With her eyes studying Guiren, a sudden thought came to Daiyu.
"I am still immature and lack a lot of awareness, so I ask for Shifu to enlighten me. This disciple has a question, but I'm uncertain if I should voice it or not."
Daiyu looked up and stared at her master with an unfaltering gaze, waiting for his response.
"What do you want to know?"
"Daiyu will not question master's decision as long as it was fair. But I'm curious as to what reason caused you to take him in as a disciple?"
The old man stared at her, surprised by her question.
For what reason?
For what reason indeed.
Yes, to be able to read a particular situation and present the appropriate actions to take even if it brought himself in harm's way—this child was capable. This ability was innate, and it was rare to come by, of course, he would hold actions to take in such a disciple.
She was unprepared for this answer.
"Then, if that is the case, Daiyu will not be unreasonable."
She got up from the ground and lightly patted her outer robes with dignified care. Stepping back to her seat, she took a glance at Huizhong before redirecting her attention to Guiren.
"However, I will not accept this cup of tea."
Guiren could feel his ears heating up by her announcement. A flush of shame spread out onto his cheeks, and he lowered his head.
To not accept his cup of tea that was presented to her meant that she didn't recognize him as her junior brother.
His knees were still on the cold ground, and his arms were outstretched in wait. But without a word from Daiyu, Guiren couldn't get up.
To put it simply, Daiyu acknowledged her master's actions, but that was to give face to her master— it didn't mean she would acknowledge him.
The sect master took a glimpse at the untouched tea and lightly sighed.
Her saying that much was enough of an answer for him. After all, he was the one who pushed this new development on her. Getting up from his seat, he reached over to the cup of tea and emptied the contents out to the side of the pathway.
Daiyu looked in surprise at his actions.
Without a word, the sect master gently set the empty cup down on the table and turned to Guiren.
"This cup of tea will not count. Perhaps the next one will."
With that, Guiren could only get up with reluctance. Hunching forward, he slowly got up to his feet and stood quietly in wait.
A mixture of sourness along with relief took over his heart.
The sect master's words were voiced out to excuse him.
There was nothing he could do now.
He would have to prove to Daiyu that he was indeed worth her master's selection in order to convince her to accept him.
Setting down a small jar of medicine, the sect master paused before he lightly patted Daiyu's head. With steady steps, he left the pavilion. Guiren followed behind closely, his eyes couldn't help but take another look at Daiyu.
Her blank eyes met his.
Guiren had the idea that something vaguely seemed off, but he couldn't pinpoint it.
But the emptiness in her eyes was startling.
Turning his head away, he continued behind the sect master.
Watching Guiren fade out of view, Daiyu turned away and started to head for the training ground.
"Senior sister, was master upset?"
Huizhang's voice came out quiet and unsure.
Daiyu paused. Her garments billowed carelessly to the calling of a sudden breeze. A small swarm of loose pink petals rushed past her, forcefully pushed along by the wind. Finally, she spoke.
"No, he was being fair."
Huizhang didn't understand but he didn't dare ask another question. For some reason, Daiyu didn't seem like she would respond even if he did manage to ask.
Her master had always been fair. By pouring out the tea, he was excusing her for not accepting Guiren and sending a message to Guiren that he shouldn't be discouraged but rather, to work harder if he did want her to acknowledge him. At the same time, he was keeping everything impartial. His action was like admitting that he saw Huizhang as another of his inner disciples and took Huizhang's presence into consideration.
If not, he would have pushed Huizhang's spot aside for Guiren. After all, her master seemed to have really wanted Guiren as his disciple. The elder had never gone out of his way to pick anyone before and never considered to take in any other disciples other than Daiyu. It was only this time, after realizing that she might feel alienated being the only disciple, he opened his options again.
The words of her master floated back into her mind.
Just how capable could Guiren be? If she were to consider the young Guiren in her previous life, he was only mediocre. Her master at that time didn't approve of her choice but allowed it seeing that she begged for it so long. Now? He was brought in with her master's own hands and given a high spot with little to no issue.
"Huizhang, you said, that big brother got punished?"
Huizhang nodded with hesitance.
Daiyu turned away.
That was merely the result of a well-played move.