"Sir Zhong," Rin spoke to catch his attention.
Heeding her presence, Duyi Zhong raised his head, and his face broke out into a kind smile. Standing up from his desk, he ushered her over to his lounge.
"How is the commander faring? I hope my physician was able to tend to his wounds suitably."
Rin hummed and offered a courteous smile, "Lord An is doing well. We're incredibly indebted to you and your physician for helping us."
"Nonsense, of course, I'd help! I'm glad to hear he's well." Duyi Zhong appeared relieved.
Rin's lips curled up once again into an unreadable smile. The two indulged in some tea for a bit before Rin broke the silence.
"We intend to relocate from Jilin province. As of now, the alliance we forged with Sir Zhong is being put on hold."
Astonished, Duyi Zhong froze for a moment as he tried processing Rin's words. His previous airy expression turned solemn.
"Does this have to do with the source to Commander An's injuries?"
Rin nodded her head.
"It would appear the An Clan has become suspicious of our movements and may order for a retreat. Before that happens we plan to relocate to ensure you and the citizen's safety. As for the tunnels, we will keep those hidden and return to you your troops."
When Duyi Zhong heard her words, he lapsed into deep thought for a moment. If what she said was true, then the situation that was once harmless had turned much more serious. Not to mention dangerous for anyone involved. The more he thought about it the more displeased he felt.
"Do you plan to go with them?" Duyi Zhong couldn't help but ask.
There was no change in Rin's expression but a ripple of sadness flickered across her eyes.
After heeding her words, Duyi Zhong didn't contain the disapproval and slight impatience in his face. Before he could open his mouth to refute on the matter, Rin spoke up in a gentle tone.
"Please rest assured, Lord An is not forcing me. If anything, he offered for me to leave and return to my family."
"Because I am not worthy of returning to my grandfather's side. Not yet."
Duyi Zhong was startled.
His brows furrowed as he asked, "What do you mean not worthy?"
How could she be unworthy?
She fought and strategized in battles! The young girl had achieved more than any noble miss ever did. Hell, she was better than some young male soldiers he met. To hear her call herself unworthy of standing alongside the Bai family was almost unbelievable.
Duyi Zhong looked back at the girl across from him as she looked at him with a gaze filled with conviction.
"I've realized before I can go back to the path of comfort and warmth, I must face the path of honor. I am not strong nor wise enough to protect the ones I hold dear. That is why I want to grow stronger and feel deserving of the name given to me."
"Bai Rin, you don't need to…"
Rin shook her head and urged, "This is something I want to do for myself. I hope you can respect that, Sir Zhong."
Until now, Rin had thought she was prepared to take down her uncle and win back her country. However, that was anything but the truth. Looking back at everything, she realized all of her accomplishments were achieved by the help of those around her. Without them, she'd be nothing.
Although she sought power and strength she also wished for a peaceful, stable life.
Who didn't lust for a comfortable life? But that sort of life was earned not given. So, to obtain it she had no choice but to resort to leaving her grandfather and uncle for the time being.
Duyi Zhong saw the fierce and determined look in the girl's eyes and sighed.
"Are you sure you don't want to think it over?"
Rin shook her head.
Releasing another sigh of regret, Duyi Zhong leaned back into his seat tiredly.
"I understand. All I hope is that you stay safe for the sake of those who care for you, and yourself."
Rin laughed softly, "Mm, I will."
The path she chose to embark on held no ease or comfort, only endurance, and growth. She was certain that she would gain the life she yearned for. She'd become a worthy granddaughter to stand by their sides.
When Rin entered Duyi Zhong's office, she saw the quiet and composed old man sitting at his desk.