Warning: there was some details of the deaths that I found it to be disturbing when I was translating this chapter and they might be disturbing for some readers too so prepare yourselves. Nothing gory but the thought of what the women went through was kind of disturbing to me. And sorry for another annoying cliffhanger… Over 3,250 words.
This chapter was translated by Sian and edited by Din2.
This was the third time Zhuo Qing went to the Ministry of Justice’s prison to perform an autopsy, perhaps this was the result of the recommendation that she gave to Dan Yu Lan from the last time. This time, the inside of the autopsy room seemed to be colder than the last two times, there were three women’s corpses on the autopsy table, their complexions were relatively paler when compared to a normal corpse. Their bodies did not have any wound, except for the chest that had an extremely thin cut, the corpses were spotlessly white as jade.
Zhuo Qing had a thick fur coat on her shoulder, with slim hands and sharp eyes, she earnestly examined every skin and flesh on the corpses, even including the scalps, inside of the fingers and other areas like that, she did not let anything slip by. Dan Yu Lan, Lu Jin, and Cheng Hang were surrounding her, Mo Bai was standing not too far away behind Zhuo Qing, he unexpectedly did but wear any thick clothing, but he did not look shivering either, only his cold look could be comparable to the ice cold room.
Lu Jin and Cheng Hang were very curious towards Zhuo Qing, Daren’s attitude was very respectful towards her and he also believed in her, and she was cool headed when she was facing the corpses, her autopsy procedure was very skilled to a certain degree, she was absolutely an expert.
This time, Zhuo Qing did not explain the autopsy like before, she was rather looking at the three corpses afterwards, raising her head, she looked one glance at the three men who were by her side, and said: “You can say the conclusion of your autopsy first.”
Lu Jin looked towards Dan Yu Lan, after he saw that he was nodding his head lightly, he spoke out his opinion with a clear voice: “The three deceased were women, the time of deaths of the three people were different, but the whole bodies did not have any other scar, all had a five inches long knife incision along the left side of their chests. The edge of the wounds was even, sleek, the knife blade should be extremely sharp, according to the circumstances of the wounds, we speculated that the murder weapon should be a double edged dagger between six to seven inches in length. The causes of death were the murderer’s incisions when he removed the hearts, then it resulted in death. The deceased bodies did not leave any struggling scar, their facial expressions were extremely in panic, I believed that they were being paralyzed by the acupuncture points, they could not move or shout, but they were actually clear headed, so these kind of frightened expressions could appear.”
“What is your name?”
Lu Jin failed to understand the reason why (she asked his name), but he still answered: “Lu Jin.”
Smilingly looking at Dan Yu Lan, Zhuo Qing asked: “Your student?”
Fairly nodding her head satisfyingly, Zhuo Qing smilingly said: “A very good prospect.” He looked to be about 20 years old, right, with the autopsy resources at the ancient time, he could have this kind of opinion, she thought it was pretty good. The reason why she did not explain immediately today, it was not because she wanted to listen to what they were saying, she actually wanted to know, the autopsy skills at the modern time and ancient time, how much was the disparity if it existed at all. Even though she did not dare to say, the autopsy level at the ancient time was higher by a lot compared to the previous one, but she also hoped to be able to use her own knowledge to pass it on to them as much as possible, and to influence their autopsy views.
Holding back her smile, and looking at Lu Jin’s young face, Zhuo Qing lowered her voice to say: “With regards to those words that you said a moment ago, I basically agreed, but there were two points that I would question. The first point, the cause of deaths of the deceased, I believed it was because they lost too much blood and they went into shock and dead (from hemorrhagic shock). That was a great amount of blood loss that could not be replenished in time and it lead them to die.” In order to make them understand the meaning of going into shock, Zhuo Qing immediately added the final sentence.
Once she finished saying, Cheng Hang immediately refuted: “Their hearts were removed, why could it not because they lost their hearts so they died?” Even though she was very cool headed when she was facing the corpses a moment ago, he also believed her autopsy ability, but he was more convinced with Lu Jin’s autopsy method. Except for Daren, he had not seen any better coroner than Lu Jin.
“The people’s hearts will stop pulsing in a quarter hour (see 1), it is not sufficient to cause any death, and within that quarter hour, the artery will rupture, and cause a great amount of blood loss and can cause death. Was there or was there not a great amount of bloodstains at the crime scenes for these murder cases?” Even though she did not go to the crime scenes, but the corpses appeared to lose a great amount of blood that caused their pale looks afterwards and their internal organs were withered, it was already sufficient to prove the situation at that time.
Cheng Hang nodded his head: “On the beds, on the floors, they were completely covered by blood, what were so strange about the crime scenes that had so much blood for these murder cases?”
“After the people died, the human body stopped to circulate the blood, the function of the artery also stopped, if the quantity of blood was not much, one could only see the injury part after death, and the large pool of blood would not appear that it sprayed and splashed a great bloodstains. So much bloodstains appeared at the crime scenes for these murder case, it could be explained that after their hearts were removed, all of the deceased were still alive, until the blood circulations were finished.” (Yikes… poor women what a horrible deaths).
