Chapter 204 - Pursuing the Criminal

“Stop trying to create suspense and just say it! Whose residence did she enter?” Yu Xiaocao’s voice was fierce, but she had a petite figure and was staring at them with her adorably big eyes, so it didn’t seem intimidating at all.

The shorter bandit continued to haggle, “You have to promise to let me go after I say it! Otherwise, I won’t tell you even if you beat me to death…”

Yu Xiaocao was so angry that she started to smile. She sneered, “Still refuse to say? Alright! Young Master Zhu, please accompany me to the county yamen. This kind of ferocious bandit needs to be sent to the yamen! With the methods used by the people of the yamen, I’m sure that they will be able to make you talk!!”

“Don’t! Please don’t!!” The shorter bandit saw that the little girl’s face had turned red from anger. If she really sent him to the yamen, then he would definitely be killed! He might still have a chance to stay alive in this young girl and her family’s hands, so he hastily said, “I’ll tell you!”

Under Yu Xiaocao’s watchful eyes, the shorter bandit obediently explained, “The maidservant entered a residence called ‘Fang Estate’. It looked quite impressive, so it should be a very wealthy household. At that time, I regretted that I didn’t ask for more money!”

Fang Estate? In town, besides her godfather’s residence, there probably wasn’t another family called ‘Fang Estate’, right? A maidservant from her godfather’s household wanted to kill her? Other than that girl Xia Furong, there probably wasn’t anyone else, right?

With her brows wrinkled tightly together, Yu Xiaocao had to reevaluate that girl Xia Furong in her heart. She knew that Xia Furong had always disliked her. However, she had never taken her godmother’s niece too seriously. She felt that it was just the jealousy of a young girl who couldn’t obtain the favor of her elders. She hadn’t expected a little girl under the age of ten to be so cruel and want her life!

Zhu Junxi asked in surprise, “Fang Estate? Isn’t that General Fang’s residence in town? Isn’t General Fang your godfather? I heard from my mother that your godparents dote on you down to their bones. How can they allow a maidservant of their own household to harm you? This guy is definitely lying!”

“Young Master, please spare our lives ah! This lowly one swears to the heavens that the maidservant really did enter a house called ‘Fang Estate’ ah!” The shorter bandit hastily defended himself.

After Yu Xiaocao carefully inquired about the figure and appearance of the maidservant, she felt even more certain within her heart. For this trip, Xia Furong had only brought along one second-rank maidservant from the capital, whose name was Zixiang. She had been serving Xia Furong since she was still living with the Xia Family, so she could be considered one of her most trusted servants. Most of the servants in the residence in Tanggu Town were older servant who had transferred over from the General’s Estate in the capital. Thus, Zixiang was the only one she could use.

“Whether it’s the truth or not, we’ll know after my godfather finds that person and ask. Young Master Zhu, please help me put them on my donkey. By this time, my godfather should have returned to Dongshan Village already.” Yu Xiaocao felt that it was necessary to teach Xia Furong a lesson.

This Xia Furong was so insidious at such a young age. She paid someone to murder her just because her godparents treated her slightly better. In the future, if her godmother got pregnant and this vicious girl did something to harm her godmother, then even crying would be useless at that time!

Young Master Zhu was worried about leaving an eight or nine year old girl alone with two vicious bandits. Thus, he decided to be a good person to the end by escorting the little girl back to Dongshan Village and handing her over to General Fang before returning to town.

After this hold up, the sky had already darkened. Fortunately, it was a smooth official road all the way, which she was familiar with, and the speed of the little donkey didn’t decrease at all. When they were close to arriving at the entrance of the village, they heard the sound of horse’s hooves rushing over. The tall figure on the horse shouted, “Is it Xiaocao?”

Xiaocao quickly replied, “Godfather, it’s me!!”

A moment later, the figure of Fang Zizhen riding on a tall steed appeared clearly in the dimming night. He came to Xiaocao’s side and looked her up and down for a long time before he finally relaxed and chided her, “Why did you come back so late? Don’t you know that your family will worry?”

Yu Xiaocao felt wronged inwardly, but before she got to speak, Zhu Junxi had quickly cupped his hands in a greeting and said, “General Fang, your daughter encountered bandits on her way back and suffered a fright, so you should stop scolding her!”

“What? What kind of bandits would be so bold as to rob my, Fang Zizhen’s, daughter in broad daylight? I reckon that they want to die earlier!!” Upon hearing his words, Fang Zizhen instantly erupted in fury. His voice, which sounded like a large bell, vibrated throughout the mountain forest and caused all the night birds to fly away in panic.

“Godfather…” Yu Xiaocao had never experienced such a dangerous situation before. Seeing her godfather being genuinely worried about her, her eyes were sour, and her voice trembled as if she was crying.

Fang Zizhen hastily got down from his horse and hugged his daughter in his arms, feeling heartbroken. He said, “Daughter, don’t be scared. Godfather is here! Godfather will skin that damned bandit and avenge you!”

The corner of Zhu Junxi’s mouth twitched, ‘Was it really alright to say such a gruesome thing in front of an eight or nine year old little girl?’

He looked at the originally strong girl crying in General Fang’s embrace, and sighed in his heart, ‘She is a young girl after all. No matter how calm and strong she appeared, she would also show her weak side in front of her family ah!’

Seeing the little girl was crying so much that she started hiccupping, he told General Fang about how the bandits had said, and then said, “If the bandit isn’t lying, then there’s a rat in your household. General Fang should make a thorough investigation to prevent these incidents from occurring again in the future.”

