At the same time, Wu Min Huan had already taken Yu Jin to his Master’s palace to ask for Yuchi Bing Xia’s advice regarding the mission in the Long mountain range. Stepping into the study of his Master, he cupped his fists and bowed. “Master.”
Yuchi Bing Xia looked up from a heap of documents with tired eyes and couldn’t help but raise his brows. “Min Huan? You’re already back?” He turned to look at Yu Jin and smiled. “You’re also back, Yu Jin. How was it?”
Yu Jin kept quiet as usual but Wu Min Huan gave a strained smile. “Unfortunately, it didn’t go too well. We went to look at the village and the surroundings but the demonic practitioners had already left. All the houses had been left empty. We then went to inquire in the town to get some more information and finally found a person that seemed to be working with the local bandits. We had thought that the demonic practitioners might be tied to them because there was no activity from this bandits for the last few months in that area as far as we found out which seemed a little unusual.”
Yuchi Bing Xia put his brush aside and straightened up. “But that wasn’t the case?”
Wu Min Huan shook his head. “It wasn’t. In fact, when we arrived at the bandits’ hideout, we found out that it had been empty for a long time. We don’t know what happened to them. The person from the town didn’t seem to know either or the man wouldn’t have gone to look for them.
“We met two children there though who wanted to come to our Yun Zou Sect but got lost on the way here. They had stopped at the cave where the hideout was located for a while but hadn’t seen the bandits either. Instead, they had met with the two missing …” His lips twitched. He couldn’t call them children, could he? “He met with the two people that had gone missing. As it turned out, they weren’t children as we had thought but rather young men and they eloped together.”
Yuchi Bing Xia’s brows raised. “Eloped?” He certainly hadn’t expected that. “Is there a chance that this is a ploy by the demonic practitioners?”
Wu Min Huan could only raise his brows. “How so?”
Yuchi Bing Xia sighed. “The last time we went there, we were wearing the robes of the Yun Zou Sect. Even though we pretended to be outer sect disciples, it doesn’t change the fact that they have to suppose that we might report our findings to the sect. The fact that they left the village without leaving any clues means that they were prepared for exactly that case. Can it be that they sent two of the younger disciples to tell that story to you? On one hand, they would make sure that we don’t go and search for the missing children any longer and, on the other hand, they would even be able to place two spies in our sect if you bring them back.”
Wu Min Huan’s eyes widened. He hadn’t thought of that at all! “I’m sorry, Master!” He cupped his fists again and bowed. “We actually brought these children back. I brought them over to Elder Chu to see if they had spirit veins.”
Yuchi Bing Xia sighed. “Well, it is just an idea. It could also be that their story is true. Even if it isn’t, we should still take these children in. We’ll just have to keep an eye on them and see if something strange happens. If there are any clues that they are indeed of a demonic sect, then we might even be able to use that to our advantage.”
Wu Min Huan nodded. “True. For now, we’ve left the others to search for the demonic practitioners in the Long mountain range. We’ll see if we can find their new hideout somewhere around there.”
Yuchi Bing Xia nodded. “Yes, that’s a good idea.”
“Is there something else we should think of?”
Yuchi Bing Xia pondered and couldn’t help but glance at Yu Jin. This child … He didn’t look too well. “Well, you might not have enough people to search the whole mountain range. Then again, you can also concentrate on places that would be likely hideouts. Smaller villages, caves maybe, anything that is able to house a few people. It could be that they split up for a while until they are sure that he won’t search for them any longer. That’ll make them more difficult to discover. So you’ll have to look closely to determine who is a demonic practitioner and who isn’t.”
Wu Min Huan nodded and gave a grateful smile. “Thank you, Master! You’re right. We should do that.” He turned to Yu Jin before he looked back at his Master. “Then we’ll go and help the others again.”
Yuchi Bing Xia once again looked at Yu Jin. “You can go first, Min Huan. I’d like to talk to Yu Jin for a moment.”
Wu Min Huan glanced at the other person and nodded. “Then I’ll be waiting at the foot of the mountain. We can set out together again.”
Yu Jin nodded and Wu Min Huan left, leaving his Master alone with him.
Yuchi Bing Xia looked at the youth and sighed. “I’m sorry that you didn’t manage to find them yet. That must be difficult for you to bear.”
Yu Jin glanced at him but still kept quiet. It was as if he didn’t want to say anything to this at all.
Yuchi Bing Xia got up and walked over, stopping in front of him. “You must feel terrible. I understand that. But being like this … It won’t help. I also think that your Master wouldn’t have wanted that.”
Yu Jin lowered his gaze and continued to keep quiet.
The Sect Master sighed. Ah, none of his disciples had ever been this closed-off. Could somebody tell him just how to communicate with this boy?