Chapter 37: Nightmarish Scene
Peng Songlai stared at Mu Yi. Even though Su Chongshan had told him many good things about Mu Yi, Mu Yi looked extremely young, and young people weren’t always the most reliable.
Of course, Peng Songlai wasn’t going to say that aloud because he had nothing to gain by doing so. Mu Yi was the one who solved the Su Clan’s predicament, and because Peng Songlai’s issue wasn’t easy to solve either, it wouldn’t do any harm to let Mu Yi take a look. Even if he failed, they had nothing to lose.
“Hello Counselor Peng. If it’s convenient, I’d like to see the corpse to assess the situation,” Mu Yi said. He knew perfectly what Peng Songlai thought of him, but he didn’t mind. He was here to give Su Chongshan face. Also, if someone wasn’t nice to Mu Yi, Su Chongshan would compensate him appropriately.
“Alright, please follow me,” Peng Songlai said. Even though he didn’t want to see his son-in-law again, he had no choice. He had to go with Mu Yi since he was still the head of the family.
Very quickly, they arrived in a courtyard with a guard standing next to a door to bar entry. There were three men in the courtyard who seemed to be relaxing. Two of them were dressed like magistracy officers, and they had probably been sent by Peng Songlai’s eldest son-in-law. The other man looked older, feminine, and tender. He was the coroner.
When they saw Mu Yi, they all stood up at the same time. Amongst ordinary people, they were imposing and awe-inspiring, but inside a clan such as the Peng Clan, they had to be respectful. Peng Songlai’s eldest son-in-law was their superior and ran the entire county.
They couldn’t afford to offend someone like Counselor Peng.
Even though investigators were members of the government, they had a low social-status. This was because people began to think highly of scholars at the end of the twentieth century. Studying books excelled the worth of other pursuits. In the past, it had been the era of scholars, and high social positions within the government were reserved by scholars.
“Thank you for your help. This one over here is Master Mu, and I’m the one who called for him. He’ll probably have questions for all of you,” Peng Songlai said after nodding at the three people while the coroner followed them into the room.
The smell in the room was atrocious. Apart from the smell of the dead body, there was also a musty smell in the air. Luckily, it was winter; otherwise, in the summer, the corpse would have completely rotten already, especially since the skin had been flayed.
The coroner removed the white cloth over the body. Peng Songlai and Su Chongshan had already turned their eyes away, and only Mu Yi, Su Jinlun, and the coroner were examining the body.
The coroner was used to seeing corpses so this wasn’t strange, but because Su Jinlun wanted to prove himself to Mu Yi, he forced himself to look at the corpse.
When Mu Yi saw the corpse, he frowned. The man’s blood was already dry, and one could clearly see his muscles. There were no extra injuries on the body. His eyes were outside of their sockets, and his face was covered in thick clotted blood. It was really scary.
Mu Yi understood why Peng Songlai’s younger daughter had almost gone insane when she saw this. Waking up next to a corpse was already horrible, but waking up next to this corpse which used to be your husband, would’ve been so much worse.
“Doctor, did you find anything strange with the corpse?” Mu Yi asked the coroner. After all, that was the coroner’s job. Mu Yi couldn’t see anything but flesh and dried blood.
“Don’t call me doctor, Master Mu. Please call me Song Qi or Mister Song,” Song Qi said, almost shocked into silence. He spent most of his time with corpses which was frowned upon, and even his family members were not this respectful to him.
Even though he didn’t know what Mu Yi’s social status was, since Peng Songlai had brought him personally, the coroner had to lower himself before Mu Yi.
“There’s no harm. After all, we have different occupations. I have no knowledge of forensic medicine, so I am asking you for guidance. Since I consider you an expert, it is only fair for me to address you as such,” Mu Yi said while smiling. He had never thought that being a coroner was a bad occupation. He even respected and admired them.
When Song Qi heard Mu Yi, he blushed because people rarely treated him with respect. He had a strange feeling but didn’t say anything. He felt like he had encountered a kindred spirit, but he didn’t say anything; otherwise, he would become a laughingstock.
When Peng Songlai heard Mu Yi, he was stunned and found that he had a different impression of Mu Yi now. Even though he didn’t approve of Mu Yi’s opinion, he guessed that Mu Yi was an erudite person. History had proven that such people were very wise.
Su Chongshan smiled. He had always thought highly of Mu Yi and didn’t regret making him a guest of honor in the Su Clan. He was also happy that Su Jinlun had become friends with Mu Yi.
He had come to understand Mu Yi and knew that he was a good-natured person.
“I really don’t deserve so much praise, Master Mu. Please, if you have any questions, feel free to ask me anything,” Song Qi said. He was in his forties, so he was already considered to be quite old. During the 20th century, that was already considered to be quite an old age. Song Qi took a deep breath, and he tried to remain calm and detached like a man of his age was supposed to.
“Alright, are you sure he was killed after his skin was flayed?” Mu Yi asked after nodding.
“Indeed. Please have a look, Master Mu. His facial muscles are taut, and his eyes are full of blood. Those are signs of suffering incredible pain. He died in atrocious conditions. Also, look at his hands, arms, and legs; his muscles are twisted in those areas. Whether muscles are taut or not depends on the temperature too. Muscles are usually lax after death when the body quickly becomes cold.”
“And here, his fingers are wounded. He was a highly skilled craftsman, and such people care about their work more than anything else. Their fingers are their tools, so they take care of them. Therefore, he should have only been injured on his fingers after he died.”
“However, what I don’t understand is that there is absolutely no trace of a blade mark anywhere on his body, but how could the murderer have peeled off his skin without first making a notch?” Song Qi said. He was very detail-oriented and humble.
Without a blade, it was impossible to peel off someone’s skin, unless…
Mu Yi took in all the details and then tried his best to imagine the scene of the horrible murder. Suddenly, Mu Yi vision started to blur and his surroundings began to change.
He was now inside a dark room, and there was a table with a candle flickering in the darkness. He was on a blood-soaked bed and there was black figure towering over him.
He was was suffering through incredible pain as he lay on the bed, but he was trapped and unable to make even a slight noise. There was also a woman who was sleeping quietly next to him.
After the figure was done skinning him alive, what did the shadowy figure do? He took his time to admire his artwork, then pierced his finger into Mu Yi’s heart, and slowly licked the blood off the tip of his finger.
As he raised his head, there was only a pair of eyes devoid of color staring through the darkness.