The three figures were none other than Rin, An Sun, and Manchu.
Despite having two guards by her side to protect her, Rin knew if he wanted, An Sun could easily kill them with the flick of his sword.
During their back to back conversing, Rin's heart was hammering violently. She had no way of knowing if he'd accept her peaceful surrender and choose simply kill her on the spot.
Much to Rin's surprise, he accepted.
At that moment, Rin sighed in relief inwardly. She completed the first part of her task, now she needed him to approve it and spare the citizens.
Rin gazes at the man standing across from her at the other side of the table. Gently, Rin places the golden chest in the center of the table facing An Sun's direction.
"Commander An can look inside to confirm the governor's head if you'd like," Rin said.
With his arms crossed over his broad armored chest, An Sun's casually stares at the golden chest. "There's no need."
In other words, he already believed that Governor Tao's head was inside.
Nodding her head, Rin shifts her sight toward the two soldiers behind her and lightly nods her head.
Following her gesture, a soldier takes out a scroll from his side and quietly hands it to Rin.
"Thank you," Rin said before turning back to look at An Sun. "These are our offerings for the citizen's safety, if you don't mind, please look it over."
As Rin sets the scroll on the table, An Sun's eyes don't stray from the petite figure in front of him. Slowly, minutes pass before An Sun reaches for the scroll on the table and opens it casually.
At that moment, An Sun's demeanor was neither cold or murderous, if anything it was dull but still chilling to the bone. His thoughts and expressions, unreadable.
His mask concealed eyes calmly read the scroll's contents. After a while, An Sun lowers the scroll to look back at Rin. The corners of his mouth arched up in a smile, but Rin, seeing the glow in his eyes couldn't comprehend the reason for his smiles.
"Your province is even wealthier than I imagined. Seems like your previous list of tributes wasn't all you possessed." An Sun's eyes fluctuated brightly.
Heeding his words, Rin remained quiet, her expression stoic and reserved.
Based on what he said he seemed quite satisfied with what she offered but...there was clearly something else he wanted.
"Is there something else Commander An wishes to add? We're more than willing to increase the number of certain tributes."
"There is one thing." An Sun said slowly, never taking his eyes off the small figure.
Although the man's lips were smiling, Rin could see his eyes were not. A sudden coldness ran through her back as she awaited his request.
Placing the scroll down on the table, An Sun leans in close to hover his large body from across the table, over Rin.
"I want you." An Sun said with a gentle smile, but his words were laced with a cold and sinister pressure.
From the beginning, Rin's expression hadn't changed, only a slight furrow in her eyebrows was expressed.
To be honest, she was quite stunned by the ruthless man's words.
"Do clarify the meaning behind your words, Commander An."
An Sun's attractive smile froze momentarily a slight twitch in his brows was evident. Manchu, standing behind him stifled a laugh by releasing a faint cough.
Ignoring the snickering Manchu, An Sun coldly glances at Rin, his stiff smile still present and leans back from the table to his original position.
"Your strategies...they're not like the northern people."
At that moment, Rin's eyes darkened coldly, her previous controlled expression hardening.
Glancing over at the guards behind her, Rin's cold voice speaks. "You two are dismissed."
"You're dismissed," Rin repeated coldly.
Looking reluctant, both soldiers glance at the cold commander standing across from their captain. Identifying his chilling expression, the two soldiers exit the room leaving the three alone.
Once sure they were gone, Rin gazes back at An Sun who currently displayed a light expression.
"What is that Commander An wants?" Rin asked with a furrowed forehead.
"As I was saying before, your tactics aren't those of the northern people." He started calmly. "From my experience in battle, I've heard the eastern people's strategists are highly valued and not afraid to get their hands dirty."
The more An Sun spoke, the more Rin's expression deepened.
Does he know? Was he able to figure out just based on her former tactics?
An Sun looked at Rin's expression, his eyes slightly narrowing – the previous smile on his face gone, gradually replacing with a threatening aura.
"Will you become my dog? If so, then I will spare the citizens from death."
A few miles from Guando's province was the Bai army. Leading in the front was none other than Bai Han.
The Bai soldiers effortlessly made their way through the snow on their gallant horses and carriages.
After leaving the Eastern Empire's capital, Bai Han and his men made way to head to the province Guando immediately. Due to having just fought in a strenuous battle, their energy compared to before was lower making their movements slow.
It would take approximately five days to get to the Northern Empire from the Eastern Empire if one was on a horse. On foot, it took double the number of days.
Even with the troubles, the men continued. The reason for this?
They were recently informed their young Miss Bai was in danger back in Guando. As men who watched the young girl grow and progress into a strong dignified lady, they too were powered by the need to protect and save their young Miss.
Energized by their will to save Rin, the soldiers continued to move onward.
Bai Han's heart nervously pounded in his chest. The only thing occupying his mind was to make it to Rin no matter the cost.
However, despite the raging enemy heading toward Guando, what concerned Bai Han the most was the cold weather.
Ever since Rin was little, Bai Han took note of the girl's health during the winters. Compared to the summers, it declined rapidly, and her body would slowly become as fragile as porcelain.
It may have been due to when she escaped her burning village and was exposed to such cold weather that she received this illness, but all Bai Han knew was the winters were a dangerous time for Rin.
Although she didn't show it and would always reassure him, he couldn't help but worry and sometimes planned on sending her to the Southern Empire where the weather was warmer and her recovery would quicken.
However, now she didn't have the time to properly care for herself, and the weather became more chilling by the day.
Just as Bai Han was lost in his worrying thoughts, a faint buzzing sound could be detected in the corner of his ears. General Guo mounted beside him as well took notice of the sound with narrowed eyes.
Before he could carry out his sentence, an arrow shot directly past Bai Han, missing his ear by a hair.
Alarmed, both Bai Han and General Guo unsheathe their swords. Very soon multiple arrows shot at them from the mountain.
Swiftly, both men block the arrows with the wave of their swords.
Afterward, the sound of men's shouts could be heard charging forward.
"Indeed." Bai Han grunted. "It appears that we've landed in a trap."
Inside a stone room within the city's walls stood three men, two in armor and one dressed in a white long-sleeved robe. Behind the boy in white were two Guando soldiers.