Chapter 173 – A Military Strategist
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don’t read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
After leaving the palace, Jing Rong returned to his residence and without resting, he went straight to the East Courtyard. However, he had yet to reach his destination when he caught sight of Wei Yi leaning on Ji Yunshu’s shoulder while chatting and laughing with her.
Lang Po, next to him, glimpsed at his expression. The loyal subordinate inwardly sighed. ‘Poor Prince! He has to watch his beloved woman happily chatting with another man and could still endure the jealousy and displeasure eating at his heart.’
After contemplating the problem for a moment, Lang Po whispered, “Your Highness, are you going to enter?”
“Let’s wait for a moment.” His tone didn’t conceal the pain in his heart.
Lang Po retreated to his side and quietly accompanied his master, as he stood outside the entrance for several minutes until that fellow, Wei Yi, stopped leaning on Ji Yunshu and went inside the house with the lantern. Only then, did Jing Rong step forward and strode into the courtyard under Ji Yunshu’s eyes. Her sight fell onto his wet shoulders.
“What are you looking at?” Jing Rong was already in front of her.
“Did you stand outside for a long time?”
“How did you know?”
Ji Yunshu stretched her hand and pointed to his shoulders where small plum blossom petals fell on him. “It didn’t rain today, but the plum trees are gorged with dew, and a small breeze would send the flowers petals flying. Your Highness’ shoulders are wet and have many petals on them. This could only happen if you stood outside for a moment.”
“I can’t hide anything from you.”
Ji Yunshu smiled, then she turned around and went inside, followed by Jing Rong.
Inside the house, Wei Yi was partially lying on the table while holding Ji Yunshu’s brush. He was concentrated on drawing on the lantern. In fact, he was drawing plum blossoms which were the first thing Ji Yunshu taught him, but despite his best efforts, the painting looked more like chopsticks. Then, he lifted his head and saw Jing Rong coming in behind Ji Yunshu. Immediately, he pouted and whined with an unhappy voice, “I don’t like you!”
Jing Rong felt exasperated at the remark. “Loathsome guy, when did I offend you?” asked Jing Rong.
Wei Yi snorted. “I just don’t like you. Last time, you yelled at those big sisters and let Shu’er got hurt.”
“I…” Unexpectedly, Jing Rong was rendered speechless. Something is wrong. He obviously got injured from saving Ji Yunshu, wasn’t it? After thinking a bit, Jing Rong suddenly smirked. “Wei Yi, do you want to eat tanghulu?”
‘Tanghulu!’ After hearing that word, Wei Yi immediately became excited and shouted happily, “I want!”
Thus, Jing Rong called Lang Po.
After a moment, Lang Po arrived.
The prince instructed Lang Po, “Bring Young Master Wei out to eat tanghulu.”
“Are you deaf?”
Lang Po’s complexion became unwell. He shook his head and dragged Wei Yi who was filled with happiness to buy tanghulu.
‘Loathsome guy, you were easily bribed by tanghulu.’ Jing Rong had a smug look on his face.
As for Ji Yunshu, the corner of her mouth kept twitching at the scene. She reminded Wei Yi, “Don’t eat too much sugar or your teeth will decay. Your Highness isn’t afraid that he will find you later if he gets a toothache?”
“I fear nothing. This Prince will invite the best doctor for him.”
Ji Yunshu was dumbstruck.
Seeing that she was speechless, he inwardly laughed, but his outward appearance remained serious as he took two steps closer to Ji Yunshu. His actions pressured her as her heart gave birth to a vague premonition. She hurriedly back away.
“Why are you nervous?” asked Jing Rong.
“No, I am not.”
“Don’t be nervous. This Prince just wants to ask you about Gan Chuliang.”
Jing Rong went into the main topic. Ji Yunshu almost thought he wanted to… play rogue again. She let out a sigh of relief and started talking, “About that, didn’t I already write everything in the letter?”
“Everything was clear, but how can you be so certain that Gan Chuliang isn’t the murderer? Is it because he was castrated?”
Ji Yunshu walked to the table and picked up the lantern left behind by Wei Yi. Then, she took the writing brush and slowly corrected his painting while explaining to Jing Rong, “A person who was castrated long ago cannot possibly rape anyone. That’s one point. The second point, a perverted serial killer would certainly have extreme behavior that followed a rule or a pattern. Since he recognized that all of his victims had their faces peeled and their hands chopped, it meant that those actions are a pattern. Because it is a pattern, there was no reason for him to not remember clearly if he skinned the face or chopped the hands first. These two points are enough to determine that he was lying. Therefore, the murderer is absolutely not him. At most, he was the transporter, the accomplice helping the murderer to smuggle the corpses and handling them.”
“Then, why does he want to lie about it? He clearly knows that he will die if he was convicted.”
“There’s a possibility that he did it to protect someone.” Her tone gradually became heavy. She still continued, “At first, I want to go to Auspicious Prosperity to find Mei Xiang’er. Perhaps, she might know something about it, and with chance, we might be able to find another clue leading to the murderer. Unfortunately, the restaurant has been sealed, and no one knew where she lived. The Governor already dispatched runners to investigate this matter. It won’t be long until we get some news.”
“Actually, I still have another way.” Jing Rong declared.
Ji Yunshu looked at him oddly before inquiring, “What other way?”
“If your conjecture is correct, the real murderer will not let the Ruan family’s young miss off the hook. There’s a possibility that he will act again.”
“From your Highness’ tone, it seems like you already made some arrangements.”
“I already ordered people to continue keeping an eye on Miss Ruan. I hope that the murderer will show himself,” stated Jing Rong.
“Your Highness is very clever.” Ji Yunshu rarely praised him. ‘It’s true that this man is intelligent.’
Jing Rong was overjoyed from her compliment. In fact, at an early time, Ji Yunshu had coordinated with the capital governor to continue protecting Miss Ruan to prevent the murderer from harming her.
Ji Yunshu continued to paint the lantern and altered the chopstick-like branches into lifelike plum branches.
Jing Rong frowned and went to her side. He asked her, “The man you sent before told me that if I can stop Prince Yi, there was no need to give me that letter. In case of failure, the letter was to be given and I would enter the palace with Prince Yi like it happened. Are those the plans you thought of?”
“In your heart, aren’t you already clear about the way I do things?”
“I want to hear it from you.”
‘How overbearing!’ Ji Yunshu muttered to herself for a moment before she opened her mouth with calm eyes. “This time, Prince Yi was able to be one step ahead of the governor which led to Gan Chuliang’s capture. This showed that this wasn’t a coincidence. For him to prepare a confession document to report to the emperor, it means that his only purpose was to make you fail from investigating the Lin Capital case. According to the nature of this kind of scheming person, he will press you on a dead road without a doubt. At that time, I thought that if your Highness can stop him without a hitch, it will show that Prince Yi still has a bit of conscience. If this wasn’t the case, there was no need to be polite. Your Highness will receive the letter and discredit him in front of the emperor and let him suffer a crushing defeat. This can also be considered giving him a lesson.”
‘Is this woman really a mere painter and coroner?’ Jing Rong became flabbergasted. ‘This woman should have been born a man, donned an armor and rushed to the battlefield as a military strategist!’
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