Chapter 11: The Blind Girl Pleads Her Controversial Case in Court
Lu Si Xian continued to speak: “Only because these two people were someone this little one knew, and added onto the fact that Lady Ju holding onto the dagger was strange, this little one subconsciously picked up the dagger to take a closer look . However, this little one definitely did not kill anyone, nor did I injure Lady Ju . ”
Qu Ruo Ming stared at him for a moment, then towards the officer at the bottom of the hall: “Can that injured unconscious girl be awaken? If there is no issue, call her to the hall . ”
After the officer received the order, he set off . Taking advantage of this period of time, Qu Ruo Ming then asked Fu Yun Lai’s waiter Shan Zi about the circumstances of Zhu Fu when he was staying at the inn, and whether or not he had any visitor .
Shan Zi answered: “Boss Zhu left from the inn’s entrance, coincidentally this little one was soliciting customers . It seems that Boss Zhu’s mood was not very good, but he didn’t say anything . Once inside the shop, he only drank a lot strong liquor . Once he finish drinking I supported him to his guest room and waited on him until he fell asleep . Afterward there wasn’t any disturbances, nor did I see any visitors looking for him . ”
Qu Ruo Ming nodded his head after he finish listening, then questioned Zhu Fu’s subordinate Fu and Jiang Ying . He asked whether their master ordinarily have animosity with anyone . Those two both said Zhu Fu was a sincere well-to-do man, who ordinarily doesn’t have any animosity with anyone . He was also magnanimous and affectionate with his wife, never had they seen them have a dispute . These days there was only the affair about selling or not selling the tea shop that bothered Zhu Fu; other than that they haven’t heard him say anything .
Zhu Chen Shi was on the side persistently wiping her tears, crying when she heard of what an honest and considerate man her house’s Xianggong (TN: Lord Husband, too lazy to change) was . The tea shop definitely belonged to his family and Xianggong was definitely not willing to sell, which rose a dispute with Lu Si Xian . This caused Xianggong to fall to some evil scheme . (She’s implying Lu Si Xian murdered him for the shop) She wept and shouted, while she knelt towards Qiu Ruo Ming demanding justice to be upheld .
In the midst of this affair, a female officer supported Ju Mu Er inside .
On top of Ju Mu Er’s upper clothing was the deep stain of blood and on her head was injuries wrapped up with a cloth that had bloodstain soaked through . Long Er couldn’t help but meticulously examine her when he came upon a thought: “Has she not become even skinnier?” That complexion was definitely a pitiful pale white . She furrowed her brow, her entire body lacked spirit, and she had the appearance of a sick person .
Long Er seeing her like this, unexpectedly felt his heart felt very uncomfortable .
Ju Mu Er grabbed her bamboo cane as the female officer supported her by the wrist as she carefully lead her inside step by step . The female officer already told her about the situation beforehand, so Ju Mu Er understand what the situation was like right now . When she entered, she cusped her fist as proper etiquette towards her front, then stood in perfectly still waiting to speak . Qiu Ruo Ming loudly asked: “The one who have come, are you Ju Mu Er?”
Ju Mu Er lifted her head, towards Qiu Ruo Ming’s question and respectfully answered: “Yes, Da Ren, it is this woman . ” (TN: She’s using polite language to speak to QRM) Her voice was incredibly soft to listen to, it almost sounded like it lack strength . Long Er was somewhat spaced out deep in thought for a long time so it seems like he didn’t hear her speak . Not to mention her original more spirited voice was more pleasant to hear .
“Ju Mu Er, this is the Official Hall, Benguan is at the moment hearing about tonight’s murder of Zhu Fu at Fu Yun Lai Inn . For the time being tell me why you were at the scene of the crime?” Qiu Ruo Ming got straight to the point, direct and plainspoken when he asked Ju Mu Er .
The zither store went to her for assistants and she was working until she finished so she couldn’t return home, thus she decided to stay the night at the inn . That was all Ju Mu Er had to say about the matter .
After Qiu Ruo Ming finish listening, he summoned forth an officer to go bring people from the Chuan Xian Yin Zither store for questioning to verify whether everything she said was true .
The Officer took the order and left . Qiu Ruo Ming then asked if Ju Mu Er knew Zhu Fu . Ju Mu Er answered she didn’t . So he asked if she knew Lu Si Xian, to which she answered she does know him this time .
