Rin, seated on her horse, rode behind An Sun and his men, her silent eyes looking ahead.
Passing by a crowd of citizens who watched them from the side, Rin took notice of their dark and resent filled expressions – all of which were directed at her. Even with their foul expression, Rin chose to ignore.
She knew what they thought. That she was a traitor. A coward who chose to betray them to live.
But to Rin, allowing them to think this was the safest option. If they saw her as the enemy, then they wouldn't act foolishly and try to attack the Tuhan.
The citizens continued scrutinizing resentfully at the men in armor who passed by. The glares toward Rin intensified - some began cursing harsh words under their breath. Their glares were all seemingly harmless, yet some couldn't sit still and watch as Rin calmly strode by them without a care.
Rin's hands gripping the reins tightened, ceasing her movements after feeling a sudden force struck her on the head.
Blankly, she lifts her hand toward her forehead to feel a cut on her forehead. Looking at her white fingertips, the color of crimson blood burst brightly against her hands.
Someone had hurled a rock at her.
"The rumors were right about you! You're nothing but a greedy, cowardly young master from a distinguished family!"
"Shameless! The governor and his wife surrendered their lives for us, have you no shame!"
"You were a dog for the Tuhan all along! You traitor, you manipulated us!"
After the first thrown object directed toward her, more citizens blinded by rage began throwing objects at Rin from the frozen ground. Rin held up her hands to block the objects thrown toward her – some occasionally scratching her raised palms.
An Sun shifted his gaze around slowly, as he looked at the angry citizens attack Rin. Casually grasping his hand toward the sword on his waist, he unsheathed it half way as if waiting for things to turn for the worse before he struck.
Taking notice of An Sun's hand on his sword, she glanced in the man's direction.
"My Lord, your promise." Rin's calmly reminded him with firm eyes.
An Sun looked at the paled face Rin and his gaze fell upon the wound on her forehead as a slight trickle of blood flowed down. Her eyebrows wrinkled as she stared back at him, waiting for him to remove his grip on his sword.
An Sun narrowed his frosty dark eyes, and a slight twitch could be seen in his brows. Silently, An Sun withdraws his hand on his sword and urged his black horse to walk.
Following his orders, the Tuhan proceeded to move onward. By now, the citizens were slightly wary of An Sun, choosing not to attack anymore in fear for their lives. However, that didn't prevent the foul, malice words escaping their mouths.
"Tsk, don't even try playing the hero act! We all see you for whom you truly are, a traitor and a coward!"
Ignoring their insults and resentful glares, Rin strides her horses away from the crowd, following An Sun and his men.
The words coward and traitor rang violently through her ears until the shouts of the citizens were no longer heard.
"That was rather harsh, don't you think? Seems like northern people do possess some fighting spirit. Although it's directed toward the wrong person." Manchu strode his horse alongside Rin's and smirked amusingly. "Makes me wonder why you chose to save such ignorant fools. Why not try defending yourself?"
Coughing, Rin's eyes stared down at her horse and slowly turned to look at Manchu.
"Saving them was more of a duty than a choice," Rin said softly. "The truth makes no difference. They will only believe what they want to comfort themselves even if it's flawed."
Chuckling lightly, Manchu stares ahead with a smile. "Humans truly are confusing and complicated beings."
"Yes…" Rin lowered her eyes, coughing as she spoke. "But I've come to realize, anger is nothing but a shell for the fear and hurt in a human being. It's their only way of knowing how to survive in this world."
Manchu became silent as he listened to Rin's words. The usual witty and amused smile on his face gave way to a vacant expression. A shadow passed over Manchu's eyes as if he recalled something.
"Hah. It seems you're right Mr. Strategist." Manchu smiled crookedly, and soon after ushering his horse forward away from Rin.
Rin calmly withdrew her eyes to stare at the bleak gray sky. Anyone who relied on his people to support him was a fool.
They, who were nothing but simple-minded beings, could easily turn against the one they so willingly chose to follow once they realized they couldn't grant them their needs.
Protection, comfort, and power.
Times like this one could purely rely on themselves.
Remembering her grandfather and uncle, Rin's hands on her reins tighten. Her eyes look around to see the Tuhan soldiers moving forward with cold, emotionless expressions.
Grandfather, Uncle Guo…
"Forgive me, for breaking your promise," Rin whispered and bowed her head.
Forgive your foolish granddaughter for not writing you a longer letter.
After the Tuhan finished loading everything into the carts, they began to depart from the city. As the Tuhan and his men departed with their carts of resources, they made their way toward the exit of the city – past the crowd of citizens watching them as they strode past them.