Chapter 12 – Unseal the Coffin
Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Ji Yunshu didn’t feel at all grateful of his magnanimity since it was something to be expected. Afterall, it was a basic quality of a prince to be magnanimous! And logically following, it was first come, first serve!
“Many thanks for Prince Rong’s understanding. This humble one will retire first.” Ji Yunshu bowed.
“I’m going with you.” Jing Rong got up.
Ji Yunshu was expressionless. “Your Highness, you are of noble status and your body is precious. The Zhou family is currently handling funeral arrangements which may offend your being.”
“What noble status and precious body?” Jing Rong narrowed his eyes. “Is that something that can be touched? Or perhaps seen?”
Ji Yunshu was unable to stop herself from stealthily giving him a blank stare at his words of dubious sarcasm.
“I was merely concerned…”
Jing Rong interrupted her. “No need to be concerned. I just happened to be free. Besides, I’ll make myself low-key and will not disturb your work.”
Ji Yunshu was too lazy to argue with all of his pestering, so she finally agreed. In the end, he was Prince Rong and she was only an insignificant painter who’d have to follow his commands.
The county magistrate also led a group of yamen runners. The group departed to Zhou Mansion in a grandiose fashion.
On the way to Zhou Mansion, Ji Yunshu walked at the front while Jing Rong followed in the rear.
He observed the slender and nimble figure, dressed in a black gown, walking as if she was led by the breeze. Refined and elegant, coupled with an unusual pair of rather dull eyes that revealed much cleverness. In fact, nothing could have hinted that this person was quite capable of handling those corpses!
As Jing Rong relaxed, the corner of his mouth slowly pursed into a deep appraising smile, as he thought to himself that it was indeed worth pondering over that person’s value.
Not long after, they arrived in front of Zhou Mansion’s entrance. Following their arrival, bitter and tragic cries resounded as the coffin containing the young miss of the Zhou family was transported to the entrance.
The county magistrate ordered people to stop the coffin carriers. In quick strides, he walked to Lord Zhou and spoke, “Lord Zhou, the burial will have to be postponed.”
Lord Zhou’s expression sank and he scowled. “What do you mean by that Lord Liu?”
He had yet to finish his sentence when Madame Zhou dashed out and fiercely slapped Liu Qingping’s face before wailing, “My daughter died tragically, but you went as far as ordering people to block the way and not allow my daughter to be buried. What is your problem? My poor daughter, your mother has failed you! Aaah!”
“Madame Zhou, it isn’t like that…”
“Then, hurry up and get out of the way. My daughter had endured enough suffering during her life, even in death, she is still receiving this kind of insult.”
Madame Zhou cried to the heaven and lamented to the earth, but she didn’t faint this time.
So to say, the man holding back the married woman was at his wits end. But her point wasn’t wrong! The county magistrate stood there dumbly, his eyes stared helplessly at Madame Zhou. At this time, he had completely forgot the real purpose of his visit.
Ji Yunshu shook her head watching the scene. She stepped forward and stretched out her hand to support Madam Zhou’s arm.
“Miss Zhou was truly born under a bad star. At such a tender age, she has been bereft of her life. During her life, she had much fondness for beauty, but after death, she was changed beyond recognition. Who knows how much hatred and grievances there were to actually harm her in such a way.”
The words spoken were neither heavy nor light, but it strongly startled Madame Zhou. She turned and grabbed onto Ji Yunshu’s wrist, staring at Ji Yunshu with eyes filled of shock.
“What did you say? What hatred? What grievances? What do you mean by ‘harm her’? Was my daughter killed by someone?”
“This humble one can naturally clear the doubts within Madame’s heart. It’s better to instruct the servants to transport the coffin back inside. Staying at the entrance like this is somewhat inappropriate.”
Madame Zhou was stunned for a moment, then she fiercely nodded and without delay ordered people to bring the coffin back inside.
Standing on the side, Lord Zhou asked Liu Qingping, “What’s going on in the end?”
“I also don’t have a clear understanding, but in short, mysteries are abound within.”
Lord Zhou heaved a sigh. He flung his sleeves and followed behind the coffin.
The county magistrate was about to go in when Ji Yunshu pulled him. She whispered, “Milord should wait for the people carrying the coffin to come out before blocking their road. Stopping them at the entrance is bad luck.”
“R-r-right! It’s inappropriate and improper.”
As it was, Liu Qingping was regretting his actions to death. It was said that stopping coffin carriers at the entrance would invite endless disasters the following year! He was being a true muddle-head.
Ji Yunshu stayed silent as she stepped inside the mansion, not expecting to be delayed again.
Behind her, Jing Rong was in high spirits as he murmured, “It’s a bit interesting.”
The coffin was once again carried into the main room situated in the rear courtyard. Everyone encircled the room and observed Ji Yunshu with inquisitive eyes.
“Unseal the coffin,” said Ji Yunshu.
Several servants looked at each other, then in unison, they casted their sights on Lord Zhou.
Lord Zhou swallowed his saliva before asking, “Teacher Ji, let’s suppose that my daughter was harmed by someone. Why didn’t you mention it yesterday?”
“I was a bit tired yesterday, so I didn’t think about investigating it.”
‘How willful!’ Lord Zhou’s next words were blocked. He was actually left speechless. He hastily nodded in consent to the several servants.
The coffin lid was thus opened by a couple of them.
A strong stench of rotting corpse mixed with the odor of rotten wood wafted out from the coffin, making people nauseous.
While everyone was busy pinching their noses and frowning, Ji Yunshu took out Chinese honey locust powder from her waist and scattered it around the coffin without hurry. Her line of sight was focused on observing the insides of the coffin.
Miss Zhou’s decaying corpse had now become sinister. The red flesh on her rotten face had changed into a pale purple. The eyeball that was barely hanging in her socket yesterday had dropped into her hair, sticking to it with gore.
It must be due to the humid weather that her face had swelled to the point it seemed to be on the verge of exploding: bones and flesh were indistinguishable; while visible veins densely covered the skin.
In one moment, Ji Yunshu’s hand reached inside the coffin, grabbed Miss Zhou’s clothes and tore them out, exposing her fair shoulder.
The action frightened everyone. The male servants subconsciously lowered their heads and didn’t dare to look.
“What are you doing?” Lord Zhou’s face turned green.
Ji Yunshu pinched Miss Zhou’s shoulder before nodding in satisfaction. “How fortunate…”
‘Fortunate? The person is dead. How can it be fortunate?’