Today’s birthday banquet was really exciting. Someone tried to publicly assassinate the prince and later, a maid rushed to report that the eldest daughter of the prince’s mansion had hung herself. This blast of news made the guests look at each other.
They whispered to each other, “The eldest young lady? Is she the one who has a marriage contract with the Lin family?”
”She seems to be the daughter of Madam Yun who doesn’t go out very often. I’ve never seen her!”
“I heard that the eldest young lady has an indifferent personality and doesn’t care about worldly matters. How can she suddenly commit suicide?”
“Is it because Young Master Lin went to the Fragrant Sky House to grab Miss Ye and it was passed onto the eldest young lady, making her so humiliated that she committed suicide?”
”It’s possible. How could she suffer such humiliation when her fiance went to a brothel and wanted to support a girl of the Fragrant Sky House. She didn’t think and committed suicide. It is really a shame…”
Xiao Lou heard these comments in the crowd and slightly frowned.
He had strolled around the backyard in the afternoon and quickly saw her. The impression he got of Qi Yiyao was a woman indifferent to fame and wealth, knocking on a wooden fish and reading Buddhist scriptures. She seemed indifferent to everything outside.
Would she hang herself because of her fiance’s scandal with a woman from a brothel? It was impossible. There must be other reasons.
Xiao Lou looked at the prince. The prince’s face was currently as dark as a pot. First, they were disturbed by the assassin and this was followed by the news of his daughter hanging herself. This birthday banquet was ruined and he was naturally very humiliated. He stared at the maid and angrily yelled, “What are you talking about?”
The maid was pale and frightened, her lips quivering. “T-This servant saw it with my own eyes. The eldest young lady was hanging from a tree in the backyard…”
The prince realized that something had really happened to his daughter. He took a deep breath to remain as calm as possible. Then he looked at his guests and spoke lightly. “Everyone, I have some family matters to deal with so I’ll have to end the dinner here today. Please forgive me.”
Everyone bowed and said goodbye before running away as fast as a rabbit. Although everyone was very curious about why the eldest young lady committed suicide, it wasn’t easy to see the joke of the imperial family. If the prince became angry then it wasn’t enough to cut off 10 heads.
Shao Qingge was the son of a rich family and naturally had no reason to stay in the palace to continue to watch. He gave Yu Hanjiang a look that said he would withdraw first and turned to leave. Xiao Lou spoke in a soft voice as Shao Qingge passed by, “Go to the prefectural magistrate’s prison to visit Ye Qi. In addition, ask if Ye Qi has found anything in the Fragrant Sky House in the past two days.”
Shao Qingge smiled and said, “Rest assured, “ Xiao Ye has never been in prison before so I’ll send him some food.”
Xiao Lou felt helpless listening to Shao Qingge’s tone. He had to ignore this person for the time being and continue to pay attention to the scene.
The guests were gone quickly. However, Yu Hanjiang’s group of three as well as the Ninth Princess and Qu Wanyue stayed.
Yu Hanjiang stepped forward and whispered to the prince, “Your Highness, since there has been a death in Jiangzhou, I have the responsibility to investigate as the prefectural magistrate. The cause of death of the eldest young lady might not be simple. Can you allow me to go to the scene and take a look?’
The Eighth Prince considered it for a moment before nodding. “Thank you for the trouble.”
Yu Hanjiang, Xiao Lou and Mo Xuemin followed the prince to the backyard. The Ninth Princess and Qu Wanyue also followed.
The prince turned to see these two people and asked coldly, “Idle people still haven’t gone?”
The NInth Princess hurriedly explained, “Royal brother, it is me! What’s wrong with Ah Yao, I’m going to see too!”
The prince recognized the Ninth Princess dressed as a man and frowned slightly. “Princess, you should be in the capital. Why are you running around dressed like this?”
The Ninth Princess’s face was bitter. “I will talk about this later but I was forced to slip out. How could Ah Yao commit suicide? I even wrote to her a short time ago. I have to go and take a look!”
The prince had no choice but to take her with him.
The maid led the way and everyone hurriedly followed her to the backyard.
