Episode 121

Give The Case To Coroner Wu
2 weeks ago
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Once the differences between men and women were highlighted, it would seem like the women were on the losing end.

It wasn’t because women weren’t working hard enough. It was the way society was.

In the society that Song Caitang had found herself in, men were respected while women were despised. The new pacification commissioner even promoted and supported extremely conservative ideas about female virtue, reprimanding women who did something as trivial as leaving the house without wearing a veil. Of course someone like Song Caitang was going to get it worse.

As Judge Guo spoke, Wu Bo let out a long sigh as he inspected the body and shook his head.

Before Song Caitang could respond to Judge Guo’s remarks, another voice resounded from behind.

“Judge Guo, I don’t think it’s good for you to speak to Miss Song like that.”

His words sounded like he was defending Song Caitang, but his tone was filled with contempt and sarcasm.

It was another familiar face. Governor Li.

Governor Li had arrived and used such a tone on Song Caitang. Of course Judge Guo was going to play along and keep him happy.

He bowed respectfully and said, “It’s all for the sake of the case. As investigators, we have to think about every possibility. Miss Song is a woman, but she is as capable as a man. We can’t take extra care just because she’s a woman and not even talk about the details. After inspecting the corpse, the conclusion was that the victim had been abused in the bedroom. We have to find out how it happened. What if there’s evidence left behind somewhere? If Miss Song refuses to even accept this possibility, what are we to do next? Can we solve this case? Can we discuss the details or not?”

Judge Guo said all of this extremely quickly and with a righteous air, “The victim was basically fucked to death, I wasn’t wrong about that, but Miss Song can’t accept it. She can’t accept it as a fellow woman…”

“What a disgrace to civilization! What a bad influence on society!”

Yet another voice interjected.

Judge Guo turned to look while Governor Li smiled and explained, “When the runner informed me about the case, I was having lunch with the pacification commissioner. The case sounded urgent, so Commissioner Liu became concerned and came over with me.”

The moment Liu Qinian took over the position, he emphasized greatly on the virtues of women and even erected two arches to celebrate virtuous women already. He had achieved much as the new pacification commissioner, and Song Caitang annoyed him greatly. Before today, she only annoyed him. But now, he found her disgusting.

He threw her a sinister glance, as though he was looking at something filthy, and straightened his sleeves with a flair, “Look at the situation now. If you’ve got any pride at all, you should find a rope immediately and hang yourself.”

Everyone present knew exactly who he was addressing these words to.

Judge Guo laughed gleefully inside, but he covered his face with his sleeve, cleared his throat, then took two steps back in order to let the pacification commissioner have the spotlight.

But Song Caitang wasn’t the least frightened by this verbal attack.

She remained fairly calm, “Commissioner Liu is right. The murderer has done something so disgusting and so perverted, they don’t deserve to live. Once we find and arrest the criminal, Governor Li must hand the killer a heavy sentence.”

Those words changed the perspective and made it sound like Liu Qinian was referring to the killer.

That wasn’t wrong either. What the killer had done was indeed horrible. Anyone would have felt that the killer deserved death.

Liu Qinian couldn’t find a good rebuttal and only felt that Song Caitang was way too thick-skinned! He couldn’t fight with that!

“As for what Judge Guo was saying,” Song Caitang looked at Judge Guo, “I’m not trying to avoid anything. Inside the mortuary, in front of the Lord of Hades’ throne, I have seen too many dead bodies. Some have been badly abused, some are rotten beyond recognition. Bodies have come to me in a huge variety of conditions. Yet, I have not lost my sympathy for these people – I am very proud of that.”

Her gaze was quiet and her eyes were large, so when she stared at a person, they could become frighteningly bright, “Judge Guo, have you ever thought about how you would die someday? Perhaps I would have some sympathy for you when the time comes.”

It was hard to use women’s rights in this society, so she switched to using the supernatural instead.

Her abilities as a forensic scientist and medical examiner had been passed around town in great detail, and she had even been called the godsister of the Lord of Hades. She was going to make use of this to scare the man!

And Judge Guo…

…did get a little scared.

People of this era believed in the power of gods and spirits. Even if they didn’t believe strongly in them, they would not dare to do or say anything that might offend them.

When he thought about what Song Caitang was capable of and her calm and quiet gaze…Judge Guo suddenly shuddered for no reason. Song Caitang did exude a devilish air of sorts. He hoped she wouldn’t tell on him to the Lord of Hades and shave a few years off his life!

The thought of this possibility made him shrink back and shut up.

