"Bai Rin, is that you?" Lights of stars lit up in the prince's eyes.
An Sun had been observing off to the side the entire time. The corner of his lips twitched. After bearing with it for a long moment, he gave in and spoke up.
"Who are you?"
The moment the words left his mouth, Rin secretly stepped on his foot. He cast a glance at the girl beside him with a slight frown etched on his face.
Rin ignored his accusing glare. She lowered her gaze and bowed her head. "Greetings your Highness Prince Kang."
When Prince Kang heard the girl's soft voice, there was a minute shift in his originally controlled expression. The girl's aura was graceful and composed. Even though the veil hid her face, it could not hide the beauty beneath it.
The deep pools of his eyes flashed for an instant, quickly masking over the change as if he had never been surprised in the first place.
He suddenly released a bell-like laugher. "There's no need for formalities, please rise."
Rin raised her head but didn't bother to say a single word to initiate a conversation. Prince Wang chuckled, seeming unbothered by the girl's composed and quiet demeanor.
"I heard you left to visit relatives in the Southern Empire for a few months." He smiled. "I didn't know when you'd come back, but I have to say, I'm glad to see you again."
"Prince Kang words are too kind," Rin replied politely, a smile still on her face.
Prince Kang chuckled lightly and glanced at the man standing beside her. He was momentarily stunned upon seeing his face. The man was surprisingly tall in comparison to most men he had met – including the Bai family's General Guo.
In comparison to Rin's delicate, floral aura, the man beside her was much sharper, fierce even. While he wore traditional northern clothing, his face and demeanor did not match it at all.
At the same time Prince Kang was seizing An Sun, he was doing the same. He directed the bottomless depths of his own pupils at the man before him. A glint flashed through An Sun's gray pupils. His brows drew together.
So this guy was a prince?
Inwardly he clicked his tongue. Not impressive at all.
For a brief moment, Prince Kang thought he saw a glint of scorn flash within the man's pupils. However, when he looked again, only An Sun's bottomless gray eyes were met.
He couldn't help but feel slightly uncomfortable under his icy gaze.
"And this is?" He shifted his gaze between Rin and An Sun.
Maintaining a calm composure, Rin replied. "This is my step-brother, Bai Sun. He's returned with me from my relatives."
"I see." Prince Kang oddly felt a sense of relief from her explanation. However, looking the two over again, he found the sibling title rather unusual. They held zero resemblances.
She did say they were step-siblings…
"Your Highness Prince Kang…" Rin started speaking.
"Kang Jian." He corrected her.
Rin offered a smile but was still courteously declined his request. "Prince Kang, I hate to disrupt our conversation, but my brother and I need to return home before it gets late. I don't want to worry my grandfather."
After saying so, Prince Kang's expression rearranged into a frown as he looked down at the refined girl. With a light laugh, he scratched the back of his head. He knew how scary the Bai commander could be when it came to his granddaughter.
After all, he threatened to start a war if she were to be engaged to him.
"I understand. Then, please return safely." His smile held some reluctance. "And…I hope to see you again, Bai Rin."
Rin smiled but didn't reply. Then, she respectfully lowered her head. It was only after a courteous pause that she raised her head and turned around, An Sun following behind her. Prince Kang watched her small departing back with disappointment.
He shook his head with a sigh.
A flower that blooms so beautifully, yet unable to ever be plucked.
After walking away from Prince Kang, Rin suddenly raised a hand to her mouth and giggled. An Sun swept his gaze toward her, a strange look in his eyes.
"What?" A twitch developed at the corner of his mouth.
Rin's laughter ceased, and she glanced at An Sun briefly. "How do you think my convenient acting was?"
An Sun stared down at her with wide, disbelieving eyes. He was completely dumbfounded by her words. Then, the stiff expression on his face promptly relaxed and a faint trace of humor emerged in his eyes.
His mouth curled into a smirk. "Pretty good."
He seemed to have thought of something and opened his mouth to say, "That guy is a prince, right? What's your relationship with him?"
Rin blinked. In the next second, she sighed with her shoulders slightly slumped.
"Prince Kang and I were previously betrothed to one another." She answered honestly.
An Sun's reaction to Rin's explanation was a stunned stare. He continued blinking his widened eyes without speaking. His gaze was upon her now, but there was no smile touching his mouth.
"Previously?" His brows furrowed together.
Rin helplessly smiled. "My grandfather."
His name was all it took for An Sun to comprehend her words. That old man was intense.
Meanwhile, Rin looked ahead without much change in expression. It looked as if she was thinking about something deeply.
"I'm glad, though." She quietly added. "Right now…I don't see marriage in my future. My heart will rest until I'm ready."
