Chapter 354 - The Capitate Bone
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don't read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
A human scaphoid bone? That meant that the greyish-white object in the wine belonged to a human skeleton!
Zhao Huai’s face turned green, his insides churning in disgust. The room was so silent they could hear a pin fall as everyone reeled from shock.
The wine urn was sealed five years ago, witnessed personally by both Zhao Huai and Zhao Qing. There was nothing but wine in it then, so where did those human bones come from?
Zhao Huai questioned Ji Yunshu, “Are you sure those are human bones, and not animal bones? Even something else?”
Ji Yunshu squirmed. It seemed like the wounds on her back had clotted, but the linen from her gown were stuck where the wounds congealed - each time she moved, it felt like her wound was tearing as her gown ruffled with each action. She spoke slowly, “If you don’t believe me, you can lick it yourself.”
What? Lick it? Huh?
Zhao Huai thought she was making a fool out of him as he tutted, “What nonsense are you spouting?”
“I’m not trying to be funny. If it were animal remains or an artificial model, it would feel smooth when you lick it. Human bones would feel slightly bitter and chalky.” She pressed on sternly but logically, “If you don’t want to lick it, you can scratch its surface with a knife. If a layer of dust falls off, then it’s real as human bones have an outer surface layer of bony scales; if nothing appears, then it is fake.” Some of the more complicated bits were difficult to comprehend, but everyone present caught the general gist of what she was trying to say.
Ji Yunshu winced in pain as she finished - if not for Wei Yi holding on to her, she would have already collapsed. “Shu’er, is it painful? It won’t hurt if I hold you.” Wei Yi held on to her shoulders, but was careful to soften his grip.
Zhao Huai contemplated Ji Yunshu’s argument as he considered its verity. He pulled out his Twin Tiger Dagger from the table where he plunged it, using it to scratch that bone he picked out from the bowl. Some chalky dust fell as he scraped the tiny bone!
He gulped, throwing that scaphoid bone back into the same bowl. Zhao Huai was fuming but kept his cool. None of his subordinates dared to make a squeak.
Zhao Qing saw this entire display, the cogs in his head whirring as he stared at that piece of bone; wasn’t this just a ploy Zhao Huai was using to keep him here? A stalling tactic? This must have been done on purpose! Zhao Qing scoffed, “Since this wine is contaminated, there’s no need for me to keep drinking it.” He pointed his chin at Ji Yunshu and Wei Yi, “I’m taking these two with me right now.”
A wave of disgust spread over Zhao Huai as he swallowed uncomfortably. His gaze turned steely as he pointed out, “This wine was brewed by us together in that urn five years ago; nobody has touched it since. Don’t you want to find out why there are human bones in there?”
“Even if you dumped a corpse in that wine, it has nothing to do with me.”
“Stop stalling for time. Your petty tricks won’t work on me.”
“Did you really think I ordered for that... that thing to be put into the wine?” Zhao Huai was a wreck.
If not you, then who? Zhao Qing enunciated every word clearly, “I said, whether you did it or not, it’s none of my business.” He approached Ji Yunshu as he spoke, reaching out to pull her up when his hand was smacked away by Zhao Huai.
They stood face to face in confrontation.
Zhao Huai warned, “Zhao Qing, this is my territory.”
“Are you returning the men or not?” Zhao Qing barely concealed his threat.
None of them backed down.
That clever bandit who had snuck out earlier ran in at that instant. He shouted across the hall, declaring loudly, “Boss, we’ve gotten rid of those men outside.”
Hmm? Zhao Qing was confuddled. He withdrew his hand from Zhao Huai’s catch, frowning in deep thought, “What do you mean?”
Zhao Huai scoffed, bursting with pride. He lifted his chin, sneering, “Zhao Qing, did you think you could burn my Gaoshan Village down just with those few men you brought?”
“I knew you weren’t that magnanimous. Give me those men now.”
“You’re as stupid as you were in the past.” He spoke mockingly.
Zhao Qing’s fingers curled up so tightly the veins on the back of his hands were visible. He retorted icily, “If you’re not giving them to me, then I’ll snatch them.”
“Snatch? Did you take a good look around? Do you have the ability?” Zhao Huai’s fist came flying by. The two of them began to battle, throwing punch after punch, each one heavier than the one before as they left a path of destruction in their tail. Zhao Qing was no match for Zhao Huai and he was pinned onto a table, his hands behind his back and the Twin Tiger Dagger pressed firmly against his throat.
Ba Hu dashed out towards his master, but was held back by Zhao Huai’s men. He called out worriedly, “Boss!”
Zhao Qing was a man of honour; even if he was caught by Zhao Huai, he had no intentions of submitting, “Kill me if you want.”
Zhao Huai replied, “Zhao Qing, you and I are kin brothers. You know I can never kill you.”
Zhao Qing scoffed, “I already cut ties with you when Jiu’er died; you are you, and I am me, we’re no longer related.”
“I’ll repeat myself once more - I didn’t kill Jiu’er!” Zhao Huai spat, pressing Zhao Qing’s body harder into the table.
Zhao Qing had some strength left in him still. With bloodshot eyes, he bellowed, “Zhao Huai, the one who should have died was you!” He broke free of Zhao Huai’s hold, but that dagger slit open a straight wound where it was held to his throat.
Smash! The wine jar was also swept off the table in their struggle. The hairs on the back of their hands stood up as yet another greyish-white bony segment appeared amongst the smashed remains of the wine jar on the ground. How creepy!
Seeing this, Zhao Huai immediately retracted his dagger, waving a hand away, “Let’s stop.” The two of them stepped backwards in unison, calling a truce.
Zhao Qing panted slightly, reaching out to wipe the blood on his neck away. He then turned to look at the newly revealed bony segment on the floor. He initially thought that bone was Zhao Huai’s trick to stall for time, but now, it might not be so.
Zhao Huai stiffened, breaking out into a cold sweat. He bent over to pick up that piece of bone, showing it to Ji Yunshu, “Is this also a scaphoid bone?”
The pale Ji Yunshu glanced weakly at his palm, licking her dry lips, “This is a capitate bone, also one of the carpal bones.”
Ugh! Zhao Huai quickly flicked the capitate into the bowl of wine where the scaphoid bone sat in disgust, the two bony segments clinking together as they clacked. He shouted, “Who was it? Who threw this bloody thing into my wine?”
The bandits looked at each other in bewilderment, shaking their heads at the contents of that wine bowl. The heavens are our witness - it wasn’t us!
They began to whisper,
“Boss and the Second Master drank that wine from that jar.”
“Yeah, how disgusting.”
Ji Yunshu addressed the raging Zhao Huai, “If the human bones weren’t placed in the wine jar on purpose, then it might be the urn that’s problematic. If I were you, I would have someone investigate that opened wine urn.”
Who knows, there might be an entire human skeleton in there!
Grenn's Rants Corner
For some reasons, I feel like those pieces of bones were screaming "Notice me, Senpai! Find the murderer or join me!" every time they appear. *cough**cough* I've binge read too much horror cnovels this holidays.
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