Mysteries in the Imperial Harem: Chapter 109
Chapter 109: Earth Shattering Secret (Part 2)
A female corpse found in a well. This matter was not considered big nor small. Usually the matter would be reported to Gao Jing then it would be handed over to the Department of Investigations or the Imperial Household to investigate. When there was any conclusion then it would be reported up to the Emperor. But after Imperial Concubine Qing knew of it, her Ladyship went to personally view it and consequentially alerted the Emperor. Upon hearing that the Emperor went over, the Empress also hastily rushed over.
Next to the Eastern garden well, at one side it was a corpse that was just dredged out and it was soaked till it was white and had already started to rot. The other side of it was the most distinguished masters of the entire Imperial Palace.
Yan Hong Tian’s mood these days was actually not good and at the moment it was looking very dark. Qing Feng’s expression was also not good as she was fighting back a bout of nausea feeling. She whispered, “Emperor, within the Imperial Palace, there was actually a tragic death of an innocent in the well. This matter must be thoroughly investigated.”
Xin Yue Ning held the handkerchief over her mouth and nose. She usually would not be bothered about such an unlucky matter but seeing Qing Feng taking the initiative, Xin Yue Ning immediately brought out the air of an Empress and said, “Emperor, this is a matter of the Inner Palace, why not let the Imperial Household investigate?”
“Older sister’s remarks has some discrepancies. Even though it is a matter of the Inner Palace, it still a matter of human life, moreover the suspects are the people in the Palace, thus it would be deemed unjust if the matter was investigated by the Imperial Household. From Chenqie’s view, it should be handled by the Board of Investigation.”
Because of the last time she lost to Qing Feng on the fight of Chen Zhen’s child, Xin Yue Ning was extremely unhappy with Qing Feng. Originally it would not be of any matter if it was handled over to the Board of Investigation but now Xin Yue Ning want to be her naysayer, “The Inner Palace is a place where female live so it is not appropriate or convenient for the Board of Investigation to conduct the investigation. In accordance with the rules, matters that happened in the Inner Palace would be handled by the Imperial Household. Bengong would oversee the investigation so Imperial Concubine Qing need not worry about it being fair or not.”
Qing Feng suddenly turned towards Yan Hong and said softly, “Emperor, in fact, Chenqie do have a suggestion.”
Yan Hong Tian looked at Qing Feng’s hand that took the initiative to reach over and a trace of doubt crossed his heart. Previously when he did not call her to come, she would always stay away from him, today however she was very unusual. Yan Hong Tian guessed that she had a request and sighed, “Speak then.”
“Chenqie’s Eldest Sister is proficient in performing autopsies that even Dan Daren praises often. Youngest Sister is born intelligent and also help the Board of Investigation in several cases. It would be better to hand this case over to them to investigate as both of them are female and it would not be an inconvenience for them to move around the Palace and could also ensure fairness. What does the Emperor think?”
Qing Feng’s looks had changed, normally she had a cool look which was already very beautiful, but now at this moment it had a slightly coquettish air which made one dare not move their eyes away. Xin Yue Ning was cursing Qing Feng a fox vixen in her heart and her mouth also did spare any energy, “How can it be possible?! On what basis can they investigate in the Inner Palace!”
“Emperor, Eldest Sister and Youngest Sister, one is the Furen of the Prime Minister, the other is the Furen of a Genernal. Are they still not qualified to investigate the case in the Inner Palace?
This time, not only Qing Feng’s voice was seductive, her entire body was almost hanging onto Yan Hong Tian’s. Yan Hong Tian stared at Qing Feng for a long time and he finally said, “Alright, this matter would be investigated by Qing Ling and Qing Mo.” Yan Hong Tian realised that no matter the reason of Qing Feng’s insistent, he just wanted to indulge her.
“Thanking the Emperor.” Yan Hong Tian’s was looking too deeply and Qing Feng slightly move her eyes so that it would not meet. This ongoing interactions that was seen by Xin Yue Ning as flirting and she was almost angry to death. She coldly scoffed and headed back to Yi Lan Palace in a rush, she was anxious to go back to look for Shui Xin to think of ideas for her.
