Rin blinked her eyes in surprise.
Bai Han was a little unhappy with her response, so his tone dipped a few degrees with a bit of uneasiness. "Do you not want to go back?"
Ever since he read Rin's lengthy letter she left for him in Jilin explaining she would be staying with An Sun, he couldn't help but feel insecure. Rin sensed the turmoil of emotions in her grandfather and sighed.
Although her voice was soft, her tone was calm as she said, "It's not that. I'm concerned about our current situation with Miss Yun. While I agree it's important we return as soon as possible, I don't think it's right to leave without notice."
Raising her eyes, Rin looked at the two with a helpless expression. "After all, isn't it better to gain future allies, not enemies?"
Met with the girl's righteous, sparkling gaze, both men fell silent. In all honesty, they both planned to just hit and run. After everything they've been through, they were too tired to explain themselves to people they would never see again.
However, what Rin spoke was true.
An Sun was the first to speak up with a sigh.
"You're right," He rubbed the back of his neck. "Tomorrow, we'll explain to them a reasonable amount of the truth. Then, we ride to Jilin and leave the village before the sun sets."
Suddenly, from around the corner, the three heard a soft gasp. Alarmed, they all turned in the direction of the sound. Standing in the corner, with a hand to her mouth was none other than Yun Suyin!
The hand covering her mouth trembled as she looked at them with widened, teary eyes filled with shock.
"You…You're leaving?" Her voice trembled.
Before anyone had the chance to explain, the girl had fled away in tears. Shocked, they could do nothing but look at the girl's fleeing figure in silence. Looking in the direction Yun Suyin ran into, An Sun sighed when he suddenly felt a sharp jab in his rib.
With a frown, he turned to the already suspected culprit. Bai Han looked at him with his hands crossed over his chest and head tilted upward.
"Well, go on. Chase her!"
An Sun's cool face became increasingly grim. "What?"
"Go after her and explain the situation. As Rin said, we don't want to make future enemies with her, especially the last minute." Bai Han shooed him forward.
An Sun was slightly stunned after listening to him. His gray eyes flickered in disbelief, "Why me?"
In response, An Sun was met with a dull gaze from not just Bai Han, but Rin as well.
It was too obvious why they picked him.
The corners of An Sun's mouth twitched. He sighed heavily. "Fine."
Bai Han nodded with a contented smirk.
"Go on then! We're counting on you!" He roughly patted An Sun's ramrod-straight back and tried to encourage him.
An Sun pursed his lips as his gaze swept over the girl standing on the side. Rin turned and looked calmly at An Sun. Under the light of the candles around them, her almond-shaped eyes were like shining stars and as clear as water.
Meeting his gaze, she quietly smiled and nodded her head.
An Sun sighed once more before he turned in the direction Yun Suyin ran off to. Until he could no longer be seen did Bai Han gently pat his granddaughter on the back, and usher her back to her room to rest.
Before leaving, Rin swept a gaze in An Sun's direction with a helpless expression.
It didn't take long for An Sun to find Yun Suyin as the girl could hardly run far. She was sitting hunched in a chair beside an inn window in the dining room.
Upon seeing this sight, An Sun's handsome face contorted. He was already experiencing a sense of regret. He had clenched his fist and muttered to himself before he walked over.
At the sound of the man's deep, low voice calling her, the girl's body visibly shivered. Raising her head from her knees, tears gathered in Yun Suyin's eyes and quickly began to fall.
"Wang Sun! You're such a bad man! How could you plan to leave without telling me?" She cried pitifully.
An Sun looked down at the crying beauty before him but felt nothing. His heart was beyond drained at this point.
Without any particular expression on his face, An Sun said, "My name is not Wang Sun."
At this moment, Yun Suyin's tears ceased. Her eyes were wide open by now, and her thick eyelashes trembled as she blinked.
"W-What do you mean?"
An Sun looked down at her. His eyes were so dark, even the faint light of the inn's lights could not be reflected there. The angles of his face were hard, his jaw sharply defined, and his mouth set in a thin line.
For the first time, Yun Suyin felt herself shiver from what seemed to be fear. However, this feeling quickly went away as she recovered her senses and stood up from her chair.
"Then what's your name? If it's not Wang Sun then what is it?" Her brows furrowed.
