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 and refused to pursue the road of a forensic investigator without any hesitation. She rather go into anthropology and specialize in facial reconstruction. However, due to her whole childhood following her father in 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 as one!
To her surprise, after transmigrating to this time, she ended doing what she 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 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. She ended up needing a surgery and died on the operation table!
When she thought about it, she couldn’t help but sighed.
She said to Jing Rong, “The reason why I am so skilled must be because I have a strong sense of justice and 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 about that writing brush from Treasured Calligraphy House’s new collections. Its price was highly expensive, so she was meticulously planning her budget and carefully saving her money until she could buy it.
Jing Rong face stiffened, ‘Is that man blinded by money? That 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 spurned her mind and energetically stroked one of the corpse’s skull. Then, she began her investigation with extreme earnest.
As for Jing Rong, he started to ponder, appearing to have some hesitations. 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. “Was there a correlation with my question?”
Ji Yunshu decided to share some of her knowledge and experience. Her bloody hands stayed unmoving in front of her while her gaze shifted to Jing Rong. Next, she started to explain herself. “If a person died of natural death, their skeleton would experienced a decrease in size compared to their height when they were alive. Their facial features will sag gradually. 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 through his words. Although, those questions were a bit uncalled for but there was more to it than meets the eye! She asked him in reply, “How many in total?”
Jing Rong lowered his eyes. Then, his mouth slowly worded out, “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!’
With a wrinkled forehead, Ji Yunshu told Jing Rong, “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 the short span of time.”
Jing Rong knew he was excessive. He took in a deep breath but didn’t talk.
“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 these words, Ji Yunshu would naturally not speak of them out loud. She took advantage of that zeal to put one’s shoulder to the wheel. The most important thing is 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, revealing its back. The skin from the neck all the way down to the buttocks had been blackened from the fire.
Then, her glance fell on something. She discovered that on the lower back of the corpse, located just 2.5cm above the buttocks.
‘That place looks strange!’ The strangeness about it was that region looked like it was delimited into a round shape and the skin color inside is much lighter than the black as charcoal color of the surrounding skin.
Jing Rong noticed her expression and hastened himself 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, she widened her eyes. “It seems that before he was burnt, his back pressed onto something and that thing 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 refuted, “Since he died in an abandoned house, it might not come as a surprise since debris could have been under his body.”
His argument was also valid, but Ji Yunshu’s intuition told her that thing that the mark on the corpse’s back was absolutely not as irrelevant as normal trash!
At that instant, a loud sound was suddenly heard from outside as if something fell to the ground.
Ji Yunshu and Jing Rong looked at each other and in sync, they ran outside.
As soon as they went out, the sight of Fu Bo on the ground greeted them. Next to him, the big cauldron had been smashed and the new solution of vinegar was spilled on the floor.
Ji Yunshu nervously ran 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. Then, she saw Fu Bo’s arm was bleeding and his clothes were soaked with his 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 jolted.
In the blink of an eye, several black-clothed figures leaped from the room. They all had their faces covered and held a sword, ready to attack. Without delay, they rushed to Jing Rong and stabbed him, not giving him any room to escape.
Ji Yunshu’s eyes widened from extreme shock!
‘Did he get stabbed to death?’
But fact had shown that she obviously underestimated that deity.
It appeared that only Jing Rong flicked and waved his wide sleeves, ingeniously using them to catch eight of the swords. As the sleeves were abruptly torn apart, he flipped his body and safely avoided the rest of the attacks!
Grenn’s Rants Corner
Main plot in sight!