Gongsun Chen sighed. Looking at things this way, he could understand why Mei Chao Bing was behaving in the way he did. That didn’t mean that it sat right with him though. “In the end, doesn’t that mean he is doing exactly what everyone else does? Nobody has a reason to suspect he is a traitor but everybody does because of what happened in the past. Now, you’re telling me that he suspects our sincerity because of what happened in the past? Isn’t that the very same thing?” He raked a hand through his hair and shook his head. “I don’t know. I just … I don’t like the way this played out. Things could have been different. If he had been upfront, then maybe those disciples wouldn’t have died.”
The two of them reached their courtyard while they were still deep in thought.
In the end, Yuan Lei couldn’t help but shake his head. “I can see where you’re coming from but I don’t think you’re right about that. Think about it: Everybody is suspecting Mei Chao Bing but not because of something that he did to them specifically.
“In fact, Elder Feng’s treason didn’t affect most of us. The only one who was directly affected was Elder Wu and maybe his disciples considering that they suddenly lost their Master. But everyone else? It had nothing to do with them. But they’re still treating him like that.
“On the other hand, Mei Chao Bing was betrayed in that incident as well. The one betraying him wasn’t us but compared to us, he himself was hurt. So if anybody has a right to be like this, then wouldn’t it be him?
“And about the thing that’s happening right now, it’s also not that easy to say. He thought he was doing the right thing. I also think that he was wrong with that. I do think he should have told us. But that doesn’t mean that it really would’ve been better if he did.
“Think about it: If this is really something that Yang Wu Huang did to harm him, then he would do the very same thing if it had been out in the open that Mei Chao Bing found that array. Actually, it might’ve been even easier for him. After all, everybody would know that Mei Chao Bing was the one who found the array and was one of the few people who knew where it is located. And then that very same day, when the array is announced, this kind of accident happens? Isn’t it a foregone conclusion that everyone would think he’s the traitor?”
Gongsun Chen shook his head, unwilling to believe what Yuan Lei had just said even though he couldn’t quite refute it. “It’s because precisely because this kind of thing would have screamed that he’s the traitor that we could be sure that he isn’t. Nobody would be that dumb to believe any traitor would ever do something this obvious.”
“Maybe we aren’t but obviously, a lot of the others are or maybe they’re just unwilling to suspect somebody else when there is already a possible culprit around. Haven’t you seen how they looked at him today? Honestly, I can understand him being so cautious. And actually, he hasn’t spent much time with the two of us. He was together with Yun Bei Fen and Kui Min. And looking at how Kui Min got along with that boy, it could be that she didn’t even talk much with Mei Chao Bing. He might have been insecure.”
Gongsun Chen sighed and nodded. “I don’t like to admit it but I guess you’re right after all. I was too harsh. Do you think I should … go and apologize tomorrow?”
Yuan Lei shook his head. “No. Even though it wasn’t nice for him to hear what you said today, I think he is happy that somebody is being honest with him. Taking that back … I don’t think that would be a good thing.
“And anyway, you weren’t completely wrong either. I’m just saying that we should understand where he is coming from. Not that he shouldn’t have told us. I mean there’s a difference between telling everybody and telling just us. It wouldn’t even have needed to be right when he found it. He could have gone and told the Elders first to make sure there wouldn’t be any problems and then told us today. I could have accepted that.” He shrugged his shoulders and looked at Gongsun Chen, wondering if he thought the same. After all, Gongsun Chen had been selected as the leader of their group. Normally, he should be given all the information that they found. Making exceptions …
Gongsun Chen nodded though. “I didn’t think it through well enough before. But yes, in this case, both things can be true at the same time. I hope he also thinks about this and changes at least toward us. It’s asking for too much to have him accept the others right now but in the future, it would be good if at least the five of us could trust each other. After all, if he was right and this was Yang Wu Huang’s doing, then things won’t be over that fast. If this ploy doesn’t work, that guy will try it again.”
He laughed. “Actually, I never liked Yang Wu Huang. He thinks he’s all that but, in fact, his Master is just better at fighting for resources and has fewer disciples to pour them on. Hasn’t his head disciple been in closed-door cultivation for more than a decade already?”
“Mn.” Yuan Lei nodded. “I think he is. That means Yang Wu Huang should have been the most important person to his Master for these years. If his senior martial brother came out of seclusion …”
“Indeed. I’m just afraid it’s too late to curb Yang Wu Huang’s arrogance.” Gongsun Cheng sighed. “Very well. There’s nothing we can do about that guy. We can only try to support Mei Chao Bing in the future. For now, let’s see how the Elders decide and then go from there. Anyway, Mei Chao Bing will probably think about what I said and calm down until tomorrow even if he is angry right now.”
Yuan Lei nodded and the two of them went inside, not bothering about the situation any longer. There was nothing they could do anyway.