Whether it was the junior or the senior disciples of the sect, none of them tried to argue with Ao Wen. This situation was too strange and those who had a keen intuition were able to feel the same she did: If they entered rashly, there would be consequences they might not be able to take.
With the new plan in mind, they strayed from the main path, first continuing to explore the large field of herbs in the middle of the realm before swiping through it in a large circle. From the middle to the fringe, they looked at every inch of this side of the demonic ancestor’s poisonous herb garden. Unfortunately, no new information could be found.
By the time they were finished, several weeks had gone by. Ao Wen’s brows were now tightly furrowed and even the juniors who didn’t have any outside experience save for their first mission realized that things weren’t looking good.
Yes, they had not been attacked. In fact, they had not even found a single disciple from another sect. This side of the realm seemed to be completely empty save for the herbs. They hadn’t even found traces of other hidden arrays. All in all, this left only one conjecture: If there was a sect affiliated with this place, then their actual hideout was not this side of the realm but the realm behind it.
Right now, they had returned to the meadow with the lake, taking a longer break after the continuous days of exploration. The state of mind that the disciples had been in for those days cost a lot of energy. After all, your attention could never slip. Now, they really needed to rest.
Ao Wen’s taut nerves couldn’t relax though. She stared at the surface of the lake, her expression unreadable.
Hua Lin Yu was resting in Xiao Li’s arms but he couldn’t help but look at his first senior martial sister. Even though Ao Wen was more serious than She Fen in general, she was also a warm person. He wasn’t used to her quietly pondering by herself.
Thinking for a bit, he patted Xiao Li’s arm and then scooted over to her side, giving her a smile. “What’s the matter, senior martial sister?” It wasn’t that he didn’t understand the situation but he felt like she was too worried. They didn’t have to enter that realm immediately. Anyway, if it had been there for a thousand years, it wouldn’t suddenly vanish. They could just return to the sect, see what their Master thought, and then come back here. Maybe they could even bring additional people over.
Ao Wen sighed and reached over to pat her little junior’s head. “It’s nothing much. I just don’t like this thought that there is a hidden sect at this place. Something tells me that they aren’t easy to deal with.”
At that, even Hua Lin Yu’s expression changed. If there really was a sect here, then it would indeed not be one that was easy to deal with. After all, just the way they had managed to hide themselves was extraordinary. Unless staying hidden was coincidentally the only skill they excelled at, the strength of this sect couldn’t be bad.
He pondered for a moment but then showed a smile. “Don’t worry too much. Anyway, haven’t we gained some time now? If we don’t go over there immediately, we can inquire more outside. Didn’t Ah Li say that he could ask around among the people he still knows from the Hei Dian Sect? If this place is really associated with them, we can certainly find out some more. And Master might also have some valuable information. We just need to take some time to figure everything out. Then, we can return and take a look around.”
Ao Wen nodded slowly. “I guess you are right.” And yet, the fact remained that the situation didn’t look good. She had doubted the whole time that their Master knew anything about this place and while the people of the Hei Dian Sect might be aware of the group that had split off and whether they were the ones now hiding in this place, a millennium was a long time. Who knew how that sect had developed? Who knew what their attitude toward visitors was? She was afraid that as soon as anyone stepped through that array, they might receive a surprise and not one of the good kind.
She continued to furrow her brows but still reached out to rub Hua Lin Yu’s head again. “Well, it’s late today. Tomorrow morning, we’ll leave for the sect again. We can make arrangements at that time.” Anyway, even if their Master didn’t know anything about this place, she could give them some pointers on how to deal with the situation for sure. In fact, maybe she could even help them find out some information. After all, she also had connections that those of them as disciples couldn’t compare to.
Yes, the longer she thought about it, the more convinced Ao Wen was that maybe she had been thinking too much. While the situation wasn’t ideal and there were too many questions left unanswered, they didn’t need those answers immediately. It was enough to be patient and work on this step by step.
Realizing this, she pushed those deliberations to the back of her mind and instead turned to her little junior. “Anyway, I’m sure there are a lot of things you haven’t told me about yet regarding your first mission outside. Why don’t you take this time to do so?”
Hua Lin Yu couldn’t help but laugh. “You make it sound as if I wasn’t outside at all before. Don’t forget I also traveled a lot!” Saying so, his expression suddenly changed.
Yes, he had traveled a lot and been able to see not just the mortal realm but even the immortal realms. But now that he mentioned it, he couldn’t help but think of the person who had made that possible for him for the first time in a while.