The Tang Dynasty’s Female Forensic Doctor Chapter 65: Vice-Minister

After Yin Miaomiao and her maidservant left, Ran Yan and Ran Yunsheng waited for a while before also exiting the willow forest.

“Tenth brother, how was my relationship with Miaomiao in the past?” Ran Yan always felt something was off. If their relationship was so good before, why is that now they treat each other as only casual acquaintances? If it was not good, then why she keeps on dreaming about her?

“Third Miss Yin?” Ran Yunsheng asked in surprise: “Ah Yan, you don’t remember?”

“M-hm. There are some things I forgot” Ran Yan replied.

Ran Yunsheng frowned his beautiful eyebrows and spoke with no hurry: “Since you forgot, let it remain forgotten.”

“But now I want to know. Tenth brother, you have to tell me.” Ran Yan paused her steps and pursed her lips tightly. An unshakable stubbornness dwelled within her pitch-black eyes.

Ran Yunsheng looked at her for a short while and sighed, saying: “I don’t know how your relationship with Third Miss Yin was, but I know that you got along pretty well with Fourth Miss Yin, and she frequently invited you to go out. We in Chang’An heard only recently that she had contracted a terrible illness and passed away. Ah Yan, those who are gone will not came back. It’s already been two years since she died, don’t be too aggrieved.”

Ran Yunsheng stretched his hand and gently caressed her head, his eyes filled with pity. When he saw Ran Yan a few days ago, he had suspicions towards this delicate younger sister who passed through a tremendous transformation. But he finally realized the suffering she had undergone after inquiring about it these past days. Hence, he took upon himself to dote and cherish her even more.

“Tell me about Ah Wan. This won’t make me sadder; I’ll like to hear about things concerning her.” Ran Yan said.

Ran Yunsheng stopped to recall for a moment, and then spoke: “The Yin Fu’s rules are very strict, even I only saw her a few times, and the impression I had was that Fourth Miss Yin was a girl who loved to smile, very lively, loved to have fun, and often ran away from home to invite you to go out and have fun together.” Ran Yan listened and drew a mental image for Yin Wanwan.

“I heard you say in the past that every time she returned to the Fu after running away, she would be punished to stay kneeling in the ancestral hall. However, she continued to secretly escape outside, to the point she sometimes even cut classes.” Ran Yunsheng carefully explained everything he knew.

Every big noble clan teaches at home, and during the Tang Dynasty, there is no such thing as “a woman virtue is to have no talent.” Women had to learn at least how to read. Therefore, regardless of being a boy or a girl, all underage children inside the clan would receive an education.

The two people chatted while they walked towards the parked carriage. Ran Yunsheng had a handful of encounters with the females from the Yin Fu, but he usually saw them for a couple of times before returning to the capital, staying separated by a considerable distance. He knows very little about Yin Miaomiao, and as for the cause of her death, even Miss Xing wasn’t clear about the details, though what Miss Xing has said can be considered a description with no effort in its elaboration.

After entering the alley, Ran Yunsheng was about to help Ran Yan into the carriage when a magnetic voice resounded from within the dark shadows, “Miss Ran.”

Ran Yan’s movements paused, and her head turned to look at the place where the voice came from. Someone dressed in a dark brown hufu [1] slowly walked out from the building’s shadow. His appearance was both handsome and distinguished, with facial features that were strikingly beautiful, and under the rays of light, it became even more impressive. His lips curled into a thin but graceful smile as he walked towards Ran Yan and politely nodded, “What a coincidence to meet you amidst this busy market.”

This voice and this appearance, besides Xiao Song, who else could it be? Ran Yan sized up this dead-end alley and couldn’t help frowning. The probability to meet inside this type of alley is very small. She was never someone to spend time with formalities before transmigrating, so Ran Yan straight out asked: “Why is Master Xiao looking for me?”

“Since Miss Ran is a straightforward person, this small one [2] will also speak frankly.” Xiao Song turned to look at Ran Yunsheng, saying: “Could Master Ran do me a favor and let this small one have a word with your (younger) sister alone?”

Ran Yunsheng looked at the calm and imposing man with astonishment, “Vice-minister Xiao!”

It seems he is an official from the capital, Ran Yan supposed. Inside Chang’an, Ran Pingyu is only a merchant. He might know many officials, but the officials may not necessarily care so much about him, a merchant. So Ran Yunsheng probably is no more than a nodding acquaintance with Xiao Song.

