Chapter 440 - Anfu is about to welcome a prince
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don't read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
The old leader lost his steam. In any case, these were just the words of an insignificant scholar; he didn't dare to put too much faith in them. He could only look toward Ji Yunshu, thinking, you must bring out the evidence!
“The thing must be in the inn, and it must be very well hidden to keep the object inside unharmed.”
As she spoke, Ji Yunshu grabbed the towel from the waiter’s shoulder, picking a some straw from it and tilting her head in curiosity. “Isn't it strange that there would be a piece of straw on this otherwise pristine towel? Even stranger, the towel reeks of horse. It's reasonable for a waiter to have dust on his clothes, but for the towel on his shoulders to have straw and smell of horses - Isn't it too out of place? But of course, it wouldn't be strange if he had to hide those three large chests somewhere out of the way; you could even say that it would be unavoidable.”
Just as she finished speaking, the waiter’s legs turned into jelly, almost causing him to fall to the ground. Everyone stared.
Ji Yunshu swung the towel back on the water's shoulder, then turned to the old sect leader. “Old troupe leader, there should be a secret chamber under the straw in the barn. Your missing trunks should be right there - you only have to get men to bring it out.” He agreed and bade his men to do as she said.
Not long after, the troupe members really did carry out the missing chests. Panting, the leader said, “Old leader, these three chests were really found in a secret chamber under the barn!” The proof was right there.
The old leader was furious. “Mistress, the things have been found. What else do you have to say?”
Sanniang had an ugly look on her face. Holding back the fireballs of fury in her eyes, she lifted her foot and savagely kicked the waiter. “You dare to steal? Do you not want to live anymore?”
The waiter immediately kneeled on the floor. “Sanniang, please spare me! My hands were merely itchy, so…”
“Itchy hands?” Sanniang raged, “Right, then we'll just cut this hand off!”
Everyone was stunned.
The waiter started sobbing and pleading. “Sanniang, please let me off. I won't dare, I really won't dare to do this anymore. If I lose this hand, I would be ruined. Sanniang, on account of me having worked so many years for you, please let me off. I guarantee there won't be a next time.”
Sanniang was resolute. With an icy expression, she shot her subordinate a look. “What are you still standing there for? Hurry up and cut his hand off!”
“Yes.” Two men came up, one pulling on the waiter’s hand, the other raising a knife in preparation.
“Wait a minute.” Ji Yunshu stopped them in the nick of time. The executor’s hand stopped in its tracks.
She didn't want to see bloodshed in the middle of the night.
“Old Master, since your things have been retrieved, you haven't really lost out on anything. In addition, Sanniang had said that she would pay you back double the value of those chests. Why not leave it at that, and not cost him a hand?”
Although the old master was angry, after all was said and done, his things had been retrieved with Ji Yunshu's help; he couldn't really refuse her request. After some thought, he sighed and waved a hand. “Since the gentleman has spoken, I'll let it go.”
He then turned to the waiter. “You listen up. If there's a next time, I'll send you to the yamen.”
“Yes, yes yes…” He nodded frantically.
The old master ordered the chests to be brought upstairs. The crowd also dispersed.
Sanniang looked at the waiter. “Although you've managed to keep your hand, it doesn't mean that you'll be free of punishment. Since the source of trouble was your hand, your arm must receive punishment. Fifty strokes of the cane. If you make it through, good for you; if it breaks, then so be it.”
The waiter didn't dare to plead for further mercy, and was brought away soon after. Of course, Sanniang didn’t forget to thank Ji Yunshu. “Many thanks to this gentleman. If not for you, I wouldn’t know that I’ve let the fox into the henhouse.I’ll bring him to the yamen first thing tomorrow.”
Ji Yunshu said instead, “That is a masterful stroke indeed; wrapping this thing up cleanly and seamlessly.”
“What is Teacher trying to imply with these words?”
“Those chests were heavy enough where one person wouldn’t be able to move them. Additionally, isn’t it strange for there to be a secret chamber under the stables? Unless...your subordinates are used to doing this kind of thing? Or even you yourself are involved.”
Straight to the heart of the problem!
Sanning’s expression did not change. Leaning towards Ji Yunshu, she whispered, “Miss is certainly a smart person.”
Miss? Ji Yunshu was a little taken aback.
Sanniang flicked open her fan and stroked the feathery tips across the side of Ji Yunshu’s face, then tapped her gently on the nose. “The bodily fragrance of men and women are different. I, Sanniang, have seen more people that you have eaten salt [1. A slight twist on the normal saying, which goes: I’ve eaten more salt than you’ve eaten rice. Meaning that I have a lot more experience than you]; I can tell if you are a man or woman with just a glance.”
“All in all, I still have to thank Teacher for your mercy.”
“I am not merciful; I am just tired. I don’t have time to look deeper into this matter. Since you’ve found a scapegoat, I can only warn the monkey by killing the chicken [2. Another saying, meaning to prosecute one as a warning to another.]. I hope that you, as the monkey, would restrain yourself.”
“Good. I, Du Sanniang, will keep these words in mind.” She gave a smile and left.
After the crowd had dispersed, Jing Rong walked over. “This Sanniang is a smart person. It was good that you didn’t expose her. After all, we are travelling and should be more cautious.”
She nodded in response.
“Alright, you better rest early. We still have to hurry on our journey tomorrow.”
The two went upstairs.
However… In a room on the first floor, the waiter who had been punished with fifty strokes of the rod was kneeling on the floor, both arms hanging at his sides as if they had been dislocated. He was shivering as he knelt, his face deathly pale. Sanniang sat on a chair, a murderous expression on her face. She raised her leg and gave the waiter a kick.
The waiter toppled to the side. “Sanniang, please spare me.” His voice trembled.
“Didn’t I tell you before not to have any weird ideas? We can’t afford to offend this bunch of people at the inn. You dare to not listen to my words and take action in secret? You’ve followed me for so many years, but still tripped this old madam up. If that situation wasn’t resolved so peacefully just now, this old madam would have had your head!”
“Sanniang, how would I know that scholar would appear at the inn, and even know everything! I…”
“You still dare to speak? If that scholar didn’t let us off, both of us would already be locked in the yamen.”
The waiter could only concede.
“Could you lift the chests alone? Were you the only one that dug the secret chamber in the stables? She only let us off because she didn’t want to bother with the fuss!”
The waiter thought for a minute, then suddenly said, “So Sanniang, should we…” Kill her.
Before he could finish his words, Sanniang gave him a mighty slap. Pa!
“Do you not want to live anymore? Do you know what kind of people they are?”
“Sanniang, who are they?” The waiter asked in a quivering tone.
“That man in blue that came with the scholar is a prince.” Eh?!
The waiter went cross-eyed in fear. “Pr...prince?” His whole body started trembling.
Sanniang narrowed her eyes as she became lost in thought. After a while, she summoned her subordinate. “Go inform Liu Zhiliang. Tell him to be careful. Anfu is about to welcome a prince.”
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