"What kind of joke are you playing at?!" He seethed through gritted teeth. "We shouldn't be wasting any more time! Quick, let us get ready!"
As Bai Han stormed off with a black face, Duyi Zhong sighed softly and followed him behind. General Guo turned to leave when he suddenly swept his gaze toward An Sun.
While the young man still maintained his usual icy expression on his face, the backs of his ears were already flushed red.
When he caught sight of this, General Guo's eyes unconsciously lit up with amusement before he caught up with the old commander, the small falcon still on his shoulder.
It wasn't until the three men disappeared did Wei Jingyi shift his gaze to An Sun.
"Young man, regarding the incident in Guando, I don't wish for you to feel responsible for the death of my previous master."
"I do not hold things accountable for when it involves war." An Sun answered honestly in a calm tone.
Wei Jingyi blinked his eyes for a moment before a dry laugh came out of him. "I had a feeling you'd say something like that, and I do not blame you either. I too understand the treacheries of war."
The frail's man's eyes were half-shut, and his lashes concealed the pools of emotion in his eyes.
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He pressed his lips together and finally said, "This world is full of cruel things, death happens to be among them. Only those who aren't weak can overcome the cruel challenges."
Wei Jingyi turned to look at An Sun and smiled.
"Please do well in finding my master."
An Sun was somewhat surprised by the man's words. The corners of his lips suddenly curled into a slight grin.
"I promise to find and return her safely." His tone was filled with sincerity and conviction.
Wei Jingyi burst into a bout of open laughter. "Good, good. Then I'm trusting you and Bai Han to work well together in bringing her back."
Patting the young man's firm shoulder, Wei Jingyi strode out of the room. After stepping out, he paused before adding on, "Do inform Governor Duyi to send some refreshments and meals to my room. After such a long journey, I am quite hungry."
Without waiting for An Sun to respond, the man turned his back and left. An Sun's gaze was stuck on Wei Jingyi's back until he vanished down the hall. His leisurely expression disappeared as his pupils contracted.
Seeming to recall the man's words, his fists clenched.
By the time Wei Jingyi had finished his conversation with An Sun, Bai Han had long returned to his room. He hastily began packing away letters, clothing, and valuable mementos.
"Bai Han, are you certain you want to go with An Sun to the villages?" General Guo voiced with concern.
When Bai Han heard General Guo's words, he didn't even look up.
"And let that punk search for Rin, my precious granddaughter by himself?" He scoffed.
General Guo felt troubled. "I can go in your stead and search for Rin with An Sun."
Bai Han swept his gaze to the middle-aged man and his eyes narrowed. He huffed a little.
"Do you think I haven't noticed your favoritism toward An Sun? You're always putting in a good word in for him in front of me, siding with him. What exactly are your intentions in encouraging him?"
"Encouraging him?" General Guo's brows furrowed.
"Yes! Not just you, but everyone seems to be encouraging that boy!"
Surprise leaked out from General Guo's gaze. Although Bai Han had not specified what exactly he meant by encouraging him, General Guo wasn't slow. He had a pretty good idea as to what Bai Han was referring to.
Unknown to Rin, when Bai Han requested the northern emperor to terminate Rin's engagement with the Crown Prince, he had purposely laid down a threat.
Either cancel the engagement or the Bai army will break hell on the entire imperial family.
In the end, when the request was finally made, Bai Han had informed Rin of the matter as if it was a simple settlement.
The old man was too bitter and protective when regarding giving away his granddaughter.
General Guo was rather helpless upon seeing the situation like this. He suddenly recalled something that An Sun said during their discussion when drinking.
[Whether your niece is a man or a woman, I don't care. All I have seen teaches me to trust her for all I have not seen.]
The young commander wasn't as ruthless as he made himself to be.
He valued his comrades; he was competent and possessed a strong, noble heart. General Guo knew if Bai Han wasn't so blinded in protecting Rin from the outside world, he would see these good qualities.
Whether he was someone alongside Rin or a soldier among their troops, An Sun was a good man.
With this in mind, General Guo sighed quietly to himself. Perhaps the two working together to find the girl would benefit them.
