When A Snail Falls in Love - Chapter 15[Updated at: 2021-01-11 09:54:54]
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
The morning light was just beginning to cut through the fog, making the silent Lin An Mountain look like a painting.
There were many mountains and rivers to the south, but Lin An Mountain was just one of the ordinary mountains in the suburbs of Lin City as it had not yet been developed as a tourist attraction. If not for the homicide case, even a local like Xu Xu would have been oblivious to the luxurious villa hidden on the hillside.
When Ji Bai and Xu Xu arrived, there were already a few district police officers at the scene. The other members of the Criminal Police Unit were on their way.
While hidden from view by closely-packed trees, a path paved with white cobblestone connected the villa and the highway. The villa covered a wide area and was surrounded by high walls and a huge metal gate. A policeman ran up to Ji Bai as they arrived and reported, “The security system in the villa is not working as it has been destroyed. This allowed them to open the door.”
Ji Bai nodded and beckoned Xu Xu in.
Along the way, Xu Xu remained quiet. She quickly recalled everything she knew about Ye Zixi and soon felt an indescribable tightness in her chest. When Ye Zixi’s elegant face crossed her mind again, that tightness grew heavier, to the point where she could not speak even if she wanted to.
Ji Bai did not notice the change in Xu Xu’s attitude as he lit a cigarette out of habit and smoked in the car with a distant look.
Even after all these years, every time Ji Bai encountered a homicide case, his heart would always need to steel itself first. That moment was fleeting, and in the blink of an eye, it would pass. Then he would regain his calmness and be able to examine the bloody corpses vigilantly.
The dark brown door was wide opened and the metallic smell of blood mixed with other pungent odors filled the air. As they walked through the long corridor, they saw long streaks of dried blood stains snaking down the snow-white carpet beneath them towards the corpse beside the sofa.
Though she had seen corpses in the police academy before, Xu Xu was speechless as she gazed upon the lifeless body of Ye Zixi. The world around her went dark as she focused in on Ye Zixi’s pale, nude, blood-stained body.
There were five stab wounds on her upper arm, thighs and her abdomen from razor blades. The cuts were direct and efficient as if they were used to pin her in place in the pool of blood. Only the wounds on her abdomen were bloody and rough. There was a long, thin wound on the left side of her chest and the dried blood looked like ferocious flowers were blooming from within her.
A white coat was thrown beside her right leg. Half of it had been soaked in the blood which instantly made it stand out as striking yet oddly beautiful.
“Has anyone touched the corpse?” Ji Bai’s calm voice called out, which made Xu Xu instantly snap back to her senses.
“Yes, this guy was the one who found the corpse.” The policeman beside them answered.
Xu Xu and Ji Bai looked towards the direction he pointed at and saw a young man sitting next to the snowy-white wall. He had his head buried in his hands and had not moved an inch since the moment they first entered the house.
Xu Xu’s heart skipped a beat. “Ye Zixiao?”
That person suddenly looked up at them. It had only been one night, but his good-looking face looked completely hollow, and his eyes were bloodshot. “Xu Xu…”
“He’s the one who called the police.” The policeman said.
Ye Zixiao looked stupefied as he watched Ji Bai and Xu Xu walk towards him. He then realized that his entire body had gone so numb that it was now hard for him to even move.
“Mister Ye, please tell the police everything you know.” Ji Bai said.
Ye Zixiao nodded, but his eyes were set on Xu Xu. Xu Xu, on the other hand, could not bear to see him like this. Ye Zixiao’s heart trembled as he muttered, “Xu Xu, Zixi is dead… She’s dead. Gone.”
Xu Xu crouched down in front of Ye Zixiao so that she could be at his eye level before speaking slowly, “I know that you’re very upset. Just calm down and tell us everything you know.”
Her calm, cooling voice seemed to have the power to relax him and was somehow able to ease the huge grievance he felt in his heart. When faced with the death of a loved one, her words that were so cold and biting were nothing but a distant memory.
Ye Zixiao was wild with despair as had a strong desire to pull her into his arms and to greedily breathe in her chilly, soft breath…
He clenched his fist without a sound, then took his phone out from his pocket and passed it to them. “I received a text from her last night.”
Xu Xu took the phone and was slightly stunned, then she passed it to Ji Bai.
“Lin An Mountain. Yue Ma Road. No. 3. Save me.” The sender was Ye Zixi and had apparently been sent at 22:17 last night.
