Chapter 369 - Tranquil Powder
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Salted fish? Ji Yunshu did not think too deeply of it, instead asking, “What about Jing Rong? How’s he now?”
“Worry about yourself first; I heard from Wei Yi that you were injured, how is it?”
“There’s no cause for worry, I’m fine.” She lied blatantly before continuing. “There must be some sort of mechanism surrounding Gaoshan Village, isn’t there? Otherwise Shi Zijin would have already come in, and you wouldn’t need to disguise yourself.”
Mo Ruo nodded, “You’re right about that; but even if it’s an impenetrable fortress outside, the security sure is lax once you get in.” Of course, with such tight security outside, they could afford to be less strict within the walls.
Ji Yunshu was worried for him. “You’d better leave soon - if you were discovered, you won’t be able to leave even if you wanted.”
Mo Ruo ignored her and continued, though kept an ear out for any disturbances all the same. He frowned, “How’s the situation here?”
Ji Yunshu briefly summarised all that had happened. Surprised, Mo Ruo looked at the headless skeleton on the table and shifted his hands as far away as he could manage as the fine hairs on the back of his neck stood up. “There’s a case wherever you go.” He swallowed. “Do you really believe they’ll let you go?”
“Do I have any other choice?”
“Jing Rong’s already decided to borrow a small army from Jingzhou, and is prepared to attack the village and rescue you.”
Ji Yunshu immediately shot down that option. “He can’t, the consequences of attacking this mountain would be too much to bear; we can’t let any more needless sacrifices be made. Mo Ruo, you must promise me to never let him do so.
“I trust Zhao Huai. As long as I can show him the results of my investigation, he’ll let me go.”
Mo Ruo knew well the pros and cons of each option. No matter how strong that Jingzhou Marquis Kang’s army was, there was bound to be losses on both sides. The only feasible scenario was as Yunshu described: to investigate this case and gamble that Zhao Huai would follow through on the deal they had struck. Seeing her logic, Mo Ruo nodded. “Fine, I’ll find a way to stop Jing Rong, but he’ll probably kill me if something bad really happens to you.”
Ji Yunshu assured him. “I’ll leave this place in one piece.” She turned back and eyed the door, pulling out a handkerchief from her waistband once she was sure nobody else was around. She handed it to Mo Ruo, asking, “Could you help me take a look at this? What is this?”
Mo Ruo unwrapped the handkerchief and poked its contents, bringing some up to his nose. He sniffed - it smelled like camphor trees. He replied, “It smells like medicine.”
“If I’m not wrong, this should be a medicine that my father created, called ‘Tranquil Powder’. It’s made from camphor trees, cypress grass, seven white herb blend, herbal insects and several other medicinal herbs. My father didn’t mention what it was explicitly used for, but since it’s called ‘Tranquil Powder’, I assume it’s used as a sedative.”
A sedative? Ji Yunshu questioned, “Was it only your father who had ever produced this medicine?”
“That’s right. My father would record the medicine that he personally created. I’ve seen this before in his records, but he only ever recorded the prescriptions and never their use or effects - it’s like he left me the worst part of homework.” Stupid old man, making life difficult even when he’s already dead!
Ji Yunshu grew even more confused. Mo Ruo then asked curiously, “Where did you get this medicine?”
Ji Yunshu was running out of time as she took back the handkerchief, “I’ll explain everything to you eventually, but now’s not the time. You’d better leave now - those two men are probably already on their way back.”
“Then take care of yourself. Zijin will be outside Gaoshan Village. Send a message like you did before if anything happens to you, and she’ll inform us immediately. As for Jing Rong, I’ll find some way to calm him down.”
Mo Ruo looked at Wei Yi, who was still munching away at his meat buns. This fella sure can eat! He snuck away before those two bandits returned.
Wei Yi stood up to chase after Mo Ruo, but was pulled back by Ji Yunshu. “You’re not to tell anyone about this, understand?”
“I know, Shu’er and Brother Mo Ruo are playing a game of hide-and-seek.”
“That’s right, it’s hide-and-seek.” Ji Yunshu wanted to slap herself; she had lied to Wei Yi again - in the future, who knew if he would sit her down for an in-depth discussion about each time she had lied to him...
Mo Ruo switched back into his own (smelly) clothes before leaving Gaoshan Village without a trace.
Xiao Yu came looking for Wei Yi as soon as he woke up from his stupor, only to see the latter playing with stones outside the room as if nothing had happened. Xiao Yu kicked Wei Yi off the stone steps, “Rascal, what happened? Why was I passed out?”
“How would I know?”
“Why would you not know?”
“You passed out yourself. I shouted at you for a very long time but you didn’t respond, so I left.”
Xiao Yu was still uncertain, scratching his neck - he was sure something had happened! The more he thought about it, the stranger it was, but- forget it...
Ji Yunshu came outside once Xiao Yu left, sitting down next to Wei Yi. Wei Yi turned to look at her, wiping her forehead with a large grin. “Shu’er must be so tired. Look at all this sweat!”
She shook her head. “I’m not tired.”
“Shu’er, why do you like those bamboo slips? They don’t look fun at all.” The ‘bamboo slips’ he was speaking of must refer to those remains.
Ji Yunshu did not know whether to laugh or cry; she should really stop lying to Wei Yi, “Wei Yi, those bamboo slips are just like your friends. If you don’t think of them as friends first, then they won’t be your friends too - you won’t be able to get the information you want from them then.”
“This…” Ji Yunshu was tickled by his response.
Dusk creeped upon them soon after. Shades of vermillion peeked over across the horizon, bathing both of them in a warm glow. They sat side by side watching night fall; they represented all those who worked while the sun was up, and rested at sundown.
Wei Yi must have been tired from the day’s activities, as he leaned on Ji Yunshu’s shoulder, eyes closed in repose. He was still muttering something incomprehensible. She lightly tousled his hair, a small smile spreading across her face for a moment. However, it was not long before her expression became serious again, as she worried about this murder case she had to solve...
At that same moment, Zhao Huai locked himself in his own room. He had been sitting there the entire day, gaze fixed on the table before him. He had not moved a single inch; only his eyes flitting left and right, scenes from his wedding night replaying again and again in his mind, flashing before his eyes.
He pushed open the red double doors before him, fully expecting to see his blushing bride seated on their matrimonial bed, decked beautifully in crimson red from head to toe; her head would be covered by a red veil, waiting for her groom to lift it up and complete the ceremony.
What he saw instead, was her thin body splayed across the floor, fresh blood flowing out from a gaping wound in her chest, staining her wedding dress an even more vibrant red, almost maroon… Before his bride stood not her groom, but a tall ominous figure. He held a sword in his hand with his back toward Zhao Huai. Zhao Huai could not make out his face - was it twisted in dark fury, or was it full of regret?
ChouFleur Rants Corner:
Poor Zhao Huai... did we misunderstand him?
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