Chapter 367 - My Great Sage of the Heavens is dead?
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don't read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
Zhao Qing’s head was much clearer than the hesitant Zhao Huai. He asked Ji Yunshu, “Can you figure out who’s the deceased?”
“I need some time - how long would depend on what information these remains can provide me.”
Ji Yunshu stood before the table, “The deceased was about five foot tall. Although it’s a female, she had a larger frame and much sturdier bone structure; it doesn’t seem like she was born of noble origins.” She frowned as she eyed the tarsal bones, continuing, “When she was alive, she must have had injured her metatarsal bones which could explain why there’s a missing cuneiform bone. If the medial and lateral cuneiform bones were injured while she was alive, they would soften once soaked in wine, possibly even completely dissolving. Since the medial cuneiform is clearly missing, it can be concluded that she must have had a prior foot injury - she may have even been a cripple.” [1. (A literal footnote) Metatarsal bones are the long bones in the fleshy bit, the arch of the foot. Cuneiform bones are the many small bones that form part of the ankle that connect to the metatarsals. See link for a diagram: http://p3.tzctky.com/clebc/627340avr.jpg]
Zhao Huai and Zhao Qing were struck silent by her conclusion. Ji Yunshu took their reactions into account but pointed nothing out, instead pressing down on the skeleton’s shoulder bones, “There is a little depression in the deceased’s left shoulder. It looks like it was left by a sharp, pointed object. Looking at the depth of the depression and the changes around the wound, it must have occurred about two years ago. Because of the lack of appropriate treatment, she must have had unbearable shoulder pains whenever it rained.”
Bang! Zhao Qing staggered back into a bench, his face deathly white while Zhao Huai stood fixed to the ground, his eyes crossed and blurry. Both of them were frozen, clearly in response to Ji Yunshu’s findings.
Ji Yunshu had worked out why so just by looking at their reactions. She walked up to them, questioning, “So, you know who she is?”
“Impossible, it can’t be true…” Zhao Qing shook his head in utter disbelief, his eyes losing their focus as he stood rooted to the spot in denial.
Ji Yunshu pressed on, “You know who is it, don’t you?”
Zhao Huai took over, “She was abandoned by her family when she was born because of her leg. Our father brought her back to the village out of sympathy and she was brought up here. Two years ago, she hit her shoulder on the corner of a table, but she refused to admit it out of pride. Ever since then, it would hurt on rainy days.”
“Who is this ‘she’ that the First Master speaks of?”
Zhao Huai swallowed, barely making out the two words, “Jiu’er!”
How could it be Jiu’er? Zhao Qing had come back to his senses as he immediately rebutted, “This skeleton cannot be Jiu’er. I brought Jiu’er away a year ago; I personally buried her myself. There’s no way this could be her. And her head - who could have removed it? Impossible!” He was affirmative; he had not lied at all.
Zhao Huai grabbed Zhao Qing by his collar, his face red with anger, “Are you sure you buried her body?”
“I buried her; I did it by my own hands. This is not Jiu’er’s body, definitely not.” He pushed Zhao Huai away maniacally, rushing towards Ji Yunshu, demanding, “Didn’t you say that you could postulate who these remains belonged to once you have all the bones? Fine, check it, check it as quickly as you can. Prove that it’s not Jiu’er!”
Ji Yunshu was much calmer, a stark contrast from the rashness Zhao Qing had just displayed. She said, “If you want to know if this is Jiu’er, there’s another faster way. If you unearth Jiu’er coffin and open it, you’ll have your answer.”
“No way.” He refused, “Jiu’er’s already dead. I can’t disturb her peace.”
“Since you aren’t willing, this one won’t force you. Fine, I’ll sketch the remains, but if I determine that it’s Jiu’er, you’ll still have to open her coffin to confirm it.”
“And what if it isn’t?”
“According to what I have described, there is a high probability that these remains belong to Jiu’er, but I can’t say it with absolute certainty just yet.”
Zhao Qing fell into deep thought, while Zhao Huai clenched his fists as he eyed Zhao Qing darkly. Zhao Huai spoke to Ji Yunshu, “If you can really solve this matter, I, Zhao Huai, can promise you that the past will be the past; I will not hold you accountable for what had happened before, and you can bring that fool safely out of this place. All of you can leave Shanhuai County in one piece. But, I’ll give you only five days to complete your sketch, otherwise I would kill you both all the same.”
Five days? Are you kidding me? Even with a complete skeleton present, it would be extremely difficult to complete a sketch in just five days. He was obviously making it hard for her, but Zhao Huai was a very impatient man. Ji Yunshu had no opportunity to argue nor negotiate. He left without another look, while Zhao Qing stumbled off after him.
Ji Yunshu had paper and ink brought to her, ready to get cracking. Wei Yi came over to her from where he sat watching in the corner, flicking off his gloves as he asked Ji Yunshu, who was fully immersed in her work, “Shu’er, are you hungry?”
Ji Yunshu did not respond.
“I’m hungry. I’ll go get you some steamed buns!” He patted his growling stomach and ran off, his disgust at the bones completely gone. Xiao Yu, the bandit who had brought Wei Yi to the outhouse, quickly chased after him.
Ji Yunshu was engrossed in the bones before her; she picked up a femur bone, examining it from several angles, before picking up her brush to pen a small portion of the mandibular bone, outlining the lower jaw. Without accurate measurements and technologically advanced machines, her task became much more challenging.
Xiao Yu followed in pursuit of Wei Yi, who rushed towards the kitchen. On the surface, Xiao Yu was monitoring Wei Yi, but he had other personal pursuits as he asked, “Idiot, did you ask her what happened to the Great Sage of Heaven?”
Wei Yi rolled his eyes, “You want to know?”
“Yes, come on, tell me!”
“I’m not gonna!” He pouted as he turned his head the other way snootily, beginning to forage through the kitchen.
None of the kitchen helpers stopped him, finding this silly fellow quite entertaining. Xiao Yu, on the other hand, hounded him continuously, “Fool, tell me, what happened after that? If you don’t tell me, I won’t be able to sleep tonight!”
“I’m not telling you.”
“You…” How infuriating! This fool was the one who had piqued his curiosity, but now he wants to stop sharing? Annoying!
Wei Yi exclaimed as he found a few meat buns, “We have meat!” He scooped them up, prepared to return to where Ji Yunshu was, but Xiao Yu stood before him, unwilling to let him pass.
“If you don’t tell me, I’ll cut off your tongue and soak it in wine.”
Wei Yi flinched, quickly replying, “Dead, the Great Sage of Heaven is dead.”
“What?” My Great Sage of the Heavens is dead?
Xiao Yu’s world came crashing down.
ChouFleur Rants Corner
What would we do without comic relief by Wei Yi? I do love the Sun Wukong story though. Where do you think Wei Yi stopped his storytelling? Where did he place that cliffhanger for the poor bandits?
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