When A Snail Falls in Love - Chapter 3

[Updated at: 2021-01-11 09:54:49]
If you find missing chapters, pages, or errors, please Report us.
Previous Next

Chapter 3

Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation

In truth, Xu Juan had gotten one point wrong, Xu Xu was not entirely inexperienced in relationships. Her heart had once leaped for someone, but it had come to nothing.

When Xu Xu was in her third year of university, she had become an assistant to her professor. She often participated in case analyses and occasionally marked assignments for first or second-year students.

That was when she first noticed that boy’s handwriting.

Her professor was old-fashioned, so he demanded that all the assignments be handwritten. Amongst a pile of irritable, mediocre blue and black scribbles, his writing was to graphology what Mozart was to music; it was composed and understated, with a certain boldness that flowed within it.

Later on, she met him in person. He wore a white shirt with black trousers and thin black-framed glasses. He was also tall and attractive. Not to mention he always showed a shy smile her whenever he referred to her as “senior”.

Xu Xu had never thought about dating somebody younger, but if she ever met one, she knew that good men were basically limited edition, so she had to grab them while they lasted.

She even bought a batch of books to study love and relationships which went through all known factors surrounding both the physiologically and the psychologically side of things. In the end, she stayed up late to draft a detailed plan to go after him and was finally prepared to slowly go in for the kill.

This was when she tasted her first ever defeat in life.

It turned out that the boy was well aware of his charm and appeal, as he was a womanizer. Xu Xu only needed to poke around a bit to find out that he had had three girlfriends in just one semester. Among them were women from the art academy next to theirs. Beautiful ladies with long legs and long hair. Not to mention, he had dated both seniors and juniors.

She had made sacrifices to achieve this triumph but was forced to give up silently. The only drastic reaction that she made was when she donated all of the books to the library on the same night. When she met the boy again in the university compound, she only nodded at him faintly before backing away.

Somebody was once fond of her too. There was a senior researcher that was two years older than her. He was an elegant and upright man with an excellent academic record too. However, he was even more introverted than Xu Xu. On the days leading up to their graduation, he suddenly approached her from behind and placed his hand on her shoulder as he said softly, “To me, you’re different.”

At the time, Xu Xu was busy discussing some crucial data with a group from America, so although his trembling voice had entered her ears, her brain was already operating at full capacity, so she did not process his words.

A couple of days later, her senior left to work in a city in the north and her job came to an end. It was only sometime after when she looked at the pile of books that her senior gifted her did she have the sudden realization, ‘Was he confessing to me that day?’

As Xu Xu reminisced the past, she was very clear that she was naturally not an expert in men-and-women relationships. She also knew that she had to be more active in the dating field.

However, since she had handed over the task of looking for a partner to Xu Juan, she naturally put the matter aside.

Deputy Station Chief Liu Zijiuan was the one who held the position of Captain of the Criminal Police Unit. His office was on the top floor. Ji Bai was the only one who had an individual office in the Criminal Police Unit, while everyone else was in one big building. Xu Xu and Yao Meng sat opposite each other at the two newly added desks near the door.

It was calm and peaceful on the second day of their internship, with no ongoing case to handle either. Just as Xu Xu started up her computer, she received an email from Ji Bai asking when she would hand in her first report.

To normal people, completing a report in one day’s time was considered quite harsh, but Xu Xu relished this kind of stress. After she estimated the workload, she informed him that she would be done by eleven o’clock that night, to which Ji Bai gave her a one-word reply. “Alright”.

The two of them seemed to share a similarity in the sense that they both regarded overtime work as a prerequisite for the job.

Xu Xu started to engross herself in her work. As for Meng who sat opposite of her, other than looking through data, she had nothing else to do. She endured it for a while before eventually walking towards Zhao Han’s desk. “Senior Zhao, can you please assign something for me to do.”

“These are all my individual duties, so how can I assign them to you?” Zhao Han smiled. “You can go examine data.”

Yao Meng frowned and asked again, “What case are you busy with right now?”

“Some cases that were reported to the branch.” Zhao Han casually went through the data in his hand as he continued, “There was a robbery case in a citizen’s house to the south of the city, a citizen who was cut by a razor blade that was left on a bench in Ruiying Park, and an accidental assault case in a car factory… In any case, I’m going to a meeting.” He then stood up and headed for the conference room.

