Chapter 175 – A Hand Riddled With Disease
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don’t read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
Not long after, the governor sent people to the Rong estate. There was a new lead – Mei Xiang’er’s home was situated in the southern part of the capital. The runner handed over a slip of paper with her address written on it.
Since anything related to the missing girls case was extremely urgent, Ji Yunshu grabbed the paper and said to Jing Rong, “I’m going to go find Mei Xiang’er.”
“I’ll go with you.”
“No need. Your Highness should avoid leaving your residence for the time being. We want to avoid Prince Yi from being a step ahead when the murderer goes after Miss Ruan again.”
Jing Rong considered a bit and nodded. Since Lang Po was buying some tanghulu with Wei Yi outside, Jing Rong called two lowly imperial guards to accompany Ji Yunshu to a trip to the southern part of the capital.
When Ji Yunshu reached her destination, her sight took in the sogon grass growing outside. Wooden racks were placed outside and there were piles of dried vegetables and dried chili on them. There were even some common medicinal herbs amongst the pile. Although the courtyard was simple and crude, it was clean and still surrounded by a fence made of bamboo.
One of the imperial guards stepped forward and knocked on the dilapidated wooden door.
One time, two times, three times… But there was no response!
“Could it be that there is no one home?” The imperial guard surmised.
Ji Yunshu observed the interior of the house. “There is someone inside.”
“There is?” The imperial guard was skeptical.
“I see some light in the house, so someone should be there.”
Through the thin white paper covering the broken window, a red glimmer could be seen flickering.
Suddenly, the imperial guard came over and heavily knocked on the door that was on the verge of falling apart. There was a burst of sounds and finally, the door creaked open. Then, a head popped out from behind, in search of the source of the knocking. Gradually, a thin silhouette slowly emerged from behind the door.
Mei Xiang’er drooped her head and was a bit alarmed when she saw there was someone unknown outside of her house. Her hands were tightly rubbing against each other as she cautiously stepped forward.
The weak girl’s cowardice was obvious to the eyes. As she slowly opened the door wider, she caught sight of Ji Yunshu. “Gentleman? It’s you?” The corner of her mouth slightly rose with a burst of happiness.
Ji Yunshu politely spoke to her. “Miss Mei, I am sorry if I have inconvenienced you with this sudden visit.”
Mei Xiang’er shook her head. “Not at all. You didn’t disturb me. In fact, Gentleman can call me Xiang’er.”
Ji Yunshu pursed her lips into a slight smile. “Miss Xiang’er, I came today for a matter – I would like to ask you some questions.”
“Is it inconvenient?”
“No, no such thing! Please come in.” Mei Xiang’er retreated two steps to allow Ji Yunshu to enter.
Ji Yunshu instructed the imperial guards before going inside. “You two stay here and guard the place.”
Ji Yunshu followed Mei Xiang’er and came into a room of medium size. The room was very clean and well organized, furnished with all the basics.
They both sat down at the table and Mei Xiang’er poured a cup of water for Ji Yunshu. “Gentleman, please drink some water.”
“Thank you!” Ji Yunshu looked at the water in the cup, but her sight couldn’t help but trail towards Mei Xiang’er’s neck. Since the young woman didn’t wear a cloak, the terrifying dark red scar was exposed for all to see. Noticing Ji Yunshu’s gaze, Mei Xiang’er pulled her collar tighter and lowered her head.
In a small voice, she asked, “For what matter does Gentleman need to find me for?”
With the other initiating the conversation, Ji Yunshu also didn’t beat around the bush. “It’s like this. I won’t hide from you. I came to find you in regards to the missing girls case. You must have heard that the murderer is Auspicious Prosperity’s cook, Gan Chuliang, right?”
Mei Xiang’er didn’t show any surprise. Rather, she timidly nodded her head. “I heard about it. The restaurant was also cordoned off due to this affair. I remembered that when I heard about it, I felt a chill spreading from my head to toe. I didn’t expect that he would dare to kill people and…” She didn’t finish her sentence as nausea overwhelmed her.
“Then, are you familiar with him?”
“I don’t know him much. Although my father and I sang at the restaurant for a long time, we are not familiar with each other.” She replied in earnest and didn’t seem like she would lie. So, she shouldn’t know that Gan Chuliang liked her.
Seeing that Ji Yunshu’s expression sank, Mei Xiang’er inquired, “Anyway, why are you suddenly asking me all of these questions?”
“It’s nothing.” Ji Yunshu answered.
Right at this instant, someone’s coughing fits was heard coming from the backyard. Then, following the sound, the old man who played the erhu at the restaurant came in. In one hand, he was holding a bag with a rotten fish inside while using a crude crutch with the other.
“Dad!” Mei Xiang’er called. She got up and welcomed her father. She took the items he had been holding and put it on the table.
Ji Yunshu also got up in a hurry and nodded at the old man. “Senior.”
“You are?” The old man observed Ji Yunshu in bafflement.
Mei Xiang’er rushed to reply. “Dad, don’t you remember the gentleman who tipped us to sing ‘The Caged Woman’? Well, that’s him!”
“It’s actually that kind gentleman. Xiang’er, go and quickly cook a few side dishes for this respectable guest. We need to properly receive him.” The old man had a benevolent countenance and his expression showed only gratitude.
“Sure, Daughter will do so.” Mei Xiang’er agreed with him.
Ji Yunshu hurriedly said, “Miss Xiang’er, there is no need for that.”
“Don’t mention it.” Mei Xiang’er thought of something and looked at the courtyard before adding, “The two gentlemen must have been standing outside for quite a while now. They might be thirsty, so I’ll go invite them inside.” After saying so, she took a teapot and two cups and left.
‘How cordial of her!’
Ji Yunshu was helpless in front of her enthusiasm. She wanted to chase after Mei Xiang’er, but the old man suddenly coughed, to the point that his body shook. She paused and went to help him. She used both her hands to support his arm, but when she used some strength, her palms felt his bone and this startled her greatly. She had examined many skeletons and opened countless coffins. Therefore, the sixth sense that came with her experience wasn’t something to scoff at. The characteristic she felt from the bone structure of this seemingly man in his late fifties, was very similar to that of a man in his thirties.
However, it was an arm riddled with illness! Considering the severity of it, he might not be able to pull a chair.
An odd feeling surged from Ji Yunshu’s heart. She helped the old man to sit down, but her heart felt uneasy. After he took a seat, she said, “Elder, please take a rest. I’ll go first.”
The old man couldn’t hold her back in time; Ji Yunshu had already left the room in haste. It wasn’t early anymore as the sky was getting darker.
When she came out, she didn’t see the shadows of two guards. A frightening feeling crept up, causing her to be more alarmed. Suddenly, she heard the whistling of the wind, a nose picked up a faint scent of perfume. The scent was incredibly familiar. Without giving her a chance to turn back, her mouth and nose were suddenly covered.
She struggled, to no avail. Soon, her mind got foggy and everything spun. Her eyes widened, but her vision gradually became unclear. Finally, she fainted, but the last thing she heard was a buzzing sound.
She didn’t know how long she had been unconsciousness for, but when she awoke, her eyes were blindfolded and her body tied to a chair, firmly maintained in place behind her back. Her surroundings were very quiet. She wrinkled her nose and smelt the faint fragrance of wood paint, rotten corpse and blood.
“Are you awake?” Mei Xiang’er’s voice rang in the quiet room.
Grenn’s Rants Corner
On a random note, I’ve been into amigurumi. It’s fun making them with crochet. :3
Now, do you understand why I have to release chapter 176 along with this chapter?