When A Snail Falls in Love - Chapter 17

[Updated at: 2021-01-11 09:54:54]
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Chapter 17

Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation

The sound of footsteps slowly approached Xu Xu before she noticed the familiar black shirt and the faint smell of tobacco… After seeing him, Xu Xu suddenly calmed down. The intense emotions in her head quickly disappeared like fog under the sun.

What did she just do to Yao Meng? She had actually vented her emotions onto someone else.

She stared at the Ji Bai’s leather shoes and mumbled, “Sorry, I will apologize to her.”

Ji Bai replied, “Okay. What else?”

Xu Xu was stunned. She clenched her fist which was resting on top of her knees. Of course, Ji Bai did not miss this detail and ruthlessly asked, “Why didn’t you point out Ye Zixi’s secret love relationship at the crime scene?”

Xu Xu was frightened and quickly spat out an answer. “I didn’t know. Do you think that I would deliberately hide it?”

Ji Bai stared at her from above. “Indeed, you didn’t know. This is because you subconsciously didn’t want to believe that she would have a secret lover. Therefore, you turned a blind eye to the dead giveaways.”

Xu Xu remained silent for a moment and answered, “Sorry, it will not happen again.”

In reality, she had already realized that she missed the point when Ji Bai had mentioned the “secret relationship” at the crime scene. However, she did not think too much about it until Ji Bai pointed it out. She quickly understood that her emotions had affected her judgment.

She lowered her head when she said this. From Ji Bai’s point of view, he saw the girl hunch her slender shoulders slightly and shrink. Her soft hair was sticking to her forehead until her pale facial contours and slender neck could barely be seen. Instead of looking like a woman, she looked more like a thin and stubborn teenager.

Despite what he said, Ji Bai was actually very satisfied with her performance today considering that it was her first time seeing a murder crime scene and the deceased victim was her friend.

Even so, he had to do his duty and educate her.

In truth, he initially wanted to continue to lecture her. However, after seeing how she closed herself up, he suddenly lost the will to go on.

Since he stopped talking, Xu Xu thought that he was done. When she was just about to get up and leave, something flashed in her eyes as Ji Bai decided to squat down next to her.

His dark eyes looked into hers as he stared at her thoughtfully.

Both of their faces were very close and Xu Xu was flabbergasted. She looked back at Ji Bai who was tall and huge squatting in front of her so quietly. It felt very…odd.

The two of them looked into each other in the eyes for a moment before Ji Bai muttered softly, “Stop crying, just don’t let it happen again.”

Xu Xu was silent.

In truth, she was initially not able to control her tears, but she quickly suppressed it. Nonetheless, the moment of weakness had caused her eyes to become red and swollen.

After being speechless for a short while, she frowned and turned her head away from Ji Bai. “I stopped crying a long time ago.”

Ji Bai looked at how embarrassed she was and smiled. As he was about the get-up, he unconsciously looked downward.

The skin around her neck was fair and thin such that even the light green veins could be seen. Probably due to the fact that she was embarrassed, but her tiny face was red from her ears all the way to the bottom of her neck. He had never seen someone with such delicate and fragile skin – it was as if it would tear apart at the slightest touch.

Since he was squatting in place without moving, Xu Xu sensed his gaze and turned her head around once more. “Why are you looking at me?”

Ji Bai shot a look back at her and asked calmly, “What do you think?” Then he stood up and left.

Xu Xu thought that he might have been examining her, so she also got up and followed him back to the office.

As soon as they entered the office, Ji Bai sensed the tense atmosphere. Zhao Han was squinting his eyes at him and several criminal police were also looking in their direction. He averted his gaze and saw Yao Meng sitting at her seat. She was staring at the screen while typing, but her eyes were bright red.

Ji Bai ignored them and went directly to his office. After a while, he heard Xu Xu’s soft voice say, “Yao Meng, are you free right now? Can we…”

Ye Zixiao was sent home by a police car. The Ye Family’s Mansion was dead quiet during the day as the sun beat down heavily on the estate. He had only laid in bed for a short while before his door was pushed open.

It was his father, Ye Lanyuan. He saw his youngest son’s gray-looking face, smiled, and sat at the foot of the bed. “Why aren’t you at the company right now? Why are you hiding here?”

Ye Zixiao sat up but could not look his father in the eye as he delivered the bad news. “Dad… Zixi is dead.”

Ye Lanyuan’s face instantly stiffened.

