This is nutty sorry for the late update. This chapter is edited by Lis.
Outside the palace.
Zhuo Qing patted Gu Yun’s hand and said, “You just wait for us outside the palace.”
“En.” Gu Yun didn’t refute.
The two looked and each other. Zhuo Qing suddenly put a light smile and said, “Thank you, Yun.”
Gu Yun smiled, “Why do you thank me?” She didn’t actually do anything, Imprisoning Lou Xi Yan was just ‘the mantis stalking a cicada scheme’ (to pursue a narrow gain while neglecting a greater danger). Qing’s purpose was to immediately save Lou Xi Yan, while Yan Hong Tian’s aim was to weaken the Empress Dowager’s clan’s political power in the court. Each took whatever they needed. Meanwhile, she was only a mediator, letting them sit down to bargain the conditions.
Zhuo Qing slowly nodded and smiled, “Okay, I will not say it again.” It was because the words ‘thank you’ aren’t enough to express her gratitude.
“Please be careful.” Going to the palace in this time, Yan Hong Tian would presume his exterior appearance for the Empress Dowager Xi to see. Although she didn’t approve their action of using Bai Yi to forge a testimony against the empress dowager, she also knew that politics were much more complicated than criminal cases.
“I will, please rest assured. I didn’t arrange to make a war!”
“I know, go la.” Qing’s resolute face looked really beautiful. In order to save Lou Xi Yan, she risked her life.
Zhuo Qing, Su Ling and Dan Yu Lan went into the gate. Su Ling suddenly turned around and looked at her. Gu Yun didn’t understand the meaning of his glance.
Gu Yun estimated they would be there for one or two hours. The palace entrance was heavily guarded by soldiers. She didn’t want to be glared at by them but she also didn’t want to go back to the General’s Manor. Gu Yun walked to the nearest restaurant. Although it was the nearest restaurant, it was still quite far from the palace. Gu Yun didn’t ride a horse so she slowly walked on the paved street while thinking about Su Ling’s weird behavior these days.
It was not that he was making things difficult for her. After the day he grabbed her, Gu Yun had gained wisdom. When facing him, she must keep a safe distance. He also didn’t act that mannerlessly anymore. However, he would often have a complex expression when he arrogantly and silently looked at her. This made people unable to guess what was on his mind.
It was about time to light the lamps. There weren’t many people on the street now. The hawkers were packing up, ready to go home. Gu Yun was a little confused, so she walked slower. At this time, a familiar figure came from the alley. The sky was already dark and the moon wasn’t shining really bright. However, that dazzling silver hair was still very eye-catching.
“Ao Tian?” Recalling his hand which had a wound, Gu Yun was a little bit worried. She quickened her steps and from behind him said, “Ao Tian, wait.”
The man suddenly paused. Gu Yun thought that he was waiting for her so she ran towards him. However, the figure only stayed for a moment and ran again.
“Hey!” Gu Yun frowned. Why did he quicken his pace the more she called him? Ao Tian usually was really calm. Seeing his unusually frantic behavior, Gu Yun became suspicious. According to her observations, Ao Tian wasn’t a person that got panicked easily! What was happening? Following her natural curiosity, Gu Yun decided to go and have a look.
Gu Yun quickened her pace. The shadow moved fast. His skill was extremely good. Gu Yun followed the pace with some difficulties. She saw the shadow going into an alley on the right-hand side and vanished before her eyes. The alley was really dark and it was a dead-end. There was trash piled on the side, but no trace of the man.
Vanish? Gu Yun’s eyes slightly showed admiration and quickly swept through the dark alley that could easily conceal people.
He must be still present here! Gu Yun was puzzled. Why would Ao Tian hide from her? Thinking for a moment, with light steps she carefully entered the alley. As she got nearer, her grip on Bing Lian was tighter. It seemed like Bing Lian somewhat could feel the dangerous atmosphere. Bing Lian shook gently on her grip.
