haunting his heart.
However, even though he was appreciative for being taken away from such a past, he wasn't oblivious to the dislike his adopted family felt toward him.
He was an adopted son while the rest were all of the noble blood.
How could they allow a stray dog who entered their territory to reach the top?
A strange look came over An Sun's face a fleeting moment. Pursuing his lips tightly, his eyes focused on Rin's small, rosy face.
"Do you wish to return to them?" His voice was slightly suppressed.
Rin had long drifted into a sleepy state and felt her vision start to fade; but nonetheless, she still heard An Sun's question.
"En, I do." She replied.
An Sun's eyes darkened, a flash of disappointment displaying on his handsome face.
Before he could stand up to leave with the feeling of sourness in his heart, Rin's following words halted his movements.
"However, such thoughts I no longer harbor. Although the feeling of wishing to return still remains, my future now rests in my Lord's hands. If you wish for me to go, I will go. If you wish for me to stay, I'll stay."
After speaking, Rin's eyes closed and she fell into a deep sleep, her body comforted by the warmth of the brazier's flickering flames.
An Sun was silent.
His eyes watched her back rise with slow, shallow breaths and the puffs of air she exhaled blew softly onto her palm resting beside her head.
The once clear and sharp emerald eyes were shut tightly now, thick lashes casting a faint shadow against her pale yet rosy cheeks.
Sighing, An Sun tousles his black long hair with furrowed brows.
"You truly are one complicated fellow…" An Sun's deep voice gently spoke.
For a while, An Sun watched Rin's sleeping figure before getting up and leaving the tent in silence.