Chapter 25 – Flour

Editor: mako

Proofreader: kllua

Tang BaiShan pointed to the scene and said, “At that time, Jiang Xun was standing around here, while I was standing at the door of my building.” With about four feet of distance between both sides, it appeared true that one would be able to see the other person clearly. Additionally, as Tang BaiShan and Yuan LiangJun were neighbors, their buildings were situated very close to each other too.

Official DaWei ordered for someone to stand where Jiang Xun stood last night while taking up Tang BaiShan’s position in front of his building. He affirmed, “If it is from this distance and the moonlight was bright enough, one can truly see the other person clearly.”

Tang BaiShan added, “At that time, he was going this way and only probably stopped when he saw and heard me calling him. Even though I found it strange, I could only nod to him and ran to the lavatory because I could not hold it in anymore. Ah! I also recalled that when I turned around, he turned around too. However, I only saw it from the corner of my eye, and I do not know if I was distracted. I cannot say for certain.

Feng Huan raised his eyebrow. “So he also saw you at that time?”

Tang BaiShan nodded. “According to logic, he would have seen me. Although my voice was not loud, the surroundings were very quiet, so he should have also heard it when standing here.”

Tang BaiShan reenacted the scene of him walking out of the room yesterday. Even though his voice was not loud, it could be heard clearly, easily attracting everyone’s attention. Besides, there were no obstructions between the two people, so it was unlikely that they could not see each other.

Da sicheng stroked his beard. “Jiang Xun already knew that someone had seen him, so if he still wanted to do something at that time, would he not just put himself in an unfavorable situation? If that was so, I do not know whether he was too bold or too stupid.”

Official DaWei snorted coldly. “That was why he deliberately planted it on Han Chuan. By finding a scapegoat, no one will doubt him. Hmph, it was so cunning that even I, this official, was almost deceived by him.”

ZhuangZhong’s mouth twitched, and he did not look upon this official favorably. The results should not be used to just close the case quickly and add on to his merits. If one investigated carefully, it would have been impossible to make such a hasty decision. However, official DaWei’s words were not completely unreasonable, only that it was too risky. If he was Jiang Xun, he would never conduct the murder after he was seen. Besides, although they quarreled like that in the daytime, he was not as fierce as usual, so it was unlikely to escalate to killing the other person. Even then, there were still many things that did not conform to the common sense of the world. As this was only one of the possible deductions, one should be partial so as not to be misled into going astray.

ZhuangZhong asked, “Just now, you said that you heard something when you went out?”

Tang BaiShan nodded, “Yes, but I cannot remember what I heard exactly, as I was preoccupied with my stomachache. The sound was not very loud but startling, as it was pretty sudden in the middle of the night. Perhaps it was the sound of the wind blowing against the windows or something. I cannot say for sure.”

“Turn around and listen carefully.” Feng Huan gave the bodyguard around him a meaningful glance. The bodyguard nodded and flipped over a window. When he did that, he bumped into the window and made a sound of collision.

Tang BaiShan shook his head. “There was not as much noise. If there were such a sound, I would have been sure that someone had flipped over the window and entered. I would have taken notice of it then.”

Feng Huan then called the bodyguard back and asked him to do it again. This time, he touched the window much lighter than the last time, and the sound was much softer. It was just like the sound of the wind hitting against the window.

Tang BaiShan frowned, hesitated for a while before saying, “This seems to be the sound, but I am not completely sure. When I heard it, I was startled, as I had just opened my door. I was also having a stomachache, so I can only remember being frightened by a noise.”

Official DaWei injected, “Even if the sound was similar to the wind blowing against the window, it could not prove that someone had gone over the window at that time.”

As it could not be proven that someone went over the window at that time, it was impossible to get rid of the suspicion on Jiang Xun. After all, Jiang Xun might have snuck into the building and killed Yuan LiangJun when Tang BaiShan went to the lavatory.

Feng Huan pondered for a moment, “Did you hear anything while coming back from the lavatory?”

