Chapter 34 – Night Watchman

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

After being yelled at by the jailer, Xu Sheng would only repeat that he killed her no matter what Zhuang Zhong said. So, because Xu Sheng’s behavior had become abnormal, Zhuang Zhong was also unable to ask for any other useful information.

Looking at Xu Sheng’s body trembling in the small corner of the cell, it was obvious that his mental state was different. From the file, it could be determined that since young, Xu Sheng had been talented, otherwise he would not have captured Zhao ShuYi’s heart. For him to have become like this, there were only three plausible reasons. The first was that he was struck by an illness, while the second was that Zhao ShuYi’s death had given him a great blow, resulting in his mentally abnormal state. The last possibility was that he was tortured severely before and was frightened.

“How did Xu Sheng’s leg become lame?”

The jailer’s eyes flashed, and Zhuang Zhong swept a glance over him. His gaze was undoubtedly ordinary, but there seemed to be a hidden meaning in it. Not daring to conceal, the jailer then hastily replied, “When Xu Sheng first came in, he would not admit that he had killed someone. It was only when his leg was broken that he could not endure anymore and confessed.”

Zhuang Zhong clenched his fists as his anger rose. “Even if one uses torture to extort a confession, it should not have led to disablement. Why are you all this vicious?! If it turned out to be a mistake, would there not be no turning back then?”

Feeling frightened, the jailer hurriedly explained, “This lowly one is just a prison guard and did not participate in this matter. It was ordered by Official DaWei and has nothing to do with this lowly one.”

The jailer might not be entirely guilty, but he could not distance himself from the filthy events that happened in the prison either. However, as someone who was not the initiator, Zhuang Zhong’s attack on such small shrimps would not solve the root problem. Zhuang Zhong took in a deep breath as he refrained himself from flaring up further. After all, finding the facts of the truth was the only way to solve the problem. Besides, Zhuang Zhong also admitted that he had his own selfish motivations. Because he hoped that Xu Sheng had been wronged, he had already assumed that Xu Sheng was probably not the real murderer.

Official DaWei being removed from office was not enough. It was only by accepting a more severe punishment that those officials in charge of handling cases would be less careless. One’s inability to catch the murderer was already a negligence of duty, but catching the wrong person was just acting with utter disregard for human life, a similar crime to the murderer!

After that, Zhuang Zhong also did not rush to find other clues and went to the small teahouse near the Zhao ShuYi family.

At that time, business in the small teahouse was quiet, and Zhuang Zhong ordered some fine tea and many snacks. When the owner of the teahouse, an older woman in her 40s, saw his charming appearance and extravagant spending, she paid greater attention to him.

Zhuang Zhong pointed at the Zhao family’s silverware shop and asked, “Shopkeeper, why is the silverware shop opposite us not open anymore? My mother likes the candlesticks made there very much and especially ordered me to buy it to bring back when I arrive at the capital. However, despite coming here several times, I have not seen them open the door at all.”

When Zhuang Zhong spoke of the silverware shop, a slight flicker of contempt quickly flashed in the teahouse owner’s eyes as she replied, “This young master should not wait further, as the Zhao family’s silver shop may never open again.”

Zhuang Zhong was stunned. “Why is that so? I heard from my mother that this shop business is excellent, only that their items were slightly more expensive. In the past, she did not have enough money, so she was unwilling to make any purchases. Now that she finally has the money and wishes to buy something, how can they not open anymore?”

With no other guests around at this time, the teahouse owner sat down and whispered, “They have no face to open their shop.”

“Ah? Is it because their silverwares had fake silver mixed in?”

“No, it was because of their family scandal.” The teahouse owner tutted, “You are not a local, so you are not aware. A few months ago, something big happened in their family.”

Zhuang Zhong grew interested as his head extended out with bright eyes, waiting for her follow-up. After all, gossip was fun for the speaker if there was a listener. The teahouse owner then cleared her throat, made a pot of tea, and continued mysteriously, “The Zhao family’s young lady was murdered!”

Zhuang Zhong’s surprised expression pleased the teahouse owner who went on, “Just this sole reason would not have caused the closure of the Zhao family’s silverware shop either. However, do you know who the killer is? You would never have been able to imagine! It was actually…”

The teahouse owner raised up two thumbs, faced them together, and blinked ambiguously. Zhuang Zhong asked in an incredulous voice, “It can’t be. Did someone get it wrong? That is something that could destroy a person’s reputation. Although the young lady has passed, it is still not right to speak of someone in such a way.”