At the end of the alley, an arrow shone with a faint cold light. The head had been most likely dipped into the very potent peacock’s tail poison. With the slightest wound inflicted by it, the person would definitely die. The arrow slowly approached and pointed at the woman, the bow was fully curved…
The moment the arrow about to be discharged, a shadow appeared in the night sky and quickly came to Gu Yun’s front. Gu Yun subconsciously took off her sword. The sound of Bing Lian coming out from the scabbard whispered in the alley (Since Bing Lian is cold, it is that kind of coming out from something really cold when you exposed it out.). The man behind the arrow stiffened.
“Are you looking for me?”
That profound voice with a flat tone, that cold aura, It was Ao Tian! After he came out, that dangerous atmosphere suddenly vanished. Drawing back her sword, Gu Yun unhappily said, “Why on earth did you run before?!”
Ao Tian’s tall figure enveloped Gu Yun, aiming the arrow for a long time, the person still couldn’t find a gap. Ao Tian didn’t speak at all and because of the darkness, she couldn’t see his facial expression. However, she could hear his breathing was somewhat chaotic. It was probably because he just ran too fast.
After a long time, Ao Tian finally dismissively said, “ I… have some urgent matters… It is too dark in here, let’s talk outside.”
Gu Yun was basically pushed by Ao Tian out of the alley. The two disappeared before his eyes. That man gradually put down his bow. The bloodthirsty expression flashed in his eyes, cold and brutal. Ao Tian, you also care about people, don’t you? Is she your weak point? The pale thin lips raised in a strange arch.
Back on to the main road, with the help of some light, she could see Ao Tian’s usual expression but she didn’t press. Because she knew even if she asked him, he wouldn’t answer her question.
Not forgetting the original reason why she chased him, Gu Yun asked, “How is your wound? Have you seen a doctor?”
“It is alright now.” As she expected, Ao Tian coolly said he was alright. Gu Yun amusedly shook her head and looked at him. His skin was still pale and his behavior was still indifferent. Some things don’t change, this could be counted as a good thing. Gu Yun waved her hand, “Then, that’s good. Seeing you were in a hurry before, you must have an urgent matter. Go and take care of it.”
Gu Yun turned around and was about to go when Ao Tian’s cold voice hesitated to ask. “You… Are you still living in the General’s Manor?”
“En.” Gu Yun generously nodded. In her heart, there was nothing to conceal, so she openly answered it. Ao Tian felt his ear piercing when he heard it. The pale face became colder. His eyes showed self-mockery. So actually they were just teasing each other by pretending they didn’t like each other. It was him who meddled.
The cold attitude of Ao Tian made Gu Yun puzzled. She was just about to open her mouth to ask when Ao Tian turned around and walked away. Seeing him leave without looking at her, Gu Yun stood there, took a deep breath and impulsively yelled. Ao Tian suddenly stopped. Without turning around he just said, “In the future, don’t chase me when you see me.”
Gu Yun was still standing there, dumbfounded when Ao Tian’s dark shadow vanished at the end of the road.
What did he mean? Gu Yun frowned. Why did Ao Tian always gave her ambiguous feelings and just left? Did he blame her for chasing him tonight? She didn’t do anything, did she? Why did he suddenly become an ice block? Su Ling liked to become moody and was very tyrannical. Ao Tian’s mood was also very erratic, suddenly cold, suddenly hot. It was really unpredictable!
“Ah…” A scream pierced through the sky. Sad and sharp!
Gu Yun’s heart tightened. It was telling her something bad had happened!
Gu Yun ran towards where the sound came from. In front of a small alley, there were already some people standing there. Gu Yun came closer. Some gawkers whispered amongst themselves. Their expression was of horror. On a wall next to the alley’s mouth, a young woman with horror on her face kept saying, “Dead… It is a dead person!”
Behind her, there was another elegantly dressed woman. That woman leaned one hand on the wall while the other hand stroked her chest. Although her expression wasn’t as bad as the young woman her face was also pale. The hand that was stroking her chest trembled. Her eyes were closed and her breath was disordered. She looked really frightened. The woman seemed familiar. Gu Yun thought again. Finally, she realised it was the miss who helped her to choose the pair of jade combs, Miss Yu Handan.
