[Chapter 20 - Private accounts] Why don't we go on a night investigation together
[Chapter 20 - Private accounts] Why don't we go on a night investigation together
The person missing is called Sun Man, he's a hooligan from the city; he has no family, no children and no friends; and thus no one knows when did he go missing . It's because the neighbors saw notice put up by the authorities, saying to pay more attention to all unusual happenings, then did they hesitatingly report the case to the governmental office, in order to avoid getting dragged in needlessly .
The emperor is in Da Yan city; Xu Zhi Qiu naturally does not dare to be remiss . By the time Chu Yuan went to the governmental office, the bailiffs have already brought back a widow, brown eyed and quite pretty; she's kneeling in the hall, trembling continuously . Upon seeing the emperor she became more alarmed, and didn't know what else to say, only knowing to kowtow and cry out her innocence .
The people in the city have all noticed that Sun Man and this unconventional widow who sold tofu(1) have an ambiguous relationship, but they aren't concerned about such an unrelated matter, and nobody wants to get involved in other's business; at most they gossip a little over a cup of tea or after a meal . Upon hearing that now that he is missing, everyone naturally thought that it has something to do with her .
Halfway through the interrogation, a villager that was spectating remembered something, saying that he still saw Sun Man the day before yesterday; he was at a provision seller picking out a flower, saying that he was giving it to his lover; after that he never saw him again .
The young widow trembled like sifting husks, and also said that she had arranged to meet with Sun Man the night before yesterday, who knew that after waiting for a whole night, she still didn't see him; after hearing that the charity hall caught fire, she thought that he went to see the commotion . Because this kind of thing has happened before, so she wasn't bothered about it; she really doesn't know anything else .
"Does Sun Man has any distinctive feature?" Chu Yuan asked .
"Replying to Your Majesty, this person is the city's brute, before the new year, because he assaulted a lady from a good family so his right leg was broken; after the injury healed, he walked with uneven legs . " Xu Zhi Qiu said .
Chu Yuan nodded, and after speaking a couple of sentences in a low voice by Si Xi's ear, brought his men to the charity hall .
That twenty six bodies were still neatly placed in the courtyard; a moment later, Duan Bai Yue has also rushed over .
"As mentioned previously, which body is different from the rest?" Chu Yuan asked .
"Rightmost . " Duan Bai Yue said, "Si Xi just said that this city has a hooligan missing, is it him?"
"Most likely . " Chu Yuan reached out, wanting to open the white cloth, but was grabbed by his wrist .
Duan Bai Yue: "Whatever you want to examine, let me handle it . "
"The missing person is called Sun Man, he has a tall figure, about thirty years old, his right leg has a healed fracture . " Chu Yuan took back his hand, and didn't insist on personally seeing it .
Duan Bai Yue crouched down and examine that corpse thoroughly; around the knee of the right leg, there's really an old, deformed sword wound .
"Then it's correct . " Chu Yuan frowned, "But the city is only missing one person, excluding Sun Man, who are the other twenty five bodies? Also, where did the elderly of this charity hall go to?"
"This is yours and my first time at Da Yan city, there are some things that only people in the governmental office will be in the know about . " Duan Bai Yue said, "Why don't we go to the study of the governmental office to take a look? There are many caches there, maybe there could be a discovery there . "
"How can we open the locks?" Chu Yuan asked .
Duan Bai Yue smiled: "There's a way, it's no big matter to try it . "
In the afternoon, a young man was brought to the relay station; he looks rather appropriate, with a fierce face, and hard callus on his hands . He is the city's best carpenter Tian Yu, originally he was making coffins for the elderly at the charity hall, but didn't know why he was brought here instead, and didn't even think that he would see the emperor with his own eyes; he can't help but feel uneasy .
Chu Yuan indicated for him to get up, and let Si Xi offer him tea .
Tian Yu, overwhelmed, became even more uneasy .
