Chapter 59 – The Memento
Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
From the entrance of the prison to the innermost part of it, they were assailed by the ever increasing humidity and the stench which seemed to combine with the smell of rusting iron.
“We’re here,” declared the jailer as he stopped in front of a prison cell.
Through the wooden stakes, Ji Yunshu could see Lin Duan’s head. Due to the bribe given to the jailer, Lin Duan’s cell was exceptionally clean and he even had a quilt.
The man was sitting on the bed with his head drooped and his hair was dishevelled. As for his eyes, they were filled with despair. Suyun’s death had killed his heart.
“Open the door,” ordered Ji Yunshu.
However, the jailer appeared extremely awkward as he said, “Teacher Ji, I can’t let you go in there like last time, since Suyun…”
‘Right…’ If she had not went in and gave Suyun that oil lamp, perhaps, Suyun would not have used it to commit suicide. She didn’t want to make things difficult for the jailer. So, she simply stated, “Forget it, you may go out first.”
The jailer obediently left.
Ji Yunshu knocked on the wooden stake and called out for Lin Duan.
Lin Duan didn’t react at all.
“The case has been reinvestigated. Although Suyun and you didn’t kill anyone, you should know that destroying a corpse and any evidence is still a crime. You may be spared from capital punishment, but when the documents from the Ministry of Justice are approved, you would still be punished.” Even after she said those words, Lin Duan remained as if he was a statue.
Meanwhile, Luan’er pulled on Ji Yunshu’s sleeve and asked in a small voice, “Miss, is he retarded?”
“He isn’t retarded, but rather, his heart had died.” The words she just spoke were meant for Lin Duan to hear.
Having achieved her purpose, Lin Duan slightly moved. He raised his head and stared at Ji Yunshu. The despair filling his eyes was gradually replaced by hatred.
“It’s you! You’re the one who killed her!” His heavy tone felt like a chunk of iceberg that had broken off!
“I am sorry.” Regret suffused Ji Yunshu’s voice.
“Yun’er is dead! What’s the use of apologizing?” His words stopped as he rose and abruptly dashed to the wooden stakes, directly crashing on them. His face was a mask of viciousness as he shouted at Ji Yunshu, “It’s all your fault! Those people should have died. They should all die and accompany my Yun’er!”
Fortunately, Luan’er reacted quickly and had pulled Ji Yunshu back two steps when Lin Duan dashed to the wooden bars. Otherwise, Ji Yunshu’s delicate neck would have been wrung by Lin Duan’s hands.
“Lin Duan, I know you are filled with resentment, but if it wasn’t due to the old housekeeper making a move first, Miss Zhou would have drunk the medicinal concoction. You have premeditated her murder. I admit that her death was because of my mistake, but did you know? The reason why she killed herself was for your sake?”
“Nonsense! You all hounded her to death!” His bellow reverberated through the whole prison!
The jailer returned to them when he heard the bellow, but seeing Ji Yunshu unharmed, he didn’t come over.
At this moment, Lin Duan seemed like a malevolent entity!
“Love” could commit people together in life and death, and also destroy their wisdom. Then, Ji Yunshu had a thought for Ji Pei. She didn’t know if she would acted in such a way if Ji Pei was in a life threatening situation.
She reared back her mind, took out from her belt a handkerchief and gave it to him. “You should be familiar with this handkerchief, right? You should also be able to recognize Suyun’s handwriting.”
Lin Duan hastily grabbed the handkerchief which he undoubtedly recognized. His eyes were dazzled by the red and blue of the two familiar mulberry flowers. Then, the three rows of bloody letters marking the white handkerchief caught his attention.
After Lin Duan read it, his whole body became paralyzed, causing him to slump to the ground. He sat there, sobbing uncontrollably while clutching the handkerchief. He blamed himself. “Yun’er, I should have made you leave earlier. It was my fault. I couldn’t protect you properly and caused you to lose our child, and now even you have left me… Yun’er…”
Each sentence pierced Ji Yunshu’s heart and made her felt extremely heavy-hearted. Finally, she decided to take out the painting scroll she brought with her and gave it to him. “Think of it as a memento.”
