Outside the mourning hall, a servant noticed Jing Rong. The servant from the Wei mansion stepped forward and inquired, “May I ask who you are?”
“An old friend.” A few words were enough for Jing Rong to avoid further inquiry. Besides, an old friend coming to grieve was not unheard of.
Jing Rong entered the mourning hall and walked to the altar where he bowed in respect, then he patted Wei Yi who was staring blankly.
Wei Yi raised his head and saw Jing Rong. His expression was twisted with the pain of grief. He faintly sobbed, “Big Brother, my father and my mother died.”
“Why did they die?”
“...” Jing Rong remained silent.
Wei Yi pressed his lips together, forcing himself not to cry. His lips trembled a few times before he could finally speak, “Mother told me that if one day she had to leave, I must not cry… but… I can’t do it. I cried for a long, long time. Do you think Mother is angry and doesn’t want me anymore?”
Looking at Wei Yi’s appearance only made people’s heart ache for him. He was like a plant in a greenhouse, growing up carefree and without worries, in a world gravitating around his father, his mother, and Shu’er!
Jing Rong was no softhearted person, but despite having hardened his heart behind a wall, at this moment, the wall crumbled because of that fool in front of him. He bent down on one of his knees, leveling his line of sight to meet Wei Yi's. He asked Wei Yi, “Wei Yi, have you heard about the guan bird?”
Wei Yi shook his head.
"Every young guan bird, before being fully mature, would grow under the wings of an adult guan bird until they could leave their nest and spread their wings into the blue sky. When they could fly by themselves, they must leave the adult guan bird because the wings of the adult guan bird can only protect them until they grow up. Since the young guan birds are meant to fly to higher skies, they can only look further ahead, leaving the protection of the adult guan bird.”
Wei Yi looked at him pitifully, but his painful wrinkled expression gradually loosened. He pressed Jing Rong for an answer, “Then, would I be able to see my parents again?”
Although Jing Rong could not bear seeing Wei Yi in such a way, he could not lie to him. Therefore, he simply nodded.
“But I don’t want to leave Mom and Dad. I want to keep being a little guan bird. I want to stay at mom’s and dad’s side,” whined Wei Yi.
Jing Rong was not good at comforting people. This was something beyond his capacity! He had yet to find some words of comfort, but Wei Yi had already pulled on his sleeve. “Big Brother, they all say that Shu’er poisoned my parents. It’s not true, right? Shu’er wouldn’t do something like that. Big Brother, tell me, Shu’er didn’t do it, right?” anxiously asked Wei Yi.
“Of course she didn’t do it,” answered Jing Rong. “Do you believe in Yunshu?”
Wei Yi nodded while wiping his tears.
Jing Rong grabbed Wei Yi’s arm and whispered, “Wei Yi, do you want to save Yunshu?”
“I want to.”
“Then I need to take your parents’ bodies to the memorial hall.”
Wei Yi breathed in as he stared at Jing Rong without understanding his words.
Jing Rong continued, “In a moment, you will send everyone out. As for me, I have my own way to snatch the bodies.”
Wei Yi inquired, “Will doing that really save Shu’er?”
Jing Rong nodded.
As he looked at his parents’ memorial tablets, Wei Yi choked a cry and agreed.
After the sky darkened, Wei Yi sent everyone out according to Jing Rong’s instructions, “Everyone, please leave. I don’t want anyone in here.”
A servant asked, “Young Master, let us remain here and accompany you.”
“No need. You can all leave. I want to stay here with the two big brothers.” He then pointed at Jing Rong and Lang Po.
The servants looked at each other. Since it was their new master’s command, they could only obey and withdraw from the courtyard.
As soon as everyone left, suddenly, six people jumped off from the roof. Their sudden appearance scared Wei Yi, who hid himself behind Jing Rong. The six men clasped their hands toward Jing Rong in greeting, “Your Highness.”
Jing Rong spoke in a gravely, “Do your work.”
“Yes, Your Highness!” They hurriedly dashed next to the two coffins and carried away Lord Wei’s and Madame Wei’s corpses agilely.
Oh my gosh! This was body snatching! Right in front of Wei Yi’s eyes, they jumped up to the roof while carrying away the two bodies. This was no longer considered body snatching, but brazen corpse robbery!
After he saw the bodies being carried away, Wei Yi anxiously ran up a few steps, but Jing Rong pulled him back, “Wei Yi, you have to stay here to keep guard. You must not let anyone enter. Wait here until I come back with your parents’ bodies. Do you understand?”
“Big Brother, I don’t want to leave Mom and Dad. Can’t I go with you?” Wei Yi spoke while trying to stifle his sobs.
“Wei Yi, you have to stay here.”
Wei Yi’s eyes reddened, but he still obediently nodded.
Jing Rong signalled at Lang Po, “You stay here with him just in case something unexpected happens.”
“Yes, Your Highness.”
Soon after, Jing Rong left the same way as the other men.
Following Jing Rong’s arrangements, Ji Yunshu did not stay in the prison cell for long. She changed into a jailer's uniform, and quietly left to the memorial hall with the help of some men. Jing Rong’s subordinates hastily rushed to the memorial hall while carrying the bodies of the Wei couple. As soon as they arrived, they put down the bodies.
Soon after, Jing Rong rushed into the room. Ji Yunshu grabbed him, “Were you able to bring them?”
“Fortunately, your little Wei Yi helped!”
“There’s no time. Hurry and do the autopsy.” He took Ji Yunshu’s hand and led her into the room.
He was right. There was no time to lose. This was no time to think about trivial things. However, if she were to learn that Jing Rong stole the corpses, she would probably be torn between laughter and tears.