When Xin Yue Ning walked off, Qing Feng was about to retrieve her hand back when her wrist tightened, “Why? Burning the bridge after crossing it?”
The deep voice had some traces of ridicule. Qing Feng did not know if he was angry or teasing her. Qing Feng lightly cough and pretended as if she did not heard it and replied, “I was thinking of waiting here for Eldest Sister and Youngest Sister. If the Emperor have matters to attend then please head back first.”
There were indeed a lot of memorandums to review in the Imperial Study thus Yan Hong Tian finally let go of her hands, “Be careful.”
“En.” Qing Feng nodded her head and Yan Hong Tian did not speak more as he turned and headed towards the Imperial Study. Ever since two months ago when she told him about her pregnancy, he did not spend the night over at Qing Feng Hall often and she also did not hear him flipping over anyone’s placard but instead often stayed in the Imperial Study overnight. Was the state affairs truly that much?
In front of the side room of Eastern gardens of the Inner Palace, Qing Feng stood in front of the house and waited. After more than half a shichen (1 shichen = 2 hours), the people she was waiting for came.
Ru Yi led both Zhuo Qing and Gu Yun over. When both of them saw her smooth and delicate cheeks, they could not help but be surprised. This was even better than skin graft surgery. The Qing Feng now looked simply radiant. Both of them looked at her as their heart filled with joy. When Qing Feng saw their eyes lighted up, her heard warmed, but when her eyes landed on the small bump on Zhuo Qing abdomen, Qing Feng’s face changed and there was a trace of hesitation in her eyes as she asked softly, “You… You are pregnant?”
“En.” Zhuo Qing smiled as she nodded her head, while her expression was very relaxed. Qing Feng’s look made her think of the stunned look when Yun came back from praying and saw her. She found it funny. What was so strange about a female getting pregnant. It was a part of the journey of life, so it would be natural. This was the reason why after she knew that she was pregnant, she did not purposely inform others of it. For a natural occasion, one do not need to care too much about it.
Naturally not everyone would think it this way, Qing Feng shook her head and said, “I did not know you are pregnant. I will speak to the Emperor, it would be better that the autopsy be done by the Board of Investigation instead.”
Zhuo Qing really did not mind as she replied, “I am fine. It is just an autopsy and not a big deal.” After that Zhuo Qing also looked at Qing Feng protruding abdomen and said, “Why not you go back to rest.” She was used to it and did not feel anything the matter but she estimated that Qing Feng would not be able to handle just the smell of the corpse…
“Can I stand at the side to see?” When Qing Feng finished speaking, Ru Yi who was standing beside was stunned as she widen her eyes. When the corpse was carried in, it was horrifyingly pale and puffy and the smell was pungent. Just thinking of it made her want to vomit but Mistress still want to go in to see?
Gu Yun who had already pushed the door open and was about to enter also paused. Qing Feng wanted to go in and see? Gu Yun thought that Zhuo Qing would have refused, after all Qing Feng was now pregnant and not anyone had Zhuo Qing’s skills. But Zhuo Qing looked at Qing Feng and replied, “Alright, if you later feel uncomfortable, then come out.”
“En.” Qing Feng nodded her head slightly.
The few of them went into the house and a wave of unique smell of corpse came. Qing Feng suppressed the vomiting feeling in her chest and stood by the side of the door and did not go forward. In the middle of the room, there laid a female corpse. Ru Yi’s face turned white and the hands that were supporting Qing Feng kept trembling as she kept her head down, not daring to look at the female corpse. Qing Feng’s expression was not good neither as she could barely restraint herself.
Zhuo Qing opened up the wooden box that she brought along and took out some cotton cloth. She use one to cover her face, gave one to Gu Yun and handed the remaining two to Qing Feng and Ru Yi.
Qing Feng took it and tied it around her face like her. There was a faint medicine smell on the cloth which dispelled a lot of the unpleasant smell of corpse. Qing Feng settled down her state of mind and her sight focus on Zhuo Qing who was working on the corpse and ignore everything else.
