When A Snail Falls in Love - Chapter 39[Updated at: 2021-01-11 09:55:02]
Chapter 39: Chapter 40
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
The hot and suffocating sun scorched the endless wilderness as the trees and grass gently swayed in the wind. There seemed to be only two colors between the heavens and the earth, which was the light blue above their heads as well as the lush green under their feet.
A train approached from behind the distant mountains, its dull roar breaking the silence of the wilderness.
This was the second day of the task force’s trip to Myanmar.
After arriving in Yangon, the capital of Myanmar yesterday, the officials from China and Myanmar gathered to meet each other.
The aim of the Chinese was not only to arrest Brother Lu, but also the entire cross-border criminal group headed by her. Thus, the task force had taken a train today to head to Kachin State, where they suspected Brother Lu’s criminal group was hiding in.
Kachin State was similar to a province in China due to the fact that the local army there was armed and independent. Therefore, in addition to two police officers, the Burmese authorities had also sent a senior officer to Kachin State to escort them. The senior officer soon arranged for two battalions of soldiers to escort the task force on the roads.
The train left at noon and was expected to arrive the next morning, and everything went very smoothly on the way there.
Before long, night fell and only the sound of the train chugging through the fields could be heard. Lights occasionally began to flash past them signaling that they had arrived at the countryside of Kachin State.
The task force consisted of eight men and two women. The other female officer was a 35-year-old woman from the Public Security Bureau named Chen Yalin who was mainly in charge of liaising with the Burmese side.
The two ladies stayed in the same carriage on the train and as soon as the sky turned dark, Chen Yalin cleaned up and went to bed. Xu Xu read a book for a while, then she left the carriage and walked towards the bathroom with a towel as well as a toothbrush in hand.
The door of the carriage next to hers was open and the lights inside were bright. The sound of the men chatting inside was loud and distinct and Xu Xu craned her neck to look inside as she walked past. She saw Ji Bai sitting on the bottom bunk while facing the door. He raised his head and looked at her when he heard the movement outside, then he continued to chat with the others.
There was no one else in the bathroom. Right after Xu Xu finished brushing her teeth, she heard the sound of footsteps approaching. She looked in the reflection of the mirror and quickly saw Ji Bai appear with toiletries in hand and a cheeky smile on his face.
The two of them did not have the chance to be alone and did not get to talk much ever since boarding the plane. After looking at each other for a moment, Xu Xu went back to washing her face. “Third brother, you don’t need anyone to accompany you tonight, right?”
Her tone sounded very normal, but the corners of Ji Bai’s lips curled up slightly. He smiled at her then said in a hushed voice, “Xu Xu, I didn’t do anything yesterday.”
Xu Xu was a little embarrassed.
She could openly talk to her brother about having sex but she was lost for words when it came to him. Everytime Ji Bai said something obscure, it would make her feel uncomfortable.
‘Brother was right, a woman heart is indeed with her husband.’ She thought to herself.
“Why did you decide to come?” She quickly changed the topic because. She knew that he was initially not supposed to come on the station chief had made the announcement.
Instead of answering her, Ji Bai closed the bathroom door. He then put down his toiletries, pulled her into his arms and started kissing her aggressively.
Did she even have to ask? Obviously, he was here to accompany her. After all, it’s not like since his appearance in this trip would affect them too much.
Ji Bai stopped after he had tasted enough of her and let her return to her carriage after awhile.
The road was bumpy and Xu Xu did not sleep too well. She felt the train suddenly stopping while she was still in a daze, followed by many heavy footsteps outside the window. A few seconds later, she also realized that there were people shouting in Burmese all over the place.
Xu Xu and Chen Yalin woke up and immediately got out of bed. They lifted up the curtains and saw a car parked on a small platform shining a powerful spotlight on them – it was no doubt a military searchlight. A group of a few dozen soldiers also walked around the platform with guns in their hands.
All the people from the task force hurriedly got out of their carriage and stood under the shaded platform as they carefully watched the movements of the militia. Xu Xu and Ji Bai likewise briefly caught sight of each other and exchanged glances without saying anything.
More soldiers gathered outside and they soon surrounded the train. It was as if the entire area was being warded off.
A few minutes later, the Burmese officials rushed over to them and quickly cleared up the situation.
