Chapter 28 – [The Case of the Missing Silvers]

Forensic Traversing Notes
Serendipity
47 Chapters

Chapter 1 - Calling for Someone Chapter 2 - Prince Si Zhao Chapter 3 - The Matter That Was Encountered on the Way  Chapter 4 - Fake Injury Chapter 5 - Entering Marquis WenYuan’s Household Chapter 6 - Past Events Chapter 7 - The Past Chapter 8 - The Future Chapter 9 - First-Born Son Chapter 10 - Saving Someone From A False Death (Drowning) Chapter 11 - Brushing By Each Other Chapter 12 - Lu Family Chapter 13 - [Wang Fu Case] Strange Dream Chapter 14 - Beat the Drum and Appeal for Justice     Chapter 15 - Opening the Coffin to Examine the Corpse Chapter 16 - Death From Illness or Homicide?     Chapter 17 - Inverted, Suspended, and Submerged in a Val Chapter 18 - A Rather Baffling Person Chapter 19 - Tattoo Chapter 20 - Enrolled into School Chapter 21 - [LiangJun Case] Tadpole Noodles Chapter 22 - Zhuang Zhong Felt as if He Had Seen God Chapter 23 - Magnifying Glass Chapter 24 - Insane Chapter 25 - Flour Chapter 26 - There Is No Story Without Coincidences Chapter 27 - Obsession Chapter 28 - [The Case of the Missing Silvers] Chapter 29 - An Army of Thieves Chapter 30 - Brewing Chapter 31 - The Will of the People Chapter 32 - Extraordinary Ability Chapter 33 - [Xu Sheng Case] Doubtful Points Chapter 34 - Night Watchman Chapter 35 - Homicide Chapter 36 - Jade Pendant Chapter 37 - To Die For Love Chapter 38 - Feng Huan snickered, “I found you more beautiful than many other young ladies. You are indeed worthy of being the son of the descended immortal.” Chapter 39 - Yu ZiAn Chapter 40 - Divorce Chapter 41 - Dripping Blood to Test Paternity Chapter 42 - [Jin Jiang Case] Letting Out a Big Move So Enter Cautiously Chapter 43 - Heavenly Thunder Is Frightening and The Author Who Was Struck Would Not Be Helping Out With the Collection of Corpses... Chapter 44 - Drunk Chapter 45 - King ZhenNan Chapter 46 - Attitude Chapter 47 - Bringing Misfortune to One’s Fiancée

Editor: mako

Proofreader: kllua

Zhuang Zhong felt that he had been deeply fooled by Feng Huan. He was told to report to the Central Judicial Office today, but Feng Huan did not even clearly inform others about it. As a result, he was stopped outside the door, which felt rather humiliating.

“It was Prince Si Zhao who ordered me to come here.”

Despite such words, the guards remained unmoved, and one of them even said, “I have never heard of it. If there is no proof, you cannot enter.”

In his heart, Zhuang Zhong cursed Feng Huan: what was he doing! It might be justifiable that he did not have a letter of appointment or something similar because he was just doing fieldwork. However, Feng Huan should have at least given a notice in advance. Now, he could not even enter, so do not mention carrying the act of pulling down those muddled officials.

“Oh, is this not the young boy from the law college? Why are you hovering around without entering?” Official DaWei had looked surprised, but his face could not hide his scorn.

Upon seeing Zhuang Zhong, Official DaWei had become infuriated. If it was not for this boy, how could he be in such a difficult situation – almost losing his position if it was not for the protection of another. Not only was he unable to avoid being scolded, he even became a laughing stock. How could he be hailed as an expert in solving cases if he could not even surpass a kid?

Zhuang Zhong cupped his hands in front of him in greeting. “Ah, it is you. I had thought that I would not be able to see you at the Central Judicial Office anymore. Enter quickly, such a chance does not come by easily. If you are late, you may be sent off.”

With such words, Zhuang Zhong had jabbed Official DaWei’s sore spot. In the end, the other person could only give a cold hum in response and left with a rough sweep of his sleeves.

