Chapter 2: Monster.

Xu Xinnian frowned, "Why? What for?"

"I want to solve the case..." Xu Qi'an said in a deep voice, "I want to know what really happened. I have to even if it costs me my life. Otherwise I will not be reconciled."

Xu Qi'an's thought process was, if he had simply and directly said his intentions was to  prove his ‒ and their ‒innocence, Xu Xinnian would probably just dissuade him, that it would be no use. Hence, Xu Qi'an bent his words slightly.

After all, he was technically not being out of character as the original Xu Qi'an was also head strong.

Xu Xinnian pondered for a moment, then replied, "I have read the dossier, I can just tell you..."

The case was simply too big and no one dared to help. In desperation, Xu Xinnian stopped asking for help and instead tried to solve the case and possibly recover the money.

He relied on the Xu family’s original contacts and the academy, as well as the Ministry of Revenue.  Xu Xinnian even paid the staff of Jingzhao Mansion to copy the files for him.

However, he had no knowledge in criminal judgment or investigation, so he had no choice but to give up.

Xu Qi'an raised his hand and interrupted, "Write it down, dictating it would only be meaningless."

All the details of a case must be documented in text.  The reason for that was, because if you just listen, you would need to contemplate, ponder, , and allocate a portion of your energy just doing that.  Consequently, your brain would not be able to calmly think and analyze the actual content. Much less solving it. 

Not to boast, but In his previous life, Xu Qi'an's logical reasoning ability had always been one of the best.  In addition, he was the top in his grade.

Before this incident, Xu Xinnian probably wouldn't pay any heed to Xu Qi'an, however, thinking that would be his cousin's last wish before farewell, he subsequently agreed. 

He whispered, "Wait a moment."

And then quickly left.

When the sound of footsteps faded in the corridor, Xu Qi'an sat down with his back against the bars.

He was not sure if he could actually pull this off, but it was his desire to try and solve the case. Moreover, he was really unreconciled and unwilling to just let everything be like this.

This was the only way he could save himself.  At least, it was worth a try to struggle before death.

There were three must-haves among modern criminal investigation methods, and they were; crime scene investigation, surveillance, and autopsy.

No one died in this case of missing money, and there was no surveillance in ancient times, and he was in prison, so he had no conditions to implement the above three components.

Fortunately, the case file could more or less describe the crime scene to a certain extent.

While digesting the memory of the original owner, he forced himself to get rid of all negative emotions. After all, only a calm brain could have clear ideas and complete rigorous reasoning.

"Live or die, it all depends on this..." He murmured.

After about a stick of incense of time passed, Xu Xinnian finally came back and handed him a few wet rice papers.

"My time is up, I have to go." Xu Xinnian hesitated before continuing, "You take care of yourself."

Though, Xu Qi'an didn't say a word as his eyes were already attracted by the handwriting on the rice paper.

Time was a  constraint, and the handwriting on the paper was cursive. If Xu Qi'an hadn't learnt this in private school for several years, he wouldn't have recognized these ghostly symbols at all.

"Who would've thought that such knowledge would come in clutch... There's really no useless skill." Xu Qi'an laughed at himself.

The history of the missing tax money was this:

  [Three days ago, at half past six (6:30 in the morning), Xu Pingzhi escorted a batch of money into Beijing. At that hour, he walked to Guangnan Street and just crossed the bridge when suddenly a strange wind set off. The horses were frightened and in their scurry dropped the money on the river. 

  Then there was a deafening explosion. The river blew up sending waves up six feet in height, the turbid waves were overwhelming.

  The soldiers responsible for escorting the money jumped into the river in an attempt to search for the money, but only one thousand two hundred and fifteen taels of silver were recovered, while the rest of the silver went  missing...]

In addition to this, there were accounts from passersby collected by Jingzhao Mansion and reports from the soldiers who participated in the escort.

In the series of confessions, Xu Qi'an noticed a sentence outlined with a red cinnabar pen: Monsters making trouble!

"Monsters?!" Xu Qi'an's pupils shrank, and his heart sank to the bottom.


Jingzhao Mansion, South Hall.

After three consecutive days of rushing about everywhere and being busy, the three main persons responsible for the missing tax and silver case gathered together.

Chen Fuyin, an official of Jingzhao, was holding a white porcelain blue and white tea cup in his hand, his face solemn.

This person was the fourth-ranking official, who was wearing a scarlet robe with flying geese embroidery. He sighed lightly, "There are only two days left. The emperor ordered us to recover the money before Xu Pingzhi's decapitation. You two, we have to hurry up."

