Chapter 320 – Case Details
Note: There are mature contents pertaining to the case.
Sensible readers, please prepare yourself mentally.
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don’t read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
“It’s you?” The woman recognized Ji Yunshu – wasn’t she the one who bumped into her that rainy day, drenching her claim papers?
“Please, get up first.” Ji Yunshu helped her up from the floor and sat her aside, pushing a cup of steaming hot green tea into her hands, clasping her cold fingers around the porcelain cup.
The woman held the cup for a moment, then gently placed it on the table. She held her dirty, yellow bag closer to her chest, shooting Ji Yunshu a wary glance, “Who are you?”
Ji Yunshu replied calmly, “This one just wants to understand the case Madame is trying to submit.”
“Are you an official?”
“Someone from the court?”
“Not that either,” Ji Yunshu denied each time.
The Governor explained on her behalf, “This is the famous Teacher Ji. Although he is not a court official, he is known for his case solving and investigative abilities. If your daughter really was murdered, Teacher Ji will definitely bring her the justice she deserves.”
Her eyes widened and she grabbed onto Ji Yunshu’s wrist frantically, “Can you really help me? Help me clear my daughter’s name?”
Ji Yunshu nodded, “If Ye’er really was harmed by someone else, then I can definitely find the true murderer and bring her justice.”
The woman teared up as she began to bow towards Ji Yunshu. Just as she bent forwards, she was stopped by Ji Yunshu, “Madame, you don’t have to bother with these formalities. I will still need to know more about this case before I can make any conclusions and I need your help. I need you to tell me everything you know, everything you remember, even the smallest, most negligible details.”
“Mm.” The woman wiped her tears away, sat down and heaved a great, long sigh as she began recounting her story. It was almost an hour before she finished, and Ji Yunshu had a better idea of what had happened then.
This woman was Madame Xie, born and brought up in Yufu County. Not long after her daughter Ye’er was born, her husband had passed away and she single-handedly raised her daughter. When Ye’er grew up, she gave birth to a son herself, but no matter how much Madame Xie questioned, Ye’er never revealed who her son’s father was. She eventually began work as a songstress at the most renowned brothel in Yufu County, House of Spring, in order to support themselves. As she was pretty and had a good voice, she had earned a significant amount in two years, but was similarly harassed by many men.
The day before Ye’er died, Madam Xie waited all night for Ye’er to return home. When she did, she was drenched from the rain, only saying that she would leave House of Spring and Yufu County the next day with her son to start afresh, to start her new life. She was full of vigour and hope as she spoke with Madame Xie!
Who could have expected that Ye’er would be raped by the young master of the Qiao Family the next day, dying in a room half-naked on the second floor of House of Spring, covered in wounds, clothes torn to tatters. Her eyes were wide open, head leaning over the edge of the bed, her long hair spilling over the floor like a gory waterfall.
“That beast killed my daughter – it was him. He bribed the county yamen and the coroner to make them declare that my daughter died by drinking poison. There is no way my daughter would kill herself, it’s not possible…” Madame Xie collapsed in a heap into the chair, sobbing uncontrollably.
Ji Yunshu felt sorry for her, but was unsure how to comfort her. She offered a few simple words empathetically when she noticed the bag Madame Xie not once let go of, “Did this belong to Ye’er?”
Madam Xie nodded, “These are all my daughter’s possessions – I’ve kept them ever since that day.”
“Could I possibly have a look?”
Madame Xie hesitated. She gently placed the bag on the table, tenderly unfolding it, unleashing a musty tang as she revealed its contents. The bag contained a lilac garb, its sheen washed away by the years. The only other items were several other trinkets like combs, hairpins and bangles, as well as a dark grey doll crafted from rags. It had twintails and was adorable, but there were also five clothespins scattered across its body, patches of dark and pale colours from repeated washing over the years. Looking at the frayed edges, the doll must have been made at least ten years ago.
“This doll was specially made for Ye’er by her father when he was still alive. She used to love it, keeping it her close by her side; if there was even a little hole, she would have me fix it, sew it up. She used to say that having the doll with her was as if her father was beside her. My poor, dear Ye’er, it’s all mother’s fault that I could not protect you.” Madame Xie began to cry again.
Ji Yunshu picked up the doll, turning it over. She had to admit, it was quite rare for a man to have such nifty fingers in that time. She placed it back inside the yellow bag, saying, “Madame Xie, you should have a good rest over the next couple of days.”
Madame Xie scrambled, “Has Teacher decided to forsake us? I’ve traveled all this way to the capital to seek justice for my daughter – please help me, I have no other choice, Teacher, please…” She pleaded and tried to kneel.
Ji Yunshu quickly replied, “I’m not leaving you alone, don’t fret. This case must first pass through the Supreme Court’s hands. It’s been long established that county cases must be submitted through the local yamen from every state and county to the Supreme Court, but now that you have come to the Capital yourself to submit your claim, things will be slightly trickier; since the Capital Governor has accepted your claim, then he will help you sort these things out. What’s more, we would have to reopen her coffin and re-examine her body to know if Ye’er truly committed suicide by poison. Hence, it wouldn’t be possible to investigate this case in the capital – we would have to return to the Yufu County yamen. I am neither the court coroner, nor a court official – to take over this case, I would require the Supreme Court’s approval. It would take several days to process even if the capital mayor were to submit this application now.”
Madame Xie finally understood. She nodded through her tears, holding onto Ji Yunshu’s hands again, “Teacher, if justice can be served on my daughter’s behalf, I could repay you with this life and the next, no matter what.”
“Please don’t say that. If your daughter was indeed murdered by someone else, it’s only natural and befitting to right any wrong.”
Madame Xie nodded. The Governor had someone send her to a nearby inn to stay for the next few days while he sorted things out, “Teacher Ji, this official will immediately draft up a proposal. Once the Supreme Court has approved it, this case will be handed over to you.”
“I must really thank you, Teacher.” The Governor continued, “With your smarts, it would be the Great Lin’s fortune if Teacher were to become an official. If this case were solved, this official would surely recommend Teacher for the Disciplinary Officer position – even though the position has been empty for many years, with Teacher’s sense, you would surely flourish and do good.”
Ji Yunshu refused on the spot, “Sir, this one investigates cases not for fame, nor for power.” In other words, she had zero interest in the Disciplinary Officer position.
Grenn’s Rants Corner
What kind of twist will await us at the end of this case?