Inside An Sun's tent, the flawlessly handsome man sat in a chair while staring at the figure seated beside the small brazier in the room for warmth.
With her back straight, Rin directed her gaze toward An Sun. Under the lit brazier with the sun streaming inside the tent, was she able to observe him up close without disturbances.
His long, black hair hung behind him – two loose locks of hair resting on his right shoulder. An Sun's face possessed well-defined features. His nose - tall and strong appeared sharp matching well with his cheekbones.
His gray dark eyes absorbed light, taking in his surroundings and when his eyes landed on her, Rin could feel an intense, dangerous chill radiate from them.
The frosty aura around him compared to usual lessened as he now emitted a casual and strong appearance in his dark blue collared robe.
Being around men all her life, Rin never felt the need to be afraid or uncomfortable around them. After all, for over two years now she disguised herself as a man.
"Lord An, although my stay hasn't been long here, I understand from a few observations that you'll be traveling farther north."
"Yes, we will. And your point?"
"Your men, considering your status as the commander and adopted son of the An Clan, are very few."
A strange look came over An Sun's face and his eyes narrowed. Rin had long taken notice of his darkened mood but in the end, continued.
"I mean no disrespect to you, my Lord. I'm simply stating my observations." Rin spoke thoughtfully. "My Lord's forces are large and strong compared to most, however, in the eyes of the An Clan your army is relatively small."
"What are you suggesting? That I gain more power by rebelling?" An Sun spoke menacingly.
"Of course not, my Lord. I understand unlike the other empires, your clan's matters are more humane."
Before, when Rin rested within the governor's residence, she had gathered all she needed to know about An Sun's clan - the An Clan.
They were a large clan that were greatly feared by half of the empires and ruled over a portion of the western and southern empires after their battles for more land.
The An Clan, although bloodthirsty and ruthless toward their enemies, were peaceful toward their members.
No schemes went on behind the scenes like the Imperial family, nor were their attempts to kill someone to gain power.
Everything was controlled, for the most part, however, things among the brothers weren't as peaceful as they seemed. Especially with An Sun, being an adopted son, gaining more power everywhere he went.
Due to his status, it was clear from the small army he was suppressed by the An Clan leader - his father.
Rin raised her head up and stared at An Sun's silent eyes. Through his eyes, he looked like he wanted to slaughter her on the spot and slash her into a thousand pieces.
Rin coughed lightly. "However, still as an adopted son, I understand not many are pleased with your standing as commander and believe that you might rebel. I'm sure Lord An has encountered previous incidents where you were being watched."
Both Manchu and An Sun glanced at one another, both recalling the previous strategist that was sent to spy on them.
"How did you know?" This time Manchu couldn't help but ask suspiciously.
Rin smiled at him. "As I said before, just an observation."
An Sun crossed his arms and looked down at Rin. "Observation or not, my goal is not to become the head of the An Clan. Even if it's offered to me, I'm not interested."
"Of course, I had a feeling my Lord would say that." Rin chuckled. "Considering your previous actions I understand your goal is considerably larger than that."
"And what may that be?" An Sun furrowed his brows.
A mysterious light reflected within Rin's eyes, one that didn't go unnoticed by An Sun.
"You plan to cause destruction within the capital, the Eastern Empire, Shongo."
An Sun said nothing.
His eyes pierced firmly into Rin as if searching for any signs of hostility, but all he could see was the faint smile on the boy's face while he stared back at him with unwavering eyes.
"That's quite the conclusion you came up with. To utter such words so lightly without reason or proof, you really must be courting death." An Sun's voice narrowed dangerously.
Rin stared impassively at the seated man who was exuding a menacing aura.
She knew very well what she was stating wasn't something one could speak so effortlessly without expecting to pay the consequences.
Especially considering the situation she was in at the moment.
"I understand my Lord's concerns. But I say this because, the truth is, no matter how much power the An Clan grants you they will try their best to suppress you. They will always see you as an adopted son, which is why causing destruction in the capital can establish you the power you want."
A sharp chill flashed through An Sun's eyes. He had to admit he was once again impressed - a newfound respect forming for the boy. Based on simple actions and observations, he was able to discover so much.
With his intelligent military tactics and keen observation skills, he could possibly become a better asset to him than he thought.
But still…actions spoke louder than a few simple words.
An enigmatic smile appeared on An Sun's charming face. "I admit, I'm impressed. You're quite skilled."
"I thank my lord for the praises."
Propping his head against his palm on the large chair, An Sun's smile disappears.
"However, your observation skills won't get you far. How do you plan to demonstrate your worth to me?"
Rin nodded her head and drifted slightly closer to the brazier for warmth.
"As I said before, I believe you've encountered incidents where you were watched, correct?"
"Indeed we have." An Sun replied. "Of course, all were properly taken care of."
Understanding the hidden meaning in his words, Rin continued displaying a gentle expression on her face.
"In that case, I know a way to avoid their eyes."
Raising his brows, An Sun waits for Rin to continue, his eyes not once retracting away from her figure.
"As of now, your clan ordered for you to stir trouble in the Eastern Empire, I presume to catch their attention and test their strength. Based on the results, you're not strong enough to take them head-on."
An Sun's brows twitch in response. Although he knew this himself, having someone outright say it still irritated him to no end.
"Although that's how it appears on the outside, most likely their main reason was to see how you'd respond."
An Sun's eyes darkened as his brows wrinkled.
"If what you say is true, then it seems they're already suspicious of my loyalty."
Manchu, who was silent for the most part, spoke up. "Then how do you suggest we avert their suspicion?"
Rin, whose gaze was formerly on the brazier, lifted up to look at the two men. A dark glint flashed across her emerald eyes.
"To achieve your goal, Lord An, you must deceive the heavens and cross the ocean," Rin reveals an unreadable grin. "You point north when your goal is actually in the east."