Chapter 49: Auntie An is dead?
“Young Miss! Young Miss! This is bad!” Xin’er yelled panicked as she pushed open the door abruptly.
“What is so bad?” Gu Yunlan sat at the dressing table tying up her hair. Ever since she started absorbing the moonlight, her skin became more smooth and white, needless of any makeup.
Xin’er halted her footsteps, gasping, “Aunt An is dead!”
“What?” Gu Yunlan abruptly put down her comb. Her silky black, waterfall-like hair immediately draped down.
Xin’er immediately walked over and picked up her comb. She helped comb her hair while explaining, “Little Ying, who was cleaning this morning, said that under the west-side camphor tree, she found Aunt An has hung herself!”
“Did anyone go over there?” Gu Yunlan’s pupils sunk. That woman was intelligent; even at death’s door, she would strike at her. Just after Gu Yunlan sent her father away, An Shufen died. It would be bad if someone thought that she killed or chased away relative for the sake of the military insignia!
“It’s still early. Little Ying told me first, so I told her not to tell anyone else. I’ve already told a guard to seal off that area!” Xin’er finished tying up her hair, put down the comb, picked up a fur coat hanging to the side, and draped it on Gu Yunlan, “Miss, let’s go over there to take a look!”
“Give Little Ying ten pieces of silver!” Gu Yunlan nodded her head, this girl is getting better at managing situations.
“Yes!” Xin’er immediately nodded her head, “Oh right! Miss, Little Ying said that Aunt An’s neck had two streak marks on it!”
Gu Yunlan stood up straight and walked towards outside the room. Her eyebrows creased, “There’s two?”
“En!” Xin’er nodded her head while closing the room’s door, following her out.
Gu Yunlan sucked in a deep breathe. She couldn’t help but admire the chess master, this move was executed very cleverly! An Shufen had always been a mere chess piece, her usefulness has already been exhausted before her death, yet could still force Gu Yunlan into such a tight situation. However, they’ve forgotten that the times have changed; this is a time of war, who cares if two people died, she is the king within the Gu City, so what if she put her Auntie to death?
Only the act just sounded wrong, it’ll affect her in the future when she recruits soldiers, hmph!
Thinking of this, she beckoned towards Xin’er. She whispered a few words to her in a low voice, then Xin’er nodded her head before busily jogging off.
Sure enough, before she got to the westside courtyard, she heard the guard’s report, “Young Miss! The Second Miss has returned!”
Returned? Wasn’t she supposed to return after three days?” Gu Yunlan blanked out. Something just happened, which made her hurry over. The news was sealed very well, supposedly, no one was told of it. Unless it was Yangjin who killed An Shufen? Before she could order to the guard to do anything, she saw two people off in the distance walking over.
When the two people came closer, Gu Yunlan hooked up the corners of her mouth, “How come you’ve come back today? I was about to send some people out to notify you.”
“Big Sister!” An Jiaona walked over with a smiling expression, Yangjin also bowed slightly towards her.
“Little Sister!” Gu Yunlan was all smiles as she dipped her head in greetings. The relation between the three of them seemed joyously harmonious as if the exchange of arrogance and aggression didn’t happen yesterday!
“Right! Where’s Papa and Mother?” An Jiaona looked all around, saying cooly, “What did Big Sister say about sending someone to notify me about?”
Gu Yunlan glanced at her, looking at her as if she was unaware. Yangjin’s pupils flashed somewhat unnaturally, she curled up the corners of her mouth disdainfully, “Little Si reported just now, that someone hung herself in the west courtyard. She thought the figure looked like Auntie An. Aren’t I rushing towards there so early in the morning right now?”
Gu Yunlan gathered up her cloak, and walked towards the west courtyard, “I’m thinking that this doesn’t seem right! There wasn’t much activity last night! You just married, how can Auntie An be upset about that?”
“That can’t be!” An Jiaona immediately paled as her legs turned weak. How can it be like this, Little Si must have seen wrong!
“Nana!” Yangjin immediately comforted and supported her, “Don’t worry! Even Big Sister said so. It doesn’t seem right, how can Mother-in-law not understand?”
They arrived at the orchard after crossing through a few courtyard gates. The orchard was already completely surrounded by guards. Seeing Gu Yunlan walk over, they immediately split open a road for them, letting the three of them enter.
The corpse on the tree had already been taken down. Bai Yiran wore all white, using white gloves as he analyzed the corpse. From time to time, he would say a few words while Xin’er recorded things down to the side.
Xuanyuan Meng, Bai Nightspring, and Yan Zhikuang watched off to the side.
“Can you tell how she died?” Gu Yunlan asked as she looked at the corpse on the ground, and wrinkled her brow.
“Homicide!” Bai Yiran didn’t even lift his head as he continued to analyze the deceased corpse, “There are two marks on the neck. First, she was strangled, then she was hung on the tree!”
Seeing the familiar clothing, An Jioana realized it was her mother’s clothing from yesterday! She immediately pushed aside the man beside her, before staggering over, then stopping a meter away. She stared in shock at the woman with tightly shut eyes on the ground before her, “No!”
“Nana! Don’t look!” Yangjin pulled on her instantly, hugging her tightly as An Jiaona cried out bitterly.
“She struggled hard before dying. There are some mud on her back and traces of grass. This is the first piece of evidence!” Bai Yiran moved the corpse’s feet, saying as he inspected.
“Gu Yunlan! It must have been you! It must have been you! Otherwise, how can it be that as soon as you return, my mother would- would-… wu wu!” An Jiaona raised her head from Yangjin’s embrace to point at Gu Yunlan furiously, her expression looked a bit sinister.
