Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang’s reasoning put together all the testimonies from when they questioned the wives, young ladies, maids and guards. The timeline and the murderer’s motive and logic also matched. Xiao Lou subjectively believed that their reasoning was close to the truth but no matter how the two of them speculated, it was only theoretical. They had no actual evidence!
They couldn’t rely solely on speculation to convict a person. Evidence was the key.
In this case, no witnesses existed at all. No one saw when the eldest young lady died in the backyard. It was dark when Lin Shaobo was strangled and no one saw who strangled him.
The physical evidence was even harder to find. The drug that killed the eldest young lady was swallowed and digested. In ancient times, there were no professional instruments to test drugs from the blood of the deceased or to extract fingerprints from the white cloth…
So even if they speculated that the murderer was likely to be the mysterious young master of the prince’s mansion, Yu Hanjiang couldn’t convince the prince or the emperor. He couldn’t just say that it was his guess.
Strong evidence must be found.
Yu Hanjiang frowned for a moment. “We first need evidence of time. Qi Fenghua is supposed to be on the front lines of the war between Qi and Yan, only to suddenly appear in Jiangzhou. This is naturally unreasonable. Xiao Yu is heading to Yan. It is better to send him a flying pigeon letter and have him confirm if Qi Fenghua is in the barracks. As long as he confirms that Qi Fenghua has left the barracks then the timing will make sense.”
Xiao Lou turned to look thoughtfully at the map of the four nations hanging on the wall. “How long does it take to reach Jiangzhou from the front lines?”
Yu Hanjiang roughly measured the distance using his thumb and index finger. “It took us a day and a night to get from the capital to Jiangzhou. The journey from Jiangzhou to the frontlines is five times the distance as it is to the front lines. Even on a fast horse, it should take five days and five nights.”
In order to facilitate the resolution of this case, the four countries set in this world were relatively small and the time spent on the road wasn’t too much. Otherwise, if it was the vast territory of the Tang Dynasty then it would take several months on the road to reach the border from the capital.
It had been less than five days since the eldest young lady’s death. Xiao Lou looked back at Yu Hanjiang and stated, “The journey takes five days and five nights. It is too late even if Qi Fenghua immediately returned to the front lines after killing. So he is probably still in Jiangzhou?”
Yu Hanjiang also thought the same way. He frowned and speculated, “Qi Fenghua took the risk to return to Jiangzhou. There must be something he needs to handle and he wouldn’t leave so quickly. He disguised as a guard and entered the palace. We must find out what he wanted to do to understand his true motive.”
Xiao Yu nodded. “I will write a letter to my brother Xiao Yu should have clues about QI Fenghua.”
The three pigeons raised in the Fragrant Sky House could also send messages to Xiao Yu. During his stay in Jiangzhou, Xiao Yu had contacted Aunt Qing through the pigeons there. However, Xiao Lou had the faster Li Qingzhao.
Li Qingzhao’s second skill, Who Sent the Brocade from Beyond the Clouds? could lock onto the target and it couldn’t be intercepted. The speed was also several times faster than a general communication pigeon. Xiao Lou carefully explained their reasoning in the letter and asked his brother to mix into the barracks while passing by the front lines to check Qi Fenghua’s situation. Then send a letter back using this pigeon after finding it.
Meanwhile, Yu Hanjiang spent the night interrogating the assassins.
Aunt Qing was the boss of the Fragrant Sky House and the leader of the intelligence organization in Jiangzhou. She naturally knew a lot of information. However, the middle-aged woman had a strong personality and tenacious spirit. It was basically impossible to pry her mouth open and have her tell the truth.
Yu Hanjiang had to use psychological tactics. He carefully observed her expression and directly asked, “Do you know the crown prince of Yan?”
Something flashed in Aunt Qing’s eyes and she immediately denied it. “I don’t know.”
Yu Hanjiang looked at her coldly. “Then do you know the eldest son of the prince’s mansion, Qi Fenghua?”
Aunt Qing replied blankly, “I don’t know.”
