Wei Yi’s parents laid on the floor with ghastly faces, coughing up blood with every breath.
Ji Yunshu was frozen by shock until she realized that she had to do something. She hurriedly got up and knelt down beside Lord Wei and Madame Wei, “Aunt Wei, Uncle Wei? You…”
She lifted Madame Wei up from the ground, leaning her against her own body, and wiped the blood dripping out of her mouth, not knowing better.
Madame Wei’s complexion turned blue as her trembling hand stretched toward Ji Yunshu. Ji Yunshu grasped her hand and shouted, “Aunt Wei!”
“Yi...Yi’er, Pl-please help me… take care...of him…” Madame Wei entreated Ji Yunshu with great difficulty, and tears appeared in her eyes.
“Pro... promise me.”
Ji Yunshu’s eyes reddened, and tears began to roll down her cheeks. She nodded as strongly as she could and said, “Yes, I promise you. I promise you. Aunt Wei, don’t worry, you will be alright.”
Madame Wei gripped her hands agitatedly, “Also… Yunshu, Yi’er… He’s...not…”
“Yi’er is not… my…”
What? Ji Yunshu was bewildered.
Madame Wei could not finish her sentence; her body twitched and suddenly lost all strength.
She stopped breathing the next moment. Her eyes remained open, staring ghastly into the afterlife. Her death was far from peaceful.
“Aunt Wei! Aunt Wei!” Ji Yunshu cried out in disbelief. She nudged Madame Wei’s body, but did not receive a response. She turned her head to look at Lord Wei, and saw him lying with wide-open eyes.
Ji Yunshu yelled in panic, “Someone, someone please come!”
The first person to enter the room was Luan’er. She flung open the door and her whole body trembled when she saw the horrors that lay within. She covered her mouth with both of her hands and screeched with terror.
“Go get a doctor, quick!” cried Ji Yunshu.
Ji Yunshu’s voice snapped Luan’er out of her shock. With trembling limbs, she ran to fetch a doctor.
The other people in the Wei Mansion, alerted by the commotion, came to see what was going on and nearly lost their souls when they saw their masters laying on the ground. Someone quickly rushed into the room and placed their finger near the nostrils of Madame and Lord Wei. He collapsed on the ground the next second, “Milord and Madame… they are dead!”
The entire room fell silent.
Only after a few seconds did cries of “Milord” and “Madame” fill up the room, accompanied by sobs and moans.
Ji Yunshu still had Madame Wei’s hand in hers. She felt a fiery pain sear through her heart, but above all, she simply refused to believe what had just happened.
Someone looked at the door and suddenly said, “Young Master.”
Wei Yi was standing at the door, and his pretty eyes looked at the two corpses on the ground. He seemed almost like an unreal being.
Ji Yunshu raised her head and looked at him. Wei Yi’s body was tightened into a rigid plank. It was a long while before he could manage to slowly move his quivering feet and limped into the room. He stopped right beside his parents’ corpses, feet drenched in a small pool of dark blood, and knelt down to hold one hand from each of his parents.
He did not cry, but his voice was sorrowful enough to make any listener do so, “Mom, Dad, Yi’er will be a nice boy. Please wake up! Can you please wake up?”
“Young Master, Milord and Madame… they have already passed away.”
“That’s not true, mom and dad wouldn’t leave me.” Wei Yi shook his head and wrapped his arms around his parents’ body. He cried and murmured, “Yi’er will be a good boy, Yi’er will never cause trouble again. Dad, Mom, can you wake up, please? Stop sleeping. Don’t leave Yi’er alone…” Wei Yi voice cracked, and he stopped his monologue.
Ji Yunshu looked at Wei Yi in his misery and felt as if she was wrenched into two from the inside out. Wei Yi refused to move his hands away from his parents, no matter how hard the servants tried. He just kept repeating, “I’ll be a good boy now, please…”
Luan’er returned not long after, accompanied by a doctor. He quickly confirmed the passing away of both Lord Wei and Madame Wei. Upon further verification, he said, “Lord Wei and Madame Wei ingested Pitohui poison.”
‘Pitohui poison? What’s that?’ The servants thought rather curiously.
They did not understand what the result implied, but Ji Yunshu did. She looked at the doctor and asked with consternation, “Sir, are you really sure that it’s Pitohui poison?”
“Yes, there is no mistake, it is indeed Pitohui poison.” answered the doctor. He suddenly noticed the two cups of tea on the table, picked up one and sniffed it. He then brought out a pack of powder from his case and melted some into the tea. The tea, which had a light amber colour originally, suddenly turned pitch-black.
“There is poison in the tea,” said the doctor. He then added some powder to the tea kettle, and upon observing no reaction, added, “It is likely that someone added the poison to the tea while it was being poured.”
“That’s impossible,” retorted Ji Yunshu. “It’s impossible that there’s poison in the tea. That’s because… I’m the one who poured the tea.” She had barely finished her sentence when she felt a powerful shove which pushed her away from Madame Wei’s corpse. She staggered, and her body ran into the doorframe.
“You added the poison. You killed Milord and Madame.” Someone pointed a finger at her.
Ji Yunshu shuddered. She looked at the blood on her hands and dropped both of her arms limply, “It was not me, it was not me…”
Wei Yi raised his head to look at her when he heard the shout. His bloodshot eyes were filled with disbelief.
