Chapter 46: The Death of Censor Zhang Yiqi
Translator: TransN Editor: TransN
After a while, Ning Que stopped pressing. He removed the towel and cautiously examined the back of Zhang Yiqi’s head. Pushing the hair of that spot aside with his fingers, he noticed that the wound created by the rusty nail had already shrunken and the remaining blood had also solidified. It should be difficult for the coroner to discover it without the help of lighting.
He lowered his head and looked at the towel in his hands. There was a patch of the bloodstain, which was about the size of a copper coin, in the middle of the snow-white towel. Part of it had already turned dark, like a wilted wintersweet flower.
Amazingly, Zhang Yiqi did not die immediately. Instead, he was in pain as he continuously trembled on the small bed. He wanted to shout out in pain, but his voice was hoarse and powerless. He rolled his eyes upward, revealing a large part of his sclera, which looked extremely horrifying.
He could feel an intense pain at the back of his head, thinking that Ning Que had used a baton to strike him on his head. He was unaware of the truth. Should he know that a nail was pierced into his head, he would definitely be frightened to death.
“You should know that if you work for a person, you should be prepared to die for that person. However… If you can now run to your horse carriage by yourself, I might be able to spare your life.”
With these words, Ning Que loosened the towels tied to his limbs and threw them into the bucket at his side. He then disappeared into the night, where he had just arrived.
When a person was near death, any words he heard at that time would be his last hope. Hence, the person would subconsciously follow what he was told to do. Furthermore, the censor was already in great pain and fear. He was unable to make any judgment or thinking. Should he have any rational thinking remaining, it would just be his natural reaction to the situation: Regardless of whether the merciless lad would spare his life, he must run to his horse carriage to be safe.
Ning Que stood in the shadow of the bamboos, not far away from the side door, and observed. It took longer than he thought as he slightly frowned.
Just as he was worrying, he noticed the censor Zhang Yiqi clumsy and hurriedly ran out of the side door. Instead of being half naked, he had already worn his clothes as he stumbled out. His eyes were already emptied. He opened his mouth and tried hard to shout but no sound was heard. He looked like a drunkard, or worse, like a dying fish yearning for water.
The attendant standing by the side of the horse carriage did not notice the unusual behaviors of the censor. He looked anxious as he exclaimed. “Master, I heard that madam overheard some reliable news and know that you’re here. She has brought a group of women and is on her way here now. Let’s hurry up and leave!”
Zhang Yiqi dashed forward with a “keke” sound from his mouth. His legs were wobbly. Before he could reach his horse carriage, he lost control of his body and fell flat onto the ground. He appeared despair as he stretched out his trembling hand, hoping to grab his attendant’s clothes. His face then turned pale as his body cramped and twitched in an ugly state.
Perhaps it was due to his scary facial expression, the horse became frightened and after a loud howling noise, the carriage unexpectedly broke apart!
Like a lego, the carriage was broken apart into pieces as they fell and stacked into a mountain on top of Zhang Yiqi.
With dust in the air, the few attendants and bodyguards stood like fools beside the broken carriage. They stared blankly at their master, whose face was covered with blood and was no longer breathing. They had no idea what had happened.
True enough, we knew that the madam was fierce, and that you had drunk a lot tonight, which might have amplified your fear. Furthermore, our exclamation might have made you panicked, but you… how could you just dash over and knock into the carriage! Moreover, why was the carriage so weak that it just fell apart after you knocking into it!
The commotion had already alerted the hatchetmen and stewards at House of Red-Sleeves. Their faces turned pale as they crowded around the scene. They ignored the unclear explanation by the attendants and bodyguards, who were still stunned by the incident, and instantly controlled the crowd before sending people to notify the Chang’an Local Government on the incident.
The crowd did not know the identity of the fat old man who was compressed to death by the carriage. The crowd only treated the victim as a poor unlucky whoremaster as they started gossiping and criticizing. However, this was not the case with the staff at the House of Red-Sleeves. They knew the victim, and yet how could they justify themselves that a censor had just died in front of their own brothel?
This was how Censor Zhang Yiqi had become the first man in the history of Tang who was unfortunately killed by the carriage while boarding due to his great fear for his wife and the shocked horse.
While the censor ran for the last time in his life, the real murderer Ning Que stood in the shadows with a pair of tightly clenched fists, as he silently cheered for the censor in his heart.
It would provide a victim with a very short buffer moment before death by using a small sharp weapon to pierce into the head of the victim. This was the skill which he had learned from the barbarians in the grassland when they used it to kill buffalo. He tried it several times, but this was the first time he had used it on a human. He was not sure how long this frail and weak censor would last, but he would take it as a bet. As for frightening the horse and breaking the carriage apart, it was an easy task for him.
“Indeed, one can never underestimate the great psyche power of greedy officers when they were afraid of death.”
Watching how the censor had finally managed to run to the horse carriage, and yet, in the end, was killed by a pile of broken woods, Ning Que sighed silently as he turned around and left the place, using the piece of white towel in his hand to wipe off the wheat on his forehead.
This was the first time for him to kill someone in Chang’an, and thus he was somewhat nervous about it. However, at this point of time, what he was concerned about was that Zhang Yiqi dashed out dressed instead of nakedly. At that critical point of life and death, the censor was still concerned about his face and did not want others to see his naked body. This totally depicted how fake and insincere the leaders were.
By then, all stewards in the House of Red-Sleeves had already heard of the incident, and many were trying to seek for suspicious elements in this incident. It was not the right time for Ning Que to take his leave. He followed the stream and walked into the courtyard to seek for a woman he was familiar with. He decided to accompany and chat with the woman, who was resting for a few days due to her menstruation. Perhaps it was because that she was bored being alone, the moment she saw Ning Que, she seemed overjoyed. Ning Que was very delighted as well. He was smiling happily as he chatted with her, and at times, he would use the white towel with the hidden bloodstain to gently wipe his lips.
The night enveloped the Lin 47th Street. Within the Old Brush Pen Shop, the young master and the handmaiden were sitting on the bed, discussing what had happened earlier. By the bed was a basin that contained the residue of the burnt towel.
Sangsang sat at one end of the bed, hugging her blanket tightly as she curiously questioned, “If this is known as forging the crime scene, then why not directly make it as death during sex?”
Ning Que was taken aback by the question and asked, “Do you know what it means by that?”
“I don’t know, but I recalled you’ve told the story when I was young.”
“I’ve told you such story before? Alright, I might have forgotten about it.”
“Think about it. If the censor died during sex in the brothel, then how would his wife keep silent? How could the imperial court give up the investigation? If the experts come to investigate on this incident, I’m not too confident about hiding it.”
“Hence, our most important goal is to let Chang’an Local Government believe that the death is just a traffic accident—because only traffic accidents won’t involve the imperial court in—but what’s more important is that this conclusion can easily make Chang’an Local Government force the censor’s family members to keep quiet.”
Sangsang remained quiet for a long while, before she blushed and spoke softly, “Too complicated, I don’t really get it. Young Master, you really think far.”
“That’s why you always don’t think?” Ning Que used the same tone that Mistress Jian used on him. He then added it with a dissatisfied tone, “You’ll become stupider if you barely think.”
Sangsang honestly replied, “I’m just a handmaiden, so it’s natural that I’m dumber than you. Don’t people always say stupid maid or foolish maid?”
Ning Que was speechless. He kept quiet for a moment before he asked with concern, “Are you tired after sending the letters to two places today? Did anyone see you at Zhang’s Mansion?”
“I’m fine,” Sangsang responded.