Note: The darkness shall swallow your mind as you continue to probe further into that wretched woman's life experience.
The truth was ever so shocking.
Ji Yunshu could no longer see any guilt or regret in Yu Sao’s eyes, but only hatred that has been completely twisted by jealousy. Yu Sao was jealous of her own daughter, jealous that she received the “favour” of Lord Jiang when she herself was rejected.
I’ll never be able to understand her thoughts.
Yu Sao gave a loud laugh after she heard what Ji Yunshu said. The teeth she showed took on a strange air of ferocity, like a wolf stalking its prey. She moved her hands, which were raised in the air, and grasped the wooden pillar in front of her in a frenetic swing. Her long nails sank into the wood and pushed back against her flesh, instantly drawing blood, “He actually loves me, and he should love me. Everyone looked down on him because he was a yin-yang man, but I was the only one who took care of him and treated him well. Why did he marry someone else? Why does he like my Ah Yu, and not me? Why, WHY…”
A tangible wretchedness was intertwined with her feverish laugh. Ji Yunshu, for once, sincerely wished for someone’s death. Yu Sao deserved it a hundred times, if not, ten thousand times more than anyone else.
But Yu Sao was not finished, “Oh no, it wasn’t just Lord Jiang, even my own husband. He said that he loved me, but he cheated on me with another woman. He also deserved to die, and he deserved to be quartered!”
Oh! Ji Yunshu remembered the dream she had. It sent shivers down her spine and she asked in a trembling voice, “So you killed your husband?”
“He deserved to die, just like Ah Yu did. So I killed him with a knife, I sliced him into pieces in front of Ah Yu. I even plucked out his eyeball and fed it to Ah Yu. Ah Yu said that it tasted good and I think so too. Oh yes, it tasted great!”
“Was it as cruel as these men?” roared Yu Sao. “I thought Lord Jiang was sincere to me; I thought he liked Ah Yu, so I let him carry her away. I saw my Ah Yu cry beneath him. I’m really sad, why does he not like me? Why? Even though I’m so nice to him, why…”
Yu Sao repeatedly struck the wooden pillar wildly; she had surpassed the boundaries of someone mentally broken. She was but an empty husk; a human husk without feelings, thoughts or a soul.
Ji Yunshu struggled to maintain her composure, but her eyes still reddened, and tears appeared within them, “Do you really not regret anything at all?”
Yu Sao smiled. She took a few steps back until her back touched the cold stone wall. She laughed mindlessly, slowly knelt down, and suddenly started to scratch her own face with her bloodied fingernails, which were still sprinkled with wooden chips. Yu Sao did not answer. Instead, she resumed her humming.
She doesn’t regret it a single bit. Ji Yunshu understood her silent answer. Ji Yunshu’s hands were also clenched into fists beneath her sleeves, and her nails sank into her flesh.
Magistrate Liu interposed himself and cut through the emotional heaviness. He looked at Yu Sao, glanced back at Ji Yunshu and sighed, “Yunshu, I know that you don’t feel so well right now, how about you leave the rest to me?”
Ji Yunshu turned around and left in silence. Around the corner, she saw Jing Rong waiting for her, looking forth compassionately. She kept walking without uttering a single word and tried to skirt around him, but Jing Rong seized her wrist, “If you are upset, don’t hide it. It’ll be better if we talk about it.”
“I’m fine,” said Ji Yunshu without much emotion as she pulled her hand out of his and walked to Ah Yu’s corpse. Jing Rong followed her steps quietly.
Ji Yunshu looked at Ah Yu’s corpse, felt sadness stream into her heart again and smiled melancholically, “Maybe this is the best ending for Ah Yu. A release found in death.”
Jing Rong turned to look in her direction and saw a true, genuine sympathy and also the most fragile of human affections hidden within Ji Yunshu’s watery eyes. It was a sharp contrast to the usual mask of coldness and indifference Ji Yunshu wore. Jing Rong felt his heart cry out in pitiful fondness, but even he was powerless under these circumstances.
She’s a kind person. She must be. Behind the wall she has built in her heart, I see emotions as strong, and as tasteful as wine that has fermented for a thousand years! thought Jing Rong.
“Now that we know the truth, we should let Ah Yu rest,” said Jing Rong.
“Yes.” Ji Yunshu nodded and slowly covered Ah Yu’s corpse with a white sheet. After doing so, she furrowed her brows and said, “There’s something else I don’t understand.”
“Are you talking about Madame Jiang?”
“Yes, why did she lie to me? Also, Seventh Uncle’s death… does it have anything to do with her?”
Jing Rong said in a stern voice, “If you want to know, then why don’t we go ask her?”
He’s certainly right about that, thought Ji Yunshu. She beckoned a guard and asked him to guide Jing Rong and herself to Madame Jiang’s cell.
The cell was in a completely different direction compared to Yu Sao’s cell, and Ji Yunshu only understood the reason after she saw the entrance.
Is this really a prison cell? It seems like a well-furnished bedroom! It’s clean and has all the proper furniture: a bed, some tables, chairs, teapot, and cups. There’s even a window!
Madame Jiang was calmly pouring herself a cup of tea when Jing Rong and Ji Yunshu entered the room. She quirked her lips and did not even raise her head to greet them, “Your Highness, please forgive me for not being able to salute you properly.”