Tang BaiShan shook his head. “No, I even stopped at my door when I came back. I looked towards the place where Jiang Xun appeared and saw that there was no one before pushing the door open.”

During this moment, someone came running over. “Your Highness, da sicheng, education officer, and official Guan, Jiang Xun has woken up.”

All of a sudden, the onlookers became fired up with such news. However, Feng Huan did not move, so the other people did not dare head there despite their anxiousness.

Feng Huan asked, “How is he now?”

The person reporting sighed, “His whole person had become dull and like a wooden man, unable to hear others or speak. He could not even take medicine, and the doctor said that he apparently did not pay much attention to himself despite his poor health. Without enough rest on normal days, his bones had also become hollow1I had never heard of such a case before so I went to search up some articles on sleep deprivation and bone density. It is apparently true that a lack of sleep can cause a decrease in bone mass, weakening of bones (still needs further studies to examine the correlation though). One of the articles was: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-11-shortened-negatively-affect-women-bone.html while another was a study done on rats: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4970273/. This, coupled with the stimulation he experienced, was unbearable anymore. So it is not just the troubles in his heart but also his bones that were problematic.”

ZhuangZhong seemed to have grasped something from his words. “The doctor said he was not in good health?”

“Yes, even if nothing happens today, something will still go wrong sooner or later. All this time, he was just holding on. He is obviously almost 20, but his body is one that is usually associated with old age, where every few steps would make him out of breath. The reason why he fainted just now was not so much that he was stimulated, but more of the fact that he suddenly ran vigorously and could not bear the strain.”

After thinking for some time, ZhuangZhong felt that such information was not surprising. Jiang Xun was very diligent and slept very little every day. All this while, he only knew how to study but not to exercise. He also seldom goes out into the sun, so it was reasonable for him to have poor health. His thin stature and constant eye bags below his eyes due to the lack of sleep also gave off a gloomy feeling to others.

Da sicheng did not understand. “How can such a weak man kill Yuan LiangJun, who is around five feet and five inches tall? Even though it was death by a single slash, it is still difficult to carry out without some strength.”

Official DaWei replied, “At that time, the deceased was already asleep, so his throat was most likely slit before he managed to wake up. There was no time to respond, so even if the murderer’s body is weak, as long as the technique is appropriate, it is not surprising.”

Da sicheng asked, “That may be true, but Jiang Xun is only a son of a small family. How can he have the skill of killing people? The technique used was so efficient that it is not something that could be done by ordinary people.”

Official DaWei snorted coldly. “As da sicheng is the head of Tai Xue, he would have a loving and caring attitude towards the students, naturally thinking that they are kind and honest. However, in reality, Tai Xue students are never that simple, and they have done many daring things.”

Official DaWei was the most fed up with the Tai Xue students. One of his friends in the imperial court was once pulled down because of a student writing too. On normal days, these students were arrogant. People held them in high regard, but some actually accepted bribes from vile characters, wrote essays with impure purposes, and maliciously slandered officials. Although there was some restraint now, official DaWei knew that there were still many of them running amuck in the capital. Besides, the senior official of the capital would personally only take part when there was a serious crime. Otherwise, ordinary officials were responsible, and they would not dare to give these scholars a hard time.

This has always been a convention. Although it has been suppressed several times, it would resurface again soon.

Da sicheng furiously retorted, “Since I took over, the Tai Xue students have been following the rules. Do not slander their reputation!” 

Official DaWei sneered, “Da sicheng, I, official DaWei, never talk nonsense. If it were not for knowing one or two of such people, how could I have said such words? I am the most clear about how terrible these students can be. How could I dare to talk about things that are not true? I do not want to bring trouble to myself or be revoked of my officialdom.”

“Are your words really true? Do you have proof? ” Da sicheng frowned. He has always been strict and believed in his ability to control them. However, when he heard such an “oath” from the official, his heart began to beat in suspicion. Did someone really commit crimes under his eyes?