Zhuang Zhong raised his chin haughtily until Official DaWei disappeared from view. He then dejectedly stepped to one side, thinking that having no phones was really inconvenient. Without knowing Feng Huan’s whereabouts, he was also unsure whether he would be able to successfully wait for Feng Huan’s appearance. After all, Feng Huan never had a definite official position, going wherever the emperor orders. So, he was not like the others who had to take attendance and only showed up whenever he felt like it.

Just as Zhuang Zhong was about to turn around and leave, his sight was shrouded by a shadow.

“What are you standing here for? Are you planning to welcome this prince?” Wearing a black robe with golden rims, Feng Huan was riding on a shining black horse with the corners of his mouth slightly lifted up, looking both casually elegant and wild at the same time.

Zhuang Zhong replied sulkily, “I also did not want to stand here foolishly either. However, I have to be able to enter first.”

Feng Huan laughed. “There is no loss standing here for such a short time anyway.”

He then proceeded to flip off the horse, looking agile and handsome, causing Zhuang Zhong to judge silently: if such a long robe was caught on the horse, it would be something worth seeing. Let’s see whether he could still act handsome when he falls flat on his face.

“Why are you this absent-minded and not following up?” After taking a few steps, Feng Huan had noticed an odd look on Zhuang Zhong’s face as the other person muttered something intelligible. Saying that, Feng Huan also swung his horsewhip, which fell beside Zhuang Zhong’s face, making a striking sound.

Startled, Zhuang Zhong blurted out, “I still have to rely on my face to earn my keep!”

To that, Feng Huan voiced his agreement, “This face is indeed deceptive, really easy to fool others.”

Looking young and tender, Zhuang Zhong had a clean and innocent appearance. If it had not been for this, it would not have been that easy to deceive Zhao Xiong and Xu Mei Niang.

Hearing that, Zhuang Zhong sneered but quickly followed up to Feng Huan.

As soon as Prince Si Zhao appeared, others began surrounding him respectfully. When they greeted him, their bodies were also almost bent in half. It was here that Zhuang Zhong understood why Feng Huan said there was no loss for him to wait there foolishly. It was obvious their gazes on him had changed.

Without fame and status, Zhuang Zhong’s stay at the Central Judicial Office would have placed him in an awkward predicament. Besides, he was still young and might only be recognized as the son of Marquis WenYuan only after some time. So, even if he had merit in solving the previous case of Yuan LiangJun, it was not enough for the people here to look upon him favorably. However, it was different for Prince Si Zhao to lead him in personally. Others might not become subservient, but at least they would not make it too difficult for him on Feng Huan’s accord.

As Feng Huan only briefly walked around the Central Judicial Office before leaving, Zhuang Zhong became more ascertained that he came just for him, and he was very grateful.

Even then, the Central Judicial Office was still a place that valued ability. So, if someone wanted to win respect from everyone, he would still have to rely on himself. At this time, there was also no one to bring him around, as Sun ChaoYang had some family matters to attend to and would only be returning next month. So, he headed to the archives to examine the files instead. One could gauge the standards of this world through their case files. This, coupled with the laws and regulations here, would make it easier to understand and remember the rules.

“This is the archives. The files of all the cases over the years are here, and they are arranged according to the date. You can look over the files, but they cannot be taken out. Additionally, if you need to borrow it, you will also have to make a record. Do not try to modify it or damage it, as there are original copies of them.” The one managing the archives of the Central Judicial Office was an old man who everyone called Old Man Zhao. With his narrow eyes, he looked serious. He also did not turn kind and gentle despite knowing that Zhuang Zhong had relations with Prince Si Zhao, giving off a lukewarm attitude that felt stiff.

Despite that, Zhuang Zhong found such people very favorable. The archives were very clean and neatly organized, making it really convenient to find anything. Old Man Zhao seemed like a practical man and not someone who only knew how to speak glibly.

“Are there any recent cases where the offenders are about to be executed?”

With a slightly hunched-over figure, Old Man Zhao then went in and rummaged around for a while before retrieving a large stack of files. “This is only part of it. I will get you the others after you have read it.”

When Zhuang Zhong saw the stack of files that looked like a mountain, he could not help but wipe off his sweat. Recalling that autumn—the period for execution—was coming, he thought that it was no wonder there would be so many files.

