Rin rubbed her red nose, while her back leaned up against a wooden chest as she read the book in her hand.
A cold wind must have gotten in, she thought. She inwardly had reminded herself to put more charcoal in the brazier before she slept to avoid getting cold in the middle of the night.
After eating some boiled porridge and shredded pieces of boar, Rin immediately grabbed a book she received from Duyi Zhong on war strategies and began to read.
Ten minutes passed of flipping through pages, yet her attention never wavered. Rin's eyes scanned the words carefully, a serious glint in her eyes.
For weeks she studied and retrained her thoughts on military tactics and training.
Ordinarily, one would have been bored out of their mind from such reading, but not Rin. If anything she found it comforting as it evoked memories of her times in the Bai Manor.
Her slender fingertips holding a page paused, her mind slowly drifting off.
Momentarily, Rin sat in silence before she closed the book on her lap and stood up, her expression blank.
Without a word she grabbed her furred coat from the table and walked out of the tent. Upon exiting, a cold breeze hit her palm-sized face. Rin's eyes squinted slightly, but she continued onward.
Walking toward the row of horses that the camp kept, Rin approached the Tuhan soldier guarding them and bobbed her head in greeting.
"Are you going somewhere, Advisor Bai?" The soldier asked, his eyes watching as Rin selected a chestnut horse from the bunch and softly began caressing its head.
"Mm, I was told there was a hot spring nearby, I plan to check it out."
"Ah, a hot spring you say? It's sure been a while since I've gone to one." The Tuhan soldier chuckled, revealing his slightly crooked teeth.
Rin smiled but said nothing as she mounted her horse.
Before leaving she said, "If your commander asks for my presence, inform him I'll be gone for a while. I'll return as fast as I can."
The soldier nodded and watched as Rin ushered her horse away from the camp. He scratched the back of his head awkwardly. The boy may have looked frail and small but his personality was both cold and aloof.
He hardly spoke and when he did it was to their commander or general, Manchu. When he did speak to them, it was always brief and stiff leaving no room for a conversation.
Sighing, the soldier continues on with his duties and guards the horses.
Since being appointed the advisor of the camp, Rin was also granted the privilege to leave when she wanted, as long as she reported her whereabouts and returned on time.
Not long passed before Rin found what she was looking for. Having remembered Duyi Zhong's words, Rin quickly found the entrance to the cave, an old plum blossom tree rooted in front.
Mounting off her horse, Rin ties its straps to the tree and enters. The moment she stepped into the cave, a cloud of steam fanned against her face, gradually warming the numbness within her cold cheeks.
Blinking her eyes to adjust to the steam, Rin's eyes widen toward the scene before her.
The cave was completely surrounded by large rocks. In the center was a crystal clear, blue body of water – faint clouds of steam rising from its surface. Yet what memorized Rin the most was the faint moonlight shining down on the glistening water.
"So this is what a hot spring looks like," Rin murmured, her eyes examining her surroundings.
Stripping off her clothes, Rin reaches to untie the strap binding her hair. Once untied, a dark flow of silk hair cascades down her back and tickles her slim, soft waist.
Looking down at the water Rin blinks her eyes curiously and dips a toe in.
Her eyes brightened. It was warm!
Without hesitation, Rin lowers her body into the heated water and release a soft sight of content. Leaning against a rocky wall, Rin closes her eyes in satisfaction.
Slowly, she felt her tense and sore muscles ease. It had been a while since she felt so relaxed and at peace.
A few minutes passed as Rin quietly enjoyed the cave's warmth and silence.
Lowering her body, Rin plunges her head into the water to properly wash her hair and face.
Coming up, she released a soft breath and quietly leans back against the hard, stone wall.
Wrinkling her brows at the sudden sound, Rin's eyes opened to look at the cave's entrance and at that moment her body tensed up, her eyes widening.
Almost immediately, Rin presses her body against a large rock, hoping to conceal herself from the incoming figure.
Biting onto her bottom, lip, Rin's mind went into a complete turmoil as she felt a headache coming on.
Why was he here? Didn't Duyi Zhong say no one else knew about this place besides him and a few soldiers?
Glancing up from behind the rock, Rin's face unknowingly flushed red upon the sight before her as she quickly hid behind the rock.
Standing at the cave's entrance with a cold expression on his face, was none other than An Sun.
And…he was stripping off his clothes! No, more importantly, she was naked!