However, why was she here? Seeing her expression, she must be the first person that discovered the scene.
Gu Yun squinted at the lane. It was not a dead-end. Its width was two metres. In the middle of the lane, there was a woman lying horizontally. There was a skewed lantern near her feet. Gu Yun took the lantern and used it to observe the situation in the lane.
The woman who was lying on the ground was really young. Her long hair spread loosely on the ground. Her clothes had turned into a rag. The exposed body parts were beautiful. On her neck, there were several obvious black marks. Her eyes were widely opened and her tongue was out. Her hands were stiffly hanged near her neck. It looked like she was strangled to death, but strong blood smells made Gu Yun doubt. When Gu Yun’s eyes stopped at the woman’s lower body part, Gu Yun’s eyes became colder.
Between the pair of her white legs, there was an obvious wound and the blood was flowing from there.
Gu Yun’s ten fingers turned into two fists, making rattling sounds. Taking a deep breath, she slowly subdued the rising anger in her chest. Her cold eyes secretly assessed the scene. In the darkness, a shadow moved.
“There is still someone alive there!” When people found it, a few courageous gawkers stepped forward. However, a slender arm blocked their way, “Everyone, don’t get closer! Go to report this case!” They didn’t know how to protect the crime scene. If they went in, they might tamper the evidence. Moreover, it was difficult to ensure that the perpetrators didn’t mix up in the crowd!
A clear chilled female voice stunned the gawkers. Seeing her looking at the creepy scene with a calmness that ordinary women didn’t possess and that her orders were difficult to defy, the people backed out. One of them hurriedly ran to report the case.
Gu Yun took the lantern and carefully approached the crouched figure. After she got closer, she could clearly see a girl dressed in yahuan clothes (a servant girl). Her thin body was curled into a ball, continuously shivering. Her head was buried in between her knees, refusing to look up.
Gu Yun didn’t step forward to help her but put the lantern close beside her. With a gentle voice, Gu Yun asked, “Girl, are you alright?”
The girl shrank back, still afraid to move. Gu Yun continued, “I will take you out of here, okay?”
The girl’s body stiffened. After a while, she slowly looked up. Tears had stained her young face. Her eyes were full of fear, staring at Gu Yun for a long time without saying anything.
Ensuring that the girl had clearly seen her, Gu Yun then tentatively held the girl’s arm. The girl was shaking but didn’t push her. Gu Yun used more strength to pull the girl up to stand. The strength made the girl a little bit afraid and she started to struggle. Gu Yun was afraid that she would unintentionally destroy the evidence so Gu Yun didn’t let her go and took her out of the dark alley. Outside of the alley, the lighting was better and the girl seemed less afraid than before, but still struggled. This time, Gu Yun didn’t make things difficult for her and let her go. The girl once again crouched on the ground, continuously shaking.
Gu Yun squatted and gently asked, “What is your relationship with the deceased? What did you just see?”
The girl obviously stiffened. She used both of her hands to cover her head. Tightly pulling her own hair, she sobbed, “I… I… Blood, a lot of blood!”
Gu Yun frowned and stopped the girl’s hand from harming herself. She continued to ask, “There is no problem now. Tell me what happened.”
The girl kept shaking her head and couldn’t say anything. Finally, the slowly coming Yu HanDan couldn’t bear to see as Gu Yun kept pushing the girl. The girl had had enough shock. Why did she push her?! Patting the girl who had curled into a tight ball, Yu HanDan disapprovingly said, “She has had enough shock. Why do you need to push her?” The good upbringing made her accusation subtler.
Gu Yun didn’t say anything. She also didn’t want to push the girl but under the current situation, she was the only eye-witness in this case. She couldn’t not ask her. The first statement was really important. At this time, the labourers from the police department came. Seeing Cheng Hang, Gu Yun wanted to approach him to tell him about the current situation. However, the girl beside her suddenly waved in horror and screamed, “Don’t kill me! Don’t kill me!”
