No matter how much the Elders dreaded the time, they still had to go ahead with it. Thus, when the next day arrived, they sent a message to Yang Wu Huang and the other two, calling them over to Elder Baili’s courtyard.
The three disciples had an idea that things weren’t looking good when they were called over. After they and the rest of the group had been escorted back by Mei Chao Bing, Shen Lei, and the other two disciples, it had been clear that there would be consequences for their actions. No amount of talking would be able to change that. Because of that, they had been in a rather despondent mood since getting back here.
Unfortunately, since they didn’t know exactly what would happen they hadn’t been able to prepare. But they could imagine that this would be worse than they probably hoped for. This time, there were the older disciples after all who had testified against them. Don’t mention the leadership position, it would be good enough if they wouldn’t be grounded here for quite some time and their Masters notified.
Knowing this, the three of them were rather docile when they walked into the room. They greeted the Elders and then sat in front of the desk, waiting for the verdict.
Seeing as he already had trouble with them anyway, Elder Baili took the lead. “I guess I don’t need to tell you that you’ve done quite a few things wrong recently. Let’s not mention what happened with the previous group. There was an ambush, you couldn’t know that, and even though you probably reacted wrong at that moment and thus failed to save some of your fellow disciples, it was a new situation that you weren’t prepared for. We cannot fault you for that.”
It hurt having to say this when he actually suspected that things were different but he wanted to remind them that they hadn’t been acting splendidly before and that there were still things that could be brought up later on.
Also, since there was no evidence for that occasion, he could only from it that way and say that they were maybe not malicious but at least incompetent. That was also reason enough to be sent back.
“Now, I thought that that situation back then should’ve given you much to think about and made you more careful in your approach of how you go about things. Unfortunately, that expectation didn’t come true. Instead, the things you did with your new group were even worse.
“You put them in a situation that was dangerous and you even went against the command that I explicitly gave you. To say that I am disappointed in your behavior is an understatement. You can count yourself lucky that the ones you met were disciples from our sect and not those of the demonic faction. Otherwise, all those disciples might be dead.”
The three of them had lowered their heads, not daring to make a sound. This was something that they definitely couldn’t deny. In any case, the proof was irrefutable.
Elder Baili sighed as if this was really difficult for him while inwardly, he was slowly relaxing because he had already gotten through the first part of this and so far, they hadn’t tried to defy him. “Well, with how big this incident was, you can imagine that we reported back to the sect. Sect Master Zhang is of the opinion that it is not suitable to let you stay here for the time being. Thus, you will be escorted back to the sect today.”
This time, the three disciples looked up. This was something that would change their standing in the sect. This kind of consequence … would they really be able to bear it? They didn’t think so.
Ao Jing’s gaze flitted from side to side and he wondered if he should speak up. In any case, Yang Wu Huang was the one who had made the decisions, Di Huan Bo was the one who had argued. He, on the other hand, had only been there. There wasn’t really anything the Elders could say about him, was there?
He already wanted to speak up but then hesitated at the last moment. This order … it didn’t come from the Elders but from the Sect Master. And if the Elders told all three of them about it, then that had to mean that he was of the opinion that this was the right punishment for them. If he now went against that and complained, it would only make him look even worse.
Thinking of that, Ao Jing realized that he had to change his tactic. From now on, he had to do better to regain the standing he lost here. It wasn’t impossible. It would be difficult but there was a chance. And he should start right from this moment.
He hurriedly raised his arms, cupping his fists and giving a bow. “We were indeed wrong. Sect Master Zhang is right in ordering us to go back. The other disciples probably wouldn’t be able to trust us anymore. That isn’t a good dynamic for working together in this kind of place.”
Elder Baili gave him a sideways glance, wondering what was going on with him. Was this just for show?
Ao Jing hurriedly pressed on before the Elder could say anything. “I assume that we will have to leave immediately. I hope that the Elders will tell the other disciples that we’re sorry and apologize on our behalf.
“After they return from the border region themselves later on, I’ll definitely do so personally but I don’t think they would want to see me right now. So I would just like them to know my sentiments.
“Whatever other punishment awaits me after returning to the sect, I will gladly accept it. I do deserve it for not speaking up. Junior martial brother Yuan was the one who did the right thing. But I didn’t support him at the time. I’m ashamed of myself.”
Elder Baili raised his brows and then slowly nodded. “Well, I hope that you are serious with what you just said. I will tell them but I can’t promise that they will forgive you that easily. Use the time back at the sect to reflect on yourself and the path you have taken.
“I understand that sometimes, it is difficult to take others into consideration but that is something that you will need to learn if you want to work together with your fellow disciples. Just reflect on that. Now, the one to bring you back will be Shen Lei …” He trailed off, a bad feeling suddenly gripping his heart. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to just sent Shen Lei with them after all. These guys were resourceful. He didn’t trust Ao Jing’s words one bit and Yang Wu Huang was even worse. No, it was better to send one more person. “… and Yu Min,” he added. In any case, maybe the connection between Yu Min’s Master and Yang Wu Huang’s Master would actually help him. “If there is nothing else that you want to say, I suggest you leave immediately.”
No matter how unhappy they were, the three disciples could only cup her fists again, leaving the room and leaving with the two older disciples as soon as Elder Baili had called them over.