An Sun's eyes darkened, but he concealed it very well. He sighed and replied in a calm voice, "My real name has no concern with you. All you need to know is I am not suitable to be beside someone such as yourself. Not just myself, but everyone with me as well. We are not the people you think we are."
Yun Suyin's suffering was apparent in her expression, but without waiting for her to gather her thoughts, An Sun spoke once more.
"While we did lie about our identities, our sincerity for your help has been nothing but our true feelings. If you'd like, we'll compensate you for your troubles and kindness. As for everything else, we must leave and continue with our lives. I hope you will do the same."
Yun Suyin instantly went through a raging storm of emotions. Her only response at the moment was a wordless, wide-eyed stare. An Sun looked down at her dazed expression and sighed.
"We plan to leave tomorrow in the morning. If you wish to, you can bid us farewell."
With those words, An Sun glanced at Yun Suyin one last time before he turned to leave.
Suddenly, her lovely voice raised in anger as she shouted, "Then was it also a lie when you said you didn't love that girl? Did you lie to me about that as well? To use me?!"
An Sun paused in his footsteps, a dim glint flashed across his eyes before he quickly concealed it. He shifted his head in her direction.
The depths of his eyes darkened. The words that came out of his mouth were like daggers as he spoke coldly, "It never had anything to do with feelings."
Without allowing her the chance to respond, he left.
In the blink of an eye, it was already the next day. Rin rose early that morning and carefully limped downstairs to prepare for their departure. On her way down, she noticed a petite figure crouched down in the inn's garden.
Curious, Rin quietly walked over.
"Are you all right?"
Startled by the unexpected voice, Yun Ting turned around, hastily hiding something behind her back. Rin smiled a little as she watched Yun Ting gape in surprise.
"If you hide the flower behind you like that, you'll injure it." Rin pointed to the little girl's hand behind her back.
Yun Ting's eyes widened a bit, and she quickly pulled the flower out to inspect it. When she noticed petals were bent, her lips formed into a pout. She had a conflicted expression on her face. Rin chuckled and kneeled on the ground.
"May I?" She pointed to the flower.
Yun Ting had been quiet for a moment before she silently nodded her head and stiffly handed the flower over.
"Thank you," Rin smiled.
Carefully, she took the flower in her hand and touched its petals with her white, slender fingertips. The bent petals regained a portion of their original form.
"See, all better."
Yun Ting's eyes lit up, but she immediately followed it up with a pout. She pointed to the bruises on the petals. The corners of Rin's lips curled up and she nodded in understanding.
"Unfortunately, bruises cannot be recovered. But, is it still not beautiful?"
Yun Ting looked at the flower for a moment before she nodded. Rin chuckled and twirled the flower in her hand.
"This is a jasmine flower." Her voice was soft and kind. "Do you know what they symbolize?"
Yun Ting shook her head, but her eyes seemed fascinated. Rin stared at her clear almond-shaped eyes and smiled.
"It's symbolic of purity and modesty. In some areas, it means long-lasting love or…" Lifting the flower in her hands, she places tucks it behind the little girl's ear. Rin looked into her eyes softly. "Eternal beauty."
The little girl's face was glowing from within and she had a healthy blush on her cheeks. She lowered her gaze, concealing the flustered emotions in her eyes. Then, she suddenly shook her head.
"Hmm? What's wrong?" Rin tilted her head.
As expected, the little girl didn't respond and simply used her actions to explain. Taking the flower from behind her ear, she stretched her stubby hand out and carefully set it behind Rin's ear.
A rare smile appeared on Yun Ting's face as she backed away as if to admire a work of art. Rin blinked and raised a hand to stroke the flower behind her ear.
"You're giving it to me?"
Yun Ting nodded. Rin was stunned for a moment. She couldn't hold back the smile tugging up the corners of her lips.
"Thank you." She laughed while patting the little girl's head.
Yun Ting's shy demeanor returned as she nodded her head with flushed cheeks.
Occurring at the same time, a figure observed the two's interaction with a silent gaze. Arms crossed over his chest, An Sun watched as Rin laughed at the blushing Yun Ting, her gaze soft and warm.
An Sun's face noticeably eased as he observed their interactions. Even so, a trace of conflict surfaced in his eyes. He slowly shut his eyes. When he opened them again, they were back to his usual clear gaze.
