We were destined to work for Lord Yama. Our left hand holds the culprit’s life and our right hand grasps that of the victims’, if we relax either one for a mere moment, then our lives are forfeit.
Her words resonated powerfully, its echoes gradually drowned out by the heavy rain.
Wen Shisan heard them clearly. He had never forgotten her words, not for a single moment.
The hands in his sleeves balled tightly and then relaxed. His eyes held a hint of disdain as he replied, “I have never forgotten what you said; Wen Shisan has always made Shifu’s words my maxim; every word, every phrase has been engraved into my bones. ”
“And yet your actions are as sinister as those of the evil bull demons and snake spirits, destroying the lives of innocents.”
“But I, Wen Shisan, would rather act as a cow demon than have my hands bound. As long as I can solve the case, I am willing to do anything. I don’t have to be so wary of everything and anyone, like you.” He was firmly set in his convictions.
This man is practically perverse! Ji Yunshu shook her head and lowered her voice. “If you still have a shred of conscience, then stop doing evil things and endangering the lives of innocents.”
“You can spare me your preachings, I am different from you. You solve cases as you continue to preach your so-called justice. But for me, so long as I can find the true culprit, anyone can be sacrificed and their deaths will be worth it.”
Hints of brutal cruelty gradually revealed itself and covered the gentleness his eyes had once exhibited.
In short, Wen Shisan was someone that would sweep away anything that would obstruct his path to fame and glory. He did value human lives, but merely as stepping stones to help him climb even higher!
Ji Yunshu said, ”You’re irredeemable.”
Wen Shisan, ”Argue however you want. In any case, this Case of the Dried Well will definitely be solved by me first. By then, the Teacher Ji famed throughout the capital will only be a defeated opponent, while the name Wen Shisan will be known everywhere. However...” He laughed, “Since you are my Shifu, I won’t humiliate you too badly. You once taught me and I should be grateful for that and not let you lose completely. Then again, ‘the student surpasses their master’. I have you to thank for that and you should be glad to have a student like myself.” His tone seemed to be insinuating something.
Hmph! Should I be happy for you then? Would you like me to offer some incense to you every festival as well? Shameless fellow! Ji Yunshu smiled wryly, “I must have been really blind back then, to have allowed you to remain at my side.”
“You don’t have to put yourself in that light.” Wen Shisan’s face stiffened as he continued, “To tell you the truth, the reason why I entered the capital to assist in Prince Yi’s investigation was not only so that I can gain more recognition than you. Prince Yi had also given his word that so long as my assistance results in him solving this case before Prince Rong, he will give me the position of the Judicial Inspection Chief of the Ministry of Justice.” Greed clouded his eyes.
Judicial Inspection Chief! How laughable.
“The pinnacle of our profession is undoubtedly the one that allows one to mete out punishment. If Prince Yi is able to give that to me, I’ll follow him wherever he goes.”
What a sycophant!
Ji Yunshu was amused to no end, “You think...that Prince Yi can be trusted?”
Ho ho. Anyway, she had already said her piece, but this guy insisted on remaining pigheaded and foolish! She replied, “Very well, I’d like to see for myself whether you would be able to take office as the Judicial Inspection Chief.” The two of them faced each other, staunchly in opposition.
Just then, two figures, one tall and one short, approached from afar.
Due to the dark clouds and the curtain of rain, it was not possible to clearly discern their appearances. However, based on their silhouettes, it seemed that one of them was seated in a wheelchair and the other was behind, pushing him along.
They gradually drew closer. Ji Yunshu and Wen Shisan also concluded their argument as they turned their attention to the newly-arrived visitors.
The tall figure pushed the wheelchair with one hand while his other held the umbrella. However, the umbrella was tilted forward to cover the seated individual, causing his own back to be completely soaked. Rainwater drenched his hair and trickled down his tanned face. On close examination, multiple short scars could be seen on the man’s face. It is likely that the scars were not properly treated, which caused the scars to heal poorly in a pattern that looked as though a centipede were crawling on his face.
The seated figure had a head full of neatly-combed white hair. He appeared to be around sixty, with a dull gaze and sombre expression. He cradled lantern, whose candle flickered as if it would extinguish at any moment.
The two men arrived at the door. The young man that had been pushing the wheelchair folded up the umbrella and rested it against the pillar before shaking some of the rainwater off his body.
As Wen Shisan and Ji Yunshu were standing in a poorly-lit area, the visitors did not notice them.
As the younger man pushed the wheelchair forward, something caught the light, directing a bright flash of light towards Ji Yunshu’s eyes. It was so bright that she found it difficult to keep her eyes open and flinched away reflexively.
By the time she recovered from the glare, the duo had already gone inside.
Inside the building.
As the two men stepped inside the building, the wheelchair creaked loudly, attracting everyone’s attention.
One of them looked as though his soul had been stolen, as he sat in the wheelchair, holding a lantern in his arms with a lifeless expression.
The other was drenched from head to toe; although his face was scarred, his manner appeared honest and did not seem like a bad person at all.
The village chief saw this and ran over to give the young man a slap, reminding him, “Zhang Daqi, what’s wrong with you? Don’t you see the two princes here?”
The man called Zhang Daqi was a little cowed, as his gaze swept past the two grand personnages. His expression was slightly panicked as he clumsily cupped his hands together and bowed in greeting, saying in a gruff but powerful voice, “This humble one did not mean to disturb Your Highnesses, I beg for your mercy.” Well, he’s rather good at talking!
Jing Rong was just about to dismiss the matter when Jing Yi interjected, “There’s no need to be afraid. After all, we’re not heinous villains, why would we randomly punish people?”
At this point, should Jing Yi be given the title of a hypocrite? And be repeatedly smacked in the face with it?
Zhang Daqi let out a sigh and shuffled to the side.
After that, the village chief asked, “What are you doing here and not staying at home with your father?”
“Chief, the waters have flooded our house too, so we had no choice but to come here.”
“How could this be?”
“There were a lot of items that I couldn’t move out in time. I don’t know what to do.”
“As long as you’re alright. Please wait inside the ancestral hall with your father. We’ll talk later once the water has receded.”
“That’s the only thing we can do now.” Zhang Daqi then pushed his father’s wheelchair inside to join the villagers.
Jing Rong looked out at the unceasing rain, almost as though someone tore a hole through the sky, before turning to look at the brooding village chief and consoled him, “Chief, you don’t have to worry too much. Although the rain has destroyed quite a number of homes, causing you all to seek refuge, this prince will definitely report this situation to the capital and recompense everyone for the damages as soon as possible.”
Does that mean that he intends to give out disaster relief funds?