Neither of the two said anything for a while, just looking out at the garden with the younger disciples.
Song Mu did not dare to suggest trying to start over and rekindle the relationship they had lost. While this was what he would’ve loved to have, he knew that he was in no position to make any demands of Mei Chao Bing. If this friend of his ever had the wish to do this, then he would be open to it. But otherwise, he would have to live with the consequences of his own actions.
Back then, he had known that this might happen. He had thought that he could bear with it for his beloved sister but, to be honest, he kind of regretted the choice.
A man who would expect her brother to cut contact with a person that was important to him because of outside circumstances and make that requirement for the marriage, was he really worth it? Even if she seemed happy with that man, he wasn’t sure this had been the right decision.
Not just that, he also had to admit that his relationship with her had suffered from this. As much as he wanted to pretend that it hadn’t hurt him to not be able to see Mei Chao Bing again, it had. He had lost his best friend, the person that was the next most important to him right after her. And it was because of something that she had asked him to do. Even if he didn’t want to resent her, he couldn’t help it. Because this had taken something from him he really hadn’t been willing to lose. Not forever. That was something that he had to admit to.
While Song Mu didn’t dare to speak up, Mei Chao Bing wasn’t sure what to say. To be honest, he also missed having this friend of his at his side. And after everything that had happened in the border region, after seeing that — despite these five years — they still got along and understood each other without a word, he missed him even more.
But that didn’t mean that the hurt would go away. And he wasn’t sure if trying to be friends again wouldn’t just make matters worse. Yes, they could try to. But what if it didn’t work out? What if he would hold a grudge for what had happened and they couldn’t get back to how matters had been before?
That was a question that he didn’t even want to think about because he was afraid that the answer might be that things would get even worse, tainting the memories of the past further. But at the same time, he also couldn’t help but think that this was pretty much like the question of whether he should ask for an explanation before: There would not always be time to reconsider.
They didn’t know whether either of them would return to the Teng Yong Sect after this was over. In fact, if he really went with his original plan of going to be a spy in the demonic faction, then his chances were looking pretty grim. And while Song Mu’s chances might be slightly better, this was still a dangerous place and it could very well be that his Master would retaliate for him killing Qu Yijun.
Even though Feng Bai Xiao wasn’t emotionally attached to any of his disciples, if Qu Yijun had been essential to his plan, then he did think that he might do something to punish him. Having a person close to him killed would definitely be the kind of thing he could imagine his Master doing. Anyway, he clearly treated other lives as nothing but insignificant sacrifices on the way. In fact, maybe to him, this wasn’t even a sacrifice. After all, these people were on the other side, weren’t they? He wasn’t part of a righteous sect anymore after all.
After a while of these thoughts, Mei Chao Bing sighed to himself and shook his head. “Well, I was up for the whole night as well. I should probably go and sleep a bit. Also, if Fen’er finds out that I’m gone when he wakes up, he’ll be unhappy.”
Song Mu nodded. “Sure. Take care of yourself. And …” He hesitated for a bit but finally figured that saying a few more words shouldn’t make matters worse. “If you need help with anything, you know you can always contact me. Anyway, no matter what happens between us, we are also of the same sect. And I have a lot to make up for. So it doesn’t matter what it is. I will be there.”
Mei Chao Bing nodded but he didn’t say either way and just turned around and left. This offer, he also wasn’t sure how to think about it. He … he wasn’t sure if this was what he wanted to hear. Something that he owed … There shouldn’t be something like that between friends. But then, neither of them had said that they’d try being friends again so why was he even thinking about this?
He shook his head at himself and just went back to the courtyard, stepping back into the room and taking off his outer robe before lying down next to Yun Bei Fen and pulling him into his arms.
Closing his eyes, he buried his head in Yun Bei Fen’s neck, trying not to think about it and just fall asleep. Unfortunately, something that had impacted him this heavily wasn’t easy to just let go of it.
He slowed down his breathing, trying to find back his calm. When that also didn’t want to work, he tried to shift his thoughts somewhere else. This matter with Song Mu, it was something that he should consider but not immediately. There were more important matters.
Anyway, rebuilding a relationship would take time. And that was something that they currently didn’t have. It was probably something that he should only take into consideration after they figured out what exactly his Master planned and had found a way to counteract it. Otherwise, what would be the use of spending time on this? He wouldn’t have the liberty of pursuing their reconciliation.
Unfortunately, there still wasn’t much of a lead in regard to his Master. Everything was still the same. Nothing had changed. That ambush, Qu Yijun’s death, them being able to make use of the red priest’s blood to heal Shen Lei, and also the trouble they had gone through with Luo Lin the night before … it hadn’t changed anything. And that … well, that was something they’d have to accept, right?
They would have to wait for some more news from the people at the cavern who might know something about his senior martial brothers. Only when that information arrived would they be able to make some progress. Hopefully, at least. Anyway, right now, nothing was a given.