Chapter 36 – Jade Pendant

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

RongAn Pawnshop was just a small inconspicuous pawnshop. Located at the other end of Wang Gui’s house, it was situated deep in an alley and if it were not for Er Dan following Wang Gui before, it would have been difficult to locate this place.

Once the shopkeeper heard of Zhuang Zhong’s origin and saw Feng Huan with his unordinary disposition, he regarded them in an extremely deferential manner and dared not slight them.

“This lowly one dare not deceive these two young masters, but there is really no one who pawned under the name Wang Gui.” Fearing that they would not believe him, the shopkeeper also took out the stubs in his pawnshop for them.

Zhuang Zhong perused through them once and indeed did not see the name Wang Gui.

When Er Dan heard that, he was so frightened that he began to tremble. “These two young masters, this lowly one really did not lie. That day, I certainly did see Wang Gui entering this pawnshop!”

Zhuang Zhong frowned. “He could have used a pseudonym. Describe to the shopkeeper the day, timing, and what he wore when you saw him.”

As it was something that only happened five days ago, Er Dan remembered clearly and described everything in detail. With the shopkeeper possessing a good memory, he was also able to recall with the description provided.

“I remember that person. He came here several times during this half of the year, and his pawned items had always gone overdue. Furthermore, all of the items he pawned were female jewelry, and they were damaged to the point that their original appearance was indistinguishable. It was only due to my many years of experience that I could recognize them as items from female jewelry.”

Zhuang Zhong was very dissatisfied. “You dare to accept such things!”

It was evident from such a form of concealment that there was something fishy and it would most probably be stolen goods.

The shopkeeper’s forehead was full of cold sweat. “The shop is only in charge of accepting items. As it is our customers’ private matters, it was not appropriate for us to ask further. Moreover, some wealthy clients may not want others to know they landed in straitened circumstances, so they would deliberately take such actions.”

“Are the items he pawned still here?”

“Because they were overdue, everything from him was already sold out, leaving only one bracelet that was pawned five days ago. As it was a jade bracelet, it was not damaged.” At this moment, the shopkeeper quickly took out a bracelet from the back.

The second Er Dan saw the bracelet, his eyes brightened, and he asserted, “This is really excellent stuff. I have known Wang Gui for so many years, and he could not have possessed such a thing.”

When Zhuang Zhong kept the bracelet, the shopkeeper’s face turned bitter. “I have exchanged this bracelet for five taels of silver. If this young master took it like this, it would be hard for me to account for it.”

Feng Huan faintly said, “Wang Gui was murdered, and this is a notarization that will be submitted to court. If you want it back, go to the Yamen. Just like that, the people there can also come and see how many items here are not fit to be presented to others!”

DaYou’s standards for pawnshops were very strict, and not just any random items could be accepted. If they came across suspicious objects, most of them preferred not to do business and receive them, lest it cause them trouble. So, when the shopkeeper heard such words, he dared not say anything further and only blamed it on his misfortune.

After finding the item Wang Gui had pawned, Feng Huan and Zhuang Zhong made a non-stop journey back to the Zhao family’s house. However, the Zhao family courtyard door was tightly closed and only after knocking for a long time did the door slowly open.

The person who opened the door was an old man who was puzzled upon seeing them. “What are these two young masters here for?”

When Zhuang Zhong announced his family name, the old man sighed and let them in.

As people were putting things away inside, the house was in disorder.

Zhuang Zhong asked the old man, “Your masters are going somewhere far away?”

The old man sighed. “With such a thing happening in their household, the masters had no face left to stay in the capital. If it were not because he had to settle their business and for wanting to see to the evil man’s end, they would have already left.”

The Zhao family did not only have Zhao ShuYi, this one daughter, but also another son and daughter. With such an event occurring in their household, the reputation of their remaining children will only worsen, hindering their future. So, the Zhao family decided to shut down their business in the capital and start anew somewhere else where nobody knew them.

When Master Zhao heard that there were some important visitors, he had no choice but to meet them despite his unwillingness.

