This…taste, it was strangely familiar. It was bitter, almost like the taste of medicine.
As if it dawned on her, Rin stole a quick glance at An Sun and a quiet smile suddenly surfaced on her face.
With bright eyes, Rin takes another sip and finds the taste to be even better than the first. On the tip of her tongue, there was a gentle sweetness.
While Rin marveled in her first experience tasting an alcoholic beverage, An Sun observed her in silence.
"Before you mentioned you were adopted into the Bai family." An Sun's eyes were fixed on Rin. "Why don't you tell me more about that?"
Rin blinked her eyes blankly, not really understanding the reason for his sudden question.
"What exactly is it that my Lord wishes to know?" Rin gently set her cup down onto the table.
An Sun was silent for a while as if he was thinking carefully before he raised his eyes to stare at Rin.
"How long have you lived with the Bai family?" He asked while drinking his wine.
The gaze that was looking at her was filled with calmness.
An Sun was dressed in simple black robes, his muscled chest slightly visible. His dark long hair flowed down his back and broad shoulders. This casual and aloof look of his completely removed of his usual ruthlessness and arrogance.
Shifting her legs in a comfortable position, Rin speaks in a light tone. "As Lord An already knows, after my village burned down the Bai army took me in. I was only seven at the time so I've lived with him for eight years now."
"That's quite a long time."
The smile on her face softened. "I may not be the best in various areas, but they've taught me many things. I'll always be grateful for my grandfather and everyone in the Bai army."
An Sun was leaning back lazily on the floor with the cup of wine in his hand while he listened to Rin speak, his expression focused on the small, smiling figure.
"Drink some more," An Sun picked up the jug and began to pour more into Rin's cup.
Bobbing her head in gratitude, Rin takes another sip.
To Rin's surprise, for the rest of the night, An Sun asked questions about her life in the Bai Manor and even on her progress with the Jilin soldiers.
At some point, An Sun took out another jug of wine and began pouring more from himself. From the smell, Rin could tell it was stronger than the one she was drinking.
He never offered her any and insisted she drank the wine he gave her.
After a while, her body started feeling slightly lighter than usual. Her mind felt free of all distressing thoughts as she stared down at her hands.
An Sun, propping his chin on his hand, glanced at Rin with a mixed expression.
"Your parents…Did you know them well?" He asked slowly.
Rin was slightly shocked by his question; the lightness in her mind replaced by a dull, weighing sensation. "My father died when I was young. Truthfully, I didn't know him very well. But from the way my mother spoke of him, he was a good man. As for my mother…"
Rin lowered her head and didn't continue. It had been a while since she thought of them.
The situation with the Tuhan men and An Sun had replaced her initial thoughts of her parent's unfortunate passing.
Often there were times Rin thought of her mother. The day she bled and became a woman, Rin wondered what her mother would have done.
She would have helped her with this growing up, wouldn't she?
There were so many things she wondered would be different if her mother was still around. If Li Chang hadn't killed her family.
Taking note of the dark, sad light in Rin's eyes, An Sun's lips tightened.
Momentarily in a daze, Rin was surprised to feel a light pressure on her back. She raises her head to see An Sun gently patting her on the back.
Because of his gesture, his tall built body leaned slightly closer to hers giving Rin a more proper look at An Sun's handsome features.
His long and narrow almond-shaped eyes were a captivated shade of gray, but up close they were almost a light, pure shade. His nose, tall and straight was seemingly perfect along with his thin red lips which appeared rosier from the wine.
An Sun's aura was icy and seductive, one couldn't help but feel drawn and scared of such a man.
Due to her somewhat tipsy state, Rin found An Sun to be even more attractive, almost glowing. The more Rin looked the dizzier she felt and her head lowered to stare at her lap.
Unaware of Rin's thoughts, An Sun patted her back in gentle awkward movements. His thick brows were wrinkled tightly while he looked at Rin's lowered head.
He somewhat felt regretful for asking such a personal question to the boy.
What's worse, he was unaware of how to deal with someone who was sad - especially a sad drunk person.
"It'll take time to heal but, you'll get there eventually." An Sun's voice was thick. "So don't lose heart if you grieve. Every human being grieves in their own way and at their own time."
Rin, with her face hidden, listened to An Sun's words carefully. Was he trying to console her?
Silence descended around the tent.
Noticing a faint tremble in the boy's shoulders, An Sun's hand patting her back froze.
Did…Did he make him cry?
"Oi, Bai Lan, are you alright?"
The corner of Rin's lips curled involuntarily as she fought back the urge to laugh, her cheeks swelling up momentarily with the pressure – in the end, it was no use.
Her laughter sounded through the tent. A rosy flush was painted on her cheeks as she held her stomach tightly.
An Sun's attempt to comfort her was amateurish, but it nonetheless made her feel warm inside. Because of this, she couldn't help but laugh.
Meanwhile, An Sun watched Rin laugh with a dark expression, his brows twitching irritably.
"You dare laugh?" His voice deepened.
Composing herself, Rin wipes a tear from the corner of her eye and smiles. "My apologies my Lord, but I couldn't help myself."
Further irritated by her reply, An Sun tsked and grabs the entire jug of wine.
"That'll be the last time I try to comfort anyone…" He muttered bitterly under his breath while drinking.
Rin's smiles widened as she looks at the pouting man chugging his wine. Slamming the jug on the table, An Sun stands up from his cushion and moves to leave the tent.
"Lord An," Rin called out to him softly.
Turning around, his expression still dark, An Sun waits for Rin to speak.
Chuckling, Rin folds her hands over her lap and looks up at the young man. "Thank you."
An Sun's expression remained icy and blank, but his eyes, reflecting the tent's candlelight, glimmered with faint satisfaction. Without saying anything in return, he turned and left the tent.
Rin watched his tall, leaving figure and chuckled. Shifting to look at the cup of still half drunken wine, she smiled.
As Rin lifted the cup to her lips and took a light sip, her eyes immediately lit up in alarm.