Upon hearing the sound of An Sun's shout, Rin had already glanced over to take note of the archer aiming in her direction. The arrow was precise and ruthless; its speed was extremely fast.
Not too fond of the last arrow wound she received, just as she was about to get shot, Rin swung her body to the side of the passing arrow and took out her crossbow to aim at the archer.
With a pull, the arrow shot and penetrated the heart of the archer.
While she was able to safely dodge the arrow, the searing pain in her ankle suddenly sprung. Rin frowned and hissed through clenched teeth, struggling to regain her balance. When she saw a man strike his sword at her; she quickly reached for her crossbow.
Before she could grab it, however, a tall figure jumped in front of her, brandishing his sword forcefully at the attacker.
The two swords met with a loud sound. Before the attacker had a chance to process the events, An Sun had stretched out his foot and kicked the man in the abdomen. The man cried in pain and was surprised to see An Sun already plunging his sword into his stomach.
Blood pooled on the ground until not a single man was left alive - including the wasteless drunk.
"Are you all right?" An Sun inspected the girl's body with knitted brows.
Rin wiped her sweaty cheek and chuckled. "I'm all right and thank you for earlier."
He nodded and continued to look at her with a furrowed gaze. Rin could sense his concern and let out a soft sigh.
"We should head back to the inn." She suddenly changed the subject.
An Sun made a light 'mm' in agreement. At that moment, he suddenly reached out with his powerful arms and slid them under her knees and back, lifting her from the ground in a princess carry. Rin was flabbergasted.
Her face was as flushed as it could get as she said, "L-Lord An what are you—"
"Your form was off when you were combatting. You injured your foot, right? Let me carry you back."
Rin was a little touched by this gesture. She wasn't a person who didn't appreciate kindness. However, she couldn't allow him to carry her this way.
It was too…improper.
She cleared her throat to explain but was met with An Sun's sharp eyes - indicating there was no room for discussion. Rin shut her mouth and sighed inwardly. Since he had taken the initiative to help her, she wasn't going to reject his help any further.
Rin raised her head slightly. Right now, the two of them were so close that she could see each individual eyelash on his eyes.
They were incredibly long, she thought. Realizing where her train of thought landed, she quickly lowered her head.
She uneasily coughed twice, and then put on a diligent face while answering, "Then, thank you for carrying me."
Rin winded both her arms around his neck and breathed in his fresh and cool scent. Her cheeks grew a little warm.
This felt rather bothersome.
An Sun's gaze wandered downwards. From this angle, he could see the trembling of Rin's lashes and the flushed cheeks of the woman in his arms. A hint of a smile flashed through his eyes, but it was quickly hidden.
He coughed. "You're welcome."
Rin silently nodded and allowed An Sun to carry her back to the inn.
A thought came to Rin suddenly, and she looked up in An Sun's embrace to ask, "Did my family come with you? How's my grandfather?"
An Sun replied in a mild tone, "You can ask the old man when you see him again."
Rin was a little confused by An Sun's answer, but she didn't continue questioning. Only until they arrived at the inn would she know how soon that would be.
Arriving at the inn, Rin could make out the familiar figure of a young boy. When he spotted the two walking in his direction, his face lit up. An Sun let her down as the young boy ran toward them.
"Rin!" Aiguo rushed over. "What happened? Are you hurt?!"
He looked at the girl's body from head to toe with anxious eyes.
"I'm all right, it's just a slight sprain." Rin sighed softly.
At that moment, Aiguo's eyes widened a little as his gaze wandered to her foot. What he saw put a frown on his face. The area around her ankle was slightly swollen.
Aiguo was instantly filled with a sense of anger. Anger at himself.
"It's because you were carrying me, wasn't it? You acted like everything was fine, yet I didn't..." The fists by his side clenched.
Rin looked at him with a slight frown.
"Aiguo..." Before she had the chance to speak, she was interrupted by the sound of an old man's roar.
"Bastard! Where were you?! Running away and leaving me here alone to watch after some kid, are you out of your goddamn mind?!"
Charging out of the inn entrance, Bai Han was prepared to berate An Sun when he suddenly froze. At this moment, two figures stared at each other in bewilderment.
Seconds pass, his brain taking the figure before him in, struggling to comprehend if what he was perceiving was real. Slowly after that, life started returning to Bai Han's eyes and he met Rin's gaze unwaveringly without blinking as if he was scared that she would disappear if he blinked.
The air was silent. Yet it was filled with familiar warmth.
He moved closer until the two were only a foot apart. Then his hand raises silently, despite the stiff movements, and he touched the ends of her short hair.
"You cut your hair?" Bai Han's voice came out feebly.
The corners of Rin's mouth couldn't help but lift in a smile.
"Do you not like it?"
Bai Han's eyes deepened and couldn't help but smile as well.
He shook his head. "Foolish girl, how could I hate it?"
Rin suddenly felt a familiar pair of warm arms draw her into their embrace. She could feel his chest and the heart that beats within. She could feel his body shake as he held her protectively.
One of his hands clasped around her lower back, the other stroking the ends of her hair. With each soft touch, Rin could feel her eyes start to burn until finally, a flow of tears fell from cheeks and down to her chin.
Bai Han held her in his arms like she was a rare, fragile treasure. He hugged her tightly, as if afraid that she would disappear from his embrace if he loosened his hold even a little. He pulls his head back and wipes the tears with a calloused finger flowing down the girl's face.
Even the roughness brings more relief than her heart could hold.
"You do look more like a boy now." He frowned slightly.
Through tears, Rin laughed and nodded her head. Bai Han stared at her face a moment longer before his eyes began to tear up.
"Welcome back, kiddo."
Rin's teary eyes were still upturned crescents as she said, "I'm back."
Bai Han's mouth paints a soft smile, and he nods once more before bearing her in his arms again.
Indeed, his foolish granddaughter has returned.