Home with a sick kid on her last day of school so I’m posting this a few hours earlier. Another loooong chapter… Over 2,500 words.
This chapter was edited by Din2.
Lou Xi Yan and Su Ling who sat across from each other looked face to face one glance, each did not turn his line of sight, each was calmly waiting to see, because at this moment, the Head of Criminal Prison Division’s Dan Yu Lan already got up to move towards the Seventh Princess who was on the ground.
The Imperial Physicians were frightened and could not speak, the group of state officials kept silent. Yan Hong Tian was just about to get angry, Dan Yu Lan’s clear and steady voice echoed timely: “Before Princess died, the four limps of the body, jaw, breathing, were firmly obstructed, her complexion was dark purple color, her pair of eyes protruded after death, her four limbs were stiffed and cold, so she should be infected by a snake venom. What kind of snake venom could be effective in this short time, only the ‘red scarlet worm’.
So it was really poisoning, looking at the expression of the deceased that manifested in this state, Zhuo Qing was also judging like this, but the little thing that she understood was, there were many deadly venom’s cases, but the one that resembled the Seventh Princess’ quick flared up was rare, or was it possible that she was already poisoned before coming here? Also impossible, when she was dancing, it was completely normal.
Zhuo Qing sank into her own pondering, the group of state officials who were near Dan Yu Lan spoke out ‘red scarlet worm’, after several moment, there was another uproar, Zhuo Qing secretly thought about what was the red scarlet worm’s venom?
“Official Dan, Bei Qi’s Princess died in the main hall of my Qiong Yue, this was not a small thing, must not comment easily! This case will be handed over to you to investigate fully, must find the real cause of death and murderer.” Because Dan Yu Lan reported the name of the venom, Yan Hong Tian’s voice, even though still maintained a country monarch’s dignity like before, his complexion was also dark for a moment.
Half kneeling on the ground, Dan Yu Lan loudly answered: “Chen receives the Imperial decree.”
All along, the corpse was still tightly held on Xu Xun Si’s bosom, he appeared to regain some rationality, his young face was in the capacity of the son of a country’s King so he should have some dignity. Raising his head to look straight at the high position of Yan Hong Tian, coldly narrated: “If I am not mistaken, the red scarlet worm was a distinctive venom from Qiong Yue, Seventh sister died tragically at the main hall of Qiong Yue now, Bei Qi, courteously asked Qiong’s Emperor to give us one statement. Official Dan will investigate this case personally, Xu Xun Si does not have any objection, but hoping that Official Dan can investigate the case in my presence.”
“Granted!” This matter was already like this, this request could not be regarded as excessive. After all, no matter what, the Princess died at the palace hall, that was already a fact.
“In this main hall, where did the poison snake come?! The Princess was still well a moment ago, only drank one cup of wine, maybe the wine was poisonous!” A rough voice echoed in this spacious main hall, unexpectedly could also hurt people’s ears because this voice was so loud.
Everyone was facing to look at the person who just talked, it was another Bei Qi’s envoy, General Hu Zhang Yu’s eldest son, Hu Xi Ang. His body shape was as rough as his voice, his hand was holding Princess’ wine pot, mutually communicating with Xu Xun Si who was trying to control his emotion, his face showed anger that could not be concealed.
Dan Yu Lan walked over towards him, seized the wine pot that was on his hand, he muttered a few sentences towards the chamberlain who was next to him afterwards, the chamberlain hurriedly ran out.
Zhuo Qing used her shoulder lightly to bump into Mo Bai, lowly asked: “What is this thing, red scarlet worm?”
Mo Bai originally did not want to pay attention to her, but looking at her for one glance, only saw her eyes were radiant, staring at the woman’s corpse on the ground, she was usually somewhat different. Mo Bai was silent for a moment, finally he lowered his voice to answer: “Red scarlet worm is Qiong Yue’s northwestern specific type of viper, because its body is small, a little thinner than a finger, the length is no more than two chi (one chi equals to 1/3 of a meter so this snake is not quite one meter length), so the local people call it a worm. This type of snake lives in the underground drain stones, extremely wet and extremely cold ground, only comes out at night time, will not see the sunshine all year around, its entire body is scarlet red, the toxicity is extremely strong, if it bites, you will immediately get killed, even if it only touches or mistakenly uses its venom, you will also die certainly and undoubtedly.”