Qiu Ruo Ming mutter to himself a plan, then he asked: “Ju Mu Er, Lu Si Xian is the prime suspect of this case, he said you were holding a dagger in your hand as you laid unconscious beside Zhu Fu . So tell me, do you not know Zhu Fu, why did you enter inside his room then? You were holding a dagger that was definitely Zhu Fu’s murder weapon, so do you have an explanation for this?”
Ju Mu Er, astonished, opened her mouth: “I…I was holding a dagger?”
“That is correct . ”
Ju Mu Er shook her head, she furrowed her brow and bit her lips as she thought deeply . She haven’t said a word, but the irritated Qiu Ruo Ming slammed his hand down on the hall’s wood making a frightening sound as he shouted: “Ju Mu Er, answer Benguan’s question!”
Long Er’s brow furrowed, looking at Ju Mu Er’s perplexed and panic stricken face, he felt awfully discontented with Qiu Ruo Ming’s tone . Couldn’t be that if you were late in answering a little bit you will go as far as roaring loudly . If you don’t have even a shred of patience what case can you examine?
Ju Mu Er made Qiu Ruo Ming shout loud enough to frighten someone to jump; she then opened her mouth to speak when Qiu Ruo Ming already rush to yell again . “Could it be since you are blind you accidentally entered the wrong room? When you mistakenly entered his room he was drunk and in no mood to argue with the person who entered his room . To which he acted in a frivolous manner causing you to panic, as a fight between the both of you arose, that you used a dagger to fatally stab him . But with his final breath he used the teapot on top of the table to knock you out . ”
Ju Mu Er alarmingly shook her head strongly, where did he fabricated this story from?
But on the side Zhu Chen Shi already believed in Qiu Ruo Ming’s speculation, Ju Mu Er then loudly declared: “DaRen, the murderer is someone else . ” However before she can finish speaking, that emotional Zhu Chen Shi already pounced at Ju Mu Er pushing her down on the floor hitting her: “It is definitely you slut! So it was you who murder my Xianggong . ”
Ju Mu Er did not have the strength to resist, in a blink of an eye she was definitely beaten quite a bit . Long Er was furious, he pointed a finger and Li Ke like an arrow jumped in pulling that Zhu Chen Shi away . Long Er loudly shouted: “To cause such an unreasonable scene, do you not know where you are?”
Qiu Ruo Ming wasn’t in a very good mood when his eyes met his, weren’t these words something he as the magistrate should be saying? Long Er impolitely returned his gaze .
He knew that Qiu Ruo Ming deliberately instigated things, looking at Ju Mu Er who didn’t even have the strength to fight a chicken . Certainly instigating things was definitely good, for a long time he didn’t let the officer pull that shrew (Zhu Min Shi) away . What was he trying to do?
To bully a feeble blind girl this much, it makes one thinks how his parents raise such a shameless person .
At this moment the female officer supported Ju Mu Er onto her feet, helping her fix her appearance . Ju Mu Er said: “DaRen, the murder is someone else . Minnu (humble way of referring to oneself as a peasant), originally wanted to go to the front hall to find the waiter to ask for some hot water, when I pass by Sky Room No . 6 I heard the door open and the sound of a man to cry out in fear . He only shouted the word “save” when his mouth was covered and dragged back into the room . At the time minnu subconsciously turned my head in that direction, causing the murder to think minnu saw him, so he also grabbed minnu into the room as well . Minnu begged him to spare my life, saying clearly that I was blind that I couldn’t possibly recognize him . Afterward he just knock minnu unconscious . To what happen afterward, minnu certainly doesn’t know . ”
Qiu Ruo Ming nodded his head and furrowed his eyebrow to ponder, actually he didn’t even believe that the murder was Ju Mu Er .
Although both parties involved were tangled in this mess, after one party that suffered two stabs tried with all his might to knock down the other party down, furthermore the possibility that in the end he died of excessive blood loss is not zero . But Zhu Fu was pretty tall, with a sturdy body, so to say Ju Mu Er stabbed him twice deep into the bones was too unlikely .
Furthermore, the stab wound was on the waist and one on the back of his chest . Considering Ju Mu Er’s height, the stab on the waist would then follow her grip on the blade’s shaft . Also to stab him on the back of his chest afterward would mean to reverse her grip on the dagger’s shaft . In this moment of desperation following being stabbed twice, there would be no opportunity for him to allow her to switch hands .
[TN: So I am not sure what is he saying, I am guessing he is saying that due to main character height and that man’s build there would be no way for her to stab him where he was stabbed .
Here’s the raw: 而且一刀在腰，一刀后胸，以居沐儿的身高，刺腰部那刀得顺着握刀柄，而刺后胸背的那刀，则得反手握刀柄，这情急之下连刺两刀，不可能还有时机让她换手。]
This murderer, clearly is also tall man .
