Utilizing great efforts, Zhuang Zhong had finally perfected the corpse record template1 The author used “尸格” which I was unable to find an official translation for. However, a search revealed that it is also called “尸单格” where “格” means grids/tables. So I assumed that it was something like a template with tables that helped in recording details of the corpse. Further details the author provided in the story also supported this idea. In modern times, however, autopsies are usually documented through body diagrams and verbal notes. Content of reports would vary but generally, they include cause of death, diagnoses, toxicology, opinion, circumstances of death, external evidence of injury, samples obtained – evidence, histology, and toxicology, etc. If you are interested, you can try: https://pursuitmag.com/reviewing-and-understanding-autopsy-reports/. Like this, even if the one responsible for the autopsy at that time had no experience, he could still act as a recorder and give others clues if the case was reviewed again or overturned in the future. After all, the living could provide more clues than the dead, and over time, the body would reflect lesser and lesser information.
Sun ChaoYang carefully studied the corpse record template in his hand and nodded approvingly. “It is very detailed. Even if others are not as brilliant as you, they would still be able to draw some information from this template.”
Zhuang Zhong injected, “It is only through standardization that carelessness will not occur among the inexperienced. Nonetheless, this is only supplementary, and the most important thing is for the relevant personnel to deepen their learning of the relevant knowledge. The key would then be on-site investigation.”
Sun ChaoYang paused and continued, “We have a lack of such talent in DaYou due to its taboo nature, and only a few people would study it. This, coupled with the fact that very few people are as talented as you and the idea that parting knowledge to disciples would cause the masters to lose their jobs, have made it more difficult for knowledge to be passed down.”
Zhuang Zhong cupped his hands together and suggested, “I could write a book about everything I know, and if Teacher approves the final product, it can be passed to others.”
An excellent forensic examiner did not necessarily equate to an excellent teacher, and how to teach others was also a skill. Zhuang Zhong admitted that he was not meant to teach others due to his lax thinking, which made it difficult to teach systematically. Besides, during this period of getting along with Sun ChaoYang, he felt that this person was forthright, and he had benefited a lot when learning from him. If forensic science as a field could develop in this world and reduce some unjust cases, he would not have arrived in this far away world in vain too.
Sun ChaoYang was astonished. “Are you really willing to make your knowledge public?”
Zhuang Zhong seriously replied, “It is the greatest wish of this student to redress unjust cases. However, I am only a small force. Only by consolidating the strength of everyone can we eliminate unjust cases in the world. Additionally, it can also deter those who have ulterior motives and assume they have the means to cover up everything. Essentially, it should be known that as long as one commits a wrong, he would not be able to escape justice.”
Sun ChaoYang became excited. “With such thoughts, you will no doubt achieve great things in the future! I will anticipate the day that you finish your book.”
“It is just a record of the experiences of our predecessors. I will also need the help of Teacher when writing, as I am unsure how to explain and express some of the knowledge in suitable words.” After all, Zhuang Zhong was not a native and joined the world late, resulting in a difference in the use of some professional terms. In order for all forensic examiners to be able to read and understand it thoroughly, he must have the assistance of a native.
To that request, Sun ChaoYang was willing and agreed immediately.
As soon as Zhuang Zhong left the Central Judicial Office, he saw Feng Huan on top of a large horse at the door with an arrogant presence.
“Your Highness is looking for me?” Zhuang Zhong greeted as he went forward with a smile.
“After receiving such a big reward, shouldn’t you express yourself?”
“Your Highness’ news source is really accurate. Can’t you let the silvers stay in my pocket longer? Why are you this anxious to rob the poor?”
Feng Huan leaped down from his horse. “Tomorrow, I will take a leave and teach you how to ride a horse and shoot arrows.”
Such words have been said for some months, and they had made several appointments for it too. However, if something did not crop up for Feng Huan, then it would be Zhuang Zhong who was too busy. Currently, it was already approaching summer, and Zhuang Zhong had not even touched a horse or bow yet.
Zhuang Zhong sighed, “If I had known things would turn out this way, I might as well find another master. Doing so, I would have been able to gallop on a horse now.”
“You, this rascal, dare to express your dissatisfaction to this prince like this?”
Unafraid, Zhuang Zhong retorted, “Didn’t Your Highness find joy in it?”
Eventually, the both of them ended up walking side by side with the horse. Although the horse was of excellent quality, the two of them were even more exceptional. Tall and lofty, Feng Huan’s gestures gave off a sense of nobility. Meanwhile, Zhuang Zhong was tall and delicate with an immortal bearing.
After taking a few steps, Feng Huan suddenly said, “Rewards are based on one’s merits. Although you are still young, you should have been promoted in terms of official rank. However, you only obtained monetary rewards. Aren’t you vexed?”
“As a secular person, I find monetary rewards more practical. If I really become an official, social aspects would be involved, and I would not be able to just concentrate on solving cases. Besides, I think my current state is good, as I have freedom and can do what I like. Having been in the countryside for many years also means that I do not understand many things. It is then better to receive more training before taking up heavier responsibilities so that mistakes would not be made. After all, one has to go step by step on their own path. Because Your Highness had a sudden rise, it is more important for you to be firm in your steps now.”
