When A Snail Falls in Love - Chapter 40

[Updated at: 2021-01-11 09:55:02]
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Chapter 40: Chapter 41



Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation


The task force tracked them for two days.


On the afternoon of the third day, they arrived at Maija City. From what they knew, this was where Brother Lu’s criminal group often roamed about, hence the task force became warier of the people around them.


Maija City was one of the liveliest cities in Northern Myanmar but was not very different from any rural-suburban town on the fringes of China. Newly constructed buildings stood adjacent to the forest and farmlands, and the BMW and Benz cars on highways sat shoulder to shoulder with agricultural tractors.


In the city center was a large city block packed with a huge number of casinos and nightclubs. Neon lights flashed intrusively during the day as the thumping music pounded the ears of the wide variety of people who walked the streets. The task force made their way to a small inconspicuous building behind a casino where they quickly settled down.


The task force did not carry out the arrest right away, instead, they did as Xu Xu had suggested by preparing a long-term plan to catch the bigger fish. Director Sun, the head of the operation, arranged for two criminal police officer officers to keep watch near the casino while the others spread out to look for accommodation.


Owing to the fact that the local gangs were unpredictable, Director Sun asked Ti Sa to look for a hotel far away so as to not to accidentally alert them. They soon settled on a farmer’s hotel, which was a small building made out of three-ply wood; It was plain-looking and quiet, and also had a huge paddy field located in front of the entrance despite it being very near to the highway.


Director Sun gathered everyone for a brief meeting where he discussed their next moves and delegated jobs, then he waved his hand to dismiss them. “We’ve been worked to the bone over the past few days, go to sleep so we can get started tomorrow morning.”


Ji Bai took a shower after he returned to his room, then he fell asleep. By the time he woke up, the sun was already setting. He rolled out of bed and sent a message to Xu Xu. “Have you eaten yet?”


Her reply came almost immediately. “I just got to the dining hall.”


Ji Bai smiled and replied. “Wait for me, I’ll come downstairs now.”


The dining hall was located on the first floor, it was open-aired and there were a few tables set up. When Ji Bai went downstairs, he saw Xu Xu sitting at a white plastic table not far away with her back facing him. The corner of his lip curled up slightly, but as he was about to walk over, Chen Yalin and another criminal police officer from the table beside him called out to him, “Ji Bai, sit over here.” Before he could protest, he was hauled over and seated down.


Xu Xu had specifically picked an empty table to wait for him, so when she heard the noise from the others, she turned to take a glance then continued eating with her head lowered.


Ti Sa had reserved the whole hotel, so ten other soldiers were also sitting or crouching around the corridor outside the building as they carried plates and ate. A few of them even made a fire and grilled some food for themselves.


A few bites into her meal, Xu Xu suddenly felt a presence opposite of her, and when she looked up, she saw that it was, in fact, a young soldier with tanned skin. He smiled meekly at her, then placed a piece of grilled fish on her plate.


Xu Xu was a bit confused and waved her hand at him. “Uh… No, thank you.”


However, the soldier did not understand her, and so he nodded at her then walked away. When he was a few steps away, he waved his hand at the soldiers in the corridor and pumped his hand inward in a victory gesture; the other soldiers saw this and cheered whilst smiling at Xu Xu.


If a normal lady was faced with such a situation, she might feel embarrassed and shy, but Xu Xu was not so prone to fluctuating emotions. She lifted her head and looked straight at them, and after a moment of silence, she placed her chopsticks down then put her palms together and nodded at them politely with a smile to express her gratitude.


The soldiers instantly started smiling even wider than before. After this, Xu Xu went back to eating her meal, and when she tasted the fish she found that it was quite nice and juicy.


Sometime later, another soldier walked over to her with a large melon in his hand, which had been plucked by the soldiers from the field beside them. This made Xu Xu feel quite bad, so she stood up and pushed it away to decline his offer, but the soldier forcefully blocked her hand and placed the fruit down. He then put on a smile and strode back to the soldiers as if he had just earned a medal.