“May I ask what is the purpose of these two young masters asking for me?” Within the last half of the year, Master Zhao had aged considerably, and the hairs on the sides of his temples had already turned white. The death of Zhao ShuYi was a big blow to him, as she was his first daughter, and he doted on her more than the rest of his children. Thus, it was inevitable that he would be heartbroken over her dying such a premature death.

Zhuang Zhong greeted him and took out the jade bracelet. “Has Boss Zhao seen this bracelet before?”

Master Zhao’s turbid eyes suddenly gave off a different light. Without any care for courtesy, he directly snatched away the bracelet and carefully examined it under the light. Trembling, he said, “This-This is my daughter’s bracelet!”

Zhuang Zhong asked, “Are you certain?”

As Master Zhao recalled his daughter’s tragic death, tears seeped out of his eyes. “This bracelet is the one I gave my daughter when she came of age. You can see that the bracelet was also engraved with her pet name, the word Yuan.”

Zhuang Zhong took it over and looked. Indeed, it was as the other person said.

Master Zhao cupped his hands in front of him. “Can the young master tell me where this bracelet was found? Will it also be possible for it to be returned? Ah, I am willing to buy it back for double the price.”

Zhuang Zhong sighed in his heart. Zhao ShuYi had a father who loved her. Although she did something inappropriate that would not be accepted by people in DaYou, her father did not distance himself at all and even wanted to retrieve his daughter’s items back. Perhaps it was precisely because she was doted on so much that she did not understand the world enough and did something unacceptable.

“For the time being, I cannot give this bracelet to you. However, when the case is resolved, I will return it to the original owner.”

Master Zhao was surprised. “Isn’t the case settled already? The evil person will be sentenced to execution in a few days.”

Unwilling to answer in detail, Zhuang Zhong only replied, “There are still doubtful points in the case.”

Hearing that, Master Zhao grew agitated. “This young master, are you saying that the one who killed my daughter was another person?”

“As the evidence is insufficient, I do not dare confirm. I will inform you of the truth in detail once the investigation is completed.”

A thousand waves stirred up in Master Zhao’s heart, and for some time, he did not know what to say. “Please attain justice for my daughter! Although she was acting indiscreetly, she should not die in such an unjust way.”

“Did you hear the sounds of frog cries on the night Young Lady Zhao was killed?”

Master Zhao was stunned and hurriedly called forth his steward. “Who was on duty the night the first young lady was killed?”

Because something had happened the next day, the steward remembered clearly and called for the gatekeeper on duty that night. Zhuang Zhong asked that person the same question.

The doorkeeper shook his head. “The main door is quite far from the eldest young lady’s bedroom, so even if there were movements, I would not be able to hear them.”

Although the Zhao family was relatively affluent, they were still a small household. Counting all the servants, it only added up to at most five people who were in charge of odd jobs – door keeping, cooking, and cart driving, etc. Additionally, there were no specific servants who only served the masters. In the courtyard house, Zhao ShuYi lived in the buildings behind the main house, and it was indeed far from the main door.

Master Zhao proceeded to call for the other servants, but they all said that they had slept deeply that night and heard no movements.

With the front hall growing lively, Madam Zhao heard the noise and could not help but ask the cook curiously about what was going on. The female cook did not dare to conceal and replied, “I am afraid that it is related to the case of the first young lady.”

Surprised, Madam Zhao rushed to the front hall with the Second Master and Third Lady Zhao, who were curious.

“Isn’t the case resolved? Why are they asking about that day again?” Madam Zhao was a loving mother, so although her daughter had brought her family shame, she still felt heartbroken over her unjust death. When she heard that it was a matter related to her daughter, she could not help but feel interested despite the possibility of it bringing more sorrow.

Here, Master Zhao informed her about the doubtful points of the case. When Madam Zhao saw that bracelet, she immediately could not help crying, “My daughter ah—”

Third Lady Zhao was only a small girl of seven to eight years old. Listening to Zhuang Zhong’s question, she blinked and answered in a sweet voice, “That night, the frogs were also croaking at choushi.”

All the eyes of the people present widened as Zhuang Zhong asked further, “Why are you so sure about that?”

