The Rebirth Of An Ill-Fated Consort
Chapter 22 part1

And the trial begins…..
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Chapter 22: Simply Mediocre (Part I)

Today, East Street was exceptionally lively. This was due to an ongoing trial of a judicial case by the prefectural magistrate. It was said that a young lady, who had been banished to the county estate, murdered a maid of the estate and disposed of the body inside a dried up well. Also, the witness to the crime was the son of the steward. This matter had both human testimony and material evidence. There was much discussion among many people about what a vicious heart the murderous young lady possessed. Somehow, that maid must have unknowingly offended her. Some asserted that the young lady abased her status, to even contend with a maid in such a manner. To not even spare a person's life, who knew which family's young lady could be this arrogant.
At this moment, in the prefectural magistrate's office, a paunchy middle-aged man sat in the central seat. Wearing a lake green silk brocade chang pao[1], the jade girdle at his waist was a little strained because it was unable to cover his portly build. Wearing a gilded jade ornamental ring on his thumb, this fair, yet chubby, person was the prefectural magistrate, Qian Wan Li.
[1] Cháng páo ( 长袍 ) – traditional Chinese men’s long robe.
Robe, 19th Century Chinese, Silk and metallic / #MIZUworld
Chang Pao

At the left side of the central seat, the person sitting there did not appear to be as wealthy and influential as Qian Wan Li. On the contrary, he was dressed in clothing made of such simple and unadorned material that it could even be considered somewhat coarse. Portraying an appearance of poverty from head to toe, he was an incongruous fit in a hall filled with moneyed aristocracy.

Still, Qian Wan Li was extremely deferential to this plainly dressed guest, to an extent that it could even be termed as effusive flattery. Instructing his subordinates to pour a cup of hot tea for his esteemed guest, Qian Wan Li gave a smile, "Wang Daren, please take a look at the current judicial case…"
Official Wang glanced at him and declared indifferently, "You may investigate, I will just watch over."
"Yes, yes." Furtively fishing out a handkerchief from his vest, Qian Wan Li wiped away his sweat. Looking at the crowd of people, he slammed down the wooden gavel[2], "Bring in the accused!"
[2] Jīng táng mù ( 惊堂木 ) - It has many different appellations in Chinese, but essentially, it is used in the same way as a gavel. However, the Chinese wooden gavel is crafted into a rectangular thick block.
Wooden gavel (Jīng táng mù)

As soon as Jiang Ruan was brought out of the cell, Shu Fen grabbed onto her hand through the bars of the cell in worry, "Nothing will happen, right?"
"Nothing at all," Jiang Ruan patted her hand, "My father will come to meet me. No need to worry. Remember what I have said- soon everything will be alright."
Shu Fen then loosened her grip. Li Mi looked at Jiang Ruan with pity. In fact, not only would Jiang Ruan's father not receive her, there wasn't even anyone to plead for leniency on her behalf. Today was just an examination of the legal records. Currently, all the leads pointed towards Jiang Ruan, as there was no one willing to plead in her defence. And even though he would like to help, he was powerless, and as the investigator of the case he also needed to avoid arousing suspicion of showing favoritism. Li Mi heaved a deep sigh; it would be difficult for Jiang Ruan to escape conviction. The verdict was already predetermined. Thinking about Jiang Ruan's imminent tragic circumstances, Li Mi's manner became even more gentle.

When Jiang Ruan was brought out to the magistrate court, the curious crowd surrounding the main court hall was a little surprised. They were under the impression that the young lady, with the courage to commit murder, would inevitably be a fiend- a vulgar, shallow shrew. After all, her appearance would resemble her heart. And so, who could have known that the person who would be brought in was in fact a beautiful young girl. Her overall demeanor was calm and tender, and not even the least bit terrifying. People easily believed what was in front of their eyes, but at the moment, they were in disbelief that Jiang Ruan could really be the individual behind the murder.
In his own mind, Qian Wan Li, too, felt it was weird. It was unexpected that the main suspect could actually be this delicate and charming beauty. This kind of thought betrayed his tender and protective feelings for beautiful women. However… With a quick glance at the person sitting beside him, he cleared his throat and slammed down the wooden gavel with a loud shout, "Audacious criminal, why are you still not kneeling!"
With a lowered head, Jiang Ruan quietly knelt. Then, raising her head, she revealed a clean, graceful young face and asked in puzzlement, "I am unaware, Daren, what crime did this citizen[3] commit?"
[3] Nǚfàn ( 女犯 ) – female offender in olden times in imperial China. Here it depicts Jiang Ruan humbling herself in her speech in front of the magistrate.
As she spoke, her facial expression remained unchanged, moreover, her voice seemed extremely soft and melodious. All at once, it seemed as if she were a beautiful painting, her each and every little move causing people to admire her.

Translated by : irisu-san
Edited by : Anks & Ely