Chapter 32 – Pork Meatballs
Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Why did she suddenly remember the archetype of a prince in Chinese webnovels cold, arrogant and solitary; unapproachable and cherishing words like gold? This… This Jing Rong was a fraud!
Ji Yunshu have repeatedly been left speechless by his glib tongue so many times that she could only admit defeat.
“This humble one’s legs are short, and hence I was late. I beseech your Highness’ forgiveness.”
“This prince likes those who recognize their faults. Remember to not repeat the same mistake again. I don’t like to wait for people.” He raised his eyebrows, making him quite eye-catching.
Ji Yunshu no longer argued with him and entered the heart of the matter. “Let’s not waste anymore time. This humble one will examine the corpses first.”
“I’ll stand over there then.” Jing Rong lifted his chin to point a place further inside where the five corpses were aligned and covered in white clothes.
Ji Yunshu swept a glance at the place, then looked back at Jing Rong. “May I ask your Highness to open your mouth?”
‘How long-winded!’ She might as well do it herself. She tiptoed while extending her hand, and grabbed Jing Rong’s cheeks with her slender fingers. Simultaneously, she used her other hand to take out a small lump of something from her waist belt and quickly stuffed it inside his mouth before releasing him. The movements were smooth and fast, and could only be described as perfect!
The suddenness of having something shoved into his mouth cause him to show a stupid expression. Although, it only lasted until his taste buds went numb on the spiciness. The not reveling taste made him recovered his mind.
“You… What did you made me eat?!” He was extremely nervous. ‘It cannot be poison, right? Afterall, what can this lowly scholar get out from doing this anyway?’
Ji Yunshu glanced at him with indifference. “Don’t be nervous. It’s only ginger.”
“Ginger? Why are you making this prince eat ginger? And how can ginger make my tongue this numb?”
“I soaked the ginger in sesame oil.” As she spoke, she walked toward the five corpses. Then, she continued in a not heavy, yet also not light tone, “Your Highness, I don’t know if you heard about corpse smell? Ginger soaked in sesame oil can help alleviate the smell of it. Or it may be for the best if you exit this room now.”
“Do you take me for some cowardly guy?”
“I don’t dare to.”
She slightly raised the white cloth on one of the corpse, then turned to watch Jing Rong, the corner of her mouth faintly hinting at a teasing mood.
“The smell of putrefaction on these corpses are stronger than the smell from Miss Zhou’s corpse. Not to mention, it reeks of blood, burnt and cooked meat just like… Ah! It smells like the pork meatballs you ate earlier.”
Immediately, Jing Rong felt his stomach revolting and the feeling of nausea shooting from his stomach to his throat and his face took another tint. He dared to bet that this scholar was doing it on purpose!
“Y-you… How did you know that I ate pork meatballs?”
Ji Yunshu lifted her eyes and started to explain. “Only Abundant Fortune House would roast their pork meatballs first over coal fire for at least an hour, which makes the meat tender. Then, they will add in a broth from simmering the pork bones, mixed in herbs and spices like fennel and anis. Then they will simmer it until it turns into a fresh and not greasy sauce. As a result, the sauce will take a redder color from the spices. If it comes in contact with clothes like brocade, the liquid will impregnate the tissue and dye it into another color that cannot be washed away. It won’t even smear at all. Instead it will become part of the fabric, just like that spot on your Highness’ collar.”
Jing Rong, who was enduring his nausea, subconsciously looked down at his collar. He tried to wipe out the remaining sauce with his fingers, but as expected, the sauce didn’t spread or fade at all. It was there to stay.
“Are you a cook?” Jing Rong asked.
“I am not.”
“Then, why do you know so much about it?”
“I heard it from the beggar at the corner of the street.” She replied without thinking about it.
‘Are you playing around with me? Is there even a need to beg in the streets if you can afford to eat Abundant Fortune House’s pork meatballs?’
