The matter seemed straightforward at first glance but Diao Huan could see the undercurrents beneath and those were dangerous at first glance.
Back when the Teng Yong Sect informed them, he hadn’t been sure what to make of it. Their Li Ren Sect hadn’t found anything odd before then. At most, it seemed like the demonic faction had become a little more active in the previous months but that was it. That only one sect made all these discoveries had seemed suspicious so he was reluctant to make any bigger decisions just based on those two pieces of ‘evidence’ of the demonic faction’s actions.
Of course, this didn’t mean either that the Teng Yong Sect had betrayed their alliance and was in cahoots with the demonic faction. He would never go so far as to suggest such a thing or even think about it all that much.
The four great sects had been working together for so long that they were linked in too many places as that one of them could easily pull back from the others and even change sides. Even if they intended to do so, it would take years of operations to make it possible and he didn’t think that either of the sects would be able to pull it off seamlessly.
The Teng Yong Sect which had come to be more scrutinized because of Feng Bai Xiao’s betrayal was even less capable of it. As soon as they showed the slightest hint of something being off, the other three sects would have come together, discussed, and then likely started to investigate. By then, what could they still hide?
Under such circumstances, Diao Huan hadn’t entertained such thoughts but … the situation still made it likely that all of those ‘clues’ the Teng Yong Sect had found had been left by the other side deliberately. This meant that the demonic faction wanted them to find this. As for why they would do such a thing … Obviously, they were trying to lead them around by the nose.
If this was the case, then naturally, they couldn’t blindly rush into things. They had to carefully weigh every step that they took. This was what he had decided on. After all, even though it was important to figure out just what the demonic faction was doing, the lives of their Li Ren Sect’s disciples had to be protected as well. He wasn’t about to let them walk into a trap.
Now though, something new had cropped up and another sect had stumbled upon a structure very similar to the ones found by the Teng Yong Sect before. This did seem to suggest that maybe he had been wrong before. Maybe these weren’t deliberate clues after all and it had simply been a coincidence that the Teng Yong Sect found all the previous ones. In other words: It seemed like he had made a wrong choice at that time.
Diao Huan lowered the letter and suppressed a sigh. If this was the case, then they had wasted valuable time. If he had been more courageous, maybe they could have discovered something new already and figured out more. But now, it was too late. Well, he also couldn’t change it.
He looked up at the two disciples, his expression grave. “You likely know what Elder Fa has mentioned in her letter?”
Luo Lin nodded. “She should have told you about the structure they found and asked you to send disciples to gather at our sect’s camp. We … have also come to find some information.” He exchanged a glance with Shen Lei and finally let his fiance take over. In such discussions, his lover would likely seem more convincing.
Shen Lei didn’t even need to be told. Just Luo Lin’s gaze was enough to realize what he wanted. “The reason we originally contacted the Zhen Yan Sect was a finding of our own. A disciple of ours managed to sneak into one of their hideouts in the border region and received some information.” He quickly retold what Zhi Guan had uncovered, as well as their guesses so far. It was a pity that they hadn’t received further news but this alone should be worrisome enough.
Diao Huan’s expression indeed turned worse as he listened which could almost be considered a feat since it hadn’t been good since he started to read the letter. “That means we have little time to lose. It might even be too late by now.”
He shook his head at himself, regretting his past decisions. Their disciples naturally knew spiritual spells as well but most of what they did was tied to formations and those needed enough time to deploy. Having to fight in the enemy’s territory and not having time to set up anything was the worst-case scenario for them. The other sects would be able to deal with it better but their Li Ren Sect truly was at a disadvantage.
Even though Diao Huan felt despondent, he naturally knew that he couldn’t just wallow in regret. No, since the past couldn’t be changed, he could only ensure that he did his utmost to guarantee the best chances for their disciples they could still create.
“Alright. Since this is the situation, then the Li Ren Sect will naturally stand with you and do its part. I’ll gather the disciples and then we can leave at once.” Yes, now, there was no time to lose. They were already late enough.
Shen Lei nodded and squeezed Luo Lin’s hand. “It should take some time to gather your disciples and then travel all the way to our Teng Yong Sect’s camp. My fiance and I will leave ahead of time to inform the sect first so they’re prepared for your arrival.”
Diao Huan nodded and saw them off. Inwardly, he couldn’t help but think that, sure enough, those two were an item. Not that it mattered in the current situation … he’d better ensure that their own disciples survived this upcoming ordeal.