The servants had enough instinct left in them to go running the moment their master finished the words, and it was just in time.
What flew was only a teacup - Xie Yi’s, funnily enough, he was still securely holding Shi Yue’s - but the damage on the ground suggested it was thrown with more than pure strength.
“Someone who only talks trash has no use for their tongue, old man”, Xie Yi snarled, every hint of politeness gone from the face.
Instead it was the usual expression of a natural killer - someone who was used to actually pulling out people’s tongues for being too loud or saying something he didn’t like.
Master Zhu haughtily raised an arm in response. Now that Shi Yue’s disciple had attacked him first, he had all right to punish him for being disobedient and disrupting the conversation between two Grandmasters.
His aura unfolded like a wave, intending to swallow up the child who must be in the first few stages.
Xie Yi’s body twitched forward, ducking under the man’s arm.
“Xie Yi!”1”Xie Yi” is not pronounced as “Ji-eh Yi”, but rather something like “Shiyi”. It’s just as quick to shout as “Stop”
A single bellow from Shi Yue was enough to quickly freeze the black-haired youth, whose fingers stopped mere centimeters away from the old man’s widened eyes.
Xie Yi snarled like a beast and leaned back while Master Zhu stumbled a step backwards, still trying to understand how the youth could have come so close in such a short time.
“Bring me my tea”, Shi Yue said with a resigned expression, his eyes hovering over Xie Yi’s left hand that still held his teacup.
Suddenly all polite, the youth turned and carefully held the cup out to his master.
“Since you’ve made it clear you don’t believe your grandson is collaborating with the Demonic Sect, you won’t mind if we were to heavily punish or even kill him in case he was, correct? After all, you don’t believe it’s possible.”
Shi Yue finished the last sips of his cooled tea before setting the cup on an even surface of the destroyed table. He placed a hand on Xie Yi’s back, shoving him forward lightly.
“We can find the exit on our own.”
The other Grandmaster did not stop them on their way out. He merely pressed his teeth together loud enough to crunch, a quiet fury blazing inside his heart.
Shi Yue complained to the heavens in his thoughts. Oh, how much he would have liked to let Xie Yi attack that annoying man!
But how was he supposed to explain where Xie Yi’s power was from? He couldn’t allow that to happen. Had Xie Yi attacked Master Zhu, there would have been two possibilities.
Leaving Master Zhu alive and being forced to confront all the sects - who undoubtedly would be informed - on the topic of his disciples insane strength.
Or killing Master Zhu... And every single other person in the sect who would be aware that they had been there, including innocent servants and children.
He couldn't allow neither, so he had to stop Xie Yi from displaying what he wasn't supposed to have.
As for their broken discussion, the only valuable information was that Yao Ming wasn’t here, which he did believe. The other had looked genuinely troubled at the disappearance of his grandson.
Shi Yue did not like the Zhu family, generally.
If he could have, he would have loved to inquire how Yao Ming knew about demon spawns - but that was the greatest taboo. Let alone discussing it, even mentioning the name was avoided.
You never knew when the Demonic Sect might be listening in.
While Shi Yue brooded, Xie Yi watched him from the side. Only when his master’s gaze cleared up did he speak.
“Master”, he called, just in case someone might still be around to hear the form of address. “What are we doing now?”
“Getting back to the sect. I need to find out how the raid ended. After that, I will send out people to search for Yao Ming... We need to check how Xiang Zhe’s health is. And you can retell everything that happened to the other Masters - including a better description of those weird flowers.”
“Did I mess something up just now? I shouldn’t have snapped at him.” Xie Yi pulled a face - he didn’t regret it at all, so although he hoped Shi Yue wasn’t mad, it wasn’t as if he wished he hadn’t done it.
Shi Yue raised his hand and rubbed it over Xie Yi’s hair.
He had some mixed feelings. On one hand he was worried about Xie Yi drawing even more eyes, on the other he felt gratified, since he himself would love punching the old man.
Most of all, he felt amused. “Was my teacup really that important?”
“Well, it was your teacup and you hadn’t finished drinking it.”
“You smashed even your own.”
“Dramatic effect.” He would have liked smashing the table, but the table had already been smashed so the closest thing to display his annoyance was his own teacup.
Shi Yue chuckled. “You have nothing to worry about in terms of official punishment, by the way. If someone says you are lying about repeated assassination attempts, then you are certainly allowed to get mad. Not to mention, the only damage you did was to a common cup.”
“Is he going to cause trouble?”
“I have a feeling he will be running to find Yao Ming instead. He knows you weren’t lying, so he has to find his grandson as quickly as possible.” Shi Yue clicked his tongue and trailed on, his arms folded behind his back. "For now, there's somewhere we will stop by for a day."
The two of them stopped at the nearby city, which was about one-third of the total length away from the sect.
Somehow, the teacher who had accompanied Shi Yue found them on the same day - Xie Yi wondered if maybe they had talked about a meeting spot - and led them right into the expensive but quiet inn nearby.
He unlocked a double room, with Xiang Zhe occupying one of the beds. He was pale, but struggled to get up when Shi Yue came in.
“Master Li”, he called out with a rough, hoarse voice, prompting Shi Yue to hurry over and check his health.
“How is he?”, he asked the other teacher while holding Xiang Zhe’s wrist and checking his condition as soon as Xiang Zhe agreed with a nod.
“There was a poison in his body that has already vanished, causing immobility for a rather short time. He also has a minor wound on his arm. What he has right now, I can’t tell”, the teacher worriedly explained. “The effect isn’t heavy; he’s fatigued and his limbs are a bit stiff, but he can still walk and it’s been getting constantly better with each day.”
“Something the Demonic Sect made again? How did it enter his body?”
“Possible. I haven’t found any injury other than the slash, but I can’t tell you if that’s the origin. He said he wasn’t given anything to swallow.”
“Did you see something?” Shi Yue glanced over to Xie Yi, who shook his head.
“No. Yao Ming was pulling him closer to the cliff, but he wasn’t doing anything.”
“I was awake the whole time”, Xiang Zhe croaked. “Although I couldn’t move, it wasn’t like I couldn’t feel my body. He did nothing else.”
“I will ask Master Chen to take a look at him”, Shi Yue said to everyone in the room, only pulling back his hand when he didn’t find anything threatening. “How did you take care of him?”
“Cleaned out the wound and bandaged it. It wouldn’t be that bad by itself, but whether it was on purpose or not, Yao Ming dragged him around by that arm so the wound was torn open a bit larger. Let alone the fact that he was stuck in that forest for a few days.”
Xie Yi stood at the side and turned his head to hide his ugly face. Once again, he felt as if there was something he should realize - but he couldn’t quite catch the thought.
But something was there, and he knew he would have to find it, because it felt important.
Sadly, telling someone that you felt something was off ,but couldn’t name what, wouldn’t be of any help. If he couldn’t think of it by the time they returned to the sect, he could simply tell Shi Yue about the feeling.
Maybe he would have an idea.
“Can we return home with him or is it better to not move him? I don’t want him out of the sect for much longer”, Shi Yue asked the teacher who nodded hurriedly.
“The only reason why I haven’t left is that this city is still safer than going back with him alone. This inn here is always visited by a number of cultivators, so it was the best to settle here as usual.”