As official DaWei often shuttled through the marketplace for the purpose of solving cases, he had some understanding of the students’ behavior. With a face of disdain, he replied, “Whether what I said is true or false, you can go to the streets to inquire. As the governmental officials do not take their words lightly, they dare not provoke those who have some backgrounds. Instead, they go to the small businesses who have no support from higher powers. Whether it is buying at low prices and selling at high prices, or even paying on credit, it makes it hard for vendors to mention or complain. The students may tell them to put their debts on credit with interest, but whenever it is time to pay it off, they carry it over to the next time. Before the old debts were paid, new ones were already made.”

When official DaWei described it in such detail, it made da sicheng fear that his accusations were not groundless and the students were truly misbehaving outside.

Da sicheng bowed to Feng Huan in embarrassment. “It was this official’s dereliction of duty. After this, I will investigate and give an account to Your Highness.”

Feng Huan frowned as he truly was unaware of such things. He only felt that the students had too much power before as even the officials in the court had feared them. In the past, they even made a big fuss, saying he was causing havoc in the imperial court and made emperor Qian Xing burst into a rage. In response, the emperor directly threw Feng Huan to Tai Xue and ordered him to kick out anyone he found unpleasant to the eye where they from then on, were not allowed to enter officialdom. Some even attempted to rush headfirst to a pillar2The author used “撞柱明志” which I think refers to the act of “headbutting” a pillar (essentially with enough force to kill themselves) to show one’s stance (e.g. prove one’s innocence/grievance/injustice through threatening others with their life). I think it is pretty common in older Chinese dramas. , but Feng Huan directly passed an order on those who threatened him with their lives. From then on, no one in their family could participate in the imperial examination, let alone become an official in the imperial court, or even enter schools for officials. As he remained unyielding, the ruckus finally subsided, which laid the foundation for Feng Huan’s present position. This move had made many people understand how much power Emperor Qian Xing had given him.

Unexpectedly, despite such rectification, there were still students who dared to act recklessly. Did they really think that he, Feng Huan, was just a decoration?!

Feng Huan’s face became gloomy. “Such matters will be discussed in the future. I will not tolerate those who make trouble.”

ZhuangZhong, who was standing on one side, also heard this. As his time in the capital was short and he had entered the law school almost immediately, he was not aware of such a thing. For him, Tai Xue was similar to his university, Qinghuabei University3 The author named the university “清华北大” which I translated to the pinyin form for its name., so he had never thought that the students in Tai Xue had such great power. At this moment, something seemed to flash through his mind, but it was too quick for him to catch, so he had to give it up for the time being.

Jiang Xun’s condition was worse than what ZhuangZhong had imagined. Nestled in bed, his whole person was barely breathing, and he was pallid.

No matter what other people asked him, he seemed as if he had heard nothing, remaining dull. Only when he was asked about Yuan LiangJun could one see some form of reaction in his eyes, but that was all.

“Doctor, when will he recover?” In his heart, da sicheng had mixed feelings. Although Jiang Xun was usually too lofty and even a little mean, he was very diligent and outstanding in his studies. He has always been the most appreciative of such people. As many admired intelligent people, they always think that intelligence was rare and having diligence was easy. However, that was often not the case because it resulted in many being immersed in the illusion of being able to do anything they want as long as they worked hard. In the end though, their talents were wasted, and their life became a mess.

Diligence was not only a kind of will but also a self breakthrough. In fact, it was not any easier to obtain than talent.

The doctor shook his head and sighed, “Blood deficiency, collateral dystrophy, delirium due to stimulation. He needs to rest for a few days to restore his vitality before he can talk.”

Like this, there was nothing they could gather from Jiang Xun. The reason he appeared near Yuan LiangJun’s building and whether he was the murderer were both unknown. Currently, with insufficient evidence, he could not be convicted, although he was a major suspect.

In addition, the sole print was not complete and clear enough. Just now, when he compared it to other people’s shoes, he found out that the soles of cloth shoes were almost the same for everyone. So, the clues that it could provide were very limited.

Official DaWei walked out of the room, extremely furious. “Does it mean that if this man remains like this forever, we cannot convict him? If it is like this, how can we solve cases in the future? If one kills another, they only have to pretend to be stupid and not speak.”