Startled by the sudden voice, Rin looked up to see An Sun peering down at her. She was momentarily stunned.
An Sun had just called her by her first name…
However, these thoughts quickly went away when she met his clear, earnest expression. Understanding the meaning of his gaze, she nodded. Looking back at Yun Ting, she smiled and patted the girl's head.
"I'll take good care of this flower."
Yun Ting looked up and bobbed her head. Rin smiled before she turned back to An Sun and walked over.
"It's a shame to see you leaving so soon." Elder Cai sighed pitifully after hearing of their departure.
"I know it's sudden, but there are some things we need to settle back home." Bai Han explained.
Elder Cai nodded. "I understand. However, it's just a shame my young miss and your grandson couldn't make it work."
Bai Han tried his hardest to hold back the twitching of his face. As if he would allow that to happen! With that girl's endless chattering, he'd go mute within a month!
Forcing a smile, Bai Han simply nodded his head through gritted teeth. When he noticed Rin and An Sun coming out of the inn, he breathed a sigh of relief.
"Are you ready?" He looked at her with an apprehensive gaze.
Rin sensed his agitation. The corners of her lips couldn't help but curve into a helpless smile. "Let's go home."
The last bit of uneasiness disappeared from Bai Han's face as he beamed in return. He puffed out his chest and laughed.
"Then let's get going!"
Rin nodded with a smile and limped toward the horse. Shifting her eyes behind her, she frowned a bit before looking at An Sun.
"Miss Yun isn't going to say goodbye?"
An Sun raised his head and looked in the direction of the inn. Besides Elder Cai and Yun Ting, no one else was present. The girl was nowhere to be seen.
He sighed. "Apparently not."
Rin's brows furrowed. She stole one last glance in the inn's direction before she sighed as well.
Mounting onto their horses, the four bid farewell to Elder Cai and Yun Ting before ushering forward. Already halfway away from the village, they heard a sudden commotion behind them.
In the next instant, they could hear a girl's shout.
Rin's brows furrowed together. Her expression turned grave and she immediately turned to look behind her. Her pupils abruptly shrunk and she was stunned for a moment as saw a chestnut horse was galloping wildly toward them.
A small figure was sprawled over its back. The girl clutched the back of the horse tightly as she approached them.
It was Yun Suyin!
Bai Han felt the urge to spit up blood; he barely managed to rein in his frustrations.
What the hell was she doing here?!
He looked in a certain young man's direction and glared accusingly. Meanwhile, that certain young man wasn't doing any better himself.
"That idiot," An Sun gritted his teeth and cursed under his breath. His expression was as dark as it could get.
When Yun Suyin managed to arrive in front of them, she was already out of breath.
An Sun had a grim expression on his face, and his voice had a sense of anger, "What are you doing here?"
Hearing An Sun's cold voice, Yun Suyin seemed to have returned to her senses and looked up with a determined gaze.
"I want to follow you!"
Everyone was stunned upon hearing her words. Rin stole a glance at An Sun to see his expression. While he seemed unaffected, the twitch in his mouth was enough to show he was suppressing his irritation.
Truthfully, Rin was surprised by Yun Suyin's intense infatuation for An Sun. She didn't think a small girl such as herself would be so aggressively forward.
An Sun clenched his fist and finally restrained his erupting emotions. He asked in a cold voice, "Are you insane?"
Yun Suyin nodded her head with bright eyes. "Yes."
Again, everyone was stunned into silence. Yun Suyin hadn't seemed to notice their expression and spoke up again.
"If you say you're not suitable to stand someone such as myself, then I'll become the person to stand by your side!"
An Sun cast his gaze at her, scanning Yun Suyin's young features with unreadable depths. After a while, he clicked his tongue and coldly turned his horse away.
"Do what you want. If you can't catch up, then return." There was a bone-chilling quality within his voice when he spoke.
Yun Suyin hadn't seemed to mind as her eyes lit up brightly. She glanced at Rin and her mouth tilted upwards into a mocking smirk. The inner radiance on her beautiful face dimmed slightly.
Rin blinked her eyes a bit before inwardly sighing.
This was going to be a long journey.
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Share it with others if you can to further spread the support. Let us seek justice for George Floyd, Brennon Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Marton, and the many black lives who have suffered enough injustice.