Chapter 226 - It's Because of You
Note: A bit of gore
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don't read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
Meanwhile, Ji Yunshu was at her residence, impatiently awaiting the news in the palace from Jing Rong.It might have been due to how absent-minded she was, but morning passed by quickly. At lunch, two servants entered, carrying dishes which they put in front of her. “Teacher Ji, you have not eaten since the morning. You should eat a bit. Otherwise, your body won’t be able to keep up.”“No need.”
Right now, she wasn’t in the mood to eat anything. Her mind was preoccupied with the headless case and by the matter with Su Ziluo. She let out a sigh.“What is the matter, Teacher? You’ve been like this since morning. Did something happen?”She shook her head in denial.“Are you feeling unwell?”She shook her head once again.The maidservants scratched their head and ceased to ask. They noticed that Ji Yunshu was in no mood for a conversation. They shrugged but still attempted to ask her once more, “That’s right. When will Young Master Wei return to the estate? He’s been gone for days.”At the mention of Wei Yi, Ji Yunshu’s expression changed. She replied, “It will be for another while.”“Oh! Without Young Master Wei Yi here, this place is too cheerless.”
Ji Yunshu didn’t respond. Seeing that, the servants didn’t disturb her any longer. They turned around to leave. However, when they reached the door, Ji Yunshu suddenly exclaimed, “Wait! Wait! Wait!”Her shouts scared the maidservant. She froze, not daring to move her trembling foot which hovered above the ground. “W-what is it, Teacher Ji?” she asked in shock.Ji Yunshu rushed to her side and carefully observed her foot. Suddenly, an idea flashed through her mind, shocking her to the core. She immediately fetched her painting tools and started to paint while quietly muttering, “If it’s a footprint, then… this must be a woman’s footprint.”‘Huh?!’ The thought scared her because the relay station was swept clean in every nook and cranny, not to mention that no one was allowed in General Yuchi’s room without permission, meaning that the footprint absolutely could not belong to Yuchi Lin. The few people who had entry to his room at the time of the crime were Ziluo and Ji Li. So, the footprint must have belonged to one of them, but it was obviously too small to match their foot sizes. In other words, there was another person who went in and that person might have been a woman.
The servant did not dare put down her foot despite her imbalance which made her body totter. “Can I put down my foot, Teacher Ji?” As soon as she asked, she was abandoned by Ji Yunshu who rushed to the relay station once again.When she reached her destination, she went straight to Yuchi Lin’s room. The corpse was still on the bed, emanating a rotten smell. She pinched her nose as she walked in. She went to the bed, reached for the white cloth and lifted it. The pungent smell of the body assailed her senses.
Yuchi Lin’s head now appeared to have transitioned into a more advanced stage of the decomposition process, causing his skin to appear marbled, taking a darker green shade. The head seemed to have shrunken in size from the cells’ destruction, making its cheekbones protrude more and the overall more skeletal. It was quite a tragic sight.Ji Yunshu picked up the head without a word and re-examined it meticulously. Since a few days had passed, the dermal degeneration surrounding the wound opening had caused the skin to shrink, allowing her to discover something she had never seen before. Her conjecture turned into certitude after witnessing the sight.“How can it be that person?” Her tone did not conceal her surprise.At that moment, she heard Su Ziluo’s voice coming from behind her. “When did Teacher Ji get here?”At the sound of his voice, she turned around while still holding the sinister head. Su Ziluo was at the door, just returning from Peach Blossoms Spring.
Ji Yunshu looked at him incredulously. She was in a state of disbelief. As the intellect he was, Su Ziluo could already tell what she was thinking. He rolled his wheelchair into the room. Li’er did not follow, obediently standing outside to prevent any intrusion, which left only Ji Yunshu and Su Ziluo inside the room.Ji Yunshu continued to hold Yuchi Lin’s head as she coldly interrogated Su Ziluo. “Why?”“Why what? I’m not sure I understand you.”“No need to quibble with me. You already knew everything from the start.”Su Ziluo maintained a poker face. “What are you talking about?”Ji Yunshu bluntly showed him the corpse’s neck and spoke with confidence, “There are two wounds on General Yuchi’s neck.”“Oh?”“Before he was decapitated, he received another wound at the same place which was made by a small curved knife or something similar. Since he received both wounds in the short time frame of less than the burning of an incense stick, the neck appeared as if there was only one wound. However, after 24 hours, since the two wounds were made from different weapons, through the exposure to ambient conditions and the progression of the post-mortem process, the differences due to the sizes of the incisions, which were of different depths, and the clotting formation ensuing from it made it more evident it was two distinct wounds. In simple terms, the neck showed two layers of incisions.” She pointed at the incisions on Yuchi Lin’s head to give a better visual of her explanations.There were indeed two different cuts revealed after the dermal generation when looking up close around the area of the Adam’s apple.Su Ziluo calmly listened to her. He had no intention of interrupting her, instead showing much interest in her words.Immediately after, she took out her painting and smudged the white paper with her dirty hands, leaving behind five lustrous fingerprints smeared with curdled bodily fluids. “This footprint was compared with everyone’s in the relay station. However, I now realize that I was wrong because this footprint belongs to a woman.”One of Su Ziluo’s eyebrows rose as he faintly asked, “Then, do you know whose footprint that might be?”“Kong Yu!” She spoke with confidence.
After hearing the name, Su Ziluo smiled. “Why?”“On the day of the banquet, I saw her shoes when she walked through the venue. When I began my investigation, I was far from associating her to this case, but after I realized this could be the footprint of a woman, I recalled her shoes. I have a strong suspicion that this footprint was left behind by Kong Yu, and that she was present at the crime scene that night.”“Did Teacher Ji forget? This place is surrounded by soldiers, and no one apart from Ji Li entered the relay station that night.”“That’s because you told them beforehand, so no one dared say otherwise.”“Oh? Why would I want to do that?”“Do you really want me to lay everything out from top to bottom?” Ji Yunshu became emotional and tears threatened to flow from her eyes.She put the head back to its place and faced Su Ziluo. She took a deep breath before talking in a grave tone. “Since you don’t want to confess, I will say it instead. On that day, Kong Yu left the palace to come here. At that time, Ji Li was already intoxicated by the alcohol and may have been oblivious to the conversation between Kong Yu and General Yuchi. I have deduced that she spoke about her unwillingness to go to Qujiang and wed their monarch, hoping that General Yuchi could present a memorial to the Emperor for the selection of another bride. This plan would not implicate Jing Rong and also free her from this unwanted marriage. She came in with a die-hard determination but encountered General Yuchi’s refusal. In her impatience, she caught him off-guard with a curved dagger to the neck, which infuriated him. He expulsed her from his room. When she left, she accidentally dropped her handkerchief on the floor and stepped on it, leaving half of her footprint on her handkerchief and the other half on the dusty floor.”Su Ziluo then asked, “At that time, why did she leave? And where is the handkerchief?”
“It's because of you!”
Grenn's Rants Corner
I wonder if Su Ziluo will become a major antagonist of this novel instead of settling as Ji Yunshu's ex-boyfriend.
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