When A Snail Falls in Love - Chapter 22

[Updated at: 2021-01-11 09:54:56]
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Chapter 22

Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation

The first person whom Ji Bai and Xu Xu met in the afternoon was the second son-in-law Wu Xie. He was in charge of the food and beverages segment of the company.

Wu Xie sat opposite the two of them in a delicate, elegantly decorated office whilst looking very composed. While he was already thirty-seven years old, his fair skin and good looks made him seem as though he was still in his early thirties.

“What can I help you with?” He smiled vaguely. His tone was polite yet distant.

Ji Bai looked him straight at him in the eye as he spoke, “Following protocol, we need to know about your itinerary during the day of the incident.”

Wu Xie nodded lightly.

His statement was very simple and clear – he had a dinner that day and ate until a little past nine. After this, he arrived home before ten and slept until the morning.

When questioned about Ye Zixi, he answered, “I don’t know her well. With the exception of work-related matters, we basically don’t contact each other.”

After they were done talking to Wu Xie, Ji Bai and Xu Xu shared the same conclusion that he was not nervous, and although he had a rather indifferent attitude, he answered every question smoothly without thinking, so he did not seem suspicious – at least, not at first glance.

Nonetheless, as they considered Ye Jin’s traits, they felt that there was still the possibility that the husband and wife had conspired to commit the crime together. However, they needed to meet everyone to analyze their theory further.

The second person they met was Ye Qiao, the third child.

Among the children of Ye Family, she looked the most outstanding. Since the day of their marriage, Ye Qiao and Zhang Shiyong were known as the perfect scholar and the ravishing beauty – they were the model couple of the Ye Family, their names well known throughout Lin City.

Ji Bai asked her, “Where were you at 7.00pm on the night of the incident until 5.00am the next day?”

“I had dinner with a friend until 9.00pm, then I went home.” Ye Qiao replied plainly. “I woke up at 7 the next day for work.”

“Were there any unusual movements in the house that night?”

“No.” Ye Qiao looked at him unpleasantly. “I don’t quite understand what you are asking. What movements could there be?”

Ji Bai smiled, then he changed the topic. “How’s your relationship with Ye Zixi?”

Ye Qiao took a cigarette out from the cigarette carton on the table, then lit it up and took a drag. “Our relationship is pretty normal.”

Right then, Xu Xu cut in and asked, “Do you know if Ye Zixi had conflicts with anyone? Did Ye Zixi have a lover?”

Ye Qiao took another puff and replied faintly, “I don’t know of any of Ye Zixi’s conflicts as I wasn’t very familiar with her personal life.”

The evening sun was beautiful and warm as Ji Bai and Xu Xu stood in front of the quiet green area on the ground floor. Ji Bai lit a cigarette and asked, “Any questionable points?”

Xu Xu nodded. “Yes. When she answered other questions, she was calmer, but when we mentioned Ye Zixi, she subconsciously answered much slower and clearer, which instead made me feel that she was intentionally controlling her emotions. Perhaps she’s hiding something.”

Ji Bai nodded. “There’s something else, judging from her movements, I suspect that she probably hasn’t been smoking for long.”

Xu Xu’s heart jumped. Normally, adults who were suddenly addicted to smoking and drinking mostly did so to fulfill their needs and to release stress.

Ji Bai smiled. “Young, beautiful, rich. The information we have shows that she’s healthy, and the departments managed by her perform excellently as well. What other reason would cause a woman like her to suddenly start smoking?”

Xu Xu pondered for a while before answering. “Stressful family issues. Are you saying that her husband might have had an affair?”

“I can’t say for sure, but it’s a possibility.”

The two of them fell silent for a while as Xu Xu looked at the wisp of smoke dancing coyly around Ji Bai’s fingers. “What about you? Why do you smoke?”

Ji Bai’s gaze also fell on the cigarette that was quietly burning in between his fingers.

He started smoking when he first entered the Criminal Police Unit. He was in his early twenties when he was forced to face corpse after corpse. He ended up in terrible shape and had insomnia due to the cases, which was why he turned to cigarettes. Later on, it became a habit and he continued to smoke from time to time. He could not cut the habit, but also never even gave quitting it any thought.

Those fleeting thoughts passed through his head for a brief moment before Ji Bai looked at Xu Xu and asked, “Why, you don’t like me smoking?”

Xu Xu looked at him, slightly shocked.

In her heart, Ji Bai had always been a superior, a mentor, a colleague, and a senior worthy of her respect, but she had never thought of him as, ‘Ji Bai is a twenty-eight-year-old handsome, single man who is closely associated with me.’ Even so, she still felt that Ji Bai’s words were a bit off. They were almost like… a tease from a man to a woman?

The strange thought quickly crossed her mind as Xu Xu subconsciously looked at Ji Bai’s eyes and observed his expression. Nonetheless, since Ji Bai was such a matured and experienced person, she was never able to see read his emotions. At that moment, all she could see was the calmness and coolness emanating from his eyes.

Xu Xu naturally felt relieved and concluded that there was no deeper meaning behind what Ji Bai had asked – he was literally asking her whether she liked his smoking habit or not. Hence, she nodded. “I don’t like it. It’s best that you don’t smoke since it endangers your health.”

When Ji Bai was about to reply when Xu Xu’s phone rang. It was a notice from the secretary that they could now meet Zhang Shiyong.

Based on their information, Zhang Shiyong was the second son of another renowned entrepreneur in the city before he married Ye Qiao. Aside from that, he also held a master’s degree from Europe. At the moment, he was responsible for a real estate spinoff of two joint ventures, the project’s potential for revenue was so high that he essentially dominated half of the Ye Group.