The clear and cold voice of a woman was indifferent when she explained throughly and in detailed, Cheng Hang did not understand these too much. Looking towards Lu Jin, Lu Jin’s complexion was solemn, and he was staring at the corpse in a daze, and Daren also had a pondering appearance, Cheng Hang also did not dare to say anything again. Thinking, Zhuo Qing simply walked to the side of the corpse, she said to Lu Jin who was still baffling: “Come here.”
Lu Jin had not yet recovered, but his legs already walked involuntarily to Zhuo Qing’s side.
“In general, the bleeding while one is living, the blood coagulation will occur soon after, but the bleeding after death, the blood will not solidify. Furthermore, the bleeding while one is living, there is a cellulose (see 2) net that will separate out the tissue to bind it closely, it can not be removed by any water cleaning, but since the blood will not solidify during the bleeding after death, then it can be removed by any water cleaning.” Using the glove on the side to rub the ice strongly, the glove was somewhat moistened. Zhuo Qing lightly rubbed the deceased’s wound, the dry blood did not have any change. Using her hand once again to smear the scarlet color near the deceased’s waist, lightly caressing, the color of blood already changed into light color.
Lu Jin finally understood, this woman who was a half head shorter than him, she could teach him the method on how to distinguish the blood, although he did not know about these stuffs before, but she already used a demonstration to tell him. Hurriedly cupping his hands to greet, Lu Jin thankfully said: “Many thanks to Madam who is giving this advice.”
Zhuo Qing did not pay any attention to his gratitude, after seeing that he already understood it, Zhuo Qing continued to say: “The second point, you said that the deceased was hit by a pressure point so she could not move, I felt that the probability was unlikely.”
Why? Lu Jin and Cheng Hang’s eyes definitely showed doubtfulness, Zhuo Qing did not wait until they asked either, with a cold voice, she said: “In general, speaking about hitting a pressure point, the principal of the acupuncture point should be hitting a somewhat weak part of the human body and sensitive place, to make her numb, limp and painful, maybe in pain and difficult to endure. Losing the ability to resist, the deceased maintained this kind of posture from the start to finish and until she died, if it was because of the hit on the pressure point, so she could not move, her body would stay in the acupuncture point position, the blood circulation would surely be affected. The area where she was hit by a pressure point would show a retention of the blood vessel, and it could form a livor mortis (the bluish color after death). You looked at the several livor mortis on the deceased, because the blood losses were excessive, the colors of their livor mortis were relatively light, but they only occurred on their backs (near the torso areas).”
Lu Jin lightly lifted up the corpse of the recent Princess who died, there was really only one stripe that appeared on her back, then he laid the body down lightly, Lu Jin already convinced with Zhuo Qing’s explanation, spontaneously asked: “Did Madam find out anything more?” Perhaps, she could look at more areas that they had not looked before.
“The murderer towards the human organs, especially at the heart position, it was very distinct, from looking at the wound, the first time he put down the knife, he chose the position on the left side of the clavicle, between the midline and the fifth intercostal junction of the ribs, this was precisely the heart position, the cutting edge of his knife did not even leave a mark on the rib, he directly cut the cardiovascular off, then using his hand to penetrate the rib and extract the heart.”
This level of skill, it was similar like a butcher but it was impossible, even an ordinary physician could not accomplish it either. Pointing at the third corpse whose eyes were opened big, Zhuo Qing slightly shook her head, and said: “I actually did not find any more stuff, only some questions, the whole cases were the most peculiar things, even the deceased’s facial expressions were extremely frightened, but their bodies did not leave any scar, even the inside of their fingernails did not have any bit of tissue. This explained that the deceased were completely in awaken states, but they did not even struggle either. This was very strange, furthermore, the murderer took their clothes off completely, but he did not assault them, what was the reason that the murderer did this?”
Dan Yu Lan’s thought also lingered about these questions all along, perhaps, if they could resolve these questions, then they could manage to understand it throughly, what was the murderer’s technique in committing these crimes after all. The three dead bodies appeared to be conscious and awaken, and when Miss Lou suffered the attack tonight, she actually did not have any idea about it. The murderer converted his skill to kill people, or could it be possible that there were more than one murderer?!
Zhuo Qing’s voice raised suddenly, gazing at Lu Jin, solemnly said: “Lu Jin, while you were explaining the autopsy a moment ago, you did not mention whether or not the deceased was sexually assaulted, this was a very big shortcoming. You may feel that male and female are different, but as a coroner, you should abandon this burden, and do the thing that you should do.”
“Yes.” Lu Jin slightly lowered his head, with regards to her words, he could not refute anything, he had actually examined it, but he obstructed it from Madam because she was a woman, so he did not explain it intentionally, who would have thought that she harbored the thought, it actually gave him anxiety.
The time was late, she had seen the corpses, so Zhuo Qing took the gloves off, and said: “Dan Daren, the time is not early, I will leave first, with regard to the matter of this case, I will look for you tomorrow at the government office to explain in detail, ok.” She was afraid if she returned very late, Lou Xi Yan was probably anxious about her. Zhuo Qing secretly sighed softly, when did she start caring about him like this, was this the heart having to bind one’s feeling?! It seemed it was not too bad.
