This time, Elder Baili didn’t hesitate at all. He was still worried about his disciple’s safety, of course, but the distance to the Zhen Yan Sect’s camp wasn’t as far away as it would be to travel to all of them and it was indeed true that Elder Fa had shown them much more grace the last time they contacted the others. “You’re right. This will be for the best. I’ll tell him right now.” He got to his feet and left the room, going over to knock on his third disciple’s door.
Mei Chao Bing and Elder Xing waited as Elder Baili instructed Luo Lin and Shen Lei on what to do and cautioned them again.
Elder Xing couldn’t help but speak up after a moment. “About Yun Bei Fen …”
Mei Chao Bing turned to look at him, not sure what the Elder wanted to say.
Elder Xing sighed. “I’m sure this is weighing heavily on you. Knowing that he might be a target because of you, I mean. I want to say that you shouldn’t blame yourself.”
Mei Chao Bing gave a faint hum. “I know that but … thank you for mentioning it. To be honest, this situation is a bit like when my Master betrayed the sect. Back then, I blamed myself. I felt that I should have seen the signs because there had to be some. It didn’t help that I was shunned by most of the people at the sect afterward.”
Elder Xing’s expression turned pained. This was something the Teng Yong Sect could never make up for. To be honest, even he himself was to blame. He might not have actively targeted Mei Chao Bing or tried to snatch any of the resources the sect owed him but he had also never spoken up for him.
As an Elder of the sect, that wasn’t right. While his personal disciples were naturally the ones he should care for the most, he still had a general duty to ensure the fairness in the sect. He hadn’t upheld that duty and yet, he had never suffered consequences for it. The only one who did was Mei Chao Bing. And yet, he didn’t even outright blame them. It spoke a lot to his character and theirs and could truly put them all to shame.
Mei Chao Bing naturally notice the Elder’s expression but he didn’t acknowledge it. He had enough of his own worries so he didn’t want to concern himself with Elder Xing’s guilty conscience. “But then, five years passed. I made progress in my cultivation, I found a lover, and I also regained the trust of some of the sect’s disciples in my generation and the one after that. Naturally, my view didn’t stay the same throughout.”
He fell quiet for a moment, thinking back on the long way that had been the past five years. Originally, he had indeed blamed himself but slowly, he started to blame his Master more. Because, in the end, if his Master hadn’t betrayed the sect, then what signs would there have been for him to see and what responsibility would he have had?
Still, it was only here in the border region that he let go of the final feelings of guilt. This wasn’t his fault. It had never been. Even if he was an essential part of this plan, even if he was the one whose appearance had made his Master flee the sect before he could get caught, even if he hadn’t been able to supply enough information because he simply hadn’t known anything of worth, there was only one person at fault and that person was his Master, Feng Bai Xiao, not him. Pretending that it was any different was simply trying to find a scapegoat in the absence of the real mastermind.
Of course, just because he didn’t feel guilty any longer, that didn’t mean that he didn’t realize his responsibility in this matter. Since he was an essential part of the plan, he had to play an essential part in the counter plan as well. He couldn’t let his Master succeed, not because he was his disciple and should have prevented this but simply because it was the right thing to do. His moral concept simply didn’t allow him to ignore this and pretend it had nothing to do with him.
Mei Chao Bing sighed and shook his head. “Either way, I don’t blame myself for my Master’s betrayal and I don’t blame myself for the fact that Yun Bei Fen is now being put in danger. I do realize that I am the reason though and I also have a duty to protect him both as his senior martial brother of the same sect and as his fiance. So … I will do whatever is in my power to keep him safe. If all goes well that won’t be to my detriment but even if it is, I will accept it. Not because of guilt but because I love him and care for him.”
Elder Xing nodded. “It’s obvious that you do. But I guess that is also what got you two into this situation. I suppose breaking up at this point wouldn’t help either.”
Mei Chao Bing smiled wryly. “He wouldn’t just accept it if I said to break up and I don’t think my Master would be fooled that easily. I might have lost my respect for him but I can’t deny his intellect. Anyway, there is a reason why he managed to stay undetected in the Teng Yong Sect for so long and even received such a high position.”
“True. None of us ever realized. I really thought …” He shook his head, not finishing the sentence. They were all clear on what they had thought of Feng Bai Xiao. Reiterating it now helped nobody. Instead, it was better to think about further countermeasures they could take.