"I can't be certain. However…" General Guo paused.
Though General Guo wasn't one to make such quick assumptions, Bai Han knew from the man's silence; he felt certain the bird he saw was Ju.
If that was the case, then how did this mysterious man get him?
What did he have to do with his granddaughter?!
At the mere thought, Bai Han grew even more restless. Meanwhile, An Sun stood beside the office window and gazed out expressionlessly, where his eyes coldly looked down below.
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General Guo remembered the out of breath and rare disheveled appearance on the young man's face as he approached them.
When they informed him the man had yet to come, An Sun's cool, handsome face returned to its usual coldness.
But, General Guo knew, just like them, An Sun felt as if they were a step closer to discovering Rin.
When the door creaked open, everyone shifted their heads to see Duyi Zhong and a frail middle-aged man entering the room. Upon catching sight of the small, brown falcon on his shoulder, both General Guo and Bai Han drew in a sharp breath.
Although most falcons looked the same, it was rare to identify ones with such clarity in its eyes.
Without a doubt, the bird was Ju!
The contented expression on Bai Han's face instantly turned icy and hard. He narrowed his eyes and turned to look at the man in front of him.
"You..! Where is my granddaughter?!" Bai Han bellowed angrily as he stared fiercely at Wei Jingyi.
About to pounce on the middle-aged man, General Guo restrained the fired up old commander back. He gave Bai Han a glance, who snorted and stepped back in return.
After ensuring Bai Han would no longer attack the man, General Guo sighed.
He turned his body to face the frail man without a single shred of expression and said in a cold tone, "Who are you? Why is it that you have my niece's bird with you?"
Under the men's intense, cold stares, Wei Jingyi remained composed.
"You must be members of the Bai family I believe?"
General Guo raised an eyebrow, seemingly surprised. He nodded.
Seeing as he recognized them, General Guo's suspicion only heightened. Wei Jingyi bobbed his head and let out a brief hum, withdrawing his eyes and scouring them over across the room.
Finally, his line of sight shifted to the young man dressed in a black robe. He stood beside the window with his hands clasped behind his back, his deep and chilly eyes stared right back at him. An Sun bore a grim expression like he was an insurmountable statue of ice.
Wei Jingyi's eyes sparked with slight interest. He looked the young man up and down. Upon receiving the unusual middle-aged man's stares, An Sun's thick brows drew together to express his clear displeasure.
There wasn't any trace of emotion in his magnetic voice, but it still sent chills down one's spine, "Do you have something to say?"
Wei Jingyi wasn't at all affected by the man's cold tone, rather he looked even more amused.
"I was just thinking you are much more handsome up close than I expected."
No wonder the girl asked him to help An Sun out!
An Sun's expression froze, and his handsome face immediately turned as black as the bottom of a pit. Meanwhile Bai Han, General Guo, Manchu, and Duyi Zhong fell silent.
Was he flirting with An Sun?
Seemingly unaware of the men's thoughts, Wei Jingyi walked over to a nearby table and plopped himself down. Ju on his shoulder, flew away and landed on General Guo's shoulder.
He stared down at the bird and stroked its head as its beady eyes blinked at him with familiarity.
Once he saw the familiar bird, his eyes softened before turning hard when looking back at Wei Jingyi. The frail man sighed back into his seat and withdrew his gaze to perceive all the men's eyes on him.
"Who are you?" General Guo asked again.
"Ah yes, I suppose I should introduce myself," Wei Jingyi smiled casually. "I was a follower of Governor Tao of Guando province. After the death of my master, Bai Rin took me in as her follower. While she was taken by Commander An and his men, I stayed up north with Sir Tao's daughter and Ju. That is until I received a letter from her."
The news hit everyone like a bolt from the blue.
They looked at the middle-aged man lounging on the chair in the center of the room as if he were an unknown creature. General Guo seemed to think of something and stole a glance at the man in the corner. He saw a touch of feelings that could not be put away in An Sun's eyes.
It was clear from his shadowed gaze that he felt uneasy upon recalling the previous events that took place in Guando. Though he was a changed man, it still didn't deny the fact An Sun was a part of for Governor Tao's death and had kidnapped Rin.
In the end, Bai Han was the first to break the silence. "What did the letter she sent say?"
As if expecting his question, Wei Jingyi reached into his robe to pull out a small square piece of paper. Everyone's eyes locked on the paper with scorching gazes. He calmly placed the letter on the center of the table and leaned back into his seat.
When An Sun saw the pair of written words on the paper, he stared in a daze, his mind completely blank. The sourness and bitterness in his heart were overwhelming.
[Head North. Divert the Head An from Sun]
After a moment of silence, he raised his head to look at Wei Jingyi.
He creased his brows as he asked in a slightly dark tone, "She told you to visit my father?"
Wei Jingyi nodded and awkwardly scratched his head. "It wasn't an easy task, I'll tell you that. But, I was able to successfully carry it out."
An Sun returned with an expression full of surprise after confirming the meaning of the letter. His face was still carved into its usual strict expression without any change in emotion.
However, only he knew the twisted thoughts entering his mind.
Having heard Wei Jingyi recite the events in Guando province, An Sun was brought back to the deeds he had done. Many of which he did not regret.
Causing the death of thousands of Guando soldiers, he felt no remorse. That was just how wars worked.
Responsible for the death of Governor Tao, though honorable, he too felt no remorse - only minor guilt. It was not he who embedded such a choice in the governor's mind.
Kidnapping Bai Rin for the sake of people's lives. He will never regret.
However, forcing her to walk in the snow barefoot.
Allowing her to deal with the men in front of the camp and feeding her nothing but scraps of leftover dried meat.
This he regrets most.
Yet, despite all of this, she chose to support him on his route to success. All of these things, she did for him because of her faith in him.
An Sun had long drifted away, immersed in his thoughts. He was only called back to earth by the sound of Bai Han's voice.
"Then, do you perhaps know where my granddaughter could be?"
Wei Jingyi sighed and shook his head. "I'm afraid I don't know. However, have you considered entering the villages yourself?"
General Guo and Bai Han glanced at one another with puzzled looks.
"Why would we do that?"
Wei Jingyi stole a brief glance at An Sun and Manchu before looking back at Bai Han.
"Because rumor has it in the villages I passed through, the Tuhan men have been collecting beautiful women. I take it they assume Bai Rin is one of those women they want and are protecting her."
At this, everyone's eyes swept over to the two men in the corner.
An Sun and Manchu: "…"
"Are you certain it was Ju?" Bai Han asked, his figure pacing back and forth.