Now that everyone was finally quiet, she smiled faintly and said, “It is a fact that this victim was abused before she died. I’m not trying to stir any controversy. But I think that instead of standing around and speculating about what might have happened, like a bunch of perverted bums discussing an X-rated piece of art, the authorities ought to be focusing on investigative work. Find out who this victim was, what happened before she died, where she was last seen, who she met.”

“Once we’ve got all those details, we can make speculations.”

Liu Qinian pulled a long face, probably because he couldn’t think of anything to reprimand Song Caitang with.

Governor Li was unhappy too and threw Judge Guo a look to continue. Judge Guo had no choice but to keep going even though he was scared of Song Caitang.

“Isn’t there a stab wound in the victim’s chest? Could it be that she hadn’t died from abuse, but someone seized the chance to kill her? Judging from her dressing, she might be in that sort of business in the first place, so she wouldn’t be afraid of abuse,” he continued to question the older coroner, “Do you think there’s such a possibility?”

Either way, he had to find a way to prove Song Caitang wrong!

Wu Bo paused to think, then responded very seriously, “It is possible, but the chances are extremely low.”

“As Miss Song has pointed out, this woman has suffered very severe abuse. Given her injuries, I think…the chances of her servicing another customer are very low. She would not have the energy to do so. The difference in the time the stab wound and the other wounds were incurred does not look like a long time. There are also no small white bubbles around her nose and mouth, so even though we found her in the water, she did not drown to death. She was already dead by the time she was thrown into the water…combining all of that together, I too, think that the possibility that she had been raped and killed is much higher.”

Everyone listened to him quietly and did not question him like they questioned Song Caitang.

Governor Li only asked one question, “Are you sure?”

Wu Bo’s expression was stern, “Coroners will only say what are clearly facts. We will not dare to go against that.”

Liu Qinian asked, “How long have you been a coroner?”

Wu Bo replied, “35 years.”

“Did you have a teacher?”

“I was at Dali Shrine in the capital for more than 20 years.”

“Excellent!” Liu Qinian was very pleased to hear that, “I’ll count on Coroner Wu to work hard on this case and crack it as soon as possible!”

Song Caitang shut her eyes.

In the end, nothing she said mattered because she wasn’t of the correct gender. Wu Bo was a man, was older and had more experience in the field. That’s why he was preferred and trusted.

Song Caitang wasn’t jealous of Wu Bo. She just felt that this world…

…was a little disgusting.

The body was right here, cold and quiet. Yet, all these people were just yapping away uselessly with selfish goals, busying themselves with their ambitions and lacking any respect for the victim.

Both these men and the killer disgusted her.

She was super disgusted.

She removed her gloves and felt something hard in her waist pouch.

That was a candy that her grandmother had secretly given to her.

Her grandmother had a sweet tooth, but Guan Qing and Guan Wan always forbade her from eating candies, so she kept finding new ways to hide the candies and recently, she started hiding them with Song Caitang. Sometimes, she would remember and get it from Song Caitang when Guan Qing and Guan Wan weren’t around. Sometimes she would forget, and when Song Caitang mentioned it, she wouldn’t be upset or regret having forgotten about it. Instead, she would tell Song Caitang that she wanted her granddaughter to have it. Eating a candy for absolutely no reason was pretty nice.

Life was hard, especially for women. So, if she could find a way to make it sweeter, she should do it, even if it was just the taste of sweetness in her mouth.

Candies could make her feel better. Feel happier.

Song Caitang took the candy out and put it into her mouth.

She wasn’t sure if it was just psychological, but she really did feel better after that.

The inspection of the dead body was followed by a rough inspection of the surroundings, then the victim was brought back to the mortuary by the courthouse runners. Their job here was done.

Governor Li had already give instructions, “Mr. Wu, you’re a steady man. This case does look pretty tragic. In any case, there’s no need to say much more. Miss Song is a woman too, so the authorities are obliged to consider her feelings. So, I’m handing this case over to you.”

As for what Song Caitang was going to do, Governor Li arranged it this way, “It’s just a case of rape and kill, so we’re looking for a lowly animal. Miss Song is a great talent and it’d be such a waste to use your talent on this minor case. You’ve worked together with Mr. Wu before, so you trust him, right?”

He didn’t bother waiting for a response and went on, “Luanze has a number of unsolved cases and Magistrate Wen is handling one right now. If you don’t mind, perhaps you could go over and help him with it?”

Since the superior had given the order, the subordinate had to respond.

Wu Bo immediately bowed, “Governor Li, rest assured that I will do my best.” Perhaps he could sense the tension between the two sides, so he put a palm over his other fist politely toward Song Caitang and said, “Miss Song, don’t worry, I will do my best with this case. If there’s anything I cannot understand or I need help with, I will definitely come to you for advice.”

