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125 Shattered Hope & Peace

In the dimly lit tent, Rin sat in a chair beside An Sun's unconscious figure resting on the bed. Her gaze never shifted away from him - as if she'd miss the slightest twitch.

Every so often, she'd replace the cloth on his forehead or check his forehead and palms to see if his fever passed. She continued to do this throughout the night without rest.

An Sun's bare chest was covered and bandaged up neatly by the Jilin physician. His complexion was so pale it was practically white but fared better than before. The man's black satin hair was draped on his pillow, keeping away from his sculpted, strong face.

Her eyes landed on his chest and like before when in the spring, she noticed an old scar branded on his chest. It was rather noticeable as it ran across the entire front of his chest.

It must have been a deep wound.

She looked at the scar for a moment, then gazed back at his peaceful, resting face. Leaning against the chair, a soft and tired sigh left her lips, her mind lulling into deep thought.

How could this have happened?

They were so careful, yet An Sun…

She would have never thought her parting with An Sun that day could have been the final time they saw one another. Fortunately, the man survived.

When Rin's mind recalled the incident with the scout, her body turned cold.

Could that incident possibly be the reason for this? Their movements were precise and well planned, but could her minor kill have caused all of this to happen?

The fists by her side clenched. If that was the case then…

At that moment, while Rin was immersed in her thoughts, An Sun's eyelids trembled slightly. Although it was brief, Rin, who had been watching him carefully the entire time, sat up from her chair a moved closer to the awaking man.

Slowly, An Sun's eyes began to open, consciousness filtering back into his clear, dark gray eyes. As his eyes opened, An Sun found his vision was still rather blurry as he blinked his eyes slowly.

When his vision cleared, An Sun stared up at the familiar tent ceiling for a few seconds, the next moment, his gaze fell upon the petite figure sitting beside him, their jade-like face staring at him with flashing emerald eyes.

The youth's eyes were serene, almost gentle as they observed him intently, leaving him in a dazed state. Their skin, smooth as silk and white as a freshly polished pearl lit up warmly under the tents candlelight.

Rin saw that An Sun was in a daze and spoke in a light, soft voice, "Glad to see you're awake, Lord An."

An Sun blinked his eyes and finally, he recognized the youth beside him as his strategist Bai Lan.

'He must have been seeing things for a moment.'

An Sun tried to lift himself but experienced an agonizing pain in his shoulder. The intense pain immediately caused his face to turn pale, as beads of sweat spilled out from his forehead.

"Ngh…damn it." An Sun's voice was hoarse and raspy.

"Take it easy my Lord," Rin gently forced him to lay back down on the bed. "You shouldn't get up yet. The physician said you shouldn't make any hasty movements for a day."

Rin soaked the cloth beside her and dabbed the newly formed sweat off his forehead.

An Sun compressed his lips into a thin line and shifted his head away. "I'm fine. It's just a minor wound."

Rin sighed helplessly but said nothing of it. Shifting her body to the side, Rin grabbed a bowl beside her and brought it in front of An Sun.

"What is that?"

"Your medicine. The physician ordered for you to drink it once you woke up. It'll help relieve the pain in your shoulder and quicken the healing process." Rin explained matter-of-factly.

"I told you, it's just a minor wound. I don't need that bitter crap." An Sun looked at the medicine in her hand coldly.

Another sigh was released from Rin and she looked at An Sun helplessly, not knowing whether to laugh or to cry.

This man…was like a child.

But no matter what, he needed to take his medicine to recover.

Rin did not show the slightest bit of hesitation and in a serious tone said, "Even if the wound is minor, Lord An, I insist you take your medicine. The faster you heal from your…minor wound, the faster you can move around freely."

To Rin's words, the corners of An Sun's lips twitched subconsciously. Cheeky kid, mocking his words to convince him to take the medicine.

But after looking at the sincerity in her eyes and the faint dark circles underneath them, An Sun held back his remark.

"Fine, hand it here."

