Jing Yi followed the disciple who had belatedly introduced himself as Nian Hai around the cave, through the tunnels, and finally a large staircase up onto a wide ledge in the mountain that seemed like a hill in itself. The Hei Dian Sect was indeed completely different from the Yun Zou Sect. There was no clear-cut distinction between a place for the outer sect and one for the inner sect. In fact, there wasn’t even something like an inner and an outer sect.
The disciple pointed toward an estate on the other side of the chasm. “Jing He, look over there. That’s the Grandmaster’s palace.”
“Grandmaster Shen?” Jing Yi was a little taken aback. That should be where Qiu Ling was right now. Had they already found out? He couldn’t help but gaze over a little longer. Even if they found out, Qiu Ling should be alright, shouldn’t he? He was such a talented cultivator and even a practitioner too. There shouldn’t be many people that could hurt him.
Then again, it was an Elder that had taken him away and the one they had gone to see was the Hei Dian Sect’s Grandmaster, the most powerful individual in the demonic faction. Most likely even Qiu Ling’s Master, Grandmaster Zhangsun, would have difficulties defeating him. In fact, he might not even be able to defeat him. So Qiu Ling as his disciple … wouldn’t he be in grave danger if the Grandmaster attacked him?
“Eh, Jing He, what is it? You’re looking a bit pale.” The disciple grabbed his shoulder and pulled Jing Yi out of his thoughts.
“Ah, I’m sorry, senior martial brother, I … I was lost in thought for a moment.”
“You certainly have another question!” The disciple beamed. This cute junior martial brother hadn’t spoken much up until now but when he said something it was generally a question. Most likely, he just liked listening to him. Mn, he probably thinks I’m really smart. I’ll show him a bit more of my wisdom! “What do you want to know?”
“Mn, I’ve heard a bit about Grandmaster Shen. Is he really like people say?” In fact, he didn’t know anything other than that he was really strong. He just hoped Nian Hai would continue to prattle on and provide him with some useful information.
Nian Hai’s face twitched. “You mean handsome?” He finally let go of Jing Yi’s shoulder and looked at the estate with an accusing gaze. How should disciples like him ever find their respective other half when all these cute junior martial brothers only cared about the legendary Grandmaster? “I guess he is. But there’s no use in talking about that. He’s already been married for a long time now and he’s very much in love with his wife.”
“Oh?” Jing Yi perked up. This didn’t seem useful for his mission but knowing more about the Grandmaster that might be the mastermind behind this conspiracy might help in the end.
“Mn.” Nian Hai nodded.
“Then what do you know about her?”
Nian Hai perked up. Could it be Jing He wasn’t actually interested in the Grandmaster himself but just curious in general?! Then maybe there was still a chance for him. “Well … there isn’t much to say. Just like the Grandmaster, she likes to keep to herself. She’s rumored to be a beauty though and a talented cultivator. Oh, speaking about that, you might have heard about her. She was pretty famous back then before she married the Grandmaster.”
“Really? Then what’s her name?”
Jing Yi coughed. Hah? Hong Ai?! As in the missing disciple Hong Ai?!
“Heheh.” Nian Hai laughed. “Now you’re surprised, right?” He gently patted his back until Jing Yi calmed down.
“Senior martial brother, you can’t be talking about that Hong Ai, can you?”
“Naturally. There’s only this one. I guess it is pretty surprising that our Grandmaster would marry someone from the good faction. Well, it’s alright I guess. She hasn’t returned there and probably won’t do so in the future. It’s a complete win for us. Heheh.”
“Oh … yes.” Jing Yi tried to look impressed and happy but inwardly he smiled wryly. It couldn’t be that Qiu Ling had been right that they had to find out who the secret lover of the missing disciples was, could it? That was too ridiculous! A talented cultivator like Hong Ai, she certainly wouldn’t leave her sect just like that only to marry someone from the demonic faction, would she? No, that was impossible.
Jing Yi frowned. Actually, maybe it wasn’t that unthinkable. It would depend a lot on her personality. If she was like Qiu Ling … He had no doubt that his fiance would leave the Yun Zou Sect at once if he had fallen in love with someone from the demonic faction. It wasn’t important to him that he was the Grandmaster’s only disciple. He would just follow his heart. Maybe Hong Ai had done the same. “The Grandmaster must be charismatic if he is able to win over someone from the good faction so thoroughly.”
“I guess so.” Nian Hai didn’t mind talking about him anymore after he noticed that Jing Yi wasn’t interested and even felt like he should add some details so this little junior would feel that talking to him was worthwhile. “Well, he really is extremely handsome. And I guess someone like his wife would care even more about the fact that he’s such a talented cultivator.”
“Probably.” Although from what he had experienced, love wasn’t like that. Neither Qiu Ling nor he himself had ever cared about that. It was rather about the feeling the other person gave you, that feeling of being content when you were with them and restless when you weren’t.
Maybe love needed neither a handsome face nor was it measured in the strength of a cultivator or practitioner. If he remembered it now, then what he had actually fallen in love with was the way Qiu Ling honestly and directly admitted his feelings and never let go despite all his protests, silently caring for him even when he tried to push him away. In the face of this relentlessness … how could he have resisted?
Jing Yi smiled while he looked at the estate on the other side. That man … he would always find his way back to him. He probably didn’t need to be worried about him. He turned back toward Nian Hai. “Say, senior martial brother Nian, is there anything else I should see in the sect?”
Nian Hai gulped and silently rubbed his hands. “Well, that depends on which division you want to be part of in the future.”
“Ah?” Jing Yi raised his brows. He really didn’t know how to answer that. Could he just arbitrarily make that decision? That should be impossible, shouldn’t it?