When A Snail Falls in Love - Chapter 33

[Updated at: 2021-01-11 09:55:00]
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Chapter 33



Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation


Ji Bai’s body was beyond exhausted, so he was deep in dreamland.


In his dream, the sunlight beat down on the land as he leisurely sat in front of a pond under the shade of a weeping willow with a fishing rod next to him. A slim lady was crouching down with her back facing him with her head hunched over her body. She was clearly up to something as she kept making sounds like ‘ding ding, dong dong, hua hua, la la’. It was very noisy.


After a while, the lady turned her head abruptly and threw him a large, beautiful silver fish. “Teacher, you’ve worked hard in the investigation, here’s a fish for you.”


It turns out Xu Xu was catching fish.


Slimy fish scales rubbed against his hand, giving him a wet and tickling sensation.


He lowered his head and looked at the half-dead fish sitting in his hand, then he looked at her. “I’m not eating it.”


Xu Xu was surprised and tilted her head in confusion. “Why?”


He looked at her deep and shiny eyes and replied, “A man only wants to eat a woman, I don’t want to eat a fish.”


“Oh…”


He thought to himself, ‘Xu Xu, Teacher wants to eat you, and sooner or later, I’m going to.’



“Captain Ji, you haven’t left yet? Eh, why is the door locked?”


A muffled sound cut short his dream as Ji Bai shuddered and woke up. The sunlight, pond, Xu Xu and the fish in front of him completely disappeared.


Su Mu left his key in the office, so he actually went back to retrieve it. He saw that the lights in the office were still on, so he called out to Ji Bai. However, when he turned the lock, it did not move.


As he stood there in confusion, the doorknob was opened from the inside, and an unfamiliar lady looked at him with a reddened face. “Hello… Please come in.” When he peeped inside again, Ji Bai was just standing up from a chair, and he too was staring at the lady, but with a smile.


Earlier that day, Su Mu had heard from his subordinates that Ji Bai had a love interest in Lin City, and that she was from the City Bureau too. Looking at the scene now: Midnight, a locked office, a single man and a single woman, need he overthink it? It was clear that he had really come at the wrong time.


Upon looking at his expression, Ji Bai instantly realized that he misunderstood the situation. He took another glance at the chair in front of him and the clock on the wall and saw that it was clear that Xu Xu had arrived some time ago.


Had she been quietly sitting by his side this whole time? No wonder Su Mu misunderstood the situation.


The smile on the corner of his lips curled up even more. He could have patiently gone after her in his own low-profile manner, but he would not be responsible for this misunderstanding that she created herself.


He walked to her side and said in a gentle tone, “Xu Xu, this is Captain Su. Greet him.”


To Su Mu, the way he said these words were indicative of a man instructing his own woman. Everything was crystal clear to him. After all, he was a detective of Xiang Chuan County who was quite skilled in deducing theories, so he laughed in joy. “There’s no need to be so polite. This is sister-in-law, right? Hello, I’ll be leaving after I get my key.”


The instant Su Mu had appeared, Xu Xu broke into cold sweat. She had immediately let go of Ji Bai’s hand and jogged over to open the door. From the corner of her eyes, she could see that Ji Bai was acting normal, so she was relieved. After hearing what Su Mu had said, she replied politely, “Hello, Captain Su, I’m Xu Xu from the City Bureau, you misunder…” Before she could finish, Ji Bai cut her off with a question, “When did you arrive?”


“About ten minutes ago.” Xu Xu answered plainly, “You fell asleep so I didn’t wake you up, I merely looked through some information whilst sitting opposite you.”


As they talked, Su Mu went and retrieved his key from his desk. “Goodbye.”


The night sky was even darker and quieter as the two of them walked back along the corridor.


Xu Xu was exceptionally quiet.


Ji Bai tucked both his hand deep into his pockets as he matched the rhythm of her slow paces.


While he was busy with the case, he was not distracted by images of her and had never once thought about her over the past few days. Nonetheless, the moment he saw her just now, a wave of emotions that screamed “Xu Xu” rose bit by bit from the deepest depths of his heart. It was very soft, and a bit… not warm, hot. It was even hotter than it had been before, which made him feel so comfortable that all the tension in his body started to fade away.


It was midnight, yet the little fellow had not gone to sleep but instead went to look for him in the office right away. Between a teacher and his apprentice, there was no such relationship that would cause them to miss each other so badly that a day apart seemed like three years. Even if she did not explicitly show it, how could she deny that he had a place in her heart?


Of course, since the case had not yet been solved, it was not the time to consider personal feelings. However, as a man, his feelings for her only grew more assured and stronger than before.


Therefore, he glanced at her thinly covered shoulders and asked faintly, “Aren’t you cold from wearing so little?” But before she could reply, he raised his arm and placed it around her shoulders…


“Captain.” A cheerful voice was heard from the end of the corridor, whereby Da Hu strode out from the darkness. “I’ve been waiting for you for a long time but you did not come back to the room. Is Xu Xu here too?”


Ji Bai quickly and casually put his arm down.


