When A Snail Falls in Love - Chapter 18

[Updated at: 2021-01-11 09:54:55]
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Chapter 18

Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation

Ji Bai did not intend to alarm anyone who was irrelevant nor inform his family after returning to Beijing this time round. After getting off the plane, the two of them grabbed a taxi and went straight to the guest house provided by the Public Security Bureau in Nan Cheng.

The evening in the capital city Beijing was noisy and crowded, and the high-rise buildings were covered in a glossy golden sheen under the beautiful sunset glow. The guest house was located in a very inconspicuous white five-story building. A very old red-colored carpet was laid out on the floor and the wall was still covered by a yellow 90s-style wallpaper. In addition to this, the receptionist at the front desk of a government enterprise had an unconcerned attitude.

Nonetheless, both Ji Bai and Xu Xu did not really care about this. They booked two rooms, took their luggage upstairs and entered their respective accommodations.

Ji Bai took a shower and changed into a loose t-shirt and long trousers. Right after he turned on his computer, someone knocked on the door.

It was Xu Xu, and she was standing in the doorway while carrying a laptop. She had an indifferent look on her tiny pale face as she asked him, “Are we working at night too?”

She had also just taken a shower and changed into a t-shirt and casual pants. Her short wet hair was sticking to her fair forehead messily and her refreshed eyes looked extraordinarily glossy and clear.

Her eyes almost looked like that of a small animal.

Ji Bai moved his gaze away from her face, turned around and allowed her to enter the room.

It was a three-star guest house and the room was extremely small. There were only two mahogany chairs in the place. Ji Bai placed his luggage on one of them and was currently sitting on the other. Since Xu Xu’s main focus was on work, she was not bothered by such a small matter. She sat on the edge of the bed, switched on her laptop and started discussing work with him.

Since the two of them were in Beijing at the moment, the matters in Lin City were beyond their reach. All they could do now was to keep working on the case to see if they could find any other clues. After discussing for a while, they did not discover any new information, so they simply stopped. Xu Xu did not plan to return to her room as she continued to look at Ye Zixi’s financial information on her computer. Ji Bai, on the other hand, leaned back on his chair and looked at the night sky through the window while quietly drinking his tea.

The room was peaceful and the yellow lights gave off an old-fashioned warmth. Ji Bai swept his gaze across the room and saw Xu Xu sitting on the white bed. The slightly loose T-shirt that she wore made her look even smaller and softer than usual. There was even the faint aroma of shower gel in the air… The atmosphere of the whole room seemed to have gotten gentler and cleaner now.

Right then, the sound of a phone call broke the silence of the room. Xu Xu raised her head and looked at Ji Bai with her dark eyes. Ji Bai looked back at her in the eyes before picking up the phone and turning around to look out the window.

It was Shu Hang. Ji Bai gave him a call before the coming to Beijing. He was just like Ye Zixi as he also graduated from H University. Since he had many connections, things would go much smoother with his help.

Shu Hang was a smart man. He agreed to go to H University with Ji Bai tomorrow and did not ask any other questions. Then, he laughed and invited Ji Bai to go out for a drink.

Naturally, Ji Bai refused, “I don’t have time for that. You guys have fun.”

Shu Hang was quite persistent and laughed off the rejection. “Come on, every minute of the night is precious. Your people will forgive you for not working with unwavering devotion for just one day.”

“Piss off,” Ji Bai said, then he hung up the phone.

Initially, Xu Xu did not want to listen to him talk on the phone. However, when she heard him say “piss off” in such a playful tone, she was a little surprised. She raised her head once again and saw Ji Bai’s tall body leaning against the chair. There was a carefree smile on his handsome face, which was completely different from the usual stern and cold look that he normally showed.

So, this was what Ji Bai looked like during his private time.

Xu Xu lowered her head and continued working.

Who would have expected the sound of the car engines and honks coming from downstairs to suddenly interrupt their peaceful night? Several car headlights cut through the night as the courtyard of the small guest house instantly became lively. The people below were yelling, “Third brother, third brother!” Someone must have bribed the staff of the guest house because no one came out to stop them.

