ISOL Chapter 37
I think that author changed Young Master Chang’s name, in Chapter 30, his name was supposed to be Chang Ji Cheng, but now it has been switched to Chang Jun. The past few chapters the author did use Chang Jun but since it doesn’t match with what was said in Chapter 30, I changed it to ‘Young Master Chang’ instead. But since the author had used a nickname for him in this chapter, I decided to use Chang Jun as well. Later in the chapter, Chang Jun’s mother would call him Jun’er, it is a nickname or an endearment that people who are close would use.
The next 3 days, there was not much progress regarding the case. After a round of investigations, there were no one more suspicious than Sima Wan Ru.
Sima Wan Qing is kind-hearted person. It was true that she did not have any problems with anyone. Sima family and their relatives have been racking their brains for the past few days, trying to figure our who would’ve a reason to harm Sima Wan Qing, but they could not think of anyone. their business was very good, the days passed smoothly, there was no reason to kill their daughter. After investigations, they can only conclude that Sima Wan Qing was killed is because of relationship.
Head Constable Qin was wondering why he felt that Sima Wan Ru was more suspicious than Chang Jun. That is because even though Chang Jun may be acting weird, even if he was not satisfied with the engagement, or if he wanted to change his bride to Sima Wan Ru, it would’ve have been better. Even though, he would’ve lost some of his reputation and pride, it is better than killing a person. Moreover, this marriage was proposed by Chang Jun, himself, no one forced it on him. the relationship between Sima Residence and Chang Residence has always been good, there wasn’t any news of discord between any of the members. Furthermore, no one heard Chang Jun raise any objections towards this marriage.
The officials felt that even if Chang Jun had feelings for Sima Wan Ru, there was no need to take such measure like killing Sima Wan Qing to end the marriage. As for Sima Wan Ru, if she had feelings for Chang Jun and wanted to marry him but he was not willing to break off his engagement. With both parties’ family in the dark, Sima Wan Ru saw that her sister’s marriage is coming soon, if she wanted to prevent that from happening, the biggest possibility was that she could’ve killed her sister so that she have the opportunity to take over her place as a bride.
But, according to everyone, they said that the two sisters from the Sima family have a close relationship. They talk about everything under the sky. The older sister is weak, the younger sister loves her sister even more.
But Su Xiao Pei knew that if one does not receive the same treatment back, the psychological affect will cause a strong emotion on the person to do things that they usually would not do, that could’ve happened.
As for Sima Wan Ru’s sword, Ran Fei Ze and a constable quickly found information regarding it. This sword was created by a blacksmith in the suburbs. It was sold 4 years ago. When it was being made, it became narrow and small, it was too delicate for a swordsman to use it, so the sword could not been sold, it stayed in the shop for a long time that was why it had made such a deep impression on the shop owner.
“That was a good sword.” The boss looked at the picture that Ran Fei Ze had drew, listened to the description of the sword and immediately thought of it. “That sword was bought by Young Master Chang, he only took a glance at it, but he came to the shop three times before buying it. I remember clearly.”
So, is this sword an engagement present?
In order to get some answers, Head Constable Qin asked Lord and Lady Sima about the relationship between Chang Jun and Sima Wan Ru. Both of the Sima were shocked, and scolded at Qin De Zheng for being disrespectful, no manners, and how could he asked them such a thing. But Sima Wan Ru’s expression did not change, taking advantage that Qin De Zheng was there, she asked, “Is this related to the death of my sister?”
In the end, because Qin De Zheng does have any evidence, he left the place. Even if the sword was given by Chang Jun, how could it be related to the death of Sima Wan Qing? Sima Wan Ru’s calmness and coping mechanism had cause them to return empty-handed. Qin De Zheng had returned to the Yamen with Su Xiao Pei and Ran Fei Ze.