“Ah Yan?” Ran Yunsheng turned to Ran Yan as if, with a mere shake of her head, he would be willing to offend Xiao Song and wouldn’t leave her to be alone.

“Tenth brother, go to the carriage first and drive until the end of the street. I’ll be following soon.” Ran Yan would naturally not put Ran Yunsheng in a difficult position.

Ran Yunsheng nodded. He made a bow [3] towards Xiao Song and turned around to enter the carriage.

After seeing the carriage leave to the other end of the street, Ran Yan said: “You can speak of your matter now.”

“One person is killed within ten steps, no one to detain within ten thousand li.” Xiao Song suddenly recited one phrase from “Ode to Gallantry”, and his bright-like-stars eyes, became even brighter, “What an excellent description, a heart-rendering poem, even Shangguan Yi would admit defeat. However, … what has stirred you into composing such a poem?”

Shangguan Yi was well-versed in poetry and was favored greatly by Taizong. But is not certain that everyone would know who he is when his name is mentioned, yet his granddaughter, Shangguan Wan’er, was the illustrious poet that stayed at Wu Zetian’s side [4]. It’s just that, right now, Shangguan Yi is only twenty-nine years old.

“It wasn’t me who composed it. I only borrowed someone else’s poem and used it to get away from the trouble, that’s all.” Ran Yan knew for sure he had come tonight to inquire about the assassination. Although she pretends to not understand his words, she was inwardly pondering on whether to confess Su Fu’s matter. If she speaks the truth, won’t that ice-cold man kill her to vent his anger? If she doesn’t speak, wouldn’t he feel uneasy about her being a witness, and then want to kill her?

In fact, Ran Yan had planned to expose Su Fu when she recited “Ode to Gallantry,” after all, that kind of person is terrifying. But she was hesitating. If she provoked Su Fu, perhaps not even the local authorities would be able to protect her.

“Oh, you don’t intend on telling me the truth.” Xiao Song squinted his eyes, saying with a thin smile: “You speak confidently, but your expression shows too much hesitation.”

Ran Yan stared at him coldly. This person can always see through her thoughts. It really gives an unpleasant feeling.

A slight smile spread through Xiao Song’s face. He walked two steps ahead and closed in Ran Yan, leaning over her and whispering in her ear: “You can truly captivate people when you wear red.”

It was impossible for anyone not to flush when they heard his low and mellow voice, that inadvertently carried a touch of teasing.

“These lies of yours are not very impressive.” Ran Yan disregarded her mind and groaned a reply.

“What did you say?” Xiao Song looked at her with great interest, as if he had already long forgotten his purpose for coming.

“I felt as if a fit of boundless anger had taken hold of me when I was at the river, and you think that it was a beautiful sight to behold. If you are not lying, then your eyes must be blind. Which one is it?” Ran Yan has always disliked people who deliberately act beautiful, including her appearance at that time. A woman will make herself beautiful for her lover, only when it comes from the heart, will it be genuinely moving.

Ran Yan experienced this kind of pretense once, and she will not attempt doing it a second time.

“Master Xiao, if there’s nothing else, then please, excuse me.” Ran Yan bowed slightly and prepared to leave.

When she arrived at the street’s end, she saw a group of young nobles, boys and girls, walking towards her.

Amongst them was Zhang Fei. He spoke baffled: “We had clearly seen from the west shore. How can we lose sight of people in the blink of an eye? Is it possible they have already returned?”

“Eh, isn’t that the Ran Fu’s carriage?” A sharp-eyed person saw Ran Yunsheng’s carriage parked at the beginning of the street.

Ran Yan was annoyed. She felt as if she had provoked a hornet’s nest and was now being stared to death with no way out from it. This feeling is truly abominable!

“It seems you have run into something troublesome.” She didn’t know when Xiao Song had moved to be standing right beside her now. Holding a smile on his face, he didn’t have any intention on getting involved, on the contrary, he seemed to have come to enjoy the fun.

This attitude of adding oil to the fire was really putting Ran Yan’s reason to the test.

[1] Image:

[2] He addresses himself with a humble/self-deprecating pronoun.

[3] Is a bow with the hands clasped (image below).

[4] If you are interested in knowing about Shangguan Wan’er, you can click here.

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