Song Yu Zheng indeed didn’t seem to doubt that explanation. He simply nodded, thinking that his previous conjecture should have been right: Zhi Lin was likely a disciple cherished by the Elders so now that this other guy had pissed him off, they’d help him vent his anger. Even if not everyone was on the same page yet and some might even have doubts because of the complicated relationships in a cultivation sect, this would absolutely be the end result.
Since there was no surprise, Song Yu Zheng fell quiet. The other two didn’t speak up either and even Zhi Guan fell quiet when he realized that Song Yu Zheng didn’t seem to want to test them any further.
Time slowly passed and finally, steps sounded from the corridor behind them. Zhi Guan who had closed his eyes to appear as if he was resting before whatever big task was coming up now raised his eyelids and glanced in the direction.
The person who walked out of the shadows wore the night black robe of the Wu Yun Sect. His hair was neatly tied up with a white ribbon that looked oddly out-of-place among all the dark-robed demonic practitioners and he hadn’t bothered to put on a veil like everyone else, leaving the view of his face unobstructed.
Zhi Guan watched him get closer and withstood the urge to reach up and pull his own veil higher. If he did, he would just draw more attention to himself. Instead, he deliberately withdrew his gaze, trying to make himself look like just another disciple.
Unfortunately, because he and Yang Wu Huang had originally kept at the back of the group and only Yang Wu Huang had moved to the front, Zhi Guan was standing in a really conspicuous place. It didn’t help at all that the three disciples next to him were of the Wu Yun Sect.
The disciple stopped next to them while Song Yu Zheng put on a somewhat humble expression.
“Senior martial brother Mu!”
Mu Qing had been looking at the person next to Song Yu Zheng but he turned back when he was addressed and nodded. “Junior martial brother Song. It’s good to see you’re here. This makes me feel more at ease.” His gaze slipped back to Zhi Guan. He felt complicated inside but made sure not to show it on his face. Instead, he forced himself to turn back to Song Yu Zheng once again. “This is …?”
“Oh, his name is Zhi Lin. He is from the Yu She Sect. I checked his skills and they’re not bad so the three of us will take him along if senior martial brother doesn’t mind.”
Mu Qing nodded. “No, it’s good as long as he’s skilled.” He turned back to Zhi Guan, not sure what else to say. This guy … wasn’t he a bit too daring to even use his own surname? And the personal name he had chosen was also that of his third junior martial brother! Did he think the people on the demonic side had no brains at all?
Zhi Guan looked back and finally nodded. “Senior martial brother Mu.” Mu Qing’s gaze suggested that he had recognized him despite the veil but since he hadn’t called him out yet, he likely wouldn’t. No matter what had happened in the past and why he was here, it seemed like this senior martial brother of Mei Chao Bing’s didn’t have his whole heart on this side. He was different from Qu Yijun in that regard.
Mu Qing gave a hum and then turned back to look at the other disciples that had gathered as if this short interaction just now had meant nothing. “Everyone, it’s time to leave.” He didn’t say a word more and simply walked through the crowd toward the gate of the headquarters.
Song Yu Zheng patted Zhi Guan’s arms and then followed behind Mu Qing. Anyway, they were from the same sect, and looking at the other disciples that were going to the palace, it seemed like his seniority should be among the highest. Since senior martial brother Mu had even stopped to talk to him, he could naturally walk directly behind with his team.
Zhi Guan glanced at the other two and seeing them follow Song Yu Zheng, he also walked toward the gate. He was painfully aware of all the disciples around them that would likely travel with them. As long as Mu Qing said one word, pointed at him or gave a more secretive signal that he couldn’t even make sense of, he’d be done for.
He wasn’t afraid. He had never been. When he joined the Teng Yong Sect, it had been in the knowledge that he was following the way of the sword. This meant pursuing the highest peak of this art but also allowing for whatever was destined to happen. If he found his death under somebody’s blade, then so be it.
At most, he felt sorry for his junior martial brothers. Yan Hong Min clearly wasn’t sensible enough to be left alone. Thankfully, there was Shen Lei at Luo Lin’s side though who could pay attention to the both of them. Yun Bei Fen also had Mei Chao Bing who would grow into a splendid cultivator as long as he was given enough time. Maybe right now, he couldn’t protect all of them, but in the future, as long as he and Shen Lei joined hands, these three little juniors wouldn’t have to worry.
Thinking of such a future, Zhi Guan calmed down. Yes, he couldn’t change it and even if something happened, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. His maybe but not that of his three juniors. Since that was the case, why should he worry? It was best to wait until Mu Qing or anyone else actually made a move. Maybe, just maybe, he would even get lucky and no such thing would happen. After all, Mu Qing was indeed different from Qu Yijun even though it might be too optimistic to assume that this was still the case after so many years on the other side.