Third Lady Zhao was rarely allowed to go out, and after Zhao ShuYi’s death, she was watched over even more strictly. So, when she saw such a handsome man talking to her, her face could not help but flush, and she replied falteringly, “I-I drank too much water that day and heard it when I got up to look for the chamber pot. Because a night watchman had passed by then, I knew it was choushi.”

Madam Zhao did not know anything about it. After all, the matter regarding Zhao ShuYi was not an honorable one, so she did not tell her other children what happened and only said that she had died. It was only due to rumors outside that made Second Master and Third Lady Zhao aware, which also led their parents to feel that they could not stay here any longer and needed to leave.

Madam Zhao’s whole body trembled. “Choushi?!”

Except for Second Master and Third Lady Zhao, who were not made privy to the specific details of the affair, the rest showed varying expressions upon hearing the child’s words.

If the frog call was a secret sign between them, it meant that “Xu Sheng” had entered Zhao ShuYi’s bedroom during choushi (1 to 3 a.m.). However, according to Wu DeSheng, the friend who Xu Sheng had been drinking with, Xu Sheng only set off around yinshi (3 to 5 a.m.). With Wu DeSheng’s house being at least half an hour away from Zhao ShuYi’s home, it was an hour or two journey to and fro, giving Xu Sheng not enough time to rush there and kill Zhao ShuYi.

The killer was someone else!

Despite his speculation being proven correct, Zhuang Zhong’s heart did not feel relieved. The true murderer has not been caught, but it could at least be confirmed that the culprit had some relation to the night watchman.

With all the clues, Zhuang Zhong could approximately infer the situation of that day unless it was one of the two exceptions. The first one was that Wang Gui was the murderer, but the probability was low. After all, how could he have known that Xu Sheng would not be coming that night? It was too coincidental for him to strike the bamboo clapper at night and to expose himself before dying prematurely in the end.

The second one was that Wang Gui, who deliberately passed by during choushi with the intention to carry out his usual prank, coincidentally saw Zhao ShuYi’s murderer climbing into her bedroom. After hearing that Zhao Shuyi had been killed, he then threatened the murderer, who subsequently supplied him with his sudden fortune for the past half of the year. Like this, the murderer would have given Wang Gui many of the items he stole from Zhao ShuYi. In the end, unable to stand his exorbitant extortion, the murderer finally killed the night watchman yesterday.

Essentially, the one thing that could be confirmed was that the night watchman knew the murderer.

Zhuang Zhong asked, “Can you take me to First Lady Zhao’s bedroom?”

The Zhao family did not oppose. They thought the case had been settled, but with the recent developments, they did not want to let Zhao ShuYi die this unjustly and let the murderer run free. So, even though it felt like picking at their own scars, they agreed.

When Madam Zhao saw the paper seal on the door, she sighed, “Ever since Yuan’er left, the building has been sealed, and nobody has touched anything.”

As soon as she opened the door, the smell of stale dust gushed out. Afraid to revisit the scene of that day, Madam Zhao turned and left without even sparing the room a glance.

After half a year, the building was full of dust. Zhuang Zhong carefully stepped inside and slowly began his examination from the corner. Although the process was slow, it was hard to miss any details with the help of his magnifying glass.

What was this?

As he was lying on his stomach on the ground, Zhuang Zhong spotted a small, thin rope at the leg of the cabinet, which he then picked and pulled out. In the end, it turned out to be a jade pendant!

The quality of the jade was not good, and the workmanship was rather rough.

“This is First Lady Zhao’s item?” Zhuang Zhong went out and showed the jade pendant to Master Zhao, who was waiting outside.

After taking a look, Master Zhao shook his head. “No, my family could be considered quite well off, and the things I give to my children are quite valuable. We would never have such inferior goods.”

Feng Huan looked over and said, “This is a men’s item.”

Master Zhao’s face turned ugly. Although it has been proven that Zhao ShuYi had behaved inappropriately, he still could not accept it.

Zhuang Zhong put away the jade pendant carefully and continued his investigation, but no other clues were found. He then went back to Wang Gui’s house without further delay and took out the jade pendant. When Old Madam Zhao saw the jade pendant, she shook her head too. “My son had no such thing.”