Ye Zixiao took a deep breath and continued, “She was murdered. It may have been an accomplice of the blade injury culprit from the past…” As he spoke, he started sobbing a little.

Ye Lanyuan was 65 years old this year, but since he took care of himself, he still looked like he was in his early fifties. However, at this moment, perhaps because he was trying too hard to control his emotions, all the wrinkles on his face began trembling.

He stopped talking to Ye Zixiao and did not ask any questions. He simply stood up and slowly walked out of the room with solemn steps. Ye Zixiao saw his father’s wobbly back from behind. Ye Lanyuan seemed even more sluggish and old than he had ever been.

Soon, the police made a phone call to the Ye Mansion and Ye Lanyuan picked up. That evening, he did not go downstairs to eat dinner.

When Ye Zixiao walked to the dining room, everyone else was there.

Even though he took a shower and changed his clothes, his face still looked very pale. The third child, Ye Qiao glanced at him and asked, “Where is Zixi? Didn’t she come home with you?”

Instead of answering her immediately, Ye Zixiao walked towards his seat and sat down. Everyone was used to his temper, so they ignored it. As they were about to start eating, they heard him say, “Zixi is dead.”

Everyone immediately put their chopsticks down and turned their heads to look at him.

The dining room was terrifyingly silent. Only Ye Zixiao picked up the chopsticks and began to eat.

The eldest child, Ye Ziqiang was the first one to break the silence, “Fourth brother, what kind of joke is this?”

Ye Zixiao slammed the chopsticks on the table and shouted. “Do I look like I’m joking? Are you happy now? You’ve always suspected that Zixi had come back because she was after the family’s wealth. Now that she’s dead, you should be relieved.”

Ye Ziqiang’s face instantly turned bright red. “You, you…”

“Zixiao” Ye Qiao was the one who interrupted him. “What the hell are you talking about? What happened to Zixi?”

Ye Zixiao looked at her coldly and growled, “Third sister, how many tricks have you played on Zixi’s business over the past few years? Aren’t you thinking the same thing as big brother? Now that she’s dead, do you feel guilty about what you’ve done?”

The look on Ye Qiao’s face changed as her jaw dropped.

The room was pin-drop silent once again and the atmosphere grew even tenser than before.

Soon, Ye Zixiao took a deep breath, calmed himself down and said, “Zixi was murdered last night.”

He did not want to mention the text message or even the state of Zixi’s body. He only told them, “I was taken by the police for interrogation. The murderer should be related to the previous blade injury incident. The police are investigating the murder as we speak.”

The look on everyone’s faces was indescribable as no one said anything.

After a while, the third brother-in-law, Zhang Shiyong said in a deep voice, “Have they caught the murderer?” His voice became colder and he asked again, “What is the police doing?”

Zixiao had always respected this brother-in-law, so he shook my head and said, “Not yet. It’s not the culprit from before. That person has already been caught, but they suspect that it might be his accomplice this time. They’re monsters.”

Everyone stopped talking as the room became gloomy and dull. After a while, the second sister, Ye Jin who had been silent all this while, put down her chopsticks. “I am full.” Her husband, Wu Xie looked at her basically untouched meal and rubbed her shoulder. “You ate too little.” Ye Jin shook her head, got up and walked towards Ye Zixiao. She put her hand on his shoulder but her eyes were already red.

The gentle and introverted second child was never one for words. Nevertheless, other than Ye Zixi, she had the best relationship with Zixiao. Zixiao held her hand softly and sighed. “Second sister…”

As the Ye Family ate their dinner in the gloomy atmosphere, the news of Ye Zixi’s death began spreading. The police unit had canceled all holidays and began investigating the case all day and night. Xu Xu sent a text message to Xu Juan telling him that she would be busy over the next few weeks and to not contact her unless it was absolutely necessary. Xu Juan was used to this, so he replied her with an “okay” and gave her space.

After a whole day and night of investigating, the criminal police unit held a meeting at noon the next day.

The first one who reported was Old Wu. He was in charge of the investigation of Ye Zixi’s relationships which was conducted with another criminal police officer alongside Yao Meng.

“We asked the relatives, friends, and colleagues of the deceased. The deceased was very popular and she had not been in any major fights with other people. Moreover, everyone claimed that she was single and no one was aware that she had a boyfriend recently.”

Everyone was somewhat disappointed with the result.

