The sound of swords clashing and men's shouts shattered the silence of the night.
It was an ambush!
From inside her tent, Rin heard a soldier shout: "Protect the commander!"
At that, her expression changed immediately.
Rin darted her eyes around the tent and found a dagger by a pillow. A sharp flash flitted across her eyes as she picked up the weapon and her cloak before quickly rushing out of the tent.
The harsh wind blew, but it was not as cold as the chilling scene before her as the acrid smell of blood permeated the air.
Rin's chilling gaze scanned the battlefield, her sight locked onto the blood-stained corpses of Tuhan soldiers sprawled on the ground.
Their eyes were immobile as their limbs, garish scarlet blood flowing over the frosted white ground.
Dead. They were all dead.
These men…though their time was brief, she regarded them as her companions.
Rin's eyes flared, the murderous malice flowed unrestrained. Preoccupied with her raging thoughts, Rin suddenly felt a hand grab her collar, knocking her to the snow ground.
Rin twists her head to keep her balance and elbows her attacker in the stomach. In return, the man kicks her hard in the leg, making it go numb and grabs the front of her robe to pull her towards him.
Faced with a black-masked man, Rin's eyes narrowed and she reached for the dagger in her pocket. Before she had the chance to counterattack, the man had already fallen limply onto the ground.
"Right now wouldn't be the wisest time to space out. Don't you agree, little strategist?"
Rin's eyes blinked. She looked up and found Manchu staring down at her. He pushes his hair soaked from the snow out of his clear, blue eyes. Rin glanced at the bloodied sword in his hand and was shocked by his unexpected action.
He saved her.
Manchu quickly bent down to pick up the sword from the corpse below him and handed it to her.
"This will be better to use than that little toothpick you have there."
Rin stared at the sword expressionlessly. Manchu's brows furrowed slightly as he gave her a skeptical look.
"Do you know how to use it?"
He had only seen her wield a bow, never a sword. Seeing the large sword in the hands of the frail youth, he was doubtful.
The image looked incredibly wrong.
Rin gripped the hilt of the sword in her hands and nodded. A thought suddenly surfaced through her mind, and she frowned.
"Where's Lord An?"
Manchu opened his mouth to speak, but at that moment, as if answering her question, the two heard the sounds of metal clashing together.
Rin shifted her gaze and saw An Sun diving his sword into a man's now limp body. His gaze was ruthless with an exceptionally dangerous aura, creating an oppressive pressure on the battlefield as he fought from left to right.
Manchu and Rin stared at the ruthless man with dull expressions. An Sun's cold murderous eyes spoke for himself.
He seemed fine.
At that moment, Rin marked the blood seeping from An Sun's shoulder and quickly remembered the man was still recuperating from an injury. With this thought, her frown deepened.
Manchu scowled as well, "That bastard, he's injured yet dares to fight so mercilessly."
The grip on her sword tightened, the biting cold from her eyes was quickly felt by Manchu who had noticed the youth's aura had turned chilly. Manchu's lips curled into a helpless, intrigued smile.
"While I support the troops, I'm relying on you to protect Sun."
Rin nodded calmly. "Yes."
Manchu smirked. "Then let's go save him, shall we?"
The moment the words left his mouth, the two advanced toward the man in the center of the battlefield.
An Sun evaded to the side in one fluid motion. His enemy swiveled in his direction, cornering him toward the cliff.
The look in his menacing eyes was a blazing red as he thrust his sword forward, only to be met by An Sun's sword. Both swords met in the air with a resounding 'clang'.
An Sun sneered, "I have to say I'm a little offended. Is this the best force my brother could send to kill me?"
The man's eyes flashed for a brief moment before his lips curled up mockingly. Without replying, he backed away and advanced toward An Sun again.
An Sun's eyes flashed a trace of boredom at his reaction. He sighed, but a black glow burned in his chilling eyes.
An Sun swung his sword toward the man and coldly watched as the dismembered head sailed in a sleek arc through the air. The fresh, warm blood splattered onto the white ground.
A sudden ache throbbed in his shoulder, An Sun's brows furrowed in discomfort. He glanced down at the wound on his shoulder and frowned - it seemed to have reopened.
However, without even a chance to recover, another set of men charged toward him. An Sun clicked his tongue and flicked the wet blood off his sword.
"So impatient." He lowly grumbled.
When An Sun was about to advance, he stopped in his tracks at the sudden appearance of a petite figure in blue robes speeding past him.
At that moment, the figure's blade rushed to the assailants, blood spurting into the ground and heads rolled off their bodies down the mountain cliff.
The speed was too fast, no one could react.
Watching the figure in fronts agile, smooth movements, An Sun's eyes blinked with surprise and relief.
The youth's dark hair was messily scattered and clung to his pale, sweaty, palm-sized face, a faint rosy color on his cheeks.
Rin breathed heavily, her clean gentile voice entering his ears. "Are you all right, Lord An?"
An Sun stood standing, an immovable mountain, as he raised an eyebrow at the youth.
"You shouldn't be worrying about me…"
An Sun's eyes narrowed. He raised his sword toward her and plunged it forward.
"Worry about yourself." An Sun looked down at the youth and retracted his sword from the man behind her.