Roughly looking over a few file cases, he heaved a sigh of relief. It appeared that people like Official DaWei were the minority, and most officials were still stringent. At least, he did not notice anything wrong or inappropriate – the evidence was irrefutable, and there were no questionable areas. Although Zhuang Zhong wanted to take this opportunity to gain merits, his desire for justice in the world was greater. In this world, not only were cases handled crudely, but prison conditions were also terrible. So if a person was wronged in a case, he would suffer greatly before an execution could even be carried out. Those that were misfortunate would also receive little compensation after the case was redressed. Not only that, some who were unable to hold on anymore would also perish in the prisons before their execution date too.

Finding it hard to understand the language used, Zhuang Zhong’s reading speed was relatively slow. This, coupled with the need to examine the details of the cases carefully, had resulted in him only managing to get through three cases throughout the whole morning. Considered relatively simple and straightforward cases, they were not anything difficult.

“Do not stop me! If you do not give me an answer today, I will die sitting here. After all, I cannot live on anymore!” The woman’s voice sounded like a large bell, making others feel that the doors and windows were shaking. She also attracted the attention of Zhuang Zhong, who was reading the files with knitted eyebrows.

Zhuang Zhong then rubbed his sore eyes and walked outside to see what happened.

With a helpless expression, Official DaWei looked like he was bracing himself. Meanwhile, the woman appeared wealthy with a round waist and thick arms. She was arrogantly pointing at Official DaWei while hurling verbal abuse at him. Surprisingly, in front of her, the tyrannical Official DaWei was actually meekly accepting her scolding.

“Lady Yin, the thief has already been caught. He may not have spilled everything yet, but he will not be able to hold on for long…”

The woman spat at the Official DaWei directly. “Do not address me as Lady Yin this intimately. Are you not the best in case-solving? How could you not take down such an old man? Normally, when you ask for money, you can run even faster than rabbits. However, now that our family is facing such trouble, you have started putting off your work with all sorts of excuses. Official DaWei, let me inform you that although we are just a merchant family, there are still people we know higher up! Imperial concubine Yin Xian and I are relatives. If you do not investigate it properly for me, I will skin you! I will make you spit out all the things you have gotten from my family.”

Hearing that, Official DaWei’s forehead became drenched in sweat, and when he saw many people gathering around due to the commotion, he became even more anxious. He attempted to drag the woman outside but was shaken off. “It is improper for unfamiliar men and women to touch each other, so refrain from being so touchy. Let me tell you that I will not be going anywhere today. Due to this, our money shop1“钱庄” refers to old financial organizations known as old-style Chinese private banks or money shops. At first, the main business was currency exchange before gradually increasing to deposit, loan and exchange business. cannot operate anymore, and who knows which bastard had dared to steal from us! Not only that, I deliberately reported this to you privately so the case could be solved quickly and this issue could pass with less fuss. However, you actually raised a colossal uproar in the city, causing everyone to know that someone stole from our money shop and people started bringing their jiaozi2As a reminder, “jiaozi” refers to paper money, usually used to make large purchases or pay off large sums. to make exchanges. I originally already lost nearly 50,000 taels of silver while the rest were used for other businesses. Where do I get the silvers to make exchanges if people come?! If we go on like this, the many years of good reputation that our Four Seas Money Shop has built up will be destroyed.”

This woman was Yin DaMei, the wife of the owner of the Four Seas Money Shop and someone with relations to imperial concubine Yin Xian. It was because of such a connection that the Yin family could climb up the social ladder rapidly, causing fowls and dogs to turn immortals3“鸡犬升天” (literally “fowls and dogs turn immortals”) refers to the notion of how relatives and followers of a high official will receive promotion after him (kinship benefits).. Generally, the money shop could also be considered one of the most powerful ones in the capital. After all, with the name of imperial concubine Yin Xian, no one had dared to question their increase in prosperity.

However, unexpectedly, they were actually robbed, and nearly 50,000 taels of silver disappeared just like that. Even with their abundant wealth, this was not a small number. For the silvers to disappear without a sound was also worrying. If there was a first time, there would be a second and third time. So, if it were not investigated properly, people would no longer trust them with their money. How would the money shop continue operating in the future then?

