Chapter 5 – A person, a lantern and a sandalwood box
Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
“A human corpse can lie, but bones will never do.”
As the words fell, Ji Yunshu had already pulled down the lower jaw and pried open the mouth. The surrounding charred skin broke with a crisp sound and fell to the ground.
“The hyoid bone is obstructed. If we continued upward, you can clearly see that the coronoid process is clearly shattered which means that someone used an extremely heavy object to strike the lower jaw.” So to say, once the victim’s head slightly slanted from the hit, the attacker stabbed the victim’s nape.
“There is a round-like mark on the nape made by the puncture of a sharp object causing the tips of the bone to fracture, leading to copious blood loss. Although it’s impossible to determine the time of death due to the burnt skin and flesh, I could approximate from the bone tissue within the remaining teeth. From these three loosened teeth, the estimated time of death should be yesterday. However, that fire started four hours ago. It’s clear that those five people were brought to this abandoned house after their deaths. What’s more is that there’s no sign of struggle within the fire.”
Jing Rong became curious from listening to her explanations.
Then, Ji Yunshu walked to the next corpse and examined it. She palpated the corpse’s hyoid bone.
“For a normal human, the regions above and below the hyoid bone are always softer compared to the hyoid bone in the middle which is harder. However, the hyoid bone on this corpse is identical to the first one. Both of their bones are soft whereas the above and below are hard. For such a situation to appear, there is only one possibility; they died from poisoning, which would explain why they didn’t struggle at all while being burned.
Jing Rong lowered his eyes.
Ji Yunshu scrunched her forehead charmingly as she continued to analyze. “The skeletons of these five bodies are amazing. They must have been trained in martial arts, which means it would have been quite difficult to kill them. Both sides must have fought which resulted in their bones receiving such damages. Their opponents must have been on the losing side and decided to resort to poison. Since they used poison, it was certainly one that needed to be ingested, leading to the current abnormality with their throats. If we wanted to investigate further, it’s better to start from the food, perhaps… from where they had last stayed, like at an inn.”
“Did you see anything else?”
Ji Yunshu shook her head. She got up and threw away her white gloves and dusted a corner of her clothes.
“Are you a coroner?” Jing Rong asked.
That man had asked as many questions as the stars in the sky!
“This humble one is only a painter. I merely had a bit of knowledge about bones, so I just examined the bones. A coroner will open the torso, examine the heart, liver, spleen, lung, kidney and brain. The work is completely different. If Young Master still wants to investigate further, send these corpses to the coroner to examine them. If not, there’s no need to continue.”
She didn’t have the habit of forcing others. Besides, investigating this homicide case or not, in the end, has nothing to do with her.
Jing Rong scanned Ji Yunshu with his eyes. There was such a character hidden in this tiny Jinjiang city!
This scholar had said so much. If he persisted on cremating the corpses regardless of his feelings or reasons, it was inexcusable. Furthermore, these men were his subordinates, and they died from poison. Right now, he also wanted to quickly discover the truth hidden behind this case.
‘Could it be… that this is related to the capital?’
Unfortunately, his return to the capital has to be delayed once again!
“Lang Po, tell some men to deliver the corpses to the coroner for autopsy, and once you have the results, notify me immediately.”
The burly man called Lang Po immediately ordered some men to carried away the corpses.
Jing Rong turned to Ji Yunshu and looked at her. “How should I address this young master?”
Ji Yunshu displayed an indifferent expression. She still wore a careful smile coupled with a reserved attitude.
“I am a simple painter not worthy of a name. The time is already late. This humble one wants to return home to take care of my father who has been bedridden for a long time. Goodbye.”
The so-called bedridden father, Ji Shuhan, was standing there with the corner of his eyes slightly twitching.
At this moment, Ji Yunshu had already taken a lantern and sandwiched the sandalwood box under her arm. She walked to the county magistrate and whispered, “Today, I was called to work twice. In addition to six hours of work, I wet two pairs of shoes and wasted two pairs of white gloves. Add at least 10 taels more to next month’s salary.”
This kind of planning and calculation, truly meticulous! The county magistrate clutched his fingers and rolled his eyes. Forget it. The Zhou family did give them 40 taels of silver as a bonus; the court allocated 70 taels, and the murder case of East suburbs could fetch 20 taels. His monthly salary was 45 taels. By including his salary and other miscellaneous expenses, there was still 60 taels left.
‘Ohoh! It was more than enough!’
This certainly was a meticulous calculation!
“I’ll add 15 taels. The weather is getting cold; you should buy a flask of hot drink.” The county magistrate was beaming with smiles and waited on this ancestor.
Ji Yunshu’s expression was cold. She didn’t take the effort to reply as she simply left and strode deeper into the black curtain of the night with only a lantern emitting a vague yellow light, flickering in the darkness.
A person, a lantern, and a sandalwood box created a rather picturesque sight.
Jing Rong, who was left behind, displayed an expression of deep contemplation. ‘Although that scholar’s frame was slender, he didn’t appear to possess the aura of a weak scholar.’
Since from time immemorial, a talented person hidden in a city would definitely not be simple at all!
 The hyoid bone can be visualize in this picture. As you can see the hyoid bone looks it’s floating, but in fact, it’s not held in place by another bone. It’s held in place by muscles and ligaments. Its function is to allow a wider range of tongue, pharyngeal and laryngeal movements. For more information click here. The coronoid process is the red part in the picture here.