Far off in a province, a few miles from Guando was the office of the city's captain. An old man dressed in red robes and a black cloth hat covering his light brown hair with a tinge of silver strands walked in the dimly lit courtyard.
Two guards behind him both holding lit lanterns.
"You're all dismissed for the night." The old captain ordered the guards behind him as he walked towards his office.
"Sir." Both guards bowed in unison.
As the old captain entered his private office with a sigh, he slowly turned around only to be startled by the sudden figure waiting by his office window.
"You..!" He opened his eyes wide with shock. "Why are you here? Did the chancellor from Shongo send you?"
"Sir Delun." The mysterious emissary courteously spoke. "Our Emperor Li Chang has heard of the war in Guando and has asked our chancellor about the case. He's interested to know of your current situation."
"Ah, yes. As your chancellor ordered I have maintained our armies station in the city walls for the time being." The old Captain Delun responded with furrowed brows.
Pausing for a brief moment, Captain Delun nervously glances at the emissary before speaking once more. "However, Governor Tao from the Guando province has been pressing me on borrowing my troops for his army. Furthermore, after I sent their previous captain to the enemy, he appointed a new captain in his ranks whose latest strategy has already won them a victory."
"I'm afraid with things this new captain of theirs they might…" Captain Delun started but soon stopped his sentence midway. Hesitantly looking up at the emissary he speaks. "If I could possibly receive a few orders-"
"Sir Delun, issuing out orders is your job. It is not my place to deliver them out. Merely remember do not let any part of our conversation leak out." The emissary said sternly as he walked towards the office window.
"O...Of course." Captain Delun said nervously.
"I'll be here for a few more days. All you have to do is keep your army in place and Governor Tao in order." The emissary unlocked the window casually.
"Understood." The old captain spoke eloquently. Looking up he hesitated to say the following words. "But will the enemy really…"
"Sir Delun. Our Emperor and chancellor have their reasons. Just keep performing out what you were ordered to do by him. After all, it was because of him you were able to maintain the position of captain and Guando's late one fell into the enemy's hand."
Captain Delun's wrinkled face paled toward the man's words, the mustache on his lip twitching.
"That's all." The emissary said bluntly before jumping out the office window, disappearing into the moonlit night.
Looking at the opened window where the emissary once stood, Captain Delun wrinkles his brows.
Who even was this new captain that Governor Tao appointed?
That night, Rin had strategically planned her next scheme against the enemy and assigned one of the top rank generals to command the troops through her specific set of orders.
Afterward, Rin wrote a letter to her worrier of a grandfather informing him of the situation and her need for a more extended stay.
Writing a few personal words and thanks, Rin folds the letter and asks a servant to have it be sent out.
When the door shut, Rin sighed into her chair. Her emerald eyes wandering toward the written reports on her desk.
To say Rin was grateful her father used his name to annul the engagement between her and the Northern Empire's Crown Prince, would unquestionably be an understatement.
Reading those words her grandfather wrote had unknowingly caused a great weight on her shoulders to be lifted.
During her years she had never once thought of romance or marriage.
To be honest, Rin hadn't thoroughly considered herself to be womanly.
She was raised by a fierce commander surrounded by soldiers. She grew up training and being raised to defend herself.
This was clearly not something most girls her age were to perform growing up.
While average young misses from established households were taught how to read literature and arts, she was taught how to wield a sword.
When they were taught how to brew tea and plan for their future husbands, Rin was strategizing and training among soldiers.
Even when she was in the Palace, she wasn't given many lessons besides basic etiquette and literature.
Even now when she disguised herself as Bai Lan, she hadn't genuinely thought to consider herself a girl or a boy.
Rin didn't mind if she was dressed as a boy or thought of as one. She was Rin. Rin wasn't a male or female in her opinion.
Rin was the person she chose to be and the person who would stay the same no matter the identity she took.
However, while Rin thought this, she sincerely hadn't thought of the difference between a man and a woman.
Especially in certain situations...
Suddenly, tilting her ears, Rin hears a familiar sound echo through her ears.
Gracefully, the girl disguised as a boy lifts off from her seat to head towards the window opening it slightly.
Upon unlocking it, a small figure flies into the room. Looking at the small brown falcon that had entered her room, Rin smiles.
"You've been gone for quite some time." Rin chuckled while gently stroking its head.
Instantly, Rin notices a small piece of rolled paper tied to Ju's dainty foot. With narrowed eyes, she carefully takes the paper from his foot. Once removed Ju flies up towards her shoulder.
Sitting down at the table, with the small paper in her hand Rin reaches for a piece of food from the table and lifts it towards Ju - who soon flew down towards the plate of fresh delicious fruits.
"Good job." Rin smiled gratefully.
As the brown falcon ate leisurely across from her, Rin opened the miniature scroll to read its contents. Very soon a dark sinister sneer spreads across her rosy lips.
"Very interesting." Rin released a soft chuckle with her lips curled and eyes blazing.
Gently folding the paper in her hand, Rin elevates it towards the candle in front of her - lighting the paper on fire.
Silently watching it burn in her hand, Rin gently releases a swift harsh blow on it causing the consuming fire to blow out.
All that remained was an ashed piece of paper rested in her hands. Clenching her fist tightly, the paper crumbles, covering her hand with a black dust.
With a faint smile, Rin gently wipes her hands with a cloth before popping a grape into her mouth from the plate in front of her - a soft expression shown on her face.
Ju, from the beginning, observed the girl's actions - small berry in between its beak.
Humans, no, this girl specifically could really be scary at times.
Pushing those thoughts away, the small bird continues to eat the fruit on the plate.