The three of them stepped into the stone desert and Mei Chao Bing’s expression instantly changed. Gongsun Chen had been right. This wasn’t just a normal desert that had been formed by nature. Maybe the stones themselves were but the rest of the desert probably wasn’t. They should be forming a spirit gathering array. That type of thing … It wasn’t necessarily evil but looking at the large scale of this desert, the way it was implemented definitely was.
Mei Chao Bing glanced at Yun Bei Fen to make sure that the array wasn’t affecting him before he looked at the stones around them, trying to find some further clues. Even from up close, nothing about the stones gave anything away though.
The surface was rugged from the impact of the elements, the way they extended out of the ground also didn’t show any signs of human intervention. Even if a cultivator had used their spiritual energy to form this desert, he couldn’t imagine that they would’ve been able to create something like this. After all, human imagination was still limited. But the many forms the stones had taken were exceeding that limit.
Mei Chao Bing followed Kui Min’s lead through the desert and continued to look around. Regardless of which stone he examined, all of them gave him the same feeling: They were natural but they were somehow used for a formation.
Since he couldn’t find any more clues from the stones, Mei Chao Bing focused on the rest of the desert. The sand below their feet was fine-grained, not exactly what he had imagined. It wasn’t obvious at first glance because of those small pebbles that were mixed in but looking at it closer both didn’t seem to match too well.
Mei Chao Bing’s eyes narrowed. Could it be that something was up with that? Wasn’t it the stones that made up the array but something else instead? Maybe the array was actually below the sand?
He stopped, Yun Bei Fen immediately following suit and looking up at him questioningly.
“Kui Min, shouldn’t we be looking for clues?”
Kui Min turned around and raised her brows. “I didn’t see any. Did you notice something?”
Mei Chao Bing’s brows slightly furrowed. She hadn’t seen anything? Well, that wasn’t a wonder! They might not have been walking fast but they had still walked through the desert without stopping to take a closer look at anything. And her level wasn’t as high as his so she shouldn’t be able to extend her senses as far. Was she really able to find any clues if she looked for them like this?
He didn’t feel that he was in a position to question her behavior though. After all, Yun Bei Fen and he were the new additions to the group and his own reputation was anything but stellar. If he started to make trouble for this group, things might just get ugly again. Then the one to suffer from that would be Yun Bei Fen.
He sighed inwardly and shook his head. “No, that’s not it. I just … Gongsun Chen made it sound as if there was something special about the way you were investigating. I was wondering when you’d show us.” That should be subtle enough not to make any trouble, shouldn’t it? She could just say that now was the time or that they wanted them to wait a bit longer until they found a suitable spot.
Maybe he had been too subtle though. Kui Min shook his head. “Actually, there’s nothing special about the way we investigated so far. We’ve just been going through the area we’ve been assigned to and then looked around for clues. If you don’t see anything, it’s not a problem. I mean it’s not like those demonic cultivators would leave traces all over the place, is it?” She laughed, making Mei Chao Bing doubt whether the Elders had really made the right call to send the disciples out like this.
How many of them actually had experience with investigating anything? How many of them had even taken part in a mission before this? Had anybody bothered to check that? Normally, there was nothing wrong with taking somebody on a mission to gain experience. Wasn’t that what Yun Bei Fen was here for? It wasn’t a problem to take them along and explain.
But that would still need somebody who could explain to them. If the other disciples were just as clueless as the person that needed the experience, then nobody would learn anything. They needed somebody who could guide them. Otherwise, this whole mission would end in disaster.
They wouldn’t find out what the demonic cultivators were planning. They wouldn’t find even the simplest clues. And if they happened upon somebody from the other side, they might even get injured or die. After all, they weren’t able to look out for themselves if they didn’t understand what was going on. That was the sad truth.
He really would’ve liked to say that it was different but that was all he could glean from the current situation. Maybe he should try to talk to Elder Baili about this. If it was him, there would at least be a chance that the other would listen to him and maybe try to implement some changes for the rest of the mission. Anyway, they couldn’t go on like this.
Mei Chao Bing still forced himself to nod for the time being. “Ah, so it’s like that. Then let’s continue on. You wouldn’t mind if I used the opportunity to teach Fen’er some things, would you?” He reached out and rubbed his little bunny’s head while he said so, making his lover’s expression light up.
Kui Min looked from one person to the other and couldn’t help but feel that they were really a cute couple. It seemed if they were investigating together for a while, there would be no need to ask anybody for details. She would obviously be able to witness all herself! “No, just go ahead! It’s good if you teach him a bit. He’s still young, after all.”
Mei Chao Bing slightly raised his brows, wondering how she could say that when she obviously wasn’t any older than Yun Bei Fen. In fact, she might even be younger. But, well, then again, not everyone was as sheltered as Yun Bei Fen. So looking at it from that direction, she might be right to call him young.
Kui Min already turned back around and continued onward, still not paying too much attention to the details around them and just casually looking around as if she might magically stumble upon a clue.
Mei Chao Bing looked at Yun Bei Fen and gave him a smile. “Being on a mission is an opportunity to learn. You should use it wisely.”
Yun Bei Fen nodded earnestly. “Then what should I do?”
Mei Chao Bing nodded to the front. “Well, it would be best to do what I taught you in the forest. Try to sense the spiritual energy ahead. That way, you’ll know if there are any beasts or maybe even cultivators upfront that could be dangerous for us.”
Yun Bei Fen didn’t ask twice and did as he was told. It wasn’t that easy though. In the forest, everything had mostly stayed the same. The beasts over there hadn’t been too strong and the trees all had more or less the same amount of spiritual energy. The stone desert though … “This is such a strange place.”
Mei Chao Bing nodded. Indeed, this really was a strange place. If even Yun Bei Fen could see that, then that spoke leagues about how strange it really had to be. After all, he still wasn’t able to differentiate between the subtle nuances of spiritual strength.