An Sun's pupils dilated with surprise, but he managed to conceal it quickly.
He suddenly let out a dry laugh, "Your grandfather would be happy to hear that."
Rin raised her head to look into An Sun's fathomless eyes.
She laughed and smiled at him. "You're right."
The two went silent until they returned to the Bai Manor. Upon returning, they were warmly greeted by a cold face Bai Han, beside him stood General Guo – he equally did not look happy.
"Where the hell have you two been?" His eyes narrowed dangerously thin. "Did you go out dressed like that?"
Removing her veil from her face, Rin passed it to a nearby maidservant and looked at her grandfather and uncle with a guilty expression.
"It was only for a little while and don't worry, I wore a veil."
"A little…" Bai Han almost foamed at the mouth with her calm tone. "You were gone for five hours! You call that a little?!"
"Does she have a curfew?" An Sun raised a sharp eyebrow.
The vein on the side of Bai Han's face bulged.
"You! Stay out of this!" He bellowed angrily as he stared fiercely at the young man.
An Sun let out a cold snort as if he could care less.
"Grandfather…" Rin sighed softly.
Suddenly, a soft cry came into the ears of everyone and the originally tense atmosphere dipped a few degrees.
"An Sun!" Yun Suyin could be heard shouting the young man's name from the corner.
"Oh for the love of…" Bai Han muttered in frustration.
Walking out from around the corner, Yun Suyin's eyes lit up, but the moment she caught sight of the girl standing beside An Sun, her expression dimmed. She narrowed her eyes and her hands clenched into fists.
"An Sun!" She walked over to him, the ends of her dress fluttering gracefully behind her. "Where did you go? I was worried something happened. I couldn't find you!"
With her teary eyes and soft, waxy voice, anyone would bend for the pitiful looking girl before them. Unfortunately, her actions only caused further tension to the already thin atmosphere.
An Sun looked down at her without any sort of expression of his face. Although his tone was calm, his words made the girl stiffen up for a brief moment.
"My whereabouts are none of your concern."
"But they are! Because to you, I…" Yun Suyin's face exploded into a furious blush. She stared with wide almond-shaped eyes at the young man, unable to speak.
Rin watched the scene unfold on the side and helplessly shook her head. She shifted her gaze slightly to look at the two cold-faced men in front of her.
"Grandfather, uncle, there's something I'd like to discuss with you. "
The two looked at her resolute and calm gaze. They inexplicably felt something serious was about to occur. Finally calming his anger down a bit, Bai Han grunted in approval.
"Let's talk in my office." Bai Han stole a glance at An Sun and Yun Suyin. "Maybe we can give these two some alone time."
A twitch developed in An Sun's eyes as he watched the old man walk away with a smug smirk - General Guo followed closely behind.
Rin nodded her head. Just when she was about to leave, she hesitated for a moment before her line of sight shifted to An Sun, whose deep and gray eyes stared right back at her. He could see behind those bright emerald eyes was apprehension.
Though he wasn't smiling, An Sun's eyes glinted a reassuring gaze. In return, Rin gave half a smile and nodded. When she turned around to follow behind the two men, An Sun's eyes followed her before he let out a deep sigh.
With the old man in mind, he wished her the best of luck.
"An Sun!" The sound of Yun Suyin's voice shattered him from his initial thoughts.
He looked down at the girl in front of him and frowned.
"What is it?"
The girl's lips puckered into a pout and she played with her fingers while muttering, "Did you go out with that girl?"
"Yes." He answered honestly.
Yun Suyin's long eyelashes trembled and her face was pale.
"Why does An Sun prefer hanging out with her than with me? What does she have that I don't?"
At that point, An Sun was beyond exhausted from handling the girl's complaints.
"Maybe if you spoke less and listened more, you would be able to answer that yourself."
His tone was calm, without any particular emotions in it. However, someone who knew him well could sense the young man gave off a dangerous air right now.
Unfortunately, Yun Suyin was too stunned to notice it. An Sun's words were like ferocious waves sweeping over her. She couldn't react in time; her eyes were wide and blank with shock.
All the servants in the room kept as quiet as possible, trying not to draw any fire upon themselves.
Yun Suyin's lips parted to speak, but could not think of the words to say. Seeing her shocked expression, An Sun heavily sighed and without speaking, walked away.
After the long and tiring day, he needed to wash somewhere.
As his figure disappeared in the distance, Yun Suyin stood frozen in place, her gaze somewhat dull. She glanced back in the direction he left in, a sharp glint seeping into her eyes.
A trace of emotion rippled across the depths of Kang Jing's eyes upon looking at Rin.