Chapter 63 – Madame Jiang
“It’s… It’s Madame Jiang’s younger brother.” As he said this, his voice was trembling badly.
‘Although it was circulated that the Jiang family moved away to the capital two years ago, why wasn’t the death of the master of the Jiang family reported to the yamen? Wasn’t there something fishy going on?’
Ji Yunshu was had quite a lot of doubts so she paced as she thought, her expression even more serious than before.
Hence, she asked him, “If that skeleton really was Master Jiang, why didn’t the yamen receive a report of his death? And if the murderer really was Madame Jiang’s younger brother like you said, even if she wholeheartedly protected him and moved to the capital to not get found out, how was everyone else blind enough to miss a living, breathing human being? Even if they were afraid of being silenced like you said, it’s still… a bit of a stretch to believe!”
The old man felt grieved for all his words were true!
The old man clenched his fists tightly, a trace of fear in his tone, “Teacher Ji, I’m telling the truth. Look, Madame Jiang only found out Master Jiang had a yin-yang body when she married over so she has always treated him badly. And the Master, he… he didn’t dare to fight back since he was ashamed! Nobody in the manor cared for him and the person in charge of the Jiang family is actually Madame Jiang.”
“What connection does that have to this case?”
“Teacher Ji, I know the Master was murdered because I saw with my own eyes that the Madame’s younger brother got into a disagreement with the Master that got physical. I didn’t really pay attention at the time because it was a common occurrence so I left.”
“However, when I went back, I saw him digging a hole to bury the body of the Master. I witnessed the whole process but didn’t dare to say anything. After the Master disappeared, nobody reported it because the Madame said that the Master went missing due to his insanity so we were forbidden from speaking of it.”
“Not long afterwards, the Madame dismissed a portion of the servants and brought her trusted confidantes and moved to the capital.”
‘What a fascinating story!’ Ji Yunshu listened attentively. Her brows perked up as declared, “I have memorised everything you had said. However, the conclusion will still have to wait till my reconstruction of the deceased’s appearance is done. After all, I can’t just determine the identity of the deceased based on your words alone.”
“Additionally, although you claim to have witnessed the murder take place, you don’t have any concrete evidence. Even if it was Lord Liu, he can’t arrest someone based on your words alone. You have to know that it all depends on evidence.”
The old man nodded. “I have long heard of Teacher Ji’s case-solving abilities. I believe you will give Master Jiang justice.”
“Rest assured, since this case has landed in my hands, I won’t rest till I find the murderer.” She paused before continuing, “Old man, I know you have certain… considerations. However, this is a case where a life was lost. Hence I hope that after I draw out the deceased’s appearance, and it turns out to really be Master Jiang, you would perhaps take a trip to the yamen?”
“I-!” He panicked!
‘Who exactly is this Madame Jiang to cause the entire Jiang household to fear her so? In the modern world, she would be beyond the level of a power woman, she’d be a beast!’
Ji Yunshu showed her serious face as she continued attempting to persuade him, “Killers must be punished. If you can act as witness then it would increase the chances of bringing your Master justice.”
The old man’s expression remained panicked as his eyes darted around back and forth before finally clenching his teeth, “Okay. I’ll do it. I’ll- I’ll stand witness.”
“I believe if Master Jiang was watching, he would be very grateful to you.” She spoke.
The old man nodded but his body trembled even worse than before.
Ji Yunshu remained rooted to the spot for a while as she thought, ‘If that old man was speaking the truth and the murderer really was the Madame’s younger brother, wouldn’t the case be considered closed once I draw out the potrait? Would it really be this simple?’
The imaginary weighing scale in her mind was rather undecided!
Once she had returned to the Ji manor, she tossed changing her medicine out of her mind as she ordered Luan’er to fetch her some pottery clay. She was busy with the molding of the clay models only when night had long fallen.
Luan’er carried a bowl of piping-hot porridge in and placed it beside Ji Yunshu. Unable to continue watching her neglecting herself like this, Luan’er spoke, “Young Miss, eat some porridge first. You’ve been busying yourself ever since you came back and haven’t even eaten dinner. I’m worried you’ll harm your body like this. Also, it’s time to change the medicine. Please go and lie down and let me change it.”
Once she started working, Ji Yunshu was always without a sense of time, so much so she often forgot to eat!
Stretching her neck, she was feeling a bit tired so she placed down the clay model that was pretty much done as she washed her hands before beginning to eat the porridge.
Luan’er continued speaking, “Oh right. Young Miss, I’ve already crushed the medicine that Prince Rong brought. In a bit, I’ll apply it on your back. I think your back should be fine in no time.”
Hearing Jing Rong being mentioned, Ji Yunshu’s expression shifted a bit. “Luan’er, I remember you saying that Prince Rong burnt father’s whip?”
“And made him ascend the Qing An temple, kowtowing at every step?”
“That’s right. The Master has already left for the Qing An temple. He should still be at the foot of the mountain right now.” Luan’er’s expression was gleeful as she thought, ‘Serves you right!’
Her eyes lowered slightly as she muttered lightly to herself, “A coincidence that he sent medicine meant for treating whip wounds and burnt father’s whip as well as teaching him a lesson? Could it be that he knows who I really am?”
Seeing that her Young Miss appeared to be mouthing some words, she got closer and asked, “Young Miss, what did you say?”
Placing the bowl down, she straightened out her thoughts as she entered the inner chamber to let Luan’er change her medicine. Her clothes had just fallen off when something fell out from inside them. Luan’er picked it up and opened it before exclaiming in surprise, “Miss, where did this jade pendant come from? It looks really lovely.”
Ji Yunshu stretched out her hand to pluck it out of Luan’er’s grasp and chucked it below her own pillow. “It’s nothing. Get on with changing my medicine.”
Luan’er didn’t question any further as she helped Ji Yunshu change her medicine.
After the medicine was changed, Ji Yunshu went back to molding clay. Due to the tight schedule, she stayed inside for these two days until she managed to draw out the portrait of the deceased. Only then did she leave to deliver it to the yamen.
That same day, it was confirmed that the man in the painting was confirmed to be Master Jiang!
Ji Yunshu had originally thought that the old man would definitely come to the yamen to stand witness. However, he did not come. Instead, a noblewoman in her forties arrived.
She brought with her two serving maids as well as a slightly younger looking man. The four strutted into the yamen’s courtroom, and a hint of disdain could be seen from their gazes!
‘I’m the bloody magistrate and I’m not complaining about being in the yamen for decades, what are you guys silently complaining about!’ Naturally, the magistrate recognised this middle-aged noblewoman. He stepped forward, “And you might be Madame Jiang, yes? I was just about to send people over to the capital to inform you. Why have you come over all of a sudden?”
Madame Jiang swept a glance at the magistrate. “I just so happened to be returning to my hometown to honour my ancestors recently when I heard that my husband’s corpse had been discovered upon entering the city. Lord Liu, I am here to bring my husband’s body for burial, do grant me this request.”
‘Well you sure went straight to the point!’