Xi Ju Hai turned to Mei Chao Bing, her gaze unreadable. “Is there a problem with me joining you?”
Mei Chao Bing gently shook his head in response. “I do not see any, no. If this is what senior martial sister Xi wants, then I’m glad to have you. It will definitely be much safer for us with three people.”
Xi Ju Hai nodded and then fell quiet, apparently waiting for either of them to lead the way.
Mei Chao Bing turned to Song Mu, feeling that it shouldn’t really be him who did so. Especially not with Xi Ju Hai following them. Even though he had been confused at first, he felt like he understood what this was about: Considering the relationship with his senior martial brother, she was wary of him. She definitely expected that he would follow in his footsteps and also betray the Teng Yong Sect when the time was ripe. So she was actually following them to keep an eye on him. Well, he probably couldn’t blame her for that. After all, logically, everything pointed in that direction. To pretend otherwise … he really couldn’t do so.
Song Mu rubbed his neck, able to somewhat guess what was going through Mei Chao Bing’s head. It was just that with being the youngest of the group, it felt a bit strange to suggest taking the lead. After a moment, he sighed. “Well, the least valuable person should probably go in the front. Since my level is the lowest and I don’t know arrays as well as senior martial sister Xi does, I will take that position.” He didn’t wait for their responses and just turned around, walking deeper into the cave.
The other two followed him but Mei Chao Bing couldn’t help but glance at Xi Ju Hai. “Senior martial sister Xi … if we follow junior martial brother Song, then what about the disciples of the Zhen Yan Sect? Elder Xing told us to keep an eye on them but I’m not quite sure where they are right now.” Everybody had paired up among themselves while the five disciples of the Zhen Yan Sect had stayed together. He wasn’t quite sure what they would decide to do. It was unlikely that they would just go out to explore by themselves but the three of them probably also weren’t enough to accompany them.
Xi Ju Hai had actually paid attention to them before so she wasn’t worried at all. “Senior martial brother Zhi is taking care of the matter. Junior martial sister Liu is accompanying them as well.”
“Just the two of them? That doesn’t seem to be that much. From what Elder Xing said about our sect’s current situation, I’m a bit worried that the demonic practitioners might try to attack them and have them come to harm. It would definitely make us seem even more suspicious.”
Xi Ju Hai shook her head though. “Senior martial brother Zhi will certainly take along a few more people. Junior martial brother Mei doesn’t need to worry.”
Mei Chao Bing just nodded. Obviously, she didn’t intend to tell him anything more even though she probably had a good idea of who exactly had been following Zhi Guan and Liu Bao Ru. Well, this wasn’t surprising at all. It was good enough that she had answered his original question. Thinking like that, he turned back to the front, not trying to pry further. Instead, he just focused on the path in front of them.
This time, they hadn’t gone in the direction that they started to explore yesterday. Instead, they had gone the other way, trying to take a look at one of the tunnels there. When looking around, there wasn’t that much to see though. That tunnel stretched on for a few meters and then led into another cave after taking a sharp turn. The cave wasn’t a big one and contrary to the one they had come from, there were no stone columns holding up the ceiling. Thus, the faint lines of an array could be seen on the ground immediately.
Song Mu sighed when he saw what was in front of them. “Looks like there will be quite a lot. There’s another tunnel on the other side so who knows how long this will stretch?”
Xi Ju Hai and Mei Chao Bing nodded. Just when they wanted to step into the cave, steps sounded behind them. They glanced over their shoulder and actually found the group of Zhi Guan and the disciples of the Zhen Yan Sect behind them.
Zhi Guan nodded toward them and then also glanced at the array on the ground. “We should probably make a map.”
Before he could say anything, the only male disciple that the Zhen Yan Sect had sent already took out a scroll of paper and a small piece of charcoal and started to scribble something. “I hope the other disciples will do the same for the other tunnels.”
Zhi Guan nodded. “I mentioned it to a few.” He turned back to Mei Chao Bing and the other two, pondering for a moment. “Looking at this, I’m pretty sure that there will be more paths leading away from here. You should also make a map. We will likely have to split up later on. It’s best if everyone has their own map so they can use it to go back. Make sure that you draw in every tunnel you see so you won’t be confused as to which one you need to take when you get back.”
The three of them nodded and Xi Ju Hai started to search through her bag. Since she was well-versed in arrays, some of which could be drawn on paper and then used, she didn’t need long to find the right supplies and was able to start drawing.
Seeing that she had finished, Zhi Guan nodded and then turned to the disciples behind him. “I’d suggest we go forward together until the path splits. Then, everyone can go their own way.”