Chapter 113 – The Case (part 2)
Ji Yuanzhi raised his right hand and showed his thumb. The scab on it could still be seen! After a moment, he instinctively withdrew his hand and looked once more at the chopstick on the floor. His body was sweating abnormally.
“I…” He paused.
Ji Yunshu completed his question for him. “You want to ask how I know the poisoned chopsticks were brought in by you?”
Ji Yuanzhi remained silent.
“Ji Yuanzhi, you’re really too clever for your own good. You have never expected that the Wei mansion’s chopsticks had a corner shaved to identify them. Yours doesn’t have that mark. When you switched the chopsticks, a bamboo chaff pierced your thumb and blood fell on the chopsticks. I have already checked and that blood is yours. Therefore, there’s no point for you to quibble.”
“I-impossible! This can’t be!” muttered Ji Yunzhi in a tone of utter astonishment.
“When Lord Wei and Madame Wei died, and I was accused as the murderer, you took advantage of that span of time to sneak into my room and left some pitohui feathers. You believe that by doing that, everyone would be fooled into thinking I was the murderer, and sealing my fate of death in stone. However, that day in the courtroom, I wasn’t convicted for a crime, causing fear to be birthed inside your heart. Because you were afraid that I would use this opportunity to reverse the verdict and sooner or later, dig out the truth, which leads back to you.”
“You pushed Luan’er to kill herself, turning her into your scapegoat. You thought that with her death, the case would be closed and you will be safe and sound. Unfortunately for you, that scab on your thumb is the irrefutable evidence of your crime.” There was no mistake with her explanation, each word worth a gem.
It stupefied everyone inside the courtroom. This Ji Yuanzhi was really too bloodthirsty.
The truth was revealed with undeniable evidence and in accordance with logic. The blood of three lives had stained Ji Yuanzhi’s hands.
Ji Yuanzhi felt like he was trapped in a quagmire. His plan was obviously perfect! The scapegoat had died as planned!
Ji Shuhan also seemed stunned as if he has been hit by a thunderbolt. His legs became soft, almost causing him to keel over, but it made him weakly retreat a few steps with an unstable gait.
His lips trembled as he blurted out the words on his mind. “How can it be? How can it be?” How can his son be a murderer?
Magistrate Liu was shocked and looked stunned for a moment before picking up his gavel and knocked it on the table with all his might.
The sound reverberated through the courtroom like a strike of thunder. Ji Yuanzhi snapped out and his complexion paled.
The magistrate began to interrogate, “Ji Yuanzhi, the evidence and the motivation of your crime are clear. You failed to kill Ji Yunshu through poison, yet ended up killing Lord Wei and Madame Wei. You also forced Luan’er to take the blame for your crimes and caused her to hang herself. What else do you have to say in your defense?”
What’s there to say? Ji Yuanzhi, thought bitterly, suddenly he let out a cold laugh. The hatred in his eyes was clearly seen as he glared at Ji Yunshu. His mouth opened, giving an impression of a piranha’s mouth. He gritted his teeth while bellowing, “Ji Yunshu! Why didn’t you die? Why wasn’t it you who died? WHY?!”
“Do you hate me that much?” asked Ji Yunshu.
“Yes! I really hate you to the point I want to kill you! If it wasn’t for you, my mother wouldn’t have died!”
‘Huh?’ Everyone looked at each other in puzzlement. They didn’t understand what his mother’s death had to do with Ji Yunshu. However, Ji Shuhan understood everything. His stunned face was now replaced by deep grief. He slapped his thigh and madly shouted, “Karma! This is karma!” Tears fell like rain from his eyes.
Ji Yunshu’s expression gradually cooled down, but there was a trace of guilt on her face. She spoke, “No one wished for that to happen.”
“You’re the reason why she died! If you didn’t fall into the water, my mother wouldn’t have had to jump in to save you. She wouldn’t have caught a cold and passed away from it! You caused her to die!” He lashed out at her. If his hands weren’t restrained by iron shackles, he would have rushed to strangle her to death.
Ji Yunshu was only aware of the story behind it. It was something that happened to the original owner of this body. When she was ten years old, she accidentally fell into the water. Zhou Pang, who was Ji Yuanzhi’s mother, was the only one who knew how to swim and happened to be present. Therefore, Zhou Pang jumped into the water to save her. Unfortunately, she caught a cold and the illness claimed her life not long after.
Ever since then, Ji Yuanzhi hated Ji Yunshu to the bone! This problem naturally fell on the transmigrated Ji Yunshu’s back. It couldn’t be said that this wasn’t her problem since this body was now hers.
