ISOL Chapter 34
Qin De Zheng remained calm, it was beyond his expectations that they would quote 50 tales, but he did not let that show on his face. He thought about it and said, “Please wait.” And went out.
Su Xiao Pei felt a little uneasy. She has no experience in this kind of thing. She always accepts how much she was given, but her career had been smooth since the start, therefore, no one had ever cheated her. But with today’s bargaining, Head Constable Qin had walked away. She whispered softly and called out ‘soldier’, planning to discuss with him the lowest price they would receive. If Head Constable Qin had bargained, at least both of them would be on the same page.
But Ran Fei Ze was not in a hurry. “Miss, please do not worry, Ning’an City is not Stone Town, the government is very rich, they can afford 50 tales. Head Constable is not shameless, the Magistrate is eager to close the case, they will not refuse the deal just for 50 tales.”
“Oh.” Su Xiao Pei sat straight again. Ok, let’s trust him. Not willing to let go of these 50 tales?
After a while, Head Constable Qin came back. As Ran Fei Ze had expected, Head Constable Qin did not waste time bargaining about the money, and agreed to their amount. If they are able to successfully catch both criminals and solve the case, the government would pay them 50 tales.
“What if only one person is caught?” Ran Fei Ze asked. “If we solve one case, pay us half the amount, 25 tales.”
Head Constable Qin was stunned for a while before agreeing to it. He had discussed it with the Magistrate just now, the Magistrate main goal was to quickly solve the case, money is of no importance.
Ran Fei Ze was satisfied with this.
Su Xiao Pei was admiring Ran Fei Ze, originally, Ma Zheng Yuan was worth only 5 tales but after a night, it had been changed to 50 tales. So, this is how bargaining is done.
Head Constable Qin sighed, and drew Su Xiao Pei’s attention. “Miss Su, my men are stationed at the city gates, the officials will also increase their search in the city. As for Sima house, we just have to wait for their news, I have sent my men, under disguise, to watch their gates, to observe if there is anyone entering and leave the house.”
Su Xiao Pei nodded. Head Constable Qin asked, “What is Miss Su’s plan?”
“I intend to suggest to Head Constable Qin to remove the reward notice of Ma Zheng Yuan.”
“Remove?” Qin De Zheng was surprised, but suddenly, “Miss do not have to worry, Miss and Soldier Ran’s silver have nothing to do with this reward notice, whether or not others had provided clues, as long as the person is caught, Miss and Soldier Ran will get your silver.”
Su Xiao Pei was also stunned, where did his thoughts go to? She smiled, Head Constable Qin’s thinking was broken by Ran Fei Ze.
“Head Constable, removing the reward notices has nothing to do with silvers. It is regarding Ma Zheng Yuan. After his mother remarried, he did not receive any of his mother’s attention. He was awkward in his stepfather’s family; his other siblings did not look up to him, the servants also neglected him. After that, he fell in love with his sister, Ma Yao, who was the only person in the family who expressed concern for him. but this relationship could not have a happy ending. Ma Yao was under pressure, in order to make Ma Zheng Yuan give up, she volunteered give up become a nun. At this point, Ma Zheng Yuan’s world begun to collapse.”
At this time, Ran Fei Ze coughed twice. Su Xiao Pei reacted and cleared her throat, saying it once more, “I mean, Ma Zheng Yuan has never been cared for, no one placed him in their hearts, but suddenly, one day, someone gave him hope… but it shattered. What he wants was something he could never get, at this point in his life, he plans to get his revenge. Constable Bai had said that when Ma Zheng Yuan went to visit Ma Yao last time, he had said ‘You better watch out’. Then, he began to commit crimes in various places.”
Qin De Zheng nodded, he knew everything that Su Xiao Pei had said.
Su Xiao Pei went on to say, “After he had committed the crime, everyone was frightened and started talking about it. He was satisfied. The woman that he could not get was obtained through this vicious way, and he had even managed to punish her. He used to be bullied but now everyone was afraid of him, giving him confidence. With the government posting reward notices of him, giving him the courage and confidence to continue committing crimes. What he wants is this. The flashier the thing is, the more people are afraid of him, the more arrogant he will be. The reward notices are promoting him, giving him encouragement to do more crimes. Therefore, those notices must be removed.”
Qin De Zheng was deep in thoughts, he had never thought about it this way.