But Sima Wan Ru’s reaction to this made her more suspicious. When the constables held a meeting, they even speculated that Sima Wan Ru had asked Chang Jun to reject the marriage and change the bride, but Chang Jun refused, causing Sima Wan to be angry and she walked away. This caused Chang Jun to be sad and delayed the marriage for several years. After a few years later, when the wedding is to be held. Sima Wan Ru realized that the wedding was still going to happened, so she sneaked back to the Sima Residence and asked her sister for her help. But she didn’t think that her kind-hearted sister would reject her request. Suddenly, Sima Wan Ru was in a rage, rushed up to Sima Wan Qing and killed her sister. To cover up the crime, she cut Sima Wan Qing’s hair and ruffled up the clothes, making so that the killer is Ma Zheng Yuan.
Sima Wan Ru was cold and rude, so, many of the constables were not happy with her, therefore, they were not embarrassed by their own doubts of her. In the evening, Bai Yu Lang had rushed back and brought back important news, which made everyone feel that their speculation was correct.
Bai Yu Lang asked the apprentice sister what had happened to Sima Wan Ru’s sword. They said that the sword had accidentally fell and it broke, Sima Wan Ru was so nervous that she delayed the trip. That they must find a blacksmith nearby to repair the sword. The sisters had no choice but to compromise and they went their own way in the town. On the same day, Sima Wan Ru did not eat dinner with them, and they did not know when she will return, so the sisters went to the inn to sleep. Early next morning, Sima Wan Ru met the sisters and all of them went back on the road again. When they thought about it, the night when Sima Wan Qing was killed, when did Sima Wan Ru came back?
This time, Qin De Zheng did not dare to go up to the Sima Residence and questioned them. What time did she return to the inn? Where did she go? There could’ve a lot of answers that Sima Wan Ru could give. Moreover, Ran Fei Ze was able to observe that the sword was repaired once, therefore, there is not much to go on, it is useless to go over and demand an answer. With Sima family’s connections and the Sima sisters’ reputations, there is not a single one who will believe that Sima Wan Ru is the murderer.
The case has locked onto a suspect, but it had fell into a bitter situation.
The constables that was surveilling the Chang residence did not see any abnormal activities. The same could be said for the situation at the Sima Residence. In other places, there was no breakthrough as well.
Two more days then it would the day of Sima Wan Qing’s return. The sima family was upset and they were feeling down, they were preparing the funeral. The magistrate looked for Qin De Zheng and exerted his rank to pressure Qin De Zheng to solve the case as soon as possible. Qin De Zheng was unable to do anything, he called Su Xiao Pei and seek her advice.
[Chinese belief that when a person died, 7 days later, her soul would return for that 7th day, for the last time for her to see the family. After that, the soul would return to the underworld to drink ‘Meng Po Tang’, which means the Lady of Forgetfulness’s soup. This soup ensures that the soul would forget all about her previous life and ready to be reincarnated for the next life.]
“As Head Constable Qin had noticed, Young Master Chang does not need to kill Sima Wan Qing to dissolve the marriage, but Young Master Chang prioritize manners, dissolving marriage would give him a bad reputation, right? Would the Elders from both families agree? What if he does dissolve the marriage, what about Miss Sima Wan Qing’s reputation? If both sisters prioritize marriage more, and if Young Master Chang dissolve the marriage, how can the younger sister marry before the elder?” Su Xiao Pei had consulted with Ran Fei Ze about this multiple time in the past two days. “Regarding Miss Sima Wan Ru, I am still suspicious of her.”
“In my opinion, sneaking around and killing her sister and then replacing her sister as a bride, this is not what Miss Sima Wan Ru wants. Her demands are higher and much purer. She would end up with leftovers if she were to kill her sister and be her replacement. It is because Miss Sima Wan Qing is not around anymore, that’s why she has to marry Young Master Chang. This is not what Miss Sima Wan Ru wants, she wants to earn the position herself without any underhand means.”
Head Constable Qin frown “Miss, from this guess, you think that Miss Sima Wan Ru is not the murderer?”
“I just said my doubts, but I am still unsure.”
“What other thoughts does Miss have? Now things are at this point, it is difficult to advance.”
