# 119. The Three Elements of Social Interaction The jailor shouted a few more times, yet Magistrate Zhao did not move an inch. Xu Qi’an’s heart sunk, “Open the door.” The jailor took out his key and opened the door, and with raging anger pulled at Magistrate Zhao, “Are you deaf?” Magistrate Zhao’s body limply rolled over. At this time, the jailor realised something was not right. He checked the Magistrate’s pulse, and his face turned, “He- he’s dead…” *One step too late…* Xu Qi’an sighed internally. The Taikang County Magistrate was arrested last night and put into jail. He received the news this morning, and immediately came over, but was still one step too late. *The culprit is either someone within the constabulary, or someone who had been monitoring Magistrate Zhao’s movements all this time, otherwise he wouldn’t have been able to silence him in time…* Xu Qi’an flipped open Magistrate Zhao’s eyelids, then opened his mouth and looked at his tongue, then took off his prisoner gown and performed a basic post-mortem examination. *No sign of poison, no sign of struggle before death, livor mortis has only happened recently, time of death should be no more than five hours ago. Cause of death unknown…* Xu Qi’an estimated, saying “Leave two people here to watch over the body. Everyone else come with me to see the governor.” A criminal dying inside the prefecture constabulary, meant that Governor Chen Hanguang would have to take the responsibility. Xu Qi’an found the inner hall, and got notice that Governor Chen was still asleep. After a runner passed on the message, he waited outside for half a stick of incense’s time, before seeing Chen Hanguang, who had changed into tidy official robes. Governor Chen’s face was as normal, without any hint of sleepiness, smiling slightly, “What does Sir Xu need this official for?” The morning court was at six. Normally, the many officials would have to already be outside waiting by four in the morning. Thus, when the morning court adjourned, returning back to their offices and taking a nap was the normal mode of operation for the Great Feng’s officials. “I came to interrogate the Taikang County Magistrate Zhao, but I found that this morning he died within the prison.” Xu Qi’an immediately got on topic. “What!?” Governor Chen turned pale with fright. The jailor, who was brought over by Xu Qi’an, said trembling “Governor Sir, he indeed…” Governor Chen frowned, but eventually thought that it wasn’t such a big deal. After all, Magistrate Zhao was already condemned to death, to be executed in the following autumn. “How did he die?” Governor Chen picked up his teacup. “He was silenced.” Xu Qi’an said. Governor Chen’s hand trembled, and the boiling hot tea splashed out. He paid it no mind, his eyes opening wide, “Silenced?” *Clearly, old Chen hasn’t realised the severity of the situation…* Xu Qi’an explained, “Sir, how do you think the Yao discovered the saltpetre mine? Great Yellow Mountain is an ordinary old place, so much so that the huihu who lived nearby didn’t know of the saltpetre mine’s existence. How did the Yao find out?” Governor Chen stood up in shock, “You mean…” Xu Qi’an nodded, “I suspect that this has something to do with the Magistrate, so I came today to interrogate him. Who knew that I was still one step too slow, and he had already been silenced. “The lead has broken yet again. Ai, His Majesty ordered me to discover who is behind this in half a month, it’s too too hard.. Right, a small eunuch came to the Sitianjian today, asking for me to report the progress on the case.” Governor Chen’s expression changed several times, as he finally cupped his hands, “Sir Xu, this office is willing to assist you, the three houses and six departments can all be ordered by you sir.” Xu Qi’an laughed, “Master Chen is too generous. The fact that Magistrate Zhao died in the jail is an unforseen accident.” No one cared about whether a death row prisoner lived or died, but what if that death row prisoner had something to do with the Sangpo case? Especially as the official evaluation draws near. Such large information, if it were to be spread publicly, then Governor Chen may get demoted. As for Xu Qi’an, he’d already be dead, and so going after Governor Chen didn’t have much meaning. To him it was merely whether he wanted to say it or not. Therefore, the just-promoted to Lead Constable Lyu Qing was summoned over. Governor Chen said sternly, “From today, you will follow Sir Xu, and listen to his orders.” *Following Sir Xu’s orders… a few days ago Governor Chen said, that this is an opportunity. If we could solve the case, then he could enter cabinet… does he want me to “lay low” beside Xu Qi’an and be an insider?* Lyu Qing thought with surprise. “Don’t think random thoughts, just earnestly assist Sir Xu.” Governor Chen said deeply. *Is this really true? He- he can make Governor Chen bow down!?* Lyu Qing stared at Xu Qi’an for a while, before saying “Your subordinate will follow your word.” … Very quickly, Magistrate Zhao’s autopsy was completed; death from natural causes. *The less seams in the situation, the stranger it is… first we can exclude it being a martial artist who silenced him.* Xu Qi’an thought with furrowed brow. Martial artists fundamentally can be described by four words: Stubborn, obstinate, crude, rash. Explosive power pretty much defined what a martial artist was. To kill Magistrate Zhao was as easy as stepping on an ant, but it could never be done so silently and mysteriously, without leaving any hints. The first thing Xu Qi’an thought of was the Daoist yin spirit, because in ancient times the Daoist yin spirit was also called the envoy of ghosts, who could take people’s lives in their dreams. *Let’s first rule out Jinlian Daozhang that LYB, he has no relation with the Sangpo case. Then that leaves just the human sect…* Xu Qi’an pulled at his hair in frustration, and felt his own hairline slowly start to recede. *How does this involve the Human Sect now? Can I even investigate the Human Sect? Moving over the fact that the Human Sect’s leader is the national teacher, the Earth Sect’s sect leader is already second rank, the Human Sect one shouldn’t be far behind.