"When has he not mentioned his precious granddaughter to anyone?" He laughed while pouring the two more tea. "The minute anyone starts a conversation the first words to leave that old man's mouth is high praises about his Bai Rin."
Rin smiled as she listened to his words.
"Mm, that sounds like him." She said softly.
He was always prideful of his family members. Even when his son's pursued jobs outside of the military, he was proud. One of his sons even owned their own pastry store in the southern empire's most famous city.
Whenever he had the chance, he would boast about his son's pastries being the best in the entire southern empire. Everyone would laugh, but Rin admired this trait of her grandfather.
He wasn't one who would force those to pursue the dream he wanted them to. He allowed them to make their own decisions even if most would disagree.
As long as it wasn't unjust or harmful to them, he let his sons be whomever they wished to be.
When Rin mentioned she wasn't ready to be married off, he canceled and turned down all engagements given to her.
However, even if she never said anything about it, he still would have been reluctant to marry off his precious granddaughter.
Recalling the tough old commander, Rin's smiles softened even further.
"My grandfather, how is he?"
Duyi Zhong stiffened before he released a sigh. "To be honest, I haven't spoken to him in quite some time. But based on the situation you're in now, I can guess he's not doing too well."
Rin's lips pursed into a thin line.
She knew her grandfather and Uncle Guo were probably worried sick over her disappearance.
There wasn't a day where she didn't worry if he was properly taking care of himself.
Upon seeing Rin's grave expression, Duyi Zhong sighed once more. Setting his cup down, his expression grew serious.
In a low voice, he said, "Bai Rin, this situation you're in with the Tuhan men and An Clan…I can help you."
Rin was stunned by his words. After a brief period of dazed silence, did Rin grasp his thoughts.
Laughing softly, Rin shakes her head. "Governor Duyi…"
"Please, call me Sir Zhong."
Nodding her head, Rin continues. "I appreciate your concern for me Sir Zhong, however, there's really no need. I'm doing well."
Despite her calm tone and reassuring words, Duyi Zhong still frowned. He couldn't understand the reason behind her words.
Wasn't she taken by them against her own will? Or was An Sun possibly threatening her to prevent her from leaving?
Already guessing the man's thoughts due to his darkened expression, Rin sighed helplessly. Looking at Duyi Zhong she somewhat felt like he reminded her of her grandfather.
"Sir Zhong, I assure you, I'm not being threatened. As of now, I'm handling everything on my own just fine." Rin sipped her tea.
Duyi Zhong's intense eyes were fixed on Rin's small, relaxed figure. "Do you not wish to return to your grandfather?"
Lowering her cup, Rin's mouth curved into a grievous smile and her eyelids slowly drooped. Calmness clouded her features, a faint glint of longing could be seen within her emerald pupils.
"Mm, I do. But the timing…it's not right yet. I know eventually we'll see one another again, but for now, it's too soon."
Looking up at the elderly man across from her, Rin's smiles relax. "If you don't mind, I hope Sir Zhong can keep my whereabouts a secret from my grandfather. I know it seems cruel and selfish of me to ask of you, but I can't see them yet, not now anyway."
Duyi Zhong nodded upon hearing this. "Of course. I may be a close friend of Bai Han's, but I'm a reasonable man first. You needn't worry."
Rin's shoulders eased. To be honest, she was slightly nervous to hear his response.
Although she was Bai Han's granddaughter, the two of them had just met. He was a close friend of Bai Han and would most likely put his feelings first.
Yet, as she hoped, he agreed.
Not wanting to worry the girl any further Duyi Zhong quickly changed the subject and began discussing with her the training she had been giving his soldiers for the past few days.
The two discussed things for the next fifteen minutes before Rin bowed courteously, and bid Duyi Zhong farewell.
As he observed the girl's departing figure from his study window, his eyes narrowed.
After a while, he moved over to his desk and stared at the blank scroll on his desk with a complicated expression. Sighing, the elderly man sits down in his chair and begins to write.
As the last trace of sunlight disappeared over the horizon, light flakes of snow began falling from the skies, covering the tents and wagons.
After speaking with Duyi Zhong, Rin returned back to the Tuhan camp. The Jilin soldiers she trained earlier that day returned and rested for their training the following morning.
Because An Sun didn't request for her presence, she chose to head back to her tent for the night. It had been a while since she was able to rest.
Entering her tent, Rin releases a tired sigh. About to prepare herself dinner, Rin stops in her steps and freezes upon identifying the figure in her tent.
"Lord An?" Rin's brows couldn't help but wrinkle.
What was he doing here?
Heeding her voice, An Sun's tall built figure turns around, his gray eyes filled with an icy gaze and his back straight as a plank.
"You sure took a while."
"I apologize Lord An." Rin paused before she continued hesitantly while scratching her cheek. "Were you waiting for me?"
The corner of An Sun's lips twitched. "No, I just got here."
"Have a drink with me, Bai Lan."
Surprise could be seen on Rin's face. She watched dazedly as the handsome young man in her small tent made his way toward her table with cushions, and plopped himself down casually.
Taking a large jug of wine from his side, he opens the bottle, all his movements done with elegance.
Noting the boy before him was still in a daze, he frowns.
"Sit," He says with an air of finality.
Quickly breaking from her confusion, Rin nods her head and sits down on a cushion across from An Sun.
In silence, Rin stares at An Sun as he pours the red wine into two small cups before passing one to her.
Before chugging his wine, he says, "Drink up."
"Right." Rin nodded her head with a serious expression.
Looking down at the small cup filled with a red liquid, Rin inched the cup slowly to her face and gave it a whiff.
Compared to the alcoholic beverages she smelled around An Sun majority of the time, the one in front of her wasn't strong. If anything it smelled faintly sweet.
She couldn't help but wonder what it tasted like.
"I didn't poison it if that's what you're thinking."
Rin glanced toward An Sun as she let out a light chuckle.
"I wasn't thinking anything of the kind, my Lord. To be honest, I've never drank before so I was smelling to see if it was strong or not."
An Sun raised an eyebrow in response.
"You've never drank before?"
Rin shakes her head.
"Well, that explains a lot…" He muttered behind his cup.
"Nothing." He sighed. "I figured by your body mass you'd be a weak drinker so I chose a lighter drink, so drink up."
Rin blinked as she looked at An Sun. For a while, she stared at him then down at the cup in her hand.
"En, I thank my Lord for your consideration," Rin said as her smiles soften.
Lifting the cup to her lips, Rin takes a small sip of the beverage before her eyes widened in alarm.
"I see, so grandfather's mentioned me to Governor Duyi before?" Rin's brows rose amusedly.