At the Profound Blossom Sect, after receiving Sun Jingjing's message, Liu Lanzhi and several sect elders waited for their return at the Yin Yang Pavilion.
"Where are they? Disciple Sun had sent a message saying that they will be here soon an hour ago, yet they are still not here!"
One of the sect elders there worried that something bad might've happened to them.
"Don't worry, I was recently notified that they will be running a little bit late."
Liu Lanzhi said to her.
And just as she said those words, a wooden boat appeared right above them without making a single sound, scaring the sect elders that did not know what it was.
Liu Lanzhi smiled when she saw the wooden boat above them.
A few seconds later, two figures jumped from the boat and landed before them.
"The two of you have done a spectacular job rescuing the Junior Disciples! Although I won't say that I didn't doubt you one bit, I am glad that both of you managed to return to us in one piece."
Liu Lanzhi said to them.
"Anyway, where are the Junior Disciples?"
Liu Lanzhi looked around but found no sight of them, feeling quite puzzled.
"We didn't return with them."
Sun Jingjing told her the truth.
Both Liu Lanzhi and the sect elders looked at her with wide eyes.
"The Junior Disciples are still at the boarders…"
Sun Jingjing proceeded to explain the situation to Liu Lanzhi and the sect elders.
Liu Lanzhi sighed with her eyes closed after listening to Sun Jingjing's explanation, feeling totally understanding of the situation.
If the Junior Disciples wanted to leave, she promised to not blame them.
Liu Lanzhi then turned to look at Su Yang with a frown.
After a moment of silence, she spoke, "Although I really wish to scold you for your actions today, I can't, as you have not only recused the Junior Disciples but also those innocent victims inside the bandits' hideout, and for that, I thank you."
"It's nothing much," said Su Yang casually.
"Now we can only wait and hope that at least some of them will return…" Liu Lanzhi sighed.
Sometime later, Liu Lanzhi dismissed everybody there.
After the dismissal, Su Yang returned to his living quarters and continued to cultivate.
Within a blink of an eye, four days have passed since the rescue mission, and not a single Junior Disciple has returned since then.
"Perhaps all of them have abandoned us…"
Sun Jingjing sighed as she practiced sword techniques in her backyard.
Elder Sun spoke as he looked through the scroll in his hands.
"While it will be unfortunate for the Profound Blossom Sect if these Junior Disciples decided to never return, it's honestly not too bad, as there were at most 100 of them. It's not like having an extra 100 will help the Sect return to its former glory."
"That's true, but 100 people will double our current population, so you can't say it's nothing."
Sun Jingjing suddenly stopped swinging her sword and asked Elder Sun, "What do you think will happen to the Profound Blossom Sect? Will we survive this predicament, or will we perish?"
Elder Sun closed his eyes to ponder.
After a moment of silence, he spoke, "If I have to honest with you, I have no clue… and I am sure that other sect elders are in the same shoes."
While the Profound Blossom Sect may be rich with techniques and resources, without disciples, such wealth will not amount to anything.
What's more, because of how the Profound Blossom Sect cultivates, it will be much harder to find disciples when compared to your average sect, as its cultivation methods will push most people away without giving it a second thought.
"Then why did you decide to stay here when you could've left? You could've died, you know? By the way, my decision to stay was because of you."
"This is where I grew up… I simply cannot abandon it, especially if it's in danger."
"Hm… Is that so…"
"What about you? Are you sure that you want to stay here? Instead of being here, you could be elsewhere right now — somewhere that can nurture you properly. Without dual cultivating, there's no meaning in being here..."
Elder Sun sighed and continued, "The Sun Family has been nagging me to convince you to stop following me for the past month, you know? They are even claiming that you are wasting your potential by being here."
After a moment of silence, Sun Jingjing smiled and said, "Then they will stop nagging you if I prove to them that I made the right choice by being here, right?"
"And how are you going to manage that? Besides your sword techniques, you have made barely any improvements since coming here."
"I… I have decided on a partner to cultivate with."
Sun Jingjing suddenly revealed, causing Elder Sun's eyes to widen like eggs.
"You… But there's only one person here that could…"
When Elder Sun came to this realization, he immediately frowned, "No! I object to this! You can pick anyone besides that brat, Su Yang! He is the type that will bring nothing but trouble if you get yourself involved with him!"
"I am sorry, grandfather, but I have already decided."
Sun Jingjing did not argue with him, only showing him a confident smile.
Elder Sun sighed loudly.
He simply could not even find the energy to persuade her, as there is nobody in this world that knows her stubbornness better than him. Once she decides on something, especially when she smiles like that, not even her parents could change her mind.
"If that's your decision, then so be it. However, don't come crying to me in the future when things go south, even if you are my precious granddaughter."
"Don't worry, grandfather. You should know by now that I have keen eyes for people, nor do I make decisions rashly."
"If you say so…"
Although Elder Sun shrugged this situation off his shoulders, he couldn't help but worry in his heart.