Just as he had expected, Mei Chao Bing made it back to the Teng Yong Sect without being intercepted. Not only didn’t he get attacked, he didn’t even see a single demonic practitioner. So either Qu Yijun’s death had seriously thrown off his Master’s plans and made the other side more cautious or they were indeed right with their conjectures that he was necessary for his Master’s plans.
He really had mixed feelings when he went up to the disciples at the gate to show his identity token, telling them that he was bringing back reports from the border region and needed to see the Sect Master.
This whole matter, even though they were getting closer to the truth bit by bit, he wasn’t sure if he liked the truth that they were uncovering. Secret abilities, a vision that meant that he had always been suspected to destroy the sect in the future, and also his actual involvement in this plan … none of that was something he liked to hear. But he couldn’t very well change any of that. And keeping it to himself also wouldn’t achieve anything. Thus, he could only follow the disciple to the Sect Master’s palace and cup his fists when they walked into Zhang Guan Yu’s study.
The Sect Master had a bad feeling when the person he saw was Mei Chao Bing. He rose to his feet and motioned at the seat opposite him, waving for the other disciple to leave. “Don’t tell me there is more bad news.”
Mei Chao Bing sat down with a faint smile and took out the reports that the Elders had written. “I assume the Sect Master already knows about the tragedy that befell the last group that was supposed to bring over news from the border region. I’d say that there isn’t similarly bad news but we might have uncovered some things and I’m not sure if the consequences of that being true wouldn’t be worse. The Elders have noted everything down.”
Zhang Guan Yu took the papers with a forbearing feeling and slowly read through them. The more he read, the worse he felt. This whole matter, he didn’t like it any more than Mei Chao Bing did.
Other than the big matters, Elder Baili had been so kind to mention that he had told Mei Chao Bing about the black warrior’s vision and how it had been misinterpreted at the beginning. Reading this, Zhang Guan Yu felt a headache incoming. Before they got to the overall problem, he should probably give him an explanation for that matter first. If resentment bred, that wouldn’t be good at all.
He put the reports back on the table and rubbed his forehead, giving a long sigh. “You know, I guess I owe you an apology.”
Mei Chao Bing raised his brows, not quite sure what the Sect Master meant.
Zhang Guan Yu realized that he probably had no idea what the report said in detail, so he could only smile faintly and explain himself. “Elder Baili mentioned that he told you about the vision of the black warrior. To be suspected by the Master of your own sect even though you hadn’t done anything wrong, I can imagine that that stings. Especially considering your past.”
“Oh.” Mei Chao Bing hadn’t been sure what Zhang Guan Yu wanted to say but hearing him explain, he didn’t have trouble getting it. In any case, it was true that, for a moment, when he had heard that, he had indeed been hurt. But then, he also couldn’t say that he couldn’t understand. And in a sense, the fault didn’t lie with Sect Master Zhang but his own Master again.
He sighed and leaned back, finally shaking his head. “Sect Master Zhang doesn’t need to apologize to me. You … have a sect to lead. You can’t take a single person’s feelings into consideration a lot of the time. Instead, you need to be mindful of what is best for the greater good of the whole sect.
“Sometimes, that means keeping an eye on somebody who maybe doesn’t deserve that eye on them. But at the end of the day, as long as that can ensure that the sect will survive and that everyone in it will thrive, I think that is the right choice.
“Also, after my Master’s betrayal, you were one of the few people who didn’t scorn me. On the contrary, after that matter, I think you dropped those suspicions against me and were there to help me. The Sect Master shouldn’t think that I didn’t realize you were secretly helping me out.”
Zhang Guan Yu looked at him and his gaze couldn’t help but soften. “Helping you out … I was just there to talk and I might have assigned some resources that the other Elders wouldn’t have given you. But that is just basic decency.
“As a disciple of our sect and with your cultivation level, these are things you deserve. They are your right. To take that from you because of what your Master did would be punishing you for nothing. It wouldn’t be right. But I can see that some of the Elders probably would’ve seen that differently.”
Mei Chao Bing smiled faintly. “Sometimes, it isn’t just about what is right. Sometimes, there are so many more things involved in something. And in a sense, I can’t fault the other Elders either. Some just saw this as an opportunity for their own disciples that they wanted to fight for. And as Master’s, that is what they should do, right?
“On the other hand, I know that some of them were rather close to Elder Wu. He was quite well-liked from what I was able to glean as a disciple. My Master killing him and the possibility that I might have been involved in that is something that should’ve made a lot of them angry. I understand that. It doesn’t mean I’m happy about it but I understand. And that is why I’m thankful to Sect Master Zhang.”
Zhang Guan Yu looked at him and finally couldn’t help but sigh once again. He really felt like he was doing hardly anything else today. “Well, in the future, I hope that things will get better for you again. You deserve to be treated just like any other disciple of the sect.
“Actually, it might be good if you were taken in by somebody else as a disciple but I guess that might be awkward at your cultivation level.” He slightly furrowed his brows, wondering if maybe he should’ve pushed for that early on.
Anyway, Elder Baili might have been a good choice. And he could also think of one or two others who would’ve been alright. But then, changing Masters even after the previous one betrayed the sect was also strange. Most Elders probably wouldn’t have accepted even if he asked them to do it.
Mei Chao Bing shook his head but smiled at the same time. “I’m honored that Sect Master Zhang thinks so much on my behalf. It’s not necessary though. Not having a Master … I’ve gotten used to that. And by now, just as you said, with my cultivation level, there really isn’t anything to change about that. So I would suggest not dwelling on that too much. Anyway, there are more important matters to focus on.”
He nodded to the report and the two of them fell silent for a moment, not even knowing where to begin. This matter, it indeed was important but it was also difficult to take care of with nothing being certain yet.