Chapter 444 - I'll Take The Case
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don't read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
The onlookers began to comment negatively, “Such a fool; Miss Zhan Mo’s got a great voice and is the best actress;only the rich can afford to pay to watch one of her performances. Commoners like us can’t even listen to one song even after slogging away our entire lives.” He tutted his teeth, and walked away shaking his head!
Mo Ruo’s curiosity was not satisfied, “Why would that Miss Zhan Mo kill somebody? Why did the yamen officials arrest her? Didn’t Old Master Zhang die halfway through the show? Why did the blame fall onto that young miss’s shoulders?”
A stick-thin man neared Mo Ruo, answering his questions, “These ones I can answer.” He finished, “My second uncle, who works as a yamen runner, told us about what had happened when he returned home last night. Actually, Miss Zhan Mo had personally handed Old Master Zhang a cup of tea before she went on stage. He died after drinking it and when the coroner went to examine the body, he found that there was poison in that cup of tea!”
“But why would she kill Old Master Zhang? She doesn’t have any motive.”
“Who knows why! The young miss wouldn’t divulge anything, and she’s already locked up in the yamen prison. If she were to be interrogated, she would definitely succumb to their torturous methods and eventually confess.”
“What a waste, what a waste.”
Mo Ruo had heard all he needed. He squeezed his way out of the crowd and returned to his original seat, picking up his drink as if none of his questions had mattered in the first place. Jing Rong was similarly unmoving, leaving Ji Yunshu to bury her burning questions. Once their group was packed up and fully stocked, Jing Rong gave the order for them to leave.
However, a rowdy crowd began to make their way towards them as soon as they exited the inn’s doors. Some of those people were screaming, others shouting, and indistinct sounds of objects being thrown grew louder and louder… One of those men pushed his way through all that chaos, dashing in their direction, only to be held back by Jing Rong’s guards before he could fly right into Jing Rong’s face. That man was treated like an assassin and pressed to the floor, but he yelled maniacally, “It’s gone, I have nothing, I have nothing anymore…”
Another of that group broke away and scurried over, screaming ‘troupe leader’ as he ran. It seemed like these people were the troupe they had met, and that the man currently pinned to the floor was none other than their leader. Jing Rong gestured and he was immediately released.
The troupe member helped his leader up, “Troupe leader, we’d better head back. Zhan Mo will be alright.”
“Gone, gone…” It was like he had gone completely mad! His troupe sighed at this sorry sight, some of the women even shedding tears.
Jing Rong and Ji Yunshu were downright perplexed; only a day had passed, how did the troupe leader go mad? Suddenly, a servant girl fell to her knees with a thud, kowtowing three times at Ji Yunshu’s feet.
“Miss, what are you doing?”
Ji Yunshu stretched out to help her up, but that young girl pushed her away, crying, “Young master, you need to help my young miss. Please save her, please. She didn’t kill or poison anybody. Since you could figure out who stole our trunks, you can surely discover who killed Old Master Zhang. Our troupe leader has already turned into this mess from shock, and we’ve run out of ideas. Please, generous young master, please save her. I’ll kneel and kowtow to you, please, sir…” She began to kowtow like she promised, the sound of her skull against the hard ground ringing across the sky. Very quickly, the ground before her was dyed a painful red.
“Please, get up first.” Ji Yunshu tugged at her, hoping to get her up and off her knees.
That young girl was much stronger than she looked, and she kept resisting Ji Yunshu’s efforts as she continued kowtowing, “I’ll only get up if the young master promises to help me, otherwise I’ll remain here kneeling.”
Ji Yunshu tried to convince her, “It’s none of my business whether your young miss killed anyone; nor do I have the evidence to prove her innocence.You’re just putting me in a difficult spot.”
The young girl straightened up and waved her hands frantically, “That’s not it; my young miss really didn’t kill anyone. She didn’t poison Old Master Zhang - someone framed her. Young master, please save my young miss. Please, I beg you.” She resumed her kowtowing, virtually making a sizeable dent into the granite.