Su Xiao Pei continued speaking, “The case regarding Miss Sima, the murderer wants to blame it on Ma Zheng Yuan, this fact is very obvious. If Head Constable had determined that Miss Sima’s murderer is Ma Zheng Yuan, Head Constable would increase the search and rewards for Ma Zheng Yuan, but instead, Head Constable gave the order to remove the reward notices for Ma Zheng Yuan. If the murderer had hid well, he will be able to receive the news that the government is not suspecting Ma Zheng Yuan for Miss Sima. But if he does not know, this move from the government would make him suspicious and agitate him. This could cause him to make a wrong move, when that happen, it would be easier for us to catch him.”
Qin De Zheng felt that Su Xiao Pei’s explanation was reasonable. He said, “The Magistrate had warned Master Sima to not leak the case. Today, when we were at Sima Hall, we did not allow the servants to enter. This is something that can be hidden from outsiders. If we declare that the murderer is Ma Zheng Yuan, what if the murderer starts to relax? This way, he would start making more mistakes.”
“If Head Constable had announced that the murderer is Ma Zheng Yuan, and this news had reached him, this will irritate him even though this move could cause the real murderer to relax. The most important thing for Ma Zheng Yuan was taken away, someone had pretended to be him, robbing him of his honor. In order to prove himself, he may start to be more vicious to prove that he was not the one that killed Miss Sima, to prove that he is unique, that no one is like him.”
This time, Ran Fei Ze interject, “Following Miss thought, if the reward notice was removed, Ma Zheng Yuan will feel like he is not being noticed, will be do something more outrage to attract attention?”
Su Xiao Pei nodded her head, “Therefore, not only should Head Constable remove the reward notices, but also to silence the people, saying that Ma Zheng Yuan’s case has been shut down and is confidential, no further discussion. If there are talks about it, they will be punished.” Once she said her piece, she frowned, not too sure if this place would have the freedom of speech.
She looked at Ran Fei Ze, and saw that he had nod his head, indicating that her idea is feasible, it seems that there is such a rule that once anyone speaks out of turn, they will be captured.
Ran Fei Ze said to Qin De Zheng, “Head Constable, just doing those stuff is not enough, you must send people to follow through your orders so that people will take it seriously. Let your subordinates eat at the restaurant and talk about this case, to spread the news, to make sure that your order is not suspicious. The street vendors would naturally talk to each other and passed it on. This way, Ma Zheng Yuan will naturally know about this, his affairs will never be spread again.”
Qin De Zheng looked at Su Xiao Pei and she nod her head, “Soldier Ran is right.” In an era where there is no social media, this is the only way.
“Then, what will happen when Ma Zheng Yuan noticed that no one is talking about him?”
“Head Constable should send more people to monitor him.” Bai Yu Lang had told Su Xiao Pei before that when he was investigating Ma Zheng Yuan’s family, he had made a brief report with the local authorities and let them closely monitor Ma Zheng Yuan. As Su Xiao Pei see, they should increase their security as their next step.
“I meant, will he go back home?”
“In fact, Ma Zheng Yuan will eventually go back home. Even if we do not do these things, he will definitely go back in the end. It is only a matter of time. The one that Ma Zheng Yuan wants to take revenge against is not these strangers that he is killing, these killings are only temporary. In the end, he will realize that these are not enough. What he wants the most is to make those who had hurt him, those who had made him suffer, to make them plead for their life in front of him, just like his victims.” Su Xiao Pei answered. “Head Constable Qin, what we are doing now is just advancing to this step. Since no one would speak of him, there would not be any news that are traveling back to him home, then, the next step for him, would be him going back.”
Qin De Zheng was thinking hard, and finally, he muttered to himself, “Those cities that he had committed crimes are indeed cities that are surround Ze City. There are reward notice posted there as well.”
Su Xiao Pei did not interrupt him. Qin De Zheng seriously thought about it for a long time before looking up and shouted, “Okay! We are going to listen to Miss Su’s orders.”
The three of them discussed some details, and then Qin De Zheng invited Su Xiao Pei and Ran Fei Ze next door. Then he called a few people that he can trust to the first room, the people that he invited have a high rank in court and they were people that Qin De Zheng trusted, he invited them to discuss the cases what will be the officials next move.
Some was surprised, some were confused, and some understood the plan. The discussion was so lively that it could be heard next door, where Su Xiao Pei and Ran Fei Ze were drinking tea.