Yao Meng smiled at Xu Xu, then she returned to her seat and continued examining data.

By noon, Xu Xu had already been working continuously for many hours, so she was feeling rather tired. She went to pour herself a cup of coffee but quickly realized that there was nobody else in the building. Meanwhile, the conference room’s door was shut tight, so she knew that they were probably having a meeting.

Since they had not yet participated in official cases, both herself and Yao Meng could not participate in such meetings. Xu Xu paced around the empty office for a while before catching sight of Ji Bai’s office door that was left slightly ajar. She vaguely spotted a slim figure moving about inside.

The office was decorated in an extremely minimalistic and tidy way. It had a square shelf, a square desk, and a hardwood chair. At first glance, the entire room seemed to be composed of straight lines, there were only black, white, and grey colors. All this made it appear very clean and neat. However, when looked at closely, one could spot many disharmonious details: on one of the shelves of the innermost bookshelf was an exquisite black Ferrari car model; a dark grey cloak was lazily draped on the back of a chair; there was an abstract painting on the wall with exaggerated lines against gloomy colors. Xu Xu had no idea what it represented, was it a human or a ghost, or a mountain or void…

“It looks like Captain Ji is a person who abides by the rules but has his own individual character too.” From her own desk, Yao Meng straightened her posture as she wiped her desk with a cloth. She smiled and looked at Xu Xu.

Xu Xu nodded. She was thinking the same thing.

Yao Meng sighed. “Our classmates were so envious of us that we could come to the Lin City Criminal Police Unit, but we don’t even know if Captain Ji will lead us. Senior Zhao mentioned that Captain Ji rarely takes underlings.”

Xu Xu understood at once that Ji Bai had not informed anyone else that he had contacted her.

In the past, the two of them did not interact much in the academy. However, Yao Meng was extremely outgoing and initiative, so she was one of the very few classmates who could talk to Xu Xu. Thus, Xu Xu had no ill feelings towards Yao Meng and felt that she was a very capable lady.

Xu Xu could tell that Yao Meng was very eager to study under Ji Bai, but it was very normal as she felt the same too. Hence, she told her honestly, “Captain Ji called me yesterday and assigned some tasks to me. I think that he’ll probably lead me.”

Yao Meng was stunned and did not hide the disappointment in her eyes well, but she quickly flashed Xu Xu a helpless smile. “Alright, I knew that I couldn’t beat you to it.”

Her frankness made Xu Xu smile too. Yao Meng passed the cloth over to Xu Xu. “I intend to work hard to make full use of this opportunity, so let’s serve to the best of our abilities!”

Xu Xu nodded as she received the cloth before wiping her own desk. As Yao Meng watched her slightly bent over, she smiled and said, “Xu Xu, let’s work hard together. Although we’ll be following different instructors, let us associate with each other more in the future.”

“Alright.” Xu Xu eagerly nodded at her.

That day, Xu Xu sat upright in front of her computer without even leaving for bathroom breaks. On the other hand, Yao Meng was not as warm as yesterday whereby she worked overtime with her colleagues and ordered meals. She took the subway and immediately headed home after work.

Her parents were retired workers from the leather factory and her house was at an old factory dormitory in the south of the city. When she returned home, Yao Meng had no appetite. She ignored her parents’ nagging and went straight to her room and locked the door.

After laying on the bed for a while, she took out her cell phone out and dialed a number that she already knew by heart.

“Hello, Captain Ji.” She was slightly nervous, but she tried hard to maintain her sweet-sounding voice. “I’m Yao Meng, the intern. I’m really sorry to have bothered you, but when I was gathering information today, I encountered a difficult problem. I heard from Officer Zhao that you’re familiar in this area, so I was hoping that you could give me some advice.”

What made her very happy was that Ji Bai had an extremely friendly attitude. After listening to her question, he explained patiently and even complimented her for being so studious. His attitude encouraged Yao Meng, so she gathered her courage and asked, “Captain Ji, I know that you rarely lead interns, but I really hope to learn from you. I was wondering if you could give me a chance?”

