Hearing this, the Sect Master felt like he was slowly understanding what was going on. Clearly, this was indeed about adding some details to what had already been reported but something told him that it wasn’t just about this ambush. No, Ao Jing wanted to say more. Realizing this, he motioned for him to go ahead and also sat down, waving for Elder Ji to do the same.
Ao Jing felt like he should be kneeling down instead, but his Master would probably make a fuss if he even tried that, so he stayed seated. Hesitating for a moment more and trying to find the best way to say all these things, he finally just shook his head and started from the beginning.
“I have something to confess. In fact, there are several things. It is all about what has happened in the border region. It is not something that I’m proud of and I guess the Sect Master and the Elders will know some of it already but maybe not everything. After seeing senior martial brother Shen and senior martial brother Yu even give their lives to try and save us despite our previous conduct, I can’t keep this silent anymore.” With that, he started to detail everything that had happened, not mincing his words.
What they had done, it was unforgivable. And the sect deserved to know. The people they had gotten into danger thanks to their behavior, the ones they had gotten killed, they deserved that justice.
By the time he finished, his own Master looked horrified while Sect Master Zhang’s expression was closed off and there was a stormy expression on Elder Ji’s face.
Ao Jing hung his head. “That’s everything but I guess that is more than enough. If I’m required to testify this in front of the other Elders and maybe even the disciples of the sect, I will do so. I will accept any punishment. Frankly, I deserve it.”
For a moment, the palace was silent. Then, Sect Master Zhang sighed. “Thank you for telling us all of this. I guess I don’t need to say anything. What the three of you have done … there is no excuse for that. But clearly, you’ve already understood that yourself.
“I won’t make a ruling on this today. For now, I want you to go back and rest up. No matter what, you’ve also been through that ambush and you will need some time to sort everything out. You will be told about the decision whenever we make it. That might take some time. Maybe it will only be after the mission in the border region is over. We’ll see about that.”
Ao Jing got up and bowed. “Yes, Sect Master. Elder Ji. Master …” He didn’t even dare to look at his own Master and just walked out of the palace with his head lowered.
He knew that his place in the sect would be a different one from before. It was his own fault. He had caused this result himself. Yes, he could say that the one who had had these ideas had been Yang Wu Huang but the truth of the matter was that he had gone along with it. He had even given his opinion on how to do things better.
Really, he wasn’t any better or worse than Yang Wu Huang. They were both equally bad. It was just that he was the one who had made it out of that situation so he was the one who had to live with it.
It seemed that now, he would get a taste of how it actually was to be shunned in your own sect. Something that he had watched dispassionately when it concerned Mei Chao Bing, something that he had even helped Yang Wu Huang facilitate further. Now, he himself was in that situation.
This really was heaven’s way of setting things right, wasn’t it? Well, no matter what, it was what he deserved. And he wouldn’t argue over it, no matter what the outcome was.
Back at the Sect Master’s palace, things were still quiet.
Elder Huyan couldn’t quite believe that his disciple would do something like this. But this had come directly out of Ao Jing’s mouth. And nobody but him had returned so it also couldn’t be that he was being pressured to condemn himself.
No, as much as he didn’t want to, he had to admit that, yes, his youngest disciple had done something this despicable. He rubbed his face and then turned to look at the Sect Master, bowing his head as well. “I’m sorry. I didn’t teach him well.”
Sect Master Zhang closed his eyes and sighed deeply. “So you say. Anyway, we knew some of this before. Elder Baili and Elder Xing also mentioned that there were some other things they might have done but that they couldn’t prove.
“It seems that they were right. With what Ao Jing said, we at least know that much. Now, the question will be how to deal with that. Clearly, he deserves some punishment. But it is commendable that he stepped out to clarify despite the fact that this would reflect very badly of himself.” He turned to glance at Elder Ji, wondering what kind of input he had.
Elder Ji was already bristling. “Commendable, my ass! He got some of our disciples killed!”
Zhang Guan Yu nodded. “Yes, he did. As such, his punishment should be a harsh one. Even though this wasn’t originally his idea, he knew full well what was going on and he not only didn’t warn anyone, he even took part in it and only came out after such a matter happened.
“But still, he wouldn’t have needed to tell anyone. The other two that were responsible for this are most likely dead. Di Huan Bo is for sure and Yang Wu Huang is potentially but very probably. So really, he isn’t doing himself a favor here and I think he knows that. I just feel like we should keep that in mind when we decide.
“Anyway, I don’t feel like right now is the moment to think too much about that. The situation in the border region is perilous. We should focus all of our strength on that.
“We need to figure out how to end the fights over there. We need to win over the demonic faction once and for all. Otherwise, we will never be able to rest. I’m just afraid that doing so isn’t as easy as saying it.” He shook his head and then sighed, feeling lost. Really, being the Sect Master wasn’t helpful at all in this kind of situation.