Ji Yuanzhi’s eyes were bloodshot from anger. He continued to bellow in rage. “You should die! You should die! Die and accompany my mother in atonement! I can’t stand you. If you didn’t frame Lingzhi for pushing Muqing in the water, I wouldn’t be this heartless and have tried to poison you.”
‘What a disgusting appearance!’ Ji Yunshu was truly unaware that this Third Brother of hers had always harbored thoughts of killing her. The corner of her eyes glistened with tears. Her eyes clashed with Ji Yuanzhi’s. How can she not hate him? “Did you know that you have caused the loss of three lives?”
“They died because of you. They died in your place, so even if they turned into evil spirits, the one they will haunt would be you!” His words sparked Ji Yunshu’s fury.
Ji Yunzhi clenched his hands into a fist and hit them on the floor. “I really regret that I didn’t kill you myself. I would have then taken revenge for my mother!”
The cost of “avenging his mother” came with the loss of three lives. It made one wonder what the difference was between that kind of man and a homicidal maniac?
Ji Yunshu’s almond eyes returned to a calm state. She asked him, “Let me ask you, when you switched my chopsticks with the poisoned ones, did the slightest reluctance ever cross your mind?”
“No way!” He gave a perfunctory reply, then began to laugh. “If you want to kill me, then kill me! Otherwise, I will certainly kill you when given the chance!” He seemed like a mad lion.
Seeing that the situation couldn’t go on, Magistrate Liu was about to step in, but Jing Rong was a step earlier. He narrowed his eyes, giving off a deterrent aura that compelled one to obey. He declared, “Murders need to pay with their lives. This is the laws of our Great Lin. Behead him at once with no pardon. Ji Yuanzhi, you’re finished.”
“Your Highness…” Ji Shuhan shouted, then rushed to Jing Rong before kneeling on the ground with a bam. His whole body was trembling as he begged. “Your Highness, please spare him! Please spare his life!”
Jing Rong remained expressionless. His tone hardened even more. “Spare him? Ji Yuanzhi killed three people! Even if he was punished to chariot-tearing1, it would only be too cheap for him.”
“I beg your Highness’ mercy! Please, in consideration to the loyalty of the many generations of Ji to the imperial court, spare Ji Yuanzhi’s life!” Ji Shuhan had wilted, the flame of his anger had long vanished. He was groveling on the floor, begging for his son’s life.
Jing Rong snorted. He ignored the man and looked at Magistrate Liu instead.
Magistrate Liu tacitly understood the glance and nodded. “Runners, lock Ji Yuanzhi in the prison. After the official document of the Ministry of Justice arrives, the date for his execution will be determined.” As he spoke, he pulled out an arrow banner of command 2 from a wooden cylinder on the table and flung it to the floor.
A crisp sound echoed in the courtroom.
This time Ji Shuhan ferociously scowled. His body was completely rigid. In the end, he no longer continued to beg and fainted on the floor.
Two of Jing Rong’s subordinates pulled up Ji Shuhan’s body. As for Ji Yuanzhi, he continued to laugh while he was dragged away by the runners. Before he was dragged out, he screamed out, “Yunshu! Damn you! You should DIE!”
Jing Rong watched the unconscious Ji Shuhan and waved his hand. “Take him away.”
“Yes, your Highness!”
The imperial guard received the order and carried Ji Shuhan back to the Ji Mansion.
Inside the courtroom, the calm had returned.
The case was now closed, but everyone’s heart had yet to regain their composure. Instead, it became heavier as if they were sinking into the abyss, choked by emotions.
Magistrate Liu raised the hem of his uniform and approached Jing Rong. He called out, seeking for further instruction. “Your Highness?”
Jing Rong raised his hand, warning the magistrate to shut up. His eyes were closely watching Ji Yunshu. ‘This woman is too calm. This calmness is too out of place!’
It took a long while before Ji Yunshu decided to open her mouth and said, “I want to go to the prison. I want to ask him something before he dies.”
‘Hum? What do you want to ask him?’
- This is one of the topmost gruesome death sentences in ancient China. The convict’s limbs and head are tied to five different horses. The executioner will make the horses run in five different directions… and the convict died like that… You can read the written description of other capital punishment here(no visual, promise): http://raoulschinasaloon.com/index.php?topic=2613.0 ↩
- Arrow banner of a commander is that red thing in the man’s hand: http://sohanews.sohacdn.com/zoom/650_413/2015/9-1449742686040-7-0-375-500-crop-1449742695185.jpg ↩