“When did you arrive?” Ji Bai asked in a low tone. Xu Xu was looking at him too.
The police officers had previously already asked him the same question, but Ye Zixiao’s voice was still trembling when he answered again. “I was already asleep so I only saw her text at around five.” Clearly, he was feeling guilty. If he had seen the text earlier, then perhaps Ye Zixi could have been saved.
“Nobody can predict the future,” Ji Bai said calmly, “there’s no need to blame yourself.”
Ye Zixiao smiled bitterly.
Xu Xu asked, “Is this Ye Zixi’s house?”
Ye Zixiao shook his head. “I’m not sure. She had many properties.”
He then went on to tell them everything that had happened in the morning: He saw the text at around five in the morning, then immediately drove over. When he arrived, everything in the house was exactly as they see it now. The only thing different was that the white coat was initially covering her body. At the time, he did not think about evidence tampering as he only wanted to know if Ye Zixi was dead or alive, so he lifted the coat up only to find her stab-wound covered corpse.
“Didn’t you already capture the razor blade criminal?” Ye Zixiao asked with red eyes. “He has an accomplice, doesn’t he? Did they target Zixi just because she survived the last incident?”
Ji Bai and Xu Xu did not answer. When the razor blade case was solved, the police did not announce it to the public but had informed the victims, so they knew that Ye Zixi must have also told Zixiao.
However, the razor blades had now reappeared. On top of that, a former victim had been killed.
At that moment, Zhao Han arrived. Ji Bai instructed him to take Ye Zixiao back to the station to calm him down and to get a detailed statement. Before they left, Xu Xu chased after them and asked, “When you came in, how was the coat covering Zixi’s body?”
Zixiao was stunned. “What do you mean?”
Xu Xu replied, “Was it very messy or very neat?”
Zixiao thought for a while before answering, “Not messy, it seemed like somebody had intentionally covered her as only her arms and calves were exposed. Which is why I… took her clothes off to take a look at her.”
Xu Xu nodded. “Understood.”
Zixiao looked at her again. His heart was aching and the words were at the tip of his tongue.
At last, Zixiao could not hold it in any longer, he reached out and pulled her into his arms. When he noticed that her body was frozen, he took in a deep inhale of her chilly breath, then he immediately let her go. “Thank you, Xu Xu.”
‘This is too suspicious.’ Xu Xu immediately said to herself. When she returned to the house once again, she saw Ji Bai standing in front of the corpse with his hands crossed. Then, he turned to look at her and said in a hoarse voice, “Let’s investigate the crime scene.”
Xu Xu nodded.
Ji Bai became very serious during the investigation, there was not even a hint of his usual casual smile and his handsome face looked as hard as rock. He waited for Xu Xu to return before he started so that she could learn his process when investigating a scene.
Firstly, he fixed his eyes on the corpse, and after pondering for a brief moment, said, “I’ll talk while you note everything down.”
“The living room shows traces of a struggle, while the fatal injury is the one on her chest. This is probably why the deceased had sent a text. The injury resulted in her having breathing difficulties, so she was unable to speak…” His voice was deep to the point where it was almost inaudible as Xu Xu continued scribbling away.
There were many rooms in the villa, but there was only one bedroom, the others were study rooms, restrooms, or undecorated. Ji Bai stood at the door of the master bedroom and peered inside. The room looked elegant and neat and there was nothing unusual about it.
He paused to look at the wardrobe, but just as he was about to walk over, a petite figure suddenly walked passed him right up to the wardrobe. She opened the wardrobe before he did and stroked her chin with one hand as her back faced him. Then, she started to examine the scene carefully.
Upon seeing the little figure obstructing his path, his initially tense heart suddenly relaxed as he found it amusing.
He reached his hand out and lifted her up by the collar, then he put her aside conveniently.
Xu Xu swung around and immediately looked at him unhappily. “What are you doing?”
“Stand behind me.” Ji Bai said.
“Why?” Xu Xu was frowning deeply.
Ji Bai looked at her faintly. “How many times have you investigated a crime scene before this?”
“This is my first time.”
Xu Xu, “…”
Ji Bai went ahead and continued investigating.
Xu Xu, however, voiced her displeasure in a rather calm tone. “The problem is that you’re too tall. I can’t see anything when you’re standing in front…”
“Stand beside me then.” He cut her off without even waiting for her to finish.
Xu Xu immediately took a step forward and stood in front of the wardrobe with him.