Whilst Ji Bai ate, he watched the soldiers walking back and forth between Xu Xu’s table. An old criminal police officer from Yunnan laughed when he saw them. “Boys in Southeast Asia like girls with fair skin. Xu Xu would naturally be very popular over here.”


Chen Yalin nodded with a smile. “In the afternoon a soldier even asked me, ‘Chief, police officers from China are very good at catching criminals, but why did you bring along a little girl to help solve cases? She looks younger than my sister.\'”


Once she said this, the criminal police officers burst out laughing.


Chen Yalin added, “I also heard them secretly saying ‘rabbit’, which is most likely a nickname they made up for Xu Xu.” There was a pained tone in her voice when she said this. “These soldiers were all children from the rural areas and were shoved into a war zone at an exceptionally young age. They were not allowed a normal childhood. As it stands, most of them still have bear a childish innocent, kind nature, and carry no ill intentions.”


The old criminal police officers chuckled as they continued to talk but Ji Bai, on the other hand, listened carefully. Sure enough, amid the soldiers’ Burmese and laughter, he heard bits of Mandarin words like “rabbit”, “little rabbit” and whatnot.


Right then, the assembly call was sounded and the soldiers all got up and gathered around Ti Sa. Instantly, the corridor became empty as Xu Xu remained at the same spot eating with her head hunched over.


A while later, Ji Bai received a message. “Is there anywhere I can throw away food that I can’t finish?”


Ji Bai replied, “Wait for me at the back of the house.”


There was a broad corridor at the back of the house which was paved with golden-brown pieces of wood that squeaked when stepped on. The building faced a small mountain covered with dense undergrowth, which the sunset painted gorgeously. Xu Xu sat there for a short while before Ji Bai appeared from around the corner.


They used big metal plates for their meal, which the soldiers did not hold back in filling to the brim. There were mountains of fish, beef, sweet potatoes, vegetables, and fruits on her plate which she could not possibly finish. Most of it was untouched, but since it was on her plate, it would not be nice to give them away.i


She disliked wasting, and since the locals and soldiers cherished their food a lot, it would not be nice if anyone were to see her throwing them away either. That being said, the hotel had no refrigerator, so she could not pack it away even if she wanted to.


Ji Bai snuggled up next to her, and as he looked upon looking frowning face, he could not help but laugh a little. “I’ll eat it. It won’t be nice to throw their food away.”


Xu Xu was stunned, he looked at him sideways. “You…can still eat?”


Ji Bai glanced at the food on her plate and smiled faintly. “Yeah.” He had stopped adding rice after he received her message just now.


Xu Xu knew that most of the time, the conditions when dealing with cases were tough, but most of the time, Ji Bai remained very particular about his basic necessities – even more so than her. Although the food on her plate had not yet been eaten, she did not expect him to actually eat it; he even did so without batting an eyelid.


The sun was slowly setting, causing the woods they were in to gradually darken. It was quiet around the hotel and only the laughter of the soldiers could occasionally be heard.


Xu Xu looked at Ji Bai who was beside her. Even though he ate quietly, he did so quickly and with large bites. His appetite was also much bigger than hers, and the food on the plate started to disappear quickly. Xu Xu was impressed that he was actually able to stuff so much food into his iron stomach. As the final rays of sunlight shone on them, she noticed his angular side profile glowing a faint golden which made his pitch-black eyes stand out. His jaw would move in a circular motion as he chewed, displaying his powerful jaw in action.


Xu Xu thought quietly to herself, ‘So manly, really so manly.’


Soon enough, Ji Bai was done eating and he passed the empty plate back to her. Xu Xu took it and walked a few steps away, then she stopped and turned around. She quickly walked back towards him and planted a soft kiss on his cheek.


