Chapter 779 – Karma
Translator: Jimminix, Editor: Choufleur
“Please forgive me, Mistress.”
“It’s karma. You have nothing to do with my situation now. Leave. I do not wish to see you.”
But Cailan refused to budge. She clung on to Ji Muqing’s clothes as tears flowed down her cheeks, “I’ve seen the error of my ways. Please forgive me, Mistress. There’s no turning back for me now. I just want to gain your forgiveness before I die.”
“The side consort… had a miscarriage.” Cailan slumped onto the ground.
“What does it have to do with you?”
“I… I was the one who added thyme to her wintermelon soup.”
What? Ji Muqing was stunned.
“I couldn’t just watch as the Side Consort bullied you. That was why I…”
A smile appeared on Ji Muqing’s pale lips as she stared out at the fluttering leaves beyond her window. But it was a smile filled with sorrow. She looked down at the person who was near the end of her life by her feet, and set the twig by the window, before leaning forward and lifting Cailan’s head, “Why?”
“As long as I can help you, I’m willing to do anything.” Cailan choked out the words.
“Help?” A cynical smile appeared on Ji Muqing’s lips, “How can you help me? Chen Xiang’s child is gone. But Prince Yi will never look at me. I’m just a puppet, a walking corpse. How can you help?”
“You silly girl. There was no need for you to try and earn your forgiveness with your life.” there was a strange glint in Ji Muqing’s voice as she spoke. Cailan s.h.i.+vered with fear as she felt the force gripping her face intensifying. The consort’s nails dug into her face, as if they were about to flay the skin from her face alive.
Cailan’s eyes widened. She instinctively tried to back away, but Ji Muqing would not let go. Just then, guards swarmed into the room, “Take her away.”
As she was being dragged away by the guards, Cailan was still clinging on to Ji Muqing’s clothes, “Mistress, Mistress…” there was fear in her eyes.
Ji Muqing remained indifferent. There was not a hint of emotion on her expression even as the servant girl was dragged away. After a while, she picked up the twig she left by the window, and continued plucking away its leaves.
“One, two, one, two…” She could still hear the agonizing screams of Cailan in her ears.
It did not take long for rumors to begin spreading. The servant girl who caused the death of the young heir was beaten to death, and her corpse was torn apart before being dumped into the wilderness to be fed to the wolves. There was also a rumor that Chen Xiang was at the brink of death. Some had even heard that the servants who were present at the time of the incident had all been executed by Jing Yi.
These rumors were not the only ones that made it into Ji Muqing’s ears. A smile appeared on her face. She had finally plucked away all the leaves from the twig. The consort was in a good mood and ordered one of her servants to the kitchen to prepare a steaming hot bowl of bird’s nest porridge. It was a very appetizing meal indeed.
Meanwhile, at the outskirts of the capital.
The sky was darkening rapidly. Wen s.h.i.+san was dressed like a fisherman, with a hat covering his face and two wisps of mustache disguising his appearance. He walked down a small muddy mountain trail with a lantern as his only source of illumination.
It had been two hours since he had fled the capital. He would be safe after putting more distance between him and the city. He came upon a small tea stall by the shade of a tree. After making sure that his surroundings were safe, Wen s.h.i.+san decided to take a rest and bought himself something to drink.
“Are you not going to order something to eat, dear customer? It seems like you still have a long way to go on your journey.” asked the stall owner.
“There’s no need for that. Just give me a bowl of water.”
“Be careful traveling at night, dear customer.” said the stall owner as he handed Wen s.h.i.+san the bowl.
But before he could quench his burning thirst, Wen s.h.i.+san suddenly tensed up. He inserted a silver needle into the bowl, and was shocked when the needle turned black. He glanced at the owner, and poured the contents of the bowl away while the stall owner was not watching before placing a few copper coins on the table and leaving.
He felt his head growing heavier a mere few steps later and the strength quickly left his legs. He looked at his palms, and saw them turning black. I’ve been poisoned! It’s not just in the bowl! It’s coated around the bowl as well!
“Cough! Ack!” Wen s.h.i.+san found himself coughing up black blood. The lantern he held in his hand fell onto the ground and erupted into flames.
Wen s.h.i.+san clutched at his throat in a final struggle before slumping onto the ground, where he twitched and twitched before finally going still. His eyes were wide open, as round as the copper coins he had placed on the table. The owner of the stall walked up to him with an eerie smile on his face a short while later, dragging him by his legs into the stall. The man then took out a jar of wine, took a sip, then poured its contents over Wen s.h.i.+san’s corpse.
“I can recognize you even if you turn into dust. You used my wife and child as bait to draw out the killer during the White Bone Case in Liusu Province. And now, it’s time for you to pay with your own life.” the man spoke through gritted teeth. He took a candle and threw it onto the ground, setting the corpse and the stall on fire. The orange glint from the flames illuminated the entire forest. As the saying goes, n.o.body can escape karma when it comes knocking.
Back in the Rong Estate, Jing Rong had invited Vice-Chancellor Yu, Qin s.h.i.+yu, the Capital Magistrate, Mo Ruo, and Tang Si to a banquet. But as the attendees took their seats, Jing Rong and Qin s.h.i.+yu were still nowhere to be seen.
Ji Yunshu had to step in and act as the host, “Allow me to toast all of you here with tea in place of wine.”
“Ah Ji, you should be toasting me instead. If I had not discovered the secret of the Zhang Family village, this case would not have been solved so easily.” said Tang Si.
“Indeed. This one’s for you.” The two women toasted each other.
Mo Ruo scoffed, “So what if you found the evidence? Without Teacher Ji here to piece them together, they’re useless.” Wise words from a sensible man.
The Capital Magistrate was still confused, “It’s an undeniable fact that there have been deaths in the Zhang family village each year. Does it mean that there really are supernatural things going on in the village?”
“Do not believe in superst.i.tion!” said Vice-Chancellor Yu.
“It’s all nonsense.” Mo Ruo chuckled, “I went to have a look at one of the villagers who is sick. He is suffering from a spleen disease. It was caused by breathing in poison through the nostril, then into the throat, and finally the spleen. It was caused by the inhalation of Fragrant Southern Bamboo. Only individuals of age 15 to 28 are easily affected by this disease. It’s nothing serious. A bowl of water and some sugar can easily cure it. But due to how rare the disease is, not many know about it, and think of it as a common flu.” 
“Fragrant Southern Bamboo? What’s that?”
 Obligatory note: The Fragrant Southern Bamboo is completely fictional… also i’m very curious why Author chose such a specific age range lol.