What Zhuang Zhong just said was his innermost thoughts and feelings. When he had looked through the files, he found out that Official DaWei was not a muddlehead at the beginning, and he truly possessed some skills. At the start, Official DaWei was conscientious and worked hard to find out the truth. However, further down the route, he got influenced by the flow of officialdom and became greedier. This, coupled with his weak will, had caused him to end up like this.
Essentially, Zhuang Zhong had the desire to scale upwards, but before he managed to stand firm, he should not possess any delusion to ascend to the top in a leap. Besides, although he has been engaged in forensic work for several years, he has not taken on any leadership role before, and he still had to gain a clear understanding of the situation first.
“This prince did not form the wrong impression about you.” Feng Huan was satisfied and continued asking, “Where do you want to climb to?”
“I once had a brother named YuanJue to whom I owed a great debt of gratitude. He was killed, but I cannot even find a trace of the murderer. I was told that if I could not climb high enough, I would not be able to avenge him.”
“The reason why you indulge in solving cases is to avenge that man?” Feng Huan’s voice was low.
Zhuang Zhong replied frankly, “That is just one of the reasons, as I personally like this field too. However, if it were not for my brother, I would not have bothered to climb upwards. I prefer to focus on my work rather than tangle myself in officialdom.”
“After this year of studies, you can be dispatched as an official, and you have two options. The first is that you can stay in the capital directly. Although you can attain your wish in a single step like this, you will lack power in the future. The other option would be to become a small county magistrate and get through three years in a down-to-earth manner before being called back. At that time, you can obtain my power and not get hindered.”
“I choose the latter.” After saying that, Zhuang Zhong immediately asked, “However, I would not end up staying there until I am old, right?”
After all, being in the imperial court was better than staying in other places. Besides the better benefits it provided, it was also difficult to enter after leaving if one did not have the necessary resources. In the capital, social connections count, and the vacancies were limited, making it difficult for local officials to enter the capital.
Feng Huan put on a haughty appearance. “You are already my people. As long as this prince is around, you would not be able to hole yourself up in that small place even if you are willing. Besides, don’t you have a father who can help you find a way?”
Hearing such words, Zhuang Zhong could not help feeling uncomfortable. However, ever since he willingly followed Feng Huan’s advice and entered the Central Judicial Office, he had already been marked with the symbol of Prince Si Zhao. Moreover, his indifferent relationship with Marquis WenYuan was a well-known thing. Although they were father and son, no one had identified them to be of the same camp.
Nonetheless, even though Prince Si Zhao and Marquis WenYuan were not of the same group, they shared a common facet, and that was their loyalty to Emperor Qian Xing.
“You look down on him, and yet you still let me count on him?”
Feng Huan smiled brightly and hugged Zhuang Zhong’s shoulder. “This is why you should throw yourself into the arms of this prince and ensure yourself a bright future.”
Zhuang Zhong shoved Feng Huan’s arm off his shoulder. “Do not speak in such a dubious way. Others would think that I serve you and gained favor with my appearance.”
Feng Huan grabbed Zhuang Zhong’s chin with his fingers and remarked, “You indeed have a rather beautiful appearance.”
Hearing that, Zhuang Zhong’s eyebrows knitted together. Grabbing Feng Huan’s hand, he then performed an opportune shoulder throw. Meanwhile, Feng Huan, who did not mind going along with it, used his hands to support himself when landing on the ground. In the end, instead of falling spectacularly as Zhuang Zhong intended, he managed to straighten himself up in a dashing manner.
Feng Huan clapped his hands together and was quite surprised. “Unlike your delicate appearance, you are still pretty capable. Just that it cannot be compared to me at all.”
Zhuang Zhong rolled his eyes inelegantly. It was through his interactions with Feng Huan that he realized how different Feng Huan was from the rumors. “Your Highness is brave and skillful in fighting while I am just a weak scholar. How can I compare to you?”
“Addressing me as Your Highness is too unfamiliar. You can just call me Brother Feng in the future.”
Hearing that, Zhuang Zhong roared with laughter and almost collapsed on the road.
Brother Feng, breast enhancement2Here, Zhuang Zhong thought of another word (breast enhancement) that has the same pronunciation as Brother Feng in Chinese. While Feng Huan meant “封兄” (feng xiong) which meant Brother Feng, Zhuang Zhong thought of “丰胸” (also pronounced feng xiong) which meant breast enhancement.?!
Meanwhile, Feng Huan did not understand what happened, but he knew he had made a mockery of himself after seeing Zhuang Zhong laughing like that. Unwilling to lose face, he asked angrily, “This prince allowed us to address each other as brothers because I think highly of you. What are you laughing at? Be serious!”
Zhuang Zhong, who found his own response inappropriate, wanted to restrain his laughter. However, it was really too amusing, and his whole body trembled along with his chuckles.
“Your-Your Highness, it is better for you not to form brotherhood with others in the future. Even being a younger brother would be better than being the older one3Zhuang Zhong meant that if Feng Huan was the younger one in the brotherhood, he would avoid the funny situation of being addressed as “feng xiong” which sounded like breast enhancement in Chinese. This is because instead of “封兄” (feng xiong), he would be addressed as “封弟” (feng di) instead.!”