It was already past two in the morning when Ji Bai finished showering. As soon as he went to bed, he heard Da Hu ask from the bed next to his, “Captain, are you dating Xu Xu?”


Ji Bai folded both arms behind his head, and he answered faintly, “I’m focusing completely on the investigation, so I have no idea what you’re talking about.”


Despite his dismissive tone, the darkness in the room was secretly hiding the wide grin on Ji Bai’s face.


Da Hu humbly apologized. “Oh. I must have misunderstood, as I thought that I had accidentally interrupted you as you were going to hug Xu Xu.”


Ji Bai put on a coy smile, but he did not answer.


A short while later, Da Hu said indistinctly, “It’s good that you’re not then. There is a Little Xie from the Lection Service in the station. Two days ago he was inquiring about Xu Xu. He said that he’ll go after her if she has no boyfriend. I guess I can give him a firm answer now.”


Ji Bai fell silent for a while then replied casually, “Give him a firm answer that Ji Bai is going after her too then, and ask him to think about it properly before acting.”


Da Hu was startled for a moment, then he laughed out loud. Ji Bai laughed along as well and added afterward, “Xu Xu is a shy girl, so don’t make a fuss about it in front of her.”


“I understand.” Da Hu chuckled.


In the room next to theirs, a dim light was left on in the corridor when Xu Xu walked in. Yao Meng’s head was buried deep in the pillow and she was all shriveled up. It seemed like she was already sleeping soundly.


Xu Xu quietly walked over to her bed and soon fell asleep too.


In the morning the next day, they received the news that Brother Lu was going to appear in the water village of Zi Yuan County that was located hundreds of kilometers away. As the head of the operation, Ji Bai directed all the officers under him to head to Zi Yuan.


For both himself and Xu Xu, they both knew that love had to take a backseat as long as the case remained unsolved. Hence, when they finally met up again, they naturally returned to their high-efficiency partner mode, undistracted and intense.


The Provincial Department labeled the case as high priority and, as such, Liu Ying the deputy director was specially assigned to supervise and guide the operation. She was a female in her forties, and although she no longer served on the front-lines, her reputation as an iron lady and a skilled criminal investigator was well-known throughout the province. Additionally, she was especially experienced in human trafficking cases. As such, when everyone arrived at Zi Yuan, a meeting was swiftly called to arrange the capture operation for the next day.


There were plenty of rumors circulating regarding Brother Lu. He was said to have hundreds of underlings working for him, and his influence apparently spread across dozens of provinces. He not only handled human trafficking but was also involved in the drug trade, working as a well-oiled criminal group. Besides this, he was also known to be immensely vicious and merciless towards his many subordinates or victims who were deemed to be “disobedient”. Tales of him personally shooting them and abandoning their corpses in the wilderness seemed to be quite a popular discussion in the underworld. Thus, he most likely carried guns on him as well. Director Liu reminded everyone to take extra precautions in the operation and that they make sure not to let Brother Lu slip through their fingers.


On the day of the operation, the weather was hazy and the mood was heavy.


Brother Lu’s rendezvous point was apparently a farm on the east side of the village. Separated by a dense forest and located among the uneven paddy fields, an inconspicuous white three-story building sat quietly there in plain sight.


“Action.” Once Ji Bai gave the order, a number of officers led by him quickly approached the building from all directions. In a matter of minutes, it had been completely surrounded. Da Hu was the first to barge in by breaking open the door. When this happened, the second and third floor jumped to life as many human figures were vaguely seen moving back and forth through the window. One of the men from the second floor actually attempted to jump down from the second-floor window, but he was promptly captured by the criminal police officers downstairs as he landed.


Like ferocious tigers let out of their cages, Ji Bai moved quickly and aggressively to capture everyone there. Director Liu, Xu Xu, and Yao Meng remained seated in police cars as they too pulled up at the building as well. Police sirens blared as the scene became loud and lively, but it was not long until the criminal police officers had arrested all the suspects in the building. They also encountered more than ten kidnapped young ladies and children who were graciously escorted out into the waiting police vans. The oldest woman was about twenty-five years old, whereas the youngest one was only two to three years old.


Ji Bai, on the other hand, led a team of people to go through the third-floor room by room.


“Safe.” They reported in a low voice.


“Captain, a total of eight suspects were captured, they’ve all been arrested and are now being detained in the cars.” Da Hu informed through the walkie-talkie. “There are thirteen rescued victims, eight ladies, five children, but…” He paused for a while then said, “After questioning all the suspects we’ve arrested, we’ve determined that Brother Lu is not here. The suspects claim that Brother Lu had changed his plans at the last minute and did not come to the water village.”


“Damn it, he got away.” Su Mu sighed heavily.


Da Hu shrugged helplessly. “Director Liu will be furious.”


Ji Bai did not say anything as he stared at the walls of the room he was in and pondered. Da Hu and Su Mu became more alarmed when they saw the intense expression on his face.


There were two rooms on the third floor, which was where all victims had been rescued from just now. When they launched the raid, a few criminals were drinking and eating on the second floor. However, the room in front of them right now was clearly much cleaner and neater than the other one on the third floor, and the bed sheet seemed to be freshly laid out too. Not to mention, there was also a small square table in the room. On the table were a few dishes, a cracked cup of liquor, and a puddle of liquor on the floor.


