The ones who reacted the most fiercely to the housekeeper’s confession were not Lord Zhou and Madame Zhou, but rather Magistrate Liu, who seemed appalled by such a development. The magistrate grabbed his gavel, pointed it at the housekeeper and said in an indignant voice, “You, the young Miss didn’t do you any wrong! Why did you murder her? Why? Speak at once!”
The magistrate sounded almost excited.
Wait a second, he didn’t even explain whether he had a grudge against the young miss. Why are you getting so excited?
Seeing that the housekeeper did not answer his question, the magistrate added, “If you don’t confess, I’ll sentence you to 50 hits of canes first, and then we’ll see if you can still hold your mouth still like that. Confess now and I’ll spare you the pain.”
Ji Yunshu could not bear to see this farce continue any longer and raised her hand. When he caught her eye, she pointed down in a sharp gesture.
Sit down, will you?
The message seemed to have reached the magistrate, and, although he seemed terribly embarrassed, he followed Ji Yunshu’s order and sat down with a grumpy look.
The next to come to their senses were Lord Zhou and Madame Zhou, who were completely stumped. “You murdered my daughter? Ah Jing, is that true? But why did you do that? Why?” asked Madame Zhou.
Madame Zhou was not nearly as agitated as when she’d learned that Suyun was the murderer. But, if one looked hard enough for it, the pain and hate stemming from her despair were obvious in her eyes.
This was definitely not normal. Her reaction is too unusual.
As for Lord Zhou, surprisingly, he merely sighed, and nothing more came out of him!
Ji Yunshu was bemused by the way things had unfolded. She felt like something was amiss from their reactions, but could not tell what it was exactly.
The old housekeeper ignored Madame Zhou’s question and looked at Ji Yunshu once again, he laughed and said, “Teacher, didn’t you say that the evidence will speak for itself? If you think that you already know the answer, why do you keep interrogating me?”
“Are you testing me?” asked Ji Yunshu.
“I don’t understand how you figured out it was me. It was the perfect murder; there was no way you could have found out about it.”
How confident! “Perfect?” This time, it was Ji Yunshu who laughed.
She stood straight and looked at the scar that ran through the face of the housekeeper, “If I’m not mistaken, that scar of yours, it was the young miss who did it?”
The housekeeper was not startled either, “How did you know?”
“You told me to guess, so I did. Based on your answer, it seems that I’m right, am I not?”
The housekeeper stayed silent, but he was visibly puzzled.
Ji Yunshu cracked a smile and said, “Don’t you want to ask me how I figured out how you were the culprit based on that alone?”
As she finished speaking, she brought out a pile of folded yellow paper from her pocket. As she unfolded the paper, a thin piece of white wax, which was stuck to the paper, appeared in front of everyone.
“Is it poison? Don’t tell me that little one’s going to use poison in such a public place?” Jing Rong felt a nerve on his face twitch.
Ji Yunshu brought the folded paper right to the housekeeper's face and asked, “Do you recognise this?”
The housekeeper seemed perplexed: clearly, he did not recognise what it was.
Ji Yunshu brought the paper back in front of her, and started her long explanation, “What I am holding is a piece of wax that fell off from the old mister’s clothing”
As funny as it seemed, the housekeeper was still wearing the same set of clothes without knowing that the wax was stuck to it. This was only natural, since in ancient times, people only changed their clothes once per month. By the time the housekeeper realised what was going on and glanced at his sleeves, it was already too late.
Ji Yunshu continued, “Normally, wax oil would only possess the smell of plant resin. But this piece of wax smells like lotus flowers. That’s something you wouldn’t even find in the imperial palace. Coincidentally, lotus flower extract happensed to be used in the Zhou Mansion."
As she finished her sentence, she threw a look at the runner next to her. He nodded and gave Ji Yunshu an object wrapped in white cloth. Ji Yunshu unwrapped the cloth, and what appeared was a crystal chandelier, the exact one found in the young miss’ room.
For everyone present, the chandelier did not help at all in explaining the situation.
Magistrate Liu was no exception; he pointed at the chandelier curiously and said, “What does this have to do with the young Miss’ death?”
“Oh, it is very relevant to her death,” answered Ji Yunshu.
Ji Yunshu took the table chandelier, turned around to face the housekeeper, and explained everything with a frown, “Let me guess. That night, the young miss, as usual, lit the chandelier just as she was about to drink her medicine and go to sleep. She was about to drink the poisoned soup when you appeared in her quarters. She was very unhappy about that; she didn’t allow anyone to disturb her at that time and everyone knew about it, including Suyun and Qiaoxin. She lost her composure since you broke her routine, and as someone who has a severe case of obsessive compulsive disorder, she fell into a passionate rage and dropped her usual generous young miss’ appearance.”
“So, in her anger, she must have insulted and hit you. As she did so, you remembered that it was her who’d scarred you many years ago, and you couldn’t bear it anymore. You took her pillow and choked her to death.”
Once again, the effect of the surprise caused by the revelation was audible.
Ji Yunshu continued, “While you choked her, you accidentally knocked over the chandelier, and in doing so, it burned your sleeve, creating a dark spot. As the chandelier fell to the ground, the liquid wax splashed onto your clothing. What’s more, you didn’t expect the bowl of medicine to be spilled over onto the ground as the young miss struggled for her life. Some of the poisonous concoction got into her mouth, and some splashed onto your sleeve exactly where the piece of wax was. Therefore, the piece of wax not only contains the smell of lotus flowers, but also has the smell of Roxburg rose flowers from the soup.”
“After the deed, you put the chandelier back to where it was originally and cleaned the room. As you were cleaning up, you saw Suyun sneak into the room. So, you panicked and fled the scene before you could dispose of the cadaver properly. To your surprise, not only did Suyun not tell anyone about the corpse, but she actually put it onto the bed and started cleaning up the scene for you. You were shocked, but relieved that someone helped you finish what you started”
“That was convenient for you; you could continue to be a good housekeeper while Suyun would be a scapegoat for your crime.”
The complexity of the case surprised everyone, once again. Above all, the fact that a single drop of oil wax became the key to elucidating the entire case seemed surreal.
Was the morale of the story to bathe and change clothes everyday if one wanted to murder someone?
The housekeeper looked as calm and docile as ever, but now, his darkest secret was fully exposed. But, he still looked fearless.
Ji Yunshu asked again, “Now, do you admit it, or not?”
“Teacher… what extraordinary intelligence!”
He confesses. The housekeeper finally raised his head and stared directly into Ji Yunshu’s eyes. The flesh around his scar, which was dark red in color, looked like it was dipped in blood.
At that moment…
“Milord! A disaster! The prisoner… the prisoner died!” a jailor yelled in a panicked voice as he ran into the hall.
Magistrate Liu frowned and asked, “Who?”
“That prisoner… Suyun from the Zhou Mansion. She committed suicide! She cut her wrist with the edge of a plate used to hold an oil lamp!”
That was the oil lamp Ji Yunshu left her in the hopes that it would warm her up!
Grenn's Rants Corner
Oh no! Another unforeseen situation. This novel is truly keeping people at the edge. Looks like the promised happy ending for the tragic Suyun is now void. *cries for Suyun*