Aunt Wang said, “How could such poor families like us possess the elegance of a scholar? What the men usually wear here will not match such a jade pendant.”

Such words reminded Zhuang Zhong of something. Although the jade pendant was coarse in texture and not worth much money, it could be surmised that the person had a poor family background but liked to pretend otherwise. He then asked Old Madam Zhao if Wang Gui had any more refined friends or acquaintances.

Old Madam Zhao and Aunt Wang shook their heads. Old Madam Zhao said, “My son goes out at night and sleeps during the daytime. So, unlike ordinary people, he was not acquainted with many people. Most of those he recognized were neighbors, and there is no such person amongst them.”

In this alley, most of the residents were from poor families, with the majority of the men being coolies1 “苦力” (coolies) are low-wage laborers, typically of Asian descent..

Unable to learn anything, Zhuang Zhong and Feng Huan did not stop and headed to the death row prison next. “Your Highness, you should wait here.”

Feng Huan raised his eyebrows and questioned in a displeased tone, “Why?”

Zhuang Zhong replied honestly, “Xu Sheng had been beaten until he turned very timid. With Your Highness’s stern disposition, I am afraid he will be scared.”

Feng Huan was silent as he looked at Zhuang Zhong deeply. “Is this prince that terrifying?”

Zhuang Zhong laughed and replied, “It depends on the person who meets you.”

“What about you?”

Zhuang Zhong was stunned. Without waiting for a response, Feng Huan continued, “If you do not know how to be afraid, then there will be no one you will fear in this world. I accompanied you to investigate the case, but you actually left this prince on one side without care.”

Zhuang Zhong stopped smiling. The more he interacted with Feng Huan, the more he felt that the other person was really willful.

“After investigating this case, let us go for a drink together. How about not leaving until we are both drunk?”

It was at this moment that Feng Huan’s face softened. After coaxing Feng Huan, Zhuang Zhong eventually stood before Xu Sheng’s prison cell.

Xu Sheng appeared to be even duller than before, and Zhuang Zhong said, “Xu Sheng, I know you have been wronged.”

Xu Sheng’s eyes flashed, but it was only slightly, and he did not move.

“Did you really like Zhao ShuYi, or were you only playing around? According to the speculations from outsiders, you only got together with her just for the money and had wanted to break up with her quite early on. That day, you went for the purpose of discussing this matter, but as Young Lady Zhao was unwilling, you accidentally smothered her…”

Xu Sheng closed his eyes in pain. With his whole body shivering, he bit his lower lip and remained silent.

“No matter what, the two of you had spent some time together. Even if you do not do it for yourself, you should let Young Lady Zhao rest in peace. If the real murderer is not found, how can she reincarnate with ease?”

“What-What can I do?” Xu Sheng’s voice was hoarse as he asked vacantly.

The corners of Zhuang Zhong’s mouth slightly lifted. At the moment, Xu Sheng only had to communicate with him willingly. He took out the jade pendant from his pocket and asked, “Have you seen this jade pendant before?”

Xu Sheng looked on with a surprised and puzzled gaze. “How did the jade pendant end up with you?”

Zhuang Zhong was slightly disappointed. “This jade pendant is yours?”

Xu Sheng shook his head. “It belongs to my friend, and I even accompanied him when he bought this jade pendant. He likes it very much and often hangs it on his waist.”

Hearing that, Zhuang Zhong restrained his inner excitement. “Which friend of yours and what is his name?”

“Wu DeSheng, the person I was drinking with that day.”

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    “苦力” (coolies) are low-wage laborers, typically of Asian descent.

Serendipity

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4 thoughts on “Chapter 36 – Jade Pendant”

  1. YOOOOO….can’t believe his friend set him up like that

    really enjoying this story so far! binge read all the chapters last night and today and I’m really impressed with all the effort you’ve put into the research/footnotes, thanks so much for translating!

    Reply
    • I am glad you enjoyed it! <3 The truth of this case would be revealed in the next chapter and we are heading towards the next development of the story soon!

      Reply

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