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Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Stunning Beauty Chronicles, part 2nd (WHoOG)

This session was short-ish and ended on a kind of cliffhanger.

Last session, we went to visit the village where agents of Da Su Su had found the letter from Yu San Lin (the late auntie whose intimate friendship with one of the killers of Da Su Su's father brought this to us).
It was a short and uneventful trip, followed by an equally short and uneventful investigation: I gave some pocket money to kids. They brought us to a widow who was giving rooms. She gave us rooms and lodging for something like 12 spades - I was generous, yes.
Then I left her to my wife's devices, and retired for an afternoon sleep. When I reappeared, she knew everything she needed, and was livid with anger about us travelling here. A fake trace like any other, and faker than most.
I went to speak with the local kids (who earned more spades than their parents this day). My wife went to visit the ruins of the house of Yu San Lin's relatives (she had married into the Yu clan).
What we were able to establish:
-No foreigners other than the usual traders had visited the village for almost 10 months. Da Su Su's "agent" had "acquired" the letter less than a month ago. Even before that, no martial artists apart from soldiers marching with the regular army...
Conclusion: this letter wasn't found where they thought it was found.
-The relatives of Yu San Lin had all perished in a fire of their house...20 years ago, almost. Da Su Su's father has been murdered, and his sword stolen (the sword she suspected us having, because of Yu San Lin!) merely 15 years ago. Yu San Lin herself had died soon after his death.
Conclusion: this letter was, in all likelihood, a fake. I suggested she has probably been lead astray because she seems exactly the kind to use torture...and people are prone to give you something in order to avoid or stop the pain.

That's when we decided to call Da Su Su by a lapdog's name. She is, in our opinion, just as stupid as lapdogs tend to be! (And we also agree that she needs to be taught a lesson).
After dinner, we went in the forest to give some training in kung-fu to the chief of our security. I had decided to make her a disciple, remember?
After that? Sex, sleep, travelling back. On the way, I wrote a report.

"Dear (lapdog name)..."
Stop! Tear that sheet. Start anew!

"Respected Da Su Su,
As your representative, I am glad to inform you of the work we have performed at your behalf.
We went to the village where the letter has been found. We established that it couldn't possibly have been found where and when your agents claimed it was:
-Yu San Lin's relatives have died in a fire years before your respectable father met his untimely demise; and
-There have been no foreigners visiting for almost 10 months approximately (refer to the schedule of manoeuvring of general Dai Xiao Fen, whose soldiers were the last to visit).
With all due respect, we'd like to meet the agent who procured the letter, and ask him some questions ourselves. It seems your agents haven't asked the right questions.
In the meantime, accept my assurances that we continue to watch over your best interests, and are looking for your father's murderers!
Yu"

Of course, when we went to meet her, she appreciated our diligence...and was kinda unhappy with the agent (one of the four silent guys in wedding dresses) who had procured the letter from a local fence. 

Only one problem: he had also killed the fence. Because he was unsure he's telling him everything.
Da Su Su: "Then why did you tell me it's a truthful information?"
Stupid Man In Wedding Dress: "I didn't! I showed you the letter, and you announced it's a trace we must follow, so we obeyed!"
And he added, quote, "you seemed so eager for new traces, and we haven't had any for a while!"

While this conversation was going on, I was scribbling notes. When it concluded, I showed them to Da Su Su.
-Your agents are incompetent when it comes to uprooting enemies. They might be good fighters, but if investigation was fighting, they'd be novices.
-Killing people that bring you information should be forbidden. If anything, they should be left alive in case it turns out to be misinformation. Even better, the questioning should be left to your hired specialists from the Yu family, i.e. me and my wife.
-Lack of patience leads to hastiness, and hastiness leads to chasing mirrages.

Then we went to check the dead fence. We actually knew the man (but his body wasn't found, so we didn't exactly know him to be dead. I should ask about the body). Thus, we knew his favourite abode.
We went there, and by the time-honoured method (read: buying drinks and giving tips) got to know who he has been talking with lately.
The list included the servants of a couple magistrates, a couple traders, and one of the Yu clan servants, the old Ye.
We went to talk with Old Ye. He had brought him two letters from the fifth brother of the head of the Yu clan - Bantering Peacock!

My wife: "I'm going to talk with uncle Two-Timing Cockerel!  (The clan's head) That letter he had brought? One of them was totally the fake, and the other, instructions what to talk!"
I decided to let her accuse him. Worst case scenario, she'd have accused him unjustly, and he would have no trouble denying it (and then I'd have arguments the next time I want her to show restraint).
Besides, her method of investigation is "accuse them, and see how they react"...seems to work so far (for her).
We got there. Two-Timing Cockerel didn't like the accusations.
"Well, he had also sent his servant to spy on us!", she reminded him (see Part 1).
"What?"
"Didn't the servant come to you?", I inquired. "I sent him with orders, and a threat..."
"Nobody came!"
As it turned out, the servant couldn't be found anywhere.
"Obvously Bantering Peacock has killed him!", she said.
Two-Timing Cockerel felt let down.
"Can't believe a family member would betray us like that...", he sighed.
"Then the right thing according to Dehua philosophy (Setting-analogue of Confucianism) is to accuse him, and let him defend himself!", I countered. "Family ties demand it. The family is strong while united, so letting it stand would achieve nothing but make us suspect him more and more, the lingering suspicion growing stronger, even if he is indeed innocent! And if he is, he deserves a chance to defend himself! Of course, if he is guilty, he deserves punishment, and the family would only be stronger for uncovering him..."
"Yes, but this...there are two kinds of death that are the worse: to be slain by an unworthy foe, or by a family member!"
"Two kinds of..." is the speech formula that has lead to him being the Two-Timing Cockerel. And he was thinking of punishment, I supposed.
"I can avoid both", I assured him. "If he is guilty, we'll just tell Da Su Su he has mislead her. She's neither an unworthy foe - her Qi was strong enough to withstand my best shot - nor a family member!"
Two-Timing Cockerel relented and summoned Bantering Peacock. And then we had to stop the session.