Chapter 1903: The Widow
When King Dai left, Zu An waved his hand and ordered, “Open the coffin and examine the corpse!”
“Yes, sir!” Dai Seventh and Chen Eighth replied with a bow, then led their men to the center of the mourning hall where the coffin was. They knew that they were just going through the motions, but it had to be done.
When she saw them crudely push aside the coffin, Madam Jin almost fainted. She exclaimed, “Please be gentle, don’t disturb King Jin!”
Zu An said with a serious tone, “The madam has no need to worry; they know to not go too far. I suggest that the madam leave for a bit.”
It was a bit too cruel for her to watch such a scene, after all.
“No, I want to be here,” Madam Jin said, holding her head high stubbornly. She looked at her husband’s coffin with grief, tears trickling down her face uncontrollably.
Zu An thought to himself, Is this woman made of water or something? She was crying the whole time earlier, and she’s crying again. When he saw that she insisted on staying, however, he couldn't say much and gestured for his subordinates to begin.
Soon after, the Embroidered Envoy examined the corpse with the help of a specialist. Because it hadn’t been long since King Jin’s death, and the coffin’s jade was ice-cold, the corpse had been maintained quite well. It hadn’t rotted or deteriorated. Apart from his face being a bit gray, he didn’t look that different from when he was alive. After all, King Jin had been sickly; his complexion had never been that rosy.
The coroner’s movements were skilled. He opened a toolkit, then used all sorts of instruments to examine every inch of King Jin’s body. A while later, he returned the tools to his pouch, then washed his hands in a copper pan. He nodded toward Zu An and said, “Chief Commander, the investigation is already complete.”
Zu An voiced his confirmation and gestured that they could leave. They had already decided on King Jin’s cause of death beforehand. All of this was nothing more than going through the motions.
But who would have thought that Madam Jin would suddenly call out to them?
“Wait, what are the results?”
That coroner hesitated. He reflexively looked at Zu An.
When Madam Jin saw that, she summoned up her courage to walk up to Zu An. She raised her head and said, “As a victim of the household, I should be allowed to know my husband’s cause of death, right?”
Perhaps because she was usually timid and gentle, her small face was a bit red from getting so worked up, her chest also rising and falling rapidly. She was clearly a bit scared, since she was facing the vicious Embroidered Envoy’s Chief Commander.
When he saw how she was acting, Zu An couldn't help but think of his previous world’s Three Kingdoms. Zhou Yu had died an untimely death, and Little Qiao had been dressed in mourning clothes, staying in the mourning hall full of grief and broken-heartedness. He sighed. He told the coroner to give her the answer.
The coroner nodded and said, “Reporting to Madam Jin, King Jin’s body has always been sickly, and because he was too worked up, he ended up dying from shock.”
“What?” Madam Jin exclaimed, turning pale with fright. He asked, “Wasn’t my prince murdered ruthlessly by that Zu An?”
The coroner’s expression was serious. He said, “I must ask the madam to trust my knowledge in this field.”
He had looked as if was examining the corpse on the surface, but he had actually been dealing with the cover-up. After what he'd done, even if another coroner came to examine the corpse, they would come to the same conclusion. The Embroidered Envoy were professionals regardless of what they were doing.
“But so many people saw…” Madam Jin muttered to herself.
“What one sees isn’t always the truth,” Zu An replied.
Madam Jin bit her lip. Her entire body was shaking slightly, perhaps because of the emotions she was feeling or something else. A while later, she said calmly, “Chief Commander, I have some things to speak with you about alone.” She gave the other Embroidered Envoys a look afterward.
After some hesitation, Zu An waved his hand to dismiss his subordinates.
The Embroidered Envoys naturally had no objections. Madam Jin was a weak woman, after all; there was no way she would be able to harm the mysterious and incomprehensible Chief Commander, right?
When the Embroidered Envoys left, Madam Jin said to her maid, “You can withdraw as well.”
The maid was a bit hesitant, saying, “But that’s a bit…” She couldn't just say directly that it was inappropriate for a man and woman to be alone in the same room together, right?
Madam Jin harrumphed. “We are in the master’s mourning hall. Could it be that Chief Commander would bully a weak woman like me?”
The maid figured that made sense as well. The Embroidered Envoy's Chief Commander was just too terrifying for her, and she really didn’t want to stay here any longer than she had to.
When the others left, Zu An sent a ki transmission. “Dai Seventh and Chen Eighth, use this chance to get some intelligence from the people of the manor.”
“Understood!” Dai Seventh and Chen Eighth bowed in Zu An’s direction. They took a portion of the group with them, then ordered the remaining subordinates to stand guard over the room. No one was permitted to enter and disturb the Chief Commander without his orders.
The Embroidered Envoys didn’t think too much of it. Madam Jin seemed to have some secrets she wished to discuss with the Chief Commander, so they naturally couldn't let anyone disturb the two.
When the surroundings calmed down, Zu An looked at the woman in mourning clothes across from him.
This woman really does look good in those clothes…
Why am I having such wandering thoughts today? Could it be because of that Nan Xun lass?
He collected his thoughts and asked with a light cough, “What does the madam wish to say to me?”
Madam JIn suddenly walked up to him, then kneeled down before him and said while choking emotionally, “Chief Commander, please uphold justice for this humble woman!”
“Madam, please rise!” Zu An exclaimed, startled. Even though the Embroidered Envoy carried exceptional status, this was the honorable wife of a prince! If anyone else were to see such a thing, many of them would accuse him of misconduct.