People under distress had an unusually big power. The girl pushed Yu Han Dan aside. Yu HanDan moaned and almost fell onto the ground. Gu Yun quickly caught her before she landed on the ground.
Gu Yun let her go but didn’t glance at her. Gu Yun squatted in front of the little girl. Calmly looking at the panic in the girl’s eyes, she said, “Don’t be afraid. No one can hurt you now. Tell me who wants to kill you?”
Gu Yun’s clear calm firm voice and her powerful aura seemed to settle the little girl a bit, but her eyes were still full of terror. “Silver-haired man!” The girl suddenly screamed. It looked like she could only cry to dissuade her fear at this time. In a trembling voice, she continued, “A silver-haired man pushed our miss to the alley!”
Silver hair? Gu Yun’s heart sank. Silver-haired man… strangely escaping… Ao Tian…
No, It couldn’t be him! However, how could it be so coincidental…
And she, she never believed in coincidences!
The labourers from the police department took the corpse and the witness back to the XingBu Department. Gu Yun went back to the palace’s entrance. Su Ling just came out. Seeing Lou Xi Yan beside Zhuo Qing, Gu Yun asked, “We don’t have any more problems, do we?”
Gently nodding, Zhuo Qing lightly smiled, “It has been proved that the evidence is not trustworthy. Now, the Empress Dowager Xi and her cronies are having a hard time protecting themselves and cannot make any more troubles.”
Seeing the two holding each other’s hand, Gu Yun sighed, “Being released is good!”
Recalling the corpse that was just carried away, Gu Yun said, “A murder case just happened before. The victim was female. Her death condition was really bad.”
Zhuo Qing without asking just said, “Bring me to have a look.”
They rushed to Xing Bu department. Su Ling and Lou Xi Yan looked at each other. Shaking their heads, with a wry smile, they silently followed.
Xing Bu’s morgue.
“The victim is a female, five feet one inch tall. Her age ranged between 16-20 years old. There was obvious black bruised fingerprint mark on her neck area. The cause of death is a powerful strength that broke the hyoid bone (the original word was throat bone but it sounds weird so I change it to hyoid.).” The female corpse was placed on top of a wooden table. Zhuo Qing was calmly observing the corpse. Lu Jin was silently listening on the side and recorded every word that she said on the paper on his hand.
The wooden table was surrounded by a group of people. Dan Yu Lan and Cheng Hang stood beside Zhuo Qing. Gu Yun was putting her hands in front of her chest with her head down, attentively listening to Zhuo Qing’s explanation. Her eyes stared the ground below her. No one knew what she was thinking about.
Su Ling and Lou Xi Yan seemed not really interested with the autopsy and stood at the furthest corner.
Facing Lu Jin, Zhuo Qing signalled an eye expression. Lu Jin quickly spread opened the woman’s legs and bent them slightly. After examining it, Zhuo Qing coldly said, “Another fatal injury was inflicted on the lower body. The massive blood loss in lower body happened due to a stab wound. Looking at the wound site, the weapon was approximately 4 inches long double dagger-like object. There was no semen found in the victim body so the death was not subjected to sexual abuse. There was no other obvious trauma found on the body.”
Gu Yun squinted her eyes. Her face didn’t say anything. Zhuo Qing gently put off the gloves and walked towards Gu Yun and said, “That was the overall autopsy report. After Lu Jin finishes writing the autopsy report, he will give it to you.”
Gu Yun gently nodded. It looked like she was having deep thoughts . Zhuo Qing didn’t disturb her. Yun was always like this. Every time she faced a case, she was always enthralled.
Lu Jin took the white silk and covered the corpse. Dan Yu Lan said, “Let’s go out and talk.”
