Ten days earlier...
" Brothers! Finally, we are returning home." the cheerful voice of a young man evoked huge roars of happiness from the tents.
" Finally, we are going home! Young master Jun, are you telling the truth? Please don't play with us." Though the news drove them into ecstasy they could not help but make sure.
" Brothers! After the recent loss, the Yan kingdom would not dare to attack us for another ten years. Our victory is official and we are returning home!" Jun Ling raised the wine jug in his hands as he let out a hearty laugh.
Eight years! The war raged for a long period of eight years...
They had always been on the weaker side, with heavy losses. But, their General had somehow managed to remain firm and unyielding all these years. With his secret formations and qi absorbing traps, their general made the Yan kingdom cultivators pull out all the hairs from their heads.
But, things changed since the last three months. Their general's son who laid inconspicuous all the time suddenly shook the entire camp with this tactics. His ideas were so aggressive that sent shivers down their spine. His ideas were meticulously planned that even their general had a hard time in recovering from the shock caused by his son.
Laying down the plans in mind is very different from implementing them. Everyone had their own doubts on the 'very perfect plans' of the young man. But, their worries were thrown into the wind when they witnessed the bloody slaughter of their enemies.
They initially thought that their general is terrifying on the battle field, but with blood painted on his snow white robes, Jun Ling truly resembled the asura from hell, an image totally contradicting the smiling young man before them.For the first time, all the men thanked god in their hearts for being in the same army as Jun Ling.
With the blood of their enemies painting the barren land in a deep red and in the midst of the bone piercing cries, Jun Kang raised the banners of victory.
It was not an easy win for them.
Men passed away, memories both sad and those of joy etched deeply in their hearts, leaving a lasting mark on their souls. Sure, each and every soldier missed their families, but going through life and death situations for eight years forged a bond deeper than blood among them. This is the bond of 'brotherhood' which flows like blood through their veins and it is only at death that this bond can be broken.
Finally, the long war has come to an end after all these years.
The soldiers in the large tent glanced at each other and toasted each other in happiness.
After spreading the news and leaving all the men to their wild celebrations, Jun Ling made his way towards the large plum tree near the peak of the snow capped mountain.
The cool breeze glided against his cheek, making goosebumps rise on his exposed skin. Jun Ling tightened the strings of his fur coat, and strode across the snow with heavy steps. His steps came to a halt as two majestic backs came into his view.
Dressed in dark purple robes and with their hair dancing along with the wind, a man and a woman stood proudly as if nothing in the world could shake them. Their robes fluttered softly and they painted a picture so perfect and serene that makes one unwilling to disturb such harmony.
As much as Jun Ling wanted to leave the two old love birds all by themselves, he could not.
" Ahem!" the clearing sound of his throat caught their attention as the couple turned backwards.
The woman had sharp eyebrows and the piercing look in her eyes turned soft as they landed on her son. Her lips arced up slightly as she called out gently " Ling'er."
" Mother, all the brothers are excited to return home! They are getting drunk now."
" En, who would not be excited at the thought of home? Eight years, it's been ages since I last saw Ai Lan." Chen Ming Yue sighed, the regret of not being by the side of her daughter clearly evident in her voice.
" Hmm, little fellow was only five when we left her. She must be all grown up. Will she still remember us?" Though Jun Kang's voice was devoid of any emotion, the reddening hue of his eyes betrayed his inner emotions.
" Father, Mother! You must work hard to gain sister's heart." Jun Ling smiled at the two nervous parents. No matter how fierce they are on the battlefield, they are two caring parents at heart. But, that does not mean that they are good parents. Leaving a five year old girl all by herself, it was the only thing that Jun Ling could never bring himself to forgive.
The light in his eyes dimmed as he remembered how he was dismembered before his sister. It was painful,but what devastated him was the heartbroken look on the little girl's face. She never hated them for abandoning her for eight long years. Instead she tried to protect them fiercely. But,how could a gentle rabbit survive in a world filled with predators?
If people are surrounded by loneliness, they grab on to the first straw of love. The foolish girl believed that the prince loved her, where the reality is cruel as he used her for bringing down the Jun family.
It was because of their negligence that his little sister lived such a pitiful fate in her last life. Now that he is reborn he would never allow the happenings of past to repeat again.
Then again, his sister also seems to be the same as him. Reborn, like a Phoenix rising from the ashes.
He confirmed his suspicions, when he saw the letter she sent to her father. For a moment, he felt bitter sweet about this revelation. Sad that she was going through the pain and happy that she is slowly turning strong.
She wanted her father to surrender the army to the emperor and he totally supported her idea. On seeing her plotting to protect them, he let out a amused and helpless chuckle. Being the supportive brother he was, he convinced his father.
The little girl had no idea that he was reborn and he was somehow looking forward to her reaction when his letter reaches her. At the thought of her reaction, his eyes twinkled with a mischievous glint.