Chapter 14 – Rice Poison
Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
“Teacher, did you miscalculate? After my daughter died, the coroner came and said her time of death was early morning two days ago.” Lord Zhou was puzzled.
The county magistrate panicked, he approached Ji Yunshu and whispered, “Yunshu, don’t get the time wrong, the coroner did come to examine the corpse.”
She gave him a single reply. “I didn’t miscalculate.”
The county magistrate was silenced and didn’t speak any further.
Ji Yunshu looked at Miss Zhou’s shoulder. She used the dagger to slice wider, revealing the shoulder bone. “I once said, a human corpse can lie, but the bones will never do. According to the coroner, Miss Zhou’s time of death was determined to be early morning two days ago. However, that type of swelling on her shoulders takes shape an hour postmortem. Based on the hardness of the swelling, the shape of it and the purple coloration, her time of death was certainly during the night three days ago.”
“Then why did the coroner say it was early morning two days ago?”
“That’s because the coroner had overlooked a point. During the night three days ago, there was a downpour. The temperature dropped a few degrees below zero… err… It was very cold that night which can influence the temperature of the liver1 The coroner determined the time of death based on that misconception, but bones are not influenced by the ambient temperature.”
Blame this era for not having any advanced technology. Otherwise she would not need to spend so much energy, like cutting open Miss Zhou’s shoulder, to prove her points.
This was really annoying to death!
Although the Zhou family’s people didn’t understand the specialised terms she had used, they still understood the overall meaning of her explanations.
Tears trickled out from Madame Zhou’s eyes. She asked in a trembling voice, “Then… Then, how did my daughter die in the end?”
“Ah right, how did my daughter die?” Lord Zhou was also feeling anxious.
Ji Yunshu didn’t hurry to explain further. With her hand still covered in white gloves, she extended her fingers and directly shoved them into the rotting corpse’s mouth. She stirred her fingers inside several times. Then, she took out a few candied lotus seeds from her waist with her other hand and threw them inside the mouth. She waited for a moment before fishing them out from Miss Zhou’s mouth.
The originally orange colored candied lotus seeds unexpectedly became blue.
“Miss Zhou died from poisoning.” Ji Yunshu gave her verdict.
“Poisoned?” Lord Zhou became flabbergasted. “The coroner didn’t speak anything about death by poisoning.”
“He certainly didn’t. To determine if there had been any poisoning, he would’ve needed to examine the throat. However, this kind of poison didn’t enter her throat. He wouldn’t have found any trace within her throat during his examination. Yesterday, when I was drawing Miss Zhou, I discovered that the inside of her teeth was black.”
Speaking up to that part, she directly pulled out one of the corpse’s loosened black teeth, then continued to explain. “This type of poison is called rice poison and comes from the Western Regions. This poison doesn’t enter the throat as it will seep into the teeth, and it only requires a small dose to be lethal. The method to detect this poison is to use starch. When the poison comes into contact with starch, it will produce a precipitate of blue color. It explains why the candied lotus seeds turned blue once it came into contact with the poison.”
Lord Zhou nearly fell. His eyes widened and turned red. His voice trembled as he inquired further, “In the end, who wanted to harm my daughter? Who is the murderer? My daughter was young but clever and sensible. She didn’t go outside or go far from her courtyard. She absolutely couldn’t have offended anyone.”
“Lord Zhou, please do not worry. Since Miss Zhou didn’t leave the mansion and died inside, it won’t be hard to investigate.”
“Teacher Ji, you must help my daughter find her murderer. If you can, you will be our Zhou family’s benefactor!”
“Lord Zhou’s words are too serious.”
Ji Yunshu felt somewhat uncomfortable, so she lightly nodded. She put aside the tooth and the blue candied lotus seeds and took off the bloodied gloves.
She walked until she was in front of the girl earlier and asked, “What is your name?”
The girl was still crying, but she raised her head and answered, “This servant is called Qiaoxin.”
“Miss Qiaoxin, I’ll ask you once again, when your young miss fell from the attic, where were you?”
- The liver is less subjected to environmental temperature changes and is a good indicator to determine the core body temperature when determining time of death. ↩