Jing Rong raised the corner of his lips, “Madame Jiang, I see that you are having a really pleasant time. You even have time for tea?”
“Oh, you are mistaken about that, Your Highness. This tea is not for my enjoyment, it’s for getting rid of that rancid smell. You see, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy my tea in a place like this.”
“Perhaps you wouldn’t have been locked up in here in the first place if you hadn’t done what you did. Madame Jiang, not only did you bury your husband’s corpse, you even tried to hide the truth. We ought to keep you here for a couple more years,” said Jing Rong with a smile cold enough to freeze one’s bones and heart.
Madame Zhang understood Jing Rong’s hint. She looked at Ji Yunshu and said, “Well then, Teacher Ji, it seems like you know the truth.”
Ji Yunshu expelled her sadness and asked coldly, “Why didn’t you tell me yesterday?”
“Why would I?” said Madame Jiang, as she picked up the teapot and started pouring into a cup. “Before yesterday, I wanted to keep it a secret because, just as you said, I wanted to preserve the honor of the Li family. But when I saw Yu Sao, and heard you say that she was the culprit, I was actually quite happy.”
Ji Yunshu continued on her behalf, “You are happy because you pity Ah Yu. She’s dead, and you didn’t want her to be called a murderer. You also wanted Yu Sao to die, didn’t you? That’s why you stayed silent.”
Ji Yunshu took two steps until she stood only two inches away from a wooden post.
Madame Jiang paid no attention to Ji Yunshu’s remarks, picking up the cup of tea and spilling its contents onto the ground.
She lowered her eyes and said, “That night, I saw Ah Yu, and I asked her where she was going. She told me that she was going to kill that animal like how her mother killed her father. She was only six years old but I saw a despair and killing intent that I had never seen before. I did not stop her; I watched as she stabbed him, one blow after another. When she left, I approached that animal and looked at his corpse. He was staring wide at me, but I did not pity him at all. He deserved it, and even worse than that.”
Madame Jiang laughed as she narrated.
Ji Yunshu asked, “What about Seventh Uncle?”
Madame Jiang put the cup back on the table and looked at Ji Yunshu, “Teacher Ji, I know what you want to ask. I can only tell you that there are many coincidences in this world. I did not kill him.”
“Do you think that I can still believe you after everything?”
“You are right in being suspicious about my explanation, but believe me, I have no need to lie to you.” Madame Jiang stood up and approached Ji Yunshu. She had an elegant smile and an approving expression. “You are one of the smartest people I have ever met.”
Ji Yunshu was impassive, “What do you mean?”
“I hope that we will meet again in the Capital one day. I hope to have a drink with you then.”
Ji Yunshu scoffed. The capital again? I don’t have the slightest interest in the capital at all!
Jing Rong suddenly interjected, “Not so fast, Madame Jiang. You haven’t been found guilty of murder, but what you have done is no trivial crime. I wouldn’t be so sure about returning to the capital if I were you.”
Madame Jiang clearly thought otherwise; with the power and influence of her maternal family she would be out of the prison in no time. Madame Jiang changed the topic and said, “Your Highness, a person of such talent ought to not stay for long in a petty place such as Jinjiang City. If you truly value talent, you should keep him by your side and bring him to the capital with you.”
Jing Rong was rather pleased upon hearing the remark. He flashed a glance at Ji Yunshu and raised the corner of his lips, “No need for your counsel as for I have already decided to give my best efforts in trying to convince Teacher Ji to follow me back to the Capital.”
Ji Yunshu could not answer Jing Rong. She stepped back one step and retreated from Madame Jiang’s vicinity, “Since I have gotten what I came for, I will not stay here any longer. Madame Jiang, I will leave you to the interesting task of replacing the pungent odour in your cell by using the sweet aroma of tea then.”
Ji Yunshu had barely walked three steps when Madame Jiang called her again, “Teacher Ji, Jinjiang is a pond of clear water. A beautiful snow befalls it during the winter and a misty fog through which the lotus flowers stand veils it during the summer. But you, you don’t belong in this small pond.”
Tell me, Madame Jiang. How much did Jing Rong pay you to make you say that? Do you really want me at the capital so badly? Ji Yunshu did not bother answering her and simply left the room.
Jing Rong looked at Madame Jiang one last time and followed suit.
When the two were outside, they noticed that it was snowing. Wei Yi, crouched on the ground, and Lang Po, standing in front of him, had been waiting for them at a corner for quite a while. Upon seeing Ji Yunshu, Wei Yi jumped up and ran towards her.
“Shu’er!” exclaimed Wei Yi merrily.
He then gave a snort of disgust and glanced at Jing Rong, “Big Brother, you smell bad.”
Kid, you’re really good at telling the truth aren’t you? Jing Rong’s expression soured. He had stayed in a jail cell and even carried Ah Yu’s corpse. It was no surprise that he smelled bad!
Grenn's Rants Corner
At this point, you might want to refresh your feelings with some lighthearted novels on volare like This MC is Kickass, because the next case will be dark too, but it's the last one of the arc. I personally find the yin yang corpse case to be the most disgusting one in the whole novel. Good thing the cases are quite diverse and without a need for a repeat.