Since they had made sure not to lose out on any clues on this side, Ao Wen didn’t see any reason to stay for longer either. Looking at the little juniors, she raised her brows. “How is the lot of you doing? Have you rested long enough?”
For this mission, what she was the most worried about were indeed these little juniors. They had learned for several years in the sect before they were allowed to go out so it wasn’t like they were complete beginners on their cultivation journey. They also knew enough skills to defend themselves to a certain degree.
But the problem was that they didn’t have much experience. They had fought each other back at the Jian Yi Sect and maybe their senior martial brothers and sisters, but those were merely practice fights. They couldn’t compare to what would happen if they got into trouble with an enemy outside.
No, if the demonic sect involved in this matter was one of those that stood against them, then the other side might try to kill them. And she couldn’t be sure that the disciples would be able to fend off that kind of attack. After all, intent played a huge role in the outcome of a fight.
If one side was going for a killing blow with each strike, but the other side couldn’t bring themselves to do such a thing, then the latter would likely end up dead. There was a point in a fight where being honorable would be your death sentence but everyone needed a different amount of time and experience to understand that.
Their first mission usually wasn’t the right place or time for that but she couldn’t change it. They were already here and she could only try to give them a bit of time to make sure they would be in their optimal state when they went in. This way, their chances would be slightly higher.
The younger disciples naturally wouldn’t say that they needed more time. Anyway, they had been exploring the palace slowly because they were waiting anyway, so it wasn’t like they had expended a lot of strength. The small amount of energy they had used for flying from the palace to this place also wasn’t worth to be mentioned. So really, they felt like senior martial sister Ao’s worry was excessive. They weren’t that kind of weak chicken!
Seeing all of them nod, Ai Wen inclined her head as well. “Well, in that case, let’s go, everyone. The younger disciples, make sure that you stick to the side of one of your seniors. Also, be vigilant while over there, no matter what happens. We are unsure what we’ll encounter but it is likely that there will be enemies. If you see somebody, alert your seniors, and prepare to fight just in case.” Ao Wen nodded and then waved at her own little junior. “Xiao Yu, you are still the only one who can see the array. Go ahead and lead the way. Make sure you stay close though.”
Hua Lin Yu nodded and stepped into the lake, once again making his way over to the array, everyone else following. Xiao Li and Ao Wen were directly by his side, She Fen following behind them. Clearly, among this group of disciples, Hua Lin Yu was the one who was protected the best.
The array lit up when they imbued their spiritual energy and, the next moment, they were already on the other side, diving up until they broke through the surface of the water.
Ao Wen waved for everyone to get out of the water, then vigilantly looked around the meadow. Just like mentioned in the message that they had received, this place indeed looked like the other side. The only differences were in the details like which herbs grew where and how lush the grass to their feet was.
Ao Wen narrowed her eyes and made sure that her little junior was right beside her before glancing at the others. “Everyone, take a look through the meadow first.”
The group that had originally come here to look around had done the same already but since then, a lot of time had passed, and it was likely that the seniors might be able to figure out more than the younger disciples had.
Everyone spread out but, in the end, when they came back together, there wasn’t anything to show for it. Just like the juniors back then, they could only give the same evaluation: This place was the same as the other side but because it hadn’t been disturbed at all in the years that it existed, the spiritual energy was denser and the herbs riper. In fact, many were mature with a lot of young ones growing right next to them. It was like walking through a field of spiritual herbs instead of grass.
Ao Wen nodded slowly, her thoughts churning. If matters were like this, then this had to mean that this side had existed for a long time. Yes, the herbs growing at the edge of the realm weren’t that high level so the amount of time needed to mature wasn’t long. But with the number of herbs here, it was likely that several growth cycles had been completed.
The combination of mature and young herbs in particular pointed in that direction. So this couldn’t be a completely new realm. Even if it was not that old, it should’ve at least been here for a couple hundred years.
“Well, it is possible that by using the array, we have already alerted the other side. We should be careful when venturing forth. For now, let’s take a look around the edge of the realm. After that, we’ll follow a straight path to the center.”
The other disciples nodded and then traced the steps of the younger disciples back then, going to where the entrance of the realm should be. This time, they weren’t just looking for differences. Instead, they were judging the grade and condition of the herbs they came across, trying to get a better grasp on the timeline of when this realm had been created.
So far, it seemed that Ao Wen’s guess had been true: This place had indeed been here for several hundred years already. Whether it might have been even longer … that was hard to say. Most likely, they would only be able to find out when they walked further inward and found herbs that were of a higher grade and further along in their growth cycle. By then, there really shouldn’t be any doubt left.