It turns out, the Kachin State was under the unified jurisdiction of the independent army’s commander. However, the lower ranks of the army were a maelstrom of good and bad officers, which often led to conflicts among them. Coincidently, there was a conflict in the town ahead of them which was looking quite dangerous right now.
The Kachin State officer accompanying the task force was a man named Ti Sa. He was a handsome 27-year-old man with dark skin and after acting as a translator, he managed to appease everyone. “Please rest easy everyone. We have the flag of the commander-in-chief on our train, so they would not dare do anything offensive. The reason why they surrounded our train is because they do not want us to interfere with the fight ahead. You all can go back to sleep.”
Even though he said this, the other two Myanmar officials looked very tense which made the task force team feel uneasy. Chen Yalin frowned and said in Burmese, “I’ll follow along to have a look at the situation.” And old criminal policeman heard this and piped up. “I’ll accompany you.”
Chen Yalin nodded, then turned around and said to Xu Xu, “You stay in the carriage and lock the door.” After saying this, the two of them followed the Myanmar officials together with Ti Sa towards the front of the train.
Xu Xu was not nervous because she had gone through the Myanmar files before coming where it had stated that the commander-in-chief of Kachin was very reputable. Moreover, there was no Burmese soldier that dared make a move on the China officials. After all, who would want to provoke a neighboring superpower? Since there was no point in being nervous, she would not waste her energy meaninglessly.
She turned around, went into the carriage and locked the door. Then, she laid on the bed and placed the baton that she always carried around next to her as a precaution.
Ji Bai saw her walking into her carriage and soon returned to his own carriage with the others.
The car on the platform had come to a complete halt but the light outside the window was still very bright. The men initially tried looking out the window but they could not tell what was happening. After a while, someone suggested that officers e from each carriage take shifts to keep watch so that everyone could take turns to sleep. Everyone agreed to this because the most important thing right now was to maintain their physical strength in case anything were to happen.
At this moment, someone suddenly commented, “Xu Xu’s alone next door.”
Ji Bai stood up. “I will go.”
Ji Bai walked to the door of Xu Xu’s carriage, pressed his ears closer to the door and heard that it was quiet inside. He laughed to himself when he realized this. ‘She fell asleep already?’ This girl was always so calm that sometimes it really made him feel like he was a useless boyfriend.
In truth, Xu Xu was not fast asleep, she slept lightly and would get up to observe the situation outside the train from time to time.
However, Ji Bai did not want to disturb her. He lit up a cigarette and leaned against the door of her carriage whilst looking at the dark sky and the moving shadows outside the window.
After a few hours, he heard some scattered gunshots cut through the dead of the night before a red flare went flying high into the sky. The carriage behind Ji Bai remained silent and his mood seemed to become calmer too. He handed a packet of cigarettes to the young-looking soldier on the platform outside the train and the soldier grinned. He made some hand gestures that Ji Bai could vaguely understand and so he grinned back at the young man. The soldier had asked him not to worry as the army troops would retreat by the daylight.
On the next day, the sun was up already and the train had already started moving by the time Xu Xu woke up. Meanwhile, Chen Yalin had returned and was now sleeping on the bed opposite hers. It seemed like the crisis had passed.
Xu Xu got out of bed to freshen up. When she passed by Ji Bai’s carriage, she subconsciously raised her head and saw Ji Bai eating instant noodle by the bedside with a colleague. When he saw her, he smiled lightly.
The train soon arrived at its destination, Muba Town.
Brother Lu had appeared in Muba Town before, but the reason why the task force had come here first was a little complicated.
Because they were in a foreign country, the China police officers did not have the power to enforce the law. All they could do was follow the orders from the Myanmar side as “observers”, and were also not actually allowed to hold guns. Furthermore, the attitude of the Myanmar side was a bit confrontational. They stated that most of the criminals were Chinese and that they did not have any evidence that could incarcerate these people. Therefore, they were only willing to cooperate with the arrest if they encountered incriminating pieces of evidence.
Therefore, at this stage, the task force’s most important job was to collect evidence and submit it to the Myanmar side. Only then would the Myanmar side go ahead and carry out the arrest operation.
