Rin's eyes blanked. There wasn't a trace of emotion on her face - it had been as if time had frozen.
"What do you…"
About to ask the scout about his words, Rin was lightly pulled back by Governor Tao's stretched out arm - silencing her.
"I understand. Thank you, you can return." Governor Tao dismissed the scout.
"Sir." The scout stands up from his kneeling position to bow toward the governor before departing from the office.
Left with just the two in the office, Rin finally breaks free from the governor's hold to look frantically in his direction.
"It seems we're being given up to the Tuhan as a part of the Eastern Empire's safety."
Rin's expression turned bleak, her hands clutching tightly into fists.
"There's still a way we can get out of this sir." Rin flashed the governor a contorted smile. "I've sent out my personal guard to the Eastern Empire. I'm sure by now my grandfather and his army are on there way. If we hold the Tuhan's off for a few days then…"
"You're right, there is a way to get out of this, I'm sure with the help of your grandfather's army we'll be able to succeed." Governor Tao's eyes crinkled. "But there's a cost. The number of lives lost will be great. The citizens will have no choice but to partake in battle and lose their lives."
Composedly, Governor Tao's eyes bore into Rin's.
"If that is to happen, then what would be the point of defending this province?"
Rin couldn't help but be surprised by his words.
What would be the point? Wouldn't they all be sacrificing their lives to protect and take back their province?
Unable to say anything in return, Rin's head lowered, her forehead puckered.
Already guessing what Rin was thinking, the governor reveals a weak smile, his figure standing up from his seat.
"I understand you must think the people giving their lives for this province is for the better, but unfortunately I didn't become governor to allow my people and soldiers to suffer. I don't wish for any of them to live in fear and war, all I wish for is peace among the people."
Releasing a light sigh, the corner of the governor's lips curve upward.
"Bai Lan. Tell the guards to open the gates, let us surrender."
"You can't! If we surrender now, the Tuhan's will kill all the citizens!" Rin frantically spoke. "I promise you, give me a few more days and we'll be able to fend them off."
Smiling gently at the boy, Governor Tao's eyes lift up behind her.
Hearing the familiar name said by the governor, Rin quickly turns her gaze behind her to identify the familiar figure of the man she met three months ago in the Eastern Empire - as well as her servant when young.
"Wei Jingyi…" Rin utters his name, a glazed expression displayed on her face.
Observing the boy's face of shock, Wei Jingyi, with his dark beard, smiles kindly.
"It's good to see you again."
Rin's expression was one of utter shock upon seeing her old servant from back in the Li Palace.
What was he doing here?
Governor Tao standing off to the side notices the two's exchange and arches a brow.
"I see, so you two know one another." Governor Tao chuckled lightly.
"Yes, Master. In fact, I was the very one who trained the boy a few martial arts techniques when he was young." Wei Jingyi smiled kindly.
"Interesting. Unfortunately, it seems I won't be able to know more about it for long." Governor Tao's smiles were distant, yet calm.
"Bai Lan. You're an unusual boy filled with potential and many opportunities awaiting you. That is why…I can't allow you to die here."
Before Rin could say anything in response to the governor's unusual words, Rin felt an abrupt pain on her neck, causing her vision to fade and grow hazy.
Limply, Rin's body falls forward. However, before reaching the floor, her body was grabbed by Wei Jingyi.
"Thank you." Governor Tao glanced him half a smile.
Leisurely, Governor Tao subtly shifts his body in the direction of the office window. White glowing flakes of glittering snow gently falling down from the gray painted sky.
The governor's deep eyes remain relaxed, almost devoid of any emotion.
"I'm sure in a few years the city will be prosperous once again after I'm gone."
Without hesitation, he gently lifts the gleaming sword on the table. The swift sound of the polished blade unsheathing from its holder echoed clearly throughout the room.
"When the boy wakes up, tell him…"
As Governor Tao told Wei Jingyi what to pass onto Rin, the middle-aged man's eyes widened slightly - but in the end, he solemnly lowered his gaze.
"Yes, Master Tao."
With graceful movements, the governor sways the sword in the air before aiming toward his neck.
The echoing racket of the sword falling to the floor sounded.
Dark red pools of flowing blood painted itself onto the cold tile floors, the man's purple robes now soaked in the red liquid.
Lying motionlessly in a small bed within the governor's estate, Rin's long silk lashes tremble as they slowly flutter open. Upon gently opening her eyelids, Rin's eyes are met with the familiar ceiling of her room in the governor's estate.
Immediately shooting her eyes open, Rin sits up from the bed to stare down in her lap. Puckering her forehead, Rin tries her best to recall the events that took place before everything went dark.
"You're awake, princess."
Detecting the familiar sound of Wei Jingyi's voice, Rin quickly shifts her gaze to stare at the frail unshaven man standing to the side of her bed.
"The governor, what…"
"Governor Tao's dead, princess."
At first, heeding his words, Rin's expression went vacant and her eyes deep without a hint of emotion displayed.
Suddenly, a faint numbness entered Rin's body. A tightness could be felt in her throat – her mouth going dry. Her emerald eyes burning hotly with a raging emotion.
In quick, practically invisible movements, Rin stormed out of her bed to strike violently at the seemingly weak Wei Jingyi.
In the end, Rin's fiery punch was effortless, as the man soon captured the girl's pale white fist.
"Why…" Rin harshly drew her lower lip between her teeth and her head lowered. "Why didn't you stop him?"
No matter how hard she tried, Rin couldn't restrain the tears from flowing down her cheeks - her eyes welling up with hot, raging tears.
With more anger and force, Rin slams another blow toward Wei Jingyi.
"You could have stopped him, but you didn't! Why?!"
Catching the girl's punch once more, Wei Jingyi calmly pulls Rin's spare arm behind her back while gripping her other in his hand.
"Have you forgotten who trained you? Do you really think you can overpower me?" His gruff voice was indifferent without a hint of emotion.
"Besides, as his servant, what right do I have to stop my Master? It was his choice. How could I have stopped him?"
Rin gnashed her teeth, more tears welling up in her flaming eyes. In the end, she uttered nothing. There was nothing else for her to say.
Observing the girl's eyes shed silent tears onto the floor, the middle-aged man sighs wearily, his hands that were gripping her arms began to slowly loosen.
As Wei Jingyi released her, Rin hadn't noticed how weak her body was - emotional fatigue taking over her as she collapsed on the floor limply.
She didn't understand why her emotions were in a turmoil. Rin knew the governor for one month, although seemingly long, it was barely enough time for her to develop any strong emotions.
Yet inexplicably tears fell from her eyes, her body kneeling down on the floor, numb.
"As his servant, it's my duty to inform you of his final words to you before his death." Wei Jingyi stared down at the frail, pale figure silently crying on the floor.
Rin's expression becomes stiff. Slowly, she raises her head at the bearded man.
"What did he say?"