Ji Bai looked at the scene they were making and could not help but laugh. Xu Xu thought that it was none of their business since she did not even know that the “third brother” they were crying out for was, in fact, the person in front of her. She ignored the noise and acted as though they did not exist.

After a while, someone knocked on their door.

When Shu Hang entered the room, he was surprised to see Xu Xu there. Even though he knew that Ji Bai had a female apprentice, he was shocked to find a woman in Ji Bai’s room late at night, moreover, they were dressed in casual clothes…

Ji Bai smiled lightly and introduced the two of them.

After this, Xu Xu put away her laptop and said, “Captain Ji, I’ll return to my room first.” Before Ji Bai could nod his head, Shu Hang interrupted her, “Officer Xu, how could you. You are my guest and Beijing welcomes you…”

Normally, it would be impossible for Xu Xu to “go out” with a bunch of strangers. Though Shu Hang was a clever and eloquent man, the reason he was able to convince Xu Xu to go out was because he gave her a very convincing reason, “If you don’t go with us, what if the others get third brother drunk? How can he possibly investigate the case properly tomorrow? They’re not like me, who fully supports third brother’s work. If you’re going, then the others will hold back a little since you’re a girl. Moreover, you can send Third Brother back in the event that he gets drunk so that it does not affect tomorrow’s work.”

When she heard this, Xu Xu looked towards Ji Bai for his opinion. Initially, Ji Bai did not plan to go, but after seeing how they made such a huge scene, it seemed like he had no choice. Thus, he planned to just make an appearance before leaving immediately after.

He had to investigate the case tomorrow, so he would definitely not drink any alcohol nor would anyone dare persuade him to drink. Shu Hang was just talking nonsense. However, if he were to go to a place of merrymaking, he felt like he was abusing a small animal if he were to leave Xu Xu alone in the cold and shabby guest house… Ji Bai’s lips curled up into a smile as he smirked and looked at her. “Let’s go out and clear our minds.”

There were four to five cars parked in the courtyard and many carefree young faces standing under the accompanying streetlights. When they saw Ji Bai walking down the stairs, everyone cheered. Ji Bai scanned through the group of people and realized that he whilst he recognized some of them, there were others still that he had not met before. He smiled and greeted them, then he got into Shu Hang’s car along with Xu Xu.

All of them rushed towards Shichahai and quickly arrived at a bar on the riverbank. The bar had dim lights and antique-looking decorations. It was located quite far away from the source of the music blasting on the other side of the river, so the place seemed quiet and comfortable. Shu Hang walked ahead and soon led the two of them towards a private window seat hidden behind a beaded curtain. As they entered the booth, several men smiled when they saw Ji Bai. Their faces quickly turned to shock when they saw Xu Xu.

One of them hesitated and carefully called out, “Sister-in-law?”

Another person asked cautiously, “An illegitimate daughter?”

A few of them were playing cards, and when Ji Bai arrived, someone gave up their seat for him. Ji Bai graciously took the cards and lit a cigarette before turning his head to Xu Xu, “Do you know how to play?”

Xu Xu replied, “No.”

Ji Bai shot a glance at Shu Hang and he got the hint. Shu Hang asked the waiter to bring over a bunch of snacks and several magazines for Xu Xu. Xu Xu quietly sat on the sofa and started reading the magazines.

Ji Bai and Shu Hang were relatively older and had a higher social status among the group of people. Those sitting around the sofas were their juniors of lower social status. Ji Bai saw a teenager among them and asked one of his childhood friends, “Where did you find all these young kids.”

His childhood friend, who went by the nickname “Monkey”, was lean and handsome. He smiled and nervously shrugged, “My mom told me to bring them out. They heard that you were coming back today and were begging to see the legend himself.”

As expected, after a while, some people proposed a toast. Some of them were young men with a proud temperament whilst others were young beautiful ladies. Ji Bai smiled and picked up a cup of tea, “I can’t drink any alcohol today.” Some of the ladies did not want to give up, but Monkey smiled and swiftly intervened, “Stand aside, are you willing to bear the responsibility of hindering a policeman’s official duty?”