At this point, ZhuangZhong could also understand official DaWei’s feelings, as he had encountered similar cases in the past. He patiently said, “If the evidence is conclusive, you should put the murderer to justice even if they do not plead guilty. However, now we only know that Jiang Xun appeared near the building last night at mao shi, and he was around four feet away. Even though it is unbelievable, he could have just happened to pass by. Thus, it is too hasty to convict him.”

As soon as official DaWei heard the word “hasty”, he got a headache. “I cannot refute your words, but do we really have to foolishly wait for this man to gain clarity?”

Feng Huan swept his eyes over official DaWei. “How was the interrogation of other people?”

Official DaWei was dejected. “At that time, everyone was sleeping, so they were unaware of anything. No one can prove where they were, and they cannot prove where others were at either. At the moment, there are only Jiang Xun and Tang BaiShan who know who was not in the building at mao shi.”

Saying that, his eyes flashed a trace of slyness. “That means that Tang BaiShan is also a suspect!”

When Tang BaiShan heard this, his eyes immediately widened. “Yesterday, my stomach was unwell, so how could I have the strength to harm people? Besides, brother Yuan and I have always gotten along all this time. How can I harm him?”

Official DaWei leisurely said, “Only you yourself know if your stomach was really upset. You have the same motive as Jiang Xun. If you succeed, you can not only eradicate Yuan LiangJun, a powerful competitor, but also drag Han Chuan or Jiang Xun down. No matter who is convicted as the murderer, the other will not be any better. Han Chuan, needless to say, shared a room with a dead man all night. How will he cope with it when he will most likely think about it at night, unable to fall asleep, especially when the public exam is just around the corner?”

“In addition, Jiang Xun appeared around the building at that time. As long as you use this threat, you can make him feel uneasy and absent-minded. Like this, three competitors can be pulled down in one go. It was then no wonder that your words were unclear, intentionally specious. Your words may seem to absolve Jiang Xun’s suspicion, but in fact, it actually makes people think that Jiang Xun is the murderer. What a vicious trick! What meticulous thought!”

Tang BaiShan did not expect that everything would be blamed on him, so his whole person was stunned silly. It took him a while to respond, and he suddenly became angry when refuting, “My lord, you cannot slander this student like this! Although I am not talented, I have been studying hard for more than ten years and know what shame and honor are. I want to display my ability through the public examinations, but I would never achieve that through such unhonorable means. Even if I can pull down people who are better than me now, will I have to kill people whenever I meet trouble in the future? How could it be the actions of a true man to seek temporary relief regardless of the consequences?”

Official DaWei said contemptuously, “When facing execution, every murderer can speak well.”

Despite such a response, Tang BaiShan was not indignant. Standing with his back straightened, he looked as proud as bamboo. “I have a clear conscience. If you want to convict me with such nonsense, I vow to use my death to maintain my innocence.”

Even though ZhuangZhong did not like official DaWei’s taunting tone, he had to admit that it was reasonable. Until the truth is uncovered, everyone would be a suspect of the crime. However, it was really puzzling that Jiang Xun would appear near the building. After all, he was not the kind of person who liked to walk around aimlessly, and his daily route was almost fixed. At least since the one month ZhuangZhong had enrolled in the school, Jiang Xun has never been to any place except the dormitory, dining hall, and classrooms. He also never visited others and had no friends. He was always on his own.

Normally, he did not have the habit of strolling and admiring the scenery either, as he probably wished he could plunge into books twelve hours a day – he was a typical bookworm. For him to appear here at night was really odd. 

Could it be——

ZhuangZhong’s eyes brightened. “I think there are three possibilities for Jiang Xun to suddenly appear here in the night. The first one is to kill Yuan LiangJun. The other is that something went wrong with his directional sense, and he somehow ended up here. However, this would just be too coincidental, and the possibility is pretty low. Finally, the last reason is that someone had led him here!”

Da sicheng suddenly stood up from the chair. “Do you mean that he might have seen the figure of the murderer and followed him due to curiosity?”