Rin's eyes flickered slightly, a familiar fragrance lingered near her nose, coupled with the foul scent of blood.
"Thank you," Rin said as she slowly withdrew her eyes, the icy gaze sweeping over the group of enemies approaching them.
With her back faced up against An Sun, Rin smoothly raised her sword and cut through them.
"Lord An, you're still wounded, please leave the remaining men to Sir Manchu, the troops and I. We can hold them off while you grab your horse and escape."
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An Sun's eyes were dreadfully cold, and he laughed mockingly.
"Escape? Don't give me that crap."
Rin felt the heat of his broad back press against hers before he pushed away. The moonlight ran a cold gleam down his sword as he held it horizontally in front. A maniacal smile appeared on his face as he gripped it tightly, ready for the incoming enemy.
An Sun spun his sword with rapid speed, blood splattering across his face before he coldly exclaimed: "The only thing I hate more in this world, is a man who abandons his comrades. Weaponless or injured, I will never be the type of scum to abandon his men for my own sake."
An Sun's face was veiled in warm blood, bestowing a devilish look on the man's handsome face.
"If I have the ability, then I promise to protect you until the end. So, don't you dare look down on me Bai Lan and think I'd leave you all here to fight alone! We're accomplices, so rely on me!"
Upon heeding those words spoken by An Sun, Rin's breath hitched for a moment and her lashes trembled. She could hear the intensity in his tone and the emotion behind his words.
Rin's eyes shifted to look at An Sun. The handsome and cold face was splattered with blood, but it had only evoked his appealing, distinctive features. Black, satin hair draped down his back and danced beautifully behind him through the cold winds.
At that moment An Sun was a sinful, bloodthirsty god. The tyrannical Lord and Commander An.
Rin's eyes reflected a trace of helplessness. She had wanted to say something, but she found herself unable to.
Rin eyes flashed. Out of the corner of her eyes, she perceived a shadow on the other side of the mountain's cliff, hidden within a tree.
At that moment, before she could stop herself, Rin felt her body move. With immense force, she grasped An Sun's body and swerved him around. Pain hits, and black edges appear in her vision.
An Sun's brows furrowed. Before he had the chance to understand the situation, he had only sensed a fragrant wind hitting him, followed by a soft, warm body pressing against his.
An Sun immediately stiffened and glanced down at the youth in his arms. The long eyelashes pressed against bright emerald eyes drooped.
An Sun raised a brow. "What's wrong? Are you tired already?"
The youth's body was fragile, it wouldn't be a surprise if he was tired after a few fights.
Rin looked up and saw the breathless An Sun, the bloodstains on his flawless skin shone beneath the sky. Dark red. Such a frightening color, yet it looked so beautiful on the man before her.
Slowly, the sun began to rise, but the air was still cold.
It was a pity it couldn't be warmer. She figured it would be very warm and beautiful when the sun rose in the spring.
Through the coldest of winters and sunniest of summers, the chrysanthemums will still bloom strongly.
Rin's voice had turned light and soft, her breathing slowed, and her slightly narrowed eyes turned tender. "Since the past, I have believed in fate and destiny. After I met you for a moment...for a brief moment, I was able to break free from my own."
An Sun's brows creased. He shifted his gaze briefly to the side to see the enemies taken care of by his troops and Manchu. Afterward, he looked back down at Rin and gently patted her back.
"Speaking about such things at a time like this, huh?" An Sun sighed. "But things like fate and destiny...you don't need to follow it. Only you can decide it."
Rin's eyes widened slightly before softening. She looked at his faint, calm expression and inexplicably felt much more at peace. Rin laughed mockingly to herself.
To decide one's fate, it seemed she finally chose it.
To give her life for this man - she had no regrets. This was enough for her.
An Sun felt the youth holding onto him, slowly breaking away from his body, stumbling backward. The porcelain face against the rising sun was a breathtaking kind of pure beauty.
Suddenly she smiled. In the cold, bitter snow, it was as warm as blossoming flowers. "To trust in someone like me, thank you. I know, someday you will become a noble leader, An Sun."
An Sun's eyes narrowed and his frown deepened.
"Why are you suddenly..."
An Sun froze. At that moment, he felt the hand he used to pat her back was slightly wet and raised it forward.
It was full of blood.
An Sun's heart shook just a bit and he quickly glanced back up at Rin to see her still smiling. He stood in awe as if his body did not belong to him. Under the beautiful golden dusk, she was a sight to behold.
There was not a trace of fear nor panic in those bright, emerald eyes.
Rin found her body was unable to hold up as the arrow pierced through her back throbbed. An invisible thread tugs her toward sleep, but she wants to be awake.
She had been struggling to endure, but a flash of darkness enveloped her vision, her figure stumbling backward.
An Sun's pupils immediately shrunk.
"No! Bai Lan!"
Without any hesitation, An Sun immediately rushed to her side, he stretched his arm out to catch her. His rough fingers softly grazed her cold fingertips, but he felt the soft touch slip away, leaving behind a cold wind.
The small figure of the youth fell from the cliff and vanished into the white, cold mist.
As he watched Rin fall, his mind went blank.
"Bai Lan!" He roared.
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