When A Snail Falls in Love - Chapter 35

[Updated at: 2021-01-11 09:55:00]
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Chapter 35

Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation

At the China-Myanmar border.

The water of the Mekong River flowed rapidly while a huge area of dense forest hid both banks from view.

On the dusty road on the mountain, a military off-road vehicle abruptly stopped before several armed soldiers jumped out the vehicle and charged into the forest. A moment later, they surrounded the hillside.

The rustling off foliage was heard as a lady suddenly stumbled out of the forest. After many days of running, her clothes had turned ragged and her face looked pale. A soldier grabbed her long hair while another soldier ruthlessly hit her waist with the butt of his gun. The lady screamed in pain before she fell to the ground.

“Contact the police from China,” an officer said in Burmese, “we’ve captured Brother Lu. Ask them to…”

“Bam.” A weak yet clear gunshot sound was heard.

The officer’s words were abruptly brought to a halt, as a bullet hole appeared in the middle of his forehead. The soldiers around him froze in fear as they watched the blood seep down his forehead before he fell face-first down to the ground.

“There’s an ambush, be careful!” The soldiers cried out in alarm one after another. However, they were soon greeted by the rapid sounds of gunshots from all around them.

Sometime later, the dust and leaves settled to reveal the bloody bodies of the soldiers scattered all over the place.

Brother Lu’s body was bent over on the ground. Her body quivered uncontrollably during the firefight and only when silence once again befell the forest did she look up, flustered. Under the blazing sunlight, she spotted a few off-road vehicles pulling up a short distance away from her. A number of armed men stood on the roof of the vehicles, their faces filled with indifferent and numb smiles as one of the doors of the vehicles was slowly opened.

Brother Lu got up from the ground, then she began to smile.

Above the roofs of this small militia, the flag of the Northern Burma Kachin Independence Army waved proudly in the wind.

Brother Lu walked towards one of the vehicles before lowering her head and kissing a man’s shoe.

The man was very tall and built. He smiled while wearing a dark gray camouflage uniform. A pair of eagle-like vicious eyes and a dark red scar sat on his bronze-colored face as he pulled Brother Lu up before embracing her. Then, he gazed at her and said softly in Burmese, “You’re my woman, nobody can hurt you.”

Brother Lu nodded as she replied in choppy Burmese, “And your woman will continue to help you by selling more people in Southeast Asia to earn you money.”

Following that, their lips were pressed firmly together as they kissed.

Thousands of kilometers away was Lin City. The sunlight was just right and the summer wind was blowing pleasantly. Compared to the humid and hot tropics, it was an entirely different world.

As soon as Ji Bai arrived in the city, he received a call from the station chief who ordered him to head to the Provincial Public Security Department right away. He was to participate in the director’s working conference.

During the conference, Ji Bai reported the results of the capture operation. The deputy director in charge of public relations later went on to report, “According to our sources, Brother Lu most likely escaped through the Burmese border. As such, we’ve already contacted Myanmar through the China-Myanmar Joint Strike Criminal Office. We’ve asked them to arrest Brother Lu as soon as possible.”

Another Deputy Director who was in charge of criminal investigation frowned and commented, “I heard that the situation in Northern Burma is quite chaotic lately. Hopefully, the operation on their side will bear fruit.”

When the conference ended, Director Liu said to the station chief, “Old friend, please come over to my office with Little Ji to have a talk.”

After tasting some green tea from Director Liu’s personal collection, the station chief turned and said to Ji Bai with a smiling face, “I’m telling you, I get worried whenever I get to taste her tea, I’m usually in trouble whenever she’s so polite.”

Both Director Liu and Ji Bai laughed out loud.

Director Liu shook her head whilst smiling then said to the station chief with much sincerity. “Sir, there’s a lady called Xu Xu who’s one of your subordinates. I admire her a lot and wish to transfer her to the Provincial Department.”

Ji Bai’s hand froze as he held a teacup in his hand, then he turned to look at Director Liu.