Ji Bai lowered his head and moved closer to the table to take a whiff. “Maotai. They’re drinking rice wine downstairs.”


Da Hu and Su Mu were stunned.


“Damn, they’re welcoming their leader.” Da Hu said agitatedly.


Ji Bai walked over to the bed and looked carefully for a while. Using his gloved hand, he soon picked up a strand of hair. He then crouched to look at the floor and saw a narrow footprint and a little bit of soil.


A moment later, he stood up and looked at the two of them with a stern look on his face. “Long hair, heels, a height of 165-175 cm, and a skinny physique, “Brother Lu” is a lady. Quickly inform Director Liu and Xu Xu that she is hiding amongst the victims.”


The water village was not huge to begin with, so the sirens of police cars quickly alerted the villagers and now a medium-sized crowd was gathering.


Once the raid was completed, the initial plan was for Xu Xu, Yao Meng, and a few criminal police officers to escort the victims back to the police station in order to ensure their safety.


There were two vans used to transport the victims. Yao Meng and two criminal police officers were in one, while Xu Xu sat in the other. Xu Xu helped a few young ladies and children into the van, and when she looked up, she saw that two adult women had followed Yao Meng into the other van.


Xu Xu looked at them and somewhat felt that something was off. However, she could not quite put her finger on it.


Right then, Director Liu and a police officer walked over. “Let Little Ji wrap up here, I’ll take care of the back room work and comfort the victims.” However, when she looked up, she saw Xu Xu. “You’re Xu Xu? Let’s go, we’ll talk on the way.”


The vans drove through a short section of the national highway before they entered the town. The number of cars, agricultural vehicles, passersby and even livestock gradually increased as the environment became noisy and chaotic. The vans could not help but slow down, causing the distance between the vans to eventually grow.


Director Liu was calling the leader of the Provincial Department. “It’s a pity that we didn’t capture Brother Lu… Yes, continue listing him as a wanted criminal throughout the country, we must not let him get away.”


After she hung up, Director Liu turned to look at Xu Xu. “You’re Yang Qinglin’s junior sister, right?”


Xu Xu was a little dumbfounded, but she nodded.


Yang Qinglin was her senior brother in the Criminal Psychology Department and was also the person who seemed to have nervously confessed to her in the past.


Director Liu smiled with her eyes. “Qingling is an impressive talent who came highly recommended to the Provincial Department a couple of years back. His criminal psychoanalysis was crucial and carried huge effects in a few big cases we handled. That being said, he mentioned that your ability is more impressive than even his. He’s not good at speaking and he doesn’t lie, so it’s clear that he admires you very much. I personally am very interested in the application of criminal psychology in China too. So, if we have the opportunity, let us invite Qinglin along and have some coffee together.”


Director Liu’s words were normally considered to be appreciative words from a leader, yet Xu Xu unexpectedly did not reply or acknowledge the praise. She lowered her head as she seemed to fall deep into thought. Moments later, she abruptly looked up at Director Liu. “Director Liu, I suspect ‘that Brother Lu’ is a lady, and she has disguised herself as a victim is being transported along with everyone else in the van.”


Director Liu was stunned and her expression became serious. “Why is that?”


Xu Xu mentioned the young lady that she had previously seen. “She’s wearing a pair of two-inch high heels, her hair is slightly wet and not dry, her nails were just trimmed and have a layer of fresh nail polish on them. Moreover, her outerwear does not fit well.”


Once she said this, Director Liu looked at the other ladies in the back of the car: Each of them looked dusty and dirty and they seemed like they had not changed their clothes for days. Some wore sports shoes or flats, while others were simply barefoot. This group of victims had been dragged around for thousands of miles before reaching the water village and had suffered unimaginable anguish.


Just as she was processing this shocking news, Director Liu’s phone rang. She looked at the caller ID and saw that it was Ji Bai. “Director Liu, we suspect that Brother Lu is hiding among the victims. She might be carrying a gun, please be careful and play along for now so that we don’t alarm her. The rest of us will rush over immediately.”


Both Director Liu and Xu Xu looked outside at the same time and saw the van in front of them disappeared around the corner.


“Call them right away, and don’t alarm the suspect.” Director Liu ordered with a heavy tone.


When the officers in the other car received the phone call, they were rather shocked. “Oh no, we just stopped as a child was crying to use the toilet. Yao Meng went to the toilet with the child and another lady. Yes, that lady had long hair and I think she was wearing heels.”


Xu Xu immediately took out her phone and saw Ji Bai’s message flashing brightly on her home screen. “Be careful.” She did not reply him, but instead quickly called Yao Meng. Yao Meng was very collected when she picked up the call. “Xu Xu, what’s the matter?”


Three minutes later, everyone rushed to the public toilet. Yao Meng was carrying a child in her arms and stood rooted to the spot with a pale face. In the public toilet behind her, a window had been smashed and Brother Lu was nowhere to be seen.


Director Liu immediately turned and furiously glared at Yao Meng. “What the hell are you doing?”


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