Drinking some bone broth from last night, Rin's morning was interrupted by the sound of heavy footsteps approaching her pen.
Entering the pen was a Tuhan soldier.
"Lord An asks for your presence in his tent."
Not wasting any time, Rin placed down her bowl and stood up to follow the soldier outside to An Sun's tent.
Within An Sun's tent, the man sat crossed leg in a large chair while he stared at Rin and the Tuhan soldiers entering figures.
"You're dismissed." An Sun waved his hand toward the Tuhan soldier.
Cupping his hands with a bow, the soldier exits the tent leaving Rin and An Sun alone.
For the first time, Rin didn't see the blue-eyed man beside An Sun. This was their first time being alone in the same space together.
"Your plan from yesterday…" An Sun looked at Rin carefully as he spoke. "We'll follow it out as you say."
Inwardly, Rin released a breath of relief.
When she proposed her plan to An Sun, she hadn't been sure if he'd agree to follow it through. After all, putting so much trust into a former enemy wasn't an easy feat.
Based on her previous interactions with An Sun, she concluded the young man was ruthless to his enemies. However, these traits of his didn't seem to blind him from allowing her the chance to prove herself.
For that, she was grateful there was slight rationality in the cold commander.
"Thank you, my lord, I assure you I won't let you down and I'll do my very best to please you."
"Don't get too excited." An Sun's brows twitched. "I'm granting you a one-month trial to prove yourself to me."
The man smiled sharply while he tilted his head to the side, loose strands of silk hair falling onto his shoulder.
"If I'm not satisfied with your results, you should already know the outcome. I don't need useless dogs working under me."
The corner of Rin's mouth quirked up. "I understand, my Lord. I'll try not to disappoint you."
"Good." An Sun stood up from his chair and walked forward. "Then we'll be heading north today."
"Yes, my Lord."
Glancing at her briefly, An Sun walks past her and out of the tent to issue out orders to his men of their departure. As he left, An Sun missed the dark flickering light within Rin's eyes.
It didn't take long for the Tuhan to pack their camp up and prepare themselves for the long journey north.
Under An Sun's orders, a message to the An Clan leader was sent informing him of his plans to travel farther north.
According to Rin's plan, the An Clan members should be sighing in relief, their suspicion towards An Sun vanishing.
Wrapped in a furred cloak and boots, Rin watched the men load the wooden carriages with crates of gold, wine, and silks. All from the past Northern provinces they looted from.
In another carriage was their food for the trip. Sacks of rice, frozen and dried meat, all stashed inside.
Due to the frosty weather, the sight of vegetables was rare. Even frozen vegetables were hard to come by. Thus, they traveled without a vegetable in sight.
Rin took note of the items inside the carriages, her eyes staring intently at the crates of silk and gold.
A husky and magnetic voice broke Rin from her thoughts, her head rising up to take in the sight of An Sun on his horse, suited in full armor.
"Get your horse; we're leaving."
Walking toward her horse, Rin paused to glance at the scenery around her. The previous area filled with tents had been removed from sight. The pens were burned to the ground to remove their traces. Their footprints that were once scattered all around showing the liveliness of the camp had been blown away by the icy northern winds.
A faint gust of the wind blew in her direction, causing Rin's eyes to squint slightly slipping her out of her daze.
That's right. This was her life now.
Smiling faintly to herself, Rin mounts onto her horse and follows behind An Sun and his men.
Nearly over a hundred Tuhan soldiers and their commander traveled north in the knee-deep snow. Rin followed close behind beside Manchu.
Traveling for over six hours, Rin felt her body slowly become heavier, her head that was once clear turning hazy. Glancing upward, Rin took in the sight of the white horizon spread out before them – the view remaining endless.
Once the sky became dark, An Sun and his men set up camp to rest for the night. Setting up their tents, they quickly begin building up a large fire to warm themselves from the low temperatures.
Inside An Sun's large tent, Rin sat in front of a table quietly drinking a cup of tea.
"My Lord, have you ever wondered about the quality of your treasures and supplies?"
Furrowing his brows, An Sun's eyes narrow. Noting An Sun's look of confusion and suspicion, Rin set down her teacup and gently spoke.
"My Lord, for over the past few months, your name has spread far and wide across the Northern Empire. You've collected quite a few treasures from your travels and are currently earning more as you go. Surely at some point, you'll have too much to hold."
An Sun's expression hardened as Rin spoke. However, he didn't interrupt her and quietly allowed her to continue.
"Living in the north my entire life, I know during the winters, many provinces lack certain supplies. Supplies that you currently acquire. I suggest that to gain and escape the eyes of the Tuhan leaders, you exchange your possessions for other needed valuables. Even granting them crates of your earnings can remove their suspicion of you."
When An Sun heard Rin's explanation, he sunk into silence. His eyes sharpened intently as he stared at Rin.
This kid sure was intelligent.
Parting his lips to speak, An Sun was suddenly interrupted by the sound of a soldier barging in.
"Lord An, there's trouble at the front of the camp!"
"What is it?" An Sun's voice narrowed.
"There's a group of soldiers in front claiming we're trespassing on Su province territory."
Not seeming alarmed by the soldier's words, An Sun leans back in his seat lazily.
"Based on observation, I'd say one-hundred soldier's sir."
Grunting in response, An Sun calmly rests his head against his palm. Glancing to the side, An Sun stared at Rin who was currently drinking her tea as if she wasn't a part of the conversation.
Looking up at the sound of An Sun's voice, Rin's clear eyes met with his deep gaze.
"You wanted to prove yourself to me?" An Sun's voice spoke with a lilt of amusement. "Get rid of those pests outside. I'm quite interested to know more about your previous plan."
Rin arched a brow but soon smiled lightly.
"Of course. I promise it won't take long."
Standing up, Rin walks toward the tent's exit and follows the soldier out.
As they walked toward the front of the camp, Rin was met with the mocking and arrogant expressions of a group of soldiers. Guarding the front of the camp were three Tuhan soldiers.
"Greetings gentlemen, is there a problem here?"
The general of the group stares at Rin's incoming figure with narrowed eyes.
Did they bring this puny little brat to take care of them?
"Hmph! Do you realize you're infringing on Su province territory? Put down your weapons and surrender now!"
The soldiers behind him stared at the Tuhan men with mocking, domineering eyes causing the Tuhan to arch their brows. But in the end, they said nothing in return.
Rin ignored their looks of disdain and let out a gentle smile.
"My apologies, we hadn't realized we were resting on Su territory. I promise you we mean no harm. We're simply just passing by."
"Hah! Just passing by? Do you think I'd believe such lies? Don't think I don't know who you are. You're those Tuhan scum!"
In response to his insults, the Tuhan soldiers behind Rin narrowed their eyes and let out a deadly aura. Noting their cold response, the general tensed but stood his ground.
"You rebellious scum, you think you're so high and mighty trying to overthrow the empire! Don't think I won't see through your lies. Clearly, you were trying to infiltrate our province by loitering around! Leave now or pay the consequences!"
Rin's eyes narrowed.
"I kindly recommend you don't slur such lies." Rin's voice grew cold, all traces of her previous smile disappeared. "As I said, we truly mean no harm. By tomorrow morning we'll be on our way."
"Hmph! I've had enough of your nonsense. Since you refuse to take my words into consideration, you better be prepared to pay the consequences."
Coldly, Rin stared at the man and slowly lowered her eyes to stare at the snow-covered ground.
Why did things always have to end up this way?
Lifting her head, Rin's pair of emerald eyes shone with a chilling murderous aura.
Early the next morning, Rin's fever from the previous night subsided, leaving her to feel slightly hazy.