Back in the mortal realm, Fei Bai Mu was sitting in the main hall of her palace in the Jian Yi Sect, looking at the disciples in front of her with a neutral expression, but there was some amusement visible in her eyes.
That mission of going to the demonic ancestor’s poisonous herb garden was one that often took a very different amount of time for each of the groups. Some would rush through this experience, trying to get everything as fast as they could, and then return immediately.
Others would take the time to explore, asking their seniors about the things they saw on the way or exchanging what each of them had learned in their time in the sect up until now, making this a great learning experience they were able to come out of knowing more than they had going in.
Since they were careful, they often wouldn’t have the most exciting time contrary to the former groups, not encountering danger and having to learn how to deal with it. The same went for being able to do their tasks well under pressure.
It could be said that no matter which approach a group took, they would learn something. But, of course, not everything could be experienced on just one mission. It wasn’t a problem either. After all, there would be many missions in the future where they could learn whatever they hadn’t encountered yet.
This time, there was clearly more to the mission though. At first, everything had been the same but as soon as the group returned with the news that She Fen had sent, things changed. After that day, it had taken a long time before the next group finally came out.
Clearly, they had tried to stretch the time spent in the realm for as long as they could, hoping that they would still be there when a message from the Jian Yi Sect arrived because all of them wanted to be part of the new mission of exploring the other side of the realm that hadn’t been known before.
Today, save for her own disciples’ group, the last of the others had finally returned. Now, the seniors accompanying the younger disciples were all standing in the hall, looking a bit uncomfortable.
Looking at them, Fei Bai Mu didn’t show her thoughts on her face. “You really took your sweet time in there. What kind of interesting things did your juniors find to stay that long?”
The disciples couldn’t help but lower their heads, feeling that they really didn’t have any face to respond. Anyway, if the group from the Jian Yi Sect had arrived with the message that they could take part in the new mission while they were still in the realm, then their plan would have worked. But they had spent so long in there that there was nothing left to explore.
Now, that they were back and their plan uncovered, what were they supposed to say? That they just did their mission very thoroughly? That didn’t make any sense. They also knew how long these kinds of missions had taken in the past. And they had stayed even longer than the slowest group ever had.
The only reason they had come back now was that they finally figured that there wouldn’t be any message coming. They didn’t know if it was that the sect attached less importance to this than they had thought or if maybe there was some other reason for this, but they knew that they couldn’t just stay there and wait.
Even though they had explained to the younger disciples why they wanted to do this, there was only so much talking you could do to convince a group of juniors. One day, they would stop believing that this message from the Jian Yi Sect would arrive and they would start to clamber to come back here.
Or, if not back to the sect grounds, then at least to somewhere more exciting. After all, the demonic ancestor’s poisonous herb garden really wasn’t the most exciting place. It was a good place to gather ingredients for alchemy, but definitely not the best if you were a young disciple eager for adventure.
Fei Bai Mu chuckled when she saw their expressions and shook her head. “In case you were wondering, the Elders and I have long made a decision. We only wanted to announce it when the last group returned. That is to say, you really made us wait a long time.”
At that, the disciples lowered their heads even further, feeling that they had really picked up a stone only to smash their own feet. Yes, they had had to return so now, hadn’t they left the Sect Master with a bad impression? Then, she’d think twice whether she should send them over. Ah, how annoying!
Fei Bai Mu shook her head again and then looked at her oldest disciple who was standing just a few steps away. “Well, your two junior martial brothers and their group haven’t returned yet. Knowing Xiao Fen, I’m afraid they won’t anytime soon either. If he has to, he’ll camp out there for another year.”
Her disciple couldn’t help but smile wryly. “I’m afraid Master’s right about that.”
Fei Bai Mu gave a hum and then motioned to the seniors that were gathered. She also knew what they were hoping for. And even though she didn’t like those little games and would have preferred it if they were just honest, she wouldn’t be too harsh on some youngsters just for being a bit too excited. “Well, seeing as all of you were in the realm at that time and know best how exactly it looks right now, we figured that you would be the best candidates for this mission.”
At this, the disciples finally revived. “Thank you, Sect Master!” They all cupped their fists at once, their eyes shimmering.
Fei Bai Mu nodded and then motioned at her oldest disciple. “Ao Wen, I want you to take the lead on this mission. You know what we’ve discussed previously. Just follow that and rely on your instinct. As for the group that is still in there … take them along as well.
“Anyway, they are the ones who found the entrance to the other side of the realm. It is only natural that they should be a part of its investigation.” Thinking for a moment, she sighed. “Since we don’t know details about what is over there, I’m afraid it won’t do to take any of the other juniors. For the ones in that group though, you have to make arrangements. This mission, it might be dangerous. Arrange everything as you see fit. I trust you.”
Ao Wen inclined her head and then motioned at the other disciples. “You heard the Sect Master. Anyway, we have already wasted so much time, let’s not add to that. We’ll leave tomorrow morning as soon as the sun goes up, so get everything ready!”