Chapter 168 – The Truth (part two)
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don’t read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
Jing Xuan didn’t understand why Ji Yunshu was acting like this. However, she didn’t have the time to ask since Ji Yunshu had already left. She walked quickly toward the courtyard entrance as if she had wings to her feet. As she arrived at the entrance, she accidentally collided with Jing Rong who had timely returned from the Peach Blossoms Spring.
“The murderer! I know who the murderer is.” She spoke in a rush.
Jing Rong’s sword-like eyebrows slightly knitted.
Ji Yunshu continued to explain. “I need your Highness to help me investigate two people for me.”
An hour later, the capital governor arrived in haste with more pieces of information which he collected from the assigned investigation. “Teacher Ji, I have all the information pertaining all the butchers living and working inside the city.”
He handed over the document, but Ji Yunshu didn’t take it. “Put the files here for now.”
“Ah?” Her words puzzled the governor.
Jing Rong had a grave expression as he stepped forward and handed over two scrolls to the capital governor before giving out his instructions. “Governor, I order you to immediately dispatch a group of runners discreetly monitor the man on this painting, and another group to protect the woman in the other painting. If nothing unexpected happens, we will be able to quickly bring the murderer behind the missing girls case to justice.”
When the governor unfolded the two paintings, two portraits were revealed. The first one belonged to the cook who worked at the restaurant earlier. The second portrait was that of the arrogant young miss who was sitting in the restaurant booth previously.
The capital governor’s brain was cloudy with incomprehension, so he asked, “Your Highness, what is this for?”
Instead of Jing Rong, Ji Yunshu replied. “This white cloth is our clue. I did say that the murderer was probably a butcher, but I overlooked one important point. There is also a possibility that the murderer is a cook. I read through all the files pertaining the missing girls case which you sent before and discovered a common point between all the victims; they all went to the same place before their disappearance and a particular situation always occurred beforehand.”
“Before their disappearance, they all went to this restaurant called Auspicious Prosperity. What’s more, there would always be a singer called Mei Xiang’er at the time of their visit and, inevitably, they would humiliate her in public due to the wound on her neck. Without exception, they would go missing later on that day or the day after.” As Ji Yunshu spoke, the governor recalled the information he had gathered and it was indeed as such. Ji Yunshu continued to explain. “The man in this painting is called Gan Chouliang, a cook working at Auspicious Prosperity. As for the woman in the other painting, she is the young miss of the Ruan family, Ruan Ya’er. Today, I went to Auspicious Prosperity and coincidentally witnessed her conflict with Mei Xiang’er. She then humiliated the latter in front of everyone. At that time, I saw Gan Chouliang glaring at Miss Ruan with killing intent. I believe there is a relationship between Mei Xiang’er and Gan Chouliang. And then, I suddenly remembered that time when I went to Auspicious Prosperity to eat. At that time, I tried one of their meat dishes and found that the taste was quite unlike pork. It was not until I looked through the files again that I can ascertain that the murderer is most probably the cook.”
After they heard her explanation, everyone looked at each other in dismay.
Someone suddenly shouted in fright, “Don’t tell me that the meat served was human meat?” A sickening feeling overcame them from simply uttering those words.
After the capital governor digested the revelation, he swallowed his saliva. He held onto the two portraits and asked, “So, Teacher Ji means that the murderer might repeat his offense?”
“Correct! Although we don’t have any concrete evidence that Gan Chouliang is the murderer yet, there is a method to ascertain it. If Gan Chouliang is truly the murderer and his motive is to kidnap and kill anyone who harms Mei Xiang’er, he will certainly strike again after Miss Ruan offended Mei Xiang’er today at the restaurant. Therefore, I hope that Governor will lend me a hand by keeping an eye on Gan Chouliang while protecting Miss Ruan from harm.” Her explanations were loud and clear.
Jing Rong waved his hand. “Governor, go do your assigned tasks at once. Human life is priceless. We cannot afford to let this case drag on any longer. Do remember to be discreet. We don’t want to alert the murderer.”