Yu Hanjiang stated, “It was the crown prince of Yan’s idea to send Xue Yan to kill the prince? Did he want to mess up Jiangzhou and use the death of the prince to destroy the marriage between Yan and Qi?”
Aunt Qing answered with an ‘I don’t know’ to all questions.
There was no harvest after half an hour. Yu Hanjiang had to put her back and let Xue Yan come.
Xue Yan also gritted her teeth and said nothing. However, Qin Rui and Xiao Yu were witnesses who placed her as the assassin who went to assassinate the prince. Her confessing or not didn’t affect Yu Hanjiang’s judgment of the case.
After questioning the newly captured assassins, Yu Hanjiang whispered to Xiao Lou, “Aunt Qing is indeed under the crown prince of Yan. Her eyes flicked when I mentioned him, her body stiffened and there was a layer of cold sweat on her forehead. They are typical signs of when a criminal is told the key of the matter.” Yu Hanjiang touched his chin thoughtfully. ”However, she looked confused when Qi Fenghua’s name was mentioned. She really doesn’t know him.”
Xiao Lou naturally wouldn’t question Yu Hanjiang’s judgment and he carefully analyzed, “If Aunt Qing doesn’t know Qi Fenghua, does it mean Qi Fenghua and the crown prince of Yan might not be together? His purpose of returning to Jiangzhou has nothing to do with the assassins. Then what did he suddenly return to Jiangzhou to do?”
“Perhaps he is related to the rebellious force in Qi that we have been investigating?”
Xiao Lou agreed with a nod. “There is only this explanation.”
If this was the case, it was normal for Qi Fenghua to kill his blood sister. After all, in ancient times, many emperors stepped on a mountain of corpses to climb to the throne. What was wrong with killing several relatives in the process as long as they could succeed? There were often brothers who would cruel to each other and fathers and sons who killed each other. What’s more, his sister was someone who recited Buddhist scripture every day and couldn’t help him in any way.
Xiao Lou couldn’t help feeling cold when he thought about the scene of Qi Yiyao being poisoned by her brother.
He took a deep breath to calm down before speaking, “Qi Fenghua has been on the front lines for so many years and there is no reason for him to suddenly rebel. There must be an opportunity. He can’t do such big things with his own strength. There must be some rebel forces behind him. We have to find someone who understands the front line to check his experience in detail.”
Yu Hanjiang thought carefully. “I’m afraid we can only ask your brother about this matter. He is the only one returning to the front line.”
Xiao Lou nodded and immediately sent the flying pigeon to his brother.
It was almost 1 in the morning and Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou hadn’t slept. Their teammates were also too embarrassed to sleep.
During this time, Shao Qingge had settled Ye Qi and Liu Qiao in the nearby inns. After Yu Hanjiang interrogated the assassins, Shao Qingge took them and slipped in the back door of the prefectural magistrate’s house. They were concerned about the progress of the case.
Xiao Lou told everyone about their inferences. The killer was likely to be the eldest son of the prince.
Ye Qi’s eyes widened. “I thought something was missed. It turned out to be the young master of the prince’s mansion!”
Shao Qingge rubbed his temple. “I really don’t fit the Hearts secret rooms. I don’t even remember the name of the young master.”
“He is called Qi Fenghua.” Old Mo remembered the name very clearly and frowned. “I didn’t expect it to be him… the previous introduction said he was on the front lines. I thought he was a general focused on fighting at the front lines and had little to do with this case.”
Liu Qiao concluded, “It seems the young master with the lowest sense of existence has actually been in Jiangzhou. On the day of the prince’s birthday, he hid in the backyard for over two hours. Some of us were wandering around the backyard. If we met him, perhaps we would’ve been directly killed by him?”
Hearing this, everyone got chills.
The boss had been around but they didn’t even think of him or find him.
Xiao Lou stated, “At present, our reasoning has fallen into a bottleneck. What exactly does Qi Fenghua want to do by suddenly returning to Jiangzhou? He doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the assassins of Yan. Aunt Qing doesn’t know him and my brother didn’t mention that he had anything to do with the assassination of the prefectural magistrate and the prince. Qi Fenghua killing his sister must be an accident.”
