"You little brat! Do you dare to repeat what you just said to me?!"
Bai Han slammed his fist against the table, causing the tea set to clatter, tea cups falling to the side. Fury and frustration warred within him and he trembled with the force of his anger. While this went on, Rin simply sat peacefully in her seat.
"Grandfather," Rin attempted to speak up again but was cut off by Bai Han's shouts.
"You plan to leave again? Hah! No. Absolutely not!"
While Rin massaged her temples, she saw General Guo fixing the disordered tea set quietly. He finally cast his gaze upon his niece.
His tone turned cold as he said, "I refuse as well."
Rin had a bitter smile in her heart. As expected, their reactions were just like back then when she chose to leave for the North Borders.
But how could they not refuse after she told them she planned to leave to the Eastern Empire with no solid explanation?
However, whether they agreed or not, she would go.
Rin lifted her delicate face, looked at the two men across from her with eyes clear as she asked, "Do you both remember when we first met?"
The two men's expressions cooled for a bit, a look of confusion on their faces.
"Yes." General Guo nodded his head, his cool face became increasingly grim.
He recalled they found her in the woods alone, only to discover she was a civilian from the burned down village near their camp.
Rin drew in a deep breath and raised her head awash in grief, "The men who burned down that village, they were looking for me. Those buildings and people burned in flames because of me."
General Guo and Bai Han went silent. The expressions on their faces were all grave and serious.
Bai Han pressed his lips together. He wanted to ask what she meant, but he just couldn't bring himself to ask.
In the end, he said, "Is this why you plan to go to the East? To seek vengeance on the people who burned your village?"
Rin looked at him, her eyes somewhat empty. Suddenly she smiled sadly.
"They killed my mother."
Her words pierced like needles into the hearts of Bai Han and General Guo. Their eyes went wide with disbelief as they stared at Rin. Her figure suddenly seemed small, almost wrapped in dim shadow. The sadness that had just been visible on her face vanished instantly.
She looked back up at them, her eyes were bright and clear. She spoke with grave determination. "Those people rest in the East, corrupting people with a false title they do not deserve. It's a difficult choice, but at some point in my life I must make difficult choices."
Bai Han could no longer sit still in his seat. He stood up and paced back and forth with his hands behind his back, his eyes blood-red from the force of his anger.
He suddenly stopped and asked harshly, "Do you understand what you're saying? What if you get killed?!"
Rin stiffened from his words and shifted her gaze away, hands clenched into fists on her lap. She finally sighed and shut her eyes. With some difficulty, she opened her eyes yet again.
"I know it's a risk. But I have to take it. I have to do this."
"You're abandoning the people who care about you! You're abandoning us, again!"
Rin faced her grandfather's furious gaze straight on. One of them was looking downwards, while the other was looking upwards. The two of them blinked in unison, then again. The atmosphere was a little strange. There was a certain tension in the air.
Her determination could be seen on the set of her brows.
"You're my grandfather. From the day you saved me when I was young, you have always been my family. Together or apart you will always be my family."
Bai Han's brows furrowed deeper. His head lowered slightly, and his gaze landed on his precious granddaughter. His heart shook just a bit.
There was a faint smile in her eyes as she said softly, "I've not chosen to leave to abandon you. I'm leaving to bring us peace."
Rin was silent, everyone was silent. Only the sound of the flickering candle flame resounded through the room.
Finally, Bai Han was the one to break the silence. In a hoarse voice, he said, "I understand you want to seek justice for your mother…but I refuse."
"That's enough!" He roared furiously and shoved the priceless teapot and cups off the table.
Rin raised her head, her face full of astonishment as she looked at the old man. General Guo was also stunned by his actions, a furrow in his brows.
"Enough…" Bai Han whispered hoarsely.
Looking at her grandfather, Rin's heart clenched. His entire being seemed dull and lifeless. He had lost his high spirits, and his eyes seemed soulless.
To see someone she cared for look so fragile and weak because of her…it did more than hurt her. It broke her.
Bai Han had a cold expression on his face. After a while, he uttered a single emotionless demand: "Leave."
Rin's features were cast in a stiff expression, and her lips were pressed together. She continued staring at him with a shadowed gaze before standing up from her seat.
Before she left the study, she had looked back at her grandfather with a pained expression.
"I'm sorry." She whispered.
Bai Han said nothing in response, his eyes refusing to look at her. Rin's hands by her side tightened. Without looking back, she stepped out of the study and closed the door.
The moment she left, his heart swelled with pain and suffering, and Bai Han broke out into a vicious cough.
"Bai Han!" General Guo stood up from his seat in alarm.
Bai Han bent from the force of his coughing, bracing himself on his desk. Tears began to leak from his eyes— from coughing or from heartache, only he could understand.
"That brat…That stupid, foolish…" Bai Han covered his eyes with one hand.
General Guo simply stared and stayed by his side in silent support.
The bathroom of the Bai Manor was filled with dense steam, a nice fragrance lingering in the air. Water splashed from the sudden movements of the man soaking in the corner.
An Sun took a deep sigh and leaned back against the wall of the oval pool, basking in the steam as he calmed down.
This was peaceful.
With his head leaned back, he looked up at the ceiling. It had been a while since he felt at peace, no—the most recent is when they had found Rin. At that time, his mind felt at peace.
An Sun sighed heavily. He covered his eyes and thought carefully back to all that happened in the past few days.
By now, Rin was probably telling the old man and her uncle about her plans to head east. Meanwhile, in three days, Manchu was to return to the An Clan.
Everyone had seemed to be working toward their path. He had yet to make his first move.
The look in his eyes darkened. He was getting light-headed.
"Damn, it's getting too warm in here." He grumbled and stood up from the water.
At that moment, An Sun's movements stiffened. His gaze turned in the direction of the voice, his senses alert.
That voice…it sounded like…
Looking over his shoulder, a dangerous glint had seeped into his eyes when his gaze met with the person behind him.
Standing behind him, with a wet cotton cloth clutched to her chest that barely protected her modesty, was a girl.
It was Yun Suyin.
As everyone in the Bai Manor tended to their duties, a loud roar rang out from the entrance of their Master's study with the presence of one who often commanded a group of troops.