Qiu Ling followed Elder Shan to the direction of the palace he had seen when he came to get the fruit of the Beguiling Night Tree last year. He didn’t forget to turn around every few steps of the way to look at the building where his beloved was staying.
Ah, he loathed to part with him! He really, really wanted to return right now. Even if they couldn’t continue what they had started to do, it would still be better than having to go and meet some strange guy all on his own while his poor beloved had to stay behind. Mn, Jing He was most likely very depressed right now …
That was what Qiu Ling thought when he reached the palace. Jing Yi was preoccupied with a completely different matter though.
As soon as he had closed the door behind Qiu Ling he had winced and hurriedly clasped a hand over his mouth before he could make any sound. He had suddenly realized that the embarrassment of having someone know about what they had done wasn’t the worst. No, the worst was that he might have already given their identities away.
“Stupid!” He cursed himself as soon as he heard Qiu Ling and the Elder leave. Leaning against the door, he finally slid down to the ground.
He had actually blurted out Qiu Ling’s real name. That Elder had certainly heard and with Qiu Ling’s status in the Yun Zou Sect, it was more than likely that they knew about him. It was only a question of time until they found out that this Qiu Ling and that one were the same.
Jing Yi covered his face with his hands. The Sect Master shouldn’t have put his trust in him. He had already messed up on the first day after arriving. How much worse could a spy be?
It wouldn’t be of any use if he only sat there and felt sorry for himself though. He had to do something! Qiu Ling had just gone with the Elder and maybe they wouldn’t figure it out immediately. He might have at least a few days.
He nodded, stood up, and smoothed out his robes. Yes, he had to hurry up. This might have been a mission that was supposed to take a long time but now that wasn’t possible. He had to be faster. No matter how much he found out, a little was still better than nothing. Maybe it could at least help another person do a better job after they had to switch.
Jing Yi opened the door and left the building, his gaze already wandering about. He felt like the Hei Dian Sect was confusing. Back in the Yun Zou Sect, the outer sect was situated in the valley while the inner sect was distributed on the different peaks. Everything was clearly separated and outer sect disciples couldn’t even enter the inner sect. Here … he really couldn’t tell what was what. There were huts and stone buildings in the cave but there were also some tunnels leading deeper into the mountain.
Where should he start with his mission? And which part of the mission was the most important? Most likely finding the missing disciples. If they could take them back to the sect, then these two might be able to tell them about the plans of the demonic faction or at least provide some clues.
Furthermore, it would probably take a lot of time to unravel the plot behind all of this. That wasn’t something that could be achieved in a few days. Finding the disciples was easier in comparison. Especially since he had at least some clues he could start working with. Thankfully, the Sect Master had sent someone after them to hand them a jade slip with information on the missing disciples, their original sects, and the Hei Dian Sect. That should be enough to find them.
Jing Yi made his way through the cave and looked around. He observed the disciples but none of them looked like the two missing women. Well, it probably would have been strange to just happen upon them on his first day. No, he needed to utilize what he knew.
The disciple that had gone missing first, Hong Ai, should be quite problematic to find since it had been many years since then. She had already attained a high level in her cultivation so she should still look the same but who knew if she hadn’t already assimilated into the Hei Dian Sect or even died?
Her younger sister, Hong Bao, had only vanished in the past year. That was still a lot of time but should have left some clues. Now, there were two possibilities: Either she was imprisoned somewhere or she had become a disciple of the sect.
Considering the information in the jade slip, the second possibility should be unlikely since she had had a high status in the Chun Feng Sect where she came from. She would have no reason to betray them. But then again, it was also possible that she had been a spy in the first place and had just returned to the Hei Dian Sect after she had accomplished her mission.
Jing Yi pondered and finally decided to make sure she wasn’t one of the disciples. If he could eliminate that possibility, then it should also be unlikely that her older sister had become one. Then, he could start to search for clues in regards to prisoners of the Hei Dian Sect.
Jing Yi had a look around and finally approached a young man in a dark gray robe. He knew nothing for now but since Qiu Ling wasn’t here he had to try to get something out of the people around him. He reached out and tentatively tapped the disciple’s shoulder. “Senior —”
The disciple swiveled around with a ferocious glare that made Jing Yi jump back a few steps and retract his hand. As soon as the disciple saw him, his gaze softened though.
He gave Jing Yi a once-over and smiled. “Ah, I’m sorry. I thought some rascal was trying to play a trick on me.” He actually regretted his initial reaction a bit. This was actually a cute junior martial brother. How lucky! He couldn’t blow his chances. “Was there something you wanted to ask?”
“Oh …” Jing Yi took a deep breath to calm down and nodded. “Well, I don’t want to bother you but … I only arrived here yesterday and nobody explained anything, so I’m a little lost now. Would you mind telling me where I should go?”
The disciple beamed. “Naturally!” He stepped forward and took Jing Yi’s hand. “What’s your name, junior?”
“Jing … Jing He.”
“Mn, Jing He. What a nice name. Then come on. Big brother will make sure you don’t run into problems!”
Jing Yi followed him and the disciple excitedly started to show him around. He wouldn’t have expected such an enthusiastic response but after spending so much time with Qiu Ling he had a vague idea what was going on here.
It seemed … being a spy was much easier when you had a cute face.