Despite being questioned, the owner of the teahouse was not angry. “The Zhao family’s young lady had always looked restless, swaying her body and glancing around, giving off a foxy charm. Meanwhile, the killer was her lover, who she had been secretly meeting for more than half a year. Everyone on this street knew while the Zhao family were the only ones in the dark. Every day, her mother liked to show off how virtuous her daughter was, believing that she would marry into a rich family in the future. However, in actuality, she was already used goods that were just seen as a treasure. Now, with such events happening, they have totally lost face and were too embarrassed to open their shop again.”

While the teahouse owner felt delight in the misfortunes of others, Zhuang Zhong frowned slightly. “There is actually such a matter?”

Seeing that Zhuang Zhong was interested in this matter, she continued, “Xu Sheng is the killer. For a large part of the year, he would enter the young lady’s bedroom almost every night and spend the night there. As long as he gave the secret code, she would drop a strip of cloth from the window. After he grabbed the cloth, she would then pull him up. My house is near the Zhao family, so every time I hear that code, I know that Xu Sheng has come again.”

“A secret code?”

“It is to make three calls of a frog, so those who were aware of this affair all called Xu Sheng a toad.”

“During the day the Zhao family’s young lady was killed, did you hear any movement?”

With a tender appearance and a pair of clear eyes, the teahouse owner had assumed that Zhuang Zhong was just curious and did not make any other assumptions. However, even then, she did not answer despite having an unfathomable appearance.

Zhuang Zhong immediately understood and ordered another pot of fine tea. Only then did the teahouse owner continue, “At that time, I had already gone to bed. Besides, who would still listen for movement? We had heard it for a large part of the year to the point that it was not surprising anymore. However, the night watchman1“更夫” (night watchman) is a person who strikes the gong or bamboo clapper at night, informing others of the time. was quite interested, and every night, during choushi2 “丑时” (choushi) refers to the timing from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. when Xu Sheng would appear, he would pass by that area. Sometimes, he would even take the opportunity when Xu Sheng was climbing up to make some noise. Several times, Xu Sheng was given a fright because of that and directly fell down.”

The teahouse owner laughed as if she was at the scene watching Xu Sheng fumble around. Recalling that Xu Sheng was going to be sentenced to execution, she then tutted. “This Xu Sheng is truly charming in appearance and had a sweet mouth. However, in the end, he chose to go down this path and be such a malicious person. No matter what, he and the Zhao family’s young lady had been together for a long time. So despite the inappropriateness of the situation, there was still tender affection between them. This made it terrifying to see him kill her just over a small dispute. It was really fortunate that the heavens’ nest is vast and allowed this vicious man to be executed.”

The night watchman!

Zhuang Zhong’s eyes brightened, as such a man had not been mentioned in the case file. With the hasty approach Official DaWei took when handling cases, he had already decided that Xu Sheng was the killer from the beginning. So, he had forced Xu Sheng to confess his guilt without conducting a thorough investigation.

Zhuang Zhong asked for the night watchman’s address. This caused the teahouse owner to become curious, but looking at the money he had spent, she still told him truthfully. Without delay, Zhuang Zhong then went to find the night watchman directly. However, on the way, he met Feng Huan.

“Your Highness? Why are you here?” Zhuang Zhong was astonished. Only some small commoners occupied this area, and he never thought that he would come across Feng Huan in such an alley.

“To drink with you.” Feng Huan had a bad expression on his face. After saying that, he walked forward as if he was not worried that Zhuang Zhong would not follow him.

Zhuang Zhong hastily went after him. “Your Highness, can you wait two days? One of the cases I am investigating has doubtful points, and the suspect is about to be executed in five days. I have to uncover the truth in these few days, or it will be too late.”

Feng Huan, who had initially been striding forward in big steps, stopped, and his gaze turned chilly. “You really do not know how to show gratitude! What is more important than this prince?”

Zhuang Zhong respectfully replied, “Your Highness was born a noble, and if it were the usual times, I would not have dared to do so. However, a person’s life is as great as the heavens, so I hope that Your Highness will understand.”

Despite such words, Feng Huan did not compromise. “There are other people who can investigate the case. You, accompany this prince to drink.”