Ji Bai laughed and pulled her into his arms and said, “I have some cigarettes given to me by a Burmese official. Take it and distribute it to the soldiers.”


“Do you think it’s necessary?”


Ji Bai looked at her pale, sweet expression as he replied, “Mhmm.”


Courtesy required reciprocation and he decided that he would pay the soldiers back by treating them with sincerity. Besides, if he did this, then they would often look after… his little rabbit.


Over the following days, Ji Bai and the others almost stayed out the entire day to scout, monitor, and to keep watch, whereas Xu Xu dealt with logistics and stayed in the accommodations. Everyone’s effort invaluable as before long, they managed to confirm the location of five of Brother Lu’s main strongholds.


Maija City was a ‘border city’ of an underdeveloped country, where the government mostly left them to their own devices; thus, they had relied heavily on illegal activities such as gambling, prostitution, and smuggling to achieve abnormal financial prosperity. Even the local Chinese gangs kept all kinds of criminal tricks up their sleeves such that they would do it as long as it was profitable. If the task force gathered sufficient evidence, then it would be perfectly justifiable for them to take action in Myanmar and capture all these evildoers in one fell swoop.


However, the process of actually getting said evidence was a little difficult, to say the least.


Firstly, the task force had secretly visited a few China merchants that were rumored to have been blackmailed and robbed by gangs. What annoyed the officers the most was despite the fact that the merchants all looked panicked and unnatural the second the gangs were mentioned, they refused to say anything, let alone testify.


As their investigations hit a brick wall, they needed to look for an alternative path.


On this afternoon, Ji Bai and another criminal police officer disguised themselves as tourists while they kept watch near a Chinaman’s supermarket,


The sun was blazing hot and milky white steam could be seen evaporating from the white cement road. Even though the two of them wore short-sleeved shirt, they wore thick bulletproof vests underneath, thus they were completely drenched in sweat. Two hours soon passed, and their clothes now looked like they were soaked in water as they clung sloppily to their bodies.


Finally, a van abruptly turned in from the corner of the street. It stopped fiercely at the entrance of the supermarket and the door was pulled open quickly, whereby seven to eight men armed iron rods jumped out and charged inside viciously. In the blink of an eye, the sound of smashing and screams were heard as both tourists and locals ran out of the supermarket.


Ji Bai picked up his walkie-talkie and whispered into it softly, “Ti Sa, bring your men in.”


Right after he said this, a few armed Kachin soldiers walked out lazily from the alley opposite the road and into the supermarket.


Sometime later, the same gangsters dashed out of the building and barreled away in their car.


Ji Bai and the criminal police officer walked into the supermarket and saw that everything was in a mess; all the shelves were completely smashed up and the customers had all run away. Meanwhile, a few shop assistants cowered shakily behind the cash registers. A tall and husky man wearing a silk shirt sat on the floor looking very beaten up. His face looked terrible as the supermarket’s revenue for the day and the high-value items like cameras, cell phones, cordyceps and more had all been taken away.


The shop owner who was injured went by the name Zhou Chengbo. Moments later, he was secretly taken away by Ji Bai and the others into a temporary hotel room.


The night sky outside the window looked deep and serene as Zhou Chengbo sat heavily on a chair. His wounds had already been treated, but his face remained ghastly and pale. He had always maintained a bold and tough persona, so when the gangsters barged in today, he had fought with one of them in order to stop them from stealing the valuable items.


Ji Bai pondered for a while then said, “Mister Zhou, these gangsters all have a standard operating procedure. Normally, they would also kidnap you and demand a ransom from your family after the robbery – you’re lucky to have escaped today.”


Zhou Chengbo’s face suddenly changed. He had heard of similar rumors before, apparently, there was once a China merchant in this town who was kidnapped and tortured relentlessly, he was only released after an enormous sum was paid.