Ye Qi scratched his head and carefully thought about it.
Shao Qingge laughed from next to him. “Miss Ye, you are now a lady, Don’t scratch your hair into a chicken nest.”
Ye Qi blushed. He immediately retracted his hands and straightened his long hair.
Suddenly, Ye Qi’s eyes lit up. “Yes, I remember that the envoys from Zhao who came to Jiangzhou have never played a role. Perhaps they have a relationship with the young master?”
Everyone froze the moment these words came out.
Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou glanced at each other and their hearts actually opened up.
Ye Qi was quite clever and was worthy of being the clever ghost who got an S-grade evaluation in the early Hearts room. Xiao Lou inwardly praised him and gazed at him admiringly, “Xiao Ye is right. The Zhao envoys should have some role too.”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “Since the assassins of Yan don’t know the young master, perhaps the young master has nothing to do with Yan. Instead, he has a relationship with Zhao. Perhaps our initial reasoning was right but the target was wrong.”
What was the right idea but wrong target? Shao Qingge didn’t understand much and decided to give up thinking. He sat next to them, shaking the fan and listened to everyone’s analysis. He continued to smile as he took the posture of lying down and winning.
Old Mo thought carefully about their initial reasoning, “Do you mean when you first thought the prince and Zhao joined forces to jointly usurp the throne?”
Liu Qiao also remembered this matter. “At that time, Yu daren speculated that the second young lady and second prince of Zhao already have a marriage contract. if the prince and second prince of Zhao form an alliance, the second prince will help the prince usurp the throne while the prince will help the second prince take the throne. The two sides will have a mutually beneficial relationship.”
Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou originally thought like this.
The timing of the Zhao state’s envoys was a bit suspicious and they did enter the palace on the prince’s birthday. If the prince and envoys were conspiring then they might’ve been overhead by the eldest young lady.
Then after careful observation and reasoning, it was found that the prince wasn’t a traitor. He was on the side of the emperor. During the late emperor’s reign, the prince personally suggested to pass on the throne to the late emperor’s grandson and he helped quell the rebellion.
Yu Hanjiang concluded, “Now it seems that the prince is innocent. On the contrary, it is the young master of the prince’s mansion who is possibly colluding with Zhao. So our inference at the beginning was correct but we had the wrong target. The one who wanted to collude with Zhao to rebel wasn’t the Eighth Prince but the eldest son of the Eighth Prince, Qi Fenghua.”
Their teammates felt complicated after hearing this.
The A-grade secret room was really confusing. The relationships between the characters in the prince’s mansion alone was huge and it involved the two foreign forces of Yan and Zhao. It was a mess.
The Yan assassins sent a beautiful woman to assassinate the emperor and Qi Fenghua wanted to join with Zhao to usurp the throne. If Yu Hanjiang and his party couldn’t solve the case in time, the emperor on the dragon chair might be killed!
Regardless of whether the emperor died from an assassin of an enemy country or a traitor, as long as the emperor died, Daqi would be in chaos. Their team would naturally be defeated and eliminated. It was really thrilling to think about.
Fortunately, the mystery of the assassin line had been successfully solved. The crown prince of Yan in charge of the assassin organization wanted to confuse Qi by assassinating the prefectural magistrate, prince and even the emperor. Apart from Xiao Yu, all the assassins were arrested. Yu Hanjiang also sent a letter to warn the emperor so this line was considered to be temporarily ended.
In the other line, it was likely that the young master colluded with Zhao to rebel.
There were two lines of analysis and the entire case had finally become clear!
Yu Hanjiang asked, “We still need evidence. Has the Zhou state’s envoys left yet?”
Mo Xuemin immediately replied, “No, I saw them today when I passed by. They are all living at the Jiangzhou relay station and a reception has been arranged for them by the prince’s mansion.”
Yu Hanjiang looked at Liu Qiao and Ye Qi. “Xiao Liu, Xiao Ye, you both have fast displacement cards and are responsible for watching this envoy group. If there are any changes then report it immediately.”
Liu Qiao and Ye Qi nodded at the same time. “Understood.”