Touching it could also die certainly and undoubtedly? Zhuo Qing was frightened, looking at Mo Bai, urgently said: “If the hands do not have any wound, touching its venom will also be poisoned.”
Mo Bai did not say anything, only coldly nodded his head.
Very powerful venom, the same snake venom was a neurotoxin (substances that are poisonous to the nerve tissues), or blood circulation poison (blood poisoning), another powerful thing was both types contained their own, but touching to the skin could be poisoned, was there also corrosion osmosis!? Zhuo Qing secretly felt a pity, this era did not have the equipment to examine the venom, otherwise she could research it carefully!
Not knowing whether or not Dan Yu Lan had any trick, Zhuo Qing raised her head to look towards the opposite of Dan Yu Lan.
The chamberlain brought in a white porcelain dish, also a silver needle with approximately more than 10 cm in length.
Only seeing that he put the wine pot inside the small dish, originally, the wine should be pure like floating faint red color, but she did not see the pure wine color inside of the greenish cup, the hand that was holding a silver needle put it in the small dish, the silver needle was submerged in the wine and it immediately changed to black color. Dan Yu Lan took out the silver needle, used a plain white cloth to wipe it clean afterwards, the silver needle was still black as before.
Zhuo Qing slightly frowned, could be sure that the poison contained a heavy toxic sulfide, the silver would turn black, besides this, what more components were there?! Zhuo Qing continued to look down, but unfortunately, Dan Yu Lan did not make any other movement.
Hu Xi Ang was already impatience, urgently asked: “Was the wine poison or not?!”
Collecting the silver needle, Dan Yu Lan did not try to justify anything, realistically said: “The silver needle was black, the wine was slightly red, smelled fishy, the wine really contained red scarlet worm’s poison.”
Zhuo Qing looked towards this one side again at the Criminal Prison Division, this very unique person, red scarlet worm was obviously Qiong Yue’s distinctive poison, why was he able to answer so calmly, did not see that the two Imperial Physicians were still trembling now! He could not really be this honest ah, or he had extreme confidence in himself to be able to resolve this current’s crisis by himself?
Hearing one sentence from Dan Yu Lan that the wine was definitely poisonous, Hu Xi Ang violently roared one more time and loudly said: “Then surely there was someone who put the poison inside the wine! You all hand over that person to come out!”
Hu Xi Ang was so presumptuous, Yan Hong Tian could very much put him in prison, but what should he do at this time, would it not be more disgraceful national news to bully and humiliate a small country, if it was spread out, how could he still confront the other six countries?! Yan Hong Tian’s complexion got darker and darker, similar to the prelude of the rainstorm, the main hall sank into silence once again.
A clear, bright and gentle voice of a woman softly echoed, dissolving a trace of heavy atmosphere that made people to choke: “At the palace banquet, the wine was unexpectedly poisoned by someone, it was Ben gong’s negligence, Head Housekeeper Wu, bring the servant who touched the Princess’ wine pot to come up to Ben gong.”
This kind of situation, originally, the Empress should not speak, but as a mother of the country, the matter happened inside the woman’s palace, if she talked for a few sentences was also ok, her appearance was just in time to ease the atmosphere.
“Yes.” Looking one glance at the Emperor’s facial expression, he did not stop it, Wu Rong immediately turned around to leave.
Zhuo Qing secretly shouted ‘rotten’, Qing Ling was the one who poured the wine for the Princess ah!
Sure enough, several Imperial bodyguards pushed down three servants to the front of the palace hall, Qing Ling was also pushed to kneel down on the ground, the three servants were already frightened beyond recognition, laying on the floor repeatedly shouting: “The Queen Empress, save our lives ah, these servants were only responsible to allocate the wine to be put inside the pot, also did not know which wine pot would be given to the Princess, even if these servants were given one hundred courages, these servants would also not dare to put poison ah.”
Comparing the manner of the three servants who kissed up to beg for forgiveness, Qing Ling was kneeling straightforwardly, did not even say one word, her face was completely expressionless and cold.