They went to Ti Xing’s office. Lu Jin sighed, “I have asked Xiao Yu the yahuan of the deceased. It looked she suffered a shock. She only remembered a silver-haired man pushed them into the dark alley and killed the deceased. The murder time was really fast, she didn’t remember it clearly.” After seeing the body, Lu Jin felt very uncomfortable. The murderer was really evil!
Lu Jin looked at the calm Zhuo Qing beside Luo Xi Yan. He couldn’t help but sigh. This woman was really skillful. The last time when she saw the women’s corpses without a heart, she was also really calm. How could she do it? Of course, if Lu Jin knew how many corpses that Zhuo Qing had autopsied, he wouldn’t wonder why she was really at ease…
Cheng Hang heavily hit the table and growled, “It was silver-haired again! One hasn’t finished, another had started!”
Again? Gu Yun asked, “Recently, many cases had a connection with the silver-haired man, didn’t them?”
“En.” Cheng Hang was a little bit annoyed, “With this case, there had been 5 cases within over half a month. This person is really crazy. I think it is directed to the upcoming celebration! The case of heart loss was just solved, now there is another one!”
Five within half a month? It was indeed a troublesome case. Luo Xi Yan squinted his eyes. Glancing at the silent Su Ling and Gu Yun, he asked, “Minister Dan, many foreign envoys, and valued guests will be coming into Qiong Yue within few days. The murderer must be captured as soon as possible before any possible harm happens again. If he targets the foreign envoys and valued guests, Qiong Yue would lose its face. The safety of the capital had been handed to Su Family Army by the emperor. If Dan Minister needs something, please ask General Su and Qing Mo to help out.”
Dan Yu Lan slightly bowed and replied, “Please be assured Lou Minister. This subject will use my entire power to capture him.”
Gu Yun looked up. Seeing Luo Xi Yan’s gentle-but-unpredictable face, she felt like he had the intention to keep on watching. She told Zhuo Qing, “Luo Xi Yan had just been released. He must be really tired. You just go home and have a rest first. Leave this place to us!”
Luo Xi Yan’s body was not too good. Zhuo Qing nodded, “Okay. If you need me, just contact me.”
Lou Xi Yan smiled at everyone and nodded. He held his wife and left.
After Lou Xi Yan left, Su Ling stayed silent and sat there. His figure looked a little bit awkward. Gu Yun with good intention told him, “If you have other things to attend, just go. If Minister Dan needs help, I will discuss it with Su Ren.”
Su Ling coldly said, “I don’t have other things.” She really wanted for him to go!
Gu Yun smiled. Su Ren usually handled this problem, didn’t he? Her good intention was not appreciated. Before it was Ao Tian, now it was Su Ling!
Not caring about Su Ling’s dark face, Gu Yun faced Cheng Hang and asked, “Were all five cases similar?”
“No.” Cheng Hang shook his head, “The first three cases, the assailant raped three women. One of them committed suicide. The fourth case, the assailant took away a-month-old baby. The baby’s whereabouts was unknown. Until now we didn’t know whether he was still alive or dead. The assailant was crazy. From adultery to abduction, he committed everything.”
Dan Yu Lan frowned, “The first four cases, he didn’t directly kill the victim. This time, he killed the victim. If we cannot catch him, the next case will be more extreme.”
First, rape, then, baby abduction. Gu Yun silently thought. This assailant didn’t seem to have a particular pattern. After a while, Gu Yun asked, “Are you sure a silver-haired man was the only common thing between the cases? Are there any other things?”
Cheng Hang frustratedly replied, “Nothing. Every time, the timeframe was really quick and he didn’t leave any traces, making people don’t know where to start investigating the case. He only operated at night and every victim said they clearly saw silver hair.” It was because there were no traces and the victims came from high noble family to literate family, they didn’t know where to start the investigation!
“Truthfully…” Lu Jin hesitated for a while and smiled, “The silver-haired is a unique feature. Not many people in Qiong Yue have silver hair. Amongst them, fewer people possessed high martial arts skills. I only know Ao Tian who has silver hair.”
