Ao Wen noticed his expression but didn’t say anything immediately. Instead, she motioned for the seniors to spread out while signaling the juniors that they could sit down and rest for a while. Only then did she walk to She Fen’s side, leaning closer. “Second junior martial brother, do you want to tell me what is up?” She didn’t directly look at him, and instead observed the meadow, trying to see if there was something odd about it.
She Fen glanced at the juniors close by, especially their own little junior, and Xiao Li who was still sitting next to him and then leaned closer to Ao Wen as well. “When we came here first, there was a black fox, likely a demonic beast. It stayed there the whole time while we explored this place and also while half of the group went over there to check what was on the other side. It didn’t even move when we left. But now, so much time has passed, I don’t know where that fox went.”
Ao Wen gave a hum, wondering herself. Demonic beasts were closely related to the demons, just like the spiritual beasts were related to the other immortal races. This much was well-known even in the mortal realm, especially in a premier sect like the Jian Yi Sect. As the Sect Master’s direct disciple, she naturally had some awareness of that. “You believe that there is some kind of inside story?”
“Well, I think it is a bit too coincidental that at the ground of the lake, there is a secret entrance to the other side of the realm that is made in the likeness of the demonic faction’s arrays while there’s a demonic beast close by, almost like some kind of guardian to the place.
“Well, maybe it’s wrong to call it a guardian since it didn’t attack us or anything but a kind of … scout maybe. Somebody who would keep an eye out to see what is going on, and then go in and warn the other side. That is what I’m worried about.”
Ao Wen gave another hum, feeling that this was unfortunately very likely. “That suggests two things: First off, there is likely somebody living on the other side of this realm. And second, that person is likely going to wait for us.”
She Fen nodded and lowered his voice further. “I’d add that third, that person is likely related to at least the demonic faction, if not the demons themselves.”
Ao Wen faintly tilted her head to the side. “The demonic faction, I think I’d agreed with. After all, we can’t forget where this realm originally came from. I don’t know what is up with this other half of the realm but even the original part that we knew of was related to the demonic faction.
“As for being related to the demons, I wouldn’t be so sure. You’ve seen that black fox but likely weren’t able to engage. We don’t even know if that person is a full-blooded demon beast.
“It could very well be that they were one of the people that were fleeing from the demon-hunting sects before and ended up with the demonic faction because they were better protected there. They wouldn’t be the first ones who went this path. In that case, they might be willing to be a spy for them. It’s an easy task, the benefits would probably be big, and they are unlikely to encounter problems.”
She Fen nodded, feeling that what his first senior martial sister said was right as well. Yes, he was probably thinking too much. “Well, I do wonder how exactly this is related to the realm. The demonic faction has a lot of smaller sects. I don’t think that any of them should be related to this. Instead, one of the bigger ones would be more likely, don’t you think so?”
Ao Wen sighed and shook her head. “Really, I can’t say. Let’s not forget that we have no idea when this other half was created. There isn’t regularly somebody in the demonic ancestor’s poisonous herb garden so it is very well possible that somebody created this second half right under our nose. In that case, it could be one of the sects that are currently strong.
“But if this place was there from the very beginning, then it will be just as old as this part of the realm. And in that case, we don’t know anything about who is behind it. It’s likely that the Hei Dian Sect might have something to do with it but I remember that there was at least the Shen Shen Yuan Order back in the day as well.
“They have already fallen by now but from what is still known, they were a very big sect, not any less impressive than the Hei Dian Sect of today. They definitely would’ve had the kind of members that would be able to create a realm such as this, probably with a hidden, second part as well.”
She Fen’s brows furrowed when she said so. He hadn’t thought of it, but yes, there was a chance that all of this was so long in the past that they didn’t have any guarantee that what they knew was true. They couldn’t even make a good guess.
She Fen clicked his tongue and then motioned over to Xiao Li before raising his brows at Ao Wen. “Do you think he might know something?”
“About this realm? I doubt it. If that was the case, he already would’ve said something. No matter what our thoughts on him are, he is now officially with our little junior. Xin Lan hasn’t been seen for almost a year by now so I guess it’s safe to assume that Xiao Li will stick around.
“If he knew something, he would’ve volunteered that information to get into our good graces. So he shouldn’t know anything. But he should have some knowledge of the demonic faction overall that might be beneficial. We should ask about that. You’re right with that.” Saying so, she went over, rubbing her little junior’s head before giving Xiao Li a nod. “Junior martial brother Xiao, there’s a question I have. Don’t know if you would be willing to answer me?”