Chapter 24 – Case Closed (part 1)
Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Ji Yunshu calmly nodded to express that she understood what Lord Zhou meant.
Madame Zhou softly leaned forward. Her hands were trembling as she pressingly asked, “Teacher, who killed my daughter in the end? Why did that person want to do such a thing?”
“Madame, please stay calm. It’s better if I first tell everyone a story.”
“What?” Madame Zhou didn’t understand.
Jing Rong also frowned. ‘This scholar is really too carefree and idle. To narrate a story at this time and in the mourning hall at that!’
A weirdo! Too eccentric!
Ji Yunshu’s expression became sharp while she made herself comfortable. After sweeping a glance at everyone present, she started her narration.
“More than 10 years ago, on the same month now, a 6 or 7 years old girl was betrayed by her impoverished family and sold to a rich family as a maidservant to their young miss. She believed that her situation wasn’t too bad with three meals a day, warm clothes, and a roof above her head. Unfortunately, she was unaware that the miss she served was crafty and unruly ever since her young age. Quite often, the young miss beat and scolded the servants for any fault. No day passed without the maidservant being abused with wounds covering her from head to toe.”
“With the years gradually passing, the young miss’ personality problem didn’t fade. On the contrary, her abusive personality intensified. The girl didn’t dare to get angry and didn’t dare to voice out her pain. Her whole body was riddled with wounds given by her tormenter. Each day in the depth of the night, she alone would weep until her heart broke and her lungs rended, because she knew very well that she was merely a servant. Her life was worth nothing, thus she could only endure, endlessly enduring…”
While she spoke, Ji Yunshu strode around the mourning hall, walking among the crowd of servants until she finally reached the last row. She stopped in front of Suyun who had keep her head lowered all this time. Identical to yesterday, her face was as pale as ever and emaciated.
She clearly perceived a pressure from the presence in front of her. Her body trembled even more uncontrollably, and her head burrowed further to her chest. Her sight was fixated on Ji Yunshu’s pair of shoes embroidered with a luan.
The crowd parted on both sides as their gazes brimming with astonishment fell on Suyun. They looked at each other in dismay without understanding the deep meaning behind it.
Ji Yunshu’s sight was fixed on top of Suyun’s head as she went on with her story.
“That young girl also didn’t expect that no matter how much she endured, the young miss continued to treat her inhumanly, going as far as breaking the girl’s leg. Yet, the girl could only grit her teeth and continue to endure.”
Suyun subconsciously retreated her leg and fiercely trembled!
“Miss Suyun, I don’t know; was what I said correct?”
The whole crowd broke into an uproar.
Hidden under her hair, her eyes revealed a panic-stricken expression. She firmly bit her lips but didn’t dare to let out a sound!
Ji Yunshu’s outstretched hand touched Suyun’s trembling arm. She frowned and hesitantly said, “Miss Zhou is good-looking and intelligent. In front of people, she put on a facade of a sweet and pleasant girl, but little could we have imagined that behind closed doors, she treated the people beside her in such a cruel manner, tormenting them to this point.”
Everyone widened their eyes in disbelief. Their young miss was someone who would weep from sadness three days and three nights after seeing a dead fish in the lotus pond. How could she fit the word “cruel” in the slightest?!
Madame Zhou with the fastest speed came behind Ji Yunshu. The unwillingness to believe such nonsense showed on her face as she spoke to Ji Yunshu. “Teacher, you are certainly mistaken. My daughter absolutely cannot do such things. It must be a mistake…”
As she spoke those words, Madame Zhou grabbed Suyun, and with complete disregard of the crowd, she bluntly pulled up Suyun’s sleeves and tore off her clothes, exposing to prying eyes the young girl’s shoulders and collarbones.
Suyun’s skin was as fair as paper and was completely devoid of any trace of injuries!
“Teacher said that my daughter mistreated her? How could it be possible? Look! See? There is no injury on her body.” Madame Zhou exclaimed with confidence.
However, Ji Yunshu didn’t explain. Unhurriedly, she took out an exquisite little box from her sleeve. Slowly, she opened it, exposing to the bright light, hundreds of neatly placed silver needles.
At that instant, Suyun used her hands to cover her exposed skin and retreated back several steps, even the uninvolved Qiaoxin reacted in fright; her mouth turned paled and her whole body trembled.
‘Ah! So, these maidservants were actually afraid of those silver needles!’
Ji Yunshu’s hand reached into the box and picked up a needle.
“As an intelligent person, she would naturally not be stupid enough to leave traces of injury on the girl’s body. Even if one is pricked with this kind of silver needle, no trace would be left behind, and it would not cause bleeding. Yet, it would make people feel unbearable pain when it was jabbed into one’s bursa. For such an intelligent person, I cannot remain unconvinced.”
“Impossible! My daughter wasn’t such a person.”
Madame Zhou persisted in denying the conjecture and became more hysterical.
Upon seeing this, Lord Zhou stepped forward and took her in his arms. While repeatedly sighing, he turned to Ji Yunshu. “Teacher Ji, you must properly investigate this part because my daughter definitively could not do such evil things. Moreover, what has that got to do with my daughter’s murder?”
“I have yet to finish with my story.”
Ji Yunshu simply played with people’s heartstrings from her tone.
She put back the needle into its box and closed the lid. Her gaze returned to Suyun.
“Everyday, her life was endless torture, pushing her to seek for numerous paths to end her suffering. But, life was never as you expected; she met her other half – a man that would risk everything for her. They secretly fell in love with each other and swore their undying love. Not long after, the girl became pregnant. She felt elated. She planned to save her money to buy back her freedom, but how could she have known that her plan had reached the ears of the young miss? More than that, she would never have expected that the young miss, who was demure in front of everyone, would fiercely prick her with the needles. That session of torture almost claimed her life. She lost her unborn child as a result, and it left her hovering between life and death.”
“Finally, the girl could no longer endure it. She was determined to take her revenge; she was going to kill that young miss. Thus, she used the excuse of her bad health to return home, but she secretly came back to the mansion on the same night in order to add poison into her miss’ medicinal concoction. She was going to poison to death that devil who killed her child.”
While she spoke, everyone was stunned to the point of numbness.
Ji Yunshu picked up the speed as she continued her story, “Afterwards, the lifeless body of the poisoned miss laid on the floor in front of her. With all her strength, she put the body on the bed, but she was filled with dread. She was afraid that someone would discover what she did, so she confided in her lover. Early in the morning the following day, they carried Miss Zhou’s body to the attic and faked her accidental fall!”
After the last words were said, the whole hall became quiet.
“It’s not me! It’s not me!” Suyun’s voice trembled while she strongly shook her head.
“There’s no need to deny it so vehemently. Since I told that story, I evidently have the evidence to proof it.”
Ji Yunshu approached Suyun step by step. She pulled on the maidservant’s sleeve and steadily fished out a handkerchief.
It was the handkerchief embroidered with the two mulberry tree flowers!
“Give it back!”
In a flash, Suyun abruptly lifted her head and revealed a malevolent expression. Her hands stretched in a ferocious attempt to yank it back. Unfortunately, Ji Yunshu had hastily retreated a step and avoided her with a side-step. Suyun ended up throwing herself at empty space.
“She turns out to be a girl from the Western Regions. She concealed herself quite deeply.”
Suyun immediately became startled!
Grenn’s Rants Corner
So, the next two chapters are a bit longer than usual, so I might post them a bit later tomorrow.