The disciples all turned to look at Yu Jin. This mission hadn’t been how they imagined it at all. They had never seen any of the demonic practitioners so they could hardly say that it had been as dangerous as they had been warned it might be. On the other hand, what they found was different as well. Who would’ve thought that they might stumble upon an actual demonic sect?
If they could, they would’ve liked to switch. It was much better to be in danger themselves than to allow another demonic sect to pop up. After all, just a few disciples being in danger was something that could be salvaged. In the worst case, they would just request help from the Elders so that they could be saved.
A demonic sect, on the other hand, would endanger all of their martial brothers and sisters. After all, the sect wouldn’t just keep to itself. No, as soon as they were strong enough, they would stop hiding and running away. They would come out and do what demonic sects usually did. That was nothing they would like to see.
Yu Jin furrowed his brows. He was also in a dilemma. Other than looting this place and bringing everything back, there was hardly anything they could do. After all, the demonic practitioners were already gone. What could they do about that?
Even if they somehow found other exits to this hideout, the traces would likely be lost already since the demonic practitioners likely would have left after happening upon Qiu Ling and Jing Yi.
Thus there really was no way for them to do more than they already had. It was as if this place was cursed. Whenever they came here to investigate something, they would return with empty hands and could only provide a bare minimum of information.
He sighed and shook his head. There was nothing they could do. They might as well return to the Yun Zou Sect and report what they had found so far. Even though it wasn’t much, it was at least better than nothing. There might be other opportunities later on.
He turned to the others and nodded slightly. “We’ve done what we were supposed to do. It is time for us to return. My Master will decide what to do afterward.”
The others acknowledged his command and they made their way to the next exit. They had drawn a rough map of the hideout while they advanced before so they didn’t have any trouble finding it.
When they walked up the stairs that looked quite similar to the ones they had gone down before safe for the fact that the steps and walls next to them were made of a different kind of soil, they couldn’t help but take a relieved breath. Even though they had known what they would get into and things had turned out to be harmless, they couldn’t shake a feeling of dread at the thought that they had spent so much time in the hideout of a group of demonic practitioners. It didn’t help that they had been underground all the time.
Now that they finally saw the sun again after reaching the end of the staircase, they already felt much better.
While the others silently celebrated reaching the surface again, Yu Jin looked around. This place … Didn’t seem to be in the Long mountain range. While they had originally gone in that direction, it seemed that the path they had taken had only passed by the outskirts of the mountains and then ended up somewhere else. It made him lose his orientation for a bit.
Next to him, Su Jian raised his brows. “This place … Should we also take a look around, senior martial brother Yu?”
Yu Jin furrowed his brows. Originally, they had only been tasked to investigate the hideout below the village. But they hadn’t found anything of interest. In that case, wouldn’t it be better if they at least took a look around here? At the very least, they might be able to find a few clues that they could bring back to the sect. And since the demonic practitioners had fled a long time ago, they likely wouldn’t happen upon them anyway. “Very well. Let’s give it a try.”
He glanced at the others, his gaze flickering from one person to the next. “Let’s group up for this.” He sorted them into groups of three with two inner sect disciples and one outer sect disciple each. This way, the outer sect disciples wouldn’t be in too much danger, even if they were attacked since the inner sect disciples would keep an eye on them and protect them if the need arose.
He himself took Qiguan Cheng Da and Cen Fu with him. Even though Qiguan Cheng Da had the habit of talking too much, they at least knew each other so he knew what to expect. On the other hand, Cen Fu had been very excited the last time they saw each other but he had still taken his task seriously and so far, he hadn’t done anything wrong on the mission. With these two, things shouldn’t go wrong even if they happened upon demonic practitioners.
The other groups also stood together, trying to get a feeling for the others if they didn’t know each other yet.
Xiao Dong had been grouped together with Mao Xun and Nian Hong Fang while Shao Hai was following Su Jian and another direct disciple. The two of them exchanged a glance but still went over to their groups in the end. There was nothing they could do. Since Yu Jin was leading the mission, he had the final say in these things. So even if they wanted to stay together, they had to live with it.
After a moment of letting everyone size the others up, Yu Jin assigned each group a direction and then waved for the members of his own group to follow him. He had picked the direction that led further away from the mountains on random. Anyway, they didn’t know where the demonic practitioners had fled so one direction was as well as any other.
Qiguan Cheng Da looked at him intently and gave something that looked vaguely like a pitying smile. “You must be disappointed that they got away again.”
Yu Jin didn’t even glance in his direction and just gave a hum that could have meant anything from ‘You got that right’ to ‘Not at all’.
Cen Fu looked from one person to the other and then silently followed Yu Jin. He didn’t quite understand what their relationship was but it was none of his business either. He was already more than happy that senior martial brother Yu had remembered and decided on him.