While the Elders discussed inside, things were also proceeding on the outside. When the five disciples left the courtyard, all of them kept quiet. Even Kui Min who glanced at Mei Chao Bing and Yun Bei Fen several times and looked as if she wanted to say something, finally kept quiet. She somehow felt that it wouldn’t be good. She didn’t quite know why but she’d rather not give it a try.
After walking for a bit, Gongsun Chen who had been walking in the front stopped. He stared ahead as if there was something there. The others looked over but nothing could be seen.
Yun Bei Fen and Kui Min exchanged an astonished look before glancing up at Mei Chao Bing. Yun Bei Fen wanted to tug at his sleeve to ask but Mei Chao Bing was looking at Gongsun Chen as if waiting for something. Yun Bei Fen’s hand that had already reached out halfway was slowly retracted. Maybe … it would be better if he waited for a bit.
Mei Chao Bing sighed. “If you have something to say, just say it.”
Gongsun Chen turned around, his brows tightly furrowed. “I don’t even know what to say. Mei Chao Bing, it’s not that I don’t understand where you’re coming from. But if you want somebody’s trust, then you also have to trust them in return.”
“You don’t. If you did, you would have told us about the array. But you did not. Yesterday, I would have understood. You first wanted to see how things would work out. You didn’t know us, after all. It’s been years since we saw each other. There is no way you could be so straightforward after everything you went through. But after observing for a day how we treated you, you still didn’t think it would be good to mention it? In fact, not even today when you brought the array up did you tell us the whole truth, you let us go to the Elders without knowing anything. And that’s not even the worst.
“Tell me, today, you refuse to tell us about the array because you’re afraid of our reaction. Tomorrow, what will it be? Will you also keep quiet when you notice an ambush close by? Will you just quietly try to take care of it again and hope that it works out well and does not end in a disaster such as today?”
Mei Chao Bing lowered his head. “I guess there is nothing I can say.” He sighed. Gongsun Chen wasn’t wrong. He couldn’t have expected that something like this would happen but he had still put the others at risk. After all, this was the border region, a place where the demonic practitioners were running rampant. His refusal to be open about his findings had enabled Yang Wu Huang’s ploy and might have enabled the demonic practitioners to do something as well. That … truly was his fault.
Yun Bei Fen looked at his lover’s downcast expression and finally couldn’t help but reach out, rubbing his arm. “I … I trust you. I also think that you trust me.” Which was a bit strange because he felt that he wasn’t as trustworthy as senior martial brother Gongsun. He couldn’t do a lot of things and was actually a burden but senior martial brother Mei still didn’t doubt him. He really was such a good person!
Mei Chao Bing looked at him and couldn’t help but pull him into his arms, closing his eyes, and taking a deep breath. Indeed. Yun Bei Fen was … the only person he really trusted. Other than him … Although he did feel that Gongsun Chen and the others were a bit more trustworthy than the others, he still couldn’t bring himself to trust them completely. He only felt that it might be possible in the future.
In front, Gongsun Chen sighed and shook his head. “Whatever. We likely won’t have to move out until the Elders have finished their investigation. Take your time to think it through.” With that, he turned around and left.
Yuan Lei looked at the other three people and finally nodded, rushing after him. When he almost caught up to him and called out to him. “Gongsun Chen! Wait.”
Gongsun Chen stopped and looked back, his brows still drawn together. The two of them had worked together for a longer time and had gotten along well so he was more familiar with him than he was with Kui Min. “What?”
“Don’t you think you’re too hard on him?”
“Do you feel that he didn’t put us into danger?”
“Even if he did, he warned Kui Min when he noticed that things went wrong and then did everything to help. And he wasn’t the one who deactivated the array and made this happen. That was still …” He shook his head. They didn’t know yet if it was Yang Wu Huang so he could hardly say that out loud. “Anyway, do you really feel that it’s a wonder he is like this?”
“Of course not. I can also see that the past few years weren’t easy for him. Naturally, he’ll have some reservations about working with us. But if it puts the three of us into danger, then can I just ignore it?”
Yuan Lei patted his shoulder and pulled him along, slowly going back to the courtyard where they were staying. “It’s not just that though, is it? The past years might not have been good for him but he was in closed-door cultivation for a long time. Even if he noticed some of the animosity towards him, it wouldn’t influence him to this degree.”
“His Master betrayed the sect. And him. The person he likely trusted the most. Do you really think it’s easy for him to open up to anyone ever again? Regardless of what the others say, from what I know, Mei Chao Bing was always a good senior martial brother. He helped the disciples that asked for help if he could.
“It’s just that he seemed a bit more distant because Elder Feng always made him train or go on missions or something else. He had hardly time to associate with the rest. But if he was there, he never once rejected if somebody asked for guidance.
“He grew up with that kind of strict person watching over him but still gave it his all in the sect. And then … that person betrayed everyone. He must feel completely hopeless. Thinking of that, I just can’t fault him for this behavior.”