Suddenly, a girl's soft and pleasant voice shouted from in front of them: "Wang Sun! You've returned!"
In that instant, An Sun released a low groan followed by what Rin heard to be a silent curse. She raised an eyebrow, looking seemingly surprised by his unexpected response.
At the same moment, Yun Suyin watched their horses approach the inn's entrance, her heart fluttering with delight.
"Wang Sun!" She called his name in a gentle voice. "I'm so happy you've returned, I—"
Yun Suyin suddenly froze in her steps. In the process of mounting off his horse, An Sun revealed the figure sitting behind him. She directed her gaze to the girl accompanying him. Her pupils abruptly shrunk and she was stunned for a moment.
While her hair was shorter than any person she has ever seen, Yun Suyin was certain the person was a girl from her petite physique and delicate features.
She watched his attention focus on her from the very beginning. An Sun turned and raised his strong arms to hoist the girl's petite frame off the horse and set her gently down on the ground.
Her stomach clenched at the sight.
A rare trace of concern emerged within the young man's face as he asked the girl something with a slight crease in his brows. The girl smiled and casually waved her hand in dismissal. He nodded with a look of relief.
When he finally turned to her, she saw a clearer view of the girl. Yun Suyin stared fixedly at the girl's appearance, and in a split-second, her heart ran cold.
While Rin's features appeared inferior to her own looks, she possessed something she could never obtain.
Her eyes, they were, in a word, beautiful. From afar, they were bright, yet dull. But up close they were fascinating, the emerald color was more eminent when the sun's golden hue reflected off them, sparkling in the light like a fresh sheen of morning dew.
The girl's eyes were the hue of the new spring growth, bright and soft all at once.
When she returned to her senses, Yun Suyin nervously glanced at An Sun. He didn't seem to be affected by her beauty. From what she knew, they were siblings.
However, the longer she looked at the two the more she felt uneasy.
They didn't look alike at all! Even he and his grandfather didn't look the same!
What's more, she felt the gaze An Sun used to look at the girl when in comparison to herself was quiet and unreadable. A knot of anxiety sat heavy in her chest, and she could only hope her eyes had seen wrongly.
She quickly cleared away these thoughts and approached An Sun, a gentle smile still looming on her face.
"Wang Sun, I'm glad to see you're safe." She gave Rin a quick, cynical look before her lips curled back into a smile. "You must be Wang Sun's sister. It's a pleasure to meet you! My name's Yun Suyin."
Rin turned to look at the girl with a quiet expression. On their way to the village, An Sun informed her of their current situation with Yun Suyin.
She smiled back and replied, "A pleasure to meet you, Miss Yun. My name is Wang Lan. I've heard about what you've done for Wang Sun, and I want to give you my most honest thankfulness for your help."
When Rin finished speaking, Yun Suyin's face practically radiated shock.
She hadn't expected the girl's manner to be so well-bred. It was almost on par with hers - someone who had been trained since birth.
She forced a smile and nodded her head. Meanwhile, An Sun had paid no attention to the two's formal exchanges and looked down at Rin's foot.
"You shouldn't stand too long on your foot. Let's bring you inside to rest." His tone was resolute, leaving no room for her to argue.
Not bothering to oppose, Rin quietly nodded her head. With Bai Han's help, she walked into the inn, followed by Aiguo.
As the three entered the building, An Sun's calm expression hadn't changed as he looked at their departing figures before following behind them. However, the moment he turned, he felt a firm pull on his sleeve. Looking down with a darkened expression, he noticed Yun Suyin's pouting gaze.
"Wang Sun…" Her voice was soft with a slight tone of complaint. Behind those accusing eyes, he was quick to notice the yearning in her gaze. He wasn't a fool to understand where her feelings lie.
In response, An Sun sighed and placed a hand on hers clutching tightly to his robe.
"Let's go inside." Using a little force, he released her hand from his robe and walked away.
Yun Suyin watched An Sun's figure disappear into the inn, she bit her lip with a terrible expression on her face.
Inside the inn's dining room, Rin, Bai Han, and Aiguo settled down in their seats.
"I don't like the way that girl looked at you, she's weird." Aiguo huffed.
"Ow!" Aiguo clutched the top of his head with a frown on his face. Why did everyone always flick him on the head?!
He turned to the culprit with a scowl. Rin indifferently glanced at him and said, "Those who are too quick to judge understand nothing. Also, it's impolite."
