Chapter 421 - Looking Down On Others
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If the timings of the sightings were accurate, then Li Yuan was not the murderer! Fang Mingsan confirmed once more, “Did you two really see that man in the picture?”
The watchman and beggar dropped to their knees at his questioning, bringing their bodies as close to the floor as possible as they stuttered, “Lord Justice, what we’ve said is true, we wouldn’t dare lie! We’ll swear to the heavens; if we lied, then we’ll receive divine punishment and be struck by lightning!”
“You need to know your position. This is the yamen; if you dare speak untruths, you’ll be locked up in prison and receive paddles as punishment!”
“This citizen wouldn’t dare lie,” the watchman replied. The beggar likewise had never been brought to the yamen his entire life, and his legs turned to jelly as he cried out ‘Have mercy, Lord’ and ‘This one did not lie’ over and over again.
The yamen runner quickly added, “Lord, Teacher Ji, I’ve already asked around. Everyone said that this night watchman is an honest one and wouldn’t lie.”
Only then did Fang Mingsan nod with satisfaction. He turned to consult Ji Yunshu, “Teacher Ji, what do you think? Since Li Yuan isn’t the murderer, haven’t we come up to another dead end? What should our next step be?”
Ji Yunshu contemplated, indicating for the yamen runner to first bring the night watchman and the beggar away. She then turned to Fang Mingsan, “Chang Shiliang’s time of death is definitely accurate - he did die within the hour of the rat. Since Li Mingzhou has Miss Chang’s testimony, and Li Yuan the night watchman’s and beggar’s testimonies, both of them have had their names cleared. But, the fact remains that Li Yuan did indeed enter Chang Estate that night, supported by that ink stain on his clothing. The murderer had not yet left Chang Estate at midnight, and Li Yuan did see Chang Shiliang being hung from the tree, so he definitely did come into contact with the murderer.”
“How’s Li Yuan doing?” she asked next.
Fang Mingsan was unsure, so he could only look at Constable Zhang, who answered on his behalf, “They said that Li Mingzhou had already looked for a physician, but he isn’t sure himself when Li Yuan will return to normal, so… I think we’ll have to wait and see.”
Wait and see? It’s already Day Four! “We can’t wait blindly. Since Li Yuan has seen the killer, we need to make sure that he’s ready for interrogation by tomorrow morning. He might know what the killer looks like.”
“Li Mingzhou has already said that Li Yuan’s condition is pretty unstable. He might return to normal tomorrow, or in half a month, and he can’t be certain if Li Yuan will even remember what he did during an episode.”
This was indeed a tough situation, but it’s Day Five tomorrow - if Li Yuan’s condition doesn’t improve by tomorrow, Jing Rong would make her leave Yuzhou City with him. Then wouldn’t she be unable to investigate this case any further? She tapped her forehead in the midst of her monologue - how could she forget about Mo Ruo’s existence? He was the godly physician! She hastily added, “Do you know where are the hot springs Advisor Wen brought His Highness and Master Mo to?”
Constable Zhang hesitated, “It should be the Lunar Retreat - Advisor Wen has been there countless times.”
“Constable Zhang, I’ll have to trouble you to inform Master Mo to hurry to Li Estate before dawn breaks. Li Yuan needs to come back to his senses before tomorrow.”
Constable Zhang nodded, only to have Ji Yunshu stop him again as he was about to leave, “Hold on, you’d better lead the way. I’ll head over with you.”
“Teacher Ji, it’s already nightfall. You haven’t properly rested in the last couple of days. You should remain here. I’ll head over myself and make sure Master Mo goes to Li Estate personally.”
“If only you went, he wouldn’t even lift a finger.”
“Why not?” Constable Zhang scratched his head.
Ji Yunshu sighed, “Because he’s the famous godly physician.” Hmm? So what? So he’s arrogant and full of himself! He wouldn’t treat just any Tom, Dick or Harry.