The girls blinked and soon grumbled off.

Xu Xu heard this and felt relieved as the situation was not as bad as what Shu Hang had made it out to be.

After a while, someone came to Xu Xu and asked while smiling, “We’re playing dice, do you want to join us?”

Xu Xu smiled and shook her head. “Thank you, but I won’t be joining.”

That person did not insist and continued playing. Yet from time to time, people would look at her. A bar full of fashionably dressed men and women and she was the only one in a simple white shirt and long pants. She was sitting in the corner of the room, bare-faced and with a serious expression. She did not care about how she looked, but in other people’s eyes, she was like a lonely misfit.

Shu Hang looked at her briefly before asking Ji Bai, “Are you sure it’s okay?”

Ji Bai looked at Xu Xu, squinted his eyes and took a drag of his cigarette. “It’s fine.” After all, she liked to be left alone and she would feel uncomfortable if she was forced to join in.

Monkey suddenly stood up, “This won’t do. How can we leave a guest out in the cold? I will go and keep her company.” After saying this, he swaggered his way towards Xu Xu.

Everyone laughed, and someone said, “Third Brother, Monkey has played with a lot of girls. If you don’t stop him, then your little apprentice might suffer.”

Ji Bai did not even raise his eyebrow as he commented, “He might not be the one who ends up suffering.” Then, he continued with his game.

Ji Bai had a big victory in the first round. He inadvertently raised his head and saw Monkey’s hand on the sofa behind Xu Xu while he laughed and spoke to her. Xu Xu did not have any expression on her face, but she was clearly a little annoyed as she moved her body to the side a bit. As though she noticed Ji Bai’s gaze, she suddenly stared back at him. Her dark eyes seemed a little embarrassed yet dependent, as if she was pleading with him.

In truth, Xu Xu was not dependent on him. However, Ji Bai was the only person that she knew in this place and she could not be arbitrarily rude to his friend. Thus, she was waiting for Ji Bai to come forward and ask this absurd guy to leave.

After Ji Bai looked her in the eyes, he called out, “Xu Xu, come here.”

Xu Xu immediately got up and walked over to Ji Bai. Monkey smiled and followed suit. The group of people at the table sort of understood what was happening and just began laughing.

Xu Xu walked over to his side. “Captain Ji.”

Before Ji Bai could say anything, Shu Hang smiled and looked at her, “This is not the police station, why are you calling him Captain Ji. Everyone calls him Third Brother Ji here.”

Xu Xu, “Oh. Third Brother Ji.”

Ji Bai raised his eyebrow and looked at her.

Third Brother Ji.

He had already been addressed by his intimate name countless times in the past. Even so, it was the first time that someone had said it so dull and rigidly. Yet, her soft voice and peaceful tone were like a thin feather that gently stroked his heart. It felt a little foreign but… oddly comforting.

He nodded lightly and looked towards Shu Hang who was sitting in front of him, “Get up and let her take your seat.”

Shu Hang was taken aback. “Ah?”

Before he could react to it, someone had already jokingly pulled him out of his seat.

Xu Xu was hesitant and immediately started frowning. “I don’t know how to play poker.”

Ji Bai smiled, “You can learn. This will train your logic.”


They were playing a double Q upgrade. Ji Bai teamed up with Xu Xu and the other two people teamed up together. Xu Xu was learning how to play in her first round, so she naturally lost terribly. Even Ji Bai’s winning streak ended because of her. The people around cheered loudly because Ji Bai who was normally really good at playing tricks had an unbeatable record.

Ji Bai was not in a rush, so all he did was tell Xu Xu to memorize the cards. The second game went better and they only lost by a small margin. In their third game, they actually won a little as some people hesitantly looked at Xu Xu. “Did you really just learn this today?”

Xu Xu nodded her head. “Yes. I just thought about how to count the cards.”

Ji Bai smiled lightly. “Don’t show them any mercy. We need to absolutely destroy them, then we can go back and rest.”

Xu Xu nodded her head aggressively once more. “Understood.”

Everyone else fell silent.

