Hong Bao had a one-track mind. If there was a task to fulfill, she would fulfill that task. If there was something that distracted her … she would be distracted until the distraction was gone.
This time around, that wasn’t likely to happen with said distraction being her own family. Thus, it was no wonder that the task Hong Bao had been given by her Master wasn’t really accomplished and the people at the Chun Feng Sect didn’t hear of her in that time either.
Time passed by and soon, the consequences of her actions came to bring about a change in the fate of quite a few other people.
At this moment, the year that Qiu Ling and Jing Yi had been given to travel outside had almost gone by and only two more weeks were left. Jing Yi had originally wanted to start traveling back already but Qiu Ling insisted to stay out for as long as they were allowed to. With his promise of just flying back together, Jing Yi had finally relented, leaving them to enjoy the last few days outside together.
On the other hand, Leng Jin Yu had returned to the Yun Zou Sect as soon as he finished matters in the Long kingdom’s capital city. He informed both Grandmaster Zhangsun and Sect Master Yuchi that Qiu Ling was out of danger and then went about his life in the Yun Zou Sect as usual, waiting for the crown prince’s reincarnation and the dragon king to return. Up until then, he did not really have a task so he cultivated on his own, spent some more time making talismans, and did whatever Yuchi Bing Xia asked of him in regards to the sect.
It seemed like it had been a quiet year but looking more closely, it was hard to ignore the undercurrents.
The first sign of things shifting had already occurred long before that: When the disciples that had originally left with Leng Jin Yu — or rather with Yu Jin as they knew him — returned, Qiguan Cheng Da had brought the Amethyst Lightning Pill with him that he had ‘found’ on their mission.
Some might suspect that he was lying but since nobody could prove it and the disciples had been promised that they could choose three items from the things they found, nobody could deny him this.
When he finally took it, he was promoted from an outer sect disciple with minor spirit veins to one with a heavenly spirit vein and — as luck would have it — he was even blessed with the ice spirit vein, one of the extremely rare mutations of the water spirit vein. With that, the sect naturally wouldn’t let him stay in the outer sect and he was made into an inner sect disciple.
This news good for him and one more promising disciple was naturally good for the Yun Zou Sect as well since it would raise their overall strength and make them more competitive which would ultimately lead to making more people with good aptitude willing to join them.
Unfortunately, this also made the other sects keep a wary eye on them. It would only be a question of time until they tried to somehow make up for this.
Well, the Yun Zou Sect didn’t have much time to care about that and had to leave this worry for this future. This was because shortly after the news spreading outside, a special guest arrived at their gates and asked to meet their Sect Master.
Yuchi Bing Xia smiled at the man that had come over and poured him a cup of tea. Inside, he felt wary though. That man wouldn’t come over personally and without a prior appointment if it wasn’t of utmost importance and urgency.
Yuchi Bing Xia lightly coughed. “Sect Master Xian, you probably still prefer to get to the point right away. So let me just ask: What brought you here today?”
The man frowned and pressed his lips together. “Some news that can’t easily be shared but our Chun Feng Sect needs help with this. I couldn’t think of anyone besides you that I can trust with this.”
“That sounds grave.”
“It is. You don’t know but six years ago I took in a young woman. My disciple Liu Cheng had brought her back and asked me to let her stay for a while. The girl was willing to join the sect and was really hard-working. I never regretted taking her in.” He fell silent for a moment and picked up the cup of tea. “Some months ago, that girl vanished.
“We still haven’t been able to locate her. There aren’t any valuable leads either. We only know that a few days prior to her disappearance a man was asking to see her. We only found out because the message that was intended for her somehow ended up with my disciple Liu Cheng.”
He shook his head and took a sip of the tea before putting the cup down again. “I know you might think she has just run away. But I’m certain that that isn’t the case. It was obvious that she liked Liu Cheng and he liked her back. She wouldn’t have run away with another man just like that.”
Yuchi Bing Xia was a little lost. “But you still believe that this has to do with that man?”
Sect Master Xian nodded. “Mn. The thing that worries me most is that girl’s identity. She’s called Hong Bao.”
“Hong Bao?” Yuchi Bing Xia repeated the name but couldn’t pinpoint what Sect Master Xian was trying to tell him. He couldn’t remember anyone by that name
“She is the younger sister of Hong Ai the genius cultivator of the Tian Yu Sect that vanished back then. We are afraid … that this might not be unrelated.”