Chapter 156 – On Liang Mountain
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don’t read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
Not long after the carriage’s departure, Jing Rong arrived at the south gate where the carriage was supposed to be. He was a bit puzzled from not seeing the carriage, thus he asked the imperial guard on duty, “Where is the Rong estate’s carriage?”
“It just left.”
“What about Teacher Ji who came with me?”
Jing Rong suddenly had a bad premonition.
The imperial guard replied perfunctorily, “He already left with the carriage.”
‘Very good Ji Yunshu! This Prince is such a great existence, but you didn’t notice that I didn’t get on the carriage yet?! Or are you deliberately leaving without me?! Truly brazen!’ He was bursting with fury, but he did his best to repress it. He suspected that there was a reason why Ji Yunshu didn’t wait for him. And the only explanation would be she didn’t want him to prevent her from going to Liang mountain. Thus, she acted first and will report to him later. ‘That girl! Wait until I catch you, and see how I will punish you.’
Jing Rong ordered the guard to prepare a horse for him. When the horse was saddled, he mounted it and left for Liang mountain in haste.
Behind him, Jing Yi’s jet black eyes closely watched him as he set off. Next to him, his trusted aide, Dou Quan, inquired, “Prince Rong is alone, do you want…”
Jing Yi lightly curled up his lips and spoke in a gloomy tone, “You better handle it properly. Don’t leave any traces behind.”
“Yes, your Highness!”
Dou Quan was about to leave for his mission when Jing Yi stopped him with a stretch of his hand. After a moment of pondering, he said, “No, go notify Yan Weiyi. Let him send people with shiban poison. In any case, since he also wants Jing Rong dead, he might as well clean up that Ji Yunshu too to avoid long nights filled with dreams1”
“Your Highness is wise.”
“We’re in the capital after all. I can’t dirty my own hands.” His statement was accompanied by a clear laugh.
Liang mountain wasn’t located far from the capital, and it was bordered by the main roads. On the way, Ji Yunshu would occasionally lift the carriage curtain and glanced outside. From time to time, she would see another horse carriage traveling on the same road. After a while, they finally arrived at the foot of Liang mountain. After disembarking, Ji Yunshu looked at the sky. The sun was at its zenith, indicating it was currently noon. At this time, the humidity on Liang mountain was at its lowest.
The coachman asked with curiosity, “What are you going to do here, Teacher Ji?”
“Nothing. Wait for me here.”
“This…” The coachman was caught in a dilemma.
“Rest assured, I won’t go far. I’ll stay in the vicinity.”
“I have to go with you. In the case something happens, I don’t know how to explain to Prince Rong.” While he spoke, the coachman pulled the carriage to the side and tied the horses to a big tree. He was ready to hike the mountain with Ji Yunshu.
But Ji Yunshu refused, “It’s better if you stay here and watch the carriage. If something happens to the carriage, how are we going to return to the Rong estate? Even if we walk back, it will be dark and the city gates will be closed at that time.”
The main road meandering through the empire was considered safe. However, for a luxurious carriage to be left alone in the wilderness, there’s no guarantee that no one would entertain the idea of stealing it. Not to mention that the distance from here to the Rong estate was quite far. Therefore, it was better to be safe than sorry. The coachman thought for a moment. He was still worried about Ji Yunshu, yet he couldn’t persuade her. In the end, he had no choice but to comply with her suggestion.
According to the capital governor, the corpse was discovered in the southeastern part at the foot of the mountain. Ji Yunshu was currently located on the western side of the mountain. It would take awhile before reaching the crime scene. She couldn’t help but mutter, “If the deceased came down the mountain, how did she end up in the southeastern part? Or did she pass through the forest by foot?”
After analyzing the information she had, suddenly, a realization dawned on her! Her eyes widened from the shock, but that emotion was mixed with a hint of pleasant surprise. She broke a branch and used it as a walking cane as she traversed the forest by foot to the southeastern side of the mountain.
When she entered the forest, her senses were quickly assaulted by the dense humidity in the air, turning it ice-cold and making her body shiver from the drop in temperature.
Noon was a time where the sunlight was the warmest and brightest, yet inside this forest overly populated by tall trees with dense foliage, it was hard for the sunlight to pierce through the dim and gloomy air. Only the mottled of leaves’ shadows projected on the muddy ground hinted at the sun’s existence. Within the dimmed forest, a cold wind had a chosen home, rustling the leaves in a continuum, creating a strangeness that seeped into people’s heart.
Fortunately, her eyes had seen too many corpses, thus she wasn’t intimidated by the atmosphere of this dark forest. Relying on her walking cane, she threaded through the forest. The further she went in, the humidity increased and the temperature dropped even further, which she could feel deep inside of her. As time passed, her steps grew heavier, and the laborious effort made her pant. As she ascended a slope, she suddenly slipped on the trail of mud.
Her body abruptly fell forward; she had no time to react. But in extremis, A big hand broke her fall by tightly holding onto her waist and strongly pulling her up before she kissed the muddy ground. Her back ended up hitting on her savior’s chest.
“If this Young Master wasn’t here, you would have fallen.” A warm and frivolous voice was heard near Ji Yunshu’s ears. With that voice alone, she was able to identify the person with certainty. She hurriedly freed herself from the other man’s arm and turned around with doubt written on her face. “Why are you here?”
Li Shiyan laughed while watching her. In his hand, he still held an exquisite folded fan. With raised brows, he spoke, “It seems that my guess is correct. You are Shu’er.”
‘Eh?’ Ji Yunshu felt too lazy to deny. She pursed her lips and asked, “What are you doing here?”
“I followed you from the moment you left Prince Rong’s residence until you traveled to this place.”
“You followed me?” Ji Yunshu was perplexed by his actions. “Why would you follow me from Yuzhou to the capital?”
“Didn’t I already say this? I greatly admire your investigation skills. I want to follow you as you solve a case, then we can go to poetry assemblies and other gatherings to further our friendship!” For him, this was quite a logical process.
‘Damn crazy man!’ There are so many women in this world willing to attend poetry assemblies or go to gatherings. Why does it have to be her?! She narrowed her eyes while staring at him. She blurted out with impatience, “Thank you very much for your help earlier. Unfortunately, I am in a hurry, so why don’t you quickly go away?”
“I know you are currently investigating the missing girls case.”
“Since you know about it, don’t bother me.”
“In fact, I am very curious about the identity of this perverted murderer.” As he spoke, he brazenly came closer to Ji Yunshu before continuing, “The past few days, I have heard many rumors about this case, so I know about the discovery of this body on Liang mountain and that you were the one who examined it.”
Ji Yunshu stepped back, increasing the distance between them. She calmly said, “So?”
He waved the fan in his hand before replying, “So, I want to help you. Look at this place; the forest is cold and the ground is muddy. It’s very likely for a weak girl like you to have an accident. You can… think of me as your assistant. How about it?”
It’s true that as she passes through this forest to reach the crime scene, she might slip many times and could end up falling to her death. She considered Li Shiyan’s proposition for a moment before nodding in agreement.
“Good! Right, my ears are hurt. So, if you don’t have anything to say, it’s better to keep your mouth shut.”
“Rest assured, I won’t disturb you.” Li Shiyan’s peach blossom eyes sparkled as if he gained a huge benefit. Ji Yunshu proceeded forward while he obediently trailed closely behind her.
Grenn’s Rants Corner
Getting back to the missing girls case. ^_^
- 夜长梦多 or long nights filled with dreams put in context meant that the nights are filled with dreams, but nothing is real and everything is but supposition. It’s better to avoid future troubles by resolving the problem as soon as possible. ↩