Chapter 34 – The Seventy-two Corpses
Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
The two adjectives that she could use to describe her real dad from the 21st century were “beyond words” and “can’t be helped”!
If she didn’t insist on pursuing her study in forensic facial reconstruction at the time when she was entering university, she might ended up being “cultivated” into an outstanding forensic investigator like her forensic fanatic father.
Ever since she could remember, what she used to play with most of the time at home weren’t toys or children’s books. Instead, all she played with were all kind of knives and tools, and a pile of random experimental products.
As a result, Ji Yunshu got fed up with it all and refused to pursue the road of a forensic investigator without any hesitation. She would rather go into anthropology and specialize in facial reconstruction. However, due to her whole childhood spent following her father to different big laboratories, even if she didn’t want to, she was dyed black with his knowledge. Even though she wasn’t certified as a forensic investigator, she was absolutely qualified to be one!
To her surprise, after transmigrating to this time, she ended up doing what she’d hated the most! Who could she blame? If there was someone to blame, she could only blame her forensic fanatic dad! Who made him bring her to all the laboratories whenever he had free time or nothing to do? Not to mention he had redecorated their home into a small laboratory which caused her to constantly breathe in all kind of chemicals and toxic gases. Then she had ended requiring surgery, and had even died on the operation table!
When she thought about it, she couldn’t help but sigh.
She said to Jing Rong, “The reason why I am so skilled must be because I have a strong sense of justice and I ended up being the yamen’s handyman.”
He felt very sorry for her. She did the work of three different people but only got paid the salary of a painter. “Rest assured. Later, this prince will tell Lord Liu to raise your salary.” Jing Rong was being generous, but he immediately added, “For now, you better properly handle this case.”
When she heard that her salary would be raised, her heart bloomed with happiness. Then she remembered that writing brush from Treasured Calligraphy House’s new collections. It was very expensive, so she was meticulously planning her budget and carefully saving her money until she could buy it.
Jing Rong’s face stiffened, ‘Is that man blinded by money? This plebeian.’
“It will all depend on how you handle my case. How much the amount will be raised will be dependent on my mood.”
At once, Ji Yunshu spurred her mind forward, and energetically picked up the skull to examine it. Then, she began her investigation with extreme earnest.
As for Jing Rong, he started to ponder, as if he was hesitating about something. His adam’s apple constantly moved up and down. Finally, he asked, “Teacher Ji, let’s suppose that… you have a pile of bones, can you draw their original appearance from only their skeletons?”
Ji Yunshu, who was seriously examining the deceased, asked without putting much heart to it. “Are they well preserved?”
“Time of death?”
“More than ten years ago.”
“What’s the cause of death?” Ji Yunshu continued to question him, but her eyes never left the corpse.
Jing Rong didn’t understand the meaning of those questions. “Is that related to my question?”
Ji Yunshu decided to share some of her knowledge and experience. She rested her hands on the table, and turned to look at Jing Rong. “If a person died a natural death, their skeleton would experience a decrease in size compared to their height when they were alive. Their facial features would also gradually sag. Therefore, I will need to take that into account when I’m drawing that person. If the deceased drowned, then their bones would be soaked in water. Also, the zygomatic bone would certainly bend which will lead to the deformation of the lips and the nose bridge. If someone died by hanging or was choked to death, then…”
She had yet to finish her explanations when Jing Rong interrupted her.
“Killed by fire.”
Ji Yunshu looked pensive, but remained silent.
“It cannot be done?” Jing Rong probed her.
“I didn’t say it can’t be done, but it requires time.”
Ji Yunshu perceived Jing Rong’s nervousness from his words. Even though these questions were a bit uncalled for, there was obviously more to this than meet the eye. So she asked him, “How many in total?”
Jing Rong lowered his eyes. Then, his mouth slowly opened, “Seventy-two corpses altogether.”
“Huh?” Ji Yunshu’s mind blanked.
