Chapter 109 – Chopsticks of Unknown Origin
Inside the mourning hall, Wei Yi was holding onto Ji Yunshu without any thought of letting her go. Meanwhile, outside the hall, Jing Rong maintained an expressionless face which made it hard for anyone to guess his mind. Lang Po stood beside him. His sight was also on Ji Yunshu and Wei Yi.
During these two days, he had followed his orders and taken care of Wei Yi. His eyes watched Wei Yi without blinking as he sported panda eyes. It could be said that he followed his orders to the letter.
Of course, Wei Yi hadn’t eaten anything and had been on an empty stomach for the past two days. Lang Po faintly sighed and spoke to himself, “Miss Ji was swamped by so many things yet her mind is still thinking about Young Master Wei.” Admiration could be felt within his words.
Jing Rong’s eyes glossed over him with indifference. It immediately caused the surface of Lang Po’s skin to feel a freezing temperature. He lowered his head and shut up. He was greatly bewildered inside his heart. His master not only didn’t appear to be jealous, this calm attitude was a bit too shocking.
‘This is too unusual! Extremely out of character!’
How could he have known that Jing Rong was heartbroken? His heart felt like it was tearing apart, cracking like dried up branches in December.
Ji Yunshu’s heart had Ji Pei and that person was like a thorn well embedded in her heart. Despite doing everything he could, he couldn’t pull that love out of her, leaving him heartbroken.
Not to mention, that Ji Pei might be dead, but the fact remained that he had lost to a dead person! When he thought about it, Jing Rong’s thin lips stretched into a pained smile.
At this moment, Ji Yunshu had lightly pushed away Wei Yi and wiped his tears using her sleeves. “They say that you didn’t eat anything for the past two days. How can you go on if you don’t eat?” It made her feel a bit distressed.
“It’s just that… I don’t feel like eating.”
“Even if you don’t feel like eating, you still have to eat. It’s bad for your body if you don’t eat. Tomorrow is your parents’ funeral procession. How will you have the energy to send them off one last time if you don’t eat?”
When she mentioned about the funeral procession, Wei Yi tightly pressed his dry lips together. He couldn’t refute her.
The Wei’s servants immediately went to the kitchen to prepare the meal while Wei Yi continued to weep. He did his best to choke back several sobs by squeezing his cheeks.
When he sniffled, his body trembled and inadvertently dropped his chopsticks on the table.
Ji Yunshu picked up his chopsticks and was about to give them back, but her hand suddenly halted. She frowned.
‘Hmm?’ Wei Yi took the chopsticks and was about to pick up some food, but Ji Yunshu grabbed back the chopsticks and brought them in front of her eyes for careful observation.
“Shu’er, if you take my chopsticks, how am I going to eat?” Wei Yi asked as he chewed on his food.
Ji Yunshu’s expression tensed up. Her fingertips brushed against the chopsticks. It seemed like she had a revelation.
“Shu’er…” Wei Yi quickly swallowed his food before calling her out. His call brought her back to reality. She faintly smiled before giving back his chopsticks and got up.
She said, “Eat well, I’m going out for a moment.”
“Where are you going? Shu’er, don’t throw me away!” Wei Yi tugged on her clothes and refused to let her leave.
Ji Yunshu reached for his head and stroked it. Her eyes were filled with determination. “Wei Yi, I already said that I won’t leave you. Be good and eat your meal. When you’re done, I’ll be back. Alright?”
“Oh!” He nodded and expressed his agreement.
As soon as she left, she bumped into Jing Rong.
Seeing her anxious expression, he asked in worry, “What happened?”
“I think I know where that sawdust came from.”
“Chopsticks!” As she gave away her conclusion, she proceeded toward the Wei mansion’s kitchen.
Without hesitation, Jing Rong chased after Ji Yunshu, leaving behind Lang Po.
Finally, they reached the kitchen and smelt the faint scent of vinegar as soon as they arrived. Inside, the servants were busy doing various chores, but as soon as they saw the visitors, they stopped what they were doing.
Ji Yunshu rushed to a maidservant and inquired, “Are the utensils prepared for your lord and mistress on the night of the banquet still here?”
The maidservant stammered at first while repeatedly nodding, “They are still here.”
“Bring them to me.”
“Yes.” The maidservant hurriedly fetched the tableware.
Except for the wine bottle and wine cups “robbed” away by Jing Rong, what remained in the tray was two exquisite water patterned porcelain bowls, two white jade porcelain spoons and chopsticks, made from a precious tree, placed on ivory supports. Ji Yunshu only picked up one of the chopsticks and meticulously observed it.
She shook her head. “It’s not that one.”
She picked another chopstick and shook her head again. “Not that one either.”
Next, she picked up the third chopstick but suddenly became greatly alarmed. “This is it! It’s this chopstick.”
Everyone looked at Ji Yunshu, watching her as she was doing her one-man show. None of them understood why she was shouting.
Jing Rong remained composed as if he knew what she was thinking of. He turned to a servant and ordered him. “Bring some phosphorus powder.”
Suddenly, the servant became intelligent. Unfortunately, Ji Yunshu had no time to praise him. She took some of the powder and sprinkled it on the chopsticks as soon as the servant came back with it. In the blink of an eye, the chopstick turned completely black!
“There’s poison on it.” Her tone appeared casual but still contained shock within.
She repeated the procedure with the other three chopsticks and another turned black.
The maidservant closest to her was extremely confused about the phenomena. “Miss Ji, h-how could this happen? How can there be poison on the chopsticks?”
Ji Yunshu also wanted to know. After pondering over this problem, she looked at Jing Rong and said, “We investigated in the wrong direction from the start. The wine wasn’t poisoned. It was the chopsticks instead. The chopsticks entered their mouths. The poison on the sawdust remained in their mouths and when they drank the wine, it contaminated the cup and some stuck to the rim.” Everyone started to understand after she explained.
However, Jing Rong was still doubtful. “Since only two chopsticks had poison on it, then how did two people ended up getting poisoned?”
“I think that Uncle Wei and Aunt Wei used one poisoned chopstick each.”
Jing Rong grimly asked the people within the kitchen. “Who was part of the feast staff and in charge of the tableware?” His tone was biting like a flame which caused the servants to suddenly tremble.
Further inside, two little girls peeked out their heads and came over in a panic. “I-it’s the two of us.”
“Why is there poison on the chopsticks? Can you explain this to me?” interrogated Jing Rong.
The two girls shook their heads in fear. “Your Highness, we didn’t smear poison on it. These are the chopsticks that our master used daily. There weren’t any problems before. We absolutely don’t bear any ill-will toward milord and milady. We beg your highness to investigate the situation clearly.”
They didn’t seem to be lying.
“Then, who else came in contact with the chopsticks on the banquet night?”
She shook her head. “No one else. We were the ones who personally arranged the tableware. Milord and Milady’s tablewares were handled by us only and no one else. No one else could have tampered with it.” She spoke without hesitation, no trace of any doubt about her words.
Jing Rong had nothing else to ask. He saw the expression on Ji Yunshu and put back the chopsticks before tentatively asking, “These chopsticks… are they from your Wei mansion?”
The maidservants looked at each other, then something sparked within their mind. They widened their eyes and examined the chopsticks. They exclaimed, “Those aren’t our Wei mansion’s chopsticks!”
To prove her words, one of the girls pointed at the chopsticks and hurriedly explained. “Our chopsticks all have one of their corners shaved, but this pair of black chopsticks doesn’t have a shaved corner. It is certainly not one of our chopsticks.”
Grenn’s Rants Corner
There’s too many songs that could fit as background music. Which one would you choose?
Let’s listen to an oldie.