Back in the mortal realm or rather the demonic ancestor’s poisonous herb garden that was attached to it, Hua Lin Yu’s group was making its way around the perimeters of the realm.
They had finished going through the information they had been given and each of the disciples had been assigned two or three herbs to especially look out for. Of course, they would also keep half an eye open for the others but these were the ones that they would directly look for. That way, there was a bigger chance to make sure that they would spot them and not get them wrong because they were more familiar with them.
As for the path they had decided on, just like the disciple in charge, Yan Chang, had originally suggested, they were indeed making their way around the realm in a big circle first, trying to find some of the herbs there already.
By now, they had been walking for several days and had managed to find two of the herbs, storing them away safely.
“If we continue like this, I’m sure we’ll be able to find everything but it might take us years.” One of the disciples that was walking at the front of the group together with Yan Chang couldn’t help but complain after they had once again been walking for several hours.
Yan Chang turned her head toward him and raised her brows. “I remember that everyone was in favor of going about things this way. It is the safest. And this mission isn’t about finishing as fast as we can, but about making as many experiences as we can. Our levels are comparatively low but as disciples of the Jian Yi Sect, we don’t need to hide. But that doesn’t mean that we should stupidly charge ahead.”
The boy pursed his lips. “I never said that anything about ‘stupidly charging ahead’. I’m just saying that maybe we are being a bit too careful. Do we really need to make a whole round along the edge of the realm? I’m pretty sure that going half the way would also be enough. Then after that, we could go in a little further, and then finish the rest of our round a little closer to the center. That would save us half the time and effort while giving us the same results.”
Yan Chang was of a different opinion but considering that this was also the first time she had to lead a group, she couldn’t help but turn to the others for another opinion. “Well, what is your opinion? Do you want to make a full round here or venture further into the realm already?”
The other younger disciples exchanged glances, unsure what to think.
Hua Lin Yu pondered Yan Chang’s question as well. He wasn’t sure if he was even supposed to answer this, but then, he was a member of this group as well, wasn’t he? And his experiences so far actually weren’t that different from the other disciples.
Reassuring himself of this, he took the lead in stating his opinion. “Actually, I like junior martial sister Yan’s suggestion. It’s true that we could save time but it is also true that we don’t need to.
“You might not have heard much yet about these missions but I’ve heard stories from my senior martial brothers and sisters. When going out on their first mission, the groups will return one by one whenever they have finished, not having to stand behind to wait for the others.
“Some will focus on their task and come back as soon as they have finished it. They’ve only made some experiences along the way when they coincidentally stumbled upon them, but that is alright. On the other hand, there are also groups that stay for several months, sometimes even only returning after a year. And nobody thinks that they did anything wrong either. Usually, it just means that they were a bit more thorough in what they did, taking a closer look around.
“In my opinion, this realm is pretty big. It isn’t that dangerous so we won’t need to be afraid of going further in. But even in this type of realm, there are valuable experiences to be made. If we start taking a shortcut now, how many of those will we miss out on? I don’t know about you but this is also my first chance of going out of the sect and having this kind of mission. I would really like to try out everything I can just to see what I am capable of.”
Yes, this was really what it all boiled down to: He wanted the experience. Even though he had had the chance to travel with Xin Lan all over the mortal realm and had even spent some time in the immortal realms before that, it just wasn’t the same.
Yes, he had seen things, he had even had somebody who always willingly explained everything to him. But those weren’t just his experiences. No, at that time, there had always been Xin Lan at his side, ready to protect him, to defeat whatever enemy stood in their way. He had never had the chance to tackle these things head-on.
But that was what he wanted to do. He wanted to meet new people and deal with them on his own even if it wasn’t easy. He wanted to get into trouble and solve it himself. He wanted to find mysteries and figure out the story behind them without the help of somebody who already knew all the answers. Yes, for once, he wanted to solve these issues himself and not have all of it handed to him. Maybe that was what had been missing in his life with Xin Lan.
Hearing his spirited speech, some of the little juniors also figured that it was a good way to look at it. As such, they rallied behind Yan Chang’s idea, making the other disciple sigh in annoyance.
“Ah, I guess we’re going to be in here for a long time then.”
Yan Chang smiled faintly and motioned at the path ahead. “The less often we stop, the less long our journey will be. Let’s get back to our travels. I’m sure that we will be able to make the most out of this experience. Whenever we get out of here, we’ll be fully-fledged disciples of the Jian Yi Sect. Let’s make our senior martial brothers and sisters proud of us.”
With that, the group started marching on, slowly making their way around the perimeters and then inching a little closer toward the core of the garden, always on the lookout for the herbs they were supposed to find, as well as the experiences they craved.