ZhuangZhong nodded. “This possibility is not ruled out, so I think we should search the whole courtyard carefully. We should not limit ourselves to the idea that the perpetrator is a Tai Xue student. It may be an outsider who has gone over the wall to kill the deceased. Although the possibility of this is not great, it should still be carefully investigated. We should not let go of any possibility!”

Official DaWei wanted to roll his eyes. “We are getting tossed about again. In the morning, the autopsy took a long time and did not lead to any result. Now, we have to search the whole courtyard. Originally, there were already not enough people, so is this not just delaying the case?”

Feng Huan’s gaze was chilly. “If you cannot do it, do not occupy this official position!”

Hearing that, official DaWei seethed with anger. An originally simple case has been made so complicated, and yet there were no leads. If something was found, the credit was not all his. Inversely, if nothing was found, it would be his fault. This morning before he headed out, he should have consulted the almanac. He had thought that it was a case that would bring him fame, but in the end, it only caused a mess for him.

No matter how dissatisfied he was, official DaWei could only order his men to search everywhere.

Feng Huan said to the Yamen runners, “If anyone can find an important clue that is beneficial to the case, I can guarantee that he will be promoted two grades!”

The Yamen runners, who had been dispirited, became really driven when they heard this. They responded with a uniform “yes” that could overturn the roof.

ZhuangZhong shook his head and murmured, “This is their responsibility. If you do this, will they still be so driven if you do not confer such rewards next time?”

Feng Huan raised his eyebrows. “Being able to move upwards means they could also drop down. After all, there are many wanting to pull them down.”

Han Chuan spoke weakly, “My-my lord, it has been proven that this student is not the murderer. Can I leave?” After such a surprise, he had finally recovered his composure. Only then did he realize that he had been so frightened that he wet himself during it. Now, his pants were still wet and gave off the smell of urine, making him very embarrassed.

Official DaWei put down the teacup in his hand, making Han Chuan tremble with the clanging sound it caused. “Before we find the real murderer, you are still a suspect. To let you go like this, is it not too hasty?”

The word “hasty” was spoken with implicit meaning, and it could be seen that there was a strong sense of mockery. Currently, official DaWei’s mood was not too good, and he did not want to see others feeling better than him. After all, he lost face, was ordered about by a boy, and was cornered by Prince Si Zhao. For the first time since he became an official in the court, he fell so badly that the fire in his heart was burning him to ashes.

While ZhuangZhong looked at Han Chuan, he suddenly asked, “Han Chuan, have you ever been to the kitchen before?”

Han Chuan, who wanted to shrink into the corner and become invisible, was called by ZhuangZhong, so he could only reply dejectedly, “The kitchen? Why would I go there? I do not even know where my own household kitchen is.”

“Then, have you ever been to a grain store or something similar?”

Han Chuan was even more puzzled. “Why do you ask these questions? Why would I want to go to such a place when I have had servants waiting on me since I was a child and there is no need for me to do such chores? Now that I am far away from home, I will either eat in the Tai Xue dining hall or go to restaurants outside. What is the use of buying grain?”

“These few days, did you pass by them?”

“No, the places I often go these days do not require me to pass by them. Recently, I have only frequented the place that I invited you to eat tadpole noodles last time.” Even though Han Chuan found it strange, he replied honestly. After all, the reason why he was not yet taken away by official DaWei was due to ZhuangZhong.

ZhuangZhong thought about it and recalled that there was truly no grain shop on that street. “Then, have you ever touched flour?”

Han Chuan laughed. “I often eat noodle dishes, but I have not touched flour.”

ZhuangZhong’s eyes brighten. “Are you sure?”

“I am sure! If you do not believe me, you can ask other people. Oh, I am close with Fang Xiang, and we are usually together. He can prove it.”

Fang Xiang hastily injected, “It is true. We usually do not get involved in such things at home, and now that we are studying in Tai Xue, it has become even less.”

