Elder Xing looked at the three disciples earnestly. “What we explained just now is the truth. If you go about this mission how I explained it, then you’ll really be in the least danger possible. You should realize that we’re still in the border region though. There will never be any mission here that doesn’t have a certain level of danger to it. The three of you are our three strongest disciples. You are very likely to be able to pull this off. But it won’t be easy.”
He glanced at the other disciples from the groups that were waiting at the side. “While the danger to the three of you isn’t as great, the same can’t be said about the others. Make sure that you are prepared well when you leave for the other sects and that you keep an eye on your surroundings. You definitely can’t let the demonic practitioners ambush you. Since they have planned against us and the Jian Chu Sect, it could be that they want to do that.
“In fact, all of this might be a ploy. The hints that were found, could’ve been left there deliberately to make some of you move out. Still, we have to inform the other sects. That is our duty. So we aren’t able to shy away from this. Do you understand?”
The three of them nodded, showing that they were well aware of the dangers ahead.
Elder Xing looked at Elder Baili, asking with his eyes if there was anything else he wanted to say.
Baili Chao pondered for a moment and then stepped forward, also giving the three of them a look. “There isn’t much else we can do. I will give all of you a signal flare that you can use in case of an emergency. Just make sure that you use it early enough. If you are halfway there, it will take time for help to reach you whether it’s coming from this town or one of the towns where the other sects reside. You have to keep that time frame in mind. So should you be ambushed despite everything you’ve done in preparation, then don’t hesitate to ask for backup. This is the only thing you can do. Make sure that you don’t play with the lives of the others.”
Once again, the three disciples nodded.
Elder Xing handed the maps to them, together with a letter he had written for the people in the other three righteous sects so they would know that they could trust what the disciples told them and weren’t falling prey to a plot of the demonic practitioners.
“Very well. This mission is not as simple as it might seem at first glance. You may take some time to discuss with the other disciples and then leave. You should go tomorrow morning at the very latest. If you can, you may also leave before that but it is better to prepare well. Are there any other questions from you?”
The disciples shook their heads and then cupped their fists, bidding farewell to the Elders and returning to their own groups.
Song Mu looked at the disciples that were sorted into his group and then looked over at the group of Mei Chao Bing. He kept quiet for a moment and then walked over under the astonished gazes of his group members. “Mei Chao Bing.”
Mei Chao Bing turned to look at him, his expression unreadable.
Song Mu pretended not to see his gaze and just nodded to the map in his hand. “Those sects we are supposed to go to are in the same direction. How about going together until the first location and then splitting up? That way, we’d be more people and thus safer for the time being.”
Mei Chao Bing glanced at the disciples behind Song Mu. Two of them were those junior martial brothers who obviously had something against him. He could imagine just why the two Elders had decided not to sort them into his group and had Song Mu deal with them instead. Still, what Song Mu said had some merit. It would indeed be safer for everyone to work as one big group for half of the way. “Very well, let’s do that then.”
The two junior martial brothers were in shock. They hadn’t expected Song Mu to do this and they had expected even less that Mei Chao Bing would agree to this. Wasn’t he an unsociable person that was only after things that benefited him? Why would he do this? Who could it be that he was trying to use them as meat shields against the demonic practitioners?! Ah, no! He wouldn’t need to do that since he was one of them!
They turned to Song Mu simultaneously, their expressions aggrieved. “Senior martial brother Song!”
Song Mu turned to glance at them and raised his brows. “Is something the matter?”
They wanted to speak up and advise against this but Song Mu’s gaze wasn’t quite friendly, making them reconsider. In the end, they could only clench their fists and lower their heads. “No, nothing. If you think that it’s better this way, then you’re certainly right.”
Song Mu nodded and then turned back to Mei Chao Bing. “Having two people lead in one group isn’t a good idea. That would only lead to strife. Considering that we were originally one group and you were the leader, I’ll leave that position to you willingly. Is that alright with you?”
Mei Chao Bing kept quiet for a moment, wondering just what was going on. He didn’t trust Song Mu. How could he, with their past relationship? But still, everything that Song Mu had said so far was right. It was in the best interest of the group to do as he said. “If you insist, then we’ll do it that way. Should you be unhappy with the way I lead, we can talk about this again.”
Song Mu nodded, accepting the suggestion immediately.
Meanwhile, the two junior martial brothers exchanged glances. It seemed that there was still a way to at least make sure that this Mei Chao Bing wouldn’t be the one leading them. They should make sure that they made use of that. There was no way they’d let that traitor be in charge of them much longer!