"Is what you say true? It's been two weeks, and he still hasn't made any moves?"
An Ruo nodded his head, "Yes."
An Hongyu grunted, his eyes shone with unhappiness and distress. At first, when he had heard of An Sun traveling farther north, he was relieved. This meant he didn't harbor thoughts of overruling them.
When An Sun asked for more grains for his army, he still hadn't found anything wrong with it. His men needed more food, something he'd ask for if he needed it.
But after hearing An Ruo's words, An Hongyu's relief morphed to doubt. It was no secret from the rest of An Clan of his treatment toward his adopted son.
He may have been adopted as his son but that had been all – a title was all it was. An Sun's chances of reaching any higher than what he was given would immediately be suppressed.
For years, this had been how An Hongyu and the rest of the An Clan operated things. Until the young man revealed signs of growth.
Not only did he grow stronger physically, but his military tactics surpassed those of his brother and the other members.
An Hongyu felt as if he was slowly losing control.
Before his he became too powerful for them to suppress, An Hongyu changed his tactics and improved his treatment toward An Sun.
By supplying him with a small army and chances to grant land for their clan, he utilized An Sun in a way that made him able to constrain him easier.
If he showed signs of advancing, he'd draw him back. But now, he feared it may be too late.
An Hongyu swept his eyes to An Ruo and said in a heavy voice, "Send someone to keep an eye on him. If he shows any signs of rebelling, pull him out and have him return."
An Ruo nodded his head but inwardly, he felt displeased. No matter what, his father refused to dispose of An Sun.
Even when he posed as a threat to them, he never ordered to have him killed or punished. This caused a swell of bitterness to rise in An Ruo's heart, but in the end, he said nothing.
An Hongyu grunted and stood from his chair to leave, but as he opens the tent flaps, he turned to look at his son.
"Next time, don't send your men out without my permission. I don't want to further ignite his reason to rebel due to your reckless actions."
An Ruo's fists on his lap tightened. "I understand father. I apologize for acting rash, it won't happen again."
Hearing his son's words, An Hongyu grunted before he turned and left without looking back.
An Ruo watched his father's leaving figure with a trace of uncertainty and resentment.
He couldn't understand why his father continued to spare An Sun. But if the time ever came where An Sun revolted against him, he'd make sure to kill him with his own hands.
Standing up, An Ruo exits the main tent toward his. Once inside, his expression retorted into one of malice.
"What information do you have on his strategist?"
The pale man with blond hair sat seated at the table, his posture, and aura filled with pure elegance.
In a silky voice, he replied, "Answering Master Ruo's question, the young strategist's name is Bai Lan, he's the grandson of the Northern Empire's Commander Bai Han from the Bai family."
An Ruo's brows knitted tightly together. "He's from the Bai family?"
"Yes, Master Ruo."
An Ruo grew silent as he pondered over this information. The Bai family...who didn't know about them in the Northern Empire.
A military based family with one of the strongest armies within the entire four empires. And their grandson was his brother's strategist.
An Ruo's expression turned black. Who knew what information the boy was feeding An Sun.
"If Master Ruo doesn't mind me speaking, there's something else you should know about Bai Lan."
"What is it?" An Ruo's tone was sharp.
Not minding the man's harsh tone, the soft-spoken man continues. "The boy is An Sun's strategist, but not willingly."
"What do you mean?"
"During An Sun's raid at the Guando province, Bai Lan was their main captain and strategist. To protect the province citizens, Bai Lan was forced to go with An Sun and his army."
Upon hearing his words, An Ruo's eyes widened in surprise.
"You're saying he's there against his own will?"
"Based on this information, yes." The young man replied.
An Ruo's expression grew deep, and his brain immediately went into action. The corner of his lips tugged upward into a cold, sinister grin.
"I already sent one of my men to spy on him. I'll have him interact with the boy and see where he stands." An Ruo's turned to face the pale man. "If he's against my brother that's good, we can bargain and use him. If he's helping my brother willing then I'll just have to dispose of him as I planned initially."
The blond man's expression remained dull as he lowered his head, his silk, blond lashes fluttering. "As Master Ruo wishes."
Within the main tent of the An Clan camp, the An Clan leader, An Hongyu sat, his face threateningly dark. Sitting beside him on a cushion was An Ruo.