Ji Yunshu’s arrival at the hall of the yamen surprised everyone!
“This is Teacher Ji, the original painter of the yamen!”
“Yes, that’s Teacher Ji.”
Some of them were puzzled. “Didn’t he leave Jinjiang a few months ago? Why did he come back all of a sudden?”
Some replied, “I reckon that Teacher Ji returned solely for Fu Bo’s case. Hence, there must be another story behind this case. Otherwise, why would Teacher Ji appear in the yamen?”
“That must be it!”
The crowd was extremely excited and enthusiastic!
At this moment, Ji Yunshu was walking steadily towards the middle of the hall. With her delicate yet stern face, she glared boldly into Liu Qian’s fierce eyes. She did not show a hint of fear and Liu Qian was discreetly frightened by her aura. ‘This is Teacher Ji, the extraordinarily smart painter, who used to work for the yamen?’
Liu Qian had spent some time studying the situation of the yamen before he officially took over the position. He had heard about Ji Yunshu’s impressive work in reconstructing the portraits of the dead. She did a good job regardless of the state of the dead bodies, however rotten or even with just bones. Moreover, she never made a mistake and solved multiple mysterious cases. During her five years of service at the yamen, there were no unsolved cases and no case was sent to the Supreme Court for appeal during those years.
Liu Qian was a greedy person. When he first heard about Ji Yunshu, he took up the position of the magistrate of Jinjiang county with the intention of recruiting Ji Yunshu as one of his men. He only found out later, after he had arrived at Jinjiang, that Teacher Ji had left the county.
“Lord Liu, you closed the case abruptly before the truth of the case is revealed. Aren’t you being too impulsive?” Ji Yunshu said in a calm tone and stern face.
Liu Qian squinted his eyes. He raised the corner of his lips and replied with a faint grin, “I’ve heard about Teacher Ji’s proficiency in solving cases. This official had always hoped to witness it personally. Now that I’ve finally met Teacher Ji, moreover, for Fu Bo’s case. I wonder how Teacher can enlighten me today.”
“This one doesn’t dare to enlighten Lord Liu. Being away from Jinjiang for the previous months, this one only wished to visit my hometown during my return this time. It is out of my expectation to have encountered a murder case here. Besides, it is definitely a coincidence that the suspect of the case is a good friend of mine. This one initially intended to merely be an outsider and wait for the truth of the case and Lord’s sentence. Little did I know, Milord did not only conclude the case carelessly but also absurdly.”
“Impudence! How dare you be rude to this official?” Liu Qian was enraged.
She replied in a cool manner, “This one is solely talking about the case and has no intention to offend Lord personally.”
“Really? You shall explain your statement. How was I being careless? How was I being absurd?”
The audience was curious as well! Jing Rong was the only person who showed a slight grin among the crowd. He was staring at the little scholar with his eyes full of admiration and affection. Who else should he admire if not his own woman?
Ji Yunshu glanced at the tangled belt on the tray coldly, then asked the coroner, “Chu is your surname. Then, this one will address you politely as Master Chu. According to you, the deceased was strangled to death?”
The coroner was in his forties. He had done countless autopsies. Yet, he felt tiny and incompetent in front of Ji Yunshu. He nodded bluntly. “I’m positive!”
“Then, have you examined the neck of the deceased in detail?”
“Of course I have. That’s why I concluded that she died from being strangled.”
“What about the bruises on her wrist?”
“I’ve inspected that too. It was caused by Fu Bo’s forceful and strong grip.”
“Absolutely absurd!” Ji Yunshu reprimanded sternly as she stared at him icily, “Being a coroner, it is your task to assist the yamen by finding out the truth of the death via the autopsy. You are supposed to bring justice to the deceased. However, what you submitted to the yamen were faulty evidence that you garnered merely with your naked eyes. It is absolutely absurd!” She had repeated the word ‘absurd’ twice!
Old Chu was scared by her aura and almost lost his balance. “What nonsense are you saying?”
“Nonsense? Fine. Then, I’ll reanalyze all the statements you made.”
Ji Yunshu reached out for the belt promptly, “First of all, this belt was undoubtedly the cause of death. However, she was not strangled. Instead, she hung herself to death.”
The crowd was flustered!
“How is that possible?” Old Chu was skeptical. Unfortunately, he was not confident with himself.
“You don’t have to feel anxious. Of course, I have proof if I dare to conclude. Everyone can take a look at this belt. The length is eighteen feet. I wonder who will wear a belt that is of six meters long? Besides, this belt is not the one Fu Bo wears on a daily basis. This is used to carry the dead bodies in the memorial hall. There are only two ways to handle dead bodies. First, bury it in the earth, and, second, cremate it. This belt was used by Fu Bo on the rack he used to carry the dead bodies. He used it in place of normal ropes to carry the dead bodies to their place of burial. Wouldn’t it be easier for him to use the belt around his own waist to strangle the deceased after he raped the deceased. Why did he bother to undo this long belt, usually tied firmly to the carrier instead, just to strangle the deceased?”
After her explanation, she told Old Chu in a serious tone, “This is the first absurdity.”
The corner of Old Chu’s lips twitched.
Ji Yunshu turned around to look at Liu Qian before she continued, “Lord Liu, if you wish to know the truth, please bring the body of the deceased here.”
Liu Qian hesitated before he eventually ordered his people to bring in the body. When the body arrived at the hall, the terrible stench spread across the hall. The smell was more nauseating than the night before. The crowd hurriedly covered their noses! As the body was placed in the hall, some of the yamen runners’ faces turned pale. They felt sick in their stomachs and could not stop retching.
Despite having the experience of being a general and killing numerous enemies on the battlefield, Liu Qian was still feeling a little uncomfortable with the stink. He frowned as he shifted his gaze to Ji Yunshu, “Teacher Ji, stop wasting time. Hurry up.” She nodded.
The next moment, she swiftly removed the white cloth that was covering the body.
“My God!” Someone cried. The body had decayed to the extent that it was unrecognizable. It was covered by big blisters and appeared extremely sickening. Ji Yunshu took out a handkerchief and wore it over her hand before she turned the head of the body to one side. A violet ligation mark on the neck was revealed.
“From the front of the neck, it shows that the deceased was strangled to death. However…” She lifted the head of the body before turning it to the other side. She then moved the long hair to one side to unveil the ear and the back of the neck of the deceased. She continued, “When a coroner is deciding between a death caused by strangling or hanging, one will usually check the direction of the ligation mark, besides the direction of the tongue-roll. If the ligation mark leads to the back of the neck and cross over, then the deceased definitely died from being strangled. If the ligation mark continues until the back of the ears and there is no mark at the back of the neck, then there are two possibilities. First, the deceased died from hanging. Second, the deceased was killed by being strangled with a knee or an object supporting the deceased’s back. For this deceased, the ligation mark extends to the back of the ear. I’ve also inspected the back and the back of the neck of the body. There are no bruises and shows no sign of being pressed by any object. With these few points, I can deduce that the deceased committed suicide by hanging herself!”
Committed suicide by hanging herself? This is shocking!
Ji Yunshu lay the head of the deceased down and spoke to Old Chu again, “You examined the ligation mark without proper procedure. This is the second absurdity!”
Old Chu was scared as he defended himself, “Then, how do you explain the bruise on her wrist?”
“That’s the third absurdity that I’m going to explain!”
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Yunshu's big reveal!
Translator: YY, Editor: Dray
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