Chapter 70 - The Boiling Wine Separation Method

While the magistrate ordered his subordinates to investigate Madame Jiang’s younger brother, Ji Yunshu went to the autopsy room. The pile of bones remained where it had been left, untouched by others.

She lifted the white cloth, causing the dirt on it to fly off,  one clump nearly managing to make its way into her mouth.

Two yamen runners had followed her and the one called Wei Wu spoke, “Teacher Ji, if there’s anything you need help with, please order us.”

She nodded, “Stand over to the side for now, I’ll have some use for you later.”

The one called Wang San curiously asked her, “Teacher Ji, haven’t you already examined these bones? Why do you still want to look at them again?”

“Just as how you sometimes forget things, when performing autopsies, there’ll be times when you miss out on small details. Therefore, to avoid that, if you repeat the examination a few more times and, perhaps, new evidence might come to light,” explained Ji Yunshu with the utmost patience. 

Wei Wu and Wang San exchanged glances, “Teacher Ji speaks profoundly at times.” 

“Yeah. And he’s so smart too, he’ll definitely find the murderer.” 

“Yeah, that’s right!”


The two continued in this fashion for a while, thoroughly amusing themselves in the process!

Meanwhile, Ji Yunshu had already put on those white gloves of hers. Her brows were deeply furrowed and her expression was severe. She lowered her head and began her re-examination of the bones. She had always believed that while a corpse might lie, bones never would.

Furthermore, she firmly believed that she had missed something important in her previous attempt. 

After inspecting each one of the bones, she came to the same result as the other day’s. She was a little distressed by the unfavourable outcome. 

Wei Wu carefully probed, “Teacher Ji, have you found anything new?”

Ji Yunshu had not spoken yet when Wang San elbowed him and spoke, “Of course he has. Aren’t you just wasting your breath by asking such an obvious question?”

“So what if I asked? I just wanted to know.”

“Why are you being pushy towards me?”

“I’m not being pushy!”

“You are!” The two glared at each other as they started bickering. Their arms were pressed against one another. Had Ji Yunshu not been here, there would have been no doubt that these two would be brawling by now!

This caused Ji Yunshu to get a headache. She sighed before speaking to Wei Wu, “Stick out your tongue.”

My tongue? Why would I want to do that? Wei Wu scratched his head uncomprehendingly, “Why should I stick out my tongue?”

Ji Yunshu straightened her body, both hands kept distanced in front of her. She smiled at him, “I’m giving you a free check-up.”

Hey, that sounds great! Who wouldn’t be happy for a free health check-up? And so Wei Wu complied by sticking his tongue out at Ji Yunshu. 

This made Wang San unhappy. How come only Wei Wu gets a check-up, and not me? He stepped forward and spoke awkwardly, “Teacher Ji, you can’t just examine Wei Wu but leave me out.”

“Oh, okay. Then you stick your tongue out too.”

“Okay, got it.”

Now, there were two grown men sticking their tongues out like dogs. That scene was really quite funny! Ji Yunshu waved her hand, “Go stand at the doorway and face away from me. You’re not allowed to put your tongues back into your mouths until I allow you to.”

What does he mean? Wei Wu and Wang San exchanged a glance. Helpless, they could only do as she asked and stick their tongues out, which prevented them from speaking. After all, they did not dare to disobey her orders so they could only obediently stand at the doorway.

Ji Yunshu could not help but laugh as she muttered to herself, “This method is effective, and it makes them quiet too.”

She moved her gaze back to the pile of bones. Her attention was suddenly drawn to the tattered clothing which covered it. Next, she picked out a scalpel and used the sharp tip to carefully separate the clothing from the bones. The clothing had deteriorated quite a bit. Fortunately, it was made of silk, so there was plenty left which did not degrade quite as badly. After having separated some of the bones from the clothing, she was surprised to discover that it was composed of two layers. 

Even more surprising was that...“Why are these two cloths different? The one on the exterior is silk while the other layer inside is… made of a coarser fabric?”

The doubts she held in her heart compelled her to hurry her movements as she completely separated the clothing from the bones. She called out, “The two of you, put your tongues back in your mouths and come over.”

Wei Wu and Wang San had already drooled all over the floor by now. So, upon hearing the order, they immediately put their tongues back before wiping at their mouths using their sleeves. So much saliva!

The two bowed as they came back in. Wei Wu swallowed back his saliva as he asked with a smile, “What orders do you have for us, Teacher Ji?”

“The two of you, go fetch me a thin iron plate and a bottle of white wine. Oh, and a furnace.”

“Teacher Ji… are you planning to roast food?” Wei Wu nearly drooled again. A thin iron plate, white wine, and a furnace. What are you planning to do if not to roast something?

Ji Yunshu took several deep breaths in an effort to maintain her composure, “Hurry up, I need them immediately.” Her tone was heavy and indicated that she was on the brink of flying into a rage.

Wei Wu and Wang San did not dare to hesitate any longer, for fear of having to stick their tongues out again. Hence, they rushed off to get the things Ji Yunshu wanted as quickly as possible. Following Ji Yunshu’s directions, the two set the iron plate about five inches above the furnace before splashing some of the white wine onto the top of it.

The sizzling sounds resounded in the room! That sound was weirdly satisfying. 

Ji Yunshu placed the clothing on the iron plate and made sure to soak it completely in white wine.

Wei Wu sidled up to Wang San and carefully asked, “Hey, what do you think Teacher Ji’s trying to do?”

“Why are you so nosy? Anyways, it’s an autopsy method, so let’s note it down for future reference.”

“Oh right, okay.”

When did these two make up?

Ji Yunshu very kindly explained while she was busying herself, “This is called the White Wine Separation Method. Usually,  for artifacts that have been excavated-, ahem, in this case, the clothing. The best method to separate it while preserving its structure is this method. Upon contact with the alcohol, the fabric will shrink to a certain extent. This process is relatively gentle. On the other hand, the high heat will result in an expansion. So using the physical principles of expansion and contraction, the clothing will be separated perfectly intact into its different components.”

This explanation, of course, totally went over their heads! 


Ji Yunshu did not bother to further elaborate, instead choosing to wait for the clothing to emit puffs of hot air before carefully picking it up and placing it on a nearby table. She then picked up her knife and used it to split the two different cloth layers. Not one bit of damage! On top of it, the coarse inner layer was fairly intact, though a small portion of it was missing.

“Come over and have a look. What does this look like?” asked Ji Yunshu as she called the duo over.

Wei Wu and Wang San opened their eyes wide as they approached. However, after some scrutinizing, both shook their heads.

“Don’t know?” Ji Yunshu asked once again.

However, Wang San seemed to have suddenly come to a joyful realization. He pointed at the piece of cloth, “This should be a little kid’s underwear [1].”



[1] Ancient Chinese underwear is pretty much just the top… The real term in Chinese is 肚兜 (dudou). It should look like this for kids: I think it’s better if you just look at the link I put because googling it will only give you the kinky adult version of the dudou as the top result. XD

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