There were four small courtyards in the backyard of the prince’s mansion. The layout of the entire courtyard was a square, connected by a ‘回’ corridor that was lined with green trees. There was an artificial pond and rockery in the middle of the courtyard.
The backyard of the prince’s mansion was very large and it was late at night. The courtyard was densely packed with trees so even if someone hid somewhere, it would be difficult to notice. The place where the eldest young lady hung was a tree behind the rockery.
This tree was the tallest and thickest one in the entire yard. It was filled with lush foliage and cast a large green shade on the ground. It was a good place to cool down in summer so there were stone benches and stone tables placed under the trees. During leisure time, the family members of the prince’s mansion could sit here to drink tea and chat.
At this time, a woman in white was hanging from the tree, her limbs softly dangling and her body shaking with the wind.
The sight caused everyone’s expressions to change.
Madam Yun immediately broke down and rushed over, holding her daughter’s leg and shouting, “Ah Yao, Ah Yao, why did you think? What couldn’t you say to your mother? Why be so short-sighted? If you go then what will I do…”
Her heartbreaking cry made the prince’s face even uglier.
Although the prince didn’t have deep feelings for his eldest daughter, she was his own flesh and blood after her. As a father, the prince was also distressed as he watched her hanging from the tree in white clothes. He stepped forward and gently held Madam Yun lightly by the shoulder, whispering, “Don’t cry. Why did you say that Ah Yao was short-sighted?”
Madam Yun wiped away her tears while saying, “I told her to change clothes this afternoon because Master Lin would come tonight. I told her to dress up a bit and to not see her fiance in white clothes, it is unlucky… she didn’t say anything at the time!”
The prince frowned. “Did you tell her about Lin Shaobo’s scandal in the brothel?”
Madam Yun stammered for a moment before finally nodding tearfully. “I accidentally let it slow.” Her face instantly became pale. “Surely Ah Yao wasn’t so out of it that she took the short-term view?”
The prince’s face was terrible.
It was unknown if Madam Qing and Madam Han next to him were really sad or not. They took out handkerchiefs to wipe their tears and sighed, “How could Ah Yao think to do this…” They cried while comforting Madam Yun. “Sister, don’t be too sad.”
“Restrain your grief and accept fate. Your body will be hurt if you aren’t careful.”
The three wives cried together while the Ninth Princess stood blankly, muttering incredulously, “How could Ah Yao commit suicide? She sent a message to me some time ago saying that the wedding date was set for next month.”
The prince sighed and ordered, “Go and bring down her body for burial.”
Two maids immediately stepped forward and brought the young lady hanging from the tree down, laying her flat on the ground.
Xiao Lou quickly glanced at the marks on the body and blinked at Yu Hanjiang.
The maids were about to cover the corpse’s face with a white cloth when Yu Hanjiang stopped them. “Wait.”
The prince looked back at him. “Yu daren?”
Yu Hanjiang spoke softly, “My wife has followed a man who has learned autopsy techniques. Can she take a closer look at the young lady’s body? I suspect that the young lady might not have committed suicide.”
The prince squirmed and frowned at Xiao Lou. “The madam really knows how to do autopsies?”
Xiao Lou replied politely, “I did follow someone to study for a few years.”
The prince nodded and asked him to look.
Xiao Lou stepped forward and was about to observe the body when Madam Yun suddenly rushed to hug her daughter tightly, crying out, “Don’t touch her! My Ah Yao died so miserably. She hasn’t lived a few good days before her death and I can’t let her be insulted like this by you!”
The sudden death of her daughter had obviously stimulated the lady and at this time, she lost some of her mind.
Xiao Lou told her, “Madam, please calm down. The young lady might not have committed suicide. Don’t you want to find the true cause of your daughter’s death?”
Madam Yun froze and pointed at the sharp red mark on her daughter’s neck. “Didn’t my daughter hang herself? She hung herself from the tree. The red marks on her neck are so obvious. Why do you want to perform an autopsy?”
Xiao Lou spoke softly, “It is true that suicide will leave a mark on the neck but if she was murdered and then hung from the tree, it would also leave traces on her neck.”
