An old palace with black-lacquered wooden beams and equally dark tiles on its roof stood on the ledge of a cliff, half engulfed in shadows. It overlooked the buildings in the crevice below that could still be seen from this height save for a spot that was overshadowed by the branches of a giant tree.
This place was several thousand li to the west of the Leyuan region and thus, deep in the territory of the so-called evil sects. In fact, it would not be wrong to call this the heart of the evil sect’s territory. Looking at it, the atmosphere was certainly fitting and if one checked the amount of spiritual energy gathered there especially around that black palace, this sect’s high status wouldn’t come as a surprise at all.
As for the reason for this … It was the person owning the place. Inside the palace, a man dressed in a night-blue robe sat on an intricately carved chair at the end of a hall and pensively looked at the black-clad people kneeling in front. After a moment, the man finally spoke up, his voice pleasing to the ears. “Are you sure she’s with the demon hunters of that Chun Feng Sect?”
The two men on the ground nodded hurriedly. “Yes, Grandmaster. There’s no possibility that we could have mistaken her. They called her ‘junior martial sister Hong’ and she closely resembles the girl in the painting.”
“She is looking a little older though,” remarked the second man
“Ah, right.” The first man took something out from his pocket and held it up while his head still remained bowed. “We were able to get this pouch. It has her name sewed onto it: Hong Bao.”
“Let me see.”
The Grandmaster waved for his subordinate to bring the pouch over and then turned it in his hand. That was indeed the right name. And considering how his wife had described her younger sister he was inclined to believe that she would indeed like this type of pouch.
The Grandmaster frowned at it. Honestly, why was it pink? And why were there little hearts sewn on it? And what, in Heaven’s name, was in there? It smelled like flowers, especially sweet-scented flowers.
He sighed and waved the two men away before standing up and withdrawing into his private chambers. Anyway, he had found some clues and made sure of them as much as he could. No matter what type of person his sister-in-law really was and what the details of her ending up with the demon hunters of all people were, it was good that he had found her. His wife would be happy to hear about it.
Stepping into the doorway to the courtyard behind the rooms, he already saw Hong Ai who was once again training her sword arts in the courtyard. Her white dress was fluttering in the air, her hair dancing in the breeze, the blade of the weapon glinted red in the bit of light that fell down onto the ledge of the cliff as if to warn anyone that had thoughts of getting close.
Shen An De stayed where he was and continued to observe her, his lips slowly curving into a smile. Hong Ai … she really was obstinate. Whether it was training her sword arts or wanting to reunite with her sister, she would never give up. When she found a way, she would follow it until the very end, no matter how hard it might be. In her eyes, all the hardships were worth it as long as the desired result was achieved.
Shen An De finally lowered his gaze to the pouch in his hand instead. Hong Ai had already waited for so long, it was time to make this come to an end. Even if Hong Bao was currently with the demon hunters, it wouldn’t change anything. He still had to go and retrieve her.
The fact that Hong Ai had abandoned her little sister had always weighed on her mind after all and that worry could only be put to rest if she saw her stand in front of her. Yes, only if he could entice that little girl to come over to their side and have the two of them meet would Hong Ai finally find relief.
Just thinking of how happy his wife would be, the Grandmaster smiled, put the pouch away, and turned around. Originally, he had wanted to tell her immediately so that she would know about this news as early as possible. But thinking about it now, he reconsidered.
If Hong Ai knew, she would want to go over there immediately, personally. Who knew what kind of trouble that would bring? No, rather than that, it would be better to go and deal with this himself.
Also, if he did it this way, he could even bring that girl right back and surprise his wife this way. Since she was already waiting anyway, a few more hours wouldn’t change anything. Also, being able to see Hong Bao as soon as she heard the news would ensure that she didn’t have to ask herself all these questions in the meantime now that a few more details had come to light. No, instead, she would be able to reunite with her and ask her all these questions herself. That was definitely the best surprise for his beloved wife.
Having made up his mind, Grandmaster Shen silently withdrew. He left the sect grounds of the Hei Dian Sect and hurried right to the Chun Feng Sect.