When A Snail Falls in Love - Chapter 55[Updated at: 2021-01-11 09:55:07]
Chapter 55: Chapter 57
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
It was nighttime and a strong sense of autumn lingered under the moon-lit sky.
Yao Meng lived in a two-bedroom apartment in the urban area alongside Lin Qingyan. Tonight they were wearing a matching set of household clothing. Lin Qingyan looked tall and refreshed and when they saw Ji Bai and Xu Xu at the door, they were both surprised.
The four sat down on the sofa and Lin Qingyan stood up politely. “I’ll go make some tea, you guys go ahead.”
There was a short pause when Yao Meng saw Feng Ye’s picture.
“We were high school classmates. I heard about the ‘angel killer’ incident but I wasn’t very familiar with it. What happened?”
Yao Meng might be in danger but of course, Xu Xu could not reveal everything regarding the case since she was no longer a police officer. Xu Xu took out some basic information surrounding the case and handed it to her. Yao Meng quietly finished reading it and nodded while blushing a little. “Okay, but what does this have to do with me?” Yao Meng was a little stunned when she saw the sneak photograph.
Ji Bai asked, “What is your relationship with him?”
“Just ordinary classmates, we’re not that close.”
At this moment, Lin Qingyan came over with some tea and saw the serious look on their faces. He sat down beside Yao Meng and asked softly, “What happened?”
Yao Meng raised her head and smiled at him. “Nothing. They came to ask me about my former classmate.”
After chatting for a while, Ji Bai and Xu Xu stood up. “That’s all for now, we’ll stop bothering you.”
Yao Meng smiled back and got up. “I’ll send both of you off.” She turned around nodded at Lin Qingyan. “I’ll be back soon.”
The three of them walked silently all the way to the empty boulevard outside the housing area when Yao Meng suddenly asked softly, “Xu Xu, can we talk?” Xu Xu nodded and Ji Bai looked at the two of them before going to wait in his car.
The two of them found a bench and sat down as Xu Xu looked at her quietly. Yao Meng raised her head to look at the clear night sky and smiled, “I didn’t want to say this because Qingyan was there just now, but if you go to the school to investigate, you’ll find out that Feng Ye and I, we used to date in high school.”
Xu Xu was lost for words. Although she could tell that Yao Meng was hiding something, she did not expect the two of them to have had such a relationship.
Yao Meng said softly, “I don’t know what to say as I’ve dated such a monster.”
Xu Xu looked at her sorry expression and frowned. “Did you… love him very much?”
Yao Meng paused for a moment before she shook her head while chuckling. “Why would I? I was young and ignorant at that time.”
Was it love? Yao Meng did not know.
Towards Ji Bai, it was adoration with a strong sense of admiration. After she was rejected, her self-esteem was bruised, but it did not hurt that badly. However, she was, still feeling a little sore about the incident. Therefore, she subconsciously wanted to avoid him now that she was talking about her relationship with Feng Ye.
As for Lin Qingyan, it was his maturity and sense of belonging that attracted her. His charm and temperament deeply moved her but it was undeniable that his money and status also came into play. He was more like a marriage candidate to Yao Meng.
What about Feng Ye?
Two equally outstanding teenagers who were both enthusiastic and impulsive, and feeling as though they could love each other forever. Nonetheless, when she thought about it now, all she could do was smile.
He was stubborn and he came from a poor family background. Moreover, he would have gone on to study in Hong Kong, which was the reason why Yao Meng had broken up with him at that time. Even after so many years had passed, she still felt a dull pain in her heart whenever she was reminded of this pure and innocent love – she did not feel the same attraction with Ji Bai and Lin Qingyan. Later on, after she heard about the “Angel Killer” incident, this nostalgic feeling morphed into intense disgust, so much so that she did not want to think about this rapist anymore.
Xu Xu remained silent for a moment before asking, “Did he show any signs of psychological change when he was dating you?”
Yao Meng shook her head. “He didn’t seem particularly odd as boys of that age are usually wild and impulsive. Moreover, we were only in a relationship for a year, so I don’t know him that well.” Their feelings were strong but they were often ignorant and strongly emotional.
Xu Xu continued to probe, “What about sex? Did he have any fetishes?”
Yao Meng lowered her head and murmured. “We did not have sex.” After saying that, she looked at Xu Xu.
Both of them instantly had the same thought. This meant that she was in an even more dangerous situation now because Feng Ye might return as he had not truly ‘got’ Yao Meng.
Xu Xu quickly said, “I’ll send someone from unit to offer you full-day protection.”
“N-no. This will affect my work.” Yao Meng frowned.
Being protected by police officers would certainly attract other people’s attention. She might as well close down her magazine agency if news about her being targeted by a perverted killer was being spread to the public.
