23 Fragile Hear

"Does Commander Bai think of Rin differently now?"

Looking up into the little girl's unwavering eyes, he could detect the evident loneliness which was instantly replaced with a hard shell of dullness.

He shifted his intent gaze down to naturally see the girl's firm grip on her blanket as she waited anxiously for his response.

Commander Bai had been silent for a few possible moments before he chuckled lightly with his head gently lowered.

Soon enough his light chuckles turned to large fits of hearty laughter.

For the first time, Rin stared wonderingly at the old Commander with...shock.

Why was he laughing? Had he'd gone hysterical from her words?

Clearly confused, Rin furrowed her brows towards the old man's reasons for laughing.

After he had calmed down, the Commander wiped a tear from the corner of his eyes.

Looking up towards the little girl in the bed, an expression that would be marked into Rin's mind forever appeared.

He was smiling.

It wasn't a fake smile Rin would see when she was in the village where the other mothers would stare at her with hidden disgust. She didn't grasp the reason for their disgust.

It wasn't like the fake smiles she'd see when she was a child in the Li Palace, where the maids and servants would stare at her and smile. But they were clearly smiles of pity.

She didn't care about their disgust. She didn't care for their pity. All their raw emotions and personal feelings towards her didn't matter to her.

She killed many at a young age. Shown the sinister side of society too soon, too young. She was tainted with their negative thoughts that gradually developed her into a figure of darkness.

She was a monster.

They took her innocence. Just as they had taken her only light left in this world.

Her mother.

She cried and dreamt every night. And scarcely saw every morning her dying mother's bloodied corpse vividly in her mind.

Rin had naturally thought she'd never witness such a sincere loving expression again. Never again receive such genuine love.

Yet right now, the old Commander who had witnessed her dark side, that had known she killed many...was looking at her with such a caring and loving expression.

Rin tried to detect any falseness in those smiles yet, in the end, she discovered nothing but sheer happiness and love.

"Stupid girl, of course not. Who do you take this old Commander for? No matter what Rin is Rin." He chuckled delightedly while caressing her soft hair gently.

And just like that Rin's vision began to blur.

Strange? She didn't feel faint, nor did she get up. That's when she felt a wet substance fall from her cheeks. After the first one dozens of others fell.

"Ah… girl are you in pain? Why are you crying?" The Commander asked with instant concern.

Was she crying?

Rin didn't know why but hearing his extra set of gentle words caused more tears to stream down from her rosy face until she was crying pitifully like a small child.

Commander Bai was genuinely shocked by the little girl's sudden tears. It was the first time he had naturally seen the strong-willed girl act like...a legitimate child for once!

Sighing helplessly, he merely pats her head softly, generously allowing her to release her rare tears.

Little had he known how much his small actions shook Rin's, fragile heart.
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