Ji Bai laughed on the other end of the phone. “Who told you this? However, regarding the interns, it has already been decided. Officer Wu will be leading you, he’s very experienced – I learned a lot from him when I first arrived at the Police Unit.”

Yao Meng caught her breath for a second before replying, “That’ll be great.”

“Is there anything else?”

“There’s nothing else, thank you.”

After the call, Yao Meng sat at the end of her bed and watched the night sky pass outside her window. Under the cover of darkness, the factory dormitory looked so old, like a deserted ruin. She was so upset that her tears were about to burst out.

A moment later, she took her phone out again and sent a message. “Captain Ji, thank you for your advice. I’ll learn well from Officer Wu and make sure not to disappoint the leaders in the unit. P.S. If I encounter any problems in the future, can I treat you as a teacher and seek your advice too?”

Ji Bai did not reply even after a long time. It was not until after she went downstairs for a brief meal, washed the dishes, and mopped the floor did her cell phone finally beep. She whipped it out and saw Ji Bai’s mundane reply. “Your internship instructor is just a tiny factor for your success. The key to success is your results. There’s no difference between being my apprentice and Officer Wu’s. Work hard.”

Xu Xu returned home after having dinner at the police station. She stayed in a small district known as the Imperial Courtyard Residences. It was a suite that Xu Juan had bought for her at the beginning of the year. The residence was located in a financial district, so it was where elites usually gathered. The security was good, and it was close to where Xu Juan worked.

She reckoned that it was still early, so she changed into a fresh set of clothes, took a towel, put her headset on and left the house. There was a newly constructed park in her district which had a really nice atmosphere. She was planning to run a few laps before returning home to continue working on her report.

The sunset was hidden from her view, but the park still looked green and refreshing. Xu Xu slowly ran along the trails and observed her environment. People were scattered everywhere. There were middle-aged parents, youths, pensioners, and children all doing their own forms of exercise. Most of the other joggers easily ran past her, even if they were kids. Xu Xu increased the volume of the music in her headset and maintained a uniform pace as she ignored this fact and focused on absorbing the surrounding view through her eyes.

It was the most relaxing time of her day, so she would sometimes get distracted. When she was interested, she would observe the people around her and analyze their behaviors to her heart’s content. She liked to imagine the kind of people they were.

The first lap.

A father and son duo sat on a gentle slope to the right of the trail. The child was laughing as he pointed at her after which his father smiled too. Xu Xu took an indifferent glance at the child, but she could guess that the child was laughing at her funny running speed, which made her a little embarrassed.

In the pavilion, there was a white-haired elder who was holding onto a radio with squinted eyes.

Under the phoenix tree, there stood a man and a woman conversing happily. The woman was in her thirties, whereas the man seemed to be in his twenties, their posture showed that they were close but not intimate. They were probably siblings.

The second lap.

The father and his son held hands as they stood up. They were probably planning to return home. The child laughed at the sight of Xu Xu again as Xu Xu turned her head to avoid their gaze.

The white-haired elder in the pavilion had left.

The man and woman were still at the same place, but they had now sat down.

The third lap.

The sky was getting dark and there were fewer people in the park. There were only office buildings and high-end residential buildings nearby, so when it was nearing night time, there were not many people who came to the park.

Only the man and woman were left by the grassy slope. They lowered their heads and conversed. The man placed his hand on her shoulder and laughed as he said something. The woman laughed as well as she leaned onto the grass behind her in an elegant and graceful manner. She looked quite beautiful in that position.

Xu Xu looked away indifferently to grant them their privacy.

Suddenly, the woman’s loud screams pierced her eardrums.

Xu Xu stopped and turned to look. She saw the woman’s mouth wide open as she raised her right hand up. Her palm looked badly injured and there was blood was spurting out of her wrist. The face of the man beside her suddenly changed too.

Xu Xu took her off the headset and dashed over.

If she had seen correctly, the woman’s artery had been cut. All this happened in the blink of an eye.

When she was running, she suddenly recalled what Zhao Han had said that morning. “… A civilian was accidentally cut by a razor blade that was left on a long bench in Ruiying Park…”

Was this not an accident?