It has been three days since it was reported, but there was no further news from the Central Judicial Office. Even though the thief had been found, they could not locate the missing silvers despite turning his house upside down. Additionally, someone unknown and wicked leaked the news and made up rumors that they lost hundreds and thousands of silvers. Now, the number of people coming into the money shop every day to exchange was so high that it was not something they could handle. If they cannot find the real culprit and discover the truth, they would not be able to hang on any longer.

After all, who would be willing to keep their money in a money shop that got robbed without anyone knowing how it happened? They might as well bury their money in their yards.

Meanwhile, Official DaWei, who was spat on, felt fed-up. However, he could not do anything about it. Besides the relationship between Yin DaMei and imperial concubine Yin Xian, he personally also had connections with her husband Qian Rong during these years. This “kinship” coupled with his inability to find a trace of these silvers had left him tightly restricted in his actions.

“Lady Yin, there are still two days left. You can rest assured that I will pry the information from his mouth.”

Despite such reassurance, Yin DaMei sat on a stone bench and fanned herself hard with a handkerchief. “You only know how to tell me to wait. Despite holding him for many days, you have found nothing, so how can I not worry? That is exactly 48,732 silvers! Generally, people only earn a few taels of silvers a year, and such an amount does not come easily to us either.”

“You can rest assured. After all, you know my ability. There will be no mistakes.”

Yin DaMei squinted her eyes at him. “It is exactly because I know your abilities that I worry. That Old Man Liu had been working in our household for so many years, and I clearly understand his disposition. Although he is a little rigid, his actions are always consistent with his words. So, even if you subject him to severe torture, you will find nothing about the whereabouts of the silvers. There is an 80% chance of this case having nothing to do with him.”

When Official DaWei heard her evaluation, his heart flared in anger, but he still gave her a smile. “This is such a large amount of silver that even deities have to become ghosts to carry this out. If it is not him, who else could have done this?!”

“Then, did you find it? Such a large sum of money must have taken quite a long to move, isn’t it? You have ransacked his house thoroughly but found nothing. I also told you about the people he was in contact with, but the investigation still remains fruitless.”

Official DaWei explained, “Silver will not vanish into thin air, and there will certainly be traces. Lady Yin, be patient. I will help you find those silvers.”

Finally, Yin DaMei’s expression loosened up, and she said, “Fine, I will wait two days. If there is no news then, I will find my niece and tell her about it.”

Like this, Official DaWei’s continuous assurances finally managed to send her away. After she left, he released a gust of air in the direction of her disappearance. “What is this! They are just merchants but dare to cross me.”

Looking back, he saw that a crowd had gathered, with Zhuang Zhong among them. Giving Zhuang Zhong a fierce stare, he then swung his sleeves and left.

This situation made Zhuang Zhong look at him even less favorably. After all, what abilities could he possess when he only knew how to use torture. He also felt pity towards that Old Man Liu, wondering what state he had been tortured to by that person. However, he did not have enough skills for criminal investigations and no modern instruments to conduct a survey of the scene. To him, robberies were then considered difficult, and he should not get himself involved. Instead, he should quickly look over the remaining files to see if there were possible cases to take on, as many of them were not far from their execution dates. If he managed to find something, he could save some lives.

While there was no progress in the stolen silvers’ case, the suspected Old Man Liu had been almost beaten to death. Even when his two sons were caught and subjected to severe torture, there was still nothing. Meanwhile, the case had spread throughout the capital, with many people talking about it, wondering how the bold thief managed to steal nearly tens of thousands of silvers. After all, the Four Seas Money Shop was heavily guarded, and those who wanted to enter had to possess the three keys – Qian Rong, Yin DaMei, and Old Man Liu each had one. If any of the three were missing, one would not be able to enter.

As the lock remained intact and there was no sign of forced entry, it was determined that there must be a hidden traitor. It was deduced that the person must have opened the treasury with the keys, or how could so much silver disappear just like that?

Throughout this period, public opinions remained divergent, and there were all kinds of speculation. While Old Man Liu refused to confess during those two days, there were others in his family who could not bear the flogging anymore and admitted that they stole it. However, none could reveal the location of the silvers or how the robbery happened. This caused Official DaWei to be at a loss, as such a case could not utilize confessions to resolve it, unlike others. If he could not find the stolen money, it was equivalent to not solving the crime!

