Chapter 128 – Murder at the Inn (part two)
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don’t read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
Ji Yunshu was quite certain that she didn’t say he was the murderer. Following her words, it seemed as if the hair on Constable Zhang’s eyebrows were on the verge of erecting and his mouth became parched and slightly twitched. Could it be that he was too rash? The suspect that he told the runners to capture, stared at him with miserable and innocent eyes. ‘Is he innocent? No, he’s far from innocent!’
It was only when Ji Yunshu started to approach him that his dried mouth could finally open to argue back. “Young lady, the victim and this man met with each other prior to the victim’s death. What’s more, the back of his hands has scratch marks. Those injuries must have been made during their struggle which ended with him killing the victim.”
“Officer, isn’t this a miscarriage of justice?” Ji Yunshu’s beautiful eyes stared at Constable Zhang. Unexpectedly, her stare caused people’s mind to tremble. How could she ask such a question?
Constable Zhang was confused. “This…”
“If the Magistrate of Yu province is as impatient and muddled like you, won’t this whole province be plagued with injustice everywhere?”
“…” This was the first time that Constable Zhang was rendered speechless by a young girl. ‘Hmph! Aren’t you looking down on women?! Aren’t you looking down on me?! This is merely a little lesson. If you kill the wrong person, it won’t be enough to redeem yourself even if you possessed several heads to be cut!’
Surprisingly, the innkeeper stepped forward and slapped the man’s head with force. “Little Zhao, if you really kill that man, then I’ll be the first one to slaughter you! My hundred-year-old inn’s reputation will be ruined by you.”
Once he heard the innkeeper, Little Zhao started to whine. “Boss, I have worked at your inn for ten years already. Why don’t you have any faith in me?”
“Shut up! If you didn’t have a guilty conscience, why would you try to run away?” retorted the innkeeper fuming with rage.
“He didn’t kill anyone,” interrupted Ji Yunshu. Then, she looked at Little Zhao. “He only entered the room to steal things.”
“Steal?” The innkeeper was slightly surprised.
Little Zhao lowered his head and spoke in a trembling voice, “I didn’t…”
“No need to quibble.” Ji Yunshu overruled his lie. “Although you didn’t kill him, bits of skin were found under the deceased’s nails. As long as we test it, we can determine whether the skin is yours or not. In either case, one thing is clear. You came in contact with the victim before his death and stole his thumb ring. When you took the ring, the victim must have struggled and scratched the back of your hands. At that time, your hands must have been stained with sesame oil which ended up being smeared on the deceased’s wrists. I believe that the thumb ring should still be in your possession, am I right? We can find it as long as we search your body.” Once the words fell, a young runner swiftly searched Little Zhao’s body, and as expected, they found a jade thumb ring.
Then, the young runner quickly took the thumb ring and put it on the deceased’s thumb. The young runner turned to Constable Zhang and spoke in excitement, “Constable, it fits. This is the deceased’s ring.”
Constable Zhang swiftly used his blade and rested it on Little Zhao’s neck in an instant. He overbearingly interrogated the thief, “Hurry and confess! How did you kill him?”
“You’re wrong! I-I only steal things. I didn’t kill anyone!”
“Obviously when you robbed him, you were caught red-handed by him, so you silenced him.”
“NO! I did not do it!” His legs softened as tears spilled out from his eyes.
Jing Rong saw enough and stepped forward as he spoke in his usual ice-cold tone, “Constable Zhang, Miss Ji has said earlier that this man isn’t the murderer. Therefore, he certainly won’t be able to confess to the murder.”
‘Hey! Smelly guy, I have handled numerous cases before. This is obviously my standard process!’ Constable Zhang contemplated for a moment. Could it be that he was too rash? The corner of his eyes twitched, then he took back his blade that was resting on Little Zhao’s neck. With suspicion in his gaze, he looked at the veiled woman.
Ji Yunshu glanced at Jing Rong before turning back and walked to the corpse and squatted. She spoke in a relaxed manner, “Under the victim’s nails, apart from Little Zhao’s skin, there are fragments of fabric. The fabric itself doesn’t appear to be of coarse material. Instead, it looks like it was made from silk. After observing this room, I have not found anything made out of silk. Besides, silk is a luxurious material and not something affordable to Little Zhao. When you look at the ligature mark on the victim, it does not look like it was caused by a rope. He must have been strangled by a silk cloth from the shape and delineate on the neck. The bruise is not evenly discolored. The victim must have struggled and grabbed onto the murder weapon which explains the silk under his nails.”
“Moreover, the ligature mark is slanting downward. The deceased is around 1.65 meters tall. This means that the murderer is certainly below that height and explains why the ligature is slanting downward. However, Little Zhao is around 1.70 meters tall.”
“According to the murder weapon and the murderer’s height, Little Zhao is unlikely to be the culprit.” Her eyes shone with wisdom and intelligence, and within that, confidence could be seen.
After everyone heard her explanation, the whole room fell into silence. They watched her with unbelievable eyes. ‘Where did this girl come from?’
Little Zhao twisted and struggled as he yelled his innocence, “Let me go! I told you I didn’t kill anyone!”
“Stay still!” The runners holding him didn’t have good tempers.
Ji Yunshu was about to get up when she discovered something at the corner of the deceased’s mouth. She immediately grabbed the handkerchief that she left next to the corpse and used it to pick up the thing in the corpse’s mouth.
‘A strand of hair!’
“The murderer is a woman?” muttered Ji Yunshu.
Although she muttered, people still heard her.
Constable Zhang asked, “A woman? How could it be? The victim is a man. How can he be killed by a woman shorter than him? Not to mention hanged to the ceiling beam?”
“There should be some logic behind it.”
Ji Yunshu got up and walked to Little Zhao. She then bluntly asked him, “Truthfully answer my questions. When you came in to steal, what did you do? Did you see anything? What was the situation of the victim at that time?”
Constable Zhang hit Little Zhao with the hilt of his blade and yelled at him, “Quickly talk!”
“I’ll talk! I’ll talk!” After suffering from some pain, he quickly tried to remember before he started to confess, “At that time, I came to deliver his meal. When I went in, I didn’t see him. Who would have known he was lying on the floor. When I checked, he was still breathing at that time. I-I thought he had only fainted, so when I saw the jade thumb ring on him, I became greedy. That’s why I dared to steal his ring. But who would have thought that he would suddenly wake up and grab my hands. At that time, I was terrified, so I pushed him and he fainted again. I took that opportunity to escape. It’s the truth! This is how it really happened! Other than that, I didn’t do anything else!”
“Are you certain that there was only him in the room at that time?”
“S-should be… I’m sure.”
“Something is amiss. Could it be that before you went inside, there was maybe already someone else? So, at that time, there should have been three people including the victim,” speculated Ji Yunshu.
Constable Zhang was astonished. “Three people?”
Ji Yunshu pointed at the table. “On this table, there are three cups of tea. Don’t tell me that you didn’t notice that when you came in? Why would there be three cups if there is only one person?”
‘That’s true when you look at it!’ Apart from Ji Yunshu, almost no one else took notice of this point.
Grenn’s Rants Corner
Ji Yunshu has the knack to cool down the fiery Constable Zhang.