After discussing this makeshift solution, the two Elders called in the next group and took their statements as well. If they stopped right after the first two groups had been questioned, the implications would not be in their favor. Either everybody would assume that Mei Chao Bing was indeed the traitor and the answers of both Gongsun Chen and Yang Wu Huang’s groups had shown as much, making it unnecessary to ask anybody else or Yang Wu Huang would be able to catch up on the fact that they had realized he had more to do with than he had admitted and were targeting him now.
Neither of that was in their interest so for the sake of their goal of making sure that Mei Chao Bing’s reputation wouldn’t plummet even further and convicting Yang Wu Huang for his misdeeds in the future they had to keep up with appearances.
The next group they questioned was the one that had worked on the other side of Gongsun Chen’s group, the one that was led by Xi Ju Hai.
What the disciples from her group had to say conformed to what Mei Chao Bing and the others had said: They had been notified by Gongsun Chen’s group and had then notified the group on their other side while waiting for Gongsun Chen and the others to come over. They didn’t mention Mei Chao Bing’s involvement in this at all, as if that had nothing to do with them.
Elder Xing pondered for a while but eventually brought it up. “Xi Ju Hai, when you met up with them, how did you feel Mei Chao Bing was acting?”
The disciple pondered for a moment. “Calm. In fact, he didn’t seem any different from usual. Maybe he was a little angry? He had slightly furrowed his brows.”
Elder Baili couldn’t help but raise his own brows at that. “You must’ve paid a lot of attention to him for you to notice something like this.”
Xi Ju Hai hesitated but then nodded. “I did indeed do that.” She gave no further explanation but the two Elders could already imagine why she had done so. Well, her personal affairs were none of their concern if it didn’t mean that she had anything to do with what happened to that array.
“Then what about the other disciples of the group? Did you notice anything about them?”
Xi Ju Hai shook her head. “I didn’t pay attention to that.”
The Elders exchanged a glance and already wanted to tell them that they should leave when one of the other disciples piped up.
“I paid attention to that junior martial sister Kui. She seemed very nervous.”
Elder Baili and Elder Xing nodded. “So it was like that.”
“Well, I don’t think we have any further questions for you. Please call in the group that you notified next.”
The disciples nodded and then left, doing as they had been told. The two Elders asked all of the groups one by one, making sure whether any of them had noticed anything. Unfortunately, most of the disciples had panicked when it happened. That was also the reason why some of them had not stuck together and instead been separated, making them easier prey for the demonic practitioners.
The ones who had been in the worst condition had been the groups in the middle. There had been some delay in the notification they got but they were still rather close to the place where it happened so they were the ones who fell prey to the attack of the demonic practitioners the most easily.
The groups further outside had been lucky in so far that even though they were further away and there were some more people the message needed to be spread to before it reached them, they were also too far away from where the demonic practitioners started out to be caught by them.
The ones who had been the most collected had been the groups in the middle that were close to the one led by Gongsun Chen. They had been informed early and as luck would have it, they were also the groups with some of the strongest disciples. With such a person around, the disciples naturally felt more secure and wouldn’t panic as easily.
Coming up with such a revelation, Elder Baili and Elder Xing exchanged a glance.
“It seems that we’ll have to change the group up anyway even if that thing with Yang Wu Huang wouldn’t have happened.”
Baili Chao nodded at that. “That was our oversight. We only thought off where there would likely be more clues or sightings of the demonic practitioners and didn’t take into account how the groups would react to something even if it came from somewhere else. We definitely have to take that into consideration when we reform the groups.”
“Not only that. I’ve also thought about what Mei Chao Bing said: For the most part, some of these disciples are still rather young. They haven’t had many experiences. I don’t think that they aren’t theoretically not up to par. In fact, looking at disciples like Gongsun Chen and Yuan Lei even in his own group, I’m sure that they are brilliant on paper. It is just that they had never had the chance to apply this to an actual situation.
“So we should probably also take this into consideration. We need groups that have strong people in them but also people who have practical experience. That won’t only be the strongest disciples or the ones that have been nurtured the most. A high level alone doesn’t say much. Having somebody like Mei Chao Bing with both a high level and a lot of experience is very good but it is definitely not what is true for most of them. I think that finding suitable groups will be difficult.”
Baili Chao once again got up and paced around. “Not only that. If the groups are bigger, then that will also leave the question of who will lead them. The disciple with the most experience? The disciple with the highest level? Somebody else? Some of them will very likely not want to take commands from somebody else. That is also something we will have to keep in mind.”
The longer they thought, the more they realized just how difficult their next task was. In the end, they could do nothing but sit down, write down the names of all the disciples and slowly start to work through all the possibilities that could think of, trying to take into account as many of the things they had noticed as they could.
They didn’t come up with any useful solution up until the first rays of sunlight fell through the windows again.