As a result, they won eight more rounds in a row and, by now, were not too far away from victory. Nonetheless, even if their opponents were not as skillful as they were, there were times when they got really lucky. During that round, Xu Xu had hesitated about the last few cards. She was not as skillful as the others, but if she took a risk, then she might have a shot at victory. But before that, she had to check: was Ji Bai giving her any hints?

She thought about this and raised her head to look at Ji Bai. Originally, Ji Bai was lowering his head to drink his tea and look at the cards, but he suddenly looked up at her. The two of them locked eyes for a split second, then they both lowered their head again as they got the hint.

In the end, they won that round.

The two of them followed the same strategy every time they encountered a risky situation. They would both exchange glances calmly and easily understood each other despite the complicated strategies. Ji Bai always had a carefree look on his face and Xu Xu lowered her head most of the time, so no one actually noticed their little tricks.

They completely destroyed their opponents in the last round. Monkey threw the poker cards and rubbed his temples anxiously. “F*ck, I feel very insulted playing this game. I don’t want to play with you bullies anymore. I’ve been in the poker field for ten years and it’s my first time that my pride has been shattered so badly.” The other person also sighed deeply.

Ji Bai smiled, looked at his watch, then got up and prepared to leave.

Xu Xu also stood up, but after seeing them like this, she spoke guiltily, “You don’t have to be depressed. First of all, Third Brother Ji and I have a stronger memory and higher computing power because we have undergone professional training. Moreover, when we were playing cards just now, we exchanged…”

Before she could finish talking, a big and dry hand that reeked of cigarettes covered her mouth. Xu Xu frowned slightly as Ji Bai pulled her backward. Then, he smiled and waved to everyone, “We’ll be leaving now since we still have work to do tomorrow.”

After they got out of the bar, Ji Bai smiled and looked down at her. “How can you be so honest? Do you think they would have let us go if we didn’t absolutely crush them?”

Xu Xu’s eyes widened as she suddenly understood. “I see.”

Ji Bai looked at Shu Hang and they both laughed. After this, Shu Hang drove them back.

The car quietly sped through the chilly night in Beijing city. Xu Xu leaned back on the rear seat as she looked out the window. She was a little tired, so she did not say anything. Meanwhile, Ji Bai and Shu Hang had been chatting throughout the entire car ride.

Xu Xu learned that Ji Bai was very different when he set aside his identity as the captain of the Criminal Police Unit. He seemed carefree, sharp, and even a little jokingly cynical.

It was not difficult to understand why he had decided on a split persona since he held an important post in the Criminal Police Unit at such a young age. He would naturally be able to win the crowd or terrorize the criminals if he maintained a stern and strict attitude in his professional life.

However, Xu Xu noticed that although he seemed to be smiling tonight, the cold and unconcerned look in his eyes was even more prominent. There was a kind of intimate yet far-off look in his eyes as he chatted merrily with his friend.

She also noticed that although his friends were very enthusiastic and concerned about him, no one asked about his work. It was likely that no one really understood or was interested in what he was doing.

They all saw him as a legend, but he was also a legend that was drifting away from their circle. It is possible that the remaining unruliness, carefreeness, and cynicism in him would disappear altogether in the near future. When that happens, all that would be left would be the tenacious and cold criminal police captain that she was so familiar with.

When Xu Xu thought about this, she felt a great respect for Ji Bai. When she looked at his handsome faintly smiling face in the night, she saw a heart-warming determination.

“We’re here,” Shu Hang smiled as he stopped his car by the curb. Moments later, a young man in uniform walked over to open the door for Xu Xu and Ji Bai.

Xu Xu was slightly stunned and did not move. Ji Bai, on the other hand, got out of the car and immediately saw a brightly-illuminated five-star hotel staring right back at him. He slowly turned to look at Shu Hang with a confused look on his face.

Shu Hang laughed as he opened the trunk and took both of their luggage bags out, “It’s your first time bringing your apprentice to Beijing, so how we can let her live in a guest house? I’ve helped you check out from the guest house and booked you into a presidential suite. Besides, this place is also closer to H University. Sleep well, I will pick both of you up tomorrow at 8 in the morning.”