“Lu Si Xian . ” Qiu Ruo Ming shouted .
“This little one is present . ”
“Just now you could see that Ju Mu Er could not possibly have the strength to murder Zhu Fu . ”
“DaRen, although when this little one discovered Lady Ju with a dagger in her hand, not for a moment did I believe Lady Ju was the murderer . Just now this little one already said that that I know both of them and because this situation was very fishy I just took the dagger to inspect it . Surprisingly I was seen and this little one was misunderstood as the alleged killer . ”
Qiu Ruo Ming snorted: “Then you already heard clearly, Zhu Fu’s shop assistant and family all said you, representing your master, wished to purchase Zhu Fu’s tea shop, however Zhu Fu from the start was unwilling . Today didn’t you made an appointment with him to discuss about this business transaction?”
“Certainly . ”
“You’ve met each other many time about the selling of the shop and when the discussion didn’t go anywhere you became agitated and felt grievance . That day while you were searching for Zhu Fu you thought that during discussion of selling during the day wasn’t going smoothly . Therefore when you confronted the unruly drunk him, he wasn’t listening to your words, so in stricken anger you had him killed . But coincidentally Ju Mu Er passed by so you who already started a murder couldn’t stop now and had her knocked unconscious . Then you thought to frame her and if she was successfully made guilty then you would be able to get off scot-free . If it wasn’t for benwang’s keen-sense to tell that she wasn’t the murderer despite her lack of a clear alibi and explanation for herself . You set everything up really well; you wanted to pretend to be the first person to discover the scene of the crime, but never would you have guess that at that time someone would suddenly showed up to bear witness to everything ruining your plan, causing you to be arrested . Is that not right?”
Qiu Ruo Ming said all this while discreetly sizing up everyone’s expression . Zhu Fu’s two subordinates had a face of grief and indignation, Zhu Chen Shi from the beginning covered her lowered face and sobbed, the owner of the inn and the inn’s waiter seemed to have the same look as ever . Long Er was also on the side of the room seriously looking at everyone’s expression with a face with no expression .
Qiu Ruo Ming’s speech startled Lu Si Xian as he repeatedly kowtow: “That’s not it, Daren, the truth really isn’t like this . During the day, Boss Zhu already agreed to sell the teashop to the Long’s estate, we were to going to leave the discussion of the terms and agreement of the transaction place in professional’s hand . ”
When these word came out of Lu Si Xian’s mouth, Zhu Fu’s two subordinate and Zhu Chen Shi all turn pale with fright, and repeatedly argued that this could not be .
Qiu Ruo Ming tried to confirm with them whether or not Zhu Fu actually was going to sell the store, all those three shook their head saying Zhu Fu wouldn’t want to . Qiu Ruo Ming then asked Long Er if he heard Lu Si Xian come report that the acquisition of the shop has already been dealt with today . Long Er shook his head and said this wasn’t a small business transaction, if shopkeeper Lu didn’t have all the details finalized he would not come report to him, otherwise he would be baffled by shopkeeper Lu’s explanation, which was precisely where shopkeeper Lu was incompetent at .
Lu Si Xian at this time quickly said: “Certainly there was one matter left undecided yet . Boss Zhu only said the store had two of his subordinate that have been with him all these years and he would sell the store after he talked with those two to see if they were willing to go work with the Long’s family, or he would take money to find a way to make a living . He said he would give me news tomorrow, never had I foresaw that during the night that this situation actually occurred . ”
Qiu Ruo Ming asked: “About this deal could a third party know?”
Lu Si Xian stared blankly, he was waiting for Zhu Fu’s news, so he never spoke of it with another person, so only Boss Zhu, who was now in the hall under these circumstance, knew . No other person knew about this matter . Lu Si Xian knew no matter what there was no one to testify this matter, all of which left him at a disadvantage . His face seemed deathly ashen, only kowtowed and said: “Daren please investigate, this little one definitely haven’t murder anyone . ”
Qiu Ruo Ming contemplated, this case although it could be as he said, but there was still some suspicion . He somewhat was unable to follow the development, in this hall all of the related people aside from Lu Si Xian, each and every one of them, seemed to be all innocent without any motive or suspicions . Also all the related people had proof of witness testimony .
Only Lu Si Xian was the most suspicious!
Only this time what is wrong?