The station chief replied with a smile, “Xu Xu and Yao Meng are talents who were specifically introduced to our station. Because of this, I even treated their academy director to a meal. If you transfer one of them away, then my team will be incomplete.”

Director Liu continued, “Old friend, I’m taking the big picture into consideration too. I have a subordinate who named Yang Qinglin who is an outstanding student in criminal psychology research who was also Xu Xu’s senior brother. I’d like them to form a criminal psychology research laboratory together. This would greatly increase the standard of criminal investigation throughout the entire province. I’ve also asked the other director about it, and he has no protests.”

The station chief nodded. “Alright, I agree in terms of principle, but Ji Bai is the one in charge of her, so you have to get his opinion.”

Ji Bai answered with a faint smile, “Director Liu, your thoughts are very valuable, but Xu Xu is a very stubborn person and she’s also very close to the police team in Lin City. How about this, I’ll speak to her and get her opinion later on?”

Director Liu waved her hand dismissively. “You don’t have to do anything. How can I not know what you’re thinking? For all I know, even if that young lady was initially willing, you might be able to convince her otherwise.” She smiled a little. “Since the two of you agree to the principle of the idea, let’s wait for Xu Xu’s opinion – I’ve already sent someone to talk to her.”

In the afternoon, Ji Bai had his meal at the Provincial Department’s cafeteria. He sat in his seat feeling a bit stuffy.

While he hoped that Xu Xu would not go to the Provincial Department, it was not all due to his own selfish reasons. Objectively, Xu Xu had too little practical experience, hence it might not be beneficial to her long-term growth should she leave the front-line too early to return to research work.

Moreover, their relationship was still uncertain. What was the Provincial Department like anyway? He was well aware that with a certain amount of freshly graduated fellows from the police academy, there were now more wolves than meat available 1 .

As he was sitting down with Director Liu and the station chief, he sent a text message to Xu Xu under the table. “Wait for me to return before you decide on anything.”

He waited for a while, but Xu Xu did not reply.

He placed his phone down with a straight face then poked at his food. Suddenly, he heard Director Liu speaking cheerfully to the station chief. “The two of them are quite fitting…”

Ji Bai looked at them with a smile. “What’s fitting?”

The station chief glanced at Ji Bai then said to Director Liu, “Xu Xu is very outstanding indeed, and there are a few fellows in our station who are going after her too, but as a leader, why are you mingling in young people’s matters too?”

Director Liu smiled. “How is this mingling? You’ve never met Qinglin before, he’s an extremely kind and forthright boy. He had been a senior brother to Xu Xu for three years and they had a great relationship back in the police academy.” She laughed again after she said, “I’ve told him too, as the saying goes, ‘the waterfront pavilion gets the moonlight first’ 2 At least now, he won’t have any regrets if he fails to convince Xu Xu when they’re working at the Provincial Department together.”

A while later, Ji Bai smiled faintly and stood up. “Leaders, please enjoy your meal slowly, I have something going on, so I’ll make my move first.”

As Director Liu watched him leave, she said to the station chief, “Isn’t he acting like something’s off today?”

The station chief replied with a smile, “That Qinglin from your department, I’m afraid that he appeared at the wrong time.”

Xu Xu had been busy with follow-up work for the case ever since she returned to the City Police Station with Da Hu and Yao Meng. Since they had partnered with the Criminal Police Unit for many days, they were now especially warm as they expressed their concerns and matters to one another. Of course, there were also some like Old Wu who heard the news in advance, so he looked up to take a look at Xu Xu and just smiled without saying a word.

The sunlight of the early summer was bright and clear while the office was lively yet quiet. Just as Xu Xu was compiling the last set of information, she lifted her head and she noticed a white-skinned, skinny figure standing beside her desk.

Xu Xu was rather surprised. “Senior brother.”

Yang Qinglin wore a plain white shirt paired with black trousers. He looked at her and paused for a short moment before smiling gently. “Xu Xu, long time no see.”

As the people from the Criminal Police Unit watched the two of them leaving the office side by side, Da Hu asked, “Who is that?”

