Jia and Aiguo set out into town to run errands while Rin stayed and watched the house. When the sibling's left, Rin stopped her actions and got up to snatch the crossbow from the bedroom.
Afterward, she put on a thick coat, hay-filled boots and stepped outside.
Today she was going hunting for meat!
In the forest, an agile doe was moving about. Rin's eyes locked on the doe with steady eyes. This feeling of hunting...it had been so long. Rin drew in a deep breath. She raised her crossbow and aimed.
Right as she was about to shoot, she heeded the voice of an old man's voice.
"So you can hunt as well, girl?"
The old man's voice startled the deer, giving it enough time to escape into the distance.
Rin raised her head the moment she heard his voice. She furrowed her brows, starting to feel annoyed. As Rin watched the deer escape, her expression turned dark.
Her rosy lips pressed into a grim line, words falling from her mouth like icicles.
"To what do I owe the pleasure, Mister Qiu?" She glanced at the intruding figure.
The old man's deep wrinkles and thick white eyebrows framed his twinkling eyes and on his stubbled chin were white whiskers.
Currently, his small, old body was leaning against a frosted tree. A spark of interest flared in his eyes.
"Girl, if you can catch a deer, deliver me half."
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Rin's expression turned dull right after he finished speaking. She tossed a gloomy glance at the strange monk.
How shameless was this old man?
That moment, Rin thought of something and looked at Master Qiu with narrowed eyes.
"Are you not a monk?"
"I am. What of it?" Master Qiu blinked. His tone didn't change.
Rin was at a complete loss for words.
If he were a monk...then wouldn't he be vegetarian?
Rin pinched the space between her brows and sighed. If such a monk would cheat someone out a melon, why wouldn't he also eat meat?
"I will have to decline Mister Qiu's offer." Rin calmly said as she turned to leave.
She couldn't be bothered to deal with this shameless old man! She'll just have to go hunting another time.
Master Qiu's wrinkled face crumpled as he rubbed it with his spotted hand. The thought of cooked, succulent meat flashed through his mind and his face scrunched up even more.
He wanted that meat! It had been fifty years since he last ate plump, tender meat!
"Wait a moment girl! If you give me half the meat you catch, I will personally train you!"
At that moment, Rin's movements suddenly paused before she shifted her gaze. She appeared completely unmoved by Master Qiu's words, however, she felt astonishment inside.
He would personally train her?
Rin looked at him silently with a strange expression, her lips set in a thin, straight line.
Was he trying to deceive her again, or did he mean it?
Unsure of where his words stood, Rin fell silent. Sensing her doubts, Master Qiu sighed loudly.
"Girl, I dare not lie this time! I swear on my old, honorable and honest soul; I will keep my promise!"
Rubbish! What honorable and honest soul? He was nothing but a cheat and a liar of a monk!
However, Rin hesitated before asking: "Will you really show me how to improve?"
Master Qiu nodded. "That is if you're capable."
"I'm capable." Rin's eyes flickered as she looked at him with determination.
Master Qiu noted her expression and silently hummed.
"In that case, show me your skills."
Entering the deep woods, late sunlight flares on green moss on the side path shaded by thin trees. The cold river spreads boundlessly away as winter falls delicate, white flakes from the deep, azure skies. The cold hangs jewels among whitened grasses.
A cloud of white fog escapes her pale lips, the old monk following behind her quietly.
At that moment, she saw a deer grazing on a small patch of grass that wasn't covered in the white powdered snow. She stared, completely zoning out with the old monk behind her.
It has been years since she last saw anything as graceful as the creature before her. Rin watched, her cloudy breaths were silent. After a while, she took hold of her bow, snatching an arrow she carved from a tree.
Rin leveled the crossbow with one hand and narrowed her light eyes. At a place where nobody could see, her emerald and profound pupils flashed.
At that moment, her pale lips stretched into a smile, but it didn't quite reach her eyes. Her breath felt heavy as sweat poured down her face.
The girl's heated gaze locked on the deer. It was if the world stopped around her.
Master Qiu, who was observing her every move, perceived the change in her expression. His eyes flickered slightly.
Rin's fingers burned against the bronze trigger. She took a deep breath.
She pulled the trigger.
The following day.