"Hold on a moment. There seems to be some misunderstanding."
As if he seemed to hear something ridiculous, Bai Han mocked. "What? Are you going to deny your lustful temptations for women didn't just get my granddaughter mistaken as one of your cheap whores?"
The room fell into an awkward silence the moment Bai Han finished speaking. Manchu shot a sideways glance at An Sun, whose expression was turning dark, the edge of his sharp brows twitching fiercely.
"Hey, old man, why don't hear us out first before making up false crap?" An Sun's voice was dark and sharp as his expression.
"Old man?!" Bai Han's eye twitched, and he quickly snapped back. "You're awfully disrespectful, considering it's you and your men's raging hormones fault that we can't find my granddaughter!"
An Sun's eyes narrowed. "Do you deserve my respect? I admit the first meeting I was in the wrong, however, I have proven to be nothing but patient and considerate in helping you find Bai Rin. Up to now, you have shown no respect or appreciation and treat my men and I as barbarians!"
The air in the room seemed to be frozen by the ice. Everyone watched sparks fly between the two as they shot insult after insult to one another. It wasn't until An Sun threw down those words that the calm on everyone's faces faded away as they all stiffened.
Cautiously, they shifted their eyes to Bai Han's whose face was already flushed red from his suppressed emotions. Although everyone was silent on the outside over the two's feud, the same couldn't be said for their private thoughts.
What An Sun said was the truth. However, they didn't dare voice these thoughts in front of the now red-faced and heavy breathing Bai Han.
He blinked a few times in disbelief before recovering his senses. Truthfully, he felt a little embarrassed and very put on the spot.
"You…" Bai Han choked on his words.
Before he could retort, General Guo cut in.
"Sir Manchu, please continue to explain as to how this is a misunderstanding."
While An Sun crossed his arms and clicked his tongue, Manchu sighed helplessly before moving his gaze to the men in the room.
"It is true. Our army has collected women for our men." Manchu admitted.
Bai Han's brows drew together, and his lips parted in preparation to give voice to an objection yet was stopped by Duyi Zhong who shook his head. Bai Han's face turned dark, he lowered his head and kept his thoughts to himself.
Manchu continued. "However, these acts were ordered from the Head An. To avoid conflict with the Head An and Sun, we chose to follow orders."
This time, Bai Han was unable to hold it in.
He abruptly barked into a cold laughter. "So that gave you the right to kidnap and **** innocent women just because of an order?!"
Had Rin exposed her gender to these men, she too would have had the same fate!
While An Sun's face grew darker by the second, Manchu calmly stood in his place and explained in a calm tone.
"No. Our men did not wrongfully kidnap or **** any women."
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At this point, all men in the room showed a confused expression. Though they believed An Sun and Manchu were innocent of purposely committing such foul actions, they didn't so much believe that the men hadn't experienced their fair share with the women.
After all, what better way was there to release stress from the battlefield than enjoying the comfort of beautiful women?
Manchu noticed their doubtful expressions and sighed.
"While yes, we did kidnap some of the women, the majority were sent as slaves during our trades. Although it was risky and complicated, Sun ordered those who were innocent to be secretly returned to their families. But, due to the risk, we stopped this act."
Manchu paused briefly to glance at An Sun before continuing. "The women who schemed to kill our men in secret out of orders from their masters were from the provinces we collected them from. In return, Sun had them killed to protect the troops. Though, only a few of our men inflicted sexual actions with those women."
When Manchu had finished speaking, everyone in the room was stunned.
They didn't expect the truth to be like this!
Bai Han finally recovered his senses and rationality. His brows were drawn tightly together as he cast a glance to An Sun who was indifferently gazing out the window with crossed arms.
It was as if the matter had nothing to do with him!
Bai Han pressed his lips together. Luckily, Duyi Zhong noticed the awkward air coming from the old man beside him and spoke up.
"While that is the case, on the other hand, many of the villagers still believe Bai Rin is a captive woman from your army."
When this thought passed through everyone's heads, the mood dampened. Meanwhile, Wei Jingyi calmly regarded the scene before him and breathed softly.
"As I said previously, the solution to this would be to personally explore the towns and ask around. The chances of finding her will be more likely if you search in the towns where captive women have been reported to be."
With this plan in mind, everyone's eyes lit up.
Wei Jingyi scratched his chin and tilted his head. "Though, I recommend that only two of you go. If a whole group was to go, this would only draw in suspicion."
General Guo nodded. "Then who will go?"
An Sun who had been silent for a while spoke up.
"I will go."
Bai Han's eyes swept over An Sun, a hidden glint in their depths. He took a deep breath and managed to calm down a little. He raised his gaze and stared at Wei Jingyi.
"I will go too."
Everyone looked at the two who had volunteered and went silent.
Had they just forgotten the argument they had not too long ago?
Despite the desire to speak up on the bad pairing, they all suppressed their inner thoughts once again. While everyone secretly mourned, Wei Jingyi stood up from his seat and smiled.
"Then we better get you two dressed up and prepared."
There was no longer any trace of the excitement and joy Bai Han had had earlier. Instead, his brows drew together in tension.
Wei Jingyi nodded. "Of course. If you're going down to act as village men, you'll need to dress up and behave like them."
As if seeming to think of something, the frail man's lips curled up into an amused smile as he looked between An Sun and Bai Han.
"If we want to make it more convincing, we can have the two of you act as grandson and grandfather."
Both men froze before looking at Wei Jingyi with icy gazes.
As if he had not noticed their glares, Wei Jingyi chuckled freely to himself. "Better yet, grandfather and son-in-law!"
At this, the entire room fell silent. An Sun's handsome features were cast in a stiff expression, and his lips were pressed together.
Meanwhile, Bai Han's wrinkled face went cold.
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Chapter 176 - Trustful Bond
Chapter 177 - The Fiance
Chapter 178 - Abandon For Peace
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As everyone's eyes swept in the two's direction, Manchu released a deep sigh and raised his hands in a surrendering motion.