After hearing Yu Hanjiang say that the deceased as Lin Shaobo, the corner of the prince’s mouth lowered slightly and his brow furrowed. Young Master Lin might most be the most favoured son in the Lin family but he had actually died in the prince’s mansion. How should he explain this to the Lin family?
The prince looked at the guard next to him with a sullen expression and murmured in a scolding manner, “Didn’t I tell you to carefully search the mansion last night. You didn’t search here?!”
In the dark night, the pond was full of lotus flowers and it was really difficult to notice a corpse floating under the cover of the lotus leaves. The guard was wronged and explained in a low voice, “We searched around the pond but didn’t go into the pond. It was too dark to see the body floating in the pond… no, I hadn’t expected Young Master Lin to fall into the water!”
Just then, a gentle voice entered everyone’s ears. “Young Master Lin didn’t fall into the water.”
This voice seemed to come from Madam Yu? The group was stunned and turned back. The body was swollen and so disgusting yet Madam Yu didn’t mind at all. They saw ‘her’ squatting quietly beside the body, pointing to it. “Young Master Lin was also murdered but the cause of death wasn’t drowning.”
Yu Hanjiang heard this and also walked over to squat beside Xiao Lou, carefully observing the traces on the body.
Xiao Lou pointed to the piece of clothing tightly held in the corpse’s hand and the bruises on the neck. “You see, although the marks on his neck are swollen, fingerprints can easily be distinguished. The murderer should’ve suddenly attacked him from behind and seized his neck with force. He struggled and tore at the sleeve of the murderer. The piece of cloth held tightly in his hand might belong to the murderer.”
Yu Hanjiang pulled the cloth out of the body’s hand and looked closely with a frown. Then he handed it to Long Sen and asked, “Where does this cloth come from? Can you confirm it?”
Long Sen took it and carefully compared it to his clothes. “This should be from a guard’s uniform. The guards of the prince’s mansion wear this type of navy blue clothes.”
Yu Hanjiang looked at Xiao Lou. “Do you think Lin Shaobo was strangled and then thrown into the pond?”
Xiao Lou nodded. “Yes. If he fell into the water then he would struggle. Then his fingernails should have water plants, sediment and other things from the pond. He will also have a lot of foam and sediment in his mouth and nose.”
Xiao Lou turned the body over and said, “There are no foam and sediment in his mouth and nose.” Then he raised the clothes on the body and pointed to the muscles of the body. “In addition, since the water temperature is lower than the body temperature of a human, the muscles of the body are subject to convulsions after falling into the water. The rigidity of the body will be more obvious and the livor mortis is generally a pale pink or dark-red. This corpse doesn’t meet the characteristics of drowning.”
Xiao Lou’s tone was certain. “He didn’t struggle after falling into the water, which means he was dead the moment he hit the water. Looking at the degree of decay of the body and considering that Young Master Lin left during the dinner party, he should’ve been killed at around 8 p.m last night after leaving the banquet. This is later than the death of the eldest young lady.”
Everyone stared at Xiao Lou in a dumbfounded manner. Unexpected, Madam Yu didn’t change her face when looking at the corpse and she made so many points. If Mrs Yu’s words were true then Young Master Lin was also murdered in the prince’s mansion. Two people died in one day? This showed there was a terrible murderer lurking in the prince’s mansion!
Thinking of this, the people’s faces became ugly.
Yu Hanjiang reached out a hand and supported Xiao Lou to stand up. Then he went to the prince and said, “You should’ve heard what my wife just said. Judging from the results of the examination, Lin Shaobo was thrown into the pond after being strangled. Two people have died in the backyard of the prince’s mansion one after another. What is your opinion on this?”
The king slightly frowned. “Yu daren, what does this mean?”
Yu Hanjiang gazed at the prince and spoke frankly, “Someone in the prince’s mansion murdered the eldest young lady and Young Master Lin in succession. The murderer naturally wouldn’t kill the two of them for no reason. Why did the murderer kill them?” He lowered his voice and expressed his meaning. “Was it because the eldest young lady and Young Master Lin accidentally saw something they shouldn’t have seen and were killed?”
The prince thought about it and nodded. “Your words are reasonable.” He looked back at Long Sen. “Guard Long, immediately call everyone to the front yard. I would like to ask what the people in the prince’s mansion were doing since yesterday afternoon!”
Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang glanced at each other. The prince was still so calm. He was either really innocent or his acting was too superb. Yu Hanjiang’s words just now were a test but the prince was actually indifferent.
The people of the prince’s mansion gathered and Yu Hanjiang once again interrogated them one by one. Most of the guards were busy in the front yard from yesterday afternoon to dinner time. The people of the kitchen could testify for each other while the maids were setting up the banquet. There were only a handful of people who stayed in the backyard yesterday.
Yu Hanjiang called those who didn’t have alibis to the side hall to cross-examine them.
A maid cocked her head and thought carefully before suddenly saying, “Oh yes, yesterday I was returning to the backyard with Caiyue to grab something. As I was passing by the lotus pond, I heard a sound in the distance that was like something fell into the water. We hurried over and saw there was nothing in the pond, but we saw Guard Qin hurriedly passing by.”
Caiyue also confirmed this, saying she had seen Qin Rui in the backyard yesterday afternoon. The time period happened to be the youshi time. (7-9 p.m)
The guards couldn’t freely enter or leave the backyard of the prince’s mansion at will. It was because the guards were all male while the backyard contained the female family members. Men and women were different and in order to avoid suspicion, the guards usually wouldn’t go the backyard to cause trouble for themselves. Otherwise, breaking into the backyard was a felony.
Yu Hanjiang asked the prince, “Yesterday, did you send a guard called Qin Rui to the backyard?”
The Eighth Prince immediately denied it. “No, yesterday the protection of the palace was the responsibility of Guard Long. You can ask him.”
Long Sen also shook his head after hearing it. “This subordinate didn’t let Qin Rui go to the backyard. Yesterday afternoon, there were too many guests coming to the prince’s mansion and we patrolled the front yard in order to prevent the guests from entering the backyard and affecting the ladies. The door of the backyard was always guarded.”
Yu Hanjiang called the two guards responsible for protecting the door and they both said, “I have never seen Guard Qin.”
Since the guards didn’t see him, how did Qin Rui get into the backyard?
Long Sen opened his mouth, “If I remember correctly, Qin Rui knows light footwork and his strength in martial arts is very high. It wouldn’t be difficult for him to directly go over the wall without passing through the main entrance.”
Hearing this sentence, the prince’s face suddenly sank. Yu Hanjiang also frowned. A guard secretly going over the wall to enter the backyard wasn’t simple. The backyard was full of women. Was one of the prince’s wives or daughters having an affair with this Qin Rui?
Among the three wives, Madam Yun was checking the dinner menu with the chef and many people could testify for her. Her alibi was the most convincing. Mrs Qing was supervising the cleaning of her yard and there were several maids and servants who could testify for it.
It was only Madam Han who was suspicious. She said she had been sleeping in her room since yesterday afternoon and only her two personal attendants could prove it.
The two attendants, Xiao Xue and Xiao Shuang were brought with her from her mother’s family. They were with her since she was young and were loyal to her. If she asked them to lie then they would say it. Therefore, her alibi wasn’t convincing.
Madam Han was sick and had no strength to kill the eldest young lady—but what if she was having an affair with a guard? A guard had high strength and it was simple for him.
Madam Han was also the mother of the fourth young lady and he had heard that Mrs Han knew medicine. If she had an affair with the guard and was discovered then she had the motive to kill people. It made sense for her to secretly poison the eldest young lady and let the guard handle Young Master Lin who witnessed all of it.
Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou glanced at each other before Yu Hanjiang ordered softly, “Call Qin Rui here.”
Qin Rui soon entered the interrogation room. The guard was tall and handsome. He was indeed a talent.
He seemed to be 20 years old and had a saber hanging from his waist. He was one of the most handsome guards in the entire mansion. He had also changed into very clean, new clothes. It was unknown if his old clothes had been torn or not.”
Yu Hanjiang asked directly, “Guard Qin, why did you go to the backyard yesterday afternoon?”
Qin Rui’s complexion changed slightly and he whispered, “This subordinate heard a noise from the backyard and saw a figure passing over the wall. I feared it was an assassin who would endanger the safety of the ladies and went to investigate.”
Yu Hanjiang stared coldly into his eyes. “If you found the assassin then why not report it to the king?”