The main crime of the infamous Brother Lu criminal group in China was human trafficking. According to the information provided by the Guangdong Police Department, they had abducted and trafficked a large number of Myanmar women from the Muba Town area. Therefore, the task force hoped to visit the victims’ families to obtain solid pieces of evidence. This would also give the Myanmar side greater motivation due to the fact that they would know that the victims were all from Myanmar.
There was still a two-hour drive from the train station to the town so Ti Sa arranged for a military truck to fetch everyone there while the soldiers marched on foot. The mountain road was muddy and bumpy and everyone sat in the dark carriage behind the truck without saying anything. Some of them even closed their eyes and took a nap.
Ji Bai sat next to Xu Xu and reached out his hand to massage his temples. Xu Xu saw this and whispered, “You didn’t sleep well yesterday?”
Ji Bai looked at her and asked his own question. “Did you?”
“Good.” He nodded before suddenly leaning against the wall, then, he closed his eyes and stopped talking. After a while, he moved slightly and leaned on Xu Xu’s shoulder. Xu Xu raised her head and saw that no one was looking. Therefore, she adjusted her position and sat up straighter so that he could lean on her more comfortably.
Ji Bai felt this and the corners of his lips curled up into a sly smile as he thought to himself, ‘You may not know it, but I accompanied you last night, my wife.”
Muba Town was located next to a river. There were several large ships anchored to its banks as well as plenty of small wooden shacks. The villagers gathered near the banks, some of them were by themselves but most of them went about their day in groups. When the group disembarked, they were immediately greeted by a faint fishy scent as well as the sweet aroma of sugarcane in the hot air.
According to the information provided by the task force, at least 20 young women from this village had trafficked over the Chinese border. The batch of rescued Burmese women from the earlier incident still had to go through some official procedures, thus, everyone from the task force made sure to remain tight-lipped as they went to pay a few visits to the victims’ families.
Not long after, they found something.
Some of the families were reluctant to say anything. They simply claimed that their daughter had gone overseas to work and that they did not know anything so they refused to continue talking. Even so, there was a family of four who immediately started sobbing after they were passed photos of their daughter alive and well in China. After this, they revealed the truth. Two young men from the town had introduced their daughter to a job some time back, and their daughter had not returned since.
The task force was pleased – they had found their witnesses as well as evidence. It did not take very long so It was almost as if God was helping them too. Soon, Ti Sa followed the clues provided by the villagers and led a group of soldiers to raid a restaurant by the riverside. They successfully captured the two human traffickers and two Chinese officials. After this, one of the villagers quickly confirmed that the two men and two Chinese nationals had indeed appeared in the village some time back after which they had taken the Burmese women directly to China.
Ti Sa’s people were not as civilized as the China police officers. They grabbed the four of them and forced them to kneel in front of the restaurant. They only sent them back to the task force after beating them up. Everyone in the task force was very excited about this new finding. The leader of the task force was a Deputy level cadre called Sun Pu and he happily said to everyone, “We are off to a good start on the first day. We must maintain this momentum and bring down the Brother Lu criminal group.”
Since it was already in the evening, the task force decided to stay a night in Muba Town before continuing their visits to the surrounding villages the next morning. At the same time, they interrogated the criminals overnight to obtain more clues about the criminal group.
Soon, darkness fell and the village became quiet. Only the sound of Ti Sa’s soldiers talking and drinking could be heard as they sat in the open space in front of the cottage.
In the narrow and crude farmhouse, the dim lights barely illuminated the extremely tense look on the criminals’ faces. Ji Bai and several other senior criminal police officers went through the motions and interrogated them separately. However, they were all extremely stubborn and did not say anything.
Unfortunately for them, those in the task force were all veterans who had been in the field for a long time, so they patiently interrogated them and broke them down bit by bit.
At three o’clock in the morning, the soldiers outside the cottage were laying on the ground and sleeping on the soft grassy land. The only movements were when someone would occasionally reach out to slap away the mosquitoes on their faces whilst cursing softly in Burmese.
Meanwhile, Ji Bai and Chen Yalin interrogated one of the Chinese young men. Even though he had not revealed anything so far, he was quickly running out of energy. His chubby face trembled slightly and a layer of sweat formed on his forehead. Ji Bai and Chen Yalin both understood that it was almost time and looked at each other.
They watched as he slowly prepared to surrender when suddenly, they were interrupted by a round of loud, messy footsteps outside the house. Both of their heart sunk and they raised their heads cautiously.
