As the county magistrate began theorising, Ji Yunshu gripped the sandalwood box tighter under her arm and sent him a puzzled look, “My lord, Miss Zhou will be buried in just four hours. If we want to re-investigate the case later, we will need to unearth her coffin. It would be an interminable delay, and the investigation will be quite inconvenienced. I’m certain my lord can understand the logic behind my words.”
The magistrate rubbed his hands together while clicking his tongue several times. His brows were knitted from anxiety, “Of course I understand, but…”
“Someone is waiting for you in the yamen! How about we go the yamen first, then head to the Zhou Mansion after? We can certainly catch up to the funeral procession before Miss Zhou is buried.” He stared at her with an almost desperate look.
His heart beat nervously as he waited for her answer.
Ji Yunshu raised an eyebrow and asked, “Could it be that there is also another dead person at the yamen?”
“No, no, no! Someone is looking for you. It’s the young master that your father followed to East Suburbs yesterday. He came to the yamen for you early today.”
“Oh? Has the coroner finished the autopsy of the five corpses?”
“Let’s stop delaying! My good Yunshu, hurry and follow me to the yamen. The matter with the Zhou family can wait.” With his patience at an end, Liu Qingping did not allow Ji Yunshu to speak another word as he dragged her to the yamen as if his butt was on fire.
Meanwhile, Jing Rong was about done with his cup of tea. He lifted his eyes just in time to see the county magistrate rush in, dragging a surprised Ji Yunshu with him. The county magistrate tried to speak, but just panted.
Unexpectedly, Ji Yunshu was neither out of breath, nor was her heart beating erratically. She stood serenely, looking straight at Jing Rong, who sat on a chair carved out of pear wood. Yesterday, in the pitch black darkness, it had been difficult to see his appearance in detail, but today, the daylight revealed his sword-like eyebrows and bright, peach blossom eyes. His face, however, was dyed with treacherousness and icy arrogance. It was obvious that he showed a few hints of interest.
The gazes finally locked. From the beginning, Jing Rong had been studying Ji Yunshu, just as she had him.
He observed Ji Yunshu’s white and slightly rosy clean face. He was unsure if it was because of how they hurried to the yamen or the blowing wind, but her pair of deepset eyes were even fuller of vitality. Somehow… when he looked at that person, he did not feel any disdain!
The county magistrate bent at his waist with haste, “Prince Rong, this official has brought you the person you so seek.”
‘Prince Rong?’ Ji Yunshu's mind went blank. Indeed, a person who could make her evil father wag his tail like a dog was either his mother or an influential character, but never a nobody! She likewise paid her respects, bowing alongside the county magistrate.
Jing Rong gave him a deep look before waving his hand, gesturing for Liu Qingping to withdraw to the side. Then, he faced Ji Yunshu and asked, “Teacher Ji, did you eat well today?”
“I ate very well!”
“Then, did you sleep well yesterday?”
“This humble self did not sleep a wink the whole night.”
She had to kneel the whole night, so of course she didn’t sleep well. But how could she say that?! Ji Yunshu frowned and asked in reply, “Prince Rong, are you living next to the sea?” Mind your own business!
Fortunately, Jing Rong did not quite understand. Instead, he seriously tried to analyse the meaning behind her question, “I live in the Rong Estate within the capital. It’s nowhere near the sea. Teacher Ji, could it be that you’re confused from the lack of sleep?”
You’re the confused one! Your whole family is confused!
Ji Yunshu raised her eyes. “Since Your Highness is searching for me, I believe it isn’t to simply ask if I had eaten yet or to chat with me?”
“Of course not.” Jing Rong replied sternly and cut to the chase, “The coroner has examined the corpse and confirmed that they died from poisoning. The verdict was just as you said.”
Ji Yunshu was not surprised and she asked, “Therefore…?”
“Therefore, I want to invite Teacher Ji along on a trip to the memorial hall. Help me perform another detailed examination and determine whether or not there is something else!"
“Have the corpses been dissected?”
“Their guts are all visible!”
“Are the bones visible?”
“As clear as day. That’s the reason why I ask whether or not Teacher Ji has already eaten. It is in order to avoid any unwanted reactions when you see the corpses.”
Unwanted reaction? Was he afraid that she would vomit? How funny! What manner of things had she, Ji Yunshu, not yet seen? Not to mention dissected corpses dripping with blood, she had even touched many rotten corpses filled with maggots.
The case of the Zhou family’s young miss or Prince Rong’s case, which one to investigate first? Would this make things difficult for the magistrate?
Jing Rong sensed her hesitation, and he took a guess, “Is there another case?”
The county magistrate replied without delay, “Prince Rong, there was a homicide case two days ago. The victim is a young lady from a wealthy household. The family wants to bury her quickly. If we don’t investigate now, I’m afraid it would be too late.”
Jing Rong carefully considered. After much deliberation, he said to Ji Yunshu, “My matter is not urgent. Handle that case first and then come earnestly help me, to avoid you getting distracted.”
Oh! Such a good person!