The word ‘Xu’? A sudden realization hit Ji Yunshu. Her hands balled into fists as she stood there in shock for a few seconds. Then, she quickly walked over to the maids.
The maids heaved a sigh of relief. “Good, it’s not something made of jade. How lucky…” As the maid spoke, Ji Yunshu took the brocade box from her.
“Teacher Ji?” The two maids were startled as they exchanged looks.
Ji Yunshu stared at the ‘Xu’ on the handkerchief and did not say anything for a long while. She carefully lifted the handkerchief and laid it on her palm. This was when she realized it was not a complete handkerchief, but only half of one. It was torn exactly in the middle of the handkerchief, where a bright red jasmine was embroidered. It was very uncommon for someone to stitch a bright red jasmine on a yellow handkerchief. Moreover, Ji Yunshu thought the half-jasmine looked very familiar, as though she had seen it somewhere before.
She ran through the embroidery repeatedly with the tip of her fingers. Abruptly, a thought flashed across her mind and her heart immediately sank! Yes, I’ve definitely seen this before! At the memorial hall! Such a coincidence!
She grabbed the handkerchief in her fist and asked the maids, “Who does this belong to?”
One of the maids pointed at the big box, “It’s one of the items left by the old master and madam. They are all things the young master played with when he was young.”
“I’m talking about this handkerchief.”
The maid stuttered, “I think…”
Before she finished her words. “That also belongs to Young Master. Old Master and Madam took very good care of the handkerchief and it had always been placed inside this brocade box and kept inside the big box. No one was allowed to touch it.” It was Uncle Fu who spoke. He walked forward and continued, “Young Master owns everything in this box, and Old Master and Madam had always taken good care of all the items inside. Usually, no one was allowed to touch it. These maids were only instructed to move this to the West Courtyard due to a leakage in the room the box was kept in. Is there any problem with this handkerchief, Teacher Ji?”
It is not merely just any issue. It’s a big issue!
Ji Yunshu’s heavy heart sank all the way down to the floor. Her mind was in mayhem, full of many overwhelming yet messy thoughts. Slowly, all the thoughts pieced together like a puzzle. She finally figured out the whole story! “Bang!” The brocade box in her trembling hands fell to the ground.
Uncle Fu quickly bent down to pick the box up as he asked, “Teacher, what’s wrong?”
She said in a solemn tone while holding the handkerchief in her hand, “Uncle Fu, can I borrow this handkerchief?”
“I will take good care of it, and return it the first thing tomorrow.”
Uncle Fu thought, ‘It’s merely a handkerchief and it’s worth nothing. Moreover, Teacher Ji is a trustworthy person.’ Hence, he said, “Teacher Ji, since you’ve made the request, you may just take it if you want.”
“Thanks.” She gently nodded before she turned and entered the courtyard.
Uncle Fu placed the brocade box back into the big box before he lectured the maids, “Look at the two of you. How can you be so clumsy? All of these are left by Old Master and Madam. They must not be broken. Fortunately, there are no fragile items inside the box. Imagine if there were porcelain or jade inside the box. I’ll punish the both of you if anything happens to them.”
The young maid said pitifully, “Uncle Fu, we apologize. However, the metal ring was too rusty that it broke on its own, it’s not our fault.”
“Fine, fine. Hurry up and clean this up, then move it to the West Courtyard. Also, hire a blacksmith to fix this metal ring.”
“Yes.” The maids promptly kept the things, closed the box and moved it away.
Uncle Fu, however, remained still for a short while. ‘Why did Ji Yunshu ask for the handkerchief that young master used when he was young? It’s just a handkerchief. Even though it’s yellow, it’s not made of gold!’ Puzzled, he briefly shook off the thought and left the place.
Ji Yunshu returned to her room and sat quietly while she stared at the handkerchief on the table with a fixed gaze. She stared at the bright red jasmine, then at the ‘Xu’ word. After that, she took out the orange-coloured jade. She gently placed the ‘Xu’ engraving on the jade to the ‘Xu’ embroidery on the handkerchief.
After a long while, she called, “Ziqin.” Shi Ziqin’s silhouette appeared on the door and she entered the room. She cupped her hands and asked, “How can I help you, Teacher?”
Ji Yunshu threw a brief glimpse at Shi Ziqin. “Visit the library of the yamen secretly now. Bring me a book titled ‘The National Record of Names’ immediately. It’s placed on the top row in the bookshelf on the left.”
“Wait. Don’t tell anyone about this, including the Prince.”
“Yes.” Shi Ziqin accepted the order without any questions. She left the room and quickly vanished. About an hour later, Shi Ziqin came back with ‘The National Record of Names’ and handed it to Ji Yunshu.
Shi Ziqin could not contain her curiosity any longer and asked, “Teacher Ji, what book is this?”
“This is the compilation of all the surnames of royalty in the Great Lin Dynasty”
“Why do you need this book?”
“I’m looking for an answer.”
Hmm? Looking at Ji Yunshu, who was flipping the book with furrowed brows, Shi Ziqin understood that she was not reading it for pleasure. Hence, Shi Ziqin left the room quietly.
Ji Yunshu had always been a fast reader. However, not only did she take her time to read ‘The National Record of Names’, she read every page, word by word, fearing that she might miss a word. The book was crammed full of names in tiny print. Every single surname, name, nickname, salutation and title of the royal family from the beginning of the Great Lin Dynasty was recorded within.
When the royal court distributed this book to the yamen in Jinjiang a few years ago, she had briefly flipped through the book. However, she found it boring and quickly ditched it. She even used it to fix the uneven table legs occasionally. Eventually, that foolish Liu Qingping bumped into her slipping the book underneath the table leg. She was scared badly and immediately picked up the book from the floor. To prevent her from using it as a table riser again, Liu Qingping hid the book on the top row of the bookshelf and placed it under a lot of heavy books.
Therefore, she had forgotten about the book a long time ago. If not because of the ‘Xu’ on the handkerchief, she would not have recalled it.
At that moment, she was reading it carefully. She started from the first page, the Great Ancestor Emperor, followed by the late Emperor, and later, the current Emperor. The hope in her heart gradually dimmed and turned into disappointment. ‘Am I overthinking things?’
When she had five pages left, she paused. Her gaze fixed on one specific name on the page. Her hands started to tremble and dropped the book.
Even though she was expecting this, yet, she was still shocked.
The Imperial Duke!
She had paused on the page with the information of The Imperial Duke. In detail, the page contained the Imperial Duke’s name, nickname, and salutation. She read that page again and again. A long while later, she closed the book and placed it on the side. She remained on her seat without saying a word. When the sun slowly set, she kept the things on the table, then left the room with one hand carrying the portrait and another carrying a lantern.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Dun dun dunnn... back to the Lin Capital Case. Who remembers it?
P.S. Still waiting for submissions for who you would cast if BPC were a drama!
Translator: YY, Editor: Dray