Back in the town, Mei Chao Bing and the others had already started to plan their journey. With the younger disciples, it would likely take some days to even reach the first headquarters and then some additional time for Song Mu’s group to go to the second one.
Mei Chao Bing narrowed his eyes, motioning at a few places on the map. “These are all excellent spots for staging an ambush. We can’t be sure what the demonic practitioners know about our actions. So they might have at least an inkling that some of us are heading to the other headquarters or maybe they are even fully aware of it. If they wanted to use that opportunity to attack us, these would be the likely spots.”
Song Mu nodded. “We could at most try to circumvent these places. Maybe traveling some miles further into our own territory will take care of that. At the very least, we would have more options at our disposal to deal with it. And we wouldn’t be taken completely by surprise if they had to come out of hiding.”
“That is true but at the same time, we would be sacrificing time. We don’t know how important these clues are. If the other sects aren’t informed as soon as possible, then that might have negative consequences for them. I don’t think any of us wants that kind of responsibility on our shoulders.”
Song Mu kept quiet for a moment and then glanced at Mei Chao Bing before he turned back to the map. “Normally, I’d suggest cutting through the territory of the demonic practitioners at a less dangerous place but the Elders specifically told us not to do something like that and both Yun Bei Fen and Yi Ju aren’t that strong. If we really are attacked, even though we have several strong people in our group, somebody might still be injured. That can’t be the answer either.”
Yun Bei Fen who was sitting next to Mei Chao Bing, clutching his sleeve, looked from one person to the other and then to the map. “But aren’t you flying really fast?”
Mei Chao Bing turned to him and ruffled his hair. “Well, we are. But what about you and Yi Ju? You aren’t that fast. In fact, I’d be happy if I could be sure that you will be able to fly on your own.”
Mei Chao Bing furrowed his brows when he said that and then turned over to Song Mu. “Actually, come to think of it, if Yun Bei Fen and Yi Ju don’t fly on their own, we would be much faster. At the same time, if the others also flew together, we might be able to speed up. And additionally, it might make us safer. One person could focus on flying while the other person keeps a lookout.”
Song Mu nodded slowly. “True. The amount of additional spiritual energy that would be needed to fly with two people isn’t that much more compared to how much energy we would need when we were flying on our own. This way, we could really save some time. And we wouldn’t need to sacrifice our safety either. I think this should be the most effective way to go about this.”
“Then let’s do that. I still think that we should circumvent those spots.”
“Naturally. Since we’ll be able to fly faster this way, it won’t be a problem to make the way slightly longer.” Mei Chao Bing picked up the brush and then carefully drew a line in the map, indicating the path he intended to take. “What do you think about this?”
Song Mu looked at it and then took the brush from Mei Chao Bing, making some small adjustments. “I don’t think we need to fly that far away from the border in this place. While it is suitable for staging an ambush, I don’t think it’s very likely here. And the time we’d need to pass also isn’t as long as with the other places. In the worst case, just speeding up would solve the problem.
“On the other hand, this place … It is not that far away from the Zhen Yan Sect so it could be that they will make a last desperate attempt if they haven’t managed to do anything before this. I think we should be especially careful.”
Mei Chao Bing nodded and then motioned at the distance that was left from the first to the second sect. “What about your part of the way? Do you want to talk it through?”
Song Mu looked at him a little uneasily but finally nodded. “If you wouldn’t mind.”
Mei Chao Bing just gave a small smile. Well, he certainly could imagine better things than having to discuss this with Song Mu of all people. But then again, this was about the safety of several people. While he might have his misgivings about Song Mu, he wouldn’t endanger him or anybody else. If him giving some insight into this could help them out, then he would do it.
The two of them continued to discuss while the others mostly stood aside and just watched. In the end, Mei Chao Bing gave a sigh and rolled the map up.
“Very well. I think that should cover it all. Do any of you have questions?” He turned to the others who all shook their heads. “Alright. Then I would say we should start tomorrow morning. Right now, it’s already pretty late. If we leave now, we could only cover a short distance and it wouldn’t be enough to reach the first point we’ve designated as a possible campground.
“Use these hours to prepare instead. Try to think of anything that might be important: Have some food and water supplies with you, check your weapons to see if you need to repair them or even get a new one, maybe even organize to have a spare for the worst case. You should also make sure that whatever else you need to take personally will be with you. If there is some kind of message you would like to leave one of the people here, you should also do that now. Alright, that’s all then.”
The others nodded and left, leaving only Mei Chao Bing, Yun Bei Fen, and Song Mu in the room.
Mei Chao Bing turned to Song Mu and once again gave him a small smile. “Well, junior martial brother Song, I think we’re done here as well, aren’t we?”
Song Mu looked from Mei Chao Bing to Yun Bei Fen and then back again before he sighed. “Ah Bing, I do know that you have no reason to listen to me but there is still something I want to say.”