“No! A woman is not strong enough!” Bai Yiran shook his head and stood up. He pointed at a branch two meters off the ground, towards the half-cut rope left on it, “To be able to hang your mother up that high, it can’t be done by herself, too heavy!”
“Then can’t two people do it?” Yangjin wrinkled his brows and asked hesitantly.
Gu Yunlan’s pupils flashed, is he looking to attack her by blaming her for killing An Shufen?
“Look at this, on this branch, no marks are suggesting that she was pulled up. Evidently, the deceased was carried up!” Bai Yiran used a long stick to move aside surrounding tree leaves, revealing the branch. There were only light wear marks on it.
“Young Miss Gu, a precious young miss who lives so sheltered, how can she be strong enough to drag such a heavy person.” Yan Zhikuan said, leaning on the tree trunk.
“Second Young Master Yan!” Yangjin greeted him.
“The murderer’s light work is very good, he must have flown up there with the corpse! She was first strangled, then after securing the rope, the corpse was hung up there! There are very few who can do this within the Gu Family!”
“Who are you? Who are you to decide that?!” An Jiaona glared at Bai Yiran viciously with her reddened eyes.
“Little girl, that’s not right! Madam’s memory must be very lacking! You even lived at our village for a few days, yet still forgot who I am?” Bai Yiran looked helpless as he took off his gloves.
“You, you’re actually that- that High Priest!?“ An Jiaona covered her mouth in surprise, why is he here! Is he also here to help Gu Yunlan?
“Nice to meet you!” Bai Yiran reached his hands into water prepared beforehand to wash his hands a bit.
An Jiaona was angered to the point where her hands shook, she screeched, “You people! Of course, you people support her, if she didn’t kill my mother then who did! Don’t forget, that we were even quarreling yesterday!”
“And don’t you forget, there may even be people who think that she has no more use, so she was killed and blamed upon someone else!” Gu Yunlan hinted at calmly, she curled up the corners of her mouth in disdain.
“You! Where’s father? I want to see Papa!” An Jiaona pressed urgently, right! She must see Papa!
“He left last night! I heard that he got a telegram, so he’s going off to war! Your mother was there when that happened!” Gu Yunlan shrugged her shoulders, then turned to walk out.
“Gu Yunlan! You are the murderer! Father left, so you took this chance to kill my Mother!” An Jiaona’s tears poured down, that must have been what happened!
“Humph! So what even if I did kill her? What do you dare to do?” Gu Yunlan said coldly as she turned. The ice-cold look in her eyes sent shivers down An Jiaona’s spine, as she once again hid under Yangjin’s embrace.
“Gu Yunlan! You mustn’t be greedy! Mother-in-law was definitely murdered by you!” Yangjin hugged An Jiaona tightly, even he looked at Gu Yunlan with a twisting rage.
“Oh? Then what do you want to do?” Gu Yunlan slowly walked towards the two of them, curling her lips in disdain, “Don’t forget where you are standing right now! This is the Gu Family’s territory! If this Young Miss did kill An Shufen, I could have directly put her to death; two birds with one stone. Why would I bother hiding it?”
After this, Gu Yunlan immediately turned around to leave. Before leaving she said to a guard, “If they don’t bring the corpse away, then find any random place to make a grave. Such a waste of this Young Miss’s energy!”
“Yes!” The guard saluted respectfully.
Seeing Gu Yunlan leave, the spectating people also hurried along to follow her. Bai Yiran shrugged his shoulders at the two people. Even he can’t do as he pleased!
An Jiaona once again cried out soundlessly. Although what Gu Yunlan said wasn’t wrong; she really didn’t have to waste so much time hiding it, but if she didn’t kill An Shufen, then who did?
Yangjin wrinkled his brows, he patted An Jiaona’s shoulders, “Let’s go now! Let us return too!”
“But! What about Mother?” An Shufen cried like pear blossom in the rain, are they really going to let her be buried at a random grave?
“The Gu Family won’t let us bring it back with us!” Yangjin explained to her patiently.
An Jiaona looked at An Shufen’s corpse between her sobbing and sniffles, then looked at the guard who stayed behind and could only nod her head helplessly.
Gu Yunlan was very quick, definitely not as slow as she was before. Before the few people came to see what’s going on left, she left in a blink of an eye, heading directly towards Gu Marshal’s study room.
“Aiya!” She gently pushed open the door and walked in. She easily closed the door, and asked the man sitting in front of the desk, “Xuanyuan, what’s going on?”
Xuanyuan Ying put down the book in his hands, and beckoned for her to sit down across from him, “It’s quite odd, the internal organs are entirely gone. Even the blood has been sucked dry! The two marks on the neck were made after death. The cause of death was that her brain was sucked empty!”
Just as Gu Yunlan sat down, she froze! A feeling of nausea rushed up. She had Bai Yiran set up a false situation, in order to trick off the two including An Jiaona. According to Yangjin’s temper, he definitely wouldn’t have flipped over the corpse. To him, An Shufen was only a chess piece, totally dispensable.
“Her fingers were in a clawed position, there were pieces of ripped cloth on the ground. Before death, she must have clung fiercely to the murderer’s clothing, only …” Xuanyuan Ying paused and drank a sip of water.
“Only what?” Gu Yunlan asked somewhat flabberghast. If it was as he said, the person who killed An Shufen couldn’t have been Yangjin. He’s only a fox, the most he could do is extract the essence.
“There were no signs of injury on her body. Then exactly how were her internal organs taken away? Even more baffling is that her head was also empty as can be!” Xuanyuan Ying creased his brow. After he and Gu Yunlan exchanged blood last night, there was a period where his consciousness wasn’t clear. In that time, he didn’t particularly notice anything. As long as she’s safe!
“Knock knock knock!” A knock on the door interrupted the two’s line of thought.