Madam Yun was stunned. It was because this person was right. What if her daughter was killed and hung from a tree? She immediately let go and stared pleadingly at Xiao Lou. “Madam Yu right? Help look at my daughter!”
The Ninth Princess and Qu Wanyue watched as Xiao Lou walked calmly and leaned over to check the situation of the body. The Ninth Princess couldn’t help whispering, “Can Madam Yu actually do an autopsy? No wonder why Madam Yu was unwilling to marry me. It turned out that he is the type who likes women who can do autopsies.”
Qu Wanyue, “……”
Ninth Princess’s idea was too clear and Qu Wanyue didn’t know how to answer, so she pretended not to hear.
Under the crowd’s gazes, Xiao Lou carefully examined the pupils, skin and nails of the corpse. Then he turned the corpse’s head to examine the red marks on the neck.
They didn’t know how to do autopsies and didn’t know what Xiao Lou was looking for when he turned the body. Just as the prince was getting impatient, Xiao Lou suddenly stood up, gazed at Yu Hanjiang and whispered, “It isn’t suicide.”
Looking at his firm eyes, Yu Hanjiang naturally believed Xiao Lou’s conclusion. However, the others didn’t believe it. After all, this Dadam Yu suddenly said she can do autopsies. In ancient times, how many women could do autopsies?
The prince’s face was hard to read. “Madam, you can’t just talk freely. What evidence do you have?”
Xiao Lou carefully explained, “Strangling a person to death and strangling them after death will leave different marks on the body.”
He pointed to the marks on the deceased’s neck. “If the young lady committed suicide then she should still be alive when she hung herself. The blood inside her body was still circulating so the marks should have the deepest traces at the bottom while it becomes lighter in colour once it spreads out to the side until it finally disappears. This is the typical mark left by a person who hung themselves.”
“However, the mark on the young lady’s neck is a horizontal ring. Except for the darker colour of the compressed part of the throat, the depth of the other parts is very uniform. This doesn’t have the phenomenon of becoming shallower before disappearing. The reason for this is that the blood is no longer flowing around her neck and her skin is necrotic. The traces left by the hanging will be the same depth.”
Xiao Lou paused and looked at the crowd. “The young lady was already dead when she was hung from the tree. This is murder.”
Hearing Xiao Lou’s words, the people present took a breath.
The Ninth Princess couldn’t help saying, “Deciding it is murder just from the traces? This is too much of a joke!”
Xiao Lou calmly looked at her. “If you don’t believe me, you can use animals for experiments. There will be a clear difference in the marks left if a live being or a corpse is being hung.”
The Ninth Princess wanted to retort but Yu Hanjiang interjected, “I believe in my wife’s judgment.”
The Ninth Princess, “……”
Yu Hanjiang stepped forward. “The young lady did die from murder. The evidence at the scene also shows she was killed. Your Highness, please take a closer look at the young lady’s shoes.”
He leaned over to pick up a branch and scraped a few leaves from the bottom of the deceased’s corpse. “Your Highness, can the young lady do light footwork?”
The prince immediately shook his head. “She doesn’t know martial arts.”
“I see. The tree in front of me is so high. If she doesn’t step on the stone table to hang herself, did she fly up to tie her neck with the white silk? If she wanted to hang herself, she could only step on the stone table but there are no footprints left on the stone table.”
Xiao Lou immediately agreed. “In other words, someone killed her first. Then they picked her up and hung her from the tree, so the table doesn’t have her footprints.”
Yu Hanjiang glanced coldly at the crowd. “This murderer is very clever but unfortunately, he has forgotten to leave the footprints of the dead on the stone table. In addition, the murderer didn’t know that the traces left on the living and the dead are different.”
The husband and wife sang together and everyone glanced at each other.
This was obviously a scene of ‘hanging to commit suicide.’ As a result, Yu daren and his wife looked at it and determined it was a murder?
Qu Wanyue listened to them and wanted to give a thumbs up. It might be ancient times and the environment had changed but this couldn’t stop the two great gods of the secret rooms. Yu Hanjiang surveyed the scene and Xiao Lou observed the corpse. The policeman and forensic doctor worked together to solve the case and it was easy to infer that it was murder. It was impossible for this group of people to refute it.
