Mei Chao Bing hadn’t intended anything with his words but the other three couldn’t help but feel awkward after he finished. Only Yun Bei Fen looked up at him and then patted his arm. “It’s only because everyone’s blind. You’re obviously such a good person. I’m sure they’ll see that as well in the future.”
Mei Chao Bing smiled and rubbed his little bunny’s head. “Mn, you’re certainly right. It’s not that I’m ungrateful. In fact, I’m very happy about today. It makes me feel that things aren’t as hopeless as I thought they were for a long time.” He sighed and glanced back at the stone desert.
Looking at the other three people, there was a faint sense of hope. Even though he had always thought that he didn’t need anybody else other than Yun Bei Fen and maybe his Master, that didn’t mean that he wanted to be alone. No, if he could have a good relationship with the others, then he would very much prefer that.
Maybe their dealings before had been too shallow so they hadn’t known him good enough to judge his character. Now, he wouldn’t have those so-called friends anymore just because he was the favorite disciple of his Master. No, now that his Master wasn’t in the picture anymore and was even the black stain on his life, he could make friends for his character alone. Wouldn’t that be better? But if he wanted that, then he’d have to be honest from the very beginning or it’d result in problems.
Mei Chao Bing furrowed his brows and finally gave a sigh. He had originally planned to go about this in another way but seeing how these three acted, he felt that he hadn’t thought far enough. Maybe it would be alright if he was just careful. Anyway, if he wanted to know, he could only take another leap of faith. Either it worked out … or he would just be with only his little bunny again. It would still be worth it.
He calmed down thinking like that and turned to look back at the others. “I’m not sure if I should say this. Just that … Everybody already knows what happened with my Master but I don’t think they want to consider that he might very well be standing on the other side this time. It could be that we’ll have some run-ins while on this mission.”
Gongsun Chen slowed down until he flew next to Mei Chao Bing and Yun Bei Fen. “You’re right about that. But don’t worry too much though. Today, Kui Min was with you. The next time around, she can also accompany you and Yun Bei Fen. That way, even if something happens, nobody will be able to blame you.”
Mei Chao Bing raised his brows. “Are you sure that’s a good idea? My cultivation base is higher than …” His lips twitched and he raised a hand. “No offense. Just … I don’t know if it wouldn’t be better to have her go with one of you.” He cursed himself inside and cleared his throat. “You’re the head of the group. You decide.”
Gongsun Chen gave a wry smile. “If not because you took your sweet time coming here, there’s no way you wouldn’t be the head of this group instead.”
Mei Chao Bing shook his head. “I doubt it. Even if you wouldn’t have anything against that, some of the people would certainly want to say something about it.”
Before Gongsun Chen could react, Yun Bei Fen gave a huff. “It’s all that Yang Wu Huang’s fault!”
Mei Chao Bing almost laughed. It seemed that his little bunny had deemed Yang Wu Huang to be the only black sheep in their Teng Yong Sect. “Well, I guess he might be one of those people but he certainly isn’t the only one. It’s not completely wrong of them either. If they have to fear that I might betray the sect, then I shouldn’t be given a task that will require the others to put all of their trust in me. It would be better to let somebody else lead the group and just let me tag along.”
Even though he wasn’t a traitor, he understood that sentiment. He also felt that the sect wouldn’t be wrong to treat him exactly that way. To be honest, he was still astonished that Sect Master Zhang had given him the task of protecting Yun Bei Fen. That was already showing him quite a lot of favor.
Gongsun Chen didn’t know what he should say. Mei Chao Bing wasn’t wrong but he wasn’t right either. In the end, he could only sigh. “Things are a little complicated. Anyway, it’s good that you said something. We can try to figure something out. Maybe we should discuss this issue with the Elders as well. Just to be on the safe side. Regardless of whether your Master is here not, it’s also an opportunity to show the others that you are responsible. Not that that’d be your task. You can’t do anything about it, can you? He just was your Master. That’s not your fault. I just … I hope it’ll help the others understand.”
Mei Chao Bing nodded. “Maybe you’re right about that. Do you want to take care of it?”
Gongsun Chen pondered and then glanced at Yun Bei Fen. “How about you talk with Yun Bei Fen’s Master? I can go and talk with Elder Xing.”
Mei Chao Bing nodded. “Alright, it’d settled then.”
Gongsun Chen nodded as well and they continued toward the town in silence, soon reaching the place where they had set off. The five of them bid farewell, heading off in different directions.
While Mei Chao Bing and Yun Bei Fen returned to the courtyard where Elder Baili was staying, Gongsun Chen did indeed go and visit Elder Xing’s courtyard, making true on the promise he had just given.
Elder Xing raised his brows when Gongsun Chen appeared in front of the door. It couldn’t be that there had been any trouble when the group was out, could it? Or had they finally found something? “Come on in. What might be the matter?”
Gongsun Chen went inside, cupped his fists and bowed. “Elder Xing, Mei Chao Bing just mentioned a matter that we thought we should be reporting. Would you have a moment to listen?”
The Elder nodded and motioned at a chair, sitting down with Gongsun Chen. “So what is this about?”
Gongsun Chen repeated what Mei Chao Bing had said about his Master likely being part of the demonic faction’s forces this time around and then furrowed his brows. “I feel that he is right about this. Since the Teng Yong Sect is on the forefront, it wouldn’t make sense for the demonic sects not to deploy Elder Feng. We should take precautions considering that. Not only to guard against whatever he might be able to do but also to protect Mei Chao Bing. He is innocent in all this. He shouldn’t take the fall just because his Master might turn up.”
Elder Xing nodded. “That is true. I’m glad to see that you’re able to see it that way, Gongsun.”
Gongsun Chen didn’t dare to accept that kind of praise. Even though he hadn’t spent much time with Mei Chao Bing today, he could also see that there was nothing bad about him. He was obviously just somebody in a very sad situation. In fact, it was a wonder that he had persisted in staying in the Teng Yong Sect and on the righteous path despite the bad treatment he had received instead of choosing the easy way out and joining the demonic faction. That truly was commendable and it said a lot about his character, rendering any slander pure nonsense in Gongsun Chen’s eyes.