by Qing Lu
Translated by Grenn
Chapter 12 – Autopsy (2)
When Zhuo Qing finished speaking, everyone immediately looked at the corpse. It was true. His clothes was clean without much wrinkles and his shoes were spotlessly clean compared to his messy and dirty hair. It was too much of a contrast. Not only that, for a two-month-old convict, how was he able to wear new clothes?
Wu Zhigang loudly asked, “Who was the bailiff on yesterday’s night watch?”
An average looking young bailiff who was standing silently on the side hurriedly stepped forward and replied in a small voice, “This lowly person and Liu Wu were on night duty last night.”
“What is going on? How was he able to change into new clothes?”
The bailiff timidly replied, “Reporting to Vice Minister, last night, the housekeeper of the Lin family, Li Ming, came to visit Lin Bokang. He said that it has been many days his master couldn’t wash himself and would like to deliver him a new set of clothes. We saw the depth of their master and servant’s bond and Li Ming did indeed only bring him clothing. We just let him go in and he only stayed in there for the time of one incense stick to burn.
For the murder to happen in one incense stick, it was somewhat tight in time. Lou Xiyan, who was silent up until now, asked in a low voice, “After Li Ming went out, you should have returned to check if Ling Bokang was still alive at that time.”
Although Lou Xiyan didn’t start getting angry, the young bailiff still didn’t dare to lift his head to look at him. He hurriedly shut his eyes as he spoke of last night’s circumstances. “Replying to Chancellor, Li Ming arrived right when the wind and rain were at its heaviest. The big tree outside of the prison had it branches broken by the heavy wind and smashed into the prison doors. So, we were busy from moving the branches. After a moment, Li Ming came out and helped us. He left after that. At that time, our clothes were all drenched. It was already late at night when we went to change our clothes, so we didn’t patrol the prison cell until a moment ago when Lord Wu ordered us to go bring the criminal. Then, we discovered… ” That he was dead… “A bunch of idiots!” Wu Zhigang slapped the young bailiff’s official hat. In front of Chancellor Lou, this bunch of bastards made him lose so much face. If he let Chancellor Lou believe he supervised the prison like this, he wouldn’t be able to keep his position as official!
Lou Xiyan didn’t pay attention to the act Wu Zhigang was putting to start with. He said in a deep voice, “Bring Li Ming.” Li Ming was the last person to see Lin Bokang alive. He must have known something!
“Yes!” The young bailiff ran out with haste.
The stiff corpse lying on the ground made people feel somewhat horrify when they looked at it. Wu Zhigang hurriedly ingratiated himself with flatteries, “Lord Chancellor, this corpse was already examined and this prison has heavy yin aura.  Why don’t you rest in the lobby first to stop the bad luck from rubbing on you?”
Lou Xiyan was about to step out of the prison cell when he turned around just to catch sight of Zhuo Qing’s eyes watching attentively the corpse without her gaze leaving. Lou Xiyan suddenly asked, “What do you have in mind?” To ask a youngster this question, it was kind of ridiculous, but his intuition told him that this youngster could give him a different answer.
“I…” Zhuo Qing hesitated for a moment. However, she was fully aware that the cause of this death was suspicious and to watch with her arms folded was against her professional’s ethics and code of conduct. As she secretly sighed, she replied, “I want to go in to take a look.”
“Presumptious!” It was that queer boy again. The same one that was making all that noise in the lobby earlier. Unexpectedly, he had follow them here. Wu Zhigang just want to throw Zhuo Qing out, but Lou Xiyan’s mood was quite good and he said with a smile, “Let him go in.”
As Lou Xiyan said those words, even if Wu Zhigang didn’t want to agree with this order, he couldn’t go against Lou Xiyan. After all these years muddling in the bureaucracy, he also could see that Chancellor Lou extremely favored that youngster… Zhuo Qing entered the prison cell and squatted down next to the corpse. She merely swept a glance at the ligature mark  on the neck, then she used her fingers to stretch out the deceased’s hair and quietly inspect the head. After a while, she lifted Lin Bokang’s neck. After she examined his neck, she pressed down the corner of his mouth. Saliva flown out from the corner of the mouth.
It was what she had expected. She grabbed the deceased’s arm and exerted a bit of force on it. The arm couldn’t be bend at all. The rigor mortis was clearly ascertained! Pulling on the sleeve, the livor mortis could be seen on the arm with crisscrossed scars that appeared to be from old injuries. It seemed like interrogation under torture to extort a confession was a fact.