* *If she squeezes her thighs I’d be crushed to death!* *Mn, it doesn’t have to be the Daoists. I don’t understand much about the other cultivation paths, so I mustn’t decide so soon… ai, I need to take advantage of the golden token and get some better knowledge of the great cultivation paths.* Xu Qi’an discovered that Lyu Qing was secretly appraising him. A faint hint of tiredness could be seen on the female constable’s face. “Constable Lyu, have you not bee resting well recently?” Lyu Qing smiled, “Work has been hectic.” She already knew the reason that Governor Chen chose to co-operate. Though Xu Qi’an was just finding holes, these holes weren’t easy to find. If he hadn’t realised that there was a problem with the Taikang County Magistrate in time, then maybe this issue would have been suppressed by Governor Chen. “Constable Lyu is more capable than many men.” Xu Qi’an praised. She was in her late twenties, still quite young, and had already become the chief detective in the capital city police. Her future was boundless. And she wasn’t even married! In his previous life, Xu Qi’an had never known any woman with such great promise, only older “leftover women” who get annoyed that their boyfriends often end up pulling other girls. When Xu Qi’an left the constabulary, accompanying him were six bailiffs, who were placed under his commands. Their cultivation were all not bad, with two Refining Qi, and four Refining Vitality. He sat astride his horse, thinking of what to do next. Half a month wasn’t long, nor was it short. Solving cases requires feeling along the vine for melons, and couldn’t be rushed. Rather it was Wei Yuan’s attitude that made him confused, was he not too cool and collected? *Wei Yuan definitely knows something. Emperor Yuanjing’s attitude is currently ambiguous, and the Jianzhen is pretending to be dead… this isn’t reasonable. No matter what mind chess is going on between these important figures, the indisputable truth is that the first generation Jianzheng has broken free. I can’t relax just because they’re calm, because those high above may not care if the common people live or die.* *No, I must find out what happened with the first generation Jianzheng. Wei Yuan seems to not want me to get involved, worrying that I would get caught up in it… I can roundaboutly save the country! I’ll reveal this secret subtly to the eldest princess… no, not reveal, hint. A very subtle hint, so that she can link up the strings herself.* Thinking this, Xu Qi’an was no longer hesitant, saying “You go to the constabulary and wait for me, I’m going to go into the palace.” Everyone looked over, confused. Xu Qi’an explained, “I’m going to see the eldest princess.” *He can see the eldest princess? Not only is Xu Ningyan on very good terms with the Sitianjian Arcanists, but he also knows the eldest princess…* Lyu Qing’s heart jumped. The others all expressed confusion and surprise. Li Yuchun was the most collected; he knew that the reason Xu Qi’an could enter the Nightwatchers Constabulary, was because the eldest princess recommended him. Parting with the group, Xu Qi’an spurred his horse on towards the imperial city. The eldest princess had come of age long ago, and had her own manor inside the imperial city. Xu Qi’an reached Huaiqing Manor, and after asking a guard, found out that the eldest princess usually lived inside the imperial palace itself, and rarely came back here. The imperial city was like a miniature version of the inner city. It had temples, administrative offices, constabularies, city walls, defences and storehouses, as well as gardens and parks. The outer city was home to the common people, the inner city was prestigious officials and the upper class. As for the imperial city, that was the residence of the nobles and great servants. Without the golden token, Xu Qi’an wouldn’t even be able to get in. As for the imperial palace complex, also called the palace city, it was the home to the Emperor. Living here were the concubines, as well as the princes and princesses. Of course, princes and princesses who had come of age must move away from the palace, and live in the imperial city. But Emperor Yuanjing had been focusing on Daoist cultivation, and so did not pay much mind to his concubines or children, so these rules had become lax. Today there were still many adult princes and princesses living in the imperial palace. As for the palace, Xu Qi’an couldn’t just enter, even if he had the gold token Emperor Yuanjing bestowed. He was just planning to ask the guards to pass along a message, when he suddenly heard the rattling of carriage wheels. Stretching his head to look past the gate, he saw a line of resplendent horse-drawn carriages coming over. Made of Nanmu wood specially used by the royal family, covered in yellow silks and opulent decorations, covered with gold leaf and jade stones, luxurious beyond belief. *A uniform row of top-of-the-line sports cars…* Xu Qi’an thought. The guard, having just taken three cash of silver from him, laughed on seeing the carriages, “The second carriage is the eldest princess’s. You can see that on the yellow silk is sewn a ‘Qing’[^1] character. It seems that I don’t need to pass anything on.” The guard returned the silver to Xu Qi’an. “No need to bother…” Xu Qi’an pushed it back to him, “Brother, there will be times later where I may till need you.” He planned to nurture his relationship with the eldest princess, so that he can hug this leg too. In the future perhaps he may regularly come over and “build relationships”, so getting on good terms with the guards is a must. To put it bluntly, a smoke can pry open a man’s mouth, money can entice a man’s heart, and to eat seafood together can make you see each other as brothers. The three elements of social interaction! The guard appreciated Xu Qi’an’s gesture, and added “The first carriage is His Highness the crown prince’s one. The third is the second prince, the fourth is the second princess… they’re probably off somewhere for a banquet. If you can attend, then remember to put on your best display. You may have yourself a meteoric rise.” “Eldest princess, your subordinate Xu Qi’an has an important matter to report!” Xu Qi’an shouted loudly. --- [^1]: 慶 (Sc. 庆)