Ji Yunshu was caught between a rock and a hard place.Turning to Jing Rong for his opinion, she was met by his icy cold expression. He stared wordlessly at the young girl on the ground. After some time, he finally made up his mind, “Let’s go to the yamen.”
Hmm? Huh? Did she hear wrongly? Ji Yunshu was floored.
Jing Rong turned to Lang Po, “Go inform Liu Zhiliang that I’ll be at the yamen soon.”
“Understood!” Lang Po left at his word.
Ji Yunshu was extremely surprised at his decision. When she snapped back to reality, she hurriedly addressed that young girl, “Miss, bring your troupe leader back first.”
“Then, is the young master agreeing to help my young miss?”
Ji Yunshu paused for a moment in hesitation, before nodding affirmatively, “If your young miss was indeed framed, I’ll take this case.”
“Many thanks, young master.” That young girl gave one final kowtow, before getting up from her knees. The opera troupe thanked Ji Yunshu enthusiastically before leading their leader away.
In no time, Jing Rong, Ji Yunshu, and Mo Ruo arrived at the yamen doors. Liu Zhiliang was already waiting for them, practically running out to meet them, “This official greets Prince Rong. Could this official enquire what business Prince Rong has with our yamen today?”
“Where is she?” Jing Rong was straight to the point, as cool as he usually was.
“Who is Your Highness referring to?”
“The suspect you arrested.”
Liu Zhiliang’s eyes widened, “Your Highness has come this way for that matter?”
“Bring her here. This Prince will interrogate her myself.” He strided into the yamen without a second word.
As Ji Yunshu brushed past Liu Zhiliang, his gaze hovered on her for an extra second as his heart began to pound. Was this Teacher Ji? That famed Teacher Ji? He was nervous at this thought, but kept a calm facade, ordering his men to bring Zhan Mo from her cell to the public court.
Zhan Mo’s body was riddled with wounds, her thin dress ripped open in many parts as fresh blood stained every bit of her garments. Her once beautiful visage was now covered in bruises as she was pushed down onto her knees, collapsing like a lifeless ragdoll once the person let go of her. Her face was deathly white, her eyes barely open. She moved her mouth to speak, but no words came out.
Jing Rong’s face fell, and he glanced furiously at Liu Zhiliang. Liu Zhiliang was a cunning old fox, and he immediately defended himself, “Your Highness, this official didn’t know the prison overseers would torture this young miss. Could Your Highness please conduct a fair interrogation.”
“Without your order, who would dare do such a thing?”
“Please judge fairly, Your Highness. This official would never use such means to force this young miss’ confession without proper evidence. This official was just…”
“Forget it!” Jing Rong cut him off sharply, “Liu Zhiliang, this Prince came here today not to hear your lame excuses, but to understand the murder case at Zhang Estate!”
Liu Zhiliang bowed, stammering, “Understood.”
Jing Rong turned to Mo Ruo, “She’s in your hands.” Mo Ruo nodded, heading to check on Zhan Mo, who was lying face-down on the cold hard floor.
The young lady was beaten half to death, blood still seeping through her clothes. Mo Ruo did not dare touch her recklessly; he gently swept her unruly hair away from her face, only to see those bloodshot eyes. He clenched his fists - he did not want to jostle her anymore than he should. He pulled out a decorated bottle from his waistband, pouring out a tablet and pressing it into Zhan Mo’s mouth. Only when she had swallowed that pill did he dare to pull her up from the ground.
He whispered softly into her ear, “Listen carefully. Don’t say anything from now on. They will lock you up in your cell again, and that Teacher Ji will pay you a visit. Only then should you tell her anything and everything you know.”
Zhan Mo was too weak to reply, but she gave a small nod.
ChouFleur Rants Corner
That poor singer!
Previous Chapter Next Chapter