Ran Fei Ze started speaking, “Although Head Constable needed Miss’s help, but he also need to inform his superiors, make arrangements, more appropriate for the higher ups to handle it.”
Su Xiao Pei nods and didn’t mind it. She listened to the noise and started to organize her thoughts, “Soldier, 50 tales is a lot, right?”
Ran Fei Ze smiled, “It is a lot.”
He took the tea pot and squinted at her and smiled, “15 tales, huh?”
Su Xiao Pei blushed.
“Petty.” He was teasing her.
Su Xiao Pei said, “I didn’t know, I didn’t know. I do not have experience. I mean, I have never encountered this before, do not know what do to, I should learn more from Soldier.”
“I should seek more knowledge from Soldier.”
Ran Fei Ze grinned. Su Xiao Pei ignored him, 25 tales each, she was very thankful.
“Soldier, with 25 tales, can I afford to buy a toothbrush?”
“Toothbrush? You can afford it” Ran Fei Ze could not help but laugh.
The next day, Ran Fei Ze took Su Xiao Pei to the market, let her experience the city. He took her to a store that sell toothbrush, toothpaste and toiletries. Of course, the name of the items was different from what Su Xiao Pei knows, but she was very happy. This is the goal of life!
Her goal is quite humble in this life, it is quite sad when she thought about it.
Su Xiao Pei guessed the price while she was being sad, this cost 200 copper coins, that would cost 300, this cost 80 is cheap, that cost 150, looks cheap. This cost 800 copper coins, that is close to 1 tale, this cost 2 tales, does that mean it is limited editon?
Su Xiao Pei is still not used to the money here. She still has to convert the money in her mind. She also has no idea if it is cheap or expensive, but what she knows is that she needs to brush her teeth, wash her face and hair. She missed modern toiletries too much. She looked at it for a long time. She has no idea what some of the things were and she was too embarrassed to ask. She decided to remember this place, when she received the 25 tales, the first place she would spend her money would be this place.
Walking out of the store, she saw that Ran Fei Ze was standing outside the shop, waiting for her.
Ran Fei Ze felt that she was a country bumpkin that it was her first time entering a store, the store keeper knew that she was not going to buy anything, only asking the price. But since he was the one to bring her there, he felt that the store keeper would judge him as well. Therefore, he left the shop, too embarrassed to be related to Su Xiao Pei, away from the shop keeper’s eyes. But this girl is also quite good. From outside, he was able to see the store keeper judging her, but she does not care, still slowly look around. Thinking of this, Ran Fei Ze grinned.
What is he smiling at? Su Xiao Pei thought and gave him a glance, she was about to speak up, but she saw something. She turned her head and saw Sima Wan Ru gave out from one of the residences on the street.
The two of them quickly passed by each other. When Sima Wan Ru saw Ran Fei Ze and Su Xiao Pei, her face changed. They did not speak, Sima Wan Ru and her apprentice sisters quickly left.
“Why does she look guilty?”
Ran Fei Ze did not answer, but brought Su Xiao Pei towards the house’s direction where Sima Wan Ru had came out from, they passed the house and saw two words besides the main door ‘Chang residence’. Ran Fei Ze spoke up, “Miss Sima’s fiancé, his surname is Chang, right?”
“Yes.” Su Xiao Pei also thought about it.
“Elder sister just passed away, little sister went to the home of her future brother-in-law, that is improper, naturally she feels guilty.”
“Is that wrong?”
“Both families head have some sort of relationship, daughters’ are not supposed to visit.” Ran Fei Ze touched his chin, “The official government has never mentioned the Chang Residence, right? The Chang and Sima family, other than almost becoming in-laws, what other relationship do they have?”
Su Xiao Pei certainly does not know both families’ relationship. After returning to the Yamen, Ran Fei Ze went to find Head Constable Qin, to tell him what they had seen. The officials would record it down and investigate it.
After that, Su Xiao Pei went back to the inn and wrote down in her logbook, to sort out her thoughts about the case.
At night, Su Xiao Pei was packing up her things and was about to rest. But suddenly, someone was knocking on her door. She thought Ran Fei Ze was finding her to talk about the case, therefore, she opened the door without asking who it was. Once, she opened the door, she realized the person standing outside was not Ran Fei Ze but it was Sima Wan Ru.
Sima Wan Ru was standing in front of Su Xiao Pei, coldly, with her sword in her hand.