"Sure thing!" The director took us to the archives to find the case files. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as detailed as the one in my hand.
In the copy the Blade Master sent me, the name of the suspect had been removed. However, judging by the length, the suspect had a three-character name.  Arguably, as long as words were written on the paper, shallow traces would be left behind so the words could be reproduced by pencil shading. However, the person who destroyed the evidence was so careful he ironed every piece of paper, which reinforced my suspicions that Grandpa did it!
The last pages of the file in the county were missing, torn off as suggested by the jagged edges. The director wasn’t clear about this.
I glanced at the officers involved in the case, memorizing the names before returning the file. The director offered to arrange accommodations for us, and said his office was open to us if we needed any assistance. However, we were embarrassed to take him up on his offer and ended up looking for a hotel ourselves.
When we arrived at the hotel, Bingxin immediately searched for all the local tourist attractions. I was suddenly overcome with dejection. After twenty years, here I was reopening the investigation. How and where would I start?
"Don’t overthink this,” comforted Xiaotao. “There are just some things you can't do. If we really hit a dead end, let's just enjoy ourselves for two days and then return to Nanjiang. Then again, perhaps the Blade Master orchestrated all of this."
I shook my head, "I know that the word 'justice' is a bit inappropriate for a criminal. Despite that, the man is a criminal with a sense of justice. He’s not the sort of sinister antagonist like the Dog Trainer. I think there’s something he wants me to know."
"Shall we visit Lushou Mountain?” interrupted Bingxin. “I heard the scenery is breathtaking!"
"Not interested!" replied Xiaotao.
Right then, the sound of sirens came from outside. Xiaotao arched an eyebrow, "Looks like there’s a case. Would you like to take a look?"
"Well, it’s not like we’re busy. Let's go!" I waved my hand.
Thus, the three of us headed down to the station. It turned out there a suicide by jumping. The body fell from the sixteenth floor and was torn apart by the impact. Officers had to send the body to the coroner in body bags.
The three of us strangers stood out in the crowd. Several officers stared curiously, wondering what our purpose was, so Xiaotao flashed her ID.
Then, a fat officer on his cell phone walked out. "What? You’re ill? We’ve got a case here... See if you can send me one of the students. It’s a suicide, so shouldn’t be difficult."
"Hello, are there no coroners on duty?" Bingxin smiled politely.
The fat officer asked warily, "And you are..."
Bingxin showed her ID, "We are a special team from Nanjiang County. Song Yang and I are both coroners. If you need a hand, we can perform the autopsy."
"Perfect! Thanks a lot! Come with me," the fat officer patted his thigh.
"Smart little girl!" whispered Xiaotao.
As the fat officer led us in, he said, "Our small county is only equipped with two coroners. One has gone to Lanzhou for a meeting while the other has just fallen ill. Oh, what a headache!"
"Are two coroners enough?" I asked.
"No, definitely not. Honestly speaking, the ratio of unnatural deaths is only 30%. We have no choice. The talents have all gone to big cities. Who would be willing to come to this small county all the way in the northwest?" sighed the fat officer.
Bingxin grabbed two pairs of rubber gloves and handed one to me. After putting them on, I turned my attention to the dead body on the autopsy table. It was a woman about twenty-four years of age, her face made up into an alluring look. The bloody corpse had fractures in many areas, ribs collapsed, and the forearms formed a false joint.
In the face of such a frightening corpse, Bingxin's first sentence was, "Wow, a Chanel skirt!"
"Forget about the skirt. Take some blood to test and see if she was drugged prior to death. Check for sedatives."
"Alright. May I use the laboratory next door?" Bingxin turned to the fat officer who repeatedly nodded, "Sure thing!"
Using Organ Echolocation, I listened to the internal organs and found them all damaged, though within the normal range of falling to death. When listening, I noticed the deceased had thick body hair but a large part of the abdomen was bare. I felt it with my fingertips and leaned in to catch a whiff; the skin was newly-shaved and smelled like shaving cream.
Then, separating the legs, I examined her genitals. The deceased seemed to have initial symptoms of gonorrhea, but didn't have sex before she died.
Assuming I was a regular coroner, the fat officer asked in a low voice, "Officer, aren’t you going to dissect the body? Is there any instrument missing?"
"I never dissect bodies!" I replied.
"How do you perform an autopsy then?" the fat officer wondered.
I laughed but didn't answer. "Xiaotao, let some light in!"
Xiaotao opened the shutters, letting the bright sunlight in. The effect of using the Autopsy Umbrella was exceptional. In an instant, handprints and traces of violence appeared on the body under the Autopsy Umbrella, mainly concentrated in the torso, which was enough to suggest that this was no ordinary suicide.
Shocked, the fat officer gasped and asked timidly, "What instrument are you using? It’s more effective than an ultraviolet spectrometer!"
Handing the Autopsy Umbrella to Xiaotao, I said, "As you can see, it's just an umbrella!"
"Are you really a coroner?" The fat officer looked at me strangely.
I thought it better to explain, so as not to be misunderstood. Thus, I revealed to him that I was really a Traditional Coroner. My words seemed to shock the man into silence. Finally, some time after, he asked, "Um... I definitely don't mean any disrespect. I’m just a little curious. Did the bureau approve the participation of a Traditional Coroner?"
I smiled, "White cats and black cats are both good cats as long as they catch the mice. Most of the technical means used in criminal investigation–chemistry, pharmacology, medicine and forensics–are absorbed from other disciplines. As long as it solves the crime, it’s useful. Additionally, I’m a non-staff member, merely a consultant."
The fat officer gave a long ‘oh' and switched the subject back to the case.
"The deceased was beaten before death,” I concluded. “The traces are hidden because she was injured from the fall. Xiaotao, help me turn her over..."
The fat officer immediately came to my assistance. Just lifting the body slightly had the body in this shape. A large displacement would certainly cause shifting of the internal organs. Coordinating with the fat officer, we supported the waist, while Xiaotao twirled the Autopsy Umbrella on the back. As the umbrella’s shadow fell on the victim’s lower back, two clear handprints left by an adult male appeared.
"Amazing!” The fat officer exclaimed in admiration. “As expected of an expert from the big city!"
"The woman was obviously pushed,” I declared. “Alright, you can put her down."
"The victim’s abdomen and chest were shaved. I found some broken hairs on the soles of her feet, which may be the victim’s. At the time, the murderer most likely shoved her. I noticed almost imperceptible marks on the victim’s wrists, as if she was bound with some sort of loose materials like silk... "
“Bondage?” Xiaotao asked.
At the mention of bondage, I suddenly thought of listening to the victim’s joints. The victim’s last action certainly wasn’t this, but if she was fixed in a certain position for a long time before death, the tendons and bones would have memory of that.
Finally, I came to the conclusion that the victim had her limbs stretched before death, most likely tied to a big bed. Since the victim was dressed like a sex worker, she had probably been invited by a client for a session of bondage!
However, her client’s inclinations were rather odd. He started off by shaving the hair on her chest and abdomen, during which the victim broke free from and had an argument with the murderer.
Did she accidentally fall from the sixteenth floor?
No! Whether or not it was intentional would have to be ascertained from Bingxin's lab results.
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