After Head Constable Qin finished his sentence, he suddenly ran into a low-ranked official, “Head Constable, Lord and Lady Chang and their son went to Sima Residence to give their funeral offerings, but Miss Sima and Young Master Chang had a dispute. Now, they are in the Sima Residence’s garden, with their swords drawn out, in a deadlocked.”
Once Head Constable Qin heard what the official had said, he immediately rushed down with his squadron, Su Xiao Pei and Ran Fei Ze.
Su Xiao Pei’s footsteps were slow, she and Ran Fei Ze were the last one to reached. Once they had arrived, they saw that the whole garden was filled with people. Qin De Zheng’s subordinates had dismissed all the servants, only the family members and guest were left in the garden. The low-ranked official had said that they were in a deadlocked, both had drawn swords, but in actuality, only Sima Wan Ru had drawn her sword, pointing it at Young Master Chang. She had backed him into a corner.
When Su Xiao Pei had arrived, she heard Sima Wan Ru shout out, “You’re lying!”
“Wan Ru, you must believe me.” Young Master Chang had Sima Wan Ru’s sword at his neck for quite some time, able to see the sweats on his forehead while Sima Wan Ru’s face was white as a sheet.
All the officials do not dare to go forward. Sima Wan Ru’s sword was very sharp, they were able to see blood flowing out from Young Master Chang’s neck.
“Wan Ru, stop playing around.” Lady Sima cried out.
“He’s lying!” Sima Wan Ru screamed out, her eyes were red.
“Second Young Miss, Jun’er was really at home that night, her servant can testify.” Lady Chang was so nervous that she was shivering.
“Lies!” Sima Wan Ru coldly stared at Chang Jun for a long time before squeezing out a sentence.
For a short while, everyone was sweating and trying to get Sima Wan Ru to put down her sword, but she did not move, all she did was staring at Chang Jun, saying the same sentence, ‘Chang Jun is lying’.
Su Xiao Pei squeeze her way to Qin De Zheng, and inquired about what had happened. “The Second Young Miss saw that Young Master Chang had come, so the both of them went to back of the garden to talk. Second Young Miss had asked if Young Master Chang was the one who harmed her sister. Young Master Chang denied. Then, the Second Young Miss forced him to answer his whereabout on the night of the murder, when he replied, she had said that he lied.”
Su Xiao Pei frowned; how can she be so sure that he was lying?
“If you were not the one who killed my sister, why don’t you dare to tell the truth?”
“I would never harm your sister, you know this. I won’t do anything that makes you sad. I was about to marry her, why would I kill her?”
“Then, where were you that night?”
“I was at home.”
“Lies!” Sima Wan Ru pressed her sword again. Chang Jun did not frown, just stared at Sima Wan Ru.
“I couldn’t have killed her.” He said. “I won’t hurt her. If I were to upset her, you will be upset as well. I have already delayed the marriage and cause her to be anxious and she complained to you. And you’ve blame me. Once I’ve received the letter, I immediately set the date for the marriage. I will not do anything that you do not like. If I hurt her, how could I bear to show my face to you? Why would I do that?”
This bout of confession, caused the two families to be surprised. both of the seniors of the family stared at each other, their expression was complicated.
“If you didn’t do it, why aren’t you telling the truth?” Sima Wan Ru still didn’t believe what he had said.
“Every word that I speak is the truth.” Chang Jun had answered with the same answer till he has nothing more to say.
“Why don’t you believe me?” Sima Wan Ru was ashamed, but caused everyone to be confused. She did not believe him, yet she asked him why she did not believe.
Chang Jun finally expressed his sadness, “Wan Ru…”
“I do not believe you.” Sima Wan Ru seems to be in a trance, “You lied, I can feel it, you are guilty.”
“Are you crazy?” Lord Sima screamed loudly. “Wan Ru, let go of the sword!”
Chang Jun couldn’t speak, he reached out to Sima Wan Ru as if he wanted to comfort her.