The door was being pushed open with a loud bang as one of the platoon leaders under Ti Sa stormed in. He quickly barked out a long sentence in Burmese with a furious look on his face.
Ji Bai stared at him as the look on Chen Yalin face changed. “Ji Bai, he said that several villagers who provided us clues yesterday were all beaten. They are all kneeling outside now because they want to look for us to change their testimony.”
The sky was dark as a dense fog hugged the land. The soldiers outside had already awakened by the time Ji Bai and the others rushed out of the house and were now surrounding the ten villagers who were kneeling in the middle of the open space.
The villagers who were looking very normal and content during the day now were now covered in bruises and torn clothing. Some of their heads were bleeding with nothing but a cloth wrapped around it whilst others had swollen eyes and jaws.
Everyone was frightened and they cried out in Burmese. Their voices were the only ones speaking as the personnel from the Chinese and Burmese side remained silent.
Chen Yalin and the Burmese officials tried their best to calm them for a long time before they finally learned what had happened.
Firstly, five to six gangsters had gone to their houses at night and threatened them after beating them up. They were told that if they continue to testify against them, then they would be killed after the task force and soldiers leave. Furthermore, even if their daughters were rescued and returned home, they would make sure to recapture them and sell them in Southeast Asia as prostitutes, which was an even worse off situation than the state they were currently in.
Secondly, the group of people told them to pass a message to the task force, “Chinese people do not fight Chinese people. The public order in Myanmar is questionable. As such, if you continue your investigation, some accident might inevitably happen to the members of your task force.”
After listening to the message, Sun Pu, the leader of the task cussed loudly. “To hell with the ‘Chinese people do not fight Chinese people’ crap.” The other criminal police officers were also provoked as they muttered all sorts of profanities.
“These dogs are so cocky.”
The soldiers that Ti Sa sent to go after that group of people soon returned. They said that by the time they had rushed to the entrance of the village, their car had disappeared and they were long gone.
Ji Bai thought about it for a while and turned to speak to Sun Pu, “Director Sun, I suggest leaving two people behind to comfort the witnesses and at the same time obtain the profiles of the criminals. In addition to this, send the captured criminals back to Yangon first to continue the interrogation. The rest of us will immediately hit the road to chase after and arrest the criminals. Also, please ask Major Tisa to leave behind a group of soldiers to temporarily protect the few witnesses.”
Sun Pu thought about it for a moment and nodded. “We’ll do what you said. Let’s not waste any time and hit the road immediately.” He scanned their surroundings and just as he was about to assign tasks, he heard Ji Bai’s hushed voice. “Come along with me, Xu Xu.”
The situation was very urgent and most of Ti Sa’s people stayed behind. The other Burmese officials escorted the prisoners back to Yangon whilst Ti Sa personally followed the task force along with ten other people.
Originally, Ti Sa doubted the task force because they were chasing after criminals who had left many hours ago. Nevertheless, when he saw how Ji Bai and the others accurately determined the direction where the criminal had head to based on the tire marks, footprints and the map, he could not help but admire their investigation ability.
The truck drove on the mountain road through the rest of the night and, by dawn, Ti Sa had found a few cars for them to use.
Ji Bai has not taken any rest but he still personally drove a car with Xu Xu and two soldiers sitting behind. After a few hours, he swapped seats with a middle-aged soldier and sat next to Xu Xu.
Ji Bai held her hand and asked, “What do you think?”
Xu Xu smiled slightly and said, “It’s an opportunity.”
Ji Bai laughed when he heard this.
Xu Xu continued, “This group of people is very arrogant and what they said sounded a little unrealistic. Possibly because Brother Lu’s criminal group took a big hit in China, but they probably recruited new young members, which explains why they are so impulsive and bold. Brother Lu had always been very cautious and we did not know anything about her criminal group in Myanmar. Since this group had given out such a big hint, it is actually giving us the opportunity to track them down.”
Ji Bai nodded back at her. “Director Sun is right, we are off to a good start today.”
The car trudged on.
After a while, Xu Xu asked softly, “Did you stand guard outside my carriage the entire night yesterday? It’s not necessary.”
Ji Bai did not say anything, so she turned sideways to look at him only to find that Ji Bai was so exhausted that he had fallen asleep while leaning against the seat.