Chapter 429 - Dawn Has Crept Up Upon Us
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“That wasn’t poison!”
Yun Tongyang was shaken. “What did you say? It wasn’t poison?”
Li Mingzhou slowly raised his head, glancing at Yun Tongyang, who had gone completely green in the face. “That bowl contained only sedatives - I didn’t poison it. Big Brother, Dan’er was only a child - perhaps you could kill him, but not me.”
“You…” In other words, the son of the Second Leader of the Liu Sect was still alive? So, there were no vengeful spirits seeking revenge, after all!
“Once Dan’er fainted, I sent him off the mountain into the hands of a farmer’s family. Twenty years have gone by in a blink of an eye; he’s finally back for revenge - this must be what they call karma.” Li Mingzhou dusted his sleeves and slapped his thigh as he lamented, “But if he were alive, who is he? Where is he? How did he spend the last twenty years?”
Ji Yunshu took over, “The last twenty years weren’t the best for him. Growing up in a farming household was difficult and they were thrifty, but luckily that child was clever and hardworking. He learned how to read and write, immersing himself in his studies, and grew up to be an outstanding scholar. He would write letters on the poor people’s behalves, he was upright and talented, gentle and humble, a man of many talents, but…”
Her gaze darkened as she finished, “Even though he was only three years old back then, he saw how his father died with his very own eyes. His father’s revenge has been a heavy stone that he couldn’t remove from his heart. He sought and searched, finally discovering where his father’s killers were. More coincidentally, he found out that Miss Yu’in had intentions to imitate a ghost and scare off those very men, so he made use of that fact, sneaking into the victims’ houses the following midnight, knocking those men unconscious and creating the false impression that they hanged themselves.”
“No, no…” Yun Tongyang refused to believe her. He was a lifeless heap on the ground, but his eyes were almost popping out of their sockets! In the last two hours alone, he had been repeatedly sentenced to death without any chance to fight for survival.
Ji Yunshu sighed exasperatedly. “It seems that those seeds you sowed back then are now ripe for harvest.” Those present in court stared agape as they hung onto every word, but they were still confused.
Fang Mingsan left his bench, pushing away several yamen runners and creeped up behind Ji Yunshu, softly asking, “Teacher Ji, is this case considered closed?”
She shot Fang Mingsan an eye, “Hasn’t Lord Fang comprehended what this one has said?”
“A little bit, but… who’s the murderer, exactly?”
“Perhaps Lord Fang should see for yourself - who’s missing from this court?”
Hmm? Who’s missing? Fang Mingsan swept the room, who wasn’t here? His eyesight was poor, so his surroundings were blurry, but Constable Zhang suddenly blurted out, “Lord Fang, Advisor Wen’s not here.”
Fang Mingsan swept the room another glance, “That’s true, where’s Lingyang? Wasn’t he at Li Estate? Did he not return with you? Has something bad happened? Where could he have gone to? Who knows…”
Fang Mingsan abruptly trailed off, his eyes widening in newfound discovery, just like Yun Tongyang only several minutes earlier. His brain began to buzz as he eked out, “Don’t tell me… don’t tell me… it was…” Only the words ‘Wen Lingyang’ were left unsaid! Unbelievable! It was shocking, astonishing!
The court fell quiet; some were surprised, others were stunned, some braver souls began to whisper.
“What’s going on? Is our Advisor Wen the murderer?”
“How could that be possible? How could Advisor Wen be the killer? He couldn’t even bring himself to slaughter a chicken, how could he kill someone? It’s not possible, no way…”
“But Teacher Ji doesn’t mess around - why bring up Advisor Wen for no reason? I think, Advisor Wen must be the murderer.”
“Stop spouting rubbish, let’s wait and see.”
Fang Mingsan almost fainted; he raised a shaking hand to his forehead, pacing back and forth countless times. He finally digested what had passed as he spoke to Ji Yunshu, “Teacher Ji, this is an important case. Advisor Wen’s a kind man, one the entire city praises, how… how could he be the killer? Is there some kind of misunderstanding here?”
Ji Yunshu’s gaze was steady, sure; Wen Lingyang was the killer, there was no doubt about it! Shi Zijin, who had been sent somewhere by Ji Yunshu, returned at this point in time. She stuffed at item discreetly into Ji Yunshu’s hands as she whispered something into her ear, before backing away. Ji Yunshu clutched that cold item within the flesh of her palms; she did not look at it, only feeling for its edges with her fingers, before keeping it into her sleeves...
About thirty minutes later, at Wen Lingyang’s Estate.
Wen Lingyang sat cross-legged on his seat inside. He was decked out in an inky black robe, his hair swept into a high bun, held in place by a lilac-coloured ribbon falling down his back onto the floor. Before him at his desk was a tall vase, inside was a single sprig of bamboo; it was straight and tall, with each section clearly visible. Next to the vase was a freshly brewed pot of tea. Wen Lingyang poured out two cups, pushing one of them opposite him, as if he were waiting for someone!
The aromatic fragrance of his tea permeated the room constructed of bamboo, creating a comfortable scent when mixed in with the smell of nature. Outside, the sun gently climbed up, wafting in across the floor, his desk, his figure, his face. He quietly observed the steaming hot teacup in front of him when a shadow entered the room, blocking the weak rays of sunlight as it moved to sit across from him.
Ji Yunshu sat herself in the same manner as Wen Lingyang. Her back was towards that doorway, the teacup before her still steaming, delineating her face and eyelashes as the wispy steam rose. Wen Lingyang had been expecting her. His thin lips curved up as he raised his gaze to meet her eyes. He smiled warmly, “Dawn has crept up upon us.”
Ji Yunshu replied, “The night has passed, so day has arrived.”
These words barely scratched the surface of the thoughts those two were harbouring.
“It’s a cold morning. The Teacher must have felt the chill personally on your way here from the yamen. Have some tea to warm up your insides.” He gestured towards the teacup; such a man was as warm as the sun, a comforting presence to all.
Ji Yunshu did not refuse. She picked up the teacup and took a small sip. “This tea is quite fresh.”
“It was freshly picked.”
“Ning’er Tea, isn’t it?”
“The Teacher has quite a discerning tongue; not many people can identify it on their first sip.”
“That’s because Advisor Wen purposely placed a Ning’er tea leaf in the teacup, alluding to its origins.” He peeked; there it was, a single, freshly green Ning’er leaf floating on the surface. Wen Lingyang was still smiling.
Ji Yunshu placed her teacup down on the desk, “Since Advisor Wen wants this one to know that this is Ning’er Tea, I believe you want me to learn of other things as well.”
Wen Lingyang did not rush to answer, only topping up her tea as he gazed outside. The weak rays of sunlight developed into its reddish hues, if one tried, one could almost taste the break of dawn. Wen Lingyang calmly asked, “How so?”
How so? Interesting!
ChouFleur Rants Corner
Hmm... I like how you can almost feel the heavy atmosphere and tension in the surface calmness here... what other surprises are in store..?
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