Aiguo frowned and quickly retorted back, "But she was looking and talking to you like you were lower than her!"
Rin sighed. "That's common in society. Miss Yun is someone of a higher class. It's only reasonable she speaks with greater authority."
Aiguo was silent. He propped his cheeks with his palms and quietly muttered to himself, "That doesn't give her the right to look at you with resentment…"
Sitting on the side, Bai Han let out a mocking snort. "I wonder whose fault that is."
The two looked at him with a look of confusion. At this time, with Yun Suyin following behind him, An Sun set himself down across from the three.
"Ah, you've returned!" Elder Cai entered the dining area with a smile spread across his face. Following closely behind him was Yun Ting, who quietly peeked from behind at the newcomers.
Elder Cai glanced at the girl sitting beside Bai Han and was momentarily stunned before he recovered himself with a smile.
"And I see you've finally found you're granddaughter."
"Yes." Bai Han smiled kindly. "Thank you for helping us search for her and for providing us a place to rest."
Elder Cai nonchalantly waved his hand. "Of course, of course! You all must be hungry, right? I'll inform the staff to bring everyone something to eat for dinner!"
Bai Han nodded before he focused his attention back to his granddaughter. Meanwhile, slumped in his seat, Aiguo felt an intense stare on him, causing his gaze to shift to the side.
When he met a pair of large, doe eyes staring at him, he blinked. The moment Yun Ting noticed his gaze; she quickly lowered her head and scurried behind Elder Cai.
Aiguo stared in her direction and silently huffed.
Girl's were weird...
When the food arrived, everyone was seated in the inn's reserved dining room. While they were eating, Rin, Aiguo, and Bai Han were silent. Not that they had the chance to speak as Yun Suyin continued to talk endlessly to the attractive young man beside her.
An Sun didn't speak much as he ate, but the infatuated young girl continued to converse with him with smiles. Not once did he utter a full sentence to her besides a few curt replies or sounds.
While Aiguo and Bai Han's expressions had hardened with silent irritability, Rin simply enjoyed her meal with a silent expression as if not hearing Yun Suyin's chattering. Although, her eyes could not conceal her feelings of content as she ate the delicious food before her with swift movements.
Even though this behavior couldn't be considered dignified or elegant, her innocent and honest expressions made it hard to have an unfavorable impression of her. Elder Cai chuckled in amusement at Bai Han's granddaughter's reactions.
In the middle of eating, a hand reached for a poached egg and a large portion of beef dumplings before setting them in Rin's bowl. She hadn't thought much at the moment as she ate while murmuring a silent "thank you", when the chopsticks in her hand froze.
To her surprise, when she looked up, An Sun was browsing through the various dishes before he placed more food in her bowl with rapid movements. At that moment, everyone went silent. Unbothered, An Sun's eyes met her questioning gaze.
"Do you not like them?" The left eyebrow on his face rose.
Rin was startled. She looked down at her bowl only to notice the food he had placed in there were indeed her favorites.
Had he been watching which ones she was eating more of from the beginning?
At that moment, her lips curled up and an amused smile blossomed on her face as she looked at him with gratefulness. It was like nothing changed from when she left.
She was relieved things seemed to be the same between them, despite the deceiving of her gender.
"Thank you," She nodded and bowed her head to continue eating, her cheeks quickly filling up.
Though he wasn't smiling, An Sun's eyes glinted with amusement by the time she lowered her head to eat. Occurring at the same time, everyone watched the two's exchange with various expressions. Two looked at the scene with a scowl on their faces, another with a faint smile, and as for the last – a complexity of contempt.
Yun Suyin clenched her hands under her wide sleeves, feeling her fingernails pierce into the skin of her palms. She understood nothing could happen between them, yet she couldn't help but feel a crawling suspicion toward their relationship.
After dinner, everyone returned to their rooms. During the middle of the night, Rin suddenly heard a knock on her door. To her surprise, An Sun and Bai Han stood on the other side.
"What's the matter?" She creased her brows.
Bai Han looked around before he ushered her forward. "Come with us. We need to discuss something."
Tilting her head in confusion, Rin nonetheless agreed and followed the two men down the hall. The same time they left, another door opened and watched their departing figures with an intense gaze.
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The light of the morning sun cracks through the horizon as the four packed up their camp and set to leave once more. Halfway through the day, as the sun began to set, they arrived at the village. Appearing in front of the familiar inn, An Sun sat mounted on the horse and pulled the reins to a halt.