The light of the day had long since ebbed and dwindled to nothing as midnight marched steadily. The air was cooler, and damper than it had been that afternoon. In the sweet rain-washed darkness, the sounds of the night grew loud in Rin's ears, even the rustling of the leaves and the whisper of the wind was thunderous.
A sliver of moonlight spilled into the room, diffusing over the girl laying on the bed. While deep asleep, Rin felt a hint of a chill. Her almond-shaped eyes blearily blinked awake. She stared absently at the window across from her, moonlight pooling through its cracks.
She needed to get up. Wash her face. Train and then start planning their attack on the An Clan.
"Rise and shine!"
To the sound of a child's voice, Rin's eyes widened. Shooting up in bed, she looked over to see a young girl sitting on the edge of the bed, staring at her. Rin was dumbstruck and unable to reply.
Rather than being alarmed by the sudden intruder in her room, what shocked her more was the little girl's appearance. Dark hair, pale skin…and dazzling emerald eyes that stared back at her.
It was her.
At the same time, the little Rin had already hopped off the bed and walked toward her.
"It seems you didn't get a good night's sleep…is it because all of your emotions are finally coming to light?" Her cute, soft voice sounded innocent, but the piercing glint in her eyes was anything but that. "Have you forgotten the reason for everything you've done? Is that why you're starting to waver?"
Rin's brows furrowed. "What are you…"
"Are you starting to doubt trusting An Sun? Trusting everyone?"
Eyes widening, Rin felt as if her throat was burning on fire.
The little Rin sighed and walked casually around the room. Her eyes would glance at objects from time to time, but she never touched anything. She just stared with an unreadable gaze. When she suddenly turned around to face Rin, the smile on her face turned cold.
"Well, that's convenient, isn't it?" Little Rin slowly walked toward her. "He thinks you trust him, so use that to your advantage. After all, from the beginning is that not what he and everyone were for? Is that not why you decided to stay by his side, because he could help you with your purpose?"
"No…" Rin could hardly speak, her words caught in her throat.
Standing in front of her, little Rin smiled and released a giggle.
"Don't fight against the truth. Use it to your advantage and then…you can finally take back the empire that belongs to us and avenge mommy."
At that moment, Rin's eyes shot open as she gasped for breath. Her cheeks were wet, and her body was bathed in a cold sweat. Her heart pounded against her chest. Rin trembled. The room was entirely dark. No light anywhere. The remnants of her nightmare still clung to her mind, haunting her.
Rin touched her perspiring forehead wearily.
"What…an unpleasant dream." She whispered.
She should probably get out of bed now. Wash her face. Train…and plan for the An Clan's attack.
For a moment, Rin stared at the bedsheets before finally getting out of bed.
"Hah!" Rin swung her sword to the side of the wooden dummy. A small dent along with the many other marks was embedded. Every time she hit the dummy; a dent was made. Deeper and deeper than the last.
Despite the burning in her lungs, she continued to strike the dummy in swift motions followed by another and another until she could no longer feel her very own breath.
[Are you saying I should fight him?]
Her mind played out the expression on An Sun's face last night. She saw it. The rage. The grief. And most of all…the disappointment. Her already pounding heart began to burn. Following the last strike, Rin slashed even harder this time. Her teeth-gritting down hard.
[Face it, you are no different from a king killing his family to stay on the throne]
On her hard face, a subtle change of emotion sparked, lighting her gaze with intense sensation. Her body hummed with burning emotions as she raised her sword with a sharp glint in her eyes, striking down with all her strength and releasing a powerful scream only she knew the meaning of.
The force and strength of her strike caused the entire dummy to collapse. A loud collision echoed within the silent training grounds, the sound echoing throughout the quiet early morning. After a few seconds, there was silence. Only the sound of heavy breathing was perceived.