“The deceased’s body is rotting moderately and the rigor mortis had been completely eased. The time of death is estimated at about 72 hours (author used the modern numbering term and hours), cause by the strangulation of the neck and death by suffocation. There are multiple injuries on the body and should be cause before death. There are also fractures on both hands and feet, possible to have sustained during the fall to the bottom of the well. No traces of other anomalies.”
As Zhuo Qing did the examination, she said the result of the autopsy. Gu Yun looked at the purple imprint on the deceased’s neck and asked, “What is the murder weapon?”
Lifting the deceased neck, Zhuo Qing held a ruler to measure for a long time but finally just shook her head as she replied, “It should be something similar to a rope but since the body was soaked in water for a long time, it has started to rot and the weapon or its pattern cannot be identified.”
When Zhuo Qing check on the deceased’s fingers, she discovered that her right hand had clenched into a fist. Zhuo Qing used some strength to open the deceased hand and saw a thumb size of coarse cloth lying in the middle of the palm.
Gu Yun also found a foreign item in the corpse’s hands and asked as she squatted, “What is it?”
“A… Small rag.” Zhuo Qing carefully removed the rag and place it on the wooden plate at the side before Gu Yun took a look at it. That cloth had been in the water for very long and was somewhat faded but it had a shade of maroon colour, which was different from the pale pink uniform that the deceased wore. Gu Yun stared at the clothed for a while before saying, “This is unlike what the deceased wore and could be from the murderer.”
Zhuo Qing’s examination was basically finished and she removed her gloves as she said, “There are no other findings.” Zhuo Qing turned around and look at the two persons standing behind. Ru Yi kept her eyes closed and Qing Feng had a cloth on her face which made Zhuo Qing unable to see her face or expression but only that beautiful eyes staring back at her. There was a faint layer of mist in that pair of eyes and she did not know if it was because she was scared or thinking something else as there was a thin layer of sweat on her forehead.
Zhuo Qing was worried about her as she asked her softly, “Qing Feng, are you alright?”
Qing Feng slightly shook her head. Her neck stiffen and she tried to hid the panic in her eyes, “I… Am alright. Just a little uncomfortable. You all can continue, I will head back first.” Finishing, Qing Feng did not wait for Zhuo Qing to finish before she turn and ran out of the house. Her pace was very fast and Ru Yi also immediately chased out.
After both footsteps were far away, Gu Yun got closer to Zhuo Qing and laughed softly, “You did it on purpose?”
Zhuo Qing shrugged, “She had known it earlier.” In fact when Qing Feng asked her the last time, she had already wanted to be frank with her but there was not a chance for her that time. Afterwards, she did not ask at all so she herself did not specifically mention about it. This time she let them into the Palace to investigate this case, so she took this opportunity to let Qing Feng see clearly.
Gu Yun thought about it and also agreed with a nod, “That’s good.” Occupying someone else’s body was not what she wished and to use this body to play with other person’s feeling was inappropriate. But Gu Yun look at the rotting corpse nearby, she cannot help but smile. Is Qing’s method too violent…
The hot autumn sun was high up in the sky shining glaringly as it was noon. Qing Feng’s sight was in a daze, just like her heart, but her pace was getting faster and urgent, like she was in a rush to flee. Ru Yi supported Qing Feng and thought that she was like herself, frightened by the corpse but seeing Qing Feng walking faster and she had to almost run to catch up, Ru Yi realised that something was wrong. She held her hands and found that her fingers were as cold as snow and she urgently said, “Your Ladyship, your hands are so cold, are you unwell anywhere?”
The memories kept echoing in Qing Feng’s mind. The two persons in the house that had the faces of Eldest Sister and Youngest Sister was so familiar yet like a stranger. Their question and answer was in harmony as if they had rehearsed countless of times. At this moment, Qing Feng’s heart did not have any doubt but just felt total powerless. They… They are not Eldest Sister and Mo-er… Not…