Ji Yunshu saw the already blackening corpses lying on the freezing planks, and her heart could not bear such a sight, her eyes quickly reddeneding. She took in a deep breath to calm herself. She put on her gloves and went in front of Madame Wei’s body. Her hands gripped her chest as spoke while trying to choke her sobs, “Aunt Wei. If your spirit is still amongst us, you must tell me in any way who killed you.”
Jing Rong, who stood by her side, kept his silence.
Ji Yunshu touched Madame Wei’s throat and pressed on it a few times, “As expected, she was poisoned!” As soon as the words were uttered, she picked up a dagger and sliced open Madame Wei’s throat.
Ji Yunshu spoke while making an incision, “The pitohui poison is a poisonous substance found on the pitohui’s feathers. The feathers are coated with a substance that would not claim anyone’s life when in a dry state. However, when it comes into contact with water, and someone ingests the contaminated water, the potency of the poison is enough to kill a human!”
Jing Rong’s subordinates stood at the entrance motionlessly and unperturbed. Only their ears were listening with attention.
Jing Rong asked her, “Then, what do you want to verify by cutting an opening in her throat?”
Ji Yunshu increased the strength in her hand. She frowned and replied, “I just want to validate if they were poisoned after drinking the tea or before drinking it.”
“This can be verified?”
“By examining their throats… I’ll see who the murderer is.” Her words sounded rather strange.
Her dagger gradually penetrated the corpse's throat, freeing a dark coagulated blood that had a texture similar to slime and was extremely sticky. Finally, it cut through, penetrating into the throat inch by inch until the incision was wide enough to reveal to the light the blackened throat
.Fu Bo timely entered the room with a pot of heated vinegar, “Yunshu, do you want to use this tonight?”
Ji Yunshu pulled out the dagger and put it next to her before nodding at Fu Bo, “Of course.”
As soon as she spoke, she took a piece of cloth and imbibed it with the heated vinegar mixture before wiping at the skin around the incision on Madame Wei’s throat. Then, she wiped off the congealed blood on the inside, and gradually, the hyoid bone became increasingly visible. Moreover, the bone revealed itself to be white in colour.
Jing Rong moved closer for a better look. His brows creased at the sight, “How come it’s like that?” Asking the question like a student in the learning process.
As for Ji Yunshu, her expression became solemn. She slowly spat out two words, “As expected!”
What was 'as expected'?
“Usually, when pitohui poison is mixed with tea or water and ingested, the hyoid bone would remain black even after being cleansed with vinegar. In the case the hyoid bone turns white, there’s only one possibility: the pitohui poison was congested together with alcohol. It’s only in such case that the black hyoid bone would return to white after being wiped with vinegar.”
Jing Rong appeared to understand. He softly spoke, “That means that they were already poisoned before drinking that cup of tea.”
“Yes.” Ji Yunshu nodded in affirmation.
“Then why was there poison in the tea?”
“The poison itself is very potent. If it entered the mouth, there would be some of it on the lips which explained why some of it could be found in the tea Uncle Wei and Aunt Wei drank.” She pondered for a moment, “Yesterday night, there was a banquet at the Wei Mansion. Uncle Wei and Aunt Wei both drank wine. So, they should have been poisoned at that time.”
The crease in Jing Rong’s brows loosened, “Then, this case has nothing to do with you.”
Nothing to do with me? She shook her head with a wry smile, “Could it be that Your Highness forgot that people at the mansion found the incriminating pitohui’s feathers in my courtyard? They have already considered me the murderer, so they don’t care at what time Uncle Wei and Aunt Wei got poisoned.”
As she pointed out the problem, she picked up a needle near her and started to sew back Madame Wei’s throat.
Jing Rong lowered his eyes and looked at her, “Regardless, I absolutely will not let anything happen to you.”
Hearing his words, her hands slightly stopped while her expression faltered a bit, “Many thanks, Your Highness.”
“I don’t need your thanks.” He closed the distance between them and continued, “I do it because I believe in you.”
His words wrecked havoc in Ji Yunshu’s heart, but on the surface, only her sewing accelerated and in an instant, Madame Wei’s throat was completely closed. After that, she took the cloth that was stained with blood and threw it away before diverting the subject, “I’ll need to trouble Your Highness again. Please return the bodies to the Wei mansion.”
The truth was Ji Yunshu did not want to reply to his confession.
Jing Rong nodded. He knew that the time was not right to speak of love. However, sometimes, he could not stop himself from acting in such a way. He raised his hand and snapped his fingers.
Right away, the men waiting outside entered.
“You can return the corpses.”
“Yes, Your Highness.”
Once again, they carried the bodies and speedily left the memorial hall.
Ji Yunshu did not forget to add, “In fact, Your Highness only needed to bring one of the corpses.”
I didn’t bring them - I stole them. How would he have known that she only needed one corpse? In short, as long as he could snatch it, he did not want to waste time.
Jing Rong laughed, “Alright, next time, I’ll just bring one.”
Would there be a next time?
“I need to return to the Wei mansion. Wei Yi is still waiting for me.”
“Your Highness.” Worry could be seen on her face as she looked at Jing Rong, “Wei Yi is a victim. He already lost his parents. I don’t wish for this case to hurt him further.”
Jing Rong showed that he understood her meaning, “Rest assured. I give you my words that he won’t be involved in all of this. I’ll make sure he will properly complete his parents funeral properly.”
Jing Rong had no other choice but to ensure her as he clearly understood her mind as if her heart was completely laid out for him to see.
Grenn's Rants Corner
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