Chapter 267 - Sulfur, Sticky Paper and Rust
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What a pompous introduction. The halo of “the daughter of the Ji family’s main wife” was really too radiant. It was the way she always introduced herself while inflating her own ego.
Jing Yi looked at her and observed her meaningfully. His first impression - rich. He had to admit that there was no one like her. She was covered from head to toe in jewelry and luxurious items to the point of dazzling so that not even the concubines in the harem could compete with her.
Jing Yi furrowed his eyebrows. His heart gave birth to loathing. However, in order to gain power and influence at court, he had to endure it
as if he had accidentally swallowed shit. He faked a warm smile. “So, you are Miss Ji. This Prince has heard of you.”
“Your Highness knows me?” Her eyes brightened.
“Hm! Everyone says you are magnanimous and a befitting model for all noble maidens. Seeing you today, I can see the rumors are true.”
She lowered her head bashfully.
Jing Yi continued, “Jing Xuan’s temper is a bit crafty, but Miss Ji didn't argue with her. You are a generous woman, so please don’t take it to heart. This Prince will lecture her later.”
Ji Muqing immediately put on a pleasant face. “I had no intention of taking the Princess’ flower. I have made her angry. I should be the one to apologize. I don’t blame her for hitting me.”
You deserve those slaps though!
“Miss Ji is the most magnanimous lady this Prince has ever met.”
She curtsied. “Your Highness exaggerates.”
All along, Jing Yi maintained a faint smile. He took out a handkerchief from his sleeve and put it in Ji Muqing’s hand. “Miss Ji, you should quickly go back to Chuxiu Palace and put medicine on your face,” he said with concern.
She rubbed the beautiful gray handkerchief in her hand. Her nose felt sore immediately and she used the handkerchief to hide her burning hot face. “Thank you, Prince Yi!”
“You’re welcome. This Prince still has matters to attend, I won’t see you off.” He dusted off his sleeve and left.
Ji Muqing watched as his silhouette disappeared from her sight. Her heart gave birth to much admiration for that man, and all thoughts for her future husband, the Crown Prince, were thrown far into the back of her mind.
Once she returned to Chuxiu Palace, she shut herself in her room. Even when the palace maid came in with the ointment, she still didn’t react as she was focused on the handkerchief Jing Yi had given her.
She was absent-minded, appearing completely lovestruck. She was experiencing what people called love at first sight. Of course, the event that had occured in the imperial garden had long spread within Chuxiu Palace.
All the misses got together to gossip about how Ji Muqing had been slapped by the Princess.
“Serves her right!”
“Yes! She deserves it!”
They covered their mouths and giggled happily, but they still remained alert, looking carefully at the closed door of Ji Muqing’s room. They were afraid that Ji Muqing would suddenly rush out.
Before, Ji Muqing would have rushed out of her room for certain and let those people know who was boss, but she didn’t have time at the moment. Her mind was completely filled by Jing Yi and his handkerchief.
A palace maid near her whispered into her ear, “Miss, do you want this servant to apply ointment? Otherwise, the swelling won’t go down.”
Still no response.
The palace maid didn’t mention it again and retreated to the side. Without this woman creating trouble, the whole palace couldn’t be more peaceful. However, such peace felt like the foreboding of a storm, and the situation outside the palace was similar.
A few days passed, and Ji Yunshu was able to identify two more bodies. After she crossed out the corresponding names, she told people to rebury the two coffins.
Only 11 skeletons were left to identify. At this pace, they would be one step closer to the truth. She cracked her neck and looked outside. She felt somewhat frustrated.
These days, Jing Rong didn’t come to disturb her. She only got news of him through Lu Jiang’s regular visits. Jing Rong was busy with the preparations for the Emperor’s birthday and had to make frequent trips to the palace. He had no time to bother her, which give her some peace so she could wholeheartedly focus on her work.
She had to admit, she was really not used to Jing Rong not being around pestering her.
She looked back, but suddenly she saw a figure coming in like a gust of wind. The person landed two meters away from her. It turned out to be Shi Zijin.
Ji Yunshu hurriedly inquired, “So? Did Teacher Su return to Qujiang?”
Shi Zijin shook her head.
“He didn’t return?”
Again with the negative response.
Ji Yunshu was a bit annoyed and confused by the response. She left her desk and walked to Shi Zijin. “Did he safely return or did something else happen?” she asked nervously.
Shi Zijin didn’t hurry in answering. She took something from her belt and handed it to Ji Yunshu - It was Ji Pei’s tassel. Ji Yunshu froze, then took it.
Shi Zijin explained, “I found it on the road. I chased after them all the way to Qujiang, but I couldn’t catch up to their escort. I did go to Qujiang and inquired about them. I heard that Teacher Su had returned. There was no other news.”
“So, he has returned safely to Qujiang?”
If so, then why was the tassel found on the road?
Ji Yunshu thought about it, then said, “I tied this tassel on him. The knot was tied the way he taught me, and, except for him, no one can untie it.”
Shi Zijin cut in, “Did he throw it away?”
“I can’t think of any other reason.” She felt it quite strange. She looked at the tassel in her hand. “This is a memento of his father. It’s impossible for him to throw it away.” Then, she asked Shi Zijin, “Are you certain that he safely returned to Qujiang?”
“The people in Qujiang all said he did, so it should be so. That’s why I came back.”
Ji Yunshu nodded, her heart at ease.
It was fine as long as he was safe.
She held the tassel in her hand. Her worry receded. But then, she smelled a faint scent. She looked at Shi Zijin and noticed that her sleeve had a stain on it. She caught a hint of sulfur and sticky paper when she shook her sleeve. There was event a hint of rust within.
Ji Yunshu was baffled. “Did you light a firecracker?”
“No! I don’t play with firecrackers.”
“Then, where did you get that stain on your sleeve?”
Shi Zijin looked at her sleeve in confusion. She thought a bit and said, “I must have rubbed against something when I went through the city gates.”
“Rubbed against something?”
“Yeah, there were many carriages entering the capital today. They must be transporting firework.”
No wonder it smelled of sulfur.
Ji Yunshu no longer inquired and let Shi Zijin go wash and take a good rest.
After Shi Zijin’s departure, Ji Yunshu put the tassel into a brocade box.
She closed it.
She pondered a bit and believed Su Ziluo had dropped it on purpose. Their past had turned to distant memories and so this tassel was thrown away. She heaved a heavy sigh. A relaxed smile gradually formed on her face.
Grenn's Rants Corner
The truth about Su Ziluo might not be covered in this arc. So, what could be this arc's major event be?
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