Nevertheless, rumors were just rumors, and since high risk bore high rewards, he was still willing to try to set up his business in Maija City. For the first few months, business was good and he made a sizeable amount of money, but he was unexpectedly targeted today.


In truth, what had just taken place here put the task force in a very difficult position; because police officers from China had no actual authority here, and the local police officers abstained from making any arrest, they could only get the Kachin soldiers to step in at the crucial moment to stop the men. The military and gangsters had always been minded their own businesses, but there remained a mutual fear factor between the two which is why they did not apprehend any of the men.


Ji Bai looked watched his expression then continued saying, “Today, they didn’t succeed, but they’ll certainly be back next time. Only if you cooperate with us and help us exterminate this scourge will you be able to continue earning money in the future worry-free.”


Zhou Chengbo fell deep into thought for a short while then suddenly looked up at Ji Bai. “I’m willing to testify. I’ve never suffered such a huge loss in my life, officer – we must capture all of them.”


Not only Zhou Chengbo was willing to testify, he also expressed that he would convince his fellow merchants to expose the crimes of these Chinese gangs. The task force was overjoyed. Sun Ting gave instructions that they continue their investigation in secret to obtain more evidence whilst simultaneously offering protection to Zhou Chengbo’s life and properties, such that he is not harmed by the gangs.


It was already past 8:00 pm when Ji Bai returned to the hotel after sending Zhou Chengbo back to his residence. The night winds howled softly in the night, but the hot air from the ground made sure that they remained warm and toasty. He looked up at the lights still on in Xu Xu’s room, then smiled and returned to his room.


These few days, he was out from dawn until dusk, and his clothes had been used so many times that there was now a yellow sweat stain on them. Ji Bai threw his smelly clothes into a basin then hopped into the shower.


Compared to the others, Xu Xu had a more relaxing job as she stayed in the accommodations all day. At night, she had nothing much to do, so she often sat on her bed analyzing data. When she heard some familiar footsteps walking down the corridor, she knew that Ji Bai had returned.


Due to the flaming hot weather, everyone kept their windows and doors open before they slept. Xu Xu held a plate of fruits in her hand and knocked before entering Ji Bai’s room; she saw him wearing t-shirt and pants as he sat in front of a large basin whilst washing his clothes. In this situation, he looked rather like a normal family man.


The hotel was simple and crude, such that there was only an old-fashioned washing machine which they never got to use. Xu Xu despised it for being unhygienic, so she would not have used it even if it was available. Ji Bai felt the same too.


Xu Xu walked beside him and crouched, whereby Ji Bai looked up and kissed her before continuing with his work. Xu Xu did not move away as she fed him the fruits one by one. Once he was done eating them, she gave him some water and even wiped his mouth for him, then she cleaned her hands and climbed onto the bed to read.


It was very quiet at night, except for the croaking of frogs in the field, chirping crickets of crickets in the forest, and swishing of water from Ji Bai washing clothes. Xu Xu read her book for a while before she suddenly put it down and looked at the clothes in the basin. “You’re just going to wash them like that?”


Ji Bai was confused. “Is there a problem with the way I wash them?”


To be fair, the way Ji Bai washed his clothes was not bad and actually quite decent for a man. Even so, he was, after all, still a man after all, so it could not be helped that he was doing a casual and shabby job; for someone like Xu Xu who strived for excellence, this was unacceptable.


“Move aside, let me do it.” Xu Xu hopped off the bed and walked over.


Ji Bai blocked her way with his back. “There’s no need to, just stand aside.”


Xu Xu looked at him and tilted her head sideways. “Why?”


Ji Bai looked back at her without answering.


He thought to himself, ‘Right… why? Back in the police academy, I was quite envious of other guys whose girlfriends washed their clothes for them. I even thought that I would willingly wear clothes washed by my future girlfriend.’


But now that he really had a partner, he could not bear to order her about.


Ji Bai’s smiled with his eyes. “Do you have nothing to do? Go get some anti-mosquito balm and apply some for me.”