Sima Wan Ru glared at him, grind her teeth and waved her sword. Everyone screamed, but she did not wave her sword in the direction of Chang Jun, instead it went to her own neck.
Even though, there were people who know martial arts and they were at a distance from Sima Wan Ru, they were still afraid to take a step. But Chang Jun is only a sword away from Sima Wan Ru. when he saw her move the sword to her neck, he did not hesitate to reach out and grab the sword. If she sung the sword again, it would not cut her neck but rather his hand.
Sima Wan Ru suddenly stopped, and dropped the sword. But the sword had managed to cut Chang Jun’s hand, causing blood to gush out.
At this time, a young lady rushed in, “Second Young Miss, you do not have to do this. That night, my cousin did not do any evil deeds. He did not come to Sima Residence, he was drunk at Lu Xiang Restaurant”
Sima Wan Ru was scared when she saw Chang Jun’s hand, her legs went soft and she fell to the ground. The lady’s word went into her ears. She turned her head and saw Chang Jun’s cousin, Luo Ling’er, smiling. Sima Wan Ru recognized her, when they were young, Luo Ling’er had played with them.
“Drunk…” Sima Wan Ru smiling mockingly, “No wonder, no wonder…”
The crowd immediately rushed up and brought Chang Jun away. Lord Sima went up and slapped Sima Wan Ru, “Unfilial child!”
Sima Wan Ru was pulled up by her mother, but she was beaten down by her father. She fell, not shedding a tear, she just looked at Chang Jun.
Chang Jun did not care about his wound, hurried over to Lord Sima, “Please don’t blame her, it is my fault, it is my fault.”
“You shut up as well.” Lord Chang was also angry with his son, wasn’t he embarrassed?
In the mist of the chaos, everyone’s face was unhappy, every family wanted to leave with their child. Head Constable Qin seize the opportunity and ask, “Is anyone able to prove that Young Master Chang was drinking at Lu Xiang Restaurant?”
While Sima Wan Ru and Chang Jun was ‘expressing their hearts’, they had also revealed their secret. Everyone was stunned when they heard Head Constable Qin’s question, they realized how big the importance the answer to the case. Lord Chang stared at his son, asked, “What is going on?”
It is not good for Chang Jun to keep secrets now, but he still whispered, “That day, I was bored, so I hid myself and secretly went to the restaurant to drink, I drank till I was drunk, I do not know how but when I woke up, the sky was already bright and I was still in the restaurant. So, I quickly paid everything and quietly went back to my room.”
Head Constable Qin ignore the spectators and asked, “Lu Xiang Restaurant? Young Master Chang, is there anyone that can prove that you were there drinking?” he gave a look, and one of his subordinate secretly left to Lu Xiang Restaurant to inquire about it. To ask question before any one asked the staff there to omit any details.
Chang Jun pursed his lips, his father was furious, “Head Constable is asking you.” He did not wait for Chang Jun to speak and turned to Qin De Zheng, “He was drunk and stayed the night there, the innkeeper and the waiter should’ve seen him. Head Constable, please check.”
At this time, Luo Ling’er bowed her head and softly said, “I…I can be his witness. I watched my cousin sneak out of the door, out of curiously, I followed him. I watched him drink wine by himself, so I joined him for two glasses, after that he was drunk. I…I was at his side for the whole night.”
Her face was red, while everyone’s’ was ugly. Chang Jun’s uncle scolded his daughter, “Nonsense!”
Whether or not did anything happen, a man and a woman spend a night together in a room. This is a matter of a ruin reputation, and their family name’s is ruin. Chang Jun did this before his marriage, no wonder he didn’t want to say it. Chang Jun and Sima Wan Ru looked at each other, the former was ashamed and uneasy was the latter was sneering at him.
“Ignorant Child! Only know how to cause trouble!” Lord Chang was so angry, “Let’s go back!” The family came to comfort others but instead they received humiliation, why was the family so unfortunate.
“How does Second Young Miss know that Young Master Chang was not at home that day?” Su Xiao Pei asked.
