In one of the palaces atop the peaks of the Yun Zou Sect, the Sect Master Yuchi Bing Xia rubbed his temple while his brush hovered over a ledger. Ah, the recruitment of new disciples had once again sorely diminished their funds. Maybe they should do it like the other sects and turn more children away. Those with minor or even full spirit veins didn’t add much strength to the sect anyway. Unfortunately, they were the ones that took up the most missions and got them the majority of their resources. Those talents with heavenly or paired spirit veins wouldn’t even bother to look for missions and only take part if their Masters forced them.
“We should send somebody to inquire after new missions. The funds are too low again. If things continue like this …” He sighed and continued to note down their expenses. Ah, soon enough he’d be asked for even more resources for the new disciples of high aptitude. With all of that … “Would you take care of the matter with the missions?”
He didn’t get an answer.
Yuchi Bing Xia raised his brows and turned to the side where his head disciple was sitting and staring off into space. “Min Huan?”
The response once again failed to appear.
“Min Huan.” Yuchi Bing Xia put the brush down and turned to his disciple. Come to think of it, he hadn’t looked too happy when he came back from his latest mission. “Did something go wrong when you were supervising the recruitment in the capital?”
Wu Min Huan startled out of his thoughts. “Huh? What did you say, Master?”
Yuchi Bing Xia sighed again. “You really were somewhere else with your thoughts. I asked if something happened in the capital. You’re not your usual self.”
Wu Min Huan straightened up and gave a wry smile. “I’m sorry, Master. You have so much to do right now and I …”
“Ah, don’t sweat it. The calculations won’t run away.” He decisively closed the ledger and pushed it to the side as if he had all the time in the world to work on it. “How about having a cup of tea while you tell me about it?”
Wu Min Huan nodded and went to pick up the tea set. He poured both of them a cup and the smell of herbs wafted through the air, calming him down. He took a deep breath and smiled. “Actually, it’s nothing much. I just couldn’t help but wonder about fate for a moment.”
“I guess there was a reason that prompted you to do so?”
Wu Min Huan nodded. “There was a child in the capital. He approached me, talking about how heroes had to wear white robes and how he also wanted to be a hero and his father had been one …”
“That sounds like a very nice encounter.”
“It was! And then when we tested for the children’s spirit veins, he even showed to have some aptitude! Actually …” Wu Min Huan sighed. “Actually, I was considering if … maybe I’d be ready to take in a disciple.”
Yuchi Bing Xia smiled. “I wouldn’t mind if you did. You’re conscientious and patient, two of the most important qualities as a Master. Teaching a disciple or two would also be a new experience for you. I think it’s a great idea.”
“So you also think so.” Wu Min Huan sighed. “The problem is that when we came back to the sect and Elder Chu did the detailed test, the boy turned out to have full spirit veins. That’s not really the type of child I can take as my disciple, is it?”
“Ah.” Yuchi Bing Xia nodded and picked up his teacup. “I see. So that’s what you meant with fate.”
“Mn. It’s a pity.”
“Have you thought about taking in somebody else?”
Wu Min Huan shook his head. “I don’t have much of an impression of the other children. Well, maybe it’s just not time yet.” He sighed and stared into his cup of tea. Ah, it really was a pity. Jing Yi was such a cute child. If he took in a disciple, then he wanted it to be someone as obedient as him.
Yuchi Bing Xia reached over and patted his disciple’s shoulder. “You’ll get your chance. For now … how about doing something fun?”
Wu Min Huan raised his brows. “Something fun? Like what?”
“Like …” Yuchi Bing Xia picked up the ledger and waved it in the air. “Going out and acquiring some missions. We could pretend to be simple outer sect disciples. That’ll take your mind off the problem and will help me with solving the one I have. That’s killing two birds with one stone.”
Wu Min Huan chuckled. “Could it be that you just want to get out of your study for a while?”
Yuchi Bing Xia put his cup down with a smile. “My disciple knows me too well. So do you want to give it a try? Even though it’s a little for my own sake, I still think my argumentation was sound.”
“Mn. The sect needs more funds and … going out for a while will do me good. Master is right as always.”
“Let’s go then.” Yuchi Bing Xia got up and smoothed out the sleeves of his white robe.
“I’ll look for the outer sect robes.”
Yuchi Bing Xia waved the suggestion away. “No need, no need. Your Master is well prepared.” He walked over to a chest and pulled out two robes, throwing one of them at Wu Min Huan.
His disciple shook his head in exasperation. Well, why had he expected anything different? His Master might do his tasks conscientiously but he also loved to have fun every now and then. Dressing up and sneaking out wasn’t unexpected.
Yuchi Bing Xia raised his brows. “What? You wouldn’t be that surprised that your Master is well-prepared for all occasions, would you?”
Wu Min Huan shook his head once again. “How could I? Master has always proven to anticipate everything.”
“Is that so? Then you should make use of it and hurry up.” He went to change his robe and even did his hair in another style to make sure he wouldn’t be recognized as easily. Ah, not that he expected to be recognized by anyone. He wasn’t that high-profile, after all.
Finally, the disciple-Master pair left the Yun Zou Sect together with none the wiser, setting out for the cities and villages along the Long mountain range.