Feng Huan was extremely furious and squeezed Zhuang Zhong’s neck. “Do you believe that I would not wring your neck if you dare continue laughing?”
It was only after feeling the pressure on his neck that Zhuang Zhong restrained himself.
Zhuang Zhong explained, “This is just a sudden loss of control after hearing your words for the first time.”
“It is better not to ask.”
Despite that, how could Feng Huan agree to drop the matter like this? Eventually, Zhuang Zhong gave him a brief and concise explanation. Feng Huan’s face turned red, and he glared at him. “You really…”
“I told you not to ask.”
“You used to be a little monk. How can you know about such things?”
“When I wander the streets and alleys, I would always hear some gossip in towns.”
Feng Huan coldly hummed, “If you did not take it to heart, how can you remember such things clearly? Don’t tell me that you are interested in women?”
Zhuang Zhong’s baffled gaze swept over Feng Huan. “Your words are really meaningful. As a man, if I am not interested in women, should I be interested in men instead?”
Hearing that, Feng Huan felt inexplicably uncomfortable. “What is the problem with liking men? It is not uncommon for two men to become perfect couples, and the previous high official of the Ministry of Revenue has been in love with his male wife for decades.”
“I did not mean to discriminate against homosexuals. However, from your words, it seems as if I should not be liking women at all. Nonetheless, there are still more heterosexual than homosexual couples.” Here, Zhuang Zhong could not help but laugh. “Why am I talking about such matters with you? It can’t be that you ended up disliking women because of your forced marriage recently?”
After the incident with Fang YingYing, the engagement was deemed invalid, and Imperial Concubine Xian had begun to make arrangements for Feng Huan’s marriage again. This time, she was more cautious and picky than before, appearing as if she was planning to pick a woman who was thousands of times better than Fang YingYing.
“Yes, so you should just marry me and put an end to this.”
Zhuang Zhong, who thought that Feng Huan was just joking, did not take his words seriously. He smiled and replied, “Wait until I cannot find a suitable woman. At that time, I will make do with you.”
“How dare you look down on me! Have you gotten tired of living?”
Feng Huan stepped forward, intending to pinch Zhuang Zhong’s arm, but he dodged. Chasing after Zhuang Zhong, they both ended up tussling together. Through this exchange of blows, Zhuang Zhong, who had practiced for several years, could be seen to have possessed some basic skills, whereas Feng Huan was deliberately giving way with the intention to secretly coach him. Eventually, they only stopped after being drenched with sweat. Even though Zhuang Zhong’s skills were far inferior to that of Feng Huan, he had gone all out. It was unlike others who would have scruples, causing Feng Huan to be in high spirits.
After the fight, they both went to search for a drink in a carefree manner.
“Enjoyable!” Feng Huan downed a mouthful of alcohol before speaking, “Although your martial arts is not good, your techniques are ingenious, and every move was made to hurt. It is just that your foundation is lacking.”
Zhuang Zhong was also aware of it, and he knew that he did not have the inherent strength of the Lu family. Besides, he did not spend much time practicing martial arts, as he focused more on fitness, which made him greatly inferior to Feng Huan.
“Your Highness’ martial arts are exceptional. If you had not given in to me, I would have been knocked down in less than ten moves.”
“Do you want to accept me as a teacher?”
Zhuang Zhong smiled. “How can you be a master of everything? Initially, it was riding horses and shooting arrows, but now it is martial arts.”
“It is because I find you to my liking. I do not spend my spare time on others like this.”
Zhuang Zhong himself also did not know how he managed to gain Feng Huan’s favor. However, such words really gave him a sense of comfort.
As the both of them drank to their heart’s content carefreely, they became dead drunk.
When Zhuang Zhong woke up the next day, he then found himself being embraced in bed with someone else.
- 1The author used “尸格” which I was unable to find an official translation for. However, a search revealed that it is also called “尸单格” where “格” means grids/tables. So I assumed that it was something like a template with tables that helped in recording details of the corpse. Further details the author provided in the story also supported this idea. In modern times, however, autopsies are usually documented through body diagrams and verbal notes. Content of reports would vary but generally, they include cause of death, diagnoses, toxicology, opinion, circumstances of death, external evidence of injury, samples obtained – evidence, histology, and toxicology, etc. If you are interested, you can try: https://pursuitmag.com/reviewing-and-understanding-autopsy-reports/
- 2Here, Zhuang Zhong thought of another word (breast enhancement) that has the same pronunciation as Brother Feng in Chinese. While Feng Huan meant “封兄” (feng xiong) which meant Brother Feng, Zhuang Zhong thought of “丰胸” (also pronounced feng xiong) which meant breast enhancement.
- 3Zhuang Zhong meant that if Feng Huan was the younger one in the brotherhood, he would avoid the funny situation of being addressed as “feng xiong” which sounded like breast enhancement in Chinese. This is because instead of “封兄” (feng xiong), he would be addressed as “封弟” (feng di) instead.