Rin's eyes brightened, and she took the spoon in the bowl and readied herself to feed An Sun his medicine. An Sun's expression grew dark seeing her obvious attempts to feed him and he sat himself up on the bed.

"Lord An, you shouldn't—"

"Give me the bowl. I'll drink it myself." He stretched out his hand.

Rin's mouth clamped shut, and she quickly handed the bowl of medicine to the threatening man. Taking the bowl from her fair fingers, with one hand, An Sun chugged down the medicine as if it were a bowl of fine red wine.

Seeing An Sun drink the medicine, Rin finally blew out a breath of relief.

"Shit," An Sun's expression was dark as he smacked his lips distastefully. "Why does this crap always taste so bad?"

Watching the man grumble like a child, Rin couldn't help the upward curve of her lips as she resisted the urge to laugh and reached behind her for a cup of water. "Here, drink this."

An Sun accepted the cup of water and drank it to drown out the foul taste in his mouth. Although the taste still lingered, An Sun was content to have it somewhat out of his mouth.

Looking back at Rin who stared at him with a suppressed smile, he shifted away from her gaze and cleared his throat.

"How long have I been unconscious for?"

"There's no need to worry; it hasn't been long. What's important is that you rest and recover quickly." Rin answered calmly.

An Sun raised a brow in silent comment but he chose to let it be. Sighing, he leans against the headboard and momentarily stares at the tent ceiling in a daze. Rin remained silent as she watched him stare at the ceiling.

She could see the various deep complications flash across his eyes. At some point, he closed them tightly and suddenly laughed malevolently.

"It's quite ironic isn't it?"

"Huh?" Rin was slightly taken aback by his words.

An Sun shifted his head to face Rin and his lips curled into a cold, crooked sneer.

"I knew he hated me, yet I still hoped..."

Rin grew silent, and her fists on her lap clenched. She knew the 'he' An Sun was referring to was his brother An Ruo.

Although he acted unbothered by his adoptive families' neglect and hostility toward him, An Sun held small hopes. Hopes they could live with one another peacefully.

But after today, that hope was shattered.

"Lord An…I apologize. It was my carelessness that caused you to be injured."

"Hmm?" An Sun's eyebrows arched. "What do you mean?"

Rin's gaze lowered and her fists clenched harder. "If I hadn't killed the scout then the An Clan would've never been suspicious."

Furthermore, this was her plan from the beginning. She should have been the one to suffer the consequences, not him. Had she thought of a better one, they could have further avoided the An Clan's watchful eyes.

Her eyes narrowed. Why is it when her strategies backfired everyone suffered by her hand?

"Hey, kid."

Bonk--!

Suddenly feeling a startling but light knock on her forehead, Rin touches the top of her head and looks up in disbelief, her eyes widened. An Sun sighed as he looked at the boys dumbfounded expression, their eyes blinking rapidly in confusion.

"Stop getting all emotional. No one is at fault here." An Sun's thick, sword-like brows knitted together.

"But…"

An Sun stretched his hand out and gripped tightly onto Rin's small shoulder, startling her. His gray eyes stared back into her emerald ones with intense resolve.

"Neither I nor you knew their plans. I asked you to be my strategist, not some [1]seer. You've done the work I've asked well and that's enough."

His stern and oppressive voice sounded into her ears, Rin stared at him, stunned. She never expected to hear words of praise from An Sun. Oddly enough, the foggy feeling in her heart dispersed and was replaced by warmth.

A light, gentle smile made its way onto her lips. "To hear Lord An say such words, I feel rather flattered."

An Sun's brows arched. He looked at the boy who stared back at him with their clear emerald eyes and noticed their fair little face still had some childish features in them. He was young but clever. An Sun unknowingly smiled.

He was a good kid and strategist.

At that thought, An Sun's eyes grew serious, in the depth of his eyes were resolve and determination.

"Summon Manchu. There's something I need to discuss with the both of you."
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