The next day, Xiao Yu led out the other assassins to Jiangzhou City according to the agreement.
Yu Hanjiang placed an ambush in advance and captured the assassins. In the arrest operation, Xiao Yu was ‘inadvertently’ injured. A sharp sword cut his chest and he died on the spot.
In fact, Xiao Yu wore gold silk armour under his clothes and ordinary weapons couldn’t pierce it at all. The large amount of blood covering his chest was from a blood bag made in advance. This younger brother could mix into the Yan state for four years and truly had the acting skills of a movie emperor. After all, he had spent time in a pile of corpses and his pretense was top-class. There was not only blood on his chest but also in his mouth.
It was so realistic that it was hard on him.
Xiao Lou personally came up to check his brother’s breath before shaking his head at Yu Hanjiang. “Dead.”
Yu Hanjiang frowned. “Bring all those alive back to the prefectural magistrate’s office for interrogation and take away the body of the dead!”
The group of bailiffs and subordinates escorted the prisoners back to the prefectural magistrate’s office as well as Xiao Yu’s ‘corpse.’ Xiao Yu pretended to be dead until the night was quiet.
Xiao Lou secretly took him to the study and asked him some questions, “On the night of the prince’s birthday, was it Xue Yang who went to the backyard of the prince’s mansion?”
Xiao Yu replied, “It is her. She explored the environment of the palace so she should escape at any time.”
In other words, the assassin that Qin Rui saw go over the wall was indeed Xue Yan. Then after she came to the Buddhist temple, she masked herself with white gauze and pretended to be the fourth young lady to fool Qin Rui.
Then who owned the piece of guard’s clothing found in Lin Shaobo’s hand? Xiao Yu said he didn’t know. It seemed he had little involvement with the murder case.
Yu Hanjiang opened the back door of the prefectural magistrate’s house for him and helped clear the obstacles in advance to let him go to the Yan state as soon as possible.
Seeing his brother disappear into the night, Xiao Lou couldn’t help worrying. “Will there be danger when he meets the third prince?”
Yu Hanjiang comforted him. “Rest assured. He stayed for four years in Yan and his martial arts ability is high. He will have ways to protect himself. The crown prince is ambitious and cold-hearted. Once the crown prince ascends the throne, he will surely be a tyrant. It should be right for us to assist the third prince to ascend the throne.”
Xiao Lou nodded, his brow furrowed. “The mystery of the assassins has been fully revealed. It was formed by the ambitious crown prince of the Yan state. However, there are still no clues about the murder of the eldest young lady.”
The two of them started to reanalyze the case.
Xiao Lou carefully sorted out the timeline of the case.
At 6 o’clock in the afternoon of the prince’s birthday, the assassin Xue Yan entered the backyard of the prince’s mansion. She crossed the wall and was discovered by the passing guard Qin Rui. Qin Rui hurriedly chased her and met the third young lady and two maids (witnesses) on the way. Qin Rui finally chased her to the Buddhist Temple. Xue Yan was masked and posing as the fourth young lady and managed to leave.
At the same time, the eldest young lady saw the private backyard meeting between the fourth young lady and Lin Shaobo. The third young lady also met the fourth young lady at the rockery.
The prince’s birthday banquet started and at around 7:30 p.m., Xue Yan stabbed at the prince and escaped after failing. She had checked the terrain of the palace and it was to escape. The guards of the palace failed to catch her. At the same time, Lin Shaobo disappeared using the excuse of ‘using the toilet.’
At 8 o’clock, a maid rushed over to report that she saw the eldest young lady hanging from a tree in the yard. After Xiao Lou analyzed the body, the time of death of the eldest young lady was around 6 o’clock. The hanging was just disguised as a suicide and she was actually poisoned.
There were many things happening at 6 o’clock and the clues were very concentrated.
According to the timeline, the eldest young lady saw the fourth young lady and Lin Shaobo dating in the backyard. The fourth young lady had a guilty conscience and hurriedly escaped. She ran into the third young lady and pretended she was unwell, returning to Hongmei Park. At the same time, the third young lady saw Qin Rui chasing someone to the Buddhist Temple and Qin Rui saw the assassin posing as the fourth young lady. After that, Lin Shaobo might’ve gone to the eldest young lady for an explanation or he might’ve gone back to the front yard in a panic. The eldest young lady witnessed something she shouldn’t have and was killed.
It was certain that the eldest young lady’s death was around 6 o’clock.
Lin Shaobo’s body was soaked in water for one night and Xiao Lou could only determine that his death time was between 19-20 o’clock. It was because Lin Shaobo was sitting in the front yard with Shao Qingge at 7 o’clock to watch the performance. He was killed after leaving the party.
The two of them died one after another and both without any witnesses.
