Chapter 86 – The Answer
Liu Qingping was stunned for a moment, but recovered and stepped forward to greet Jing Rong. “This official pays his respect to Prince Rong. I don’t know why your Highness…”
Jing Rong raised his hand and interrupted Magistrate Liu. “You don’t need to attend to me. Go and see what Teacher Ji needs.”
“Yes, yes, yes…” The Magistrate went next to Ji Yunshu. “Ah! Yunshu, could it be that you found some evidence?”
“Lord Liu, right now, I need some vinegar and strong alcohol. I’ll trouble you to bring them to me while I go to the autopsy room.”
“Of course. No problem.” Liu Qingping replied straightforwardly.
He summoned two yamen runners and ordered them to find the material Ji Yunshu needed.
While Ji Yunshu went to the autopsy room, Jing Rong sat in a room and drank tea. ‘Ah~ Jinjiang’s tea is really the best!’
In the autopsy room, Ji Yunshu took out the rusted iron knife from her sleeve. Meanwhile, Wei Wu and Wang San came in with the vinegar and spirit.
“Teacher, what do you want to do with these things?”
Wei Wu and Wang San looked at each other, then they took out a notebook and a brush from their pockets, wetted the brush with their mouth and were ready to record what Ji Yunshu would say.
‘Teacher’s autopsy is a great source of learning! We must record everything, and maybe, in the future, we can become a coroner! That will be fantastic!’
Ji Yunshu didn’t care about them as long as they could keep their mouths shut. She put on gloves and mixed the vinegar with the alcohol. After mixing for a moment, she dipped a white fabric into the solution and used it to wipe the knife.
The rust gradually fell off with most sticking to the white fabric. Gradually, the black silvery glint of the knife was revealed.
Once the knife was cleaned, it was put into the solution. After a moment, dark red spots appeared on the edge of the knife.
“Eh? Why did it change color?” Wang San exclaimed in surprise.
“This is not color. It’s blood.”
“Ah?” Wei Wu and Wang San cried out at the same time.
Ji Yunshu held up the knife, her expression was extremely tense.
She had wished with all her heart that there would be no blood on the knife.
“How can blood appear like that?” asked Wei Wu.
“Because this knife was stained with human blood.” Ji Yunshu stated to explain. “If you want to ascertain the presence of blood on a knife, or even on clothes, the best method would be a luminol test1. However, without this mean, using a solution which combines vinegar and alcohol would give a similar effect.”
“What is that… lum..luminol test?” Wei Wu stammered on the word as he inquired.
‘Urgh! How should I explain it?’ She didn’t feel like explaining that part. She put down the knife and uncovered the yin yang skeleton. She picked up one of the broken bones hand. Then, she ordered the two yamen runners, “Like last time, go and bring me some camphor juice.”
They went to fetch the camphor juice without asking further questions.
They quickly and swiftly set up everything and just like last time, Ji Yunshu applied some camphor juice onto the skeleton’s ankle. Next, she wrapped it in a white paper soaked in vinegar.
In less than a moment, the paper turned red. Soon after, she covered the knife with that paper. After the time it took for half a joss stick to burn, when she unfolded the paper, all the old blood on the knife has been imprinted onto the paper.
‘The result turns out to be positive!’
“Wei Wu, Wang San! Immediately go to the Zhao family village and bring back Yu Sao.”
“Hehehe! Yes, sir!” They became excited and rushed out to accomplish their assignment.
As for Ji Yunshu, her complexion was far from good. Her heart was becoming increasingly heavier.
She covered the remains of Lord Jiang and only took with her the knife and the paper before heading to the room behind the courtroom.
At this moment, Wei Wu and Wang San were preparing to head to the Zhao family village, bringing a few runners with them.
Jing Rong was enjoying his tea while watching the two runners grabbing some of their colleagues by the collar. He presumed that Ji Yunshu had already discovered who the murderer was.
He rolled his eyes and cast a side glance at Ji Yunshu who walked like someone who had lost their soul.
The one who took the initiative to greet her was none other than the Magistrate. Then he leaned toward Ji Yunshu by habit and inquired, “Did you discover something? Does it have something to do with Yu Sao from the Zhao family village?”
“Yes,” replied Ji Yunshu with confidence.
“Is she the murderer?”
Magistrate Liu was shocked yet his face revealed his confusion. “Then… Then, shouldn’t I send people to arrest her? What about Li Zhao who is still imprisoned? Oh my god! This is a disaster!”
Ji Yunshu whose mood was bad glared at him. “Even if he wasn’t the murderer, he is still liable.”
“But what?” The one who just spoke was Jing Rong.
He got up from the chair. From Ji Yunshu’s and the Magistrate’s conversation, he started to overhear them at the part mentioning Li Zhao’s imprisonment.
The Magistrate stepped back and took the initiative to distance himself from Ji Yunshu when Jing Rong lashed out. How could Liu Qingping dare to continue blabbering?
Jing Rong leisurely walked up to Ji Yunshu and stated, “If you have the evidence that the person is a murderer, this prince will absolutely not be lenient towards them. The same also applies to anyone who destroys the evidence which can incriminate a murderer.”
It appeared that he had correctly guessed Ji Yunshu’s thoughts.
In fact, having this kind of backer for this type of case was quite useful.
Ji Yunshu lowered her eyes and asked Jing Rong, “Your Highness… do you believe that a murderer has to pay back with their life?”
The Magistrate rushed to answer. “That is what the laws stipulate – murderers pay with their life.”
“The laws do not take into account human emotions.” Ji Yunshu was solemn as she spoke those words.