Ji Yunshu shook her head and met his glance directly. “Wei Yi, it was not me.”
“Believe me.” She said with a serious look. Wei Yi sniffed and remained in a silent sob.
“You are the one who put in the poison, you are a murderer! Someone, call the yamen right now.” Someone yelled loudly. The servants suddenly burst into a confused mess. Some were screaming while others were still crying.
Luan’er pulled on Ji Yunshu’s hand and cried in fear, but she did not forget to defend her, “My Young Miss has not killed anyone. She would never do that. It cannot be her.”
The servants left her alone, and sent someone right away for the yamen.
It was not long before Magistrate Liu arrived in a hurry with a couple of runners. Such explosive news from the Wei Mansion, the loss of two lives; he simply could not wait calmly for the news to reach him.
“What… happened here?” asked the Magistrate with astonishment.
The servants all pointed towards Ji Yunshu, “Sir, she murdered our master and our mistress with poison. The proof is irrefutable, she’s the culprit.”
The Magistrate was obviously on Ji Yunshu’s side. He asked carefully, “Yunshu… what has happened here?”
Ji Yunshu did not speak a single word. Her attention remained solely focused on Wei Yi’s trembling figure.
The Magistrate tried to defend her silence. He turned around and said to the servants, “Is there some kind of misunderstanding? This is a matter of two lives, we cannot simply rush to a conclusion, we should thoroughly investigate this.”
An elderly person from the Mansion became quite agitated, “Milord, she has confessed that she was the one who poured the poisoned tea. This means that it has to be her. Our master and mistress died such a horrible death, are you really going to protect a murderer from the rightful punishment she deserves?”
“I don’t mean that, it’s just…”
“She killed someone, she needs to pay for her crime with her own life. Please, Milord, for the sake of our late master and madame…” This sentence ignited the anger of the servants in the room. Their voices gathered in an angry shout directed at Ji Yunshu and demanding justice to the magistrate.
Magistrate Liu sighed and carefully approached Ji Yunshu. The predicament was quite difficult to handle for him, “Yunshu, I…”
Ji Yunshu cut him off, “Don’t worry, I understand.”
Magistrate Liu was caught between a rock and a hard place. He firmly believed in Ji Yunshu’s innocence, but he could not find any proof to support his judgment. The only thing he could do was…
“Runners, bring her back to the jail. We shall have a proper trial when we finish conducting an investigation.”
The runners flashed a glance at each other and came forward to seize Ji Yunshu. They were blocked off by Luan’er, who had tears rolling down her cheeks, “Oh, please don’t throw Young Miss into prison. Milord Liu, you know well that she would never commit such a crime.”
“Of course I know that, but…” Magistrate Liu hesitated.
“Milord Liu, you have to trust Young Miss, she did not murder them,” insisted Luan’er.
Ji Yunshu called out to her. “Luan’er, no explanation will be able to save me right now.”
Ji Yunshu did not answer Luan’er and walked towards Wei Yi instead. She knelt down right beside her, examined his face ravaged by tears and touched his head gently. “Wei Yi, don’t be scared,” she comforted him with a soft voice.
He raised his bloodshot eyes and said her name in a spasmodic voice, “Shu’er…”
“Don’t worry, I’ll stay by your side. Don’t be scared.” He nodded firmly and started to cry again as he tightened his grip on his parents' bodies.
Ji Yunshu held her own tears and endured the pain in her body. She stood up and advanced towards Magistrate Liu, “Milord, I would like to ask you to seal the entrance to this room, and make sure that everything stays as it is right now.”
Ji Yunshu threw one last look at Wei Yi and left with the runners. Even from outside the brightly lit room, she could hear the agonising mourning of the inhabitants of the Wei mansion. Their cries sundered the calmness of the night and echoed into the distance.
Ji Yunshu was brought into a cell which was decently clean. It was not quite as 'luxurious' as Madame Jiang’s cell, but it was not ridden with crass and a fetid smell.
Magistrate Liu’s heart pounded as he saw her locked in the cell. He clapped his hands and asked, “How did that happen? How did they suddenly pass away?”
Ji Yunshu remained motionless on her clean straw mat and did not answer him. She wrapped both of her arms around one of her knees and lowered her head.
“Yunshu, everyone at the Wei Mansion believes that you are the culprit. I trust you, but you need to tell me your thoughts.”
Still no answer from Ji Yunshu.
Magistrate Liu sighed and beckoned a jailkeeper, “Take good care of her. Bring her a quilt and a small heater. It’s rather cold in there, and she could suffer a lot from it.”
“Understood.” The jailkeeper left to fetch the items.
Magistrate Liu tried to ask a few more questions, but Ji Yunshu acted as if she never heard them. He had no choice but to leave her for the moment after a few vain attempts.
Ji Yunshu sat still for the entirety of the night.
he heater did little to stop the inching of the biting cold into her skin and blood. But, she could not feel any of the discomfort. Her whole attention was fixated on the blood-stained robe she wore. The stains were colored like wine, and there are even places where they seemed blacker than night. It was indeed suggestive of a poisonous substance.
Ji Yunshu slowly rubbed the fabric of her clothes and sank into a deep pondering.
Grenn's Rants Corner
......who could have guessed that the Wei couple will end like that? And Madame Wei's half complete sentence. x_x
No teaser today.