After this, Yao Meng added, “We have applied for a warrant to allow us to go through the personal information of the deceased, which includes email records, communication records and consumption records. If the secret lover really does exist, then it would be impossible to not leave behind any trace.”

Ji Bai nodded and Xu Xu quickly took down the minutes of the meeting.

Since Ye Zixi was a celebrity in the business circle, Da Hu went on to investigate the economic field along with Zhao Han.

Da Hu solemnly reported, “The deceased was responsible for the group’s overseas investments and her performance was very good. There were some failed investments, but overall there was nothing weird about it…”

Ji Bai interrupted him. “What kind of failed investments?”

Da Hu answered, “There were losses in the real estate sector and also the export trade. The biggest failed investment last year caused them to lose about 100 million US dollars. Their partner is a wanted European-born Chinese who ran off with the money… However, that amount of money is a drop in the ocean for the Longxi Group.”

Xu Xu nodded while she listened. So far, there was nothing out of the ordinary.

At this time, Zhao Han stood up and said, “I found a copy of some early information on the Longxi Group.” He then distributed a copy to everyone in the room. Xu Xu went through it quickly and soon found some clues.

The first legal representative of the Longxi Group was not the current chairman, Ye Lanyuan, but a man who went by the name Ye Lanzhi. As she was about to speak up, Ji Bai asked, “Is Ye Lanzhi the father of Ye Zixi?”

Zhao Han nodded and explained, “When Ye Zixi was three, her father passed away and her uncle, Ye Lanyuan became the legal representative. At that time, the company did not have a shareholding system. Later on, after the company was listed, Ye Zixi was entitled to significant amounts of shares when she became an adult.”

After hearing this, everyone thought the same thing. Could Zixi’s death be related to the family’s internal financial dispute?

Ji Bai was silent for a moment and looked towards Old Wu. “Do the members of the Ye Family all have alibis?”

Lao Wu flipped through the notes in his hand and replied, “The forensic doctor estimated that the time of death was between 9.00pm at night to 5.00am in the evening. The time period is a little large, and most of them claimed that they were sleeping at home. Further investigation is needed to get a more accurate alibi.”

Da Hu said, “The text message was sent at 10.17pm. According to the forensics report, it was impossible for the deceased to survive more than an hour after being heavily injured in the chest. Hence, can we deduce that the time of the death of the deceased was between 10.00pm and 11.30pm and focus on checking the alibi of the suspects during this time period?”

Zhao Han immediately asked, “Could it be the murderer who sent the text message to confuse us?”

“Not likely.”

“It’s possible.”

Two voices were heard at the same time. It was Xu Xu and Ji Bai.

Everyone was stunned. Ji Bai’s authority was known among the police unit and everyone recognized Xu Xu’s outstanding performance ever since she joined the force. Some believed that Ji Bai was a golden bastion and the ideal mentor whilst others claimed that the apprentice had exceeded her teacher. They did not think that the two of them would ever clash opinions in public.

Ji Bai took an amused glance at Xu Xu, but Xu Xu did not look at him at all. She was still pondering with a serious look on her face.

At this moment, Yao Meng raised her hand, “I also think that the possibility is quite low. The deceased should be the one who sent the message.” Then she looked towards Xu Xu next to her with an encouraging look on her face. Xu Xu saw the look on her face and nodded.

Two criminal psychology graduates were opposing the captain’s opinion together. Everyone was very interested in how it would go, so Ji Bai fulfilled everyone’s curiosity by gesturing at his apprentice. “Xu Xu, you go first.”

Xu Xu answered, “The text message revealed the relationship between the murderer and the deceased. The murderer is a highly intelligent criminal who carefully planned the murder. He also deliberately made the crime scene look as though it was related to the blade injury incident. Therefore, the culprit would not have left such an obvious loophole.”

Yao Meng added on, “I have the same opinion. Also, if the murderer wanted to send a text message, then why not send it with more vague content? It doesn’t matter as long as it achieves the purpose of messing up the time of death.”

After listening to the two of them, many people nodded in agreement. Then, they all looked towards Ji Bai.

Ji Bai smiled and his long dark eyebrows raised slightly. His gaze fell on Xu Xu and he began speaking. “The two of you are talking about an idealized situation, but we’re still not sure about how the murder happened. We can’t rule out any accidental factors that could have made the murderer send such a text message. Not to mention, there might actually be a second murderer.”

