Manchu entered the tent with searching eyes upon identifying the lone figure of An Sun.
Pouring himself a cup of wine, An Sun glances at Manchu briefly before continuing to pour. "He went to go take care of some business I ordered him to do."
Raising his brows, Manchu walks over to the table and sits down on a cushion.
"Does this business happen to include those soldiers at the front of the camp?"
An Sun didn't answer. His gray eyes shifted to the side while he drank his wine. From his silent response, Manchu could already predict the answer to his question.
Manchu reaches for a separate chug of wine and begins pouring some for himself. "Do you think he can handle it?"
An Sun snorted derisively. "If he can't even handle those pigs, then he's unfit to work alongside me."
Manchu could only silently agree with the man. The two continued drinking in silence for the next few minutes when suddenly, the light sound of footsteps approached the tent.
The tent flap opened as the incoming figure walked in. An Sun turned to the intruder with an irritated expression, however, very quickly his face froze stiff.
Dressed in plain blue robes, deep stains of blood could be seen on their clothes. Their white, ashen complexion paled in comparison to the crimson red stains on their cheeks and hands.
With a worn-out bag in their hand, the person stops a few feet away from the two men. The person entering the tent covered in blood was none other than Rin.
Her pale lips raised upward into a smile.
"I'm sorry for the long wait, my Lord. Things got a little out of hand so I had to clean things up a bit."
She gently tossed the bloodied bag in her hand toward the men's feet.
An Sun silently stared at the 'boy' with dull eyes, however, a glimmer of surprise could vaguely be seen within his eyes.
Manchu examined the bag intently and without hesitation uncovered it to take out a beaten and swollen severed head.
It was the head of the previous general.
"The Su province general's head." Rin finished his unspoken words. "I thought you'd want evidence, or to possibly keep it as a souvenir."
She scratches her cheek and releases an awkward laugh. "I'm not very sure of the Tuhan customs."
An Sun's lips twitched.
Their customs? What made him think they had a tradition of collecting the heads of their enemies?
Manchu places a hand over his mouth and lightly coughs to conceal his urge to laugh.
"You're pretty funny Mr. Strategist." He coughed.
"Is that so? Although I wasn't trying, I'm pleased you think so general Manchu." Rin chuckled.
"Did you kill him?"
An Sun's sharp voice cut the two off from their conversation.
Rin, with her hands behind her back, looks at the young man. His eyes stared at the general's severed head with no emotion before shifting to look at Rin.
"Did you kill him yourself?" An Sun's voice was calm.
An Sun's eyes clouded with an unclear emotion for a fleeting moment. His eyes silently examined the 'boy' in front of him.
His body was thin and frail, almost seeming as if he'd break with the slightest touch. His palm-sized face, with feminine features, was pale and smudged gruesomely with dark blood.
Such a delicate looking person was able to kill a strong, trained general.
"Not bad kid," An Sun's voice finally spoke.
Startled, Rin stared at An Sun with a bewildered expression for a few moments before a faint smiled appeared on her lips.
An Sun grunted lightly and turned his face away from her to drink his wine.
"Go and wash up. When you're done come back so we can continue our previous conversation."
"Yes." Rin lowered her head before leaving to exit the tent.
Upon turning around, a sudden violent pain shot through her head. She cringed. The pain was like needles ramming through her skin, cold sweat slowly dripping down her forehead.
Noting her shaky movements, An Sun raised his eyes over questioningly.
"What is it?"
Grinding down on her teeth to diffuse the searing pain, Rin turns around to look at An Sun with a light smile.
"Nothing my Lord. I'll retreat and go wash up now."
Identifying her expression, An Sun's dark gaze narrowed. His eyes examined her face and took note of the beads of sweat pouring down her face. He merely assumed it was from fighting off the soldiers.
"Then get going." He waved his hand lightly.
Nodding her head, Rin turns to leave. However, just like before, a searing pang shot through her head causing her to feel lightheaded.