Rin could feel her bangs sticking to her perspired face, hands trembling as she still grasped the sword in her hands. Sweat trickled down her face into her eyes. They stung. Her heart stung. Licking her salty lips, Rin finally looks up to see the dummy covered in deep cuts fallen on the floor.
All those deep scars. She created.
Raising her hand to wipe the drops of sweat falling down her forehead, Rin looked up at the large window revealing the dark morning sky.
There was still time to wash before everyone woke up.
After cleaning everything within the training room, Rin went to the nearby lake to wash. Ever since she came to the Tongshu province, she had bathed in the lake to avoid being seen by the other soldiers. Washing in the baths was too risky.
Rin undressed, her snowy white skin exposed to the cool morning air. Goosebumps rose on her arms. Trembling slightly, she slipped quickly into the lake. The cool water wrapped her in comfort, and she relaxed as she soaked. Rin let out a comfortable sigh of relief, and strength was slowly returning to her limbs. Cupping water into her palms, she splashed it against her sweaty face.
Drops of water hung delicately from her lashes when she opened her eyes to see her reflection within the water. A sixteen-year-old girl stared back. Rin wasn't an unmatched beauty by any means, but she looked lovely due to her rosy cheeks and bright eyes. Despite that, all Rin saw staring back at her was a stranger.
Her eyes landed on her hair, which although has grown over the last few months, was no longer than the tip of her ears. She touched it absently with a jaded expression.
Pursing her lips, Rin smacked the shimmering reflection and sank herself into the water. All sounds from the outside world muted. All thoughts gathering in her head murky. She no longer wanted to think of anything else. She just wanted to sink.
A good while later, Rin finished bathing when she noticed the sun starting to rise behind the trees. Standing up from the lake with a towel in her hand, the sound of footsteps resounded behind her and her eyes narrowed.
The moment she turned around, she was met with a familiar pair of gray eyes staring back at her, stunned. Rin's eyes widened in shock, and her entire body froze.
It was An Sun.
All of An Sun's clothes were stripped from his body beside a towel wrapping around his waist, revealing the fine lines of his body and his well-defined abdomen to Rin's eyes.
Meanwhile, An Sun looked back in a daze, his gray eyes staring at her. He watched as she clung tightly to the corner of her towel, which was only covering the most important parts of her body.
Everything else was practically bared to his gaze. The faint morning light filtering through the gauzy trees, giving her fair skin a lovely glow.
For a while, there was a prolonged moment of silence as the two stared at one another, too shocked to speak. It was only after a few minutes that Rin was able to find her voice again. A furious blush flared to life on her cheeks.
"You…" Before she could even react, the two detected the sound of footsteps and voices nearby. A group was coming their way.
"Shit," An Sun cursed through gritted teeth.
Rin barely had the time to let out a surprised gasp when An Sun dragged her behind a large rock. Just at that moment, the men they heard earlier came from behind the bushes. It was the group of men An Sun brought along with him.
"Haha, I told you I saw a lake over here!" The muscular Yin Changpu proudly stood with his hands on his hips, bare-naked.
Fan Mingli looked into the water and dipped a scrawny leg in. Immediately, his entire body shivered and he retracted his leg.
"It's cold!" He complained.
Yin Changpu snorted and slapped Fan Mingli hard on the back with a toothy grin. "Don't be such a wuss and get in!"
Fan Mingli shot him a glare while rubbing his now bright red back. The other men laughed and began shedding their clothes and jumping into the lake. Their laughter rang throughout the area, creating a harmonious atmosphere. Meanwhile, behind a large boulder settled within the lake, the atmosphere was anything but harmonious.
With their backs facing one another, An Sun and Rin gloomily listened to the men joke and shed their clothing before jumping into the lake.
They were stuck here. However, that wasn't even the worst of it. They were naked and stuck. Instantly, not just An Sun, but Rin were cursing Yin Changpu and the others for coming at such bad notice.
It's like Deja vu! Fufu~ Am I evil? Yes c:
Thank you all. Please rest well, eat well, and stay strong
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