His office, on the other hand, was painted with cold tones which made it seem sturdy, extravagant and luxurious. Zhang Shiyong wore a jet black suit and turned around slowly under the lights. There was a joyous look on his face as he greeted them. “Officers, sorry for the wait.”

Even Xu Xu, who was not easily moved by men’s charm, was slightly stunned when she first saw him. This was because both his looks and demeanor were extremely polished and he was radiating with the elegance of a mature man.

“Mister Zhang, sorry for bothering you.” Ji Bai smiled and shook his hand. As Zhang Shiyong looked at him, his smile widened. “Detective Ji, It’s a pleasure to finally meet you.”

Xu Xu looked at Ji Bai’s handsome and pronounced side profile, which was different from the strong aura given off by Zhang Shiyong’s gestures. Ji Bai looked very collected and natural, which made him seem much more grounded. There was a hint of a reserved steadiness in the way Ji Bai moved that was missing in the other man.

When questioned about his itinerary that night, Zhang Shiyong was unflustered. “I had a meeting until eight in the office that night and reached home before nine. As for my alibi after that, I really can’t provide any.”

He answered the remaining questions accordingly, but when Ye Zixi was mentioned, he furrowed his brows a little. “I really admired her, it’s such a pity.”

Ji Bai only had one evaluation regarding Zhang Shiyong. “Watertight. He didn’t accidentally release any information he didn’t want to.”

Xu Xu on the other hand frowned. “If I was Ye Zixi, then I would choose Zhang Shiyong for sure.”

Ji Bai instantly paused as he was about to light a cigarette, then he looked at her and said unhurriedly, “Your assumption is not valid, but your deduction does make sense. Let’s go back to the police station first and gather with the others to discuss.”

In the evening, Ji Bai and Xu Xu first returned to the police station before heading to a small restaurant nearby to await Old Wu and Yao Meng.

Ji Bai tossed the menu to Xu Xu then went outside. After a pondering a long while under the night sky, his thoughts cleared up, so he became more relaxed.

When he returned to the restaurant, Xu Xu looked at him as she was waiting to go through their conclusions for the day.

Ji Bai sat down and spoke. “So far, the second couple and third couple are our best bets. That being said, Zhang Shiyong has the highest possibility of being Ye Zixi’s secret lover and ally.”

Xu Xu nodded. “Whether it’s his character, ability, or his powers in the Ye Group, he’s obviously the best target for Ye Zixi. On top of that, Ye Qiao’s behavior further proves this theory.”

At that moment, the waiter brought them their dishes as Ji Bai held the menu up and asked for a pot of tea. Xu Xu was not as relaxed as he was, so she frowned and continued, “Well, whatever we’re discussing now is just a relative possibility as there’s no proof.”

Ji Bai held his teacup up and shrugged faintly. “There is proof. The proof is on him.”

Xu Xu raised her eyebrow upon hearing this. After all, she was less experienced, so she was clueless about what proof Ji Bai was talking about. Nonetheless, she knew that Ji Bai must be certain since he said this, so she was shocked due to her respect for him.

The night sky outside the window was dark blue in color, whereas the lights inside glowed an auburn color. Ji Bai looked at her distinctive clear eyes, which were clearly filled with admiration as his heart skipped a beat. Everyone else always said that she was a dull person, but her eyes were truly eyes that could speak. It was just that… she herself did not talk much.

Ji Bai’s smile curled upward more at the corner of his lips as he shocked her even more. “By tomorrow, the proof will fall into our hands and the case should be solved within three days. The station chief requested that we crack the case within a week’s time so there shouldn’t be any delay.”

Xu Xu jaw dropped as she stared at him unblinkingly.

Ji Bai could not help but laugh as he tapped on the chair beside him. “Sit over here, I’ll explain it to you.”

Xu Xu was desperate to know the answer so she did not think about the unnecessary requirement of “sitting over here” so that he could “explain”. Instead, she immediately stood up and sat beside him, then looked up at him expectantly.

Ji Bai naturally placed his arm over the back of her chair, then took his lighter out with the other hand and lit a cigarette. He took a drag then exhaled smoke rings. As he was going to start his explanation, he saw Xu Xu looking at the smoke rings whilst frowning. “Didn’t you just say today that you’ll quit smoking?”

Ji Bai looked at the little lady who was just half a foot away from him, and replied leisurely, “Xu Xu, only my girlfriend can control me, my apprentice can’t.”

When Xu Xu heard this, she tilted her head sideways and looked at him curiously.

On that same peaceful night, in the same city, someone was heading down the path of happiness, whereas for somebody else, every minute that passed was tormenting.

In the skyscraper of Ye Group, the third child Ye Qiao stood in her office as she pondered.

Looking down from the full-length french window, the bustling life of the streets below looked like an endless abyss. She smoked a cigarette in front of the glass, and as she was going to put it in her mouth, somebody snatched it away abruptly.

She turned at once and looked at the man in front of her who was forcing a smile. As usual, he looked tall and handsome, his pronounced features that were exceedingly charming reflected faintly off the window. His presence was both irresistible and intimidating at the same time.

Zhang Shiyong looked at his wife who was terrified but trying hard to act calm. He smiled at her calmly then threw her cigarette into the dustbin.

Ye Qiao’s face kept changing until she eventually looked as pale as ghost. Suddenly, she grit her teeth and blurted out two words, “You barbaric animal.”

Zhang Shiyong immediately stopped smiling. He hooked her waist as Ye Qiao tried hard to push him away, only to cause him to grip her even tighter. As he looked at her delicate body trembling in his arms, Zhang Shiyong could not help but suddenly laugh as he lowered his head and bit her neck. “Zixi’s not as beautiful as you, has less shares than you, and she’s not as obscene as you in bed. Now that she’s dead, what are you still dissatisfied about?”