Somebody answered, “It’s a leader from the Provincial Department, he’s here to talk to Xu Xu.”

Da Hu stood by the window and took a glance at the police station compound below, he muttered, “A talk from a leader, huh… then why did they go to the small plantation?”

Zhao Han heard this and secretly sent a message to his friend. “Captain, when are you coming back?”

By now, the sun was setting and on the west side of the compound where a few large, beautiful trees stood tall and proud. Behind those trees was an emerald-green lawn. Yang Qinglin and Xu Xu sat down on the lawn, where they remained quiet for a while.

“Senior brother, I’m grateful that you and Director Liu value me, thank you.” Xu Xu continued, “That being said, I won’t consider transferring to the Provincial Department for now. Please send my apologies to Director Liu. I’ve just entered the front-line and I’m still lacking in experience, so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to acquire more experience before deciding on my future. If I don’t do this, then my research will be incomplete as it would be completely baseless and lacking any practical knowledge.”

Yang Qinglin looked at her stern, fair face. She still seemed like the insensitive, persistent, geeky little junior from back in the day. Nevertheless, he always knew that underneath her uncommunicative and straightforward surface, she actually had a pure and innocent heart. This was the unique trait of hers that was unfathomable to others. It had seeped into his heart bit by bit over the years such that it now occupied it in its entirety.

Yang Qinglin shifted his eyes away from her, then looked at the lush and soft grass by his feet. “If you go over to the Provincial Department, you’ll still be able to investigate cases with the front-line. Moreover, we mostly supervise huge, important cases. Besides… I will also do my best to create a professional working environment suitable for you.”

Xu Xu fell silent for a brief while, then she shook her head again. “Thank you, senior brother, but I still don’t want to go. I’m investigating cases under Ji Bai now, he’s exceptionally experienced in criminal investigation and he has very unique methods of analysis. I’d like to continue learning from him instead of giving up halfway.”

Yang Qinglin was not very expressive with his words, but it did not mean that he had poor instincts. No matter how calm or natural his junior sister sounded, he still felt that grudging feeling in his heart.

Ji Bai, the famous detective. The rumors claimed that he was a son of a renowned family from the capital, who happened to pick the incredibly tough job of criminal investigation, risking his life through iron and blood in the process.

He thought to himself, ‘After all these years, did a better man move her heart when I chose to back away with the intention of winning her over with my achievements?’

Yao Qingling said softly, “Alright, I’ll let Director Liu know, once you think that you’ve acquired enough experience in the front-line, we’ll welcome you to the Provincial Department. Other than that…” He turned and looked straight into her eyes. “I’m also here for another reason. I…I’ve been working hard for the past few years, and I have not dated anyone. Are you willing to… be my partner?

“I may have an uninteresting character and I’m not good at expressing myself so perhaps I won’t be able to provide you with an especially favorable life, but I’ll keep fighting and I’m confident that I’ll be able to support and manage a family in the future. I’ll also put in the utmost effort to take care, love and protect you, always putting you… as my top priority.”

Xu Xu’s heart trembled a little as she looked at him quietly.

Then, her phone suddenly rang. It was a message from Ji Bai. “Wait for me to return before you decide on anything.”

When Ji Bai returned to the office, the sky was completely dark. The stars looked like scattered pieces of jade sprinkled across the night sky, and his spacious office appeared to be warm and welcoming. At the moment, only a familiar shadow was seated quietly in front of her desk. Upon hearing his movement, she looked up and her gaze fixed on him with her dark, beady eyes.

Ji Bai looked back at her.

He knew that she most likely refused the offer to go to the Provincial Department. He also knew that she probably rejected her senior brother too. Even so, he still drove exceedingly fast for the first time in a long time to speed all the way back to the police station.

When was the last time he drove so recklessly? It was when he was fifteen or sixteen when he zoomed around Beijing’s Second Ring Road once with a group of friends early in the morning, when they did not know about the immensity of heaven and earth, or about all this life had to offer.