Everyone slowly nodded, and Ji Bai changed the conversation, “However, I agree to focus on the Ye Family’s alibis between 10pm to 11.30pm. The two of you should take a look at the communication records linked with Ye Zixi’s mobile phone number.”

Xu Xu flipped open the documents in her hand. They confirmed that the text message was sent at 10.17pm alongside the cell station code. (TN: Each area has a specific cell station code. By looking at the cell station code, one will be able to tell which area it had been sent from) At first glance, there was nothing strange about the incident.

Ji Bai continued, “This cell station code is located within the boundaries of Lin An mountain. This confirms that the text message was sent from the location of the villa. According to the record, the mobile phone’s signal also disappeared at around 11pm.”

Xu Xu immediately understood. This meant that during that period of time, at least one of the murderers had to be in the villa. Otherwise, the mobile phone’s signal would not vanish all of a sudden.

However… Ji Bai actually knew that the cell station code belonged to that area with just one glance. Did he memorize the entire communications network layout in Lin City?

It seemed like she needed to work harder.

The new direction of the investigation had been decided, Firstly, they need to continue to search for the secret lover. Secondly, they needed to focus on the Ye Family’s alibis. When Ji Bai was about to dismiss the meeting, his mobile phone rang. After speaking on it for a short while, he hung up the phone and looked towards the crowd. “It’s Ye Zixiao. He said that he’s thought of a person”

Ye Zixiao was not stupid. Over the past two days, he slowly calmed himself down, and after he returned to his senses, he thought to himself, ‘Why did Ye Zixi live alone in a villa deep in the mountains?’

Furthermore, when Ji Bai was interrogating him, he also asked about Ye Zixi’s lovelife.

Could it be that Ye Zixi really did have a lover?

Nonetheless, he recalled something. Two years ago, he had broken up with one of his girlfriends. Just as Xu Xu had assumed, the girl was an arrogant woman and she could not stand his male chauvinist behavior. At that time, he was a little depressed, so he went to look for Ye Zixi for a drink.

While tipsy, he vaguely recalled Ye Zixi leaning against the railing in a long dress. There was a self-deprecating smile in her eyes while she looked at the sky full of stars.

At that time, she told him, “Zixiao, you have not met the right person yet. The feeling that you’re feeling now is not sadness. Trust me, you would rather kill yourself than experience true sadness.”

Ye Zixiao quickly rushed to the police station to speak to Ji Bai and Xu Xu. When he repeated the sentence that Ye Zixi had said, he unconsciously looked at Xu Xu. Initially, Xu Xu was staring at him intently, then he suddenly looked her in the eyes. She seemed to have understood something and lowered her head with no expression.

However, the two of them heard Ji Bai’s low and strong voice interrupt their awkward moment. “Mr. Ye, do you have any other clues? This is equivalent to finding a needle in a haystack.”

Ye Zixiao said that he did not know who the person was, but he speculated that he should be a man that Ye Zixi met when she was an undergraduate student in Beijing. After all, she had not had a boyfriend ever since she returned to Lin City.

After Ye Zixiao left, Ji Bai returned to his office and called for Zhao Han. “I need to go to Beijing today so book a flight ticket for me. I’ll be back tomorrow.” He had made up his mind to make use of some of his connections. If such a person did exist, then he was not missing him.

Zhao Han nodded, “Who are you bringing as your aide?” Previously, whenever Ji Bai took a business trip, he would always take along a young male criminal police officer from the unit.

Ji Bai glanced at the crowd outside and saw Xu Xu sitting at the seat opposite his office door. She moved the mouse in her hand quickly whilst looking through the Ye Group’s information, oblivious to the fact that she was being observed.

After arriving at the airport, Ji Bai sat by the waiting area for a while before spotting Xu Xu holding a travel bag in one hand, and a heavy notebook in the other. He was still busy on the phone, “There’s no need for you to arrange transport to pick me up. I am already here… Xu Juan, I am very busy, goodbye.”

After she hung up the phone, Xu Xu jogged towards Ji Bai. At that moment, the boarding announcement boomed over the intercom and Ji Bai grabbed the two bags in her hands before signaling to her. “Let’s go.”

Xu Xu’s hands were suddenly freed as Ji Bai carried all of their bags with one hand. He looked very relaxed standing amongst the crowd, but still looked tall and handsome.

The atmosphere inside the plane was very peaceful and Xu Xu was quite satisfied with her mentor’s gentlemanly performance outside of their workplace.