What else could Song Caitang say?

Even at her modern day workplace, she didn’t get to work on every case, or take charge of only the cases she wanted to. She wasn’t the only coroner in the world, so she had to accept her boss’ way of allocating the work.

This Governor Li clearly didn’t like her face and didn’t want to work with her, so she didn’t want to see his disgusting, wrinkly face either.

And now she knew why Wen Yuansi hadn’t come. It turned out that he got stuck with some other case. Zhao Zhi wasn’t around, so there wasn’t anybody in a position high enough to oppose Governor Li…

Song Caitang decided to wait it out.

Zhao Zhi said he was busy, but he didn’t say he wasn’t coming back, so she would get him to keep a lookout when he came back. If the case wasn’t problematic and the authorities could nab the killer, then she could just move on. But if the case had issues…Zhao Zhi wouldn’t just ignore it either.

“Sure,” she replied with a huge smile on her face.

Song Caitang really needed to talk to someone after holding her true emotions back. Even after the body was taken away, she didn’t go home and went looking for Wen Yuansi instead.

Wen Yuansi knew how to comfort her too. After he heard what happened, he didn’t say that it was too bad that he didn’t know about it and should have gone there immediately to support her. Neither did he try to coax her or curse his superiors. Instead, he brought his case files out to let her take a look at that cold case he was working on.

That was a really good move.

Song Caitang’s attention was immediately drawn to the case files and had no space in her mind to think about anything else.

Madam Liang?

The younger sister of the current empress’ nanny?

She had died for four years already, but the case was still unsolved?

The identity of the victim and how long it had been made it impossible for Song Caitang to remain uninterested.

The case files were very thick. The next section was an introduction to Madam Liang’s family situation.

Madam Liang and her older sister were originally from the kingdom of Shu and they escaped from a tragedy there as children, so it was impossible to investigate their place of birth. The older sister had both good and bad luck. Bad luck because her husband died young, and her child had been too weak to survive. Good luck because immediately after losing her family, she had the chance to become a nanny at the empress’ family and had done superbly well. She served the empress from when she was a baby all the way until she married the emperor. Her status became a very high one.

The younger sister wasn’t as clever as her older sister and she was quite a lot younger. She didn’t achieve much in life, but because of her older sister, she managed to marry an honest man by the surname Mi, who lived in Luanze. Nobody in the family was an official, but the family was a well to do one. Then with the help of her older sister, the family slowly began to rise in social status and produced a couple of scholars who were working hard on becoming officials.

Her husband had died fairly young. He had died from an illness and there was nothing suspicious about his death, so he had been buried shortly after his death. His wife had died four years ago and the case files stated that she had also died from an illness. But the magistrate back then sensed something amiss and opened an investigation into her death, but they didn’t find much. It just seemed suspicious but there was no concrete evidence to proceed with.

That magistrate was very old and died not too long after that, and the case was thrown into the storeroom.

The new magistrate should have taken over, but perhaps he felt that the previous guy had overthought it, or that it was impossible to crack the case, so he just left it as a cold case. It wasn’t a case that happened on his watch, so failing to solve it would not affect his chances of promotion. But if he proceeded with the investigation and found nothing, that would be detrimental to his chances…

And so, just like that, the case was left untouched and became a cold case.

The higher ups didn’t want to do anything about it, the Mi family was not cooperative, plus the victim was the sister of the nanny of the empress…

This nanny had died for many years now, but the empress was a virtuous woman who would make sure she took care of the families of the people who used to serve her, otherwise her reputation would take a hit. And if the case went out of hand and the Mi family kicked up a big fuss in the capital, the one in charge of handling the case was doomed or sure.

Wen Yuansi had been allocated this case, so it wasn’t hard to see how determined Governor Li was in making his life difficult.

Song Caitang observed a minute of silence for the poor man.

But the case was quite interesting.

It wasn’t very complicated. According to the files, Madam Liang had not left the house before she passed away. She was severely ill at that time, so very few people were allowed inside her room. Just her three sons, their wives, a trusted auntie and a trusted maid.

If she was murdered, the murderer was definitely one of these people.

On top of that, Wen Yuansi had added a note: the Mi family did not mind an autopsy.

Song Caitang’s gaze flickered slightly, “So, they’re good with digging up the bones of this woman who’s already died for four years?”

“That’s right.”

Wen Yuansi pushed a cup of tea that was exactly at the right temperature toward Song Caitang, “I’ve already made an appointment to visit their home and find out more. Would you be willing to come along with me and be my personal coroner?”

Song Caitang nodded vigorously, her eyes shining brightly, “I’ll go with you!”

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