Chapter 71 – The Killer is… You!
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don’t read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
To show that he was not uttering nonsense, Wang San added, “My daughter wears one and it looks exactly like this one, even the red color on it is the same.”
‘Now that Wang San mentioned it… It’s true.’
Even Wei Wu joined in, “That’s right, it’s an underwear! The younger male cousin on the father’s side of my third aunt’s elder female cousin had a younger female cousin that had a kid, and her kid used that kind of fabric as underwear.”
‘Hey, can you be more concise!’
The two of them claimed it was an underwear, which surprised Ji Yunshu quite a bit.
“Why would Master Jiang be carrying a piece of a child’s underwear?”
‘I thought Master Jiang and Madame Jiang didn’t have any children?’
“Wei Wu, Wang San, go and investigate whether or not Madame Jiang has ever had any children. Also, find out whether or not there used to be any small children at the Jiang manor. Make sure to investigate thoroughly, got it?”
What a rare moment of seriousness! The two immediately left to investigate.
Ji Yunshu remained in the autopsy room as she carefully scrutinised the piece of underwear. ‘Why would a grown man over 40 years old have a piece of children’s underwear on his person? This is too puzzling!’
‘Could it be he really was mad?’
Shaking her head, she tossed aside those speculations, before picking up the white cloth she had taken off. Stretching it out forcefully, she was just about to cover the bones with it again when…
Something seemed to have fallen on the ground.
She searched around for a bit before finding a small, blackened object near one of the table legs. Picking it up, she discovered it was a button which was still covered by dirt. It had probably been hidden in the dirt encasing the bones.
Wiping it clean, the button’s original appearance became fully exposed. The material was shiny and glossy and its exterior, not smooth but spiral-shaped. From its appearance, it appeared to be a button from the silk clothing produced by the Qing Province. Their clothing all used this type of button in order to brag about the fortunes and the elegance of its owner.
Usually these buttons were sewn around the collar area.
As to why Ji Yunshu knew this much, it was not too far fetched, for the Ji family had someone who insisted on using silk clothing from the Qing Province. This person was Ji Lingzhi!
What made Ji Yunshu surprised was that while these types of buttons usually had four holes in the middle where the thread was sewn, this one only had three. Furthermore, she kept having the feeling she had seen this type of button before, only she could not recall where as of right now.
“Yunshu, we’ve found it.”
The magistrate’s voice came from outside. Turning around, Ji Yunshu saw the magistrate lift his official’s robe and enter the room.
“Yunshu, we’ve done it, we’ve investigated it.”
“So what are you yelling for?”
The magistrate’s expression stiffened though he didn’t forget to tell Ji Yunshu about the results of the investigation. In a serious voice, he recounted in detail, “Madame Jiang’s younger brother is called Li Zhao. Although the Li family is a Great House, they’ve always had their main branch in the Qing Province and not the capital. This Li Zhao only arrived in Jinjiang two years ago and moved into the Jiang manor to stay. Madame Jiang is actually very strict towards this younger brother of hers though, of course, she dotes on him too. Furthermore- ”
“The point is that Li Zhao is a gambling addict. The Li family found out that he had accumulated enormous amounts of gambling debt in the Qing Province, hence he was sent here so Madame Jiang could supervise him. However, how could it be that easy to change his ways? His gambling addiction remained a problem and he continued to accrue his debts. There was a time when the bigger gambling establishments of Jinjiang city wouldn’t even let him in. However, his character is actually very cowardly.”
Ji Yunshu narrowed her eyes. “Is that all?”
The magistrate once again spoke, “Oh, not at all. He has quite a few siblings. The eldest is that Madame Jiang, while his second oldest sister is- ”
“That’s enough. Go send the order to arrest him.”
“I said you can arrest him now.” Ji Yunshu spoke with a serious face.
The magistrate blanked out for a bit, before revealing joy on his face as he clapped. “The murderer is Li Zhao, right?”
By this time, black lines started appearing on Ji Yunshu’s forehead. “Are you going to arrest him or not?”
“Arrest, arrest, of course I’ll arrest him. I’ll arrest him right away!”
The case was about to be solved, of course the magistrate was happy. He ran out and hurriedly sent the order for people to bring Li Zhao in for questioning.
Ji Yunshu’s grip on the button tightened. She covered the bones with the cloth before following the Magistrate.
Not too long after, Li Zhao was dragged to the courtroom by a yamen runner, who forced him to kneel. Ji Yunshu asked the yamen runner, “Where was he caught?”
His reply was, “A gambling den.”
‘No wonder Madame Jiang didn’t tag along. This way it’s better, it saves me the trouble of having to deal with arguments!’
“What are you doing? What right do you have to arrest me? Do you know who my father is? Do you know who my grandfather is?” Li Zhao roared.
‘Yeah, we know, your grandfather is Old General Li!’
The magistrate was enraged as he slammed his gavel down. “What are you yelling for? I ordered people to arrest you. Any complaints?”
“Go ahead and tell me.”
“I didn’t break the law, how dare you arrest me? What, is gambling illegal now?!”
Li Zhao clenched his fists in fury.
Yesterday, he had been as docile as a kitten with Madame Jiang around. Now though, he appeared quite arrogant.
At that time gambling really was not illegal, so the magistrate could only look to Ji Yunshu for help.
Ji Yunshu unhurriedly advanced a few steps, stopping by Li Zhao’s side. She lowered her head to ask him, “Li Zhao, let me ask you: Were you not the one who murdered Master Jiang?”
Li Zhao’s gaze visibly trembled as he swallowed before speaking, “I’ve already said, it wasn’t me. I didn’t kill my brother-in-law. He was my brother-in-law, how could I have killed him?”
“I will repeat myself, were you the murderer or not?”
“It wasn’t me, it really wasn’t me. The day my brother-in-law died, I wasn’t at home.”
“You are still lying.” Ji Yunshu rebuked.
Li Zhao’s body trembled suddenly as his gaze refused to meet Ji Yunshu’s. “I- I’m not lying.”
Ji Yunshu’s gaze was cold, and there was a pressuring aura around her as she spoke. “You said that you weren’t home the day your brother-in-law died?”
“More lies. How did you know on which day he died? And by extension, how are you so certain that you weren’t home the day Master Jiang died? Madame Jiang also stated that you only moved to the capital after Master Jiang went missing. Then the question is, why would you state the obvious and say you weren’t home had Master Jiang died after your move to the capital?”
“I…” Li Zhao’s face was filled with panic.
“The truth was really that Master Jiang had died before your move to the capital. And for the sake of escaping the consequences, you lied, saying that you weren’t at home. However, it is this very statement that exposed that you were lying. Master Jiang’s killer… is you!” Ji Yunshu’s voice shook it’s listeners!
Everyone in the courtroom was jarred.
Li Zhao, who, at this point, paled to a chalk-white expression, lost the strength in his legs and sat paralysed on the ground.
“Not me, it wasn’t me, I didn’t kill anyone. It really wasn’t me, really wasn’t me ah…” His voice was trembling as his pupils dilated from anxiety.
Ji Yunshu did not press for an immediate confession. Instead, she took out the button and said, “Li Zhao, you know very well why I’m showing this to you, don’t you!”
Grenn’s Rants Corner
The mystery thickened.