Refusing to give in, Yin DaMei also headed to the Central Judicial Office every day to create a disturbance. Despite feeling greatly bothered, Official DaWei could not do anything. After all, she was a rude and unreasonable woman who was famously known as mudachong4 For “母大虫” (mudachong), I am not entirely sure but I think the author was referring to 顾大嫂, a character in a Chinese novel called Water Margin. Known to have a strong temperament and martial arts skills, she was usually referred to as mudachong. in the capital. Now, with a huge backing, she became even more rampant. If the silvers could not be found, it appeared that the Central Judicial Office would be held responsible.

As Zhuang Zhong had class in the morning, he only arrived at the Central Judicial Office in the afternoon. Unexpectedly, he actually saw Yin DaMei sitting on a chair she brought along in front of the door, looking like she was putting up a desperate fight. Standing beside her was Official DaWei, whose whole body was dripping with sweat while he was constantly saying something to her. While Zhuang Zhong was thinking about how to maneuver around them, officer DaWei suddenly looked up and spotted him. As Official DaWei’s eyes brightened, Zhuang Zhong immediately turned around but was still stopped by him.

“Young Master Zhuang! You arrived just in time.” After saying so, Official DaWei directly pulled Zhuang Zhong over and held onto his arm to prevent him from escaping. “Lady Yin, I have brought you the famous young QingTian5For “青天”, I think the author was referring to Bao QingTian, an official known for demonstrating extreme honesty and uprightness in solving cases. Besides appearing in dramas and other mediums, he is also often portrayed with a crescent moon on his forehead in mainstream Chinese mythology. in the capital!”

At this point in time, Zhuang Zhong managed to struggle free but could not help frowning when he heard such words. “This official should not speak nonsense. I am just a law student and only here to learn some skills. How can I become QingTian?”

As Zhuang Zhong looked young and tender, Yin DaMei was also unconvinced. “What can such a little guy do?”

Official DaWei replied with a laugh, “Young Master Zhuang should not be modest as there is no one who is currently unaware of your abilities. Or is it because you do not care to deal with merchants…”

Hearing that, Yin DaMei was angered. “What laws stipulate that the lawsuit made by merchants will not be accepted? If you cannot name one, I will directly file one to the emperor!”

Zhuang Zhong coldly said, “This official may not be very capable of investigating cases, but he seems quite good at stirring up dissension. When did I have such a mindset? Is it because you have such a thought and assume others would think the same way?”

Official DaWei narrowed his eyes. “Then why do you not dare to accept the Four Seas Money Shop case of stolen silvers? What other reason could it be besides looking down on them?”

“This is some ‘perfect’ logic. From the start, you place me on a high pedestal and intentionally set a trap for me. Now, you want to push your responsibility for solving the case onto me. Do you really think I am a five-year-old and will allow you to lead me by my nose?” After saying that, Zhuang Zhong told Lady Yin, “Lady Yin should not listen to his nonsense. The words spoken by this official are similar to how he solves cases. It is your loss once you take him seriously.”

Assuming that Zhuang Zhong was someone who acted without thinking, Official DaWei did not expect him to be this prickly. Like this, he was unable to throw out the hot potato in his hands6“手里的烫山芋没扔出去” (literally “throw out the hot potato in one’s hands”) refers to giving up/washing your hands off things that are troublesome to yourself. The “hot potato” could refer to something that you desire but is afraid of being harmed by so you ended up throwing it out. and became dejected. “Such a good mouth. I wonder if your case-solving is as good as that mouth.”

“Both of you shut up!” Yin DaMei continued to roar, “My money has not been found, and yet both of you are still in the mood to trifle lovingly with each other here7The term she used was really inappropriate XD “打情骂俏” usually refers to the “flirting” (e.g. tease one’s lover by showing false displeasure) between a man and woman.. If you all have so much spare time, why not find where my silvers are?!”

Official DaWei and Zhuang Zhong almost vomited to death. If she did not know how to apply the term, she should have refrained from using it. It really made one feel disgusted.

Completely unaware of her implication, Yin DaMei continued in a loud voice, “Such skinners, you all are being picky because I did not offer money, isn’t it? Let me put this out then – whoever helps me find those silvers and, by extension, how it got stolen will be rewarded with a thousand taels of silvers by me!”