The ‘two’ that he was referring to were two middle-aged men in black uniform and black cloak. The bridge of his nose was high, slightly sunken eye sockets, and light brown eyes.

He seemed to have Southern Barbarian ancestry.

The other was a young girl in a yellow dress with an oval-face. She had picturesque eyebrows and skin, brimming with radiance.

She was holding a sugar cane in her hand, a deerskin pouch and a Bagua Feng Shui Disc hung around her waist. Her skirt down to cover a pair of small boots embroidered with cloud patterns. 

These two were assistant investigators. The middle-aged man was named Li Yuchun. He was from an organization that Dafeng officials fear: Watchmen. 

The "Watchmen" Organization engaged in reconnaissance, arrest, interrogation and other activities. They would also participate in collecting military information and plotting against enemy generals.

It did not belong to the six departments, nor did it belong to the military system.

It was the intelligence organization of the royal family, and  also the guillotine hanging over the heads of officials.

All officials in Dafeng had heard one sentence: Don't do bad things in broad daylight, otherwise these Watchmen might come knocking at your door at night.

The girl in the yellow skirt was a member of Sky Net (Si Tian Jian), but she was not just some low-level member.

The middle-aged man with a silver gong embroidered on his chest glanced at the bagasse (residue of the sugarcane) that the girl in the yellow skirt was spilling around his feet. He frowned and turned his palms, the air whirled and gathered the bagasse in one place.

The middle-aged man nodded slightly, revealing a hint of satisfaction.

Chen Fuyin said with a solemn face, "This case is very mysterious. Maybe we are going in the wrong direction."

"What does Master Li say to this?" Chen Fuyin frowned. At present, the lead pointed to monsters in the lost money.

"We are running out of time, what we should do right now is to catch the monsters as soon as possible, let's not dwell on these things."  Chen Fuyin continued. 

In recent years, the national treasury had been drained as there had been frequent disasters in various regions. And the money was equivalent to a year's tax revenue for an ordinary county.

Hence, His Majesty's anger was understandable.

Think of this, you had no money, but when you finally got a job and received your first paycheck, you got robbed. Would you not be angry? 

Chen Fuyin took the case conscientiously, and the burden on his shoulders made him unable to eat and sleep well recently.

The middle-aged man called Li replied, "What does Xu Pingzhi have to say?"

Chen Fuyin shook his head, "A martial artist will only keep languishing in injustice. He doesn't even know how he lost the money."

The girl in the yellow skirt said lightly, "I have observed his 'Qi' and he didn't lie."

Li Yuchun and Chen Fuyin nodded and did not continue talking about this person.

As a criminal, Xu Pingzhi was the first to be investigated; interpersonal relations and financial situation, tortured, etc., and coupled with the Sky Net's Perceive Qi Technique, all suspicions on him had now been eliminated.

Of course since the loss was still under Xu Pingzhi's dereliction of duty, the death penalty was inevitable.

Li Yuchun and Chen Fuyin’s expressions were grim due to the weight in their hearts. 

Only the girl in the yellow skirt seemed to be under the lightest stress as she continued to gnaw on the sugar cane.

At this time, there was the sound of footsteps, and a servant hurried in. He was holding a small bamboo tube in his right hand, and a paper bag in his left hand; which contained a big steaming meat bun.

The servant handed the bamboo tube first.

The girl in the yellow skirt didn't move, her big eyes just brightly stared at the meat bun.

The servant changed the order on which item he gave, and the girl in the yellow skirt immediately picked the meat bun with joy, before finally taking the bamboo tube. She pulled out a note, and read:

"My people said that twenty miles along the river, no monster was seen, and there was no trace on shore either."


The depressed atmosphere finally exploded. Chen Fuyin slammed the table angrily. His face was green with anger. "Then where is the 150,000 taels of silver? It (monster) must have gone ashore already. It's been three days, but yet still no trace?"

"Damn it, whoever or whatever monster dared to steal the money, I will make sure to smash him into oblivion!"

If the money didn’t get recovered, he would have to take the blame. The emperor wouldn’t care whether he was guilty or not.  He would be made to take the blame.

This was the case in officialdom. It was hard to climb up, but it was easy to fall.

The middle-aged Li Yuchun let out a sigh and resumed the topic. "Could it be that the direction of our investigation was really in the wrong direction? It may not be the work of a monster."

Chen Fuyin looked at him, took a deep breath, and suppressed the irritation in his heart. "If it's not a monster, then where did the demon wind come from? How could the silver enter the river and disappear out of thin air? How could it blow up waves several feet high and shake both sides of the bank?"

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