Zhuo Qing nodded her head, walked over to the outside door, Mo Bai’s tall and arrogant silhouette followed behind her.
Zhuo Qing’s silhouette disappeared outside, Cheng Hang could not help to ask finally: “Daren, she, what is her background after all?”
Still so young, but she unexpectedly understood about the corpse like this, moreover, when she rebuked Lu Jin a moment ago, that imposing manner, it really made people not dare to answer back, this woman, what kind of a person after all ah?
Facing the anxious and impatient pair of eyes, the eyes that were filled with abundant interest, Dan Yu Lan forced a smile and shook his head, he did not know either, what her background was after all……
The Ministry Justice’s prison was not too far from the Prime Minister’s manor, Zhuo Qing and Mo Bai walked back, the moon already slanted to the west, the street was clear, cold and tranquil. Mo Bai walked about 3-4 meters behind her, and did not travel alongside her, Zhuo Qing suddenly stopped her footsteps, turned around to look towards Mo Bai whose complexion was always cold and congeal, directly asked: “Mo Bai, if you have any word that you want to say to me, just say it, ok.”
Mo Bai stopped his footsteps, for a very long time, he finally spat out several words coldly: “You should not leave the Prime Minister’s manor when it was already so late.”
Zhuo Qing raised her eyebrows, she thought that he would hold back and not say anything, but he was willing to say it, it was actually a good thing. Approaching Mo Bai, Zhuo Qing returned to ask: “You feel that as a woman, I should not walk around anywhere this late, since I am already one of the person in the Prime Minister’s manor. I should take into consideration the Prime Minister’s manor and Lou Xi Yan’s identity, and obediently staying at home, is that the meaning of your words?”
Mo Bai’s face was expressionless, he could not shake or nod his head. Zhuo Qing anticipated earlier that he would respond like this, she did not pay any attention either, with a self serving manner, she replied: “I have my own integrity to deal with the manner and principal, every matter has a sense of priority, if I get married with Lou Xi Yan, I will naturally act as the Prime Minister Madam’s identity as much as possible when I do my things, but it is impossible to change the way I handle my affair. If Lou Xi Yan can not accept this, or I can say, the Prime Minister’s manor can not accept this, I do not care if they throw me out, I, myself, know what I am doing.”
The way these two people got along, understood each other mutually and they showed tolerance to each other in order to compromise on the course of event, she knew this, but she, herself could not compromise some stuffs. Finished declaring her position, Zhuo Qing looked towards Mo Bai’s complexion that became solemn and not knowing what to think, smilingly said: “Do you have any other word that you want to say?”
The serene depth of his blue eyes looked at the person in front of him who adhered to perseverance, unpretentious woman without a mask, Mo Bai’s complexion was cold and detached like before, his voice already restored normally like in the past, and he answered: “No.”
Satisfyingly nodding her head, Zhuo Qing’s mood appeared to be good, smilingly said: “Very good, if you have any dissatisfaction with me in the future, you can raise it out without any hesitation. If it is my fault, I will correct it as much as possible. If I can not accept your point of view, I will explain it to you.”
However, Mo Bai could not help but frowned, he answered: “Madam does not need to explain any affair with me.” She was the master, he was the servant, she only needed to command, and did not need to explain.
“I feel that it is very necessary.” Zhuo Qing still wanted to continue to say something, Mo Bai’s expression was gloomy suddenly, lightly leaped forward to protect her behind him, retreating all the way, both of them retreated to the corner of the wall.
Mo Bai’s tall silhouette obstructed all of her line of sights, she could not see Mo Bai’s facial expression, but she could also sense that Mo Bai’s muscles were nervous all over. The ordinary cold and detached appearance became more and more colder now, Mo Bai’s peculiar made Zhuo Qing knew that there might be a danger that would be arriving next.
Sticking closely to the wall, Zhuo Qing held her breath, listened carefully, she could hear the sound of light and somewhat confused footsteps, the moonlight shined upon, a few long shadows were coming quickly towards the direction where they were with the most speed……
1. Ok, I think in the past, I translated the words 一刻钟 (yi ke zhong) as a quarter hour (in a way 15 min just like our modern time) but I just realized that it was misleading since the ancient time used a 2 hrs time so a quarter hour in ancient time would be 1/2 hr instead of 15 min. But for consistency, I’ll probably stick with a quarter hour so I don’t have to change the term in the previous chapters. Hehehe… However I want to point it out to you that a quarter hour in this book will equal to 1/2 hour our modern time.
2. “cellulose [sel´u-lōs]: a carbohydrate forming the skeleton of most plant structures and plant cells. It is the most abundant polysaccharide in nature and is the source of dietary fiber, preventing constipation by adding bulk to the stool. Good sources in the diet are vegetables, cereals, and fruits.” That was the definition that I got from Wikipedia about what cellulose was. As to what the relationship between that and ZQ’s conversation about how the women were bleeding, I have no idea… Natalie may be able to explained it better since she’s a medical expert?