Zhuang Zhong felt helpless. He did not know how he gained a place in Prince Si Zhao’s eyes for the other person to seek him out to drink with no matter the situation. Usually, he would have agreed, as he still needed Feng Huan’s backing. However, today was not appropriate, as he would waste a day if he drank with him. After all, the day of the execution was approaching, and he had no time to delay. Speaking of which, where was HouShu, who was often around him? Why could he have not looked for HouShu instead of looking for him?

Here, Zhuang Zhong did not dare to disobey his orders, but at the same time, he also did not want to drink with him. This caused him to become very anxious, as he feared that he would not be able to stop himself from splashing his drink on Feng Huan’s face after a few cups. Thus, standing in place, he remained motionless.

When Feng Huan saw this, his anger actually diminished considerably, but his speaking tone was still not too good, “You are very daring.”

With a calmer tone than before, Zhuang Zhong sighed, “Currently, I am wholeheartedly invested in the case. Those lives might be only something trivial in Your Highness’s eyes. However, I believe that although life is not easy, everyone has the right to live. In situations when a case is unjustly handled, not only do the innocent people have to suffer, but the real murderer will also be free from the law and be able to harm others in the future.”

Feng Huan coldly snorted, “You are quite righteous.”

“Your Highness is even more righteous. It was just that you have something troubling you today, and it momentarily caused you to allow your private affairs to eclipse your sense of righteousness.”

“Do not fawn over me. I am not that lofty. Fine, since drinking is also uninteresting, I will just go with you to take a look at the case.”

The two men walked together. Even though Feng Huan’s expression did not look too well, Zhuang Zhong could not think of anything that could be bothering him. A few days ago, he heard that Feng Huan’s marriage was in discussion, and his match was eventually chosen to be the daughter of a minister in the Ministry of Rites. With outstanding talent and appearance, she was a famous beauty in the capital. However, although it was decided, the actual marriage would only be held at least two years later since there were many marriage rites in DaYou, especially for the nobles. Nonetheless, it was still considered a big occasion that Feng Huan should have rejoiced about. After all, Zhuang Zhong himself has lived two lives, but he had not even touched a lady’s hands before, not to mention marriage – he was totally a leftover man. More importantly, Feng Huan now had power, wealth, and beautiful women, so was there a reason for him to be this distressed?

Ah! At this moment, Zhuang Zhong suddenly thought of something. Was that woman not the woman in red that Feng Huan had seen before? No wonder when he heard of her family background, he had found her familiar but just could not recall where he had heard it from.

Zhuang Zhong gave Feng Huan a strange look because no matter how cool the other person was, he was physically still a teenage boy. Feng Huan clearly liked her, but he still purposely introduced her to others while pretending to be indifferent. If Zhuang Zhong had said something he should not have said back then, he would have lost his head! Then, perhaps the reason for Feng Huan’s current irritable state was because he did not know how to get along with such a female goddess? Since Zhuang Zhong has remained a true man despite transmigrating, he had made such assumptions according to his experiences in the other world.

Feng Huan became even more agitated when he was stared at and asked with a displeased tone, “What is with the look in your eyes?”

Zhuang Zhong gave a “hehe” laugh but did not say anything. How would he be able to expose such deductions about this young man? If Feng Huan felt ashamed and turned angry, he would not be able to bear the repercussions. After all, understanding a young man’s feelings did not require much female intellect.

Smiling with curved eyes, Zhuang Zhong replied with hidden intention in his words, “Your Highness is really becoming more handsome.”

Feng Huan was stunned and immediately gave a cold expression. “Your smile is really disgusting!”

Hearing that, Zhuang Zhong immediately pulled back his smile and gave a fake cough, giving off a serious appearance.

However, Feng Huan was still unhappy. “Putting on a pretense.”

Zhuang Zhong’s mouth twitched. “Your Highness, have you suffered a grievance?”

Feng Huan gave him a stare. “Who dares to give me grievances?!”

Zhuang Zhong shrugged his shoulders. “That I do not know.”

Feng Huan looked forward and said, “You, this fellow could be considered to have a heart at least.”

Seeing such an expression on Feng Huan, Zhuang Zhong found it hard to continue joking. Even people like Feng Huan would also have difficulties, as life was not easy for everyone. Walking side by side, the both of them did not speak for the rest of the journey.

The night watchman’s house was not easy to find. It was only after asking several people that they arrived and heard sounds of crying from a distance away. When they approached and inquired, they found out that the night watchman had hung himself.

  • 1
    “更夫” (night watchman) is a person who strikes the gong or bamboo clapper at night, informing others of the time.
  • 2
    “丑时” (choushi) refers to the timing from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m.

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