Constable Zhang did not know Mo Ruo’s quirks well enough, so it was normal for him to find it strange, but he knew better than to prod further and began to lead the way. As they stepped out of the yamen, his path was blocked by Zhang Xinlan, who came running into his arms, “Big Brother! Where’s Lingyang?” She was holding several scrolls in her hands as she tiptoed to face Constable Zhang.
Constable Zhang was confused. “Xinlan? What are you doing here at this time of night?”
“Of course I’m here for Lingyang. He promised me seven days ago that he’d teach me how to write, but when I brought my scrolls to his residence the other day, I waited for him all day. He wasn’t even back at midnight! I had some spare time today, so I intended to wait for him at his residence like last time, but just in case he didn’t return, I decided to come straight to the yamen to look for him.” She held up her scrolls to his face.
Constable Zhang was speechless, “Stop fooling around. The yamen is busy, and so is Advisor Wen. He doesn’t have time to teach you how to read and write now. Wait till this case is over, maybe then.”
“Nope, I must see him today. I’ll go inside to look for him myself.”
Zhang Xinlan ducked under Constable Zhang’s arms and beelined for the yamen gates, only to be dragged back by Constable Zhang. “Enough, Xinlan. Advisor Wen’s not inside at the moment. He’s gone to Lunar Retreat.”
Zhang Xinlan questioned, “What’s he there for?”
“What do you think?”
“Oh, I know! He must have gone to the hot springs. Why didn’t he call me? I’ll head there now.”
Zhang Xinlan was dragged back by Constable Zhang again. “Why wouldn’t you listen? How many times have I said that we’re on a case now? Stay at home and stop fooling around. Can’t you see Teacher Ji is here with me? Don’t humiliate your own brother.”
Hmm? Zhang Xinlan only just noticed Ji Yunshu; this person had made a fool of her before Advisor Wen the previous time - there was no way she would forget that. She scoffed huffily at Ji Yunshu, laser beams shooting out of her fiery eyes. “The person personally invited by Lord Fang really is different, huh, even the airs they put on are different. Don’t look down on others just because you have some talent.”
Did you fry your brain? The one looking down on others is you. Ji Yunshu ignored Zhang Xinlan’s words. “Constable Zhang, we don’t have much time to lose. Let’s hurry over.”
“Understood, Teacher Ji. Please head up the carriage first, I’ll be with you shortly.” Ji Yunshu nodded. Zhang Xinlan, on the other hand, threw a tantrum and stomped her feet. She squeezed into the carriage, insisting that they travel together.
Throughout the journey, Constable Zhang sat outside at the reins, while Ji Yunshu and Zhang Xinlan sat inside. Zhang Xinlan scanned Ji Yunshu from head to toe, making no attempts to hide her disapproving frowns nor derisive snorts of laughter. Ji Yunshu sat cross-legged opposite her, leaving Zhang Xinlan to her antics. Zhang Xinlan was the first to break the silence, “I heard from my Big Brother that you’re an amazing person who has solved many difficult cases, is that true?”
Ji Yunshu made no response.
“Whichever way I look at it, you’re just an ordinary scholar without any extraordinary talents. It must have been luck for you to solve those cases, no?”
“In my opinion, you’re going to fail this time. It’s been so many days, but you haven’t got a clue as to who the culprit is, only guessing and suspecting others without solid conclusions. This time, Lord Fang has trusted the wrong person.”
Still no reply. Amidst her chatter, Ji Yunshu was evaluating her as well. No matter how brash and uncouth Jing Xuan was, she knew her place, but this fellow was quite the contrary - who gave her such confidence? Her eyes were practically at the top of her head as she looked down on others. To compare this situation to its modern counterpart, it was like an uncultured, rich man who visited a tiny department of another company, only to be ignored by the lowest-ranking programmer. Or, someone pulling in a five-figure salary being looked down upon by a part-timer at a high-end store drawing three-thousand dollars per month. Ji Yunshu occasionally felt that these people should be eliminated from society.
ChouFleur Rants Corner
That is one annoying little girl!
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