Even though Official DaWei’s eyes brightened immediately after hearing that, he said, “There is no need for Lady Yin to do this, as this is what we should do.”

She coldly hummed, “Fine. If you find it, I will not give it to you. However, if you cannot find it, hmph, there is no need for me to take action as you will lose your job.”

Such words caused Official DaWei’s face to undergo drastic changes, and he hurriedly refuted that she should prepare the 1,000 taels of silver, as the case would be settled soon. After saying that, he swung his sleeves and left, anxious to find clues.

At this point, Zhuang Zhong’s abhorrence towards Official DaWei had reached a whole new level, causing him to decide to spend more time at the Central Judicial Office. It was fine if those past cases had no problems, but if anything was wrong, Zhuang Zhong must pull him down.

Yin DaMei asked, “Where are you going?”

Zhuang Zhong was temporarily at a loss. “I am going in.”

Yin DaMei was furious. “What is the purpose of going in? Are you not going to take a look at solving the case?”

“Ah? Didn’t the official head there already?”

Yin DaMei spat violently in response, “What good could he do? My money was stolen, so go find it for me. I do not care whether you are the real or false QingTian. If you all cannot find my silvers, I will never let it go.”

Although Yin DaMei did not trust the young and tender-looking Zhuang Zhong, she decided to make a last attempt due to Official DaWei’s words. She had also heard about the murder case of the Tai Xue student before, and the key to solving it was a youth. According to Official DaWei, it should be this person, so perhaps his attention to details could find some clues. Even though a few thousand taels of silver were important to her, the harm towards the money shop’s reputation would be worse if they got robbed without them knowing how it happened. This was something that could not be bought with money. Merchants, especially money shops like them, paid the most attention to reputation. If one had a bad reputation, no one would be willing to make deals with you in the future.

Zhuang Zhong became speechless. It was said that there was a clear hierarchy of scholars, farmers, artisans, and merchants, but when some people became furious, they would also dare to pull the emperor down, regardless of the consequences. This Yin DaMei was just a merchant, and even if she was related to imperial concubine Yin Xian, it was amazing to see her this unbridled. It was no wonder that Qian Rong had not appeared. He probably knew that his wife’s fighting power was extraordinary. If she could not succeed, he was just wasting his time and energy to be here.

Previously, when Zhuang Zhong heard of this peculiar robbery, he was also very curious. So, he decided to make use of this opportunity directly and see if he could find anything.

When he arrived at the money shop, he noticed that the security was very tight with three layers inside and three layers outside. There were also more than ten people on patrol at all sides, no loopholes.

“Is the security like this on normal days?”

Suan Pan8 It took me a while to realize but the manservant was actually named after the Chinese abacus, 算盘., the manservant who was sent to lead him around the money shop, nodded. “Yes, there are many on the lookout inside and outside the Four Seas Money Shop. The guards are so strict that even a fly cannot enter. Everyone who enters also has to undergo a full-body search when they come out. Importantly, at those times, the master and madam supervise the process, so it is impossible for anyone to take anything out.”

“That is to say that the thief is really brilliant,” Suan Pan sighed. If the business lost money, the employees would also have a hard time. Moreover, if the money could not be found, they might lose their jobs too. Although the madam was a little unreasonable, their remuneration was still quite decent. If they left, it might be hard to find such a good job.

“From your words, it seems like you do not believe that Old Man Liu is the thief?”

Hearing that, Suan Pan shook his head like a rattle-drum. “The reason why the master trusts Uncle Liu so much was because he is a rigid person. Even if he did have such a desire, he does not have the ability. His house has also been ransacked thoroughly, and nothing was found. His family is all in the capital, and he does not have many relatives. Where can he transport so much silver to?”

Zhuang Zhong nodded and asked, “How many days does it take before one opens the treasury?”

