Chapter 127 – Murder at the Inn (part one)
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don’t read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
‘Choosing cosmetics?’ Ji Yunshu showed an expression that implied she had no idea how to choose cosmetics. In the modern days, she was dedicated to her work and spent a lot of her time holed up inside the library to read. From morning to night, she would have a bare face and being the least inclined to draw even her eyebrows. Ever since she came here, she worked herself to the bone to earn money, but later on, Luan’er used some of the money to buy her some makeup, and she ended being the object of dedication that Luan’er engrossed herself to beautify. Ji Yunshu didn’t even care about whatever brand of makeup Luan’er used on her. Under her veil, Ji Yunshu’s lips parted as she informed Constable Zhang, “Between cosmetics and dead people, if you let me choose, I’ll gladly pick some dead bodies over cosmetics.”
‘Huh?’ Constable Zhang looked down on the woman in his heart, and Ji Yunshu, who was only a slender young woman, was no exception to the rule. Thus, the man went straight to the heart of the problem. “Young lady, I advise you to obediently stay inside your room. I don’t want you to get involved in this case.”
Ji Yunshu finally understood something; this man is sexist. For a brief moment, she felt that Jing Rong was infinitely much better. Anyway, she was too lazy to talk nonsense with that man. As she walked passed Jing Rong, she whispered to him, “Can you delay him?”
“No problem. Just go.”
“Hmm!” Ji Yunshu walked away toward the room where the murder took place. Seeing that Ji Yunshu was leaving, he quickly moved with the intention to obstruct her, but Jing Rong sent an order, “Men, stop whoever wants to disturb Miss Ji’s autopsy.”
“Yes!” Jing Rong’s subordinates are all martial arts experts and won’t lose out in a confrontation with the yamen runners. As for Constable Zhang, his skills were pretty good as he was able to fare against Lang Po. “Let me give you some advice. Don’t think about going against my young master. Besides, if you want to solve this case, it won’t do without Miss Ji!”
“Who in the world are you guys?”
Lang Po took out a command tile from his waistband and showed it to Constable Zhang. When he saw the word on the command tile, Constable Zhang’s solemn expression abruptly changed to surprise. Then, his sight shifted to Jing Rong. He was about to bow, but Jing Rong stopped him with his raised hand. Jing Rong stated, “I don’t want to reveal my identity. Now, all of you retreat.”
‘This man is a prince. Compared to the magistrate of Yu province, his authority is more extensive.’ Constable Zhang obeyed Jing Rong’s order and made his people retreat to the side. Jing Rong immediately followed after Ji Yunshu, leaving Constable Zhang still in doubt. The man was still suspecting how a woman can have the ability to solve this homicide. Thus he asked Lang Po, “Earlier, you said that Miss Ji can do autopsies. Is she a coroner?”
‘Err…’ Lang Po didn’t give him an answer, since he once heard Ji Yunshu said that a coroner would examine the internal organs of the dead whereas she was only a painter. After pondering a moment, he answered, “She is not.” Right after, Lang Po instructed two people to guard the door and watched over Wei Yi while he was gone.
Constable Zhang clearly couldn’t make sense out of Lang Po’s answer. ‘If she’s not a coroner, how can she do autopsies?’ He flung his head back and quickly rushed to where Ji Yunshu went.
At the crime scene, the first thing Ji Yunshu did was examine the room. The place was very neat and tidy, devoid of any trace of struggle. After she was done with the surroundings, her gaze landed on the corpse placed on the floor. She crouched near it, and from her waistband, she took out a handkerchief. She wrapped the handkerchief around her index and middle fingers. Next, she turned the corpse’s head to the side, revealing the two ligature marks on its neck.
The ligature marks were as described: one of the bruises was parallel to the jawline with a slight inclination downward, and the other bruise clearly went upward, extending from the neck to the ears. The body didn’t show a droop of the feet. Ji Yunshu lifted the hands of the deceased and examined his fingernails. Under the nails, fragments of fabric and skin could be seen. On the corpse’s thumbs, there was an obvious white mark encircling each thumb. This meant that the deceased was wearing thumb rings all year long. However, the rings couldn’t be seen anywhere. ‘Was he robbed?’ Ji Yunshu digested the new findings, but the body’s wrists caught her attention. The wrists were glossy as if it came in contact with a wet substance. Ji Yunshu used her finger to wipe it a bit, then she sniffed her finger. ‘It’s oil!’ She turned around and placed her handkerchief next to her before asking the innkeeper, “Excuse me, when did that person come here?”
