Chapter 215 – Autopsy of the Headless Corpse
Note: Beware those with weak stomach. A bit of gore.
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don’t read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
Ji Yunshu didn’t dare look at him, afraid she wouldn’t be able to retract her gaze again. Thus, she nodded in response and entered quietly with the sandalwood box sandwiched against her arm. As soon as she entered, her nose was assailed by the strong stench of blood. She wrinkled her nose as her eyes followed the trail of dark blood on the floor, the trail reaching all the way to the bed upon which the corpse lay, covered in a white cloth. The blotch of blood on it was particularly glaring.
She placed her box on the table and took out a pair of gloves which she wore before walking to the bed. When she was close enough, she grabbed the cloth, ready to pull it off, but she was stopped by Su Ziluo’s warning.
“His head was chopped off, so Teacher Ji should be prepared mentally.”
‘Prepare for what?’ Was he afraid that she will vomit? She didn’t respond, and moved to the side instead. Without hindrance, she lifted the white cloth, revealing Yuchi Lin’s corpse, which was still well-preserved.
The body wasn’t particularly gory. The chopped head was placed above the neck and tied to the body with a simple cloth like a scarf, giving the illusion that the head wasn’t separated from the body at all. Yuchi Lin’s body was already rigid. His eyes were open. His face showed signs of discoloration, and his lips were a deep dark color.
Ji Yunshu reached for his eyes and opened them widely to better examine them. After that, she pulled off his bloodied clothes, revealing his chest and abdomen. Traces of livor mortis could be seen. She pressed on a patch of purple red discoloration and the color faded.
She reached a conclusion.
She turned to Su Ziluo and explained, “The turbidity in his cornea is very severe; the corner of his mouth has started to wrinkle; And the progression of the livor mortis on his chest showed that his time of death should be around the hour of the ox1.”
When Su Ziluo heard her, he glanced at the soldier guarding the door and asked, “During the hour of the ox, did someone come into the general’s room?”
“The army secretary of Great Lin and General Yuchi were drinking wine together at that time.” The soldier replied.
“Then, was there anyone suspicious who came into the relay station during that time?”
Su Ziluo lowered his eyes, then he looked at Ji Yunshu. “Did Teacher Ji discover something that may hint towards a different murderer?” He asked.
Ji Yunshu was caught by surprise. “I didn’t expect that Teacher Su is someone who also doesn’t arbitrarily judge and assumes that Secretary Ji is the murderer.”
“Human life is priceless, so it’s necessary to get to the bottom of the matter before sanctioning. Too often, people deliver judgement based on certain facts whilst being ignorant of the entire truth. In any case, we must find evidence to confirm the truth.” He answered flatly, as if speaking about the weather.
His words made Ji Yunshu’s heart pang in pain, rattling her mind for a long moment. She remembered Ji Pei once asked her why she still kept investigating when there was an eyewitness that could identify the murderer. At that time, she answered him the same things Su Ziluo had just said. Not only that, each word spoken was identical with none missing!
Again, fearing that Su Ziluo might see through her, she avoided looking at him. She still answered him. “Yes, what you say is correct. Usually what the eye sees doesn’t necessarily make up the truth.” Finished speaking, she turned around and walked over to the bed again. Then, she continued her explanations, “I believe that we can find the evidence on the victim.” She suddenly pulled off the cloth on the body’s neck. Without the cloth connecting it to the neck, the head immediately rolled to the side, revealing the cut.
She put back the head to its place and held it with her hands. With great attention, she observed the cut, touched it and palpated. It was a good thing that the blood had already coagulated and dried, only traces of where it spilled out remain.
“The cut is very clean and neat. The edge of the cut is level with no trace of sawing. The force applied halfway through the neck appeared to be even which means that the murder weapon is very sharp and beheaded the victim in one smooth motion. A knife or dagger cannot give that kind of result, so it could only have been made by a sword.” After that, she took the head and placed it on the table. Next, she rummaged in her box and took out a dagger-like knife.
When the soldier guarding the door saw the knife, he hurriedly said to Su Ziluo, “Teacher Su, General Yuchi’s corpse is already not whole, you’re not intending to allow that man to cut open his head?”
“I said that this matter will be handled by Teacher Ji.” His tone was heavy and similar to iced water. The cold tone froze the other party, and he no longer dared to question Su Ziluo.
Ji Yunshu was oblivious to their interaction. Her attention was completely focused on her task which made her unable to pay attention to her surroundings. She lifted her knife and carefully made an incision at the hyoid bone and extracted it.
She held it in her right palm and examined it as if she was admiring a work of art.
Finally, she picked it up with her left hand and rubbed her thumb on the bottom part of the hyoid bone. The frown on her forehead eased a bit. “The murder weapon should be a sword.”
Su Ziluo moved his wheelchair only to stop when he was next to her. He raised his eyes and looked at the bloody bone in her hand. “How can you tell?” He asked.
Ji Yunshu squinted her eyes and explained, “The wound shows that the force applied was from strong to light. If we’re only talking about cutting through flesh, there is basically no difference between a sword or a knife. However, the difference between the two is shown when cutting through bones. For a knife, the thickness of the blade only allows it to cut easily at first, but as it continues, the strength applied is proportional. This will cause the bone to shatter and fragmented at place along the cut. However, looking at the hyoid bone, it doesn’t correspond to such a description. Therefore, I assume that General Yuchi was beheaded with a flat bladed sword which should be the one Secretary Ji was holding at the moment of his discovery.”
“Is the murderer really him?”
Ji Yunshu shook her head but didn’t reply any further to his question. She returned the head to its body. Then, she noticed that the victim’s fingers were all crooked and the deformation was quite impressive as if he was in an intense struggle before his death.
The next moment, her action completely stupefied everyone – she stripped Yuchi Lin from all his clothes as if it was nothing. She was garbed in men’s clothing, as a “man” there was nothing wrong with looking at a naked man. Yet, behind her, Su Ziluo’s expression darkened.
After examining the corpse from head to toes, she discovered no new wounds. There were only old scars acquired from battles long past. She was quite puzzled. “Looking at his bent fingers, he must have struggled before his death, but apart from the slash which beheaded him, there are no other signs of struggle, only old wounds and scars. How can he not fight when his head was being chopped off? That’s impossible. The pain should be enough for him to react, not to mention he wasn’t poisoned before his death. What did he go through before dying? What could make him struggle until his fingers were crooked like this?”
She sighed from the strangeness of this situation.
Su Ziluo listened to her mutterings without interrupting her.
Ji Yunshu clothed Yuchi Lin’s body. She scrutinised the room, but she didn’t discover any signs of fighting. On the table, a rolling bottle of wine and a few dishes dating from last night still remained. It seemed like Yuchi Lin and Ji Li did drink together for a long time.
Grenn’s Rants Corner
Autopsy chapters always take more time to translate.
- Hour of the ox = 1-3 am ↩