The ship continued to sail through the air, getting closer and closer to the place where their mission would take place. Actually, this couldn’t be called a big matter. Other than Hua Lin Yu, Xiao Li, and the disciples that were in charge, the ones that were on the ship were the younger disciples who had only been in the sect for a couple of years, five at most.
While all of them could be considered talents in the cultivation world since they had managed to make it into the Jian Yi Sect, they were still so young that their levels were comparatively lower than that of Hua Lin Yu. For them, this was the first big opportunity to actually make use of their skills outside of the sect and see how well they had learned.
This was something that the Jian Yi Sect customarily did. For every generation of disciples, one day, this kind of ship would set off and bring them somewhere where they could see how they would fare in the real world.
For some disciples that were getting a bit of an attitude because they were further than their peers, it was a humbling experience because they would realize that even though they had learned a lot, they were far from the peak and there were still things out there that — at their current strength — they wouldn’t be able to take on.
On the other hand, for the disciples that were a little behind, this could be uplifting. Seeing that even those who were further than them could be confronted with problems too difficult for them to solve was something that showed them that patience was important and that even if you made your way to the top slowly, you would one day get where you needed to be. You shouldn’t just give up. Even those who had a head-start on them and managed to walk faster were not able to reach those goals just yet. Thus, there was more than enough time for them.
Also, not just that, but sometimes, it was precisely those disciples who would overcome their limitations in a new environment. It wasn’t all that strange. Some people excelled at being taught once and then repeating it often enough. For others, that wasn’t the way to learn. While they could pick up some things, it didn’t click for them until they needed the knowledge. And thus, sometimes, when they made the actual experience, when they could try things out and were forced to do so, it would propel them forward, aiding in their growth. This was also an opportunity given to them.
Hua Lin Yu was somebody who was doing well at learning in the sect. He also didn’t know of the problems that some of these disciples had. On the other hand, because of the special circumstances of how he had gotten into the sect, he had never taken part in this kind of mission. So all of this was new to him.
If this had been a few years ago — before he and Xin Lan got together, before all of that drama happened in his life — he would’ve been ecstatic to be able to do this. Now though, he was completely preoccupied. In fact, if he could have, he probably would’ve returned to the sect and just shut himself in at his own place.
He didn’t want to see anyone. In fact, right now, he didn’t even want to see Xiao Li. He just … he wanted to be alone for a while. He wanted to pretend that none of this had really happened. That everyone was happy with each other and he wasn’t losing Xin Lan to this.
He knew that pulling the blanket over his head wouldn’t change a thing. He had made his decision. Now, he’d have to live with it. He should … just look forward to things. In any case, for him, it was a rare opportunity to go out on a mission. He should try and get the excitement back that he usually would have felt.
Finally, their destination could be seen in the distance. This was actually the Leyuan region, the one that was richest in resources in the whole cultivation world and also the place where the realms of many of the ancient experts were hidden. And, well, some of them weren’t quite as hidden. One of those was precisely what the junk was currently steering toward.
The younger disciples all gathered on the ship’s deck, staring over there with longing gazes. They really couldn’t wait for this. The older disciples made sure to stand close by, lest somebody hurt themselves in their ecstasy.
One of the seniors was nobody else but Hua Lin Yu’s senior martial brother She Fen. He had also kept an eye on his own little junior from the same Master and couldn’t help but notice that he was really down. He didn’t know about the bet that their Master had made with Hua Lin Yu but he could see that something was wrong. Seeing Xiao Li stand next to him without his usual smiling expression, looking as if his mood was a bit dim as well, he couldn’t help but wonder if there was trouble in paradise.
For a moment, She Fen considered going over there but they were already pretty close to the realm they wanted to enter this time. If he left to talk, he wouldn’t be able to finish that conversation in time so he’d have to interrupt it in the middle or stay behind and leave the work to the others. Neither of those options seemed good.
In the end, She Fen could only sigh and tell himself to take care of that later. Well, there were at least some preparations that he could do. Looking around, he went to one of the other seniors and lowered his voice. “When we’re inside and split into groups, I’ll stay with my little junior, alright?”
The martial brother smiled at him and shook his head. “Is there a need to say that? Everybody knows how crazy you guys are about him. Do you really think somebody will try and step between the two of you? We’d surely think twice! That would be suicide.” Shaking his head again, he finally motioned at the younger disciples on the middle of the deck. “You can do whatever you want with your junior martial brother. Just make sure you don’t completely neglect the children. They are much more vulnerable than him.”
She Fen faintly nodded. In general, it really was true. But then, he also remembered how Hua Lin Yu had been targeted ´when he was young. While the regular disciples of the sect might not know the whole story, he did. After all, their Master had repeatedly warned them to make sure they wouldn’t get up to any ideas like taking him out of the sect grounds for a bit of fun. Thus, the thought of staying close to him and making sure that nothing could happen had already been ingrained in all of their minds.