Even so, Xu Xu was still worried. Yao Meng smiling said when she saw how Xu Xu was silent. “You can rest assured as I’m either at the company or at home. Moreover, I’m usually with my colleagues and Qingyan often picks me up from work. It won’t be easy to abduct me. In addition to this, you’re not sure that it was him anyway, right? It’s still likely that he had died at sea way back then.” She paused for a moment then continued, “How about I talk to Qingyan about this when I get back and tell him that my high school classmate is a stalker – he will probably arrange for two bodyguards for me. Don’t worry about it.”
Only then did Xu Xu nod slowly.
After Xu Xu and Ji Bai left, Yao Meng stared blankly at the empty boulevard before returning to her house. As soon as Yao Meng walked through the door, she saw Lin Qingyan sitting on the sofa quietly with a book in his hand. A 35 years old man with the elegance of an older gentleman, yet with the appearance of a handsome youth.
She walked over to him and leaned against his shoulder.
Lin Qingyan put down the book and pulled her closer to him. “Baby, is everything okay?”
She buried her head in his chest and then looked up at him. “Nothing, I just spent some time talking to Xu Xu.”
Over the next ten days, the police dispatched a large number of officers to conduct a full-scale search for Feng Ye, but they did not find anything. Moreover, there was no progress on the investigation of the victim, Bai Anan.
Everyone in the criminal police unit was getting tenser by the day as they were afraid that a second victim might suddenly appear.
However, life still had to go on even if they had yet to close the case. Ji Bai did not tell anyone in the unit about Xu Xu’s pregnancy as the current case was very stressful and he did not want to distract the rest of them with his personal matters. He told Little Zhao that recently, Xu Xu was not feeling too well and asked him to look after her; Little Zhao naturally agreed to this as he was the one who dealt with all sorts of errands in the unit. After this, Xu Xu was well taken care of under Little Zhao watchful eye.
Nevertheless, although the case was very tense, Xu Xu’s pregnancy went along very smoothly. Despite feeling nauseous during the first few days, she was feeling quite alright now. She looked energetic every day and her complexion had gotten a lot better as well. Ji Bai claimed that it was his strong genes that were changing Xu Xu’s body composition.
At noon, everyone went to the cafeteria to have lunch. Due to their heavy workload, lunch was the only time they get to relax, so they would naturally use it to chat more enthusiastically.
More people soon started to funnel into the cafeteria. Since Ji Bai was afraid that someone would bump into Xu Xu, he asked her to sit down and he went to get food for her himself. Then, he sat down next to her and chatted with the others while he ate.
Xu Xu ate quietly and did not attract anyone’s attention, but after a while, she suddenly nudged Ji Bai. He turned sideways and saw that her plate was now empty – it seemed like she had finished eating her portion relatively fast today.
“Are you done? Should I accompany you back to the office?”
Xu Xu nodded. “I want to have more.”
After saying this, everyone looked at Xu Xu in awe as she was well-known to have a small appetite, this was totally unlike her.
Xu Xu quickly tried to cover up. “I’m a little hungry today.”
Of course, they did not want her to feel awkward, so they laughed and said that she should eat more as she had previously been eating too little.
Da Hu said jokingly, “Sister-in-law is still growing so naturally, she should eat until she’s full.”
Everyone laughed while Ji Bai patted Da Hu’s shoulder with a smile. “You have a sharp eye.”
The consequence of eating too much was getting sleepy. In order to ensure Xu Xu rested well, Ji Bai applied for a dormitory in the station so that she could take a nap every day at noon.
The room was warm and quiet in the afternoon, the corridor was pin-drop silent and the branches swayed gently outside the window. Xu Xu leaned on the bed while Ji Bai’s gaze fell casually on her flat belly.
“Let me see if you’ve gained weight.” He edged forward excitedly.
Xu Xu lowered her head and saw his handsome face right next to hers. His dark brows and loving eyes seemed exceptionally gentle such that Xu Xu could not help but reach out her hand to caress his short hair.
Since she was only two months pregnant, there were no noticeable changes. As Ji Bai was about to raise his head again, he locked onto her chest and saw that she was wearing a tight-fitting white shirt today. He did not know whether it was his imagination or the angle, but her chest looked exceptionally full today.
Ji Bai got up, buried his head in her collar and planted a kiss on her snow-white chest. “Did all your newly-gained weight accumulate here?”
Xu Xu laughed, then grabbed the collar on his shirt and leaned forward to kiss him gently.
Right at this moment, Ji Bai’s mobile phone rang. The two of them instantly let go of each other and looked towards the phone.
It was Old Wu. “Captain, we just found a second victim.”