Qin De Zheng frowned and stared at her; he can already see whole scenario. They showed their dismay, but their suspicions can be removed. Chang Jun was not at the murder scene; he has a witness. Whereas, Sima Wan Ru had only said that she secretly went to the Chang Residence to find Chang Jun that night, she had kept watching and did not noticed him returning. She can easily remove her suspicion.
Their move was quite high-handed. Making the constable go round and round with so many people witnessing. This does not reflect well on the government. Therefore, Su Xiao Pei’s question was simply to tie everything together, for everything to go smoothly. Qin De Zheng was annoyed in his heart and he was cursing that Su Xiao Pei was not sensible.
But Sima Wan Ru did not want Qin De Zheng to guess her answer, so she coldly answered, “How do I know? I just know, I asked him about his whereabouts, I can tell that he was lying, he can’t deceive him. I just know that he was not telling me the truth.”
The meaning of her statement was very clear, but everyone is aware that she did not fully answer the question, everyone understood the answer but yet they do not.
Chang Jun looked at Sima Wan Ru, his eyes showed his sadness and hurt.
Sima Wan Ru suddenly stood up, did not say a word, turned and left the garden.
A lot servant from the Chang Residence went to the Sima Residence, they were well-behaved, did not utter a word and took Chang Jun and went back home.
Master Sima did not have any mood to say anything. He only waved his hand to order the servant to send his guests out, they had also chased the group of people that came with Qin De Zheng.
Head Constable Qin went back to the Yamen, walking back and forth with his hand clasped behind his back, with a frustrated voice, “Miss Su, what do you think?” Sima Wan Ru did not take advantage of this opportunity, what does this mean? She knew that Chang Jun had lied but Chang Jun suspicions is now gone but Sima Wan Ru’s own whereabouts were unclear. Although she did not say anything, but after this incident, the government can’t do anything without any concrete evidence.
Qin De Zheng suspected that there is still something going on. But they do not know what Sima Wan Ru had planned for these few days.
“There are signs that the two of them are suspicious. But what haven’t we figured out yet?”
Su Xiao Pei shook her head, she couldn’t think of it, but she wanted to talk to Sima Wan Ru again. She said her idea out loud, but Qin De Zheng shook his head, “Soon, it will be the 7th day, after today incident, I am afraid that we can’t enter their residence. If Miss Su wants to speak to Second Young Miss, I’m afraid you would have to wait a while.”
The longer they wait, the bigger it will be. Of course, Qin De Zheng knew this, the more he walked around, the more annoyed he became. In the end, he said, “I will request to speak with her every day, and asked the Magistrate to help me, maybe we would have a chance.
After two days, Sima Wan Qing’s 7th day had passed, but the Sima family did not allow Sima Wan Ru to appear, and they did not allowed the government to enter the house. Su Xiao Pei tried to enter every day but she was stopped.
When Chang Jun had met with Head Constable Qin, after the incident, both were unsatisfied with each other. Chang Jun had always love Sima Wan Ru, seeing that she was approaching marriageable age, he gave her a sword, and told his family that he wanted to marry the daughter from the Sima Residence. His family agreed to it, no knowing that he had caused a misunderstanding. It turns out both of the family were trying to get their family together, the only problem that the target was the elder sister. When he had opened his mouth to tell them his news, his family were happy and they had quickly set the engagement. With this misunderstanding, his parents mistakenly though that the one he loved was Sima Wan Ru. Chang Jun was waiting for the good news, but unexpectedly, he waited for the wrong sister.
He only knew that his proposal went wrong when he was congratulated in the market. He rushed to find Sima Wan Ru to explained, he told her that he would explain to his family and that he wanted to marry her.
