Bone Painting Coroner - Chapter 751 - Demons Born from Paranoia
Chapter 751 - Demons Born from Paranoia
Translator: Rozenbach, Editor: Aruthea
Ji Yunshu did not want to bother herself with the likes of Wen Shisan and instead, shifted her focus towards the piece of cloth in his hand and commented, “There’s no point in taking that piece of cloth, since that cloth does not belong to either the murderer or the victim.”
Wen Shisan did not believe her, “Then, how would you explain the presence of this fabric here?”
“Don’t tell me that I had neglected to teach you that if burlap gets in contact with water or any other liquid substances that it may be soluble in, there would be a resultant change in its texture and colour? Although that piece of cloth in your hands may seem like it was left behind a few days ago based on the compact weave of the fibres at the edges, burlap shrinks after soaking in water. This causes the fibres to contract at the edges of the fabric and naturally decreases the time it takes before it frays. It is obvious that the cloth had been here for over ten days, but if you think that that’s evidence, then you’d better keep that securely.”
With that, she circled around him to search elsewhere.
Wen Shisan had no way to refute her, crumpling that piece of cloth in his grip. In the end, he still chose to keep the fabric.
Just then, one of the capital governor’s men made a report, “Sir, the village chief has arrived.”
A man wearing a raincoat and conical straw hat entered hastily, stepping through the puddles unceremoniously. His hat was worn at a low angle, making it difficult to make out his features.
Clasping his hands together, the Chief greeted everyone with a bow. “Greetings Your Highnesses, Capital Governor.” His voice sounded mature with age.
Jing Rong’s brows furrowed as he inquired, “What’s going on?”
The capital governor explained, “As this temple belongs to the Zhang Village, I had informed their village chief of Your Highness’s impending arrival. I thought that by having the village chief here, he should be able to assist Your Highness if you have any queries and wish to understand further.”
Oh my, this guy’s really meticulous in his work!
The village chief raised his head, revealing a wrinkled face; from the looks of it, he seemed to be about sixty years old.
He began complaining, “Who would have expected that a single storm would cause the temple to collapse and even knock over the Buddha statue. If it wasn’t already inauspicious enough, there had to be a well right under the statue. Then to think that the well… would contain so many skeletons inside. With all this going on, the villagers are too afraid to step outside at night.”
He heaved a sigh. As the village chief, he was completely helpless when faced with such a situation. He could only hope that this case would be resolved as soon as possible.
Jing Rong questioned him, “Chief, this prince wants to know about the origins of the well beneath the statue.”
“This…” The village chief shook his head. “I do not know either. This temple has been here for over a hundred years now and our ancestors had mentioned nothing about a well under the Buddha.”
“Does anyone in the village know about this?”
“I’ve already asked around, none of them knew a thing.” The village chief responded glumly.
Jing Yi walked over and continued the questioning, “I heard that you were the one that discovered the bodies inside the well.”
“Yes, yes. I was the one who discovered the bodies, and I immediately reported it to the authorities.”
“It was raining heavily at the time, to the point where the entire village was flooded. Why were you here? And in the dead of night no less.” It sounded as though he was interrogating a suspect!
The village chief trembled for a moment before answering with a stutter, “That day… it was raining heavily. The entire village was flooded and everyone was rushing to safety. At that time, I…was worried about the leaks in the temple and came over to take a look, in the end…”
He had yet to finish his sentence, when he was interrupted by Jing Rong’s sharp rebuke, “You’re lying!”
The village chief jumped. “I…I did not.”
“It was flooding by then and you could barely manage to keep yourself safe, so why would you come running to this decrepit temple? If you’re not lying, then what else can it be??”
“You’re still not going to tell the truth? Do you really want to force my hand?”
The village chief panicked at Jing Rong’s threat and answered, “I’ll talk, I’ll talk.”
Glancing at the smashed buddha statue, his expression was fearful as he explained himself, “To tell you the truth, ever since this temple was constructed, the Zhang family village has been living well. However, a few decades ago, cracks started to form in the statue due to the strong winds and heavy rain. Not long after, villagers began to fall sick, with one or two healthy young men passing away each year. The physicians that were called here attributed this to a malicious chill entering their bodies which caused them to die from sickness.
“Everyone thought that this was due to the appearance of cracks in the statue and began offering incense and prayers in the hope that there would be no more deaths. On that night, it had been raining heavily, just like before. I was worried that something might happen to the statue again and came over to check on it, only to find that the statue had fallen over. At the same time, so many dead people appeared. I don’t know what other evils will fall upon our village.” He was terribly frightened.
Oh? Such a strange event happened? Jing Rong spoke, “There’s no such thing as supernatural forces like spirits or demons.”
Jing Yi interjected. “Prince Rong, you can’t say that. One should not speak irreverently against the divine and the supernatural.”
“They exist only in the hearts of believers; they mean nothing to non-believers.”
“There are many strange and unexplainable things in this vast world.”
“Even if there are, they’re merely demons born from one’s paranoia.”
“…” Jing Yi was unable to continue their back and forth.
At that moment, the downpour increased in intensity. Grey clouds blanketed the skies; it was clearly in the middle of the day but it was now so dark that it was difficult to see past one’s fingers.
The capital governor was worried. “Prince Rong, Prince Yi. The rain is getting heavier. If we were to return via our original path, I’m afraid that it’ll be easy to meet with an accident.”
The village chief added, “That’s right, the roads right now would be difficult to cross on foot or by carriage. If Your Highnesses do not mind, why don’t all of you seek shelter in our village’s ancestral hall for the time being; it has plenty of space. Why not depart after the rain has stopped and the skies have cleared up?”
Jing Rong and Jing Yi looked at one another before turning towards Ji Yunshu and Wen Shisan respectively, in perfect unison, seeking their opinion.
Ji Yunshu nodded.
Wen Shisan nodded.
Soon after, everyone left the dilapidated temple and headed to the Zhang Family’s Ancestral Hall, taking advantage of whatever remaining natural light they had. They arrived in less than half an hour.
Before entering, JIng Rong picked up several small thin pebbles from the ground. His actions caught Ji Yunshu’s notice. “Why are you picking up pebbles?”
“I have a use for them.”
Hm? Acting mysterious and all.
As everyone entered the ancestral hall, they found it to be exactly like how the village chief had described it; the interior was huge and spacious with around a dozen tables that could accommodate them.
There were also numerous villagers present awaiting them.
The villagers have probably never seen so many people entering the village before, particularly extravagantly dressed nobles. They all gawked at each other and remained silent.
The village chief hastily explained, “The large rainfall had resulted in a lot of residences becoming uninhabitable, so some of the villagers had moved in here.”
Soon after, the villagers began kneeling down in reverence. “Our respects to Prince Rong and Prince Yi.”
Gazing down at the prostrating masses, Jing Rong’s expression became sombre and pained.
“Get up everyone, we’re the ones that are bothering you all. We are just going to be here for a short while, so there’s no need for such ceremony.”
The villagers stood up.
Jing Yi coldly harrumphed, “How pretentious.” He sat down by the table pompously, with an arrogant expression on his face.
Wen Shisan followed suit.
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