“Daren . ” This time Long Er opened his mouth: “Long Mou will only say one thing . ”
Qiu Ruo Ming looked at him, Long Er look straight pass him, and continue to speak: “When it comes to motive, shopkeeper Lu every year help the tea shop under my name earn a profit, enough to buy more than 20 auspicious Fu teashop . That auspicious Fu teashop to Long Mou is merely a matter of increasing profits, so I have never gave shopkeeper Lu any pressure or request to succeed in this matter . Speaking in this way, if a shopkeeper in charge of many of the most successful teashop in all of the capital would value a small teashop to the point of being able to kill in fury, wouldn’t you find this matter really strange?”
Qiu Ruo Ming tightly pursed his lips, he felt really uncomfortable . He thought hard, when a detective from outside suddenly enter, he move closely to the side of Qiu Ruo Ming’s ear and urgently spoke a few words . As it turns out just now all those officers he sent out to investigate at various sites have finish their investigation: at the zither store, the inn, the restaurant, even everyone’s home . This detective collected every officer’s information and returned to report to Qiu Ruo Ming .
Everyone in this hall’s word has been verified and proven true .
Only Lu Si Xian’s word did not have anyone to testify for .
No one can testify whether he was the murder or not!
At this time, Ju Mu Er suddenly spoke: “Daren, can shinu speak with shopkeeper Lu for a moment . ”
Qiu Ruo Ming doesn’t know what she was planning, but he agreed . Ju Mu Er extended her arm, slowly moving towards Lu Si Xian’s general direction . The female officer hastily supported her, showing her the way .
Ju Mu Er walked over, her lips let out a sound: “Shopkeeper Lu . ”
Lu Si Xian hastily stood up, extended his hand to support her, and answered her call: “Lady Ju . ” Ju Mu Er grabbed his arm and stood firm .
Everyone stared at the two, not know what Ju Mu Er was going to say . In the end she spoke: “I just wanted to tell shopkeeper Lu my gratitude, had you not discovered us in time perhaps I would have suffered a violent death . I believe shopkeeper Lu is not the murder . Daren you must investigate everything clearly to put shopkeeper Lu at ease . ”
Lu Si Xian had a painful expression, this was a case regarding a homicide, and the situation did not look favorable to him, where could he ‘be at ease’? Behind him Zhu Fu’s subordinate and widow were loudly cursing him, which made him even more depress .
Qiu Ruo Ming’s face also wasn’t good, how could this blind lady and Long Er have such revolting behavior . Regardless of consequence, fasten a big hat onto him . He was a good government official, where would they need to tell him to do a good job handling the case?
But certainly this case right now is problematic, seems he needs to meticulously investigate before he can finally give judgement .
At this moment Ju Mu Er suddenly also said: “Da Ren, shinu suffered head trauma, the pain is difficult to keep a clear head . At the time of the crime there are some matters that I can’t remember quite clearly, but shinu has a vague feeling that they were incredibly important . Hope Da Ren does not rush the case and wait for shinu to come report again to Da Ren . ”
Qiu Ruo Ming furrowed his brow, what important detail could one blind girl possibly see . He could not count on her, but at the moment he had to reexamine the case but he was unable to make any progress, thus he had explain a few things to the court . First Lu Si Xian will be place in the custody of the prison, the rest of the people will be sent back to their own home, to wait for the magistrate office reinvestigate the matter .
Long Er at the moment also didn’t have a better method, he told Lu Si Xian the he will take care of his household for him, which cause him to calm down . Long Er will definitely find evidence to prove his innocent .
When Lu Si Xian was taken, Long Er had Li Ke find people to go to the prison and bribe some people, to make sure shopkeeper Lu doesn’t suffer . Li Ke took the order and left .
Long Er exchange a few words of politeness with Qiu Ruo Ming, confirming that Qiu Ruo Ming also felt there was some doubtful points in this case, but at the moment there wasn’t any concrete evident that can be said, thus Long Er took his leave .
When he left the magistrate office, he saw a pair of middle age male and female picking up Ju Mu Er onto a carriage . That man even said: “Oh dear, how can you be this misfortunate, it is good that you’re fine . Had you not rush to work for my zither shop you would not have stayed at that inn . If something truly bad happen, how could I possibly explain this to your father?”
Ju Mu Er had a face of exhaustion, in a fine voice she answered a few words, then she got into his carriage and they left .
Long Er turn around to call to his side a clever small boy servant and made him follow that carriage . He wanted to know where those two people were taking her to and if there was an issue the boy servant was to quickly return and report back to him . The boy servant understood and got on a horse and rode away .