As the sun slowly set, cold winds blew past like knives gliding across people's cheeks.
Wei Jingyi had handed An Sun and Bai Han a pair of dark-colored tunics, the sleeves were long and loose-fitting. Due to the frosty weather, they both wore a thick jacket made of hemp, which was padded for additional warmth.
An Sun's broad shoulders and narrow waist, carried the tunic well and instead made him look as if he were sculpted by the gods.
The casual look diminished the icy aura around him, giving the handsome man a more seductive and potent charm.
An Sun bound his long, dark hair into a simple bun, revealing his long and narrow almond-shaped gray eyes. They were stirring, yet the coldness within, caused people to experience the urge to tremble in fear.
Wei Jingyi silently watched from the side and fell into deep thought.
No matter what angle you looked, he was still good-looking! Perhaps this man was too handsome to act as a commoner.
Well, what's done is done. He could only hope his looks wouldn't draw in too much attention. Bai Han followed everyone's line of sight and quietly snorted to himself.
When the two finished clothing, Wei Jingyi informed the two of a few minor things.
"Remember, you two are grandfather and grandson. It's best to speak as little as possible, but if you do, put down all formalities. Especially you, An Sun - lose the aggressive attitude."
The corner of An Sun's brows twitched. "Are you saying I am incapable of losing my pride?"
Wei Jingyi chuckled. "Of course not. However, it's rather hard to lose what we've been raised with for so long. The teachings and attitude of the An Clan are different from the ways of mere commoners."
Wei Jingyi didn't dare say the An Clan's attitude was more brazen.
After Wei Jingyi finished informing the two, An Sun turned his head to see Manchu delivering him his horse.
Compared to his grand dark horse, the one before him appeared meeker and frail - as one would expect a commoner to have.
"Are you certain you will be able to bear acting as a commoner?" Manchu's brows furrowed somewhat.
"You also think I'm incapable?" An Sun frowned slightly.
He withdraws his deep gaze and gently patted the horse. A glint flashed through his gray pupils. His brows drew together, slightly as he sighed.
"I've changed, haven't I? During the beginning of all this, I was impulsive and merciless. Had you told me I would be doing this back then, I would have called you a liar." An Sun's voice had turned light as he gently stroked the horse's back. "I believed too much that if I left everything alone and carried on by myself with the name of the An Clan behind me, I could live freely."
He lifted his lips into an unexpected smile. "I was an arrogant and pathetic fool. The power I possessed over provinces was one that was not my own. The title of a commander was given to dispose of me. The freedom I thought I had was never there. The people I swore to protect, I couldn't."
An Sun mounted his horse and looked out into the great province covered in snow.
"Everyone's fighting for their own kind of freedom. This time, I will earn my power. I will earn my title, and I will protect those I hold dear."
Manchu gazed up at the man mounted on the horse with wide eyes. He hadn't expected such words from him. He felt slightly troubled.
An Sun's gaze swept back to look at Manchu, his eyes narrowed up.
His lips remained spread in a smile as he said, "Once I've become stronger, I won't have to be this miserable. Until then, I will bear with the cruel challenges that come my way."
As he declared these words, An Sun ushered his horse forward to stand beside Bai Han. The old man was silent, his head slightly lowered as if he was deeply thinking about something.
"You ready, old man?" A deep, low voice separated him from his thoughts.
Twitching his silver brows, Bai Han was surprised to receive a pair of smiling gray pupils. An Sun's handsome features seemed to enhance as the icy glint in his eyes softened.
It was unusual, but he oddly looked nobler. Almost free.
Bai Han raised his eyebrows in ridicule as he looked at An Sun, a sneer on his face.
"Who are you calling old man, punk?"
An Sun did not answer but silently raised an eyebrow. Bai Han paid no heed to the young man and urged his horse forward.
"What need is there to ask such a question when I'm always ready?"
Though he was far ahead, An Sun had heard him clearly. His lips curled up slightly as he followed the old man behind.
Thus, the journey to find the long lost strategist began.
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Chapter 176 - Trustful Bond
Chapter 177 - The Fiance
Chapter 178 - Abandon For Peace
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Bai Han's face turned dark.