“Oh.”


The anti-mosquito balm in Xu Xu’s room was used up, so she went downstairs and asked for a bottle of it from the hotel owner. By the time she returned to Ji Bai’s room, the clothes were already hanging on the balcony. Meanwhile, Ji Bai just happened to walk out of the bathroom after his shower as Xu Xu entered, and he was dressed only in some boardshorts.


It was Xu Xu’s first time seeing his half-naked body and so, she was slightly dazed as she immediately shifted her eyes away.


Ji Bai almost burst out laughing as he walked over and led her over to his bed to sit down. Then, he faced his back towards her. “Apply it.”


“Oh.”


He was a little darker than before after being under the sun over the past few days, and the skin around his neck was clearly darker than his back. He had a firm, broad back, and his waist seemed to be narrow yet strong. There was also a thin, dark red scar on his right shoulder, which looked like it was already there for a long time. Due to their close proximity, she could even feel that warmth given off by his muscles, which made her face feel hot. She shook her head to clear it and immediately took a small dollop of ointment out and spread it on his back evenly.


Ji Bai was facing the balcony as he looked at the dark sky outside of the window. Xu Xu was being very gentle, as her cold, soft fingers touched his skin; it was as if all the pores on his body suddenly opened up…


It was getting later into the night, and it was now quiet both inside and outside of the building. Ji Bai pressed Xu Xu against his bed, and their lips enveloped each other as they kissed deeply.


Xu Xu wore a knee-length dress, and, while it was very cooling, it was also very conservative. Ji Bai reached out his hand and placed it at the corner of her dress. His mind raced about whether or not to reach underneath it or not…


He was kicked the second his hand touched one of her knees. Ji Bai could not help but laugh, but just as he was about to say something, they suddenly heard footsteps from outside the door.


Ji Bai lifted his head and paused whilst Xu Xu looked toward the door as well.


Seconds later, they heard a knock followed by Sun Pu’s voice. “Little Ji, open the door, I’d like to talk to you regarding a certain situation.”


Sun Pu had just received a phone call and obtained some new clues, so due to his excitement, he wanted to relay it to the most capable member of the team. He stood by the door for a few seconds before Ji Bai slowly opened it.


The two of them sat down on his sofa. The mosquito net was let down around Ji Bai’s bed, and his blanket was bunched up, whilst there was also a pile of clothes on the floor, making the whole place look extremely messy.


Sun Pu realized that Ji Bai had probably been asleep and had been woken up by him. In spite of this, work was still their priority, so he did not worry too much and still continued talking to Ji Bai.


Sun Pu left after around ten minutes. Right after Ji Bai closed the door, he saw Xu Xu sticking her small head out of the blanket and sighed a long breath of relief. Although the two of them had good senses of priority and would not jeopardize their jobs because of their relationship, other people might not think the same. They did not mention it to the task force either since it was not necessary.


Ji Bai’s smile became deeper as he sat on his bed and pulled her into his arms. “Continue?”


Xu Xu quickly pushed him away. “It’s almost ten, I’m going back.” She flung open the blanket after saying this and got off the bed.


Initially, Ji Bai did not intend to make her stay since there was still work tomorrow, but when he raised his head, he saw her waist and hip bouncing in front of him. Probably due to her curled up position under the blanket, but a corner of her cream-colored dress was folded up without her knowing, all the way up to her waist. Her fair, slim thighs were exposed, and it looked unbelievably beautiful and smooth. His gaze swept across her leg and spotted a pair of wine red panties which perfectly outlined her snowy-white bum. Not to mention, her bum was small yet firm enough that both his palms were able to…


All of a sudden, his throat felt dry as he subconsciously reached his hand out to grab her ankle.


Xu Xu was somewhat surprised that she had been stopped from getting off the bed, but just as she was about to ask him to let her go, she suddenly felt… a cold sensation on her bum and her thighs. She instinctively pulled her dress away to cover he body and even tapped on it to make sure that everything was in place.