ZhuangZhong and Feng Huan looked at each other. If this was the case, the knife might not have been contaminated with flour when it was in Han Chuan’s hands. That was to say, it was very likely that the knife was contaminated with flour when it was in the murderer’s hand, and there was little probability that it was circulated among several people. Like this, the suspicion on Jiang Xun was even lower, as he spent most of his time in the library, only heading to the lavatory and dining hall in between. Tai Xue’s kitchen was also not a place that idle people could enter, so Jiang Xun could never get flour from there either.

Likewise, Tang BaiShan could also absolve some of his suspicions, as he was always with ZhuangZhong on that day. After eating tadpole noodles, the two of them discussed mathematics together and did not get separated until nighttime. At night, the main door was also closed, and there were people assigned to guard it. If one did not ask for leave, he could not go out. Besides, one also needed to register in the special books to leave.

When ZhuangZhong asked the zhixue4 “直学” (zhixue) is an official who was in charge of money and grain (e.g. collecting taxes on farmlands). responsible, it was ascertained that no one left that night.

Could the murderer be a helper in the Tai Xue dining hall? However, unless they go over the wall, it was unlikely, as they could not stay on campus and could only move about in restricted locations.

“Han Chuan, you said you saw that knife before eating the tadpole noodles?”

Han Chuan nodded. “Because of my father’s advice, every time before I go out, I will confirm whether I have taken it with me.”

“So you only knew that you lost it when you headed to bed?”

“In actuality, I do not like carrying a dagger around. After all, what can a small dagger do? Even if I had it when I met ruffians, I would not be able to win over them. So normally, I do not pay much attention to it and will only check when I take it with me.” Han Chuan was very vexed. If he kept the dagger well, he would not have gotten into such a situation. Who knows which vicious person had deliberately planted such blame on him?!

“After we finished eating the tadpole noodles, where did you go? Recall carefully and draw out the route you took on this map.” ZhuangZhong took out the map of Tai Xue he asked for from da sicheng.

Han Chuan took up the pencil and sized up the map. “This pencil is really weird. Do I really draw on with this?”

Maps were rare items, and this one was very detailed. Han Chuan was worried, as he feared that it was very valuable.

“No problem, this one can be erased.”

Reassured, Han Chuan recalled where he had gone yesterday and did not take too long to draw his route out. As it was quite late after eating tadpole noodles yesterday and Yuan Liangjun was angered badly by Jiang Xun, he had been comforting LiangJun for some time, so he did not go to many places.

ZhuangZhong looked at the map and frowned. “Did you not go to the dining hall yesterday?”

Han Chuan smiled. “Yesterday, I ate tadpole noodles until I was almost bursting. Why would I go there?”

The places where Han Chuan went in and out yesterday were far away from the dining hall, and the helpers were also not allowed to enter those places either. As they had a clear range of places where they go do their work, the chance of them picking up the knife was not probable.

This then ended up circling back to the killer’s boundaries.

After reading ZhunagZhong’s scene and autopsy record, Feng Huan suddenly asked, “Are there any Tai Xue students who are proficient in martial arts?” 

Da sicheng replied, “As far as I know, they are only slightly proficient. DaYou does not push for martial arts as much as the previous dynasty, and most scholars disdain to practice it. This building is full of upper-division students, so it is even less likely that they would be good at it. Most of them are weak scholars, and even Yuan LiangJun was not proficient in it.”

Feng Huan stood up from his chair and ordered, “Everyone should go to the courtyard to search carefully, especially areas like the corners of the walls!”

Just at this time, a Yamen runner rushed in. “My lord, I found something strange!”

Hearing that, the crowd ran out with the Yamen runner, and it could be seen that a corner of the wall was already cordoned off. When they saw Feng Huan and the others heading here, they provided a path.

A Yamen runner said, “Your Highness, I saw a shoe print on the wall, and there was also some flour on the top.”

ZhuangZhong quickly took out the magnifying glass to check. The footprint on the wall was the first half and was clearer than what he saw on the windowsill. The flour found on the wall was only the barest amount of white powder. If one were not careful, he would only think that it was lime5 “白灰” was used. I did a check and I think the author was referring to limestone or something similar to that compound (or something like CaCO3 that we use in chemistry experiments).. It seemed that Feng Huan’s words just now had indeed transformed the Yamen runners, as it was truly miraculous that he was able to notice it. Before, no one could see the sole print on the windowsill. Now, flour could actually be noticed at such a high place.

