The old man in lion emblem armor shifts his eyes toward the direction of the voice.
Walking in his direction with a friendly smile on his face, was a general who had fought alongside the old man in their recent battle between the Tuhan's army.
"Our city thanks you and your men a thousand times over for your kindness in supporting us against the Tuhan's. Without your army, I don't think we would have come out so victorious." The general motioned his head low with cupped hands.
"En. I didn't help out of kindness, General Duan. As a commander, I fight for lasting peace among our united empires and will help in any way I can to protect the people."
General Duan stared up at Commander Bai with a stunned expression which soon converted into a generous smile.
"You truly deserve the honorary title Commander." The general chuckled.
"Of course," Commander Bai laughed with a grinning expression.
After a few minutes, Commander Bai departs to a pen in the army campgrounds.
Sighing, Bai Han settles down on a wooden chair in the pen; a flaming brazier placed to the side to keep the room heated.
Winter had arrived. The days were colder while the nights were an ongoing storm. The grand eastern mountains were covered with blankets of deep white, glistening snow.
All the soldiers in the camp wore large cloaks and fur cuffs on their armor to stay warm during the chilly days.
The Tuhan's driving forces charged through the neighboring eastern province brutally with maximum speed, already storming forward to the Eastern Empire's Capital, Shongo.
Luckily, before the Tuhan's army arrived, Bai Han and his fifty-thousand men, arrived a day before the opposing enemy.
On the day of the Tuhan's armies arrival, thoroughly charged and ready to attack; Shongo, Commander Bai, the Bai army, and Shongo's soldiers fiercely attacked against the Tuhan's men with full force, slaying down every figure in their path.
Due to the Bai army and the addition of Shongo's personal army, they were able to defeat the enemy in two days. On the third day, the Tuhan's captain met with Emperor Li Chang and afterward retreated away from Shongo.
They came out victorious!
However, the men lost weren't small. Out of one-hundred-thousand men, ten-thousand were killed in battle.
After their victory, the men celebrated with a lavish feast and drinks, as well as mourning for the brave men that were lost on the battlefield day.
Now in his pen in the campgrounds, Bai Han sighs back into his chair – fatigue gradually taking over him. With their main forces down, he was now able to head back to the Northern Empire and aid his granddaughter in Guando.
Thinking about the foolish girl with emerald eyes, Bai Han's closed eyes open, a tinge of worry traced in them.
One month. It was one month since he'd last seen her.
Including the other two months, she left to the Eastern Empire, it felt like an eternity for the old commander. Sighing helplessly, Bai Han lightly scratches his bearded chin.
Suddenly, a fierce gust of wind breezes through the pen causing the now alert Bai Han to stand up from his chair to stare at the intruder. However, upon recognizing the familiar face standing before him, his silver eyes widen.
"Greetings Master Bai."
Xu Mujin, the young man kneels down on the pen floor with cupped hands.
What was he doing here? Wasn't he supposed to be watching Rin in Guando?
"What's wrong? Is it Rin?" Bai Han anxiously asked.
"No Master Bai, the young Miss was worried after hearing about the Tuhan's main forces heading to Shongo, therefore, young Miss Bai ordered me to travel to the Eastern Empire and check on the situation." Xu Mujin reported.
Hearing him speak, Bai Han felt his heart ease of the previous worry he felt, but then his face had suddenly twisted into an unpleasant expression after processing his words.
"You left her alone?!" Commander Bai snapped.
"I apologize, Master Bai. I tried to reason with her, but the young Miss ordered me to check on you." Xu Mujin warily lowered his head even further.
"Who cares what that foolish girl ordered? Your job is to listen to my orders and protect her while she's there!"
"This servant recognizes his mistake and will willingly accept any punishment Master Bai gives this servant."
Sighing irritably, Bai Han runs his hand through his grayish hair.
That foolish, idiotic, reckless girl! Did she not consider the consequences of her actions? Worried about him? Did she underestimate him as a commander who trained in the army for over fifty years?
Holding back his fury, Bai Han sighs once more.
"Your punishment will be discussed later. As of now, what's the situation back in Guando?"
"Yes, Master Bai. The situation sir, to be honest, isn't doing so well. The Tuhan's commander plans to attack Guando any day now and they're currently planning to fortify their defenses based on young Miss's orders."
The more Bai Han heard, the more infuriated he became.
The foolish girl really sent her personal bodyguard out to check on him when she herself was in a desperate situation?!
Intentionally trying his best to compose himself, Bai Han firmly makes a decision in his mind.
He needed to head to Guando immediately.
Despite having just won the battle against the Tuhan's and drained of energy, they needed to quickly help reinforce the Guando army to fend off the incoming Tuhan's.
For the people's sake and of course his foolish granddaughters.
"I understand. Head back to Guando quickly and protect Rin until I arrive. Notify her we're on our way and to hold off as much as she can." Bai Han ordered before departing out of the pen with a fierce, stern expression.
Please, Rin. Please wait, he'll be there soon.
Back in the Guando province, Rin quickly arrived in the provincial office where the scout and Governor Tao were.
"Governor Tao! What's the situation in Shongo?" Rin abruptly ran into the room with concerned eyes.
Governor Tao turns to look keenly at the scout kneeling down on the ground, his chin propped up by his hand. With a faint gesture, Governor Tao motions for the scout to repeat the words he told him moments ago.
"The Bai and Shongo soldiers were victorious." The scout announced.
That meant...her grandfather and uncle were safe. Once those pleasant words were spoken, half of the weight on Rin's heart lifted.
However, she wasn't about to rejoice completely. Based on his words, there was more to what happened.
Rin shifted her gaze in Governor Tao's direction with a wrinkled expression. Sensing the young boy's gaze, Governor Tao calmly turns to look at the scout.
"Tell us the rest." Governor Tai said nonchalantly.
"Yes, sir. After the Tuhan's first battle against Shongo and the Bai army, the Tuhan's general came to the conclusion that their strength wasn't enough to take over Shongo. The Eastern Empire's Emperor, Li Chang, met with the general in charge of the Tuhan's leading forces. The two sides spoke, and eventually, the Tuhan's people retreated."
Both Governor Tao and Rin listened attentively to the scout as he reported every precise detail of the events that took place in Shongo.
However, Rin couldn't help but find something in his report to be off.
Did they retreat just like that? Surely there must have been a reason why the retreated so easily beside their lack of soldiers.
As much as Rin despised Li Chang, her maternal uncle, she was thoroughly aware he was a man of power and strength, but also a man of grand schemes.
"How come they retreated so easily? Couldn't they have called reinforcements?" Rin furrowed her brows.
The scout gently lowered his head even further, his lips tightening.
"As an agreement to their surrender, Emperor Li Chang promised his army wouldn't interfere with aiding Guando. I also found out, a month ago, he dispatched an order to reject all the incoming reports we've sent for reinforcements to the neighboring provinces and empires."
In the Eastern Empire's military campgrounds.