Chapter 394 - Autopsy
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Surprisingly, Chang Yiyan nodded. She stood up wearily, wiped her tears and prepared to leave the memorial hall. Suddenly, she paused and told Ji Yunshu, “Brother Ji, my dad used to hate being dirty and untidy the most. I wish to have him buried clean and tidy. Can you not dirty his clothes?” What she really meant was, ‘Don’t you dare to dissect my dad! Otherwise, my dad will haunt you, even as a spirit!’
Ji Yunshu nodded to assure her. Once Chang Yiyan left, Ji Yunshu immediately started with her work. She walked to the side the coffin and took a look inside. Lying in the coffin, Old Master Chang’s pale face had a green hue. His eyes were sunken with protruding zygoma and the corner of his lips were sunken. Obviously, it had been a few days since his death. Fortunately, it was cool since it had been raining for the past few days and the area around the dead body was sprinkled with honeylocust powder and atractylodes lancea. Hence, the odour from the body was not as strong as it could have been. “Do you have any gloves?” Asked Ji Yunshu.
Butler Chang immediately ordered someone to acquire a pair of gloves for her, followed by moving a chair to her side. With respect, he said to Jing Rong, “Prince might as well take a seat, I shall order someone to bring a pot of tea here.”
Drinking tea? In the memorial hall? Jing Rong twitched his lips, then sat on the chair and said, “There’s no need for tea.” This Prince doesn’t like to drink tea in the memorial hall. This brings bad luck!
The corner of Butler Chang’s lips quivered. He retreated to the side and did not utter a word again. Jing Rong stared at Ji Yunshu unblinkingly. Looking at this cute scholar solving case was the thing he enjoyed the most. So satisfying!
Ji Yunshu put on the gloves and reached into the coffin. She gently lifted Old Master Chang’s head and exposed the ligation mark on his neck. The mark left by the rope was very conspicuous, red with a hint of green. Other than that mark, there was nothing else. Next, she opened Old Master Chang’s mouth. The dorsum of the tongue was stuck at the floor of the mouth while the tip of the tongue curled upwards. In addition to that, both the hands curled inwards, and both the legs appeared rigid and straight. All these were evidence that the deceased had died by hanging.
Could it be possible… that these were really suicide cases? Three people killed themselves? It’s inconceivable! Or was it a vengeful spirit out for revenge? Impossible, they don’t exist.
Fang Mingshan went forward and asked, “How was it, Teacher Ji? Have you found any clues?”
“The deceased indeed killed himself.”
“So… You’re saying, there’s no murderer?”
Ji Yunshu frowned, “That’s not certain.”
“If the deceased really chose to end his life, why would he struggle so hard when he made the decision? He had both his hands tightly curled, eyes wide open, with a hideous expression on the face at the time of death.”
Everyone present stared at her, wanting to listen further.
Ji Yunshu did not finish her explanation. Instead, she turned around and asked Butler Chang, “Do you still have the clothes Old Master Chang wore when he died?”
“Can you please get it for me?”
“Is there anything wrong with the clothes?”
“Let me first take a look. The humble one can’t make any statement without having any particular proof.” Butler Chang replied with an “Oh” and sent people to bring the clothes.
Rich people’s clothing were indeed different. The robe was high-quality damask with exquisitely detailed embroidery. The pair of boots were similarly extravagant, even comparable to the pair on Jing Rong’s feet.
Ji Yunshu inspected the clothes carefully. Suddenly, she saw a stain on the sleeve of the shirt. She rubbed it between her fingers and held it up to take a sniff, but could not identify it. Moments later, she noticed that the bottom of the pair of the boots were covered with mud due to the heavy rain on that night Old Master Chang killed himself. That was normal too! However, there was something else… The design of the boots was unusual. Its soles were not flat. There was a depression in the middle of the sole instead of being flat for a good grip on the ground.
She then compared the boots to the deceased’s feet. All of sudden, her gaze turned solemn as she quietly removed the shoes. Right after that, her eyes landed on the tattoo drawn on the deceased’s ankle. The tattoo was very unique. It was in the a shape of moon with an “X” next to it. Ji Yunshu was familiar with the custom for noble families to have a tattoo on their body. However, such a design was curious indeed. She asked Butler Chang, “Why did your old master have such a tattoo?”
“I’m not sure.”
Ji Yunshu did not question him further. “Thanks for your time. I’m done with the autopsy, so the body can be buried the first thing tomorrow morning.”
Fang Mingshan asked immediately, “Teacher Ji, were there no clues at all?”
She kept silent and ordered someone to bring the clothes and shoes of Old Master Chang to the yamen. This is a murder case, she didn’t check the body thoroughly, but brought the clothes and shoes of the deceased back? What is she up to?
Ji Yunshu was preoccupied with her thoughts on the way back to the county yamen. Jing Rong reached out and tapped her shoulder. “Tell me what have you found. Why do you have keep it to yourself until we left that place?”
Ji Yunshu stared at him.
“Others might not know what is on your mind, but this Prince knows. Tell me, was there something wrong with the clothes and shoes?”
“Yes, very wrong. I think that Old Master Chang did not commit suicide.”
“Why will you say so?”
“I’ll tell you when we’re back at the yamen.”
After about a quarter of an hour, they were back at the yamen. Ji Yunshu tossed the clothes they brought back at Mo Ruo. “There’s a stain on the sleeve of this robe that I can’t identify. I’ll have to trouble you to find out what it is.” Mo Ruo used a small bamboo stick to pick up the robe and said in disgust, “Do you really take me as an encyclopedia?”
“I believe in you.”
“Fine, on account of your faith in me, I’ll check for you.” He threw the shirt onto the table beside him.
Fang Mingshan and the others watched on in confusion. Ji Yunshu told him, “Lord Fang, if the proof this humble one found was correct, then Old Master Chang neither died from vengeful spirits, nor did he commit suicide. There’s a high chance that it was a homicide.”
Wen Lingyang hurriedly laid out his pen and paper. “Does Teacher Ji have any proof?”
“If one committed suicide, no matter how much one struggled before he passed, their hands would be curled up. However, if one struggled in addition to the increasing pressure at the throat, their eyeballs would either roll upwards or downwards.”
“But that isn’t right. When the coroner inspected the body of Old Master Chang, and his eyes were widened and looking forward.” Wen Lingyang sounded puzzled.
“That is the problem. If a person died by hanging, their eyeballs would only focus forward if they had seen something terrifying just before he or she passed. This was supoorted by the extreme strength and extent that Old Master Chang’s fingers were curled inward. All these prove that he must have seen something when he was hung.”
Fang Mingshan wondered, “If that was the case, what did he see?”
“The murderer? Old Master Chang saw the murderer before he died? This…” How could this be possible? Jing Rong and Mo Ruo were sitting aside quietly. However, Fang Mingshan and his company did not understand and continued to question further, “Teacher Ji, if this was really a homicide, then what was the motive?”
ChouFleur Rants Corner
Of course it was not ghosts! But where is the evidence?
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