Initially, Ji Bai was focused on the investigation, but after a while, he suddenly felt a certain soft touch against the back of his hand. There was a numbing sensation, which distracted him.
As he glanced sideways, he saw Xu Xu looking ahead with her fair, little face. What touched him was her glove-covered fingers.
If it was another woman, then Ji Bai would have quietly backed away, but upon looking at her craned neck as well as her serious posture, he was not too concerned.
After a brief moment, he suddenly felt her moving slightly. When he looked sideways, he could not help but laugh a little because she had now realized that their hands were touching. After which, she frowned and buried her hands into her pockets in an undeniable attempt at avoiding him.
Sometime later, they concluded their findings. The first wardrobe had around twenty pieces of clothing, whereas the other two only had around ten. There was also another shoe rack that was scattered with ladies’ shoes made from various materials.
After investigating the entire villa, they returned to the living room. Other than here, everywhere else seemed clean and orderly. By now, Old Wu and another experienced criminal police officer had arrived and were surrounding Ye Zixi’s corpse to take pictures of it. This made Xu Xu’s chest tighten again, so she turned around to examine the other things in the living room.
The sofa was made of black leather and had no scratches on it, a few works of calligraphy comprised of bold and vigorous strokes hung on the wall, a bowl of vegetable salad and a bowl of sashimi were the sole occupants of the open kitchen counter beside them. The pungent odor they smelled when they entered was actually from the spoilt sashimi. When she opened the fridge, she found that there were still a lot of ingredients inside. This made it clear that the murder case had happened very suddenly since Zixi was still preparing supper when it occurred.
After a few hours, Ji Bai called for a meeting outside.
The forensic detective had come back with the preliminary autopsy result which stated that the estimated time of death was between 9 at night to 4 in the morning, which was in line with the time that Ye Zixiao received the text.
Another officer added, “After initial investigations, we found no fingerprints and no clear sign of the crime scene being cleaned. Originally, the villa had perfect security measures, but the materials in the security room have been destroyed so we’re unable to get any clues from the surveillance videos. People hardly come here, and as a result, we are without witnesses for the time being.”
This meant that after the initial investigation, no valuable material evidence had been found. Everyone fell silent.
It was certainly not a simple case as the culprit had gone through extreme measures to ensure they would come up with nothing. Could it really be another immensely cruel, high IQ criminal who was imitating Yang Yu?
“Captain, what do you think?” Somebody asked.
Ji Bai did not immediately answer. He looked at Xu Xu who was furrowing her brows as she pondered. “Tell us what you think.”
When he said this, everyone looked at her.
Xu Xu was no longer young and inexperienced like she was when she first entered the force. She nodded and began, “I think that the culprit is a person who is close to Zixi. I suggest we start investigating the people close to her.”
“Why?” A criminal police officer asked curiously.
Xu Xu replied, “There are two possible reasons in terms of behavior.”
“Firstly is Ye Zixi’s behavior. The text she sent was ‘save me’, instead of ‘call the police’. This isn’t logical. If Ye Zixi calls the police, then the police in the area would arrive much faster than Ye Zixiao who was in the city could – not to mention they would be able to carry out emergency treatment for her too. Ye Zixi is a quick-witted person, so even if she was dying, I believe that she would have been able to make decisions that were more advantageous to her. This leads me to believe that she didn’t want to call the police, and the culprit is somebody she knows.
“Secondly is the culprit’s behavior. The culprit did not just attack her vital points, he also plunged the razor blade into her corpse. Initially, it just comes off as unnecessary abuse, like a certain ritual or mark of his.
“However, when the eyewitness found the deceased, he stated that her body was covered with clothes. This behavior most likely reflects two kinds of emotions: guilt, or pity. Why would a random feel such emotions for her?”
“Therefore, I think that the murderer has a very complicated relationship with Ye Zixi. As for why he imitated Yang Yu, I’m still not sure either. It could just be to confuse the police.”
While everyone was quietly from listening to her, Ji Bai looked at her with a vague smile on his lips. After hearing everything, Old Wu was the first to speak. “I agree. There are too many suspicious elements to the case as well as a lot of man-made traces. Captain Ji, what do you think?”
Ji Bai nodded. “I agree with her points, but I’ll add on two more.
“One, there could possibly be two culprits, a leader and a subordinate.
“Two, Ye Zixi had a secret love relationship with a man and this was where they would meet. We have to find that man as soon as possible.”