When Fang Zizhen, who was busy wiping his daughter’s tears, heard this, he stopped the movement of his hands, stood up straight to look directly at Zhu Junxi, and solemnly said, “Thank you very much for you help today, Second Young Master Zhu. Mingzhe will personally visit you on another day to express my gratitude. I will definitely investigate this matter thoroughly, and I will never allow the pest who wants to harm my daughter get away with it!”

Zhu Junxi politely exchanged a few words with him, and then quickly bid his farewells to return to town.

When they got back to Dongshan Village, Fang Zizhen was full of murderous intent as he picked up a bandit in each hand and threw them on the ground harshly. He stepped on one of the bandit’s legs, making the sound of bones cracking. The taller bandit, whose bone had been fractured after being trampled on, screeched as if he was a pig being slaughtered.

Seeing Fang Zizhen’s face, which looked ferocious and was full of stubbles, the shorter bandit’s face turned ghastly pale due to fright. He kowtowed repeatedly until his head started bleeding. He repeatedly begged for mercy, “My Lord, please spare my life! My Lord, please spare my life ah!”

With his large pair of bell-like eyes, Fang Zizhen suddenly glared at him and shouted, “Speak! Who ordered you guys? If you want to harm my, Fang Zizhen’s, daughter, then you’ll have to consider whether your life can bear it!!”

The shorter bandit quickly said, “It was a young girl from the Fang Estate. She gave us money and asked us to throw this little lady off the cliff and make it seem like an accident. She said that she will give us the other half of the money after we finish the deed…” After saying that, he honestly and thoroughly described the young girl’s appearance again.

Lady Fang, who had come out after hearing the movements, still had lingering fears as she held Xiaocao in her arms and gently placated her. There was a burst of fear within her heart: Such a clever and sensible daughter, she almost couldn’t see her anymore… Lady Fang hugged Xiaocao even tighter.

Linglong, who was beside Lady Fang, heard the bandit’s description of the maidservant and exclaimed in surprise, “There’s a red mole, about the size of a grain of rice, on the corner of the mouth? Isn’t that Zixiang who serves Miss Xia…”

Beside her, Zhenzhu gently pulled on her sleeve. Seeing the expression on her madam’s face, Linglong quickly stopped talking! Miss Xia usually didn’t get along with Miss Cao’er, but she wouldn’t go as far as to want her life, would she?

Lady Fang had a grim expression, and a violent storm was raging within her heart. ‘I never expected this ah! I have raised a cruel and savage wolf beside me ah!’ In the past, when she was childless, she wanted to a niece from her maiden family as company. At that time, the seven or eight year old Xia Furong appeared sensible and lovely, so she was chosen. She knew that the little girl usually had some little ideas in her mind. In an environment like the Xia Family’s, those without even a little bit of a scheming heart wouldn’t even know how they ended up dead.

She also knew that lass didn’t like her goddaughter. She had originally thought that it was just the jealousy among young girls and that it wouldn’t be anything serious. However, she never expected that the little girl had such a sinister heart and actually wanted to take her daughter’s life…

“Older Cousin’s maidservant? I have no enmity with her. Why would a little maidservant want to kill me? Where did she get so much money to hire a hitman?” Yu Xiaocao feigned a confused expression and weakly asked.

Fang Zizhen clutched his hands so tightly that there was a cracking sound. He picked up the front collar of the shorter bandit’s clothes, as if he was holding a dead dog in his hands, and shouted, “When did the maidservant go look for you guys? What time did you guys agree on to get the rest of the money?”

Being held by the collar, the shorter bandit’s eyes had directly rolled to the back of his head as he stammered, “It was… it was yesterday afternoon! She said that this little lady would go to town alone today and return in the evening, which would be a good time to act. We agreed to collect the money on the day after tomorrow. She said that she needed to confirm that we have accomplished the task before giving us the money… cough cough!!”

The bandit was about to be strangled to death when Fang Zizhen finally loosened his hands. He fell heavily on the ground and coughed violently.

Fang Zizhen looked at Lady Fang, and after a brief deliberation, he asked, “When did your niece go to town?”

Lady Fang looked at him gloomily and replied with an expressionless face, “Yesterday morning, she said that she wasn’t feeling well and wanted to see a doctor in town, and then she went to town with that maidservant Zixiang. I offered to go with her, but she declined…”

Yu Xiaocao knew that her godmother must feel extremely bad in her heart, so she quickly grabbed her hand and looked at her with concern. Lady Fang looked down at her daughter’s eyes, which were as pure as the clear night sky, and forced out a faint smile to show that she was fine.

Yes, to be born from such a family, although she was protected by the matriarch, it wasn’t like she didn’t know anything about these dirty matters. Lady Fang was accustomed to seeing people of the inner courtyards killing others by underhanded means, so she swiftly adjusted her state of mind. Her goddaughter had just suffered a fright, yet she still wanted to comfort her and was worried about her mood—she didn’t adopt her in vain ah!

“It won’t be Older Cousin, right? Older Cousin is still so young, so how can she do such a sinister thing? Godfather, Godmother, perhaps we have wrongly accused her?” Yu Xiaocao widened her eyes and feigned a doubtful expression.

Fang Zizhen furrowed his brows and sneered, “Whether it’s her or not, we’ll know with a test. Cao’er, don’t go back tonight. I’ll act out a scene with your father…”

That night, the entire Dongshan Village had been alerted! Why? Yu Hai’s daughter went to town, but still hadn’t return when the sky had completely darkened. 

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Myst's Thoughts

Actually, I'm not really surprised that XFR would do something like this.

Translator: Myst