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67 Time To End This Once And For All

"Captain Bai Lan, your plan worked again!"

"Haha! We did it. Who knows maybe we could even get the head of their commander!"

Standing on a hilltop Rin, Xu Mujin and a few other Gaundo soldiers observed the scene below.

Just before An Sun and his men charged to the city walls, Rin and Xu Mujin built their raft and swiftly went down the river to return to the North Borders.

Once she returned, Rin met up with Governor Tao and notified him of the situation, and to have the soldiers gather and prepare themselves.

Following the boy's orders, Governor Tao informed the Generals to alert their soldiers inside and outside of the city walls.

In the beginning, Rin had shared her thoughts on Captain Delun and his schemes.

Who would have thought Governor Tao himself was well aware of the fact?

After all, he knew how much it would affect Captain Delun's reputation if they were victorious.

Nevertheless, he was truly concerned once he heard of Rin's disappearance and instantly assumed Captain Delun did something.

To verify his doubts, when Captain Delun arrived at his estate to scold and convince him to follow through with his plans, he knew for certain he had done something to Bai Lan.

Before the captain's arrival, the boy's falcon approached him with a small note attached to its leg.

Removing the note from the bird's leg, Governor Tao reads it to find Rin's familiar handwriting.

Written on it was a list of directions for him.

One of them was offering Captain Delun to meet the Tuhan's to give them the offerings.

Following through with Rin's plan, Governor Tao deliberately insisted on Captain Delun being the one to offer the offerings to their surrender – not forgetting to add a few flattering words to raise his pride.

As expected, Captain Delun accepted without uncertainty. Once everything was set, they only needed to wait for Rin's arrival along with the Tuhan's Commander and his army.

Just as Rin had thought, the clever commander of the Tuhan's caught onto their trap and without hesitation killed Captain Delun.

From the beginning, he was a used sacrificial tool in her schemes.

Presently, standing on a hilltop, Rin peered down at the Tuhan's retreating soldiers with cold stoic eyes.

Abruptly, an icy chill ran down her spine upon sensing a pair of menacing eyes on her.

Looking down in the direction of the gaze, Rin narrowed her eyes dangerously low.

Commander An Sun, mounted nobly on his horse, stared up toward the hilltop rested in the forest to see a lone figure watching them from above.

His gray apathetic eyes concealed behind his mask blackened with a blood-thirsty gleam.

An amused enigmatic smirk curled up on his red lips as he gazed at the standing figure.

Rin, meeting his gaze, calmly stared back, her eyes still.

Captain Bai Lan.

The two continued to stare until finally, An Sun, with his grin remaining, departs with the rest of his fleeting men. 

Watching the soldiers departing figures, Rin turns around to walk down the hilltop – her white robes waving behind her.

Unnoticed by the rest of the soldiers, Rin's eyes dimmed darkly with a sharp light.

That smile on his face...

Rin tensed her fists tightly to her side as she walked down the hill.

It was time to stop stalling and end this once and for all...

...

"Sir, it looks like Captain Bai Lan's plan has worked again. He even brought in some reinforcements from the Northern Empire."

The prime minister, standing behind Governor Tao helplessly smiled as he watched the Tuhan's departing figures.

"I have to say, even I was fooled by the boy's scheme."

"He's an impressive fellow. Sometimes in order to have a scheme work, one must deceive both their allies as well." Governor Tao smirked.

Hands behind his back, Governor Tao's expression turns strict.

"Remember to report this to the Imperial Court. The Tuhan's killed Captain Delun, giving us no choice but to fight back."

"Yes, sir."

"Governor Tao! We did it, another victory!" A soldier approached the two with a glowing grin.

Walking beside him with a dazed expression was Rin, her eyes lost in thought.

"Honestly, Captain Bai Lan, your tactics are beyond amazing, we've won two battles against them. I have full admiration for you!" The soldier chortled.

Rin, standing off to the side had an expression that revealed the opposite of what one would have when winning a victory.

Her lips were pressed into a hard line and her eyebrows furrowed.

"Now that we have the power, we should attack head on and raid their camp!"

"That's not a good idea."

Surprised by the boy's words, the soldier looks at the young captain with wide eyes.

"What do mean not a good idea? We do have the resources, right? So shouldn't we strike them when their men are retreating and caught off guard?"

Shaking her head with a sour expression, Rin turns to glance at the governor.

"Sir, give the order for the soldiers to retreat back and head into the training grounds to train. We need to strengthen our defenses and protect the walls. As for the reinforcements, contact as many sources as you can." Rin spoke sternly.

All three men stared at the young captain with serious expressions, the governor curiously looked into the young boy's eyes.

"With the help of my grandfather's support for our army, we were able to trap the enemy. My initial plan, however, was to trap their commander and take his head or possibly be able to burn their food and weapon supply."

Narrowing her eyes, Rin lightly drops her head.

"However, I hadn't thought even with reinforcements, he'd still be able to avoid our trap. I also believe that if we were to raid their camp blindly on winning two victories, we'd still be outnumbered. Even I'm uncertain with how many more soldiers they hold, including their weapon supply."

Rin, with a furrowed expression, looks up at the governor. "Governor Tao it seems that I've neglected something significant and miscalculated the Tuhan's Commander strength."

She was senseless to believe she'd be able to capture his head with just her grandfather's reinforcements.

It was clear the Tuhan's were stronger than she predicted.

Even with knowing their past victories she foolishly believed it was because the other provinces forces were weak. But no. It wasn't as easy as their defenses or soldiers being weak.

It was merely because the Tuhan's men were strong in both numbers and strength.

For the first time, Rin felt she had entered a battle where she was truly challenged.

To be honest...it was irritaing.

Watching the boy's grim expression, Governor Tao sighs.

"I understand. I'll have the Generals inform them and be sure to contact more neighboring provinces and empires." Governor Tao said. "Until then, I believe it's best suited that you rest."

About to refute back, Rin lifts her head to speak but is cut off by the Governor's raised hand.

"Escaping a kidnap and undergoing the pressure of a battle is stressful, I recommend regaining your strength for the time being and thinking things over some more."

Silently lowering her head, Rin gently nods.

"Yes, sir."

"En, good. You're dismissed for now."

Nodding her head politely, Rin, along with Xu Mujin walk away from the Governor on top of the stone walls and toward a carriage.

Inside the carriage, Rin releases a long sigh, her eyebrows scrunched together.

No matter what she couldn't rest. Not until she was sure this was all over.
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