In the end, Mei Chao Bing stood there with only Yun Bei Fen and Yuan Lei left from his previous group. Gongsun Chen had become the leader of a group of his own once again while Kui Min had been put into the group of Yang Wu Huang of all people. As for the other members of his own team, Mei Chao Bing really wanted to sigh.
Most of them weren’t a problem. There were three junior martial sisters, as well as two junior martial brothers, that he didn’t know too well. He had seen them before but two of them were even younger than Yu Bei Fen so he had hardly spoken much with them. One of the martial sisters was a little older so he had seen her around more often and, if he remembered correctly, he had also advised her on her cultivation once at an intersect tournament.
While he didn’t know them, he also didn’t have any bad history with them. Since the day his Master betrayed the sect everybody had been cautious around him. He even felt that it was understandable for the younger disciples. After all, they would likely hear about him as ‘the disciple of that traitor’ and since they had never known him it would be strange if they questioned that description or his role in the sect.
It was a different matter altogether when it came to people who should have known better. Despite telling himself that he didn’t care and shouldn’t care because these people obviously hadn’t cared about him in the first place, he still couldn’t help but be somewhat bitter. And he was especially bitter about the last person that had been assigned to his group.
Somehow, Elder Baili and Elder Xing seemed to have thought that putting one of Yang Wu Huang’s friends into his group was a good idea. He couldn’t understand that decision in the first place but the worst thing was that he had once considered this person to be one of his own friends. He had actually been astonished that he would resolutely turn his back on him and befriend Yang Wu Huang of all people.
He had known about that stupid rivalry between them. He had known how Yang Wu Huang antagonized him every year since they joined the sect. How could he have become a part of his group?
If he could, Mei Chao Bing really would have liked to refuse to work with this person. Just seeing him made his mood drop and the thought of needing to spend a lot of time with him int he next few weeks didn’t make that better.
Unfortunately, there was nothing he could do about it. In fact, if he complained, that would only give Yang Wu Huang and his people a reason to once again try and smear his name. He had really had enough of that yesterday so he didn’t want to give them a reason. No, he wouldn’t do that. He would … just accept it and try to treat that person like everybody else.
Thus, Mei Chao Bing kept quiet and just waited for the Elders to announce how they would resume their mission now that they were in these newly assigned groups.
He didn’t need to wait for long. The two Elders exchanged a glance and then, Elder Baili motioned for them to quiet down and listen so he could explain the next steps.
“Now that everybody has their new groups, it is time to continue. Considering what happened before and that the demonic practitioners are prepared to attack at any time, we also have to prepare to make sure you won’t get into needless danger.
“The questioning before has revealed that most groups split up to scout their area. That meant that often only two or three disciples were together and thus much more vulnerable to any attacks. From now on, we would like you to stay in one group. If that is impossible, you are required to only split the group in half. That way, at least four or five disciples will be together. Make sure that your strengths are evenly distributed if you do so and — I can’t stress this enough — only separate if it is absolutely necessary.”
He looked at the group leaders who would be the ones making this decision, trying to make sure that they took this seriously. When they nodded, he continued with the next point. “Up until now, the results we got were scarce. But Elder Xing and I believe that the arrays are the key to whatever the demonic practitioners are planning so we want you to focus on that: Find further arrays and try to acquire any kind of clue that will help us figure out what they are there for.
“Your new groups aren’t only made up of disciples with different cultivation realms but they also have different levels of experience and other talents that could help with this investigation. We trust that you know each other well enough or can get to know each other well enough to be able to make use of this wealth of possibilities.
“Now, we don’t have any time to lose. The demonic practitioners won’t wait for us to sort ourselves out. So go out there and continue with your investigation. Should you be able to retrieve the bodies of your fallen martial brothers, then do so. Bringing them back is more important than the investigation.”
“Yes, Elder Baili.” The disciples cupped their fists and then stepped away, gathering in their groups to make some preparations.
Mei Chao Bing looked at the eight people he was now stuck with and took a deep breath to adjust his mood, then he gave a small smile. “I’m afraid we’re the type of group that doesn’t know each other well enough yet. What Elder Baili said just now made sense though. The better we are able to investigate and keep everyone safe. So I’d suggest we take a moment to discuss our strengths and weaknesses so we can take that into consideration should anything happen out there.
“Now, as the leader of this group, let me make the start. I am in the later Core Formation stage and I have taken part in many missions when I was younger so I can contribute my experience in that. On the other hand, I only have a rudimentary knowledge of spiritual herbs and ores so I won’t be able to contribute much if we are confronted with that.
“What about you?”