Chapter 446 - Cat
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There was a second type of poison? Mo Ruo continued, “This poison acts within thirty minutes once consumed, but is difficult, almost impossible, to recognise - even the imperial physicians may not know it. Luckily…” Mo Ruo paused for dramatic effect, before finishing haughtily, “I’ve seen this poison once before - it’s named Tea Poison.”
Tea Poison? They were taken aback, but none more than Liu Zhiliang. Coming forward, he asked, “Why would there be such poison? The coroner had examined the crime scene earlier; he said that the tea only contained Yinshuang and it was also the only poison found in Old Master Zhang’s body - he made no mention of Tea Poison.”
Mo Ruo replied snappily, “The coroner was useless.”
“Where’s that teacup?”
Liu Zhiliang had someone bring the poisoned teacup over. Mo Ruo retrieved a small bottle and poured out some powder onto his palm before putting some into the teacup, but nothing happened. He stated confidently, “There is indeed only Yinshuang in this teacup; there is no evidence of Tea Poison. But the victim’s body does have Tea Poison - this is an irrefutable fact. The effects of Yinshuang only appear after roughly ten hours, but it takes only thirty minutes for the Tea Poison to take effect - this means that the true cause of death was the Tea Poison.”
“That’s strange - there’s only Yinshuang in this teacup the murderer presented!” Liu Zhiliang was confused.
Mo Ruo had spoken his piece, pulling out a handkerchief to wipe his hands. He turned to Ji Yunshu, “I’ve helped you figure out all that you needed; I can’t help you with whatever remains.” He handed the little bottle of powder to her, “When Tea Poison comes into contact with this powder, the mixture will turn red. You know what you have to do, so I’ll head back first.” He left without looking back! It was most likely because it was time for some alcohol.
He left the entire room much more puzzled than they were just minutes ago, Two types of poison? There was only one poison in that teacup, so why were there two types in the victim’s body?
Ji Yunshu set the small bottle aside, carefully examining the victim’s corpse. The rest of the room watched her feel the victim’s exposed torso up and down, turning him over then back again. Jing Rong’s face was quite green; how could a woman just touch a man’s body like that? It was not jealousy that he felt, but some kind of discomfort he could not put into words.
Ji Yunshu did not find anything of note on the victim’s body, so she pulled down his pants. The servant girls immediately looked away! Liu Zhiliang hurried forth, “Teacher, this…” Ji Yunshu ignored him, intently looking for any clues she could gather.
Jing Rong’s face turned into stone as he watched Ji Yunshu examine and feel the corpse’s legs down to his ankles. However, she found no wounds, scars, or even oddities on his entire body. She then asked the Liu family members for a pair of gloves and a small knife, as well as some needle and thread. She lifted the blade, placing it accurately at the corpse’s neck, but Third Madam Zhang rushed over, screaming, “What are you trying to do?!”
“Cut open his throat.”
“No, you can’t!” She was very worked up, “My Old Master’s body must be perfectly preserved.”
“Third Madam Zhang, according to the coroner’s report, the victim died of Yinshuang poisoning. Since it has been proven that there is another kind of poison in his body, this one would like to determine if the Tea Poison was also consumed.”
“Whether it was or not, the murderer has already been found and arrested. It was that opera girl who killed him. I can’t just let you cut open my Old Master’s body!” She planned to stop her, but was caught by the yamen runners.
Liu Zhiliang approached her, “Third Madam Zhang, the most important thing now is to investigate Old Master Zhang’s death. With how suspicious the circumstances are, we can’t just convict that opera singer, can we??”
Third Madam Zhang hesitated. Just then, a voice called out, “Mother, let her cut it open.” It was a male voice; a man walked over to support Third Madam Zhang, “Mother, Father is already dead. The most crucial thing now is to bring the real killer to justice!”
Third Madam Zhang only had one son. His name was Zhang Yimo. He had soft clean features, and looked like a reasonable man. Third Madam Zhang finally gave in and nodded, tears still welling up in her eyes. Zhang Yimo addressed Ji Yunshu, “Teacher Ji, please, find out why my father died.”
Ji Yunshu nodded, the knife in her hand already slowly sinking into the corpse’s skin. As she sunk her blade further in, some sticky black blood oozed out.
When she finally reached the hyoid bone, she discovered that the bony segment was black as well. She opened the small bottle that Mo Ruo had given to her, pouring some powder onto the exposed hyoid bone. There was no reaction, and not even a hint of red was anywhere to be seen. She concluded, “Only Yinshuang passed through the victim’s throat. The Tea Poison was not ingested.”
Zhan Yimo asked, “Then how did that second poison end up inside my father’s body?”
Ji Yunshu had no theories just yet, so she shook her head. She picked up the needle and thread that was earlier prepared, sewing up the clean cut stitch by stitch, as if she were doing her usual needlework. When the last stitch was put in, she wiped the throat with a clean cloth; the cut had almost disappeared, and was only visible if you were specifically looking for it.
The room was shocked, who in the world was this man? Ji Yunshu next re-dressed the body in its original garments.
When she put on the outermost robe, she was alarmed to find some sharp shards on the sleeves. The small shards caught on the silver threads of the sleeve resembled fine porcelain She asked his family members, “Did your old master get into a fight with someone?”
They shook their heads, “It was his birthday last night - why would he get into any sort of altercation?”
“Then where did these fine porcelain shards on his clothes come from?”
“His clothes?” The Zhang Estate butler suddenly piped up, “These clothes were the ones Old Master changed into during the banquet last night.”
Ji Yunshu was perplexed, “Why would he change his clothes halfway through his banquet?”
“First Madam Zhang’s teacup was knocked over by cats and the tea spilled onto Old Master’s clothes, prompting him to change into a different set.”
“Was it before the troupe’s performance, or after? More specifically, was it before the singer presented the tea, or after?”
“It was right after. As soon as she began her performance, the teacup was overturned. When Old Master returned from the room, half the performance was already finished. When he sat down, he collapsed.” Butler Zhang answered accordingly, every word the absolute truth.
Ji Yunshu pondered for a moment, “Then, could you bring this one to have a look at your Old Master’s room?”
Butler Zhang looked towards Zhang Yimo, who said, “Uncle Zhang, bring the Teacher over.”
“Understood.” Butler Zhang led Ji Yunshu and the yamen officers over, only to be interrupted by some meowing noises! Two cats were playing around excitedly in the yard, pawing at the door to Old Master Zhang’s room. They spotted Ji Yunshu and leapt over at her, only to be blocked by Butler Zhang. He commented, “What’s wrong with these cats today? They’re usually very afraid of Old Master, but now that he’s passed away, they want to go inside, even wanting to pounce on you Teacher.”
Ji Yunshu stared at those two cats, paying particular attention to their bright, eerie eyes.
ChouFleur Rants Corner
Another poison? And what do the cats have to do with anything?
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