"Bai Lan..." He numbly whispered.
Not a second later, An Sun heard the sound of Manchu and the Tuhan soldiers panicked voices.
"An Sun, behind you!"
At the sound of his men's voices, An Sun merely shifted his deep, gray eyes calmly to look straight at the approaching assailants. His eyes were clear as water but more apathetic than ice.
Gripping the sword by his side, his expression finally changed to a look of seething fury. In that moment, those eyes flared and the murderous malice flowed unrestrained.
Several of the men felt frightened under his eyes. His gaze sweeping over them one by one, a chill shooting right through their entire bodies.
Before they had the chance to scream or resist, An Sun's figure strode toward them with dull eyes. All traces of his previous sinister smiles while killing disappeared, his beautiful face bore a trace of cold wickedness.
The sight of red, flowing blood ruined the once beautiful white scenery. In a few blinks, half the men were already dead, their bodies lying in pools of blood.
Without mercy, An Sun continued to slash through all the enemies. With no men left for them to fight, Manchu and the Tuhan soldiers' watched the man's bloody massacre on the side silently.
The clangor of the swords had died away, the shouting of the slaughter was hushed- silence lay on the red-stained snow. As the sun crept up from the horizon, golden rays slowly spread onto the mountain, dissipating the lingering chill and finally offering a hint of warmth.
However, none of the men could feel the sun's warmth, only the intense, suffocating chill radiating off their commander.
An Sun stood in the center of the field, his chest heavily rising up and down. With his sword still in the body of an enemy, blood dripped from his fingertips.
In that moment, the quiet had become like icy drips onto already cold skin.
Manchu looked at him and furrowed his brows into a deep frown.
An Sun didn't speak, but suddenly unsheathed the short sword from his waist and flung it in the direction of a tree. The next second, a man's limp body fell from the tree and onto the ground.
All men except Manchu were stunned.
"Dispatch men down to the bottom of the cliff to retrieve him."
Manchu frowned for a moment and said, "Sun, Bai Lan's…"
The moment he opened his mouth, he immediately closed it upon receiving An Sun's fierce glare. What startled Manchu more were his seemingly bottomless, bloodshot eyes.
An Sun smiled coldly and his voice was depressed. It was very dark. "He saved my life. The least I can do is provide him a proper burial."
An Sun retracted his sword from the corpse below him and turned to walk toward the tents.
"Send word to the Bai family. If they wish to seek revenge, then let them. I have no right to stop them."
An Sun's steps halted. His eyelids were slightly lifted as he spoke slowly. "After all, because of me, Bai Lan is…"
Before he could complete his sentence, An Sun experienced a flash of darkness covering his vision. An intense pain was felt in his shoulder and his body fell to the ground.
Manchu's eyes widened in alarm.
Manchu and the Tuhan troops rushed over toward the collapsed commander in a panic. Manchu shifted An Sun's body over and noticed the wound on his shoulder had reopened. With the mix of the enemy's blood and his own, it flowed, soaking through his robes.
Manchu gritted his teeth. "Bastard, if your wound opens up don't keep attacking like some sort of bloodthirsty brute and take it easy! You're not invincible!"
An Sun's long eyelashes trembled, the man's face was pale, and his lips were purple. Breathing through his mouth with great difficulty, he knit his eyebrows in pain.
Manchu's frown deepened, and he hoisted the man's large body up.
"Help me bring him into a tent and get hot water, quick!"
While a soldier ran to collect warm water, another helped Manchu hoist An Sun's body. When supporting him, Manchu heard a faint murmur from An Sun.
After a brief period of silence, An Sun's deep and hoarse voice ordered: "Lan...Bury Lan."
It did not take much for Manchu to know whom he was referring to. Manchu's brows drew together, and his lips formed a thin line.
"You still have the energy to release orders?" He muttered with a helpless tone.
Manchu sighed heavily and looked over his shoulder to shout to a few soldiers.
"Head to the bottom of the cliff and retrieve Bai Lan's body! Wrap him up and bury him respectfully. The rest of you dispose of the enemy's bodies and bury the fallen."
Manchu shifted his gaze away and lowered his head. He drew in a deep breath and raised his head, his still eyes looking toward the mountain cliff. He retracted his gaze and twisted his lips in a crooked smile.
"That little strategist... really was a helpless fool."
The wound on An Sun's shoulder was rebandaged. Soldiers that were lost after the ambush was buried. As for the enemies, they were carelessly thrown off the cliff.
Inside the camps main tent, An Sun sat on a table and stared at his hand expressionlessly. The dim yellow candlelight shone on the side of his face, making his stern and cold face seem even paler. Despite his ill appearance, his icy aura and cold demeanor gave a hint of dangerous beauty.
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Manchu entered and saw the man slouched in his seat, a jug of red wine beside him.
Manchu frowned. "Idiot, are you seriously drinking right now? Do you have any regard for your injury?"
An Sun leisurely held the cup of wine in his hand but did not take a sip.
"I failed him." An Sun's deep, hoarse voice said absently.
Manchu looked at the pale man sitting casually in his seat, his head faced down toward the table.
"I promised I would protect him. I said I had the strength and power."
An Sun laughed coldly and raised his head. His face was ashen. His healthy pink lips were now white, two locks of hair framing his handsome, chiseled face.
"I couldn't protect him because I wasn't strong enough." An Sun's slightly hoarse voice was tinged with grief.
"I'm the miserable scum who forced him to fight alongside me. He threw his life away for me so easily, all because I placed my trust in him."
Manchu stared at the man helplessly. "Hey, Sun…"
"Commander An, General Manchu!"
A soldier rushed inside the tent, a look of panic and urgency spread across his face.
"Outside, there's an army coming our way!"
Manchu rose a brow. "An army? Who?"
The soldier paled and appeared nervous. He anxiously glanced at his commander who's brows furrowed deeper. The look in An Sun's eyes darkened.
"Who is it?"
The soldier nervously swallowed. An Sun's pair of cold eyes stared at him with a gaze that made him feel extremely uncomfortable and unsettled.
"It's…It's the Bai Army."
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An Sun stared lifelessly at the bottom of the cliff. The feeling of the youth's soft, warm fingertips still lingered on his hands.