And at the same time, Duan Bai Yue is in the study of the governmental office, scattering a container of spider silk-like wood moths into the gaps in the caches . In less than three days, these tiny insects will eat up most of the wooden drawers; an unknowing person will only think of termites, and not think that it was done on purpose .
Xu Zhi Qiu is still uneasy; however it's unrelated to the mysterious disappearance of Sun Man, he is only a hooligan after all, if he's dead then he's dead, it's not a big matter . What he's truly worried about, is not knowing what's the next goal of Tian Sha sect, and what will they force him to do again .
Duan Bai Yue watched over him till the sky darkened, upon seeing that everything is as normal, then did he leave the office and returned to the relay station .
Chu Yuan, his coat on his, having medicine .
Duan Bai Yue frowned, coming forward to sit by the bed: "Not well?"
"Reply to Xi Nan King, there's nothing wrong with His Majesty . " Eunuch Si Xi hastily said, "It's only that he doesn't sleep well at night, so Valley Master Ye prescribed a few medicine, instructing to have one dose every ten days . "
"Since there's nothing wrong with your body, why are you not sleeping well . " Duan Bai Yue took the empty bowl from his hands .
"How's the governmental office?" Chu Yuan asked .
Si Xi, knowing the atmosphere, retreated .
"After three days at most, I'm afraid that Xu Zhi Qiu will have to look for carpenters all over the city to repair his study . " Duan Bai Yue said, "Since Tian Yu is this city's best carpenter, there's no reason that he won't be invited into the manor . "
"Is he trustworthy?' Chu Yuan asked .
Duan Bai Yue said: "Of course . "
Chu Yuan nodded: "En . "
Duan Bai Yue laughed: "Just an 'en', you don't want to ask why he's trustworthy?"
"I don't . " Chu Yuan leaned back on the headrest lazily .
"That's also fine, there are many matters in your heart; one less matter is one less matter . " Duan Bai Yue covered him with the blanket properly . "Sleep, I will leave after a while . "
Chu Yuan turned sideways, his back towards him, and obediently closed his eyes; probably because he eat medicine, and the blanket is cozy, his breathing slowed down not long after . During his dreams, the corner of his mouth seemed to feel faintly warm and wet; his forehead involuntarily creased, but it seemed to be only an illusion .
After returning to the inn, Duan Nian was waiting in the room .
"What did you find out?" Duan Bai Yue asked .
"Replying to the lord, our men were at all kinds of teahouses the whole day, borrowing the excuse of being in the furniture business to chat with the locals . " Duan Nian said, "It seems like Xu Zhi Qiu's reputation is not bad, even though he didn't do anything outstanding he also didn't do any atrocious, at most he's somewhat dissolute and lecherous, doesn't seem like a silly muddled headed official that would pluck feathers from a passing goose (2) . "
"There's only this?" Duan Bai Yue sat by the table .
"And one more thing, there's a few households in this city, the young men in the family all said they are going out to do some great business, and haven't returned in two, three years . " Duan Nian said, "They only continuously got people to deliver banknotes to their families; they really did earned quite a lot of money; the neighbors all enviously asked around, but didn't find out anything in the end, there's also much rumors about it . "
"Great business . " Duan Bai Yue rubbed his chin, "The renovations and repairs of the palace in the capital are all handed over and done by the carpenters of Da Yan, and yet there's a business that's even greater and let people be more envious about?"
"Continue investigating about it?" Duan Nian asked .
Duan Bai Yue nodded .
Duan Nian wanted to leave after receiving the orders, but was called back: "Returned and tell teacher and Yao-er, it's afraid that this king can only go back after a while . "
"Master Nan has already passed some words to this subordinate . " Duan Nian said, "Let the lord stay outside as much as possible, wander as long as you like, it's best that you don't return in three, five years; ten years, eight years is also no matter . "
Duan Bai Yue: " . . . . . . . . . "
What does he mean, wander as long as you like .