“Yunshu, a murderer needs to pay with their life. That is the law.”
“The law! The law! Why did we set so many laws? Aren’t the laws there to maintain people’s peace of mind and protect their safety? What if those who killed someone were forced by the circumstances? How will those laws give them justice?!”
At this moment, Ji Yunshu appeared to be somewhat revolted.
The Magistrate didn’t dare to speak and looked stupidly at her. ‘What did Yunshu eat today to be so irritated?’
Jing Rong sent a meaningful glance at the Magistrate. “Withdraw to the side.”
“Yes, your Highness.” He didn’t dare to go against the order, thus he obediently retreated to the side.
Ji Yunshu’s expression was grave, showing a hint of regret and indignation.
Jing Rong asked her, “Tell me, what is going on?”
“Your feelings are showing on your face! After what happened yesterday, we could be considered people who have gone through trials and tribulations together. So, there’s no harm in telling me what’s on your mind.”
He was very gentle and considerate. Yet Ji Yunshu lowered her eyes and shook her head. “Forget it! It’s my own problem. I shouldn’t disregard the strictness of the laws. I’m just depressed that murderers are murderers and they need to pay with their life.”
She convinced herself with great effort of her words as to not let her feelings cause her pain.
Jing Rong didn’t disturb her and let her calm down while sitting next to her.
It had been more than two hours since Wei Wu and Wang San left for Zhao Village, based on the distance, they should have already arrived at the village. However, a runner suddenly intruded into the room and said, “Sir, Madame Jiang is here.”
“Why is she here again?” sighed the Magistrate. He was more afraid to see Madame Jiang than Jing Rong now.
Before the Magistrate could say anything, Jing Rong proposed, “I’ll go have a look.”
‘Oh, I forgot that there’s a more powerful god on my side. Well, no worries then.’ thought the Magistrate as he and Ji Yunshu followed Jing Rong to the great hall.
Madame Jing was dressed sumptuously, flaunting her elegance as she did before. However, she seemed quite irritated about the equivocation she received from Magistrate Liu the day before. Today, she was determined to secure the release of her brother. However, much to her surprise, Jing Rong was also at the yamen.
“This peasant wife greets your Highness,” said Madame Jiang unwillingly. She did not try to hide her dissatisfaction, even in the presence of authority.
Jing Rong spoke coldly, “Madame Jiang, why did you suddenly decide to show up at the yamen? I’ve heard Magistrate Liu retell your numerous visits to the yamen these past two days.”
‘It’s only two counting this one, alright.’ thought Madame Jiang. But in front of Jing Rong, she had to maintain an ostensible courteousness. She answered with a smile of formality, “I’m sure that your Highness has heard about my little brother’s imprisonment.”
“I’ve heard that he killed someone.”
‘No no no, I think that you’ve heard wrong.’ thought Madame Jiang.
Magistrate Liu whispered to Jing Rong’s ear, “Your Highness, he has not been accused of murder, only of burying a corpse.”
‘Are you being dumb on purpose?’ Thought Jing Rong, who genuinely wondered whether the Magistrate had a functioning brain at all. He stared at the Magistrate with an unusual sharpness. On the receiving end, the Magistrate shuddered at Jing Rong’s frustrated look, retreated to the side and became silent as a brick.
“Your Highness, my brother is not a murderer. He has always been a person of little courage, and he wouldn’t even dare to hold a knife in his hand, much less kill someone. The yamen runner must have made a mistake,” retorted Madame Jiang.
“But he confessed to burying the corpse.”
“That must have been an excuse made up under the stress of the moment,” Madame Jiang argued forcefully.
Jing Rong hated to argue with women like Madame Jiang, who could not see the light of “reason”. Instead of wasting his time, he simply said, “Madame Jiang, the one thing I dislike most is trying to convince obstinate women. Cease your meaningless bickering, or I’ll simply throw you into jail. Want to bet on it?”
‘What?” Madame Jiang was rather surprised, but she did not doubt the seriousness of the threat.
“Whether Li Zhao murdered someone remains under investigation, but he has already admitted to burying the corpse. It is futile to mask the words he has said himself. Why are you threatening Magistrate Liu into releasing him? Unless… do you want to abuse the privileges you’ve inherited from General Li?”
“That is not the intention of this humble peasant wife,” answered Madame Jiang, a little panicked, but she maintained a surface of calmness.
Jing Rong had a stern look. “Then, no need for argument, we shall know what the truth is very soon.”
‘Very soon?’ thought Madame Jiang with some anxiety. However, she did not have much time to sort out her thoughts, since Wei Wu and Wang San already arrived at the yamen, accompanied by Yu Sao and Ah Yu.
Yu Sao seemed calm. Instead of panic, one would find a resolution which transcends life and death in her eyes. She carried Ah Yu with her arms. The latter was quiet and leaned her head against Yu Sao’s shoulder. It seemed like she fell asleep, but the metal shackles were still locked around her limbs, which caused a cacophony as Yu Sao dragged them around. Yu Sao knelt down gently upon entering the hall, and she seemed to be very careful as to not wake Ah Yu up.
Ji Yunshu did not look at Yu Sao and Ah Yu. Instead, she focused her attention on Madame Jiang. She saw the panic and surprise within her eyes, even the trembling of her legs in trepidation, which almost caused her to collapse to the ground.
‘So it is as I thought.’
Wei Wu said, “Milord, Yu Sao has arrived.”
“Good. To the courtroom.” Magistrate Liu cleared his throat, went into the courtroom and sat down.
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don’t read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.