When she looked back again, Ji Bai had already let her go and was now looking at her with an emotionless face.


Xu Xu’s face started to heat up slowly as she immediately jumped off the bed and bid him farewell. “I’m leaving. Bye.” Her voice sounded dispirited.


Xu Xu laid on her bed in her own room for a while, then she took her phone out and searched on Baidu: “Precautions for first sexual intercourse.”


After reading for a while, she finally calmed down.


She was just exceedingly nervous because of where they were and hence, decided to sleep it off.


From then onward, Xu Xu decided to avoid going to Ji Bai’s room at night. Now that the two of them were on a work trip, it would be inappropriate if they were to make love for the first time here. Ji Bai probably had similar thoughts too.


Because of this, the two of them basically had no alone time with each other over the following days. Meanwhile, as they gradually gathered more evidence, the task force started preparing for the final operation. Everyone in the group was incredibly caught up in the operation such that they had little to no sleep at night; even the two of them put everything aside to focus on their work.


After working hard for almost ten days straight, Sun Pu led two criminal police officers to another city by the border to have a meeting with the Burmese officials in order to confirm the final date and plan for the arrest operation. For the time being, only Ji Bai, Xu Xu, and five other people were left in Maija City. Their main duty was to keep a close eye on the various criminal suspects and to protect Zhou Chengbo, who remained an important witness.


Once the sky turned bright, Ji Bai arrived at Zhou Chengbo’s supermarket and took over watch duty from the criminal police officer on duty.


Zhou Chengbo stayed in an office behind the supermarket and he had just woken up. He had grown closer to Ji Bai throughout the duration of their investigation and so, he passed a box of cigarettes to him. “Taiwanese cigarettes, they’re quite good and have a decent punch.”


Ji Bai tried a stick and took in a deep breath, then returned the carton to him. “It’s really not bad. Thank you, but I’ve quit smoking.”


Zhou Chengbo laughed. “I see the others smoking all the time, are there really any criminal police officer officers who don’t smoke? Why, does your wife not let you?”


Xu Xu’s smiling face crossed Ji Bai’s mind and his heart immediately softened, however, he just smiled back at Zhou Chengbo without said a word.


Zhou Chengbo nodded when he saw Ji Bai quietly confirming his hunch. “That was my first guess, since my wife likes to control me too.”


As the two of them talked, somebody knocked on the door outside. “Boss, package.”


It was a young fellow with tan skin, he wore a postal uniform and carried a square package in his hand, which he carefully placed on the counter.


Zhou Chengbo took his pen out to sign for it as he muttered, “You’re quite early. Oh right, it’s probably from my uncle…”


The delivery man kept quiet as he took the receipt and started walking away in quick strides. Ji Bai stood up at stared at his back as he pondered quietly. As he did this, he saw Zhou Chengbo opening the package out of the corner of his eye. “Officer Ji, what does your wife work as?”


The others from the task force had all left to attend to their own matters today, such that only Xu Xu was left in the hotel. She sat there by herself busily arranging the information required for the arrests.


She was looking out the window thinking about problems surrounding the case when she heard the explosion. She immediately scanned the skyline after hearing the noise and saw a cluster of dense and dark smoke rising from the city center in the distance.


The location seemed very familiar… it was near Zhou Chengbo’s supermarket.


Xu Xu immediately took her phone out and dialed Ji Bai’s number. Once, twice, three times… but it did not go through.


She instantly ran downstairs, but as she reached the entrance of the building, she paused then turned around and ran toward Ti Sa’s room.


Ti Sa was resting in the hotel today. When Xu Xu entered his room, he had just hung up the landline where had received some devastating news. He looked up at Xu Xu as she barged in and struggled to tell her something in choppy Chinese. “Zhou… Ji… bomb.”


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