Chapter 4 - A Violent Death?
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“Yunshu, no one recognized those five corpses. Tomorrow, I’m going to need a few more portraits of them from you. I’ll order people to post a few notices and have other people search.”
Ji Yunshu wiped her hands with a handkerchief and tidied up her sandalwood box before coldly stating, “Tomorrow, I cannot work. You find another painter to copy the portrait.”
“That’s also a good option. It’s getting late. Do you want me to call people to send you home?”
“There’s no need. I’m used to walking on the road at night alone.”
“It’s not safe to travel at night.”
“I’m willing to.”
The county magistrate had brought embarrassment to himself. Ji Yunshu’s temperament was naturally cold, and to outsiders, she might seem a tad aloof. Since he continued to butt heads against her again and again, wasn’t he just asking to be rebuffed?
Suddenly, from beyond the crowd, someone’s voice loudly reverberated, “Get out of the way! Step aside!”
The crowd was forcibly pushed apart. More than 20 people rushed into the area, lining up to create a spacious path. Each one carried a long sword at their waist. Their clothes were made of brocade, and their expressions were solemn and mighty as they sharply looked straight ahead.
In what seemed like moments, a man walked through the newly cleared path. He was dressed in a blue chinese robe made of satin, embroidered with light purple orchids. His golden boots were ornate and embellished with jade. His appearance was far from common, sword-like eyebrows framing star-like eyes. He had a bolt and upright nose bridge coupled with thin and tightly closed lips. In the darkness, the light of the lantern illuminated his intelligent and brilliant face, simultaneously highlighting his stoic countenance. He appeared to be calm and collected, but a viciously cold aura emanated from him with every step forward.
Next to him stood a tall and sturdy man, and a middle-aged man with upright eyebrows.
Ji Yunshu recognized the middle-aged man at a single glance. He was her father, Ji Shuhan. Wasn’t he supposed to be receiving the noble guests from the capital? Could it be that the man in blue clothes is the noble guest in question?
If Ji Yunshu recognized her father, Ji Shuhan naturally recognized Ji Yunshu. He first saw her attired in men’s clothes, and then the pile of corpses nearby. Immediately, fury welled up inside his heart, but his expression remained unchanged.
The magistrate observed his surroundings before scratching his head. His heart was puzzled, so he inquired of the newcomers, “Lord Ji, what is going on?”
“Lord Liu, the five corpses are this young master’s subordinates. Make your people withdraw. This matter has nothing to do with you anymore.”
Ji Shuhan had never put the county magistrate in his eyes, and the way he spoke was extremely contemptuous and arrogant.
The magistrate was at loss for words, but since the corpses were now claimed by someone, he didn’t want to wade in muddy water. Hence he waved his hand, gesturing for all the yamen runners to withdraw to the side.
“Young master, do you wish to carry these corpses to the memorial hall?” Ji Shuhan’s manner abruptly switched to a fawning expression as he whispered his question.
The man stayed silent, his only answer a frown. A cold light burned within his eyes as he looked at the five corpses.
“Didn’t these five depart for the capital yesterday?”
“They really did leave for the capital yesterday. I also don’t know how they could be here. Young master, this situation is a bit odd,” stated the big man.
The situation was evidently strange: an abandoned house had been set on fire, and without any logical reason, five swordsmen were found burned alive within. Furthermore, they were supposed to have left for the capital and shouldn’t have even passed through the east suburbs. The capital was in a different direction. Then, how did it come to this?
At this moment, Ji Yunshu had already tidied everything up. She was about to leave since her father was here, since she didn’t feel comfortable in his presence. She had hardly taken a few steps when she heard the man command, “Burn them and bring back their ashes to the capital to be buried.”
“This subordinate shall comply.”
Ji Yunshu got anxious. She halted her steps. She gave an odd look at the man and threw in a few words, “Since the situation is odd, why not ask for the coroner to examine them? All evidence will turn into ashes if the corpses are cremated.”
The man turned to gaze at her when he heard her voice. What entered his sight was a person in plain but refined clothes, with a conspicuously thin build. The small frame and delicate appearance coupled with the fair skin and lack of manly bearing gave that person a feminine and delicate feeling.
“Young master’s subordinates are already in such a wretched state. You definitely shouldn’t let the coroner open their chest and pull out their guts.”
“However, these people died a violent death. Young master, you don’t want to find out the truth?”
“Violent death? Do you happen to know something?” The man slightly narrowed his eyes.
Ji Yunshu didn’t speak. She glanced at her father, who simply looked at her with eyes filled with disgust and anger. She no longer paid attention to him and put on another pair of white gloves. She walked to one of the corpses and squatted down before yanking the lower jaw down.
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