The Empress slightly narrowed her eyes, looking towards Qing Ling, coldly narrated: “Qing Ling, you were the woman whom Hao Yue’s delivered as a present to enter the palace, now was demoted to be a palace maid. Did you or did you not harbor a grudge in your heart to poison Bei Qi’s Princess, or was it Hao Yue’s country who prompted you to put the poison and conspired to kill Bei Qi’s Princess, to instigate the relationship between Qiong Yue and Bei Qi?!”
Still lowering her head, Qing Ling only coldly spit out three words: “I did not.”
“You attempted to assassinate the Emperor last night, still dared to say that you did not have any evil intention?! Ben gong would give you this one opportunity, whatever you did, you should confess truthfully, Ben gong would exempt you from receiving any physical pain!”
She was always under the impression that her sisters had already died, and she was alone in this earth, what was the meaning of living also, speaking of death for her was a type of freedom, but she saw her today. She simply would not let the Empress to push the accusation to her, otherwise would surely harm them, also would harm the innocent people in Hao Yue!
For a very long time, Qing Ling finally and slowly lifted up her head, looking towards the higher up, pretending to be a woman who actually gave in for a false mercy that made people feel nauseating, with a trace of sarcastic smile, Qing Ling loudly answered: “I was not careful to smash a flower vase last night, cut the Emperor, did not fulfill and attend to my duty, the Emperor was angry, demoted me to be a palace maid. And I would stand here and serve to pour wine to Bei Qi’s Princess today, it was entirely from the Queen Empress’ order, I did not know anything before the event, if you were saying that I put the poison, then it was also the Queen Empress’ arrangement.”
“Presumptuous!” The Empress’ complexion changed greatly, originally still wanted to use affable voice, but this time was abnormally ear piercing: “Sharp teeth, sharp mouth, spouting nonsense, it seems that if I do not use torture, you will not speak the truth!!”
The Empress’ voice was trailing off, the Imperial bodyguards who were standing on the side already went up, pushed the unwavering Qing Ling to the ground.
Zhuo Qing’s heart was tightened, she could still cheer Qing Ling’s quick witted answer a moment ago, she was anxious because of her now. Looking towards Yan Hong Tian, he was still expressionless as before, did not even show Qing Ling a little bit pity, right, the Empress could also be regarded as helping him one great favor. Qing Ling was Hao Yue’s person, if everything could be pushed to Qing Ling, it was just perfect, everything was unrelated to Qiong Yue! If Bei Qi wanted to look for somebody to calculate the debt, could also look for Hao Yue!
But could she really able to let them impose this groundless accusation to her?! Looking at her being beaten? Could not! There was one continuous voice in her heart, the brain was clamoring, maybe it was the calling out from the bloodline, maybe it was Zhuo Qing’s own conscious that would not allow it, in short, Zhuo Qing knew that she could not watch with folded arms (she could not stand idly without doing anything).
Remember in chapter 15, I explained about this ti dian xing yu si (提点刑狱司) that I translated as Criminal Prison Division. The head of this division, Dan Yu Lan is back in this chapter. For consistency, I’m also using “Official Dan” whenever the other state officials call him. The actual words for his title is ‘Dan ti xing’ – (单提刑). 提 (to carry) and 刑 (punishment).
One more thing about Dan Yu Lan’s name. His last name is using this 单 character. Originally I used Shan as his last name as my dictionary showed that 单’s character for a last name was Shan. However this same character can also mean single, only, sole, etc. When this character is used other than for a last name, the pinyin word will be Dan instead of Shan. When I was reading book 3, Zazajunie actually used Dan as his last name so I asked her if his last name was Dan or Shan. She said it should be Dan. I also asked my other Chinese friend about this character and she confirmed that it should be Dan. So I decided to change his last name from Shan to Dan before I posted the chapters back then. I noticed though that the other two translators of this book were actually using Shan as his last name. I found it very interesting that this one character could be written differently in pinyin.
I was going to keep the poison’s name as ‘chi huan si chong’ instead of translating it to ‘red scarlet worm’ but decided that it would be easier to use red scarlet worm. The actual words are 赤寰丝虫.