Lu Jin’s word made Gu Yun frown. Su Ling icy eyes flashed but didn’t say anything. Cheng Hang was a bit more excited. Patting his big thighs, he said, “Yes! It was only less than half a month before the celebration started. The time was tight. Just capture all of them! We might be able to find him!”
“No.” Gu Yun coldly replied, “The silver-haired was the murderer’s characterisation but it doesn’t mean that all the silver-haired men are murderers . You could only ask them to come for an investigation, but you can’t capture them!” Being a police officer, Gu Yun had her own conduct regarding the handling methods and procedure of criminal investigation. She objected to Cheng Hang’s method.
When Ao Tian took Gu Yun away the other day, Su Ling had been very unhappy. This time, Gu Yun’s righteous speech sounded like an eagerness to defend Ao Tian. His anger was rising. Su Ling coldly snorted, “He didn’t kill anyone. Why would he fear an investigation? For who are you offended?
Gu Yun who had not wanted to bother about him looked straightly at Su Ling, “I didn’t feel offended for anyone. Before the case is thoroughly investigated, I would be suspicious, everyone could be the murderer, including Ao Tian. However, my judgement would be based on the evidence.”
My judgement would be based on the evidence. The calm but not overly passionate voice was enough to let everyone clearly listen and made the men, who were present surprised.
Su Ling looked at her cold and somewhat unhappy face. That firm expression made him feel enchanted… Su Ling felt he was a bit crazy these days. She often simply refuted him and even rebelled against him. Yet, how could he always feel proud when he was looking at the disfigured face’s firm expression?
Su Ling was suddenly silent and Gu Yun’s face was icy. The atmosphere inside the room was a little strange. Cheng Hang coughed and continued, “People like Ao Tian are really elusive. If he didn’t want to be found, we wouldn’t be able to find him.”
Cheng Hang’s sentence made Gu Yun more unhappy. She faced Dan Yu Lan and asked, “Minister Dan, in your Xing Bu, could you issued an order to pursue and capture people without an evidence?” If the law in Qiong Yue was like that, she thought, she wouldn’t participate in this investigation. This kind of place was not really suitable for her.
Under Gu Yun’s sharp eyes, Dan Yu Lan laughed and replied, “Cannot.” He could understand why Cheng Hang said like that. Most likely he was afraid that emperor would send out a decree like the other time. If they couldn’t catch the assailant, they would be sent to the prison. That made him anxious.
Facing this firmly sticking to the rules woman, Dan yu Lan suddenly admired her. Gu Yun secretly sighed. It looked like she must spend some time to read about Qiong Yue’s law and judicial procedures!
Being in Xing Bu for so long, Cheng Hang definitely knew the rules. He was just talking impulsively before because he was anxious. Cheng Hang restlessly patted his head. He was still somewhat unwilling, “Now, what would we do if we can’t catch the murderer?”
The people in the office suddenly became silent. After contemplating for a while, Gu Yun finally said, “I know where he is.”
Su Ling’s eagle eyes sank. No one could find him, but she could?! She really understood Ao Tian’s matter!
Hearing that she knew Ao Tian’s whereabout, Cheng Hang urged, “Where?”
Gu Yun shook her head and said, “Sorry, I cannot tell you. I will find him tomorrow and convince him to go to the government office tomorrow.” There must be a reason Ao Tian didn’t tell anyone where he resided. Therefore, without his permission, she didn’t have a right to disclose his whereabouts.
“Don’t be bothered .” A cold indifferent male voice came from the outside of the door.
Several people were surprised and looked up. A dark figure suddenly appeared out of nowhere in front heavily-guarded Ti Xing Office. Standing quietly in the darkness of the night, it looked like he had been standing there for quite a while. Under the moonlight, his silver hair looked even more dazzling.
A trace dark desire passed Su Ling’s dark eyes. His eyes swept through Gu Yun, then Ao Tian. Subconsciously, he clenched his fists.
“Ao Tian!” Cheng Hang said. How could he come here by himself?