Her vision went fuzzy and black for a few seconds as her sight gradually began to blur. A loud pounding rang through her ears before finally her body tiredly fell to the ground.
Seeing Rin's body tumbling to the ground, An Sun abruptly made his way to catch her from hitting the ground. Clutching her in his arms, An Sun was surprised by the lightness of the boy's body.
This guy…He was seriously too light!
However, he also strangely felt an intense burning coming from the 'boy's' body. An Sun's palms felt scorching hot under Rin's body.
His face wrinkled upon recognizing she had a high fever.
Had he been like this the entire time? Did he kill all those men like this?
Looking down at the pale, sweaty face An Sun's eyes darkened.
A faint ringing hummed through her ears, the words leaving An Sun's lips who was staring down at her with puckered brows began to fade. All she could hear was the sound of her own feeble breathing.
Struggling to stay conscious Rin finally gave in and collapsed limply in the young man's arms.
In a deep slumber, Rin finally woke up to a slight throb in her head. Rin's eyes blearily blinked awake to recognize the view of her pen's familiar ceiling.
In a moment, her vision cleared before she slowly sat up from her mat. The previous agony she felt had faded to a dull throb. Moistening her lips, Rin looked beside her for a cup.
Her throat felt parched and scratchy.
Looking for a cup of water, Rin suddenly stopped upon detecting the sound of footsteps approaching her pen.
Walking in with a dull expression was An Sun. Seeing her awake, An Sun's eyes lit up for a brief moment before fading back to their previous darkness.
There was silence.
An Sun's frosty eyes never left Rin who merely sat upright on her mat staring back at An Sun with intense, unwavering eyes.
An Sun broke the silence with a faint cough.
"You had a fever."
"It seems so," Rin answered back with a hoarse voice.
Another round of silence.
"We currently don't have a physician with us at the moment, so you won't be able to be treated if it's serious." An Sun's voice was cold, but his brows couldn't help but wrinkle.
"That's alright, Lord An. I don't need a physician, this is just a recurrent fever that comes and goes. I assure you I'm fine."
Besides, even if she wasn't, she wouldn't want them to treat her. If they did, they would find out her true gender.
Dying from sickness would be far better than dying in the hands of the brutal commander. Rin couldn't help but sigh helplessly at her unfortunate situation.
"Lord An, about our previous discussion," Rin said with an impassive expression. "I believe I know a profitable province to trade your items to. The Jilin Province in the northeast areas has exceptional goods and wealth."
"Is that so?"
Rin nods. "Yes. But more importantly, they can grant you more power if they agree to assist you."
An Sun's eyes lightened in response to her words.
Rin clears her throat before she continues.
"Of course my Lord. But first, is it possible I could get a drink of water?"
An Sun's lips twitched.
Was he ordering him to give him water?
As much as he wanted to respond with a cold and threatening remark, An Sun paused as he recalled how Rin previously fainted. An Sun's lips tightened into a straight line.
With a dark expression, An Sun sticks his head out of the pen and orders a nearby soldier for a cup of water. Although confused, the soldier doesn't hesitate and runs off to get him water.
A few moments passed before the soldier returned with a cup and jug of water in hand. Taking it, An Sun walks forward and roughly sets the objects down beside Rin.
Rin held back a smile as she watched the scene before her. She knew from An Sun's previous expression that he must have felt guilty after she had fainted. Thus, she couldn't help but wish to take advantage of such a rare moment.
Pouring herself a cup of water, Rin patiently drank while An Sun stared at her with crossed arms. Feeling the cool liquid go smoothly down her throat caused Rin to feel relieved.
Satisfied, Rin places the cup down and looks back at An Sun with bright, glimmering eyes.
"Not many know this, but the Jilin Province has exceptional power and backing. Their army is almost with equal lengths with my grandfathers. I believe if you're able to convince them to support you, you'll be able to achieve your goal for power."