Chapter 157 – White Cloth
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don’t read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
Ji Yunshu walked in front, while Li Shiyan followed behind. Watching the slender figure in front of him advancing laboriously, made him worried. His vigilance rose as he readied himself to protect her at any time.
After a moment of walking in silence, Li Shiyan asked, “Where are we going right now?”
“Southeast,” answered Ji Yunshu.
“I don’t understand. Why do you want to pass through this forest? Look at this place; everything feels humid, and the sun barely shines down. Why don’t you go around it?” He frowned in bewilderment.
In front of him, Ji Yunshu continued to walk with caution. She jabbed the improvised walking cane into the muddy ground and talked to him without turning back, “Do you really want to know?”
“Of course.” Li Shiyan nodded. “If you feel that my talent is good, feel free to receive me as your disciple. Perhaps in the future, I can solve cases in the blink of an eye.”
‘In the blink of an eye?’ His words made Ji Yunshu smile, but she no longer spoke to him. However, because Ji Yunshu didn’t dispel Li Shiyan’s doubts, his mind became more bothered by it. Therefore, he continued to urge her for an answer, “Since you’re allowing me to go with you, there’s no need to hide your thoughts from me. Maybe if you tell me, I might be able to help you get some ideas.”
Ji Yunshu didn’t appear to be against the idea. She took a deep breath, inhaling the cold and humid air before speaking, “The deceased came from the main road and ran through the forest until she reached the southeastern part of the mountain.”
“How do you know that?”
“Although this is the surroundings of a big mountain, woodcutters often go into this mountain, so it’s impossible to hide someone here. In addition, the capital governor had ordered a search in the vicinity which implies that there’s no place to hide anyone. Taking into account the state of the corpse at the moment of its discovery, it was impossible for the victim to escape from a faraway location to this mountain. Therefore, there is only one explanation.”
“What it is?”
“Prior to her death, the victim must have escaped from inside a carriage or from something that could hide a person. At that time, she must have been chased by someone. Therefore, in that moment of desperation, it would be impossible for her to make a decision with clarity like to detour the forest by taking the trails to the east then to the south. The only option she would take is to run directly through the forest to the southeast. Unfortunately, during her escape, she stumbled on something and fell on a stone where she met her end.” Ji Yunshu explained this with incredible patience.
Li Shiyan nodded several times in shock. His face completely expressed the worship he had for Ji Yunshu, but it wasn’t enough to stop him from continuing to ask, “Then, you are retracing the deceased’s escape route? But, why do you want to do that?”
“I want to search for any clues left behind by the murderer or something that could give us more information on the case.” Her explanations were quite vulgarized, but despite this, Li Shiyan pushed his brain to work harder. It still took him a good moment to understand everything that was said. Finally, he gasped in awe. He really wanted to open that woman’s head and see what her brain is made of.
Ji Yunshu used most of her energy to hike through the forest, but she still continued to explain, “Another thing, Liang mountain is near the capital and could only be reached by the main road. If you want to hide someone, the type of carriage used is probably bigger in size than normal ones. What’s more, the direction where the carriage was going is probably out of the city.”
“That’s because of the missing girls case. Due to the numerous disappearances, the city was heavily guarded and under search everywhere. The murderer might be scared of being discovered, thus he must smuggle the victim out of the capital. Unfortunately, there is still a point I am unclear about. If he did use a carriage, hiding the victim inside should be easy. But, there’s a strict search at the gates. How did the murderer avoid that? How did he smuggle the victim out of the capital?”
Ji Yunshu’s mind gradually sank in confusion. To summarize it, many points remained unclear in her conjecture, and she still had no lead to unravel that mystery. Right now, she could only hope that she finds a clue while going through this forest. “Enough, let’s try to find some clues first.” Ji Yunshu stated.
Li Shiyan stopped asking questions as he still had not digested Ji Yunshu’s explanations. Suddenly, Ji Yunshu stopped walking. “Wait, wait, wait!”
“Look, isn’t that a white cloth?” She pointed in a direction. Not far from them, a white cloth was tangled in overgrown branches where a steep slope loomed below. If she was careful enough, she should be able to reach for that white fabric.
Li Shiyan squinted his eyes several times before nodding, “This is indeed some kind of cloth and one of average quality.”
“We will know after a closer examination.”
After a moment, Ji Yunshu leaned on a tree and bent down in order to reach for the white cloth in vain.
“Let me do it.” Li Shiyan pulled her up and was about to take her place when-
Swish! Swish! Swish!
Suddenly, something nailed the tree. In between the shadows of the trees, an ear-piercing sound could be heard. Then, more than a dozen men clad in black jumped down from a tall tree. Each of them held a sword and thrust it toward Ji Yunshu and Li Shiyan. When she saw the sword darting dangerously toward them, she instinctively raised her hand to protect Li Shiyan’s back.
Li Shiyan waved his beautiful fan and opened it. Unexpectedly, several sharp needles shot out from the fan and accurately pierced the throats of a few assassins, killing them on the spot!
Ji Yunshu didn’t have the time to react before realizing that the fan was, in fact, a terrible hidden weapon.
“Stay near the tree and don’t run anywhere.” Li Shiyan instructed her.
In no time, he was entangled in a perilous fight against the assassins. Unbeknownst to him, Ji Yunshu who hid near the tree was once again attacked by an assassin who had jumped down from it. His sword slashed down without pity, mercilessly slashing toward her head.
Her eyes unconsciously looked up and she stared at the sword’s tip, glinting like a shooting star. Her pupils dilated. ‘Am I going to die? I survived in Jinjiang only to die here? I haven’t solved the missing girls case and the Lin capital case yet. And there’s Wei Yi; what will happen to him? Will Jing Rong take care of him in my stead? Will he be fine after I’m gone?’
The sword ruthlessly descended. But, with only 0.0001 cm left before her skin was pierced, a stone timely struck the sword, deviating its trajectory. The force from the stone was enough to make the sword jump out of the assassin’s hand, falling into a broad hand.
After grabbing the other’s sword, Jing Rong immediately plunged the weapon into the man’s chest. At the same time, he pulled Ji Yunshu toward him, causing her to knock her head into his chest. “Next time you dare to leave me behind, I will kill you!” Anger surged into his eyes.
Despite the dim surroundings, Ji Yunshu could clearly distinguish the anger and seriousness painting his countenance.
Jing Rong didn’t have time for Ji Yunshu’s explanation as he immediately pushed her back to the tree. “Stay here.”
After that, he turned away, sword in hand and joined the fray.
Ji Yunshu hugged her stomach without reacting for a long time. Then, she watched the ongoing fight. Her sight fell once again on the white cloth, and after thinking for a moment, she carefully sneaked toward it. When she came nearer, she tried once again to reach for it through the branches with her fingertips. She inched a bit more toward the steep slope and used her other hand to grab it.
‘A bit more!’ She inched a bit forward. ‘Almost there!’ Finally, she grabbed that white cloth.
“AH!” And she tumbled down the steep slope.
Grenn’s Rants Corner
My god! Assassins again!