In Xi Nan manor, Nan Mo Ye is feeding the insects with Duan Yao .
"Teacher . " Duan Yao shifted towards him while crouching, "Just who is the person that big brother likes?"
"Child, what are you doing asking about the affairs of adults . " Nan Mo Ye shook his head, "Go and play with your mud . "
Duan Yao asked again: "Is he good looking?"
"He's good looking . " Nan Mo Ye casually replied, "If there's someone who dares to say that he's not good looking, I'm afraid his head will roll . "
Duan Yao's mouth dropped open in shock .
Is his brother blind, he can even like such a fierce and savage person?
After two days, Xu Zhi Qiu opened the secret caches, once he pulled open the drawers, he saw wood shavings float down, and upon looking closer, quite a few wooden boards have been bored clean, and so he quickly sent someone to find a carpenter .
Duan Bai Yue leaned in the tops of a big tree in the courtyard, seeing the personal advisor bring Tian Yu directly to the study .
"Replying to the lord, it's because it hasn't been protected from insects for a long time, so termites were attracted to it . " Tian Yu said after examining it, "Luckily only a portion of the caches are destroyed, it can be repaired in at most half a month . "
Xu Zhi Qiu nodded, and personally saw him finish drawing the blueprint, before leaving together .
It's night; XIang Lie infiltrated the small yard, made a copy of the blueprint from Tian Yu and brought it back to the relay station .
"The caches are truly not just a few . " Chu Yuan said .
"It's no matter how many there are . " Duan Bai Yue took the blueprint away from his hands, "Two more days at most . "
Chu Yuan nodded .
"Want to go together?" Before going out the door, Duan Bai Yue suddenly asked .
Chu Yuan, puzzled: "En?"
"A night investigation, want to go?" Duan Bai Yue reached out his hand towards him, "It's very fun . "
Chu Yuan: " . . . . . . . . "
Frankly speaking, he has never thought that this kind of thing can be done by himself .
But because he has never done it before, he felt that there's no harm in trying it either .
And so a moment later, eunuch Si Xi was called into the room .
"Where does Your Majesty and Xi Nan King wish to go?" Looking at the two tidily dressed people, eunuch Si Xi doesn't understand .
Duan Bai Yue calmly said: "Viewing scenery . "
Chu Yuan: " . . . . . . . . "
Viewing scenery, good, viewing scenery, good . Eunuch Si Xi had a sudden realization, and saw the two people out the door with a smile, hands in his sleeves .
The night is late, the day is cool; while walking on the quiet long street, Duan Bai Yue asked: "Cold?"
Chu Yuan leapt on to a tree branch, and landed in the courtyard of the governmental office .
Duan Bai Yue, with a calm expression, took back his hand that he extended out .
The courtyard is very quiet, and the study is not locked . Although there's no candlelight, but the splendor of the moon is still able to brighten up the four corner to an extent . According to the blueprint that Tian Yu drew, Duan Bai Yue undid the lock very quickly, and pulled out the drawers of the caches one by one .
Inside, dust has fallen on the ledgers everywhere, it's obvious that they haven't been touched in years .
"The annals of the county and prefecture some forty years ago, I'm afraid it's left by someone a few predecessors back . " Chu Yuan read through a few pages and said, "Should be unrelated to Xu Zhi Qiu . "
"Since it's a night investigation, naturally it can't be rushed . " Duan Bai Yue said, "There's at least seventy, eighty caches here, each and every one of them must be examined, before a conclusion can be reached . "
Chu Yuan pulled out another drawer; a few large cockroaches rushed out, almost scuttling onto his hand; he instinctively took a step back .
Duan Bai Yue shook his head, reaching out and gently closing the drawer in front of him: "It's dirty, let me handle here instead . "
The distance between the two of them is extremely close, to the point that they seem to be able to hear each other's breathing; Chu Yuan's neck became burning hot, and looking at his smiling eyes like morning stars, he got somewhat peeved with himself out of nowhere, and simply turned and faced his back towards him, occupying himself with the drawers on the other side .