“The sole is the same as the one on the windowsill.”

Feng Huan examined it under the magnifying glass that made the details clear.

Da sicheng replied, “Yes, outside is the street.”

There was a big tree outside the wall, and part of the branches was extended into the yard. As the top of the wall was higher than a person, ZhuangZhong could not climb up. “Where is the ladder? I will go up and take a look.”

Feng Huan grabbed the magnifying glass in ZhuangZhong’s hand and scoffed, “Troublesome.”

Without waiting for his reaction, he stepped back two steps, ran forwards, and went up the wall. It was not as exaggerated as those characters in martial arts movies leaping onto roofs and vaulting over walls, but the visual effect was much more handsome and more similar to parkour.

Feng Huan used the magnifying glass to examine it before jumping onto the big tree. Onlookers looked on with trepidation, but the guards he brought along were calm and confident that nothing would happen to him. Although Feng Huan had a noble status, he had always been diligent and skillful in martial arts.

When he finished checking, he jumped from the tree back to the wall before jumping down from it.

“Before, someone must have gotten into the yard from the tree outside, and just like me, came over the wall. This person’s clothes must also have been stained with flour, as some flecks fell onto the wall. Although it was not much, it is enough to prove it. ” Feng Huan clapped his hands and asked, “Who was the one that discovered this place just now?”

A Yamen runner ran out excitedly, knelt down in respect, and stammered, “Yes, it was this lowly one.”

The Yamen runner was very inconspicuous, thin, and short. He also did not have any notable contribution when he searched the room. If it had not been for this achievement, he would have never been in Feng Huan’s eyes.

“You are an attentive one and will be coming with me in the future.”

The Yamen runner was delighted. Outsiders said that Prince Si Zhao was eccentric, domineering, and arrogant, but they also knew that he was protective. If anyone followed him, he would live a peaceful life as long as he did not do anything taboo. Although it might be slightly bumpy and dangerous, it was still like walking down Qingyun road6 “青云路” (Qingyun road) refers to the path of becoming a person of high morality and prestige.!

When official DaWei saw such joy from the Yamen runner, he was not happy. He kicked the Yamen runner’s bottom and said, “Why are you still not getting out of the way? Do not hinder His Highness from handling the case.”

With Prince Si Zhao getting involved in the case, official DaWei knew that he did not appear here just because he was in charge of Tai Xue. He theorized that the emperor wanted to make a new appointment so that person would be in charge of criminal cases. At this point, official DaWei’s heart grew cold, as Prince Si Zhao had been going against him from the beginning. Was he going to…

Perspiration started to appear on official DaWei’s forehead. He has handled so many cases over the years and knew there were many parts that were unclear. If there was a re-examination, it might be hard to keep his life. However, when he thought about how those responsible for reviewing the cases at the Ministry of Justice would be implicated, he concluded that even Prince Si Zhao would find it hard to act out.

With such thought, he finally felt relieved and did not interrupt in the later part of the conversations anymore.

Feng Huan looked to da sicheng and asked, “Are there people in Tai Xue who had lost something?”

Da sicheng did not expect that someone would break into Tai Xue, as this was something that had never happened before.

“Never.”

ZhuangZhong frowned. “If this person is not a burglar, then he is likely to be the murderer. No matter how, we have to find him. Body contaminated with flour, he is quick and nimble…”

Feng Huan’s eyes narrowed and continued, “This man must know martial arts.”

 

*Translator’s Notes:

-Sorry, this chapter was posted late cause my midterms are coming up and my life is really hectic right now. I will try to get one chapter up by the end of each week but do understand if future updates will be a little late 🙂

Serendipity

Could be found lurking around BL novels. The translator for 法医穿越记事 (Forensic Traversing Notes) and 人人都爱裴即玉 (Everyone Loves Pei JiYu).

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