Elder Xing furrowed his brows and gave a curt nod before he rose into the air himself, looking at what Mei Chao Bing had seen. Just from his expression alone, he had already deduced that things wouldn’t be good. Seeing it with his own eyes gave him a new sense of urgency though. What had seemed like a normal stone desert when they walked through it, now gave the impression of a map. And the ways the stones were strewn across the ground reminded him of a very specific place.
This was precisely the layout of their Teng Yong sect.
Elder Xing stared at it for a moment longer before he returned to the ground. “Which one of you painted the mural before?”
The junior martial sister timidly raised her hand. “That was me, Elder Xing.”
“May I trouble you to follow me up and paint what you can see here as well?”
The martial sister cupped her fists and then took out a sword, following him up. She wasn’t quite as stable as the Elder when she took the scroll of paper and a brush from him and started to paint.
On the ground, Yun Bei Fen was staring up at her in awe. He tucked at Mei Chao Bing’s sleeve and motioned over. “What do you think when I’ll be able to do something like this?”
Mei Chao Bing reached over and tousled his hair. “Why are you in such a hurry? Honestly, you should first learn how to be stable just when flying straight. That would already be very good.”
Yun Bei Fen nodded but he still couldn’t help but want to achieve a bit more. Mei Chao Bing had done so much to teach him, he definitely had to show him that it wasn’t in vain.
Some minutes passed and finally, Elder Xing and the disciple returned to the ground. Everyone looked at the Elder with curious expressions but nobody dared to ask. Song Mu glanced at Mei Chao Bing but kept his thoughts to himself.
Elder Xing just gave a nod and then motioned back to the town. “Alright, we found something so let’s return.”
The disciples acknowledged his command and then followed him.
When they reached the town, Elder Xing told them to return to their courtyards and wait there. Then he himself went back to Elder Baili’s dwelling to discuss with him.
The disciples couldn’t help but look at each other. Yi Ju tugged at Yuan Lei’s sleeve, raising her brows in the hope that he would ask Mei Chao Bing for them. Anyway, the only one who knew right now was Mei Chao Bing. But even though she didn’t have any problem with him and he had even helped her find the right way, they still weren’t so close that she would dare to ask him on her own.
He was much more talented than her, alright? That was a reason to be a bit afraid! She wasn’t like Yun Bei Fen who wasn’t afraid of anything and would likely even step up to a ferocious beast and tilt his head to look into its mouth and count the teeth.
Yuan Lei glanced at Mei Chao Bing but didn’t say anything. Instead, he sighed. “If Elder Xing wanted us to know, he would’ve told us. I guess he will want to discuss with Elder Baili first before they tell any of us what the matter is. Maybe they’ll make an announcement tomorrow morning.”
Yi Ju pursed her lips. “We were the ones who found it though. Wouldn’t it only be fair for us to know before the others?”
The two martial brothers couldn’t help but pipe up. “That’s right! Since we found something, shouldn’t we at least know what it is? I think Elder Xing is being too much.”
Mei Chao Bing just gave them a lazy glance and then took Yun Bei Fen’s hand. “Let’s do as the Elder said and return home. We can practice for a while if you want to.”
Yun Bei Fen nodded happily and then followed him.
The martial brothers harrumphed. “I’m pretty sure he’s just going to see if he can find out something from Elder Baili. Must be good for him to live in the same building. Let’s hope the Elders put up an array to make sure nobody will listen in on them.”
Unfortunately for the two of them, none of the other disciples reacted to that. Instead, they scattered one after the other with Liu Bao Ru taking the lead.
The two martial brothers exchanged another glance and then also left with a sigh. Anyway, if the martial sisters weren’t there anymore, then what was the point? They might as well do as the Elder had said and just use the time for their own cultivation.
Meanwhile, the two Elders had sat down to discuss what was going on.
“This doesn’t look good at all.” Elder Baili stared at the painting of the stone desert with furrowed brows. When Mei Chao Bing had reported to them about the mural in the abandoned city, he had already believed him that there had to be more to this. Mei Chao Bing wasn’t the kind of person that would blow anything out of proportions just to get some praise. But what he saw right now exceeded everything he had expected.
Elder Xing nodded. “I’m afraid this matter is too big for you and me to handle. We’ll have to notify the Sect Master.”
“Not just that. This is a map of the territory of the Teng Yong Sect. But that mural showed the symbol of the Jian Chu Sect. Whatever the demonic practitioners are planning, it likely involves all four sects. We can’t keep this to ourselves.”
“I think so too. But maybe it would be better to first inform the Sect Master and then tell them about it. After all, we don’t know anything specific yet. Just telling them that we found these two clues but don’t know what they are about … I don’t know if that would be good. Especially if they find out that Mei Chao Bing was involved in this.”
Baili Chao harrumphed. “If not for Mei Chao Bing, we wouldn’t even know that these things exist. If they want to ignore this just because he was involved, they should do so. Is that our problem?”
Elder Xing shook his head and sighed. “I know he is your disciple’s fiance. But still. You have to admit that it isn’t that easy to trust the disciple of a traitor. Especially since he wouldn’t be the first of his disciples to change sides.”
“You can’t compare that at all. Mei Chao Bing knew nothing. That was what we found in the investigation back then. As for his senior martial brother …” Baili Chao rubbed his forehead with a tired expression. “Who knew what was going on in his head? Anyway, he betrayed us even before his Master did. Heavens, just thinking about how that Elder Feng made such a show of being angry at him and not seeing him as his disciple anymore … He really had guts!”
“He was a traitor through and through. It would probably be more accurate to call him a spy. He never was one of us.”
The two of them nodded and then looked back at the painting between them.
“So do we inform the Sect Master first?”
“Yes, let’s inform him right now. We can still gather some more information in the meantime. As for the others … I’d suggest to just mention it to the Jian Chu Sect unless the Sect Master says something different. After all, their symbol was found. And maybe you’re right that this will seem suspicious if we mentioned Mei Chao Bing’s name. Let’s leave it out for now.”
Elder Xing nodded and then gathered what they already had, explaining in detail what assumptions they had and how everything had transpired. Then he sent a message off to Zhang Guan Yu, hoping that he would answer them as fast as possible. This matter really couldn’t be left unattended.