Duan Bai Yue raised an eyebrow, but didn't say anything else, continuing to pull open the next drawer .
The room is silent, minute bits of dust dancing everywhere; the tip of Chu Yuan's nose began to redden not long after . Out of the corner of his eyes, Duan Bai Yue glimpsed at the sight of him wanting to sneeze but holding it in so to not make sound; he seems quite uncomfortable . Just as he thought of bringing him back first, Chu Yuan had already opened a ledger, and looked like he found something .
"What is it?" Duan Bai Yue came forward .
Chu Yuan indicated for him to look closely; the paper is very new, seems to be made within these two years . Odd symbols are written on it, no meaning can be seen from it .
"Ignoring the words, what do you think this looks like?" Chu Yuan asked quietly .
Duan Bai Yue swept his eyes across twice, guessing: "Accounts?"
Chu Yuan nodded .
"Xu Zhi Qiu's private accounts?" Duan Bai Yue clicked his tongue, "Looks like this prefectural magistrate, doesn't just have the problem of being lecherous . "
Chu Yuan hurriedly glanced over it, roughly memorizing the page he opened . The day outside has started to brighten, it's inadvisable for them to stay any longer . Duan Bai Yue said: "Let's go, if you still wish to look, we can come again tomorrow . "
Chu Yuan nodded, carefully returning everything to its rightful place, and returned to the relay station with him .
Eunuch Si Xi was dozing off in the side room, upon hearing movements he quickly sent in hot water, and asked if some food should be served . The emperor has stayed outside for a whole night after all, and not knowing what he did, may be he got hungry .
Chu Yuan shook head, and didn't bother speaking, taking out some paper hastily and brush, drawing those symbol out verbatim .
"If they're really words, there could be something to investigate . " Duan Bai Yue stood behind him and saw, "But if it's some ghostly symbols thought up by Xu Zhi Qiu himself, I'm afraid we have to tackle this from another direction . "
"Having ledgers means having a business . " Chu Yuan said, "But listening to what the people said in the day, he didn't open a store secretly, moreover if he really broke the rules and opened a business, the livelihood that can be done in Da Yan, can only be woodworking, an aristocratic son of an influential family with high ranks in the court, it couldn't be that he even wants to secretly sell a few tables and chairs .
"One's intentions are unpredictable, it's hard to say . " Duan Bai Yue passed him a small bottle, "Smell it, it will clear your nose . "
Chu Yuan : " . . . . . . . "
Looking at his fully reddened tip of the nose, Duan Bai Yue sighed: "Next time if there's a night investigation, we will go to a clean place . "
Just as Chu Yuan pulled out the seal, the smell of seasoning burst out .
"Aiyo . " Eunuch Si Xi quickly asked outside, "His Majesty has gotten a cold?"
"It's no matter . " Chu Yuan, teary eyed and dizzy, but his nose has truly cleared up .
Duan Bai Yue held in his laughter .
Chu Yuan waved his hand and chased him out .
A moment later, eunuch Si Xi brought in hot water to wait upon him to wash up, and said that morning is almost here, so Xi Nan king didn't return to inn and stayed in the empty room next door .
Chu Yuan: " . . . . . . . . "
Duan Bai Yue, lying in bed with his head on his arms, listened leisurely to the sounds from next door .
Minute sounds of water, the rustling of bedding being lifted open, and the sounds of a blocked nose .
Separated by a thin wooden wall, the distance is near that it's as if they're lying together .
Duan Bai Yue smiled, and closed his eyes peacefully .
(1) sold tofu: 卖豆腐 - can be an euphemism for selling her body, or literally selling tofu . In case it's mostly likely the first meaning .
(2) pluck feathers from a passing goose: 雁过拔毛 - to seize any opportunity