"Your injuries, they were caused by An Ruo weren't they?"
An Sun nodded his head slightly. "Not directly. He must have planned to kill me while my guard was down and so that he could later blame it on bandits. However, I'm certain he's already been informed of my survival."
"What do you mean?"
"I let one of them escape."
"What?!" Manchu stared in disbelief.
An Sun ignored the stunned Manchu and cast a glance to Rin. "We can no longer carry out with our initial plans. It won't be long before my father hears what happened and will send his men or order for a retreat. I think it'd be wise if we left Jilin territory and changed our location for the governor's safety."
Rin nodded her head in agreement. After all, if they were to continue, all of their extensive work would be for nothing once discovered by the An Clan. If things went smoothly, they could return to the tunnels and proceed with the plan.
But she knew An Sun's main priority lies with ensuring that those involved in the matter were protected, including Duyi Zhong and his citizens.
"I will go speak to Governor Duyi and inform him on the matter. In the meantime, you rest Lord An. We'll need you healed and ready when the time comes." Rin looked at the bandaged An Sun solemnly.
Manchu butted in agreement, "He's right. You need to take it easy before doing anything, you can't be impulsive."
An Sun stared at the two berate him into resting and felt his eyelid twitching furiously. These two treated him as if he was a sick child.
An Sun took in a deep breath and let out a long bored sigh, "Fine. But get someone to hand me some reports to look at, I want to be informed of the situation at all times."
"Understood," Manchu rose from his seat and left the tent with Rin following behind.
Rin walked out of the tent and breathed in the frosty air before heading toward the stables to grab a horse to inform Duyi Zhong.
At that moment, Rin suddenly stopped in her tracks and turned herself around to stare in the direction of the figure following her from behind.
"Is something the matter, Sir Manchu?"
Manchu stood in front of her a couple of feet away and awkwardly scratched the back of his head. He appeared hesitant to whatever he was about to say, almost as if he was unfamiliar with it.
After a while, he cleared his throat and said, "Thank you."
A trace of surprise flitted across Rin's face and she chuckled. "Haven't you already thanked me?"
Manchu offered an aloof smile and chuckled in return. "Indeed I have. But I think another is in order, little strategist."
From the beginning, the man never trusted her. Compared to An Sun, Manchu was more wary of her. It seemed no matter what she did, he never let his guard down.
Rin didn't mind his lack of trust toward her as it wasn't his she was trying to earn. However, recalling his interference when An Sun was injured, Rin grew somewhat irritated.
Seeing Manchu thank her now, Rin could assume his wariness of her eased. But to what extent?
Rin sighed softly and looked at the man with a mild expression, "Sir Manchu, I understand trust is earned not given. But to establish trust one must also be willing to forfeit all walls. I'm thankful Lord An put down his to allow me in."
With that, Rin mounted onto a nearby horse and rode to Jilin province. Manchu watched the remnant shadow Rin left as her figure departed further and further away from view.
'If you took the time to stop being so cautious for once, you'd find you two have a lot in common.'
Remembering An Sun's words, Manchu let out a loud sigh. Scratching his head, he left to gather the reports for An Sun.
After confirming their plan to stay along An Sun's side, Manchu who was quiet for some time spoke up.