How far he had come since then. As he looked at her tranquil face, why was it that only now that he understood all that life had to offer?

Was it because he planted a superficial kiss on her hairline yesterday, which made him unable to resist or suppress the blooming romance? Or was it because he had already held it in for too long that after noticing that she seemed to be vaguely reciprocating, he could no longer hold back and refused to strategize to advance step by step?

‘The waterfront pavilion gets the moonlight first. This is my pavilion, so I get the moonlight.’ He thought.

He walked over to the desk and stopped. “I have something to tell you.”

Xu Xu bit her lip and replied. “Me too.”

They walked into Ji Bai’s office and sat down opposite each other.

Xu Xu spoke first. “I’m not going to the Provincial Department, I’ve already made it clear to my senior brother.”

Ji Bai looked at her then nodded.

There was not even a hint of a smile of his attractive face as he locked eyes with her with his pitch-black gaze. He then pulled his drawer open to retrieve his cigarette and lighter, then tilted his head to light it.

Xu Xu frowned. “Why are you smoking again?”

Through the thin layers of smoke, Ji Bai cast a look at her quietly then said, “Xu Xu, I’ve told you before, only my girlfriend can control me.”

It was the same words, but when Xu Xu heard it this time around, the strings in her heart felt like they had been plucked gently.

Ji Bai shifted the topic with a casual look. “So, I’ve been courting you for such a long time, what are your thoughts?”

Xu Xu felt her heart almost jump out of her mouth. However… his logic was not right.

“Since when have you been courting me?”

Ji Bai raised his eyebrow and watched her quietly.

He knew that winning her affection was like trying to catch fish – he could not just go for it without considering how she felt. Since he wanted the feeling to be mutual, he had to make her realize that she was falling in love too.

Despite this, he still twisted his words and forced logic into her as he replied, “Exercising with you every morning, teaching you how to shoot whilst hand-in-hand, letting those fellows refer to you as sister-in-law… what do you think those were if I was not going after you?”

Xu Xu felt the same dizziness from yesterday again, but this time the feeling was much stronger. Her chest felt like a balloon, expanding beyond its limit and making her short of air.

She also felt a satisfaction that she had never felt before. It was entirely different from how she felt when she achieved results in her studies or work. The satisfaction was not calm and quiet, it was bouncing, throbbing, and making her dizzy from excitement.

She took a deep breath to lower her heart rate.

“You don’t have to go after me.”

Ji Bai did not expect to hear this as his heart instantly sank. “What do you mean?”

She looked straight back at him and replied. “I like you too, so you don’t have to go after me.”

The night sky was beautiful and quiet as the two of them locked eyes with one another without saying a word.

The joy in Ji Bai’s eyes burned like wildfire as he nodded his head coolly. “Alright. I won’t chase you anymore.”

Xu Xu’s face was likewise burning up from his stare, but she still popped the most important question in her mind. “So, is our relationship now officially confirmed?”

Ji Bai’s smile grew wider and his pearly whites flashed brilliantly under the lights.

“As confirmed as it can be.”

Xu Xu looked at him and smiled back. She was unsure of what she should say, but it looked like there was nothing that she needed to say.

Right then, her phone, perfectly cutting short their special moment. Xu Xu picked it up half-heartedly. “Brother? What’s the matter?”

Xu Juan missed his sister after not seeing her for a few days, so he asked cheerily on the other end of the line, “Want to have dinner together tonight?”

Xu Xu looked up at Ji Bai as if trying to get his opinion. “Do you want to…”

“Of course.” Before she could finish, Ji Bai answered the question himself.

Hence, Xu Xu replied her brother, “I’m sorry, I have a date tonight.”

Xu Juan had faintly heard a man’s voice through the phone. His heart raced and he quickly asked, “Who are you dating?”

At that moment, Ji Bai had already taken his coat and was walking over to open the door for Xu Xu. Xu Xu stood up and said in a calm voice that barely hid her happiness. “Boyfriend. A new one.”