Suan Pan said indignantly, “There are two floors. The first floor can only be opened by Old Man Liu’s key. He will store the money from that day or temporarily take out some when there is a large transaction. The second floor is the real storeroom. It has two locks, and their keys are held by the master and madam. Generally, we only do inventory once every ten days or when there is too much money outside. When that time comes, Old Man Liu will search for them to open the locks and store the extra money inside. Most importantly, the lost silvers were in the real storeroom, but Old Man Liu cannot get in, so how can he steal it? Even if he has the ability to unlock the lock, how can he transport it out? The number of times he goes in and out every day is also registered. Even if he managed to employ a method to transport some at a time, he still could not transport so much in ten days.”

Although Old Man Liu was rigid, he was a decent person who never treated others harshly. As long as they worked hard, he would never deliberately make trouble for them, let alone deduct their wages. So, with such support from other workers, it was inconceivable that he was arrested. Additionally, many became even more convinced that he was wronged when nothing could be found after a few days.

“Have you mentioned all this to the official?”

Suan Pan’s face collapsed. “Of course I did, but the official was insistent, saying that besides him, no one else could enter the treasury. Besides, the night before the interrogation, Old Man Liu did go in for a long time.”

“Can you talk to your master and his wife to let me go in and have a look?” As Zhuang Zhong was not a formal official, he had no right to enter without permission. Although Yin DaMei might have asked him to come and investigate the case, she did not trust him greatly and sent for a manservant instead of hosting him herself.

Suan Pan looked like he was placed in a tough spot. “This… I will ask for you, but I am afraid it is not that easy.”

“Did something happen before?”

Suan Pan looked around before speaking into Zhuang Zhong’s ear, “If I tell you this, you cannot say it to anyone else. Before, when Official DaWei came to investigate the case, he entered several times and took a lot of things. The madam turned a blind eye, but there was no progress in the case. So, it will not be that easy for anyone to enter again. The madam also threatened that if he could not solve this, she would report directly to the emperor, saying that he took bribes and bent the law.”

The fire in Zhuang Zhong’s heart flared. This bastard Official DaWei! No wonder whenever he faced Yin DaMei, he was so brazen. It turned out that it was because of this. Since he was unable to enter, he could not survey the scene. So, in the end, he went to visit Old Man Liu in the prison first.

When he got to the cell, Zhuang Zhong had to spend some money to get in and was almost killed by the stench inside. Upon seeing Old Man Liu, he gnashed his teeth with hatred.

Old Man Liu had been tortured terribly, and there was literally no skin that was left unmarred. Suan Pan, who came with him, burst into tears when he saw that.

“Uncle Liu, how can you end up like this?!”

Old Man Liu’s two sons were also locked up in the cell. As they were also working in the money shop, they had gotten arrested too. In a similar miserable state, one could smell a scorched and stinky scent when coming near. Both of them were taking care of the dying Old Man Liu with tears that kept falling and unable to be wiped off.

“I… I did not… steal… do not… do not confess.” Even when he was dying, Old Man Liu did not fail to repeatedly urge his two sons.

One of them refuted, “Father, I-I do not want to either. How can I confess what I had not done? However, I cannot hold on anymore!”

The other also cried out, “Are the heavens planning to annihilate our Liu family? Who is the one who sinned and led us to this?!”

“Uncle Liu, Big Brother Liu, and Second Brother Liu, how can you all end up like this?”

Liu dalang mournfully replied, “That Official DaWei kept on insisting that we stole from the money shop, wanting to make us confess to false charges under torture. However, even if I confess, how would I know where the silvers are when I did not steal them? So he kept on torturing us again and again. I loathe that my father has to suffer like this in his old age. The heavens are unfair, the heavens are really unfair!”

“I-I will go to the master’s house and tell them. How can you all be thieves?”

Liu erlang sighed, “What is the use of looking for them? Previously, the madam stood up for my father, but Official DaWei actually suspected that they embezzled it themselves! He believed that the person who possessed the key was the thief, so it is either my father, the master, or the madam. Like this, how can they dare to speak up for my father?!”

Zhuang Zhong clenched his fists as his anger seemed to scorch himself inside out. Taking in a deep breath, he then tried to keep calm, refraining from letting such words cloud his mind.

“Did anything out of the ordinary happen before the silvers went missing? Think it over carefully and do not leave out anything unusual.”

Liu dalang and Liu erlang glanced at Zhuang Zhong as Suan Pan explained hastily, “He is the one who solved the murder case of the Tai Xue student before.”

