While the disciple of the Zhen Yan Sect went back through the array, the other disciples stood around it, making sure that they wouldn’t be ambushed when they returned. That was definitely something that the demonic practitioners would try to do if they got the chance. Even though it looked as if none of them were around, that wasn’t something that they could be sure of. There was always the possibility that they had overlooked something.
While they stood around the array, they couldn’t help their gazes from wandering around the hall, taking in every place that might hide someone or something that could pose a threat to them.
Taking a measuring look at the ceiling, Shen Lei narrowed his eyes. “You know, this place isn’t bad. Considering how the border region is in general, the spiritual energy here is actually rather high.”
The other disciples glanced in his direction and then took a moment to sense the energy around them. Indeed. Compared to what else they had seen so far, there was indeed a difference. It wasn’t that big but in the border region, even this kind of small difference could amount to much in the end.
“That does make it likely for them to want to use this place, doesn’t it?”
Shen Lei nodded. “I would say so. Also, I have to say what you said before, junior martial sister Xi, made me think. This place … it looks small like what you would expect from a cultivation family maybe but not a sect. The scale is just wrong.”
Xi Ju Hai gave a hum at that. “I think that was my feeling as well. It is like something that was built here before and then just taken over by the demonic practitioners. At the very least, that’s how I see it.”
“Or maybe they actually have some cultivation families on their side as well. This might have been the estate of one of them.”
“It’s not impossible.”
The disciples fell silent again, just continuing to guard the array.
Mei Chao Bing couldn’t help but glance around as well, pondering what Shen Lei and Xi Ju Hai had just said. He also felt that they were on to something there. He didn’t know what exactly was true but it could be.
He glanced in the direction of Zhi Guan and once again hesitated a little. In the end, he still forced himself to speak up. In any case, he couldn’t hold anything back that he thought of. “Senior martial brother Zhi … I don’t know if Elder Baili mentioned it to you yet but previously, it was found that the demonic practitioners had likely allied. So if several cultivation families or maybe smaller sects are involved in this, then I guess it wouldn’t be strange if this was really an abandoned headquarters of some sorts.”
Zhi Guan looked over his shoulder at him, his expression a little strange. “That information came from Kui Min. I went to save her so I saw the same clues she noticed. What she said is definitely right. There were people from several sects working together. I don’t know about any of their cultivation families though. There should be some though. It is unlikely that only our side has them. But I’m not privy to any information regarding that.”
Mei Chao Bing nodded, feeling that he should’ve known that this was clear to Zhi Guan.
Next to Elder Baili’s disciple, Shen Lei couldn’t help but give a hum though. “So it was like that. Well, maybe we should look at this differently. Maybe these are the headquarters of a small-time sect. But because they allied, they needed another place and abandoned this one. Maybe previously, they had an alliance where they would use this array and that central point to meet up more easily. Now, they don’t need it anymore because they have relocated to a location that can accommodate all of them. If this was the truth, then one preemptive strike on that location after disabling the arrays might allow us to take them out for good.”
The disciples couldn’t help but fall into contemplation at that. It sure sounded like a good idea.
Mei Chao Bing was the only one who shook his head. “I think it sounds a bit too good to be true. All of this … it has been too easy. Finding these places in the border region, basically stumbling on them one after the other, then finding out that they have allied. How does that come to happen?
“Not to disparage our side but I don’t think the disciples that were originally sent here are all that good. A lot of them a lacking either in their cultivation or their experience. And the few of a higher level that have been outside for a bit more can’t make up for all of that. But still, they found one clue after the other. I wonder if it’s not deliberate to lure us into some kind of trap.”
At that, the other disciples couldn’t help but furrow their brows as well. There was indeed this kind of possibility.
Song Mu slowly nodded. “Just imagine for a moment that we did as senior martial brother Shen just suggested: If we used the arrays to go there, maybe there would be some kind of side effect that we don’t know about. Maybe the location we would arrive in would actually be a place where they could ambush us. Maybe that is their actual plan: to make us think that we have an advantage while we are actually at the disadvantage. I wouldn’t put it past them. In the kind of situation they are in now, they definitely need to be careful as well. Otherwise, it would spell their doom.”
Mei Chao Bing nodded, even though deep inside, he couldn’t help but feel that maybe everyone was still underestimating the other side. Even though the demonic practitioners had been driven into the border region that seemed devoid of much spiritual energy, they didn’t know how much of that was natural.
The spiritual energy had been lacking before but the current situation was at least in part due to the spirit gathering array that they had found. That was to say that this was something of the demonic practitioners’ own doing and they surely wouldn’t make their own life more difficult. So maybe that energy had just been transferred somewhere where it would be more valuable.
The arrays were one explanation for that but it might also be that they were just a feint, used to make them think that they had solved the puzzle while there was actually another layer beneath.
He couldn’t say anything about the other demonic practitioners but when it came to his Master, he was sure that he was the type to think like that. He wouldn’t give others a win easily. Instead, he would play the long game. Hadn’t he already proven that when he was in the Teng Yong Sect long enough for everyone to believe him to be a righteous Elder while actually playing for the other side all along? Surely, not everything was as it seemed when it involved Elder Feng.