Ji Yunshu also pondered, but did not find the case interesting. Instead, her heart felt as if a long thread was coiling around it, endlessly winding around, making her feel stuffy and anxious!
Right at that moment, her attention was attracted to a banyan tree more than two meters away. It was an old tree, with a thick trunk that needed at least two to three people to surround it.
She quickly walked over to it. Her gaze landed at the base of the tree, which was covered with long intersecting gashes. Layer after layer of tree bark had been gouged out, revealing the yellow tree core. From the looks of it, she could see both old and newly made gashes. These could only have been made over a long period of time by a whip.
As she mulled over this discovery, the suspicions in her mind unraveled, making her suddenly quiver in sudden enlightenment. She nodded while murmuring, “So, it was like this.”
Her quiet voice was overheard by Jing Rong, who was standing just behind her. He walked over and examined the tree from the base to treetop, but he still could not understand the meaning behind her sentence, “What is ‘this’? What do you mean by that?”
Ji Yunshu pointed at the long gashes on the tree and explained, “What does your Highness think could have made those marks?”
Jing Rong squinted at them, “It looks like… these were made by a whip.”
“Exactly! These were made by a whip. These are exactly the same kind of marks made when that woman used the whip to take her anger out on a tree.” What Ji Yunshu meant by 'that woman' was in reference to her half-sister Ji Muqing!
Jing Rong was unable to inquire about who she was referring to, since Ji Yunshu continued explaining as her excitement grew, “It seems Miss Zhou didn’t only experience obsessions with her OCD. She also had compulsions. Perhaps, her obsessions caused her to be unable to control herself.”
“What are you talking about? I don’t understand what you just said. Explain it again.”
When people from the ancient times were intelligent, their cleverness was simply off the charts; but when they were slow-witted, they were truly complete idiots!
Ji Yunshu replied with a question, “Your Highness, don’t tell me that you didn’t feel that Miss Zhou's room was strange when you were in her bedroom?”
“I did find it strange. Usually in a room, how can you see such a neat arrangement of a red cluster and a blue cluster like that.”
What red cluster and blue cluster?! That description is simply… Ji Yunshu was disappointed, but she still patiently explained, “The layout of her room was organised according to colour. At first sight, it appeared orderly and nothing more, but in fact, many problems lay underneath. Not only was her room arranged by colour, even her makeup couldn't be used a second time. This cannot be described as just a habit but a mental illness. In mild cases, it would be called mysophobia, but if severe, it would be likely classified as obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD.”
She continued, “What’s more, inside the room, I found a whip hanging on the wall. When I took it down, that maidservant called Qiaoxin showed a startled expression. Not only that, when I brushed against her wrist, she clearly felt a lot of pain. So, when I put back the whip on the wall, I pretended to stumble and let her support me. When she was distracted, I quickly lifted her sleeve to verify if there were any lash wounds, but there were none. It turns out that Miss Zhou’s whip wasn’t used on people but on this tree. For people with OCD, this action of frequently whipping the tree could be her compulsion. Light symptoms of compulsions will only affect the person, but in severe cases… their compulsions could possibly even lead them to kill people!”
The cold wind whistled, reverberating strangely in the night air.
Although Jing Rong could not entirely make sense of those strange sounding terms that Ji Yunshu used, he still understood her general meaning. But...“Teacher, you actually lifted that girl’s sleeve? Men and women cannot have close physical contact. Unexpectedly, you don’t understand such simple logic!”
Wake up, your Highness! You’re completely straying from the main point! "Your Highness, please stop joking.”
“This prince is not joking.”
Ji Yunshu put her hand on her forehead and shook her head before she continued, “I think I’m going to have to take another look at Miss Zhou’s room. Perhaps, I can still find something. After all, there really was a problem with that maidservant’s wrist. Maybe, she was hit by something else.”
She turned around and was about to walk away, but Jing Rong pulled her hand and asked, “Shouldn’t we be investigating the identity of the murderer? What are you investigating these things for?”
“If you know the motive behind the murder, you will discover that everything is related to the victim and her character. By making use of that kind of information, we can then find the murderer. This approach will save effort and will lead to better results.”
"So, this was your original intention.”
“Your Highness, do you want to go back to rest or continue to follow me?” Ji Yunshu asked.
Jing Rong smiled, “Naturally, I’m coming with you.”
In reality, as soon as she asked the question, she had already regretted it. She knew that something was amiss! She threw off Jing Rong’s hand, no longer wasting time, and proceeded toward the Zhou family’s young Miss’ courtyard.
Grenn's Rants Corner
What a twist! So, what is the truth?