The innkeeper didn’t know where this woman came from, but he still honestly answered her question, “It should be around noon when he came here.”
“He was alone?”
“That’s right. Alone.”
“His time of death should be around an hour ago. Before that, did anyone come in? Or perhaps, did anyone hear sounds of fighting?” The questions made him quite dumbfounded, as he was engrossed counting money and didn’t notice anything else! He turned his head and looked at the approaching waiter before pointing at the latter. “You should ask him.”
The waiter’s complexion paled quite a bit. Then, he lowered his head. “Miss, this… There were too many guests that came to our inn. I couldn’t notice all of them. The only thing I can say is that man never came out of his room ever since he came in. As for the rest, I really don’t know.” The waiter spoke each sentence with undisguised honesty.
Jing Rong came into the room at this moment and walked until he was next to Ji Yunshu. Then, he whispered to her, “How is it? Did you find something?”
Ji Yunshu’s brows and the tip of her nose wrinkled as she frowned. She glanced at him and asked, “Do you remember the man who bumped into me when we went upstairs?”
“There’s a layer of oil on the victim’s wrists. The scent of the oil indicated its sesame oil, and the man who bumped into me also had the same smell.”
Jing Rong understood her meaning. He nodded, turned around, and raised his chin arrogantly before asking the innkeeper, “Your inn uses sesame oil?”
Jing Rong suddenly waved his sleeve. “Go and call all your kitchen staff here.”
“Ah?” The innkeeper was dumbstruck. Why would he call all the kitchen staff for no reason? He glanced at Constable Zhang, awaiting his instructions. Constable Zhang nodded at him, thus the innkeeper summoned everyone from the kitchen. From old to new, including the dishwashers, there were 10 people in total.
Ji Yunshu looked at the crowd and recognized the man who bumped into her. She saw his flustered expression and his evading glances with both of his hands hidden behind him.
‘What a suspicious behavior!’
She walked to him and inquired, “An hour ago, I saw you running down the stairs in a hurry. Did you come into this room at that time?”
Once the man heard her words, he trembled and hurriedly shook his head in denial. “I-I didn’t come in here!”
“You obviously have a guilty conscience.”
“NO! I really don’t!”
“There is sesame oil on the victim’s wrists. Not only that, there are fragments of human skin under his nails. Do you dare show me your hands to let me confirm if there are no scratch marks on your hands?”
“…” The man tightly kept his hands behind his back. His courage was quite small to start with, combined with Ji Yunshu’s accusing tone, he was now completely panicking. He trembled and suddenly broke into a run, trying to escape the crowd. Unfortunately, he barely took two steps before he was intercepted by runners.
Constable Zhang’s spirit was stimulated as his whole person burst with anger. He lifted the suspect’s sleeves, and as expected, there were scratch marks on the man’s hands.
In an instant, he grabbed his blade hilt and ferociously struck the man’s abdomen with it.
“You kill people but still want to escape? Tell me the truth. How did you kill him?”
The man bent down from the pain. He bitterly and painfully beseeched, “I didn’t kill him. I really didn’t kill him. Let me go!”
“Let you go? If you didn’t kill him, then why are you running away?”
“Drag him back to the yamen. Let’s see how hard your mouth is.” Constable Zhang was furious. He turned to the two runners and ordered, “Bring him back. I’ll personally interrogate him.”
“Wait!” Ji Yunshu timely stopped them.
Constable Zhang turned around to look at her with doubtful eyes. “Young lady, there are scratch marks on the back of his hands. The evidence is undeniable.”
At this instant, Ji Yunshu felt a surging headache. ‘Didn’t they say that ancient people have more passive personalities? How come each and every one of them is so impatient instead?’ She shook her head. “When did I say he was the murderer?”
Grenn’s Rants Corner
-Shopping with Ji Yunshu & co.-
Wei Yi: *happily running everywhere like a child* Shu’er, I want this! I want this too. Oh! This looks fun*
Luan’er: Miss! Miss! This looks good on you. How about this hairpin or that rouge powder or that dress? *has nothing but Ji Yunshu in her mind when shopping*
Jing Rong: *watching everyone shopping and secretly noting what Ji Yunshu wants* Lang Po, buy this set of calligraphy and send it to her later. Oh, before that, bring Wei Yi to the street vendor and keep him there while… have a talk with Ji Yunshu.
Lang Po: Yes, your Highness.
Ji Yunshu: *mostly looking at things useful for her work* Calligraphy, paint, paper, need to custom some more knives, gloves…
Magistrate Liu: *stuffing his face in a restaurant somewhere*