Qin Rui explained, “The situation was urgent at the time and the person had already entered the backyard. This subordinate didn’t have time to report.”
“Why didn’t you say this when you were questioned last night?”
Qin Rui’s hands clenched into fists. “This subordinate was worried about causing a misunderstanding and didn’t tell you.”
Yu Hanjiang wondered, “Why did you change into new clothes? Where are your old clothes?”
Qin Rui looked embarrassed. “Yesterday, it was cut by a branch while I was tracking the assassin. This subordinate took it back to my room, ready to sew it and then wear it again.”
This testimony was completely implausible.
The prince raged. “How dare you break into the backyard?!”
Qin Rui immediately knelt on the ground, hands forming fists as he whispered, “Prince, I really did see someone go over the wall and enter the backyard of the prince’s mansion. I only entered to investigate!”
“What about the assassin you were chasing?”
Qin Rui was silent for a moment before bowing his head. “…The person ran away.”
The prince slammed hard against the table. “You’re full of nonsense!”
His cold eyes swept over Long Sen and he ordered, “Go and call Madam Han.”
Long Sen went next door to summon Madam Han.
A moment later, Madam Han came into the side hall >She was pale from her illness and when walking, she almost fell from a weak wind. The prince stared at her and asked directly, “Yesterday afternoon, did you see Guard Qin?”
Blood drained from Madam Han’s face and she trembled. “Why are you asking me this? I have never seen Guard Qin!”
“As far as I know, you and Guard Qin are both Linzhou people. There are reports that when you weren’t well, Guard Qin helped you by bringing medicine. Is this true?”
Mrs Han shook. “I was the one who asked Guard Qin to bring medicine…”
The king hit the table again, almost smashing it. “Fuck! There are so many girls in the prince’s mansion. If you want medicine do you need Guard Qin to help you? The two of you dare to cheat on me?”
Mrs Hann shivered with fright and kneeled down in front of the prince. She looked up at the prince with tears in her eyes, still trembling, “Please check it! Qin Rui is the son of my older sister. His parents died young and he has been brought up by me. A few years ago, he came to the prince’s mansion as a guard. In order to avoid him being removed from his position, I didn’t dare tell you the truth…”
As she spoke up to here, her eyes rolled and she fainted on the ground. The weak Madam Han probably couldn’t stand the stimulation and fainted on the spot.
Qin Rui turned his head nervously, wanting to help her before taking back his hand. Despite his anger, the prince still felt distressed about this lady and immediately ordered, “Go to the clinic and call for Dr Lin!”
He quickly stepped forward, picked up the collapsed Madam Han and placed her on the bed in the next room. A moment later, a grey-haired doctor carrying a medicine box entered the palace. He sat by Madam Han and checked her pulse.
Everyone was nervously waiting for the result. The doctor touched his beard for a while before saying, “Congratulations to the prince. The madam has the pulse of joy.”
Xiao Lou, “…”
Yu Hanjiang, “……”
The king was slightly stunned and soon expressed his surprise. “Really?”
The doctor replied, “The madam does have the pulse of joy but her pulse is weak. Has she lost her appetite in recent days?”
The maid Xiaoshuang hurried forward. “Yes, the madam can only eat a bowl of porridge for every meal.”
The doctor thought about it. “The madam has always been weak. Falling pregnant at this time is really dangerous. I will prescribe fetal medicine for the madam. She currently lacks nutrition and needs to be well-adjusted. If there is fetal irritability then her safety can’t be guaranteed.”
The prince looked distressed and regretful as he immediately said, “Please do so.”
The doctor turned to write the prescription and the prince stayed at the bedside to guard his wife. Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou glanced at each other with a flustered expression. It seemed that their reasoning had been completely overturned.
Madam Qin and Guard Han actually had an aunt and nephew relationship. Madam Han looked bad and couldn’t eat was actually due to her pregnancy… Xiao Lou never thought things would develop this way.
Just then, the third young lady in a red dress and hair in two neat ponytails hurried over.
The moment she entered through the door, she knelt down in front of the prince and exclaimed, “Father, yesterday I was the one meeting Guard Qin in the backyard. Guard Qin and I are in love and we’ve already had a flesh relationship. I want to ask Father to give us permission!” Then she bumped her head hard against the ground.
The prince, “……”
The prince, who had just sighed with relief, almost had a heart attack from anger.