“Yes, your Highness!” The capital governor received the order and set off in haste while holding onto the two portraits.
Now that the case had a clue and if her conjecture of Gan Chouliang being the murderer is correct, then he would certainly act tonight. At that time, they would be able to arrest him on the spot.
Hidden within her sleeves, Ji Yunshu’s hands were tightly clenched into fists. Her mind became preoccupied with the case. As she was caught in a trance, Jing Rong reached for her and shook her. “The case has some progress. Now, shouldn’t it be my turn to ask you about something?”
“Did you go out today?”
‘What has to come, will come.’ She nodded her head. “Yes.”
“To meet Li Shiyan.”
Jing Rong’s expression turned sour as he felt jealousy brewing inside of him. “Your relationship seems quite good, huh?”
“Then, why did you go meet him?” His tone sounded very indifferent, yet his mood was low and his words sharp.
Ji Yunshu was still thinking about the case and wasn’t in the right mind to reply to him. “Your Highness, I’m currently not in the mood to answer such questions.” Then, she sat down, waiting for new progress from the capital governor.
Jing Rong watched her, but he was quite depressed. ‘Forget it. When this case is resolved, I’ll ask her again.’ With nothing else to do, he also sat down and waited for the governor’s news.
Hidden on the side, Jing Xuan was observing everything from the start. The admiration she had for Ji Yunshu continued to grow, gushing stronger like the tide of a tsunami. However, she was worried that Jing Rong would discover that she had snuck into his residence, so she secretly returned to the palace. Upon her return, she was caught red-handed sneaking in by her mother, Concubine Xiao.
Concubine Xiao looked at her in anger. “Did you go to the Rong estate, again?”
Jing Xuan smiled while sitting down next to Concubine Xiao and acted spoiled. “Imperial Mother, I only went for a walk. I didn’t go to Imperial Brother Rong’s place.”
“Don’t lie to me. I have someone keep an eye on your whereabouts.”
“You never do as I said.” Concubine Xiao reprimanded her. She felt disappointed that her child didn’t follow her expectations. She reached for Jing Xuan’s hand and patted it twice. “Xuan’er, you are a princess and should act like one. Look at you right now. Always running outside of the palace and not even bringing an imperial guard with you. What if something were to happen?”
“Nothing will happen. No one would ever dare to bully me, so please rest assured Imperial Mother.”
“How can I not care about you? You are not a child anymore. Sooner or later, you will marry. I have already talked with your imperial father about your big event. He has agreed to help you choose a good partner for you. Your prospective husband will certainly come from a prestigious family. So, be obedient and stay in the palace. Stop running everywhere and work on that unruly temper of yours.”
When she heard about getting married, Jing Xuan became hesitant. She pouted and twisted her body. “Daughter doesn’t want to marry.”
“Daughter, how can you say such things.”
“I… If I was to marry, I want to choose him myself.” Jing Xuan willfully spoke.
Concubine Xiao’s expression darkened. She asked, “Tell me the truth. Are you… in love with Teacher Ji?”
“Imperial Mother, I…” For her secret to be suddenly revealed, Jing Xuan furiously blushed. She lowered her head while her mouth curled up. She spoke with shyness. “In fact, Teacher Ji is really intelligent. He was able to resolve the missing girls case. Your daughter… really admires him.”
“What did you just say?”
“Although he still had no meritorious service yet, I believe that he…”
Concubine Xiao interrupted her daughter’s rambling. Her expression showed anxiety. “I’m not asking you that. Did you say that he already resolved the missing girls case?”
Jing Xuan nodded and added. “I heard him with my own ears.”
“What did you hear? Tell me everything you saw as well.” Jing Xuan unsuspectedly told everything she knew to Concubine Xiao. The more Concubine Xiao heard, the darker her expression became.
Grenn’s Rants Corner
*facepalms* Jing Xuan… Concubine Xiao grew up in adversity while her daughter is a greenhouse plant.