Hearing that, their eyes had a glimmer of hope. “My lord, we are wronged!”

“I am not an official, but if you believe in me, tell me what had happened during this period.” His serious and conscientious attitude had managed to slightly cover up his young age.

As both were at a loss on what to do, they decided to seize the help of anyone who came over without a care for their identity. Liu dalang said, “Every ten days, the owners of the money shop will enter and examine it. There are very few exceptions, and this time was nothing out of the usual. However, when they entered to check, they noticed that a few thousand taels of silvers were missing.”

“Nothing unusual happened during that time?”

The two brothers shook their heads. “No, my father is very careful. Even if a cat suddenly appears, he will quickly inform the owners to open it up and check inside.”

Suan Pan added, “Uncle Liu is indeed careful. On normal days, he can identify any mistakes that we have made. What the other guys feared most is him, but he was also the most respected.”

“Then, was there anything unusual about the couple, Qian Rong and Lady Yin?”

To that, Liu dalang also shook his head. “No, my father would have known if they were behaving unusually. To put it nicely, he is attentive. To put it badly, he is just someone who is always filled with suspicions and never believes in anyone. So, even both of us had never touched the key, and the same applies to the owners too. He told us that he once had a friend who was wronged and died. In that case, the family had two brothers, and one was greedy for money. In the end, the brother embezzled the money but pushed the crime onto his friend. So, my father was always very cautious and told my brother and me to sign up as guards to take turns guarding the treasury for fear that something might go wrong.”

“Both of you are guards too?”

Liu erlang sighed, “If it is not like this, how can it be deduced that we stole it?”

Liu dalang was also feeling very helpless. “My father thought that as long as the money was firmly watched, it would be safe. How can we know that despite such careful arrangement, it would turn into possible evidence of our embezzlement?”

In the end, Zhuang Zhong did not manage to obtain much valuable information from the Liu family. As he had also never been to the scene, it was hard to judge by such one-sided words. So, he just ordered Suan Pan to send some medicine to them, as it was still not known who the thief really was. If someone dies, it would be too late to feel remorse then.

While Zhuang Zhong was thinking about how to enter the treasury to investigate, news arrived from the Four Seas Money Shop. More than 5,000 taels of silvers in the treasury had gone missing again!

  • 1
    “钱庄” refers to old financial organizations known as old-style Chinese private banks or money shops. At first, the main business was currency exchange before gradually increasing to deposit, loan and exchange business.
  • 2
    As a reminder, “jiaozi” refers to paper money, usually used to make large purchases or pay off large sums.
  • 3
    “鸡犬升天” (literally “fowls and dogs turn immortals”) refers to the notion of how relatives and followers of a high official will receive promotion after him (kinship benefits).
  • 4
    For “母大虫” (mudachong), I am not entirely sure but I think the author was referring to 顾大嫂, a character in a Chinese novel called Water Margin. Known to have a strong temperament and martial arts skills, she was usually referred to as mudachong.
  • 5
    For “青天”, I think the author was referring to Bao QingTian, an official known for demonstrating extreme honesty and uprightness in solving cases. Besides appearing in dramas and other mediums, he is also often portrayed with a crescent moon on his forehead in mainstream Chinese mythology.
  • 6
    “手里的烫山芋没扔出去” (literally “throw out the hot potato in one’s hands”) refers to giving up/washing your hands off things that are troublesome to yourself. The “hot potato” could refer to something that you desire but is afraid of being harmed by so you ended up throwing it out.
  • 7
    The term she used was really inappropriate XD “打情骂俏” usually refers to the “flirting” (e.g. tease one’s lover by showing false displeasure) between a man and woman.
  • 8
    It took me a while to realize but the manservant was actually named after the Chinese abacus, 算盘.

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4 thoughts on “Chapter 28 – [The Case of the Missing Silvers]”

  1. Just read it and can’t wait for the next chap again. I love the solving mystery and transmigrated person part the most in novels. It makes it so much more interesting 😀
    Also your translation is lovely and I really adore our ML. He has no much character and hes funny..hope he pays once in a while though lol.

    Reply
    • Thanks, I also find their interactions quite funny and cute too! Their relationship is probably slow burn cause both of them have not even form developing feelings yet XD

      Reply

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