Within a large tent, an elderly man sat slumped in his chair - the faint smell of alcohol encircling his body. Only a flickering candle lit up the tent, keeping his features shrouded in darkness.
In his left hand was a small cup of red wine, in his other was a piece of paper – a letter.
His red, bloodshot eyes stared at the letter with complex emotions. Rereading the words over and over again, a fire burned in his heart. When his thoughts turned to remember the young girl with emerald eyes and her frail graceful appearance, his heart tightened and sank even further.
"Foolish girl…" His wrinkled hands gripped tightly to the letter.
Had Rin seen the appearance of her grandfather now, she would have found him to be unrecognizable.
His once short silver beard had fully grown, causing him to look like a barbarian. His crinkled, silver eyes that always held a spark of light were now dim. It was as if he had aged ten years.
Yet every once in a while, when reading the letter that his precious granddaughter left him, a faint spark of light would appear within those dull eyes.
Bai Han shut his eyes as if trying to erase the negative thought in his mind. Sighing, he takes another sip of his wine.
"Are you drinking?" A man's deep voice spoke within the tent; a hint of concern could be heard.
Grunting at the sound of General Guo's voice, Bai Han huffs like a child caught doing something wrong.
"Don't sound so concerned, I only had one." He set the cup down.
General Guo walked up to him, a frown settled on his face. "Today or this week?"
Bai Han's lips pursed, and he immediately fell into silence. General Guo's frown deepened in response to his silence.
These last few weeks without Rin had been hell. He watched the fiery commander's eyes burn with passion whenever he ordered his men to search for her, but when alone, his spirit was drained and dull – almost lifeless.
A man whom he knew never drank unless to celebrate, now consumed alcohol as if his life depended on it.
Not just him, but the other Bai soldiers started to show some concerns toward their commander's health and mental state.
"Bai Han, you can't keep going on like this."
Bai Han scratched his head and sighed tiredly and in a weak voice said, "I know."
"We'll find her and bring her home. She's a strong girl; she can handle herself."
Bai Han grunted in response, his drowsy eyes staring at the letter in his hands.
He knew she was strong, but he also knew she was still just a girl. Although raised by men, there were times where her womanly qualities would appear, especially as she got older.
Her small, plump face had grown into a mature young lady. Her large dewy eyes that looked up at him in awe and innocence were now filled with a clear intelligence.
She was no longer a little girl but a woman, something he knew for quite a while.
"You're right, she is a strong girl." Bai Han stood up from his seat and looked at the middle-aged man with kind eyes.
Roughly patting the man's back he says, "Thank you."
"Mmm," General Guo smiled in return.
Suddenly the sound of urgent footsteps approached the tent, "Commander Bai!"
Both men turned toward the sound of the soldier's voice, their expressions alert.
Exiting the tent first, Bai Han met with the sight of a young soldier breathing heavily as he regained his breath from running.
"What is it?"
"A letter! There's a letter!"
"A letter?" His eyebrows furrowed. "From who?"
"It's from the governor of the Jilin province, Duyi Zhong."
"And? What's so important about this letter?"
"He…He says he knows something about the young miss!"
A harsh wind hit their faces, but none of them cared, the burning fire in Bai Han's chest lit up once more. His chilled expression slightly cracked.
Unbeknownst to Bai Han, his voice shook as he spoke, "Where is it?"
Without delay, the soldier took out a letter from his pockets and delivered it to the anxious Bai Han.
Grabbing the letter urgently from the soldier, his hands shook as he opened it revealing a set of written words.
After a few seconds, Bai Han suddenly burst out into a fit of hearty laughter, and a rare hint of joy could be seen on his face.
"Prepare our men! We're heading out to Jilin province!"
"Yes, commander!" The soldier nodded and rushed away.
With a smile still spread across his face, Bai Han enters his tent, General Guo following him behind.
"What did it say, what does he know about Rin?"
Bai Han turned toward the anxious-looking burly man and laughed while slapping his back, a fiery expression overcoming his wrinkled face.
"Haha! Our foolish girl is finally returning home."
General Guo's eyes lit up.
Bai Han places his helmet on his head and walked out, a new sense of confidence welling up inside of him.
That foolish girl, his ugly granddaughter was finally coming home!
In the dark of the night, a camp was set, two elite soldiers stood guard as the harsh northern winds grazed against their stern faces.