Mei Chao Bing lowered his gaze. He wasn’t worried about being suspected. Elder Baili trusted him and even if Elder Xing wasn’t doing the same, he was sure that he would at least be fair enough not to have him punished just based on a suspicion. Anyway, even if things turned out badly here, there was still Sect Master Zhang who didn’t seem to have any apprehensions in regard to him. He definitely wouldn’t be thrown out of the sect.
He still reached over and grabbed Yun Bei Fen’s hand, trying to calm his heart. Even though he felt assured when he thought about it rationally, his emotions were tangled. He had long stopped regarding the Teng Yong Sect as his home. In his home, he shouldn’t be shunned by everyone. So even if he was thrown out, it wouldn’t be a problem. He couldn’t be any more disappointed than he already was.
But … there was still Yun Bei Fen. If he was thrown out of the sect, then he would lose him. Well, maybe Yun Bei Fen would decide to follow him but that wasn’t what he wanted for him. Yun Bei Fen should be able to stay with his Master and those senior martial brothers he obviously loved. He shouldn’t be forced to wander alone outside without the backing of several people. It just wasn’t right. So … even if he didn’t mind it for himself, he couldn’t let it happen for Yun Bei Fen’s sake.
Mei Chao Bing took a shallow breath and then looked back up at the Elders. “There isn’t much that I can say. I indeed sensed a difference in the spiritual energy behind us. Until then, there was a … pattern to the movement of the energy. It seemed to be undulating and moving toward the center of that array.”
Next to him, Gongsun Chen’s brows slightly lifted but he didn’t say anything. The Elders just nodded their heads.
“So that pattern stopped suddenly.”
Mei Chao Bing nodded. “Yes. There were some faint traces of it still visible but it fizzled out. I felt that the likeliest explanation was that the array had somehow stopped working. As for why that could be the case …” He furrowed his brows. “It could either be that the spiritual energy had completely run out or that the array was somehow deactivated or messed with.”
“And you think that it is more likely to …”
“To be the latter. There wasn’t much spiritual energy in the area we investigated to begin with. The array had probably been working for a long time already but it hadn’t stopped yet. If it really was because the energy had been running out, then it should have been a gradual change since the energy would slowly replenish itself with time. There shouldn’t be a point where it suddenly stops completely. So I deem it likely that there was an influence from outside.”
He paused for a moment and his brows wrinkled even more. “It was strange though. We hadn’t been out for long today and had just passed that spot a short while ago. We didn’t encounter any demonic practitioners. In fact, I couldn’t sense any person close by. It does make me wonder how they managed to get behind us to deactivate the array only to reappear on the other side again to attack some of the groups. Strangely enough, some groups that weren’t close to us.”
Elder Xing’s brows furrowed. “You mean to say that the one who deactivated the array wasn’t somebody from the demonic faction but somebody from our side.”
“The Elders asked me about my thoughts. Even though it isn’t anything nice to say, those are my thoughts. I can’t help but notice that the situation is a little peculiar. I’m just afraid that there won’t be any clues to be had by now. After all, if I’m right, then the demonic practitioners will have gone to reactivate the array by now, thus tampering with the scene and making the traces left behind worthless.”
Elder Xing nodded. He couldn’t help but agree with this. “Then who do you think is the most likely suspect?”
Mei Chao Bing gave a humorless smile. “That would be me.”
The Elder’s brows raised. This was the first response he hadn’t expected. “How so?”
“I could have a motive and my cultivation base is high enough to pull it off without the others noticing. Furthermore, the only people with me at that time were Yun Bei Fen who is my lover and wouldn’t sell me out and Kui Min who I suspect to be in love with Elder Baili’s first disciple so she likely wouldn’t want to antagonize me or Yun Bei Fen either.”
Kui Min’s eyes widened. How had he figured that out?! Hadn’t she just asked about him casually?!
Elder Baili’s brows twitched. Who would have thought that that disciple of his would actually manage to get one of the women of their sect interested in him? This was really challenging his perception! He had always thought that Zhi Guan would be the last to even get a glimpse at the meaning of romance. How come now there was an admirer before his second disciple had managed to even find someone to set his eyes on?
Elder Xing couldn’t help but glance at the female disciple but then let the matter go. Who was in love with whom … it might give some insight as to why these two wouldn’t say anything even if there was something to report but he was sure that Mei Chao Bing wasn’t the perpetrator. Anyway, the Sect Master trusted Mei Chao Bing and since he trusted Zhang Guan Yu, he would follow his example.
He cleared his throat and waved. “Well, you’re the most likely suspect then. Who would be the second one?”
“That would be … Yang Wu Huang.”