Chapter 425 - Arresting Yun Tongyang and Li Mingzhou
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What? Yun Tongyang could not help but smirk at Li Mingzhou’s remark, “Fifth Brother, I’m doing this for both our sakes!” How magnanimous!
Li Mingzhou was close to breaking point. “You go on and on about how you’re doing this for me, so why did you kill him? Ah Yuan’s my younger brother, if you kill him, you kill me as well.” He had already known that Yun Tongyang was the killer, and had therefore asked Ji Yunshu to halt her investigation.
Yun Tongyang explained, “If I hadn’t killed Ah Yuan, he would have spilled everything about what happened in the past. If the yamen were to find out, neither of us could live!”
“But Ah Yuan’s my younger brother, you know how much he means to me.”
“So what if I did? I can’t let him destroy you or me - the yamen knows he’s been in contact with the murderer. What if through their interrogation, they ask about what happened to our Liu Sect all those years back? I can’t risk the smallest chance of that happening.” He spoke sternly, yet calmly.
Li Mingzhou clenched his fists and teeth as he spat, “Big Brother, Ah Yuan has already gone insane. He wouldn’t speak of the past, and even so, what if he did? Would anyone believe what a mad man said?”
“Whether they believe him or not, none of our pasts must be revealed. When the Liu Sect broke up, I established Longyang Escort Agency in Yuzhou City, slowly climbing my way up to where I am today, delivering tributes for the Imperial government. Hence, I can’t risk it - Ah Yuan had to die.”
“Fifth Brother, why don’t you think about your wife and daughter first? If Ah Yuan spilled our secrets, how would your family live? Have you ever considered this? Could you bear to watch them suffer?” Yun Tongyang put down the two metal spheres in his hand and walked over. “Only with Ah Yuan dead can your family continue living in Yuzhou City. I’m doing you a favour!”
Saint! What a saint! Li Mingzhou stumbled, as if swayed by his argument as he weighed up his words. On one hand, Yun Tongyang wasn’t entirely wrong, but on the other hand, Li Yuan was his biological younger brother!
Yun Tongyang took the opportunity to persuade him further, “Only the two of us remain. You know it best; the two of us have had the best relationship these past twenty years. With Ah Yuan dead, everything in the past is truly and finally over. Nobody would know what happened back then, and we don’t have to live in constant fear anymore.”
Li Mingzhou fell silent for a very long time. He finally made up his mind, all tension seeping out from his body as he sighed. “With Ah Yuan dead, the yamen would step in and investigate - they’ll get to us sooner or later!” He panicked!
Yun Tongyang patted his arm comfortingly, “Don’t worry, I’ve already made plans beforehand. All we need is a scapegoat.”
“What do you mean?”
“Isn’t the purpose of the yamen’s investigation to find the killer? If we offer them the murderer, the yamen wouldn’t have to worry, and we could also live our lives in peace - it’s a win-win situation!”
“Can it be done?”
“Ah Yuan’s your brother - as long as you accept the case’s conclusion, no-one else will care. Plus, I’m sure the yamen’s happy to rid themselves of the trouble.”
Li Mingzhou’s unease disappeared as he was finally convinced by Yun Tongyang. He pulled him to sit down, then poured a cup of tea and pushed it towards Li Mingzhou. “Here, have a sip of tea first. We’ll talk about the rest later.”
Li Mingzhou did not think twice as he heaved a huge sigh, picking up the teacup but placing it down again. Yun Tongyang’s gaze darkened with that, his fists balling up even tighter.
Li Mingzhou questioned seriously, “Big Brother, tell me the truth. Are you responsible for Wu Lei’s, Liu Shuzhun’s and Chang Shiliang’s deaths? Did you kill them?”
“If Ah Yuan’s not the culprit, then who is?” He was obviously suspicious of Yun Tongyang.
Yun Tongyang’s brows furrowed as he replied with utmost sincerity, “I killed Ah Yuan because the yamen wanted to interrogate him, so I did what I did to prevent any secrets from leaking, but I didn’t need to kill Wu Lei and the others.”
“Then who’s the murderer?”
“I’m not clear myself!” Yun Tongyang was indeed puzzled! Theoretically, there was sufficient motive for him to kill Wu Lei and the rest to cover up what happened all those years back, but it really was not him. Moreover, “I wasn’t even in Yuzhou City when Shiliang died, so how could I kill him?” He spoke honestly!
Li Mingzhou muttered to himself as he contemplated, “Then, were they really killed by vengeful spirits?” He looked up, “Big Brother, unless…”
Yun Tongyang interrupted him before he could finish, “Don’t think too much about it. There’s no such thing as ghosts and spirits in this world, nor is it whatever else you’re imagining. Maybe Wu Lei and the other three offended someone and brought this upon themselves.”
Li Mingzhou nodded! The two of them sat in utter silence before Yun Tongyang pushed the teacup towards Li Mingzhou again. “Drink some tea first while you take it all in, then quickly return to your estate. Make sure nobody sees you.”
“Mm!” Li Mingzhou nodded, picked up the teacup and downed it in one shot.
Yun Tongyang patted his back warmly, “That’s it, now go home.” Li Mingzhou obliged, releasing a sigh as he stood up, but making no further remark despite his slight uneasiness. Just as he pushed open the doors, burning torches illuminated their figures from the outside, giving them an orange twinge. The entire yard, including the surrounding rooftops were packed; they were surrounded from all four sides! Fang Mingsan and Constable Zhang stood in the middle of the yard with their men around them.
Yun Tongyang and Li Mingzhou belatedly realised what was happening, and the two brothers stood planted to the spot!
“Capture them!” Fang Mingsan ordered.
The yamen backyard.
Ever since her return from the Li Estate, Ji Yunshu kept herself busy inside the room filled with case files and scrolls. She found a twenty-year old case scroll and began to peruse it; time passed quickly while she read, and two hours were gone in a blink. Mo Ruo and Jing Rong sat amicably outside waiting, having a leisurely pot of tea!
Mo Ruo filled one of the teacups to the brim with hot tea, pouring it out into another cup. He repeated this over and over, until the hot tea finally cooled down. He spoke, “Do you think Teacher Ji really knows who the murderer is?”
Jing Rong thought for a moment. “Probably.”
“Probably? It’s going to be daybreak in another four hours - then, the five-day limit would be up. Whether she cracks the case or not, we’ll all be leaving. We can’t delay our journey to Yufu County any longer, and the same can be said for the investigation of the missing relief funds.”
Jing Rong shot him a hateful glance, “You also know that we couldn’t afford any further delay? So who was the one who convinced me to let her stay?” It was you, Mo Ruo! You dirty fellow!
Mo Ruo stopped short in his tracks and waved him away, “Forget it, pretend I didn’t say anything.” He poured the cooled tea out once more, then back again, before peeking into the room. He could not contain himself as he questioned again, “Do you think she can crack the case by dawn? There are heaps of evidence, but none of them point towards the killer! Also, what did Madam Li tell Teacher Ji? Are you not the least bit curious?”
“Of course I am!”
“Then let’s go and ask her?”
“And then... nothing.”
“So what’s there to know?”
Ugh! This logic… cat’s got his tongue! Mo Ruo was speechless. Fine, we’ll just sit here quietly.
Just then, Shi Ziran entered from the front yard, “Your Highness, Master Mo, the killer’s been apprehended.” He could not hide his excitement!
ChouFleur Rants Corner
Uh oh... more trouble brewing! Who do you think is the real killer of the three?
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