After he took the painting, he slowly unscrolled it, revealing the image of a delicate and pretty woman in green clothes. Her face was delicate, her expression alert, with crimson thin lips and exquisite eyebrows.
‘It’s so lifelike!’ The painting looked as if Suyun was right in front of him. It completely dispersed the malevolent aura exuding from him. Lin Duan was completely absent-minded as he stared at the painting.
Ji Yunshu no longer disturbed him and left with Luan’er.
She had only took two steps when she heard Lin Duan’s voice. “Thank you.”
Her steps halted, but she didn’t reply. She simply gave Lin Duan a side glance before continuing her road. When she exited the prison, snow started to fall all of a sudden. The sparse snowflakes drifted and fluttered along the cold wind blowing on her face, causing sharp pain on her face.
Luan’er lifted her eyes and grumbled, “I should have brought an umbrella before we went out. Miss, should we wait a bit before leaving?”
“It’s just a little snow. Nothing inconvenient about it. You should wait here until the snow stops. I’ll go to the yamen first. It’s not too far from here and I could borrow an umbrella from Lord Liu.”
“Ah? I think I should accompany you.”
“I’m going there to do the autopsy. Aren’t you afraid of seeing skeletons and such?”
Yes, she was afraid, not to mention that it terrified her too. Luan’er expressed her thoughts by shrinking her neck and revealing a fearful look.
Ji Yunshu continued to speak. “Besides, you will be a hindrance there.” Her words were very straightforward! But Ji Yunshu wasn’t afraid of hurting Luan’er’s feelings.
Ji Yunshu no longer paid any attention to Luan’er as she left in the snow. The snowflakes fell and brushed against her hair and shoulders, and piled up very quickly.
The weather in the eleventh lunar month1 was very unpredictable!
Meanwhile in the yamen, Magistrate Liu had been waiting for a long time. Today was the agreed day to do the autopsy, so naturally he would waited patiently.
“Yunshu, have you eaten breakfast yet?” asked the magistrate in a happy tone.
‘I still haven’t eaten yet.’ She rubbed her belly and asked, “What’s there to eat?”
“There’s pork chop braised with potatoes, stirfried meat with celery and finally, eggplants sauté with soy sauce. If you want to eat, I can have them make pig trotters steamed in broth.”
“Are you sick? Eating such greasy food so early in the morning.”
“…” Liu Qingping’s face stiffened as he was rendered speechless. His teeth hurt as if cold water was being poured inside!
Ji Yunshu already sat down and started tapping on the table. “I only want to eat stir-fried bamboo shoots and meatballs soup. If possible, add some chinese cabbage in it. It’s better to make it fast since I don’t want to delay the autopsy any longer.”
“Alright, alright! I’ll order it.”
Magistrate Liu hurriedly summoned a servant and gave him the names of several dishes.
Soon after, he sat opposite of Ji Yunshu with a huge smile on his face. He stupidly looked at her.
‘Are you crazy or what!’ Ji Yunshu thought.
Suddenly, the sound of the drum came bursting forth from the entrance.
Someone had struck the drum!
Magistrate Liu became nervous. Not even a moment passed before a runner hurriedly rushed in and pointed at the large entrance as he spoke. “Milord, someone has struck the drum.”
“Who is it?”
“It’s the idiot!”
‘The idiot? Is it Wei Yi?’
Liu Qingping inquired. “Which idiot?”
The runner replied, “It’s the Wei family’s idiot. He said he came to find ‘Big Brother’. He’s at the entrance and refuses to leave.”
Liu Qingping’s face was full of helplessness!
- eleventh lunar month should be around January of the Gregorian calendar ↩