"I think we've gotten a lot done tonight. We'll conclude with today's discussion and resume tomorrow."
Rin looked out and noticed it indeed was late. Time sure flew by fast.
The three stood up from their seats, and after saying a few respectful farewells to Duyi Zhong they turned to leave.
Just as Rin exited the room, Duyi Zhong's voice halted her steps. "Hold on a second little strategist, there's something I'd like to discuss with you real quick."
An Sun and Manchu paused as they look back at Rin who also bore an expression of confusion. Rin parted her lips to ask why but was cut off almost immediately by An Sun's deep, sharp tone.
"I'm sorry Commander An but that'll be between your little strategist and me." Duyi Zhong's smiles were filled with innocence.
In response, An Sun's expression turned even more grave, his eyes shifting over to look at Rin who stood to the side with a helpless expression.
She stared at both men and felt neither would back down and knowing An Sun's stubbornness Rin felt this situation would last longer. Yet in the end, An Sun's next words surprised her.
"You have ten minutes."
Duyi Zhong smiled in satisfaction and hummed, "Of course, I wouldn't want to hold your little strategist back for too long."
An Sun ignored the old man's teasing tone and walked closely to Rin.
In a low, biting tone he said, "If you're not back in ten minutes, I'll barge in and drag you out myself."
The corner of Rin's lips twitched toward his threatening words.
Even though she felt like sighing, Rin held back and released an impassive smile. "I understand my lord, don't worry I won't take long."
An Sun looked at the youth with his lips pressed together and a resolute glint in his eyes.
"Let's go," An Sun turned to leave, not once looking back.
Following him from behind, Manchu glances back at Rin with narrowed eyes. From his gaze, Rin knew he was offering her a warning.
A warning to not betray them.
Sighing tiredly, Rin looks up at the soft smiled Duyi Zhong.
"What is it Governor Duyi wanted to discuss with me?"
"I'll tell you but come inside first, I'll brew us some tea."
Rin nodded and followed the old governor inside. After pouring warm tea into her teacup, Duyi Zhong settles down at the wooden table and release a sigh of content while drinking his tea.
"There's nothing better in this world than enjoying a warm cup of tea with a companion, don't you agree?"
"Mm," Rin hummed and brought the warm cup of tea to her rosy petal-like lips.
Gently placing the cup down, Rin's emerald eyes stare at the elderly figure across from her. "Now that we have our tea, what is it that Sir Zhong wished to speak to me about?"
"Can't an old man ask a young girl to share a cup of tea with him without any hidden intentions?" Duyi Zhong arched an eyebrow.
Rin chuckled and said, "That depends."
"On whether or not you sought me here for a cup of tea or for other reasons." She gracefully lifted the cup to her lips to hide her smile.
Duyi Zhong smiled in return and chuckled. "I suppose you're right. I did come here to ask you something."
Setting her cup down, Rin looks at the old man with glassy eyes. "Well then please share, and remember I only have ten minutes. Don't want to keep Lord An waiting."
Duyi Zhong's expression stiffened, a sharp look flashing within his eyes.
"Bai Rin…you don't have to answer me if you don't want to but…" He paused before continuing. "Why exactly are you helping An Sun? I know a clever girl like you could escape if she wanted to, yet you continue to stay by his side."
Seeing Duyi Zhong's questioning expression, Rin's eyes remained clear and dull. After a brief period of silence, Rin chuckled.
"I have my reasons." Her silk lashes fluttered as she stared down at her cup.
Duyi Zhong's expression turned grim. "Which are?"
Rin smiled helplessly at his persistence and gently scratched her white cheek. "Ahaha, to be quite frank they're kind of complicated."
Duyi Zhong pressed his lips together and asked in a low tone, "Are you in love with him?"
From dusk till nightfall, the four discussed their plans on building the tunnels. Glancing out the window to see night had fallen, Duyi Zhong looked at the three and sighed.