Chang Jun wasn’t able to pretend that everything was alright, he originally wanted to marry Sima Wan Ru, therefore, he found an excuse to delay the marriage. Whereas, Sima Wan Ru stopped meeting with him, to the point that she didn’t show up when he arranged a meeting, she even changed school and ran away from him. Chang Jun was heartbroken, and secretly wrote a letter to her, but she never replied. But suddenly, he received a letter, inside she said, that since he kept delaying the marriage, her sister was sad and she was sad as well. When Chang Jun had read the letter, the remaining hope that he had in his heart was shattered. He did not want her to be sad, he still wanted to see her. Therefore, he set the wedding date and was ready to be her brother-in-law. But he did not expect that before they would meet, Sima Wan Qing was murdered. Sima Wan Ru angrily asked him how he took care of her sister. He told her the truth, the only time he told a lie was his whereabouts on the night of the murder. He thought that his lie was very good, that he was sleeping at home, nobody would be suspicious, but she was able to see through his lie.
Su Xiao Pei listened to this story, “All the more I should meet with Miss Sima.”
“Does Miss have a plan?”
“Her whereabouts on the night of the murder is still not proven, but if she did run around asking to repair her sword, and her sister died, and her most beloved person was drunk with another woman in a room together. With this kind of blow, it is also reasonable that she did go somewhere. She knew that Chang Jun had promised her sister happiness, but he let her experienced death instead, yet, her heart still had affections for him. In any case, she was hurt. At this time, it is necessary to tell her. If she was the murderer, and I will find a weakness to exploit, if she’s not, maybe we can find out who the murderer is. There are still some things that needs Miss Sima.”
This day, they left the Yamen, after having dinner, the sky was dark. Su Xiao Pei dragged Ran Fei Ze to the Sima Residence, the guards saw her and gave a bitter smile, said that the Master of the house gave the order that no one was to be allowed in. And the young miss has been quiet for the past few days, all the servants were chased away, all the more, she wouldn’t want to meet any guest.
Su Xiao Pei had no choice, so they made a big round to the back of the Sima Residence, she found a wall that seemed to be shorter and her hands started to itch, wanting to climb the over. She just wanted to try, but the person next to her, used a teasing tone, “Miss is not that tall.” She was not convinced, and she seriously gave her all to climb the wall.
Ran Fei Ze was laughing beside her, laughing at the short thief that does not know any martial arts climbing the wall.
Su Xiao Pei used all her strength, but she did not made any progress, angrily turned back to Ran Fei Ze, “Are you only a spectator, can’t you help me?”
“Men and woman can’t touch each other.” Ran Fei Ze calmly said.
“If you don’t help me, I will settle score of everything we had done together.”
Once she had finished speaking, she felt a hand on her waist, a burst of wind follows next and in a blink of an eye, she realized she was inside the Sima residence.
Ran Fei Ze laughed, “I am most afraid of people settling score.”
Su Xiao Pei glared at him, whispering to him to lead the way, using the best route to reach Sima Wan Ru’s courtyard while avoiding people.
“Miss’s legs are short is another thing, but you also don’t know the way?” Ran Fei Ze is not willing to waste an opportunity to tease Su Xiao Pei. Even though the words coming out of his mouth is bad, but his actions are commendable. He took her to places where they had to stop, walked, and hid, eventually, they had reached Sima Wan Ru’s courtyard.
There is no one in the inner courtyard, the door was closed and there were two servants at the outer court, they spoke a few words before entering a room that was situated in the outer court. Ran Fei Ze brought Su Xiao Pei into the inner courtyard.
Looking around, only of the rooms was lit. According to Sima Wan Qing’s courtyard, the room that was lit should be the same as Sima Wan Ru, that would be the main room. Su Xiao Pei shooed Ran Fei Ze away, “Soldier, I will go and knock on the door, you just stay out here and be the guard for me.”
Ran Fei Ze nodded, whispering “Did you have fun being a thief?”
SU Xiao Pei gave him a look, ignored him and left
She lightly knocked the door, and a female voice spoke out, “Enter.”
Su Xiao Pei went in, and was stunned
Sima Wan Ru was sitting on the bed, when she saw Su Xiao Pei, she turned stiff, and kept blinking her eye.
Who was behind her?
Su Xiao Pei didn’t have time to turn around, but she heard the door closed, next she saw a sharp blade.