Jing Rong felt his brain’s capacity was reaching its limit. After meeting Ji Yunshu, he needed a reboot and even then, it might not even be able to fix his brain!
Was this for real?! Did Ji Yunshu really hear about it from a beggar?!
When his brain was about to collapse, he suddenly jumped to another subject. “Let’s wait until you solve this case, then I’ll bring you somewhere to eat.”
A cold wind suddenly blew in front outside, shaking the coffin lids with its force.
Hello? It was also late in the evening, and there’s only two people inside the memorial hall. Both were surrounded by corpses, memorial tablets, incense and candles. But they were discussing about pork meatballs! How was it fair for the ghosts who died from hunger?
“Then, I thank you for your grace.” Yunshu gave him a reply as she completely lifted the white cloth. The oedema within the flesh of the burnt corpse had been reduced, leaving the skin to tightly paste itself on the bone. It clearly outlined the skeleton.
Upon careful examination, serosanguineous liquid could still be seen flowing out from the corpse.
The place where it oozed out the most was from the abdominal regions as it was where the coroner made his incisions to dig out all the organs to conduct the autopsy. Although he did use a fishing thread to crudely sew back the abdomen, the stitches were obviously too big and wide, enough for half of the small intestines to slip out from the belly button.
Jing Rong went next to Ji Yunshu. His nose was wrinkled. The so-called corpse’s smell was really not an understatement. With a solemn expression, he inquired, “So, how is it? Can you find something?”
“What do you mean?”
Ji Yunshu considered a bit before explaining. “If your Highness wants to know the identity of the murderer, then I have no answer for that. I can only determine the cause of death from the elements present on the corpses. That, and the murderer’s characteristics.”
Jing Rong’s high eyebrows knitted.
Ji Yunshu continued to speak. “The five corpses had an intense struggle with someone first. Then they were poisoned and died. You can imagine that the murderer just wanted to kill them. If my deduction is correct, his main purpose must be you.”
Jing Rong was shocked. He had long suspected the possibility. His eyes narrowed until they were as thin as a thread, making people unable to guess what was passing through his sly mind.
Looking at his reaction, Ji Yunshu realized something. “It appears that your Highness already know who the murderer is, but then, why do you still want me to do the autopsy?”
“I didn’t know.” He calmly replied, then stated, “I have a vague feeling that someone was painstakingly preventing me from returning to the capital. As for who it is, I have no clue about it.” A serious Jing Rong, who silently pondered with an extremely handsome and youthful face, was giving off the feeling of steadiness of a mature man. It made him appear as if he was carved from high quality jade.
It unexpectedly caused Ji Yunshu to be unable to rip her eyes off from him!
That was only until Jing Rong caught her gaze. He rolled his eyes. “Is there something dirty on my face?”
Her expression collapsed from her fright.
He was the almighty prince, and a bastard with a sharp tongue. If it wasn’t because he needed her help, she would not be able to look at him! She hurriedly move away her eyes and said, “Your Highness is not looking at me, so how do you know if I am looking at you?”
“This is really frustrating!”
Jing Rong kept himself together, but the frown was still present. “Teacher, didn’t you say that you can find out the murderer’s characteristics? Can it still be done?”
‘No choice then!’
Ji Yunshu skillfully fetched something on the table not far from them; a packet. Next, she unfolded it next to one of the corpse. The inside the packet was filled with all kind of knives.
“Are those things yours?”
“Yes. Sometimes, I would encounter demanding and bossy people. They would call for me to go to the memorial hall in the middle of the night. There’s nothing that can be done about it. I can only leave some of my things here, just to avoid forgetting my tools in hurry.”
Jing Rong trembled. ‘Demanding and bossy people?!’ Was she referring to him also?!
While Ji Yunshu was speaking, she already took out a cleaver and chopped open the corpse’s neck after lifting its jaw. Since the corpse was charred, there wasn’t much blood when she half-beheaded it, only a crispy sound could be heard.