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86 Winter Hun

Before she went to sleep, Rin had gathered a pile of snow from outside the pen, putting it into a bowl and heating it over the brazier for ten minutes.

Taking a piece of clothing from a chest nearby, Rin split it into a small cloth and began drenching it in the warm water to place on her forehead.

The weather was harsh and her body, not being as strong as before couldn't handle such harsh temperatures. To make sure she didn't break out into a fever overnight, Rin placed the warm damp cloth onto her forehead before shutting her eyes – drifting off into a deep sleep.

Waking up that morning to a cold cloth on her forehead, Rin felt her body wasn't as heavy as it was before, nor did she experience a groggy sensation in her head.

Sitting up, Rin placed the cloth to the side and forced herself up to walk over toward the plate of leftover meat from last night.

Quietly chewing on the slices of meat with a dull expression, Rin's brain thoroughly strategized a new plan. No matter how much she didn't want to admit it, she was stuck to be the dog of the Tuhan's commander – An Sun.

Her strength compared to his was insignificant. Even if she did try fighting him, she'd most likely only be able to strike him twice before being slaughtered effortlessly. Not to mention she no longer had an army of built soldiers on her side.

She knew her limits, and An Sun was clearly an opponent she couldn't beat - for now.

She had no choice but to accept her new fate, and that was helping the Tuhan. The enemy of all empires.

Sighing, Rin put aside her thoughts of escape and began thinking of ways to make herself useful to avoid being killed.

While chewing absentmindedly on the meat in her hand, Rin's emerald eyes suddenly lit up brightly. Chewing down the last bit of meat, Rin wiped her hands on a cloth, chugged the cup of water beside her and stood up.

Through being betrayed by her own flesh and blood, her uncle, and losing her mother and father, Rin gained herself new companions and family.

But at this moment, her days of survival and adapting were brought back. At this moment, Rin took it upon herself to accept her new fate and make the most of it.



"Tell him his request is denied." An Sun indifferently waved his hand toward the soldier.

"Yes, my Lord." Bowing his head, the soldier exits the tent.

Manchu standing on the side watching the young man drink his wine, arched a brow. "Still not agreeing to see him after two days?"

An Sun's red lips curve into a smirk behind his cup. Chuckling deeply, the handsome, devilish man twirls his cups' contents with a light unreadable smile.

"Before he was all high and mighty with his tactics but now he's begging and squirming for my attention. Quite interesting to watch." An Sun grinned and lifted his cup toward his lips.

Manchu merely shook his head in response toward the man's slight immature personality and stared at the papers in his hand.

"Ah, I forgot, the winter hunt is tomorrow." Manchu steals a glance at An Sun. "I take it you're going to be participating?"

An Sun snorted derisively. "Is that even a question?"

Laughing, Manchu shakes his head. "Of course, my apologies. It also seems this year more of our men will try to win against you."

Arching his brows as if amused, in the next instant, a mocking smiled appeared on his lips.

"I'd like to see them try."

Afterward, the young man chugged down his wine and stood up, slamming the cup down with a thud.

"Where are you going?" Manchu asked the man leaving the tent.

An Sun turned his gaze around slowly, his gray eyes looking at the man with a calm expression.

"Just for a little fresh air."

Without waiting for a response, An Sun walked out of the tent and headed toward his black horse. Watching his departing figure, Manchu sighed and continued to read through the papers in his hand.

...

For the next few days, Rin requested to see An Sun, yet each time she was denied. After the fourth day of being denied, Rin sat at the table in her pen with an indecipherable expression.

Rin propped her chin on her palm while softly tapping her spare hand on the short wooden table. Instead of being irritated and enraged as most would after being denied so many times, Rin hadn't shown an ounce of annoyance.

If anything, she was slightly entertained by An Sun's behavior.

It seemed no matter how many times she asked, he was simply going to deny her the chance to seek an audience with him. It was as if he enjoyed seeing her beg to see him.

Lightly sighing, Rin stands up and walks toward the pen's entrance. Without a change in expression, Rin walks out of to feel a gust of cold air press against her face. Coughing, Rin walks forward.

If he wasn't going to agree to meet with her, she had no choice but to meet An Sun himself.

Approaching a tent, her eyes examine the area. Taking notice of two soldiers chatting to one another by a bonfire, Rin quietly walks over but halts her steps upon overhearing their conversation.

"The winter hunt is tomorrow, huh? I wonder who'll win this year."

"Idiot, Lord An wins every year! No one can ever beat him so what's the point of wondering who'll win. If anything, I'm more curious to know how much we can collect."

"You're right. We collected twenty deer, and fifteen boars last year, do you think it'll double this year?"

"Ah, I don't know! Stop asking me questions, you fool. Come try this wine, I heard the northerners wine is outstanding!

The two Tuhan men continued to chat and chug wine, unaware of the small figure listening in on their conversation.

The winter hunt?

When she was younger, Rin had recalled hearing about certain clans and other countries competing each year with an event called the winter hunt.

It seemed every year during the winter, the men would go out to hunt for beasts in the wild. Whoever collected the most would win and was granted a prize.

Although she was wise in most areas, as a child she didn't try too hard to pay attention to the thing that had no use to her.

Lowering her eyes, Rin becomes silent, her thoughts slowly gathering together.

Shifting her eyes to the side, Rin takes notice of the herd of horses gathered beside a pole where they were securely tied. A shadow passed over Rin's eyes while an unreadable smile formed on her pale lips.
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