After Long Er had the matter arranged, he returned to his estate, he has already spent half a night outside . Despite that he wasn’t sleepy, thus he went into the book room and sat there quietly by himself . Thinking about every single matter about this case, no matter what, he needed to save shopkeeper Lu .
Long Er sat there until the sky brighten . During that time, Li Ke enter to report the matter of having arrange for shopkeeper’s Lu entering the prison and Ju Mu Er received the zither store’s boss Cheng Yin help in settling down in his home . He also properly arrange for the Long family’s spy find out more information about the case .
Long Er nodded, he hoped these spies would be of use, whatever clues there is they will definitely be able to find it .
When the sky barely turned bright, the small boy servant suddenly came in saying that outside of the estate’s main entrance Lady Ju Mu Er has requested to see him .
Long Er was astounded, that girl was suffering from head injuries, instead of resting safely why is she running away? He furrowed his brow in response, he let the small boy servant tell her to go to the vestibule .
Waiting for Long Er to come, he seemed to discover that sitting next to Ju Mu Er was father Ju . The two spoke a few lines out of courtesy, Ju Mu Er suddenly said: “Last time Second Young Master told me that he had a good zither and I suddenly had the urge to come see, since I was passing by this time, I came to trouble you a bit . ”
Long Er was stared in a daze, when did he told her he had a good zither? But turning his eyes he saw father Ju’s face with a look of annoyance, he understood why he came over . She most certainly have some matter she wish to discuss in private with him, however she also do not wish for her father to know .
Long Er was happy that he suddenly had the upper-hand against her, he laughed: “I put that zither in the book room, if the lady wish to see it, please come this way . ”
Ju Mu Er heard him and accompanied him, sighing she said in a rush: “Then father please wait for me here a moment, I’ll go feel up (TN: no I am serious that’s what she said) that zither and then I quickly return . ”
Father Ju saw that he was in another family’s home, it would be unwise to say anything, and he could only mumble his displeasure to himself . His daughter was injured should she not be returning home left in the care of the physician, why would she run off to see some zither, of course he did not made his complaints known .
Long Er ordered the servant to prepare breakfast for father Ju, after he called for the servant he told Ju Mu Er to come with him .
The Long family’s estate was huge, on the stone path through the promenade and garden, there were many turns and corners so it was easy to get lost, it took quite a bit of effort for Ju Mu Er to follow Long Er . Long Er notices that she already changed out to clean clothes, even the gauze wrapped around her head is newly wrapped, but compared to last night at the office hall she looks even poorer in health .
Long Er did not have the heart to get angry, so he simply found a near-by side room to have her sit in . He called a boy servant to quickly prepare some tea, then he began to speak .
“Did you sleep last night? How come you it looks like you saw a ghost and ran away?”
This time Ju Mu Er completely did not have the heart to argue with him, she only explained: “Today when the city gate open my father came, he knows about last night’s affair, and he wants to take me back to recuperate . If I did not come up with an excuse to come meet the second master, then I am afraid I would not have been able to come out for several days . ”
“What do you want to talk to me about?” The servant came in carrying tea, he poured tea for both of them . Long Er looked at Ju Mu Er’s freezing, deathly pale hands and pointed towards the table, tapping the table saying: “Here tea . It’s hot . ”
Ju Mu Er gave her thanks and reach out to feel for the cups before raising it, not saying a word . Long Er then asked once: “What do you have to say coming here to see me?”
Ju Mu Er took a deep breath and exhale, on her face appeared an awkward and a bit embarrassed expression . Long Er noticing this couldn’t help raise an eyebrow, what could she possibly have to say?
“Second master . ” Ju Mu Er finally opened her mouth: “I have a way to prove shopkeeper Lu is not the murder, also a way to find the true killer . ”
“Oh?” This matter made Long Er very interested, he waited for Ju Mu Er to continue speaking, to see what method she proposes .
“But . ” Ju Mu Er’s proposal took a sudden turn: “I want to set a condition with second master . ”
What trick is this?
Long Er rose an eyebrow, his heart thumping, he was somewhat excite to face such an opponent and an amusing situation . He brought the cup up to drink a mouthful of tea, he calmly collected his thoughts and asked: “What is this condition you propose?”
Ju Mu Er bit her lips for a while without saying anything, Long Er just patiently waited, he finished his cup of tea and poured himself another cup continuing to drink some more .
Ju Mu Er then took a deep breath and finally spoke: “I want second master to marry me . ”
“Pu… . ” Long Er rapidly turned his head spitting out mouthful of tea onto the floor .
He saw a ghost, did he not just heard someone propose to him?