Chapter 401 - Human Skin Mask
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Inside the yamen, Fang Mingshan was sitting on the bench. Standing beside him were Constable Zhang, Wen Lingyang and some other yamen runners. Yu’in knelt in front of the bench with her face veil on and her gaze lowered, extremely quiet and not appearing frightened at all.
Bang! The gavel hit against the wooden block. Fang Mingshan interrogated, “Yu’in, this Official is asking you, did you kill those people?”
She kept silent.
Fang Mingshan waited for a few moments, throwing a glance at Constable Zhang once it was clear that there would be no response. Immediately, Constable Zhang laid out the proof they acquired at the House of Serenity in front of Yu’in. It was a terrifying human skin mask that was covered with fresh blood! Everyone felt sick to their stomach just by looking at it. She must be an expert to be able to come out with the idea of wearing that thing on her face. However, Yu’in did not bother to look at the mask at all and kept her face emotionless.
Fang Mingshan questioned again, “This Official found a kind of hypnotising drug in the bath of your room. The drug causes people to lose their consciousness and weaken their bodies. All the deceased visited the ‘Moonlit Dream’ room before they died. You first drew them a bath and waited for them to inhale the drug, then you put on the human skin mask and cheated them into thinking that they encountered ghost. On the second day, you trespassed in their residence and killed them. Am I right?” Again, no answer from Yu’in.
Fang Mingshan’s expression was solemn. “Yu’in, this Official is giving you one last chance to speak. Did you kill the those people?”
Since the very beginning, Yu’in had not uttered a word. Under normal circumstances, nobody would believe that the tender and delicate lady currently kneeling on the floor could be linked to a serial killer. However, the human skin mask lying on the floor suggested otherwise. It was a fact that she scared people on purpose, thus, it would be reasonable to suggest that she was the actual killer. But she kept her mouth sealed and would not admit to anything. Since they did not have any solid evidence, the only charge she bore was disguising as a ghost to scare people. The worst punishment she would get would probably be ten flogs.
Although Wen Lingyang had held the brush in his hand for a long time, he had yet to make a single stroke on the paper. Looking at how helpless Lord Fang was, he stood up and walked to the centre of the court before picking up the human skin mask from the floor. He tried to persuade her. “Miss Yu’in, if you did not kill the people, you can defend yourself. But if you don’t say a thing, you will be regarded as the murderer by default, and will be locked up in prison. Why do you want to do that to yourself?” Wen Lingyang’s voice was very soft and tender.
Yu’in slowly lifted her head and locked eyes with Wen Lingyang. She removed her face veil and exposed her beautiful face. Murmurs said that Miss Yu’in from the House of Serenity was as lovely as a fairy, and it was proven now. The yamen runners from both sides could not stop staring at that delicate face. ‘Such a waste.’ They thought. ‘How could this young lady commit such crime? Such a waste.’
Yu’in bit her lips, blinked her beautiful eyes gently and said, “Advisor Wen, I didn’t kill them.” Finally, she spoke!
“If you didn’t kill them, why did you disguise as a ghost to scare them?”
She smiled and returned to being silent. Everyone else was edgy.
Wen Lingyang said, “Miss Yu’in, seeing how the case has progressed, I reckon you know exactly what consequences you will bear if you insist on not telling the truth.”
His statement was met with silence. The interrogation was going nowhere; there were no clues uncovered at all.
Outside the door were Ji Yunshu and Jing Rong, who had been standing there observing for a while. Jing Rong gently elbowed Ji Yunshu, “Do you think she’s the murderer?”
She shook her head.
“It’s not her?”
Once again, she shook her head.
This made Jing Rong puzzled. He squinted his eyes, “So is she the murderer or not?
Ji Yunshu’s face darkened and looked at Yu’in who was still kneeling in the middle of the court, then said, “Based on her build, she doesn’t look like someone who practises martial arts. It isn’t logical to say that she was the one who carried the dead bodies to the tree. It doesn’t matter if she’s the one who performed the murder or not. Either way, she must know some information that is relevant to someone that is involved with the case. She’s merely an accomplice.”
“You mean... she’s trying to protect the real murderer?”
“Who would that be?”
“Someone who’s able to make her bear every charge willingly. Someone she would even die for.”
Jing Rong pondered and said, “A lover?”
Ji Yunshu did not reply. She did however, notice a jade bracelet on Yu’in’s wrist. The bracelet was exquisite, made of high quality Nephrite that had definitely cost a fortune. The unusual thing was that Yu’in had been protecting the bracelet carefully, and seemed very afraid of breaking the it.
Based on Yu’in’s income, she should not be able to afford that bracelet herself. Additionally, no matter how much Mother Bao cared about her, she would not be willing to buy her such expensive gift. If it was a present from her client, she would not have taken care of it so cautiously. The only explanation was that the bracelet was gifted by someone who was very important to her. Ji Yunshu contemplated in her mind but did not walk into the court.
Later, Fang Mingshan sent an order to lock Yu’in in the prison until they found new evidence. He also gave another order, “Send someone to close the House of Serenity down and do a thorough search there. We’ll see if we can find any more clues.”
“Also, interrogate everyone from the House of Serenity and try to get some information from their mouths.” Constable Zhang bore the order and immediately brought his crew to the House of Serenity.
It was already late at night, and Fang Mingshan had run out of ideas. He sat on his bench and sighed heavily. When Jing Rong and Ji Yunshu entered the court, he stood up immediately to welcome them. “Your Highness, Teacher Ji.” He greeted.
“How did it go?”
“She wouldn’t say anything. Regarding this…”
I’m so frustrated!
Ji Yunshu took over, “Since the ghost has already been caught, then we’re not far away from the truth.”
Fang Mingshan thanked Ji Yunshu, “I give must thanks Teacher Ji for catching the ghost who had been scaring people. But what do we do next? How do we find the murderer? We need Teacher Ji’s guidance.” He sounded very respectful.
Ji Yunshu glanced at the human skin mask in Wen Lingyang’s hand and took it to examine. She remained silent.
In the prison, Yu’in was sitting on the ground. Her slim body leaned on the cold wall as she stared blankly at the wet floor in front of her. There was not one bit of fear in her eyes.
The jailers on duty were worried that she would get sick in the cold prison; they prepared two clean blankets and laid them inside the cell. “Miss Yu’in, it’s quite cold in here. These two blankets are very clean, you should cover up.”
She did not bother to lift her head. The two jailers looked at each other and shrugged their shoulders before they left the cell.
Just when they came walking out, Ji Yunshu arrived. She was holding a food container in her hand and headed to Yu’in’s prison with a cool expression. She told the jailers, “Open the gate.”
The jailers opened the gate and stood aside obediently. After Ji Yunshu went in, she took a blanket and draped it on Yu’in’s body. Then she opened the food container, took out a container filled with hot tea, and handed it to Yu’in. “It’s getting colder now that it’s late. Warm yourself with a cup of hot tea.”
“You don’t have to be defensive around me. This is not the yamen court. I will not interrogate you.” After a while, Yu’in lifted her head and looked at Ji Yunshu, then she smiled and said, “So, should I address you as Young Master Liang or Teacher Ji?”
Ji Yunshu smiled faintly, “Either Young Master Liang or Teacher Ji works, it doesn’t matter now.”
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