Chapter 13 – Time of Death?
Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Lord Zhou asked, “Teacher Ji, what is the meaning of those words? My daughter has passed away, how can you say it’s ‘fortunate’?”
Ji Yunshu expression sank as she replied, “What I meant by that is… How fortunate that Miss Zhou died without closing her eyes and she left us a clear hint; that protuberance on her shoulder was caused by a swelling.”
“A swelling? This place?”
Ji Yunshu put on her white gloves then opened her sandalwood box, but the inside didn’t contain her usual painting tools. Instead there were all kinds of tools like tweezers and scissors.
She took out a small dagger and under everyone’s stare, she cut deeply into Miss Zhou’s flesh and sliced open her shoulder. The already coagulated dark purple blood, pooling underneath the rotting skin, oozed out, mixing itself with a bit of dark red blood from the incised muscles and flesh. The end result appeared like a coulis of diarrhea trickling down Miss Zhou’s neck, permeating her hair and gorgeous brocade clothes. It was really a pity that such a sumptuous adornment was ruined!
With the dagger, Ji Yunshua continued to slice deeper and deeper into the shoulder until the root of the swelling was revealed.
Of course, her actions had completely frightened everyone. Their faces turned green while they covered their mouths, all on the verge of vomiting.
Despite the sight, Ji Yunshu was cleaning her dagger, unperturbed. She put her dagger back in her sandalwood box before turning back to Miss Zhou’s shoulder. She palpated both sides of the shoulder bone, then examined the swelling. Gradually she came up with a satisfying conclusion.
As expected, her conjecture wasn’t the slightest bit wrong.
“From the shape of this bulge, someone had lifted both of her arms and dragged her away. What’s more, she was pulled by her wrists which concorded with the grabbing mark on her wrists that I found.”
Everyone endured the sick feeling assailing them, yet when they heard her words, they were overcome by shock.
Madame Zhou had a bitter face. She asked with a voice filled with doubt, “Teacher, what does that have to do with my daughter’s death?”
“Of course, there’s a link between the two matters.” Her expression showed confidence. She swept her eyes at the crowd of housekeepers and maidservants inside the room before asking, “Who was with Miss Zhou at the time of her death?”
From within the crowd, a trembling young maidservant came out. She lowered her head. “This servant was at her side at that time.”
Ji Yunshu sized her up: a small stature, barely 13 years old, a delicate and pretty appearance. Her two hands were tightly clenching on her wrists. She appeared to be afraid.
“Let me ask you if you are certain your Miss fell to her death early morning two days ago?”
“I am sure that Miss fell to death at that time. I saw it with my own eyes.”
Ji Yunshu’s words came out, the whole hall exploded.
Madame Zhou didn’t say anything, but walked to the front of the maidservant and slapped her.
“Damned girl! Speak! Did you push down my daughter? Why did you want to harm her? Didn’t she treat you well?”
“Madame, it wasn’t me! It really wasn’t me who pushed Miss. Even if I had great courage, this servant wouldn’t dare!”
“Teacher Ji said that you lied. If it wasn’t you then who was it? Someone, grab that cheap servant. I want her to pay back for my daughter’s life!”
“Madame… This slave is accused wrongly!”
Ji Yunshu had a headache from the noise. She frowned and let out a sigh, then put a stop to the situation. “Madame, I haven’t said that the murderer is this girl. Please stop for a moment. And could you wait until this humble one is done explaining?”
Lord Zhou hurriedly pulled his wife to the side and stated, “Dear, your body is not well. Don’t be angry. Let’s hear Teacher’s explanation first, then redress Ning’er’s grievances.”
Madame Zhou was so anxious that she almost fainted. To calm herself, she took deep breathes and was forced to sit on the side.
“Get up.” Ji Yunshu bent down and supported up the crying and trembling girl.
Coincidentally, she had merely brushed against the girl’s wrist, yet the maidservant had groaned in pain before slowly getting up. It naturally didn’t escape Ji Yunshu’s eyes.
Ji Yunshu turned back next to the coffin and solemnly spoke, “Lord Zhou and Madame Zhou. Just now, the reason why I said that this young girl was lying was because she absolutely wasn’t at Miss Zhou’s side at the time of her death. If she really was present, she would have discovered that Miss Zhou was already dead and her time of death would have been during the night three days ago.”
“What?!” Lord Zhou was shocked.
Everyone present started to assess and discuss the information. Obviously the Zhou family’s young miss fell to her death early morning two days ago. How did it become the night three days ago?