Jing Rong’s expression was desperate and anxious as he awaited her answer.
Finally, after she carefully calculated, she informed him. “If there is no accident or delay, I’ll need at least a year to complete the task.”
Jing Rong was shocked. “It takes such a long time?”
‘Hey, hey, hey! Are you an appraiser and can determine the authenticity of my words just so casually? We’re talking about dead bodies from more than 10 years ago! And as many as seventy-two of them!’
Her forehead wrinkled; she was this close to telling him off, “Your Highness! I only have two hands, and two eyes. Even if I don’t eat, drink and sleep, it’s completely impossible for me to draw the faces of that many dead in a short span of time.”
Jing Rong knew he was asking for something excessive. He took a deep breath, but didn’t ask any more questions.
“Why did your Highness suddenly ask me those questions? Could it be…”
Jing Rong interrupted her with a shake of his head. “Let’s discuss this matter another time. Focus on the examination of the bodies at hand. Your raise is depending on your performance.”
‘You’re the one who distracted me with your questions.’ But those words, Ji Yunshu would naturally not speak them out loud. She took advantage of this zeal to put one’s shoulder to the wheel. The most important thing right now as to close this case.
She meticulously examined the corpse up and down, left and right. She did the front, so only thing left was the back. She flipped the corpse over, revealing the back. From the neck all the way down to the buttocks, the skin had turned black from the fire.
Then, her glance fell on something. She discovered something on the lower back of the corpse, located just 2.5 cm above the buttocks.
‘That place looks strange!’ Whatever it was, it was round, and the skin color inside it was much lighter than the charcoal black of the surrounding skin.
Jing Rong noticed her expression and hastened to ask her. “What did you find?”
She pointed at that round mark on the lower back. “Your Highness, look at this. Why would that spot have a different color than the rest of the back?”
The round mark wasn’t very big. Without careful observation, it could easily be overlooked.
“That mark… is very strange.” Jing Rong squinted his eyes.
Ji Yunshu quietly speculated. Suddenly, her eyes widened. “It seems that before he was burnt, his back pressed onto something. That must have made that mark. So when his body was burning inside that abandoned house, it couldn’t be thoroughly burned, leaving behind such a mark on the back.”
Jing Rong nodded and agreed with her speculations. However, he also had an alternate explanation, “Since he died in an abandoned house, it might not come as a surprise since debris could have been under his body.”
Jing Rong’s argument was also valid, but Ji Yunshu’s intuition told her that whatever made this mark on the corpse’s back was absolutely not as irrelevant as normal trash!
At that instant, a loud thud, as if something had fallen to the ground, sounded from outside.
Ji Yunshu and Jing Rong looked at each other. In sync, they ran outside.
As soon as they ran outside, they found Fu Bo collapsed on the ground. Next to him, the big cauldron had been smashed and the new solution of vinegar was spilled on the floor.
Ji Yunshu nervously ran over to Fu Bo. She squatted down and examined him.
She didn’t care getting her hands dirtier with blood as she supported Fu Bo up. It was only then that she saw Fu Bo’s arm bleeding. His clothes were rapidly getting soaked in his own blood.
‘This is… This is a wound made by a sword!’
Jing Rong also took notice of the sword wound on Fu Bo’s arm. Immediately, his intuition sounded an alarm.
In the blink of an eye, several black-clothed figures leaped out of the shadows. They all had a mask, and landed in a formation around them, swords drawn. Without a moment’s hesitation, they attacked all at once, stabbing Jing Rong through. He had no room to escape.
Ji Yunshu’s eyes widened from extreme shock!
‘Did he get stabbed to death?’
But reality soon showed that she had grossly underestimated this deity.
In the instant that the attackers had stabbed him, Jing Rong had spun, using his wide sleeves to catch eight of the swords. As the sleeves tore, he launched himself into a flip, safely avoiding the rest of the attacks!
Grenn’s Rants Corner
Main plot in sight!