The prince might be inwardly shocked but it made sense when he listened carefully to them. It seemed that the eldest young lady was murdered. If it was suicide then he could declare that his family was unfortunate. His daughter had decided to hang herself from a tree. However, if it was murder then it was a serious problem!
Someone in the prince’s mansion had killed the young lady with no one realizing it!
The prince’s face sank and he immediately lowered his voice. “Since you have inferred this is a murder, I will hand this case to Yu daren to handle. Please catch the real murderer as soon as possible!”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “Please rest assured that I will do my best.”
The prince added, “In addition, don’t say anything about this matter for the time being.”
Yu Hanjiang replied, “I know.”
The prince’s sharp eyes swept over everyone present. “Starting from today, block the prince’s mansion. No one is allowed to go out! In addition, manage your mouth. If someone dares to leak this outside, don’t blame me for not showing you affection!”
The group of maids immediately knelt on the ground and replied in unison, “Yes, Your Highness!”
Just then, a clear female voice was heard from a distance. “What’s going on? Why is it so lively over there?”
A maid whispered, “Third Young Lady, slow down…”
A girl in a red dress and her hair done in two braids came from around the corner and walked quickly over. She had a pair of sword eyebrows and her eyes were clear and bright. Her face had a strong spirit and a long sword hung from her waist. She looked very heroic.
It was the third young lady: Qi Yiru.
They heard that the third young lady usually loved dancing with swords. She was born with a boyish personality and often ran on horses, hurting a lot of people on the street and acting arrogantly. The ordinary people’s impression of her wasn’t very good.
Looking at her, she indeed had a more open personality. Her eyes were full of arrogance. However, she saw her father in the crowd and immediately converged this arrogance, obediently saluting. “Father…”
The prince now had a headache and was too lazy to care about his daughter’s ugly appearance. He told her, “Your big sister had an accident. Go and call your second and fourth sister over here.”
Qi Yiru looked blank. “What happened to my big sister?”
It wasn’t until she saw the corpse on the ground that she screamed. “Ah! How can this be?”
The prince was angry. “Didn’t I tell you to call people over?”
Qi Yiru immediately turned and ran.
During the time when the prince and Yu Hanjiang were talking, Xiao Lou had inferred the time of death from the livor mortis and the stiffness of the body. His result shocked everyone at the scene. “The time of death should be between 5-7 p.m… in other words, an hour ago.”
At around 6 o’clock, it was just getting dark and the dinner at the prince’s mansion hadn’t yet begun.
Yu Hanjiang spoke softly, “It seems the eldest young lady died before the dinner began. At that time, everyone had the chance to commit the crime. Even the wives who accompanied His Highness during the dinner aren’t above suspicion.
Hearing this, the three wives stiffened in an instant.
Madam Qing was as hot-tempered as her daughter and spoke angrily, “Who do you mean by this? How can I harm a younger generation? I have no feud with the first young lady. Why would I harm her?”
Madam Han was tender and weak and she spoke with grievance on her face, “Your Highness, I have been boiling medicine in the yard at that time. My body has always been weak. How can I have the strength to pick the young lady up and hang her from a tree. Yu daren, is there any evidence for your words?”
Yu Hanjiang spoke calmly, “You don’t need to be in such a rush. I said you aren’t above suspicion but I didn’t say you are the murderer.” He glanced at the prince. “Your Highness, I need to ask your wives some questions. I don’t know if you will permit it?”
The prince nodded with a calm expression. “This case will be handed over to you for investigation. From today on, everyone will cooperate with your question. Since this has happened in the prince’s mansion, every rock must be overturned to discover the truth!”
Yu Hanjiang looked at the guard next to the prince. “Can I borrow this guard? I might need his help.”
“No problem.” The prince replied easily. He glanced at Long Sen and ordered, “From today on, you will accompany Yu daren. If he needs anything then arrange it.”
Long Sen replied, “Yes, Your Majesty!”
If the prince didn’t cooperate, the prefectural magistrate wouldn’t dare rush into the prince’s mansion. Thanks to the prince’s support, Yu Hanjiang’s investigation would go much more smoothly.