Zhuo Qing looked carefully. In Wu Zhigang’s eyes, she was being deliberately provocative and making the situation unnecessarily complicated. He didn’t feel like watching her and took this opportunity to say to Lou Xiyan in an analytic tone, “Lord Chancellor, from what this official sees, since it was already ascertained it was a suicide. It must be that this Lin Bokang had planned out his suicide in advance. That’s why he must had request Li Ming to deliver the clean clothes so he could use the belt to suicide.”
Lou Xiyan slightly smiled without speaking. His sight only stayed on Zhuo Qing. Wu Zhigang was asking to be embarrassed.
As opposed to Wu Zhigang, Zhuo Qing didn’t let Lou Xiyan be disappointed. She threw out a not heavy nor light question. “What if it wasn’t a suicide?”
Not a suicide?
Lou Xiyan’s smile became wider. He just knew this youngster would give him a nice surprise.
Wu Zhigang was stumped for words. Wang Bingsheng was the first to react by shouting. “This is nonsense!” Where did that boy come from to suddenly dare to question the results of his examination in front of the Vice-Minister and the Chancellor? How can he endured this?!
He walked next to the corpse and pointed at the corpse’s neck. As he glared at Zhuo Qing, he irrefutably said, “If people hanged him after death, the ligature mark would not appeared purple, but white! The deceased’s four limbs naturally hanged down and there is a purplish-red discoloration on the feet.  These are the most evident proof of death by hanging! Don’t say any nonsense when you don’t understand.”
Completely ignoring his hoot, Zhuo Qing lowered her head and softly called, “You with the blue eyes, come here and help me.” ‘It’s really inconvenient without an assistant!’
‘Blue eyes?’ Mo Bai stared blankly. Finally, he still went next to her and squatted down. In accordance to her directives, he turned the corpse on the side.
‘How unexpected that Mo Bai went to help him.’ Lou Xiyan didn’t expect that. Unlike Jin Sa’s grim appearance, Mo Bai’s coldness came from deep within his heart. ‘What made him move at this youngster’s call?’
Lou Xiyan was calm and unruffled in the midst of the chaos as he watched Zhuo Qing’s concentrated back, waiting to see what kind of show would come out.
Wang Bingsheng was completely ignored by that person who was only a nobody without a reputation! He suppressed his voice down his throat even though he strongly wanted to criticize. Zhuo Qing who was examining the deceased’s back asked indifferently, “If he was knocked unconscious first and then hanged to the beam roof, would the same mark appeared on the corpse?”
“This…” Wang Bingsheng was suddenly at loss of words. Zhuo Qing didn’t let him ponder on the question for long as she slightly raised her head and said in a cold voice, “I only ask you if it would appeared, yes or no!”
Under the brim of the hat rose a strict pair of eye that looked straight at him and pressured him. Wang Bingsheng panicked and was having second thoughts. His opponent was merely a youngster, but what made him lose his head so easily? He softly coughed to conceal how flustered he was and replied in a loud voice, “Yes, it can be possible. However these are just your guesses. Do you have any evidence proving that he was first rendered unconscious and then, suspended?” He wanted to see what abilities this youngster had!
‘Evidences?’ Zhuo Qing coldly smiled and suddenly stood up.
 The time for a stick of incense to burn is around 30 minutes. It could be shorter or longer depending on the weather. (the source in chinese)
 Following the Yin Yang theory, yin energy are associated to dark gloomy place full of evil. (More details on wikipedia)
 I have decided to use the forensic term when referring to strap mark or such since Zhuo Qing is such a workaholic that it would be improbable she wouldn’t used such terms.
By the way, I was researching about all the clinical signs for hanged death they were talking about as evidences in this and the following chapter. If you’re interest, I have put the link of two forensic websites. For the more general informations about ligature mark in vulgarized terms (No worries there are no picture of actual things) : here. For the more scientific and in details, it’s the following link (BEWARE THE WEBSITE HAS A BANNER WITH PICTURES OF DEAD PEOPLE! Those are the only pictures, the rest is heavy text.) : here
 In the raws, the term used was something like “fire mark or burn mark on the feet” which didn’t make any sense. Since why would a burn-mark/fire-mark be associated to death by hanging? After looking through some forensic websites, it was referring to the purplish-red discoloration which was a sign of post-mortem hypostasis, in another word livor mortis. The reference is on the same site that has a website banner of dead people, so beware before clicking on it : here
Thanks for the explanations and chapters