Xue Yan was avoiding the pursuit of Qin Rui and it definitely wasn’t her who killed the eldest young lady. The fourth young lady hurriedly fled back to Hongmei Park and couldn’t be the murderer. The third young lady witnessed the fourth young lady and Qin Rui and didn’t have any motive.
Judging from the piece of guard’s clothing in Lin Shaobo’s hand, the person who killed the eldest young lady and Lin Shaobo should be someone else. This person was moving around the backyard of the prince’s mansion between 6 o’clock and 8 o’clock, disguising himself as a guard or wearing the same material as the guard.
Who could lurk in the prince’s mansion for so long without being discovered?
Xiao Lou frowned as he thought carefully about it. “First of all, this person must be someone that the eldest young lady knew. It is because she was poisoned and showed no signs of a struggle before her death. This person can make the eldest young lady eat poisoned food. If a strange guard appeared in the backyard, the eldest young lady would definitely be surprised and even call out to attract attention.”
Yu Hanjiang agreed. “She didn’t struggle or call out so she should be familiar with this person. In addition, this person is very familiar with the layout of the prince’s mansion and even knows the clothes of the guards. He appeared in the backyard of the prince’s mansion in the guard’s uniform but he didn’t encounter any of the wives or the maids. This indicates that he specifically picked blind spots to act in. He is familiar with the backyard of the prince’s mansion as he is with his home.”
Yu Hanjiang spoke up to here and suddenly had a flash. He glanced at Xiao Lou who also had bright eyes.
The two of them uttered a name at the same time. “Qi Fenghua?!”
They actually thought of it together!
Xiao Lou felt his eyes suddenly become bright as he carefully analyzed, “He knows the eldest young lady, is familiar with the layout of the backyard of the prince’s mansion and even the clothing of the guards. He can pretend to be a guard and sneak into the backyard. The only one who meets so many conditions is the eldest young master of the prince’s mansion who was ignored by us, Qi Fenghua!”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “If the murderer is him, Qi Yiyao definitely wouldn’t be prepared to see her brother. Perhaps Qi Yiyao asked him doubtfully, ‘Why did you come back suddenly?’ or ‘Why are you in this clothing?’ QI Fenghua would use the excuse of surprising their father and then take his sister to a secluded place using an excuse to feed his sister poison.”
Xiao Lou followed the other person’s analysis. “After poisoning the eldest young lady, he first hid the body. He took advantage of the party and no one being in the backyard to hang his sister from the tree, disguising it as a suicide. At 7:30, Lin Shaobo left the dinner party and went back to give an explanation to the eldest young lady. Perhaps he witnessed the scene where Qi Fenghua was hanging his sister on the tree and was killed by Qi Fenghua.”
Xiao Lou opened his transcripts and was confused. “However, there is a small testimony that isn’t right. I remember the two maids saying they passed by the pond in the afternoon and heard the sound of something falling into the water. Then they immediately saw Qin Rui chasing someone. At that time, it should be 6 o’clock and Master Lin wasn’t dead because he attended the dinner party and left after 7 o’clock. How can there be the sound of something falling into the water?”
Yu Hanjiang said, “Perhaps the sound of something falling into the pond wasn’t the body of Master Lin. During the daytime, there is bound to be a lot of movement if a body falls into the water. Perhaps it was Qi Fenghua who accidentally knocked over something like a stone into the pond, making a sound. The eldest young lady heard it and came over, encountering her brother who shouldn’t be in the prince’s mansion and leading to the fatal disaster.”
Xiao Lou realized. “It all makes sense!”
Qi Fenghua was on the front lines and hadn’t returned to the prince’s mansion. Then he suddenly appeared at the mansion on the day of the prince’s birthday. This definitely wasn’t right.
His younger sister saw him appearing at the wrong time and in the wrong place. Once she let the prince know about it, the prince would definitely investigate and find out that Qi Fenghua was probably involved in the rebellion.
It was unclear exactly what he did when he returned to the prince’s mansion but his return should never be known.
Therefore, Qi Fenghua ruthlessly killed his sister to shut her mouth.
Then Lin Shaobo suddenly left during the dinner, probably wanting to explain to the eldest young lady. As a result, he witnessed the scene where Qi Fenghua was hanging the eldest young lady from a tree. Lin Shaobo was shocked and turned to run, but Qi Fenghua was strong and powerful. He immediately flew from behind to grab Lin Shaobo’s neck. Young Master Lin struggled frantically, tearing off a piece of cloth from Qi Fenghua’s sleeve and Lin Shaobo ended up being thrown into the pond.
It was already dark at this time and everyone was attracted by the discovery of the young lady hanging. No one noticed that under the cold moonlight, there was the floating body of a strangled man in the pond not far away.