He reflexively lifted her up. He only sensed that it was inappropriate when he touched her hand’s smooth skin, but retracting his hand would seem too deliberate. He could only silently support her to her feet. He could smell a faint fragrance from her during the brief moment of close-quarters contact. It smelled really good. After all, even though Madam Jin had to keep watch beside King Jin’s coffin and dressed in an extremely simple manner, not using excessive cosmetics, women still had their unique scents.
When she sensed the scorching temperature from his palm, Madam Jin’s heart also started pounding. She had never had physical contact with anyone apart from her husband. That powerful heat was completely different from King Jin.
“Madam Jin?” Zu An couldn't help but call out to her when he saw that she was in a daze.
“Huh?” Madam Jin snapped out of her blank look and quickly pulled back her hand.
What is happening to me?
She said with a hint of alarm, “That Zu An relied on the fact that he is favored by the crown princess to cruelly kill my husband. This humble one cannot find anyone else to rely on, so I can only ask Chief Commander to help me uphold justice.”
Zu An raised his brows. He asked, “Did the madam not hear what the coroner just said? King Jin’s death was an unexpected incident. His body was too weak and he was doomed to not live a long life. Madam should have already been prepared for this beforehand. I can only offer my condolences.”
Madam Jin gritted her teeth. Her eyes were gleaming with tears. A while later, she said, “King Jin’s condition was poor, but not to this extent… Even though he wasn’t killed by Zu An, it was because of Zu An's threats that he was frightened to death. So, strictly speaking, that Mister Zu is still the killer.”
Zu An sighed and said coldly, “If one wants to jump off a cliff, can others blame the cliff after the fact?”
Madam Jin was stunned. She knew that what he said made sense, but how could she remain that logical over this matter and not blame Zu An at all? She took a deep breath and said, “I understand Chie Commander’s meaning, but that Zu scoundrel even sent people to attack this humble one’s clan. It’s absolutely preposterous!”
Zu An was stunned.
Why do I not know about this?
“You said that Zu scoundrel attacked your clan?” he asked.
Madam Jin nodded, saying, “Even though our He clan is a small clan, we still have some respect in our local land. Furthermore, I am King Jin’s wife and everyone in the officialdom treats our clan with respect. But everything has changed over the past few days. I received letters from my clan that the higher-ups have started nitpicking and starting all kinds of quarrels with the local officials. Apart from receiving that Zu scoundrel’s provocation, who else would do such a thing?!”
She was still a madam, after all. Even though King Jin had died, there was no reason for anyone in government to target her homeland. After thinking about it, she'd concluded that only Zu An had the motive. He had first killed her husband, and then had gone after her clan to cut the weeds and eliminate the roots! It really is He really was worse than a beast!
As he listened to her sob, Zu An frowned. He said, “That Zu An was immediately accused and forced to stay in the palace. The Embroidered Envoy has been monitoring him, so he had no chance of troubling your clan.”
“But who else could it be but him?” Madam Jin exclaimed furiously. “He is too close to the Eastern Palace's people, so he definitely has a way of sending out information.”
Zu An said grimly, “The crown prince is King Jin’s brother. Even if the people of the Eastern Palace are close to him, how could they possibly help him do such a thing?”
Madam Jin wanted to continue, but Zu An interrupted her, “I have already said that what you see may not always be the truth. Has anyone spoken to King Jin recently, perhaps to convince him to act so recklessly and start a conflict with that Zu An?”
Madam Jin was stunned. She replied, “Is Chief Commander saying that someone incited my husband to go after that Zu An?”
After some hesitation, Zu An said, “I should not be telling you these things, but seeing how brokenhearted the madam is… Sigh, I will just tell you.
“The capital looks calm on the surface, but there are actually many undercurrents brewing. His majesty has passed, and the princes desire the imperial throne. That is why we suspect that someone deliberately provoked King Jin to go after Zu An, which would thus eliminate one of the Eastern Palace’s capable men and cause the crown prince’s side to suffer a huge blow. Then, they would reap all the benefits.”
“Ahhh!” Madam Jin exclaimed in shock, but because her small mouth was too delicate, even in that situation, not even a chicken egg would fit through her mouth.
“Has the madam thought of anyone?” Zu An asked, staring into her eyes.
Madam Jin’s expression changed several times. In the end, she slowly exhaled, saying, “Madam Dai came to see me a while back and seemed to have talked to my husband in a private discussion. I’ve never asked my husband about official matters, so I don’t know what they really talked about.”
She was overwhelmed with horror. No wonder King Dai had been so diligent over the past few days; so it turned out those two had both harbored unfathomable motives!
Zu An thought, As expected.
It seems that after King Dai and the Meng clan formed an alliance, they provoked King Jin to target me. All of it was to lower the Eastern Palace’s prestige. But they probably never thought I would fight back so directly and just kill King Jin.
And yet, doing so only moved their plans forward. That must be why they continued to scheme against me again and again.
If it were anyone else, they would have been a cold corpse by now. The only thing they never expected was that both the empress and crown princess would be on my side.
I wonder if all of this was the scheme of Meng Yi or that Madam Dai…
Madam Jin suddenly clasped his hand and looked at him. She said quietly, “Chief Commander, if you can help this humble woman get revenge, I will definitely properly repay you.”
Her eyes were watery, and her voice was even a bit sweeter than usual.