Elder Wang had no idea what was going on when the Grandelder came and asked him for a meeting. On the other hand, Elder Geng could already imagine what this was about.
When the five people finally got together in one of the rooms in the Sect Master’s palace, the one who looked the most nervous was Wu Min Huan though. Since the day his Master had gone into closed-door cultivation, things had been a little rough for him. Continuing with the restructuring of the Yun Zou Sect hadn’t been too hard because there had been things he could work with. But this time, there was nothing to fall back on.
Feeling helpless at this actually made him wonder if he was really would have been able to take on his Master’s position in the future if he was still his head disciple. Maybe that was why his Master decided to put more effort into teaching Yu Jin. Maybe he was really more suited to inherit his position and lead the sect in the future.
Even though he came to that conclusion, he couldn’t just give up right now. No, he had to continue to do this as well as he could. Never mind that three Elders were involved in this, he also felt that he still owed Nian Hong Fang. After all, he hadn’t managed to help him inquire about Ma Zhi Wu back then. And with both Elder Geng and the Grandelder being here, he was afraid that this might actually have to do with him and that whatever news they had acquired wouldn’t be anything good.
He cleared his throat and then looked at the Grandelder, afraid to face Nian Hong Fang. “Grandelder, what might be the matter?”
The Grandelder glanced at his disciple and then gave a sigh. “There’s something that we have to report. This concerns both Elder Geng’s head disciple, Ma Zhi Wu, and Elder Wang’s disciples Xiao Dong and Shao Hai. With three of our disciples being involved, I would also say that maybe somebody is going against our Yun Zou Sect. So I felt that the Sect Master should be involved. Since he is currently still in closed-door cultivation, you will have to act on his behalf, Wu Min Huan.”
Wu Min Huan tensed when he heard how serious the matter was but he still nodded. Anyway, he had no other way. His Master couldn’t be disturbed and he didn’t know how to contact Yu Jin. Even if he wanted to push this to him, there was no way to do so. “Then just report. We’ll see what we can do about it.”
The Grandelder looked at Nian Hong Fang who, in turn, took out the copies of the letter that he had made. He handed one to his Master, the two Elders, and Wu Min Huan each before he started to explain. “A few weeks ago, a messenger brought a letter from Ma Zhi Wu to me. Back then, I didn’t tell anybody because I wasn’t sure how you’d react.
“I had hoped that with this, I might be able to find out about what had happened to him. Unfortunately, there weren’t any meaningful clues to be had in the letter. I could only guess that he must’ve been imprisoned by somebody.
“As for that messenger, he didn’t wear robes that would’ve allowed me to say whether or not he was part of any organization that we know about. It was something that maybe a wandering cultivator or practitioner would wear but even that isn’t for sure. Anyway, he also could’ve put those clothes on to make sure that I would be unable to tell.
“I sent him my response with that man and then tried to follow him. On the way, I met Xiao Dong and Shao Hai who had just returned from a mission. I asked them to follow him in my stead since I was afraid that I would be more likely to be discovered than them. But since then, I haven’t heard from them.”
Elder Wang furrowed his brows. He had already thought that his disciples should have returned by now but he wouldn’t have thought that it was actually not because they hadn’t finished their previous mission but because they had gone on another errand for somebody else and that something might have happened to them. “So to speak, now not only Ma Zhi Wu is being held captive, but it could also be that Xiao Dong and Shao Hai are in the same situation?”
Nian Hong Fang nodded his head. “That is very likely. I’m sorry.”
Elder Wang sighed. “It is not your fault. You were worried about Ma Zhi Wu and wanted to use this opportunity to find out what happened. Who could have known that even the two of them together wouldn’t be able to make it through this?” He looked at the other two Elders and then turned to Wu Min Huan.
“If this was just Shao Hai, I might not be too surprised. He is … a good practitioner. His comprehension ability and talent aren’t high but he has always been hard-working. Among my disciples, I would dare to say that he is ranked somewhere along the upper-middle.
“But there was also Xiao Dong and among all the disciples I’ve ever taught, he is definitely the most talented. If I could have, I would’ve taken him into the inner sect much earlier but he had always refused because of Shao Hai. If he was also captured, then whoever has been holding Ma Zhi Wu captive has to be formidable.”
Wu Min Huan nodded. “So whoever it is, they won’t be easy to find and take care of. Was there anything else you noticed, Xiao Fang?”
Nian Hong Fang pondered. “Well, I wouldn’t say that there’s any hint about who they are but I would say that that messenger was a little strange. He was very serious and seemed as if he wouldn’t allow me to give information to anybody else. He did seem to be a little more gentle when I showed my feelings for Ma Zhi Wu though as if he took pity on me. I don’t know if that will help though.”
Wu Min Huan furrowed his brows. He had no idea what he should do with just that information. The messenger had long left. How could they ask him?
Elder Geng’s expression turned subtle though. “That messenger … You wouldn’t have seen him since then, would you?”
Nian Hong Fang shook his head. “No. That day was the only time I saw him.”
Elder Geng nodded but he seemed to be deep in thought.
Wu Min Huan couldn’t help but notice. And since there was nothing else they seemed to be able to do, he couldn’t help but ask. “Elder, is there anything you thought of?”
Elder Geng sighed. “I’m not quite sure how to say this but I feel that should this messenger return, then we might be able to make use of that. But … This still does rely on him to come back here at least once and I don’t know how likely that is if things are really being kept under wraps. Maybe I’m hoping for too much.”