Mei Chao Bing didn’t need long to find Song Mu. Since all of the older disciples were currently following the younger disciples around, making sure that nothing happened to them, he just needed to figure out which group he was with, and then he was already on his way to meet him.
Coincidentally, Song Mu was with the group that was tending to the garden that he himself had accompanied yesterday. When Mei Chao Bing arrived there, he saw the same young disciples crouching on the ground, trying their best to follow the instructions to care for the normal and the spiritual herbs. He smiled when he saw them and then looked around, finally spotting Song Mu on the other side of the garden.
Song Mu had also seen him and was currently looking over. His expression turned into one of surprise when he realized that Mei Chao Bing was approaching him. He hadn’t expected this and he couldn’t help but wonder what was going on. He straightened up, and then his gaze turned to worry, fearing some bad news to be shared again.
Mei Chao Bing went to stand next to him, looking at the other disciples working for a moment longer before he sighed. “Yun Bei Fen’s third senior martial brother wasn’t doing too well so he stayed up all night and only went to sleep in the early morning. That is why he didn’t come here.”
Song Mu nodded, some concern left in his expression even though it sounded like things weren’t as dire as he had feared. “Then is his senior martial brother doing better now?” He knew about what had happened with Shen Lei and he figured that, most likely, Luo Lin not doing well should have to do with that even though he didn’t know any details.
He wasn’t sure if he could just inquire about this. After all, they weren’t close anymore and him showing interest in this kind of thing wouldn’t necessarily be appreciated. He doubted it if he was honest. Mei Chao Bing had made it clear enough that he didn’t want to associate with him.
Mei Chao Bing gave a hum. “For now, he does. I’m not quite sure whether that will stay the same in the future. Senior martial brother Shen is with him though and Elder Baili and senior martial brother Zhi aren’t far away either. I’m sure that if something happens, they’ll be there to help.”
Song Mu nodded but he couldn’t help but notice that everyone else had stayed around while Mei Chao Bing had left to come here. There seemed to be something more to that. He just wasn’t sure if he should inquire about what that was. But then, it should have something to do with him, right? Otherwise, Mei Chao Bing wouldn’t have come over and wanted to speak with him.
Thinking for a bit, Song Mu finally shook his head. “If you wanted to ask me again if I remember anything about your senior martial brothers, then I don’t. I’m sorry.”
Mei Chao Bing turned to look at him, and this time, it was him who looked surprised. “What made you think that I wanted to ask about that?”
Song Mu raised his brows, not sure how to explain himself. “Well … your fiance’s senior martial brother’s lover was gravely injured, and now his senior martial brother himself isn’t doing well and the one behind all of this is your Master.
“Even if the victims hadn’t been someone this close to you, I’m pretty sure that you would want to do something about your Master doing these things. You’re not the type to just let matters rest.
“But then, the only lead we currently have is the question you posed just yesterday. So I figured you were hoping that I might have remembered something else. Unfortunately, I have to say that that isn’t the case.”
Mei Chao Bing nodded and couldn’t help but smile. “You do get me. Even after all this time.”
There was a hint of pain in Song Mu’s expression but he finally nodded. “It’s been some years but it’s not like we are totally new people. While some things have changed, others haven’t. I think that, at the heart of the matter, you are still the same person you were back then, just a bit older and with some new baggage you have to carry around. It’s the same for all of us but for you, it’s probably a little heavier.”
Mei Chao Bing faintly narrowed his eyes. “So, what’s it that you are carrying around?”
Song Mu looked at him, not quite sure if he was understanding him right. So far, Mei Chao Bing had never wanted to talk about the friendship between the two of them or anything else of the past. Not with him anyway. Now though, it sounded as if there was something that he wanted. Something that he wanted to hear. He just didn’t dare to believe that it was the thing he thought of.
Song Mu kept quiet for a moment before he turned back to also look at the disciples in the garden. “What I’m carrying around … family troubles, perhaps.”
Mei Chao Bing didn’t answer immediately but that statement made him think of something: Contrary to him, Song Mu hailed from a cultivation family. And he also knew that he still had contact with that family. Or at the very least, he had had back then.
Most likely, they hadn’t been thrilled when they found out that a member of their youngest generation was best friends with the disciple of a traitor. But then, he didn’t think that Song Mu was the type of person who would bow down to pressure. That just didn’t seem like him.
Song Mu quickly glanced at him and realized that, indeed, what Mei Chao Bing wanted to hear was the truth. He was finally willing to open up at least a little.
He closed his eyes and took a deep breath before slowly exhaling. He had waited a long time for this. Anyway, they were far away from the sect where nobody could say anything. And either way, it had been five years. While that was a short amount of time in the world of cultivation, it was also long enough that people wouldn’t constantly whisper about the same thing.
No matter what, it wasn’t wrong to tell him. He just couldn’t get his hopes too high up. Because while there was an explanation, he also knew that that alone might not be enough for Mei Chao Bing to forgive him. At the end of the day, the words he spoke now couldn’t change the hurt of the past five years. That was just a fact.