By the time Ji Bai and others arrived at the crime scene, it was already in the evening.
The crime scene was in the mountainous area about tens of kilometers away from the location of the first body; this time, it was at an even more remote location. The twilight shrouded the earth, making the body that was lying in front of a cave barely visible. The scene was beautiful yet strange.
The forensics detective was performing a preliminary examination of the body as Ji Bai and Xu Xu stood a few steps away. Zhao Han took out a report and quickly read aloud, “The name of the deceased was Li Tiantian. She was a 24 years old postgraduate student from the local music academy who disappeared a week ago. She rented a room with her classmates and since she often stayed away from home or traveled by herself, her classmates did not pay it too much attention when she did not return home. This was why they did not file a missing report to the police.”
At this moment, the forensics detective got up and walked towards them. “The time of death is between 8 o’clock to 12 o’clock yesterday. The condition of this victim is basically the same as the previous victim, just that the degree of damage to the corpse is higher due to longer exposure to the elements. In addition to this, this victim’s lacerated wound on her vagina is more severe while some other wounds seem to have been dealt after her death. However, further investigation is needed to verify this.”
Everyone was shocked and Da Hu cursed under his breath. “Fuck, he’s even more perverted.”
Ji Bai surveyed the surrounding woods and when he turned around, he saw Xu Xu walking to his side. She stood there silently with a deep frown on her face.
Xu Xu raised her head to look at him. “Although the possibility of Feng Ye surviving after falling into the sea is very low, previously I suspect that he might be the murderer because of the similarities in the way the crimes were committed. However, now that a second victim had appeared, I no longer feel like he’s the murderer.”
Ji Bai nodded. “Go on.”
Xu Xu continued, “In addition to their similar temperament, the two deceased victims still had one thing in common, and that is they did not attract the attention of the people around them even after disappearing for some time. I don’t think that this is a coincidence. The murderer would probably have stalked the victims for a period of time and then made a move after getting to know them very well. This also matches my suspicion that he prefers establishing an intimate relationship with the victims.”
“Then?” Ji Bai egged her on.
“The problem now is, Ye Tiantian had disappeared a week ago and we had already dispatched a large number of police officers to hunt down Feng Ye. There were police officers dressed in plain clothes as they patrolled almost every street in the city while the traffic police’s monitoring system was checked at the end of every day. Thus, if it really was Feng Ye, how could he elude our intensive search and successfully complete such a complicated task of stalking as well as abducting the victim from within the city?
“Moreover, according to your previous deduction, the murderer should have a relatively flexible schedule, a car, and a house. However, Feng Ye is wanted by the criminal police officers in both Hong Kong and China. If he went back to Lin City, he would live miserably and it would be very difficult for him to be able to commit crimes in such an orderly manner.
“Therefore, I’m now inclined to believe that the murderer is, in fact, someone else. Regardless of what his motive is behind imitating Feng Ye’s crime, he has successfully confused us. ”
While the two of them talked, Old Wu and several other senior criminal police officers gathered around them. After listening to what she said, everyone gradually nodded in agreement. They were all very experienced police officers and after a few days of intensive searching, they too shared her sentiments.
Ji Bai looked at Xu Xu and said, “The true value of Feng Ye’s case was to help you understand the murderer’s mentality when he commits crimes. Instead of assuming that Feng Ye is the criminal, we should treat this as a brand-new case and assume that the murderer is somebody we don’t know. The evidence available is the main resource we have to track down the murderer. You guys can take a look at this.”
Everyone was stunned as Ji Bai lowered his head to look at the ground that they were previously surveying. The soil here was soft and covered in leaves. He knelt, gently brushed away the fallen leaves and soon revealed a semi-clear footprint pressed into the ground.
Everyone was elated.
They did a quick test on the footprint as Ji Bai said in a low voice, “The murderer wear shoe size 42 while Feng Ye’s information shows that he wears the shoe size 44.”
Someone asked dubiously, “Could it be that the murderer left a fake footprint to confuse us?”
Old Wu also squatted down to analyze the footprint and shook his head. “No. First of all, after Bai Anan’s case, Captain gave the order not to leak the news to the public. The murderer did not know that we had even found the first body, so there was no need for him to deliberately leave a footprint. Secondly, from the depth of the footprint, that person should have been carrying something heavy while the direction of the footprint also faces the body. Thus, this should be the murderer’s footprint when he was carrying the body. There are quite a few fallen leaves here, so the murderer must not have noticed that he had left such a dangerous clue behind.”
It was midnight when everyone called it a day. Although they still did not know the identity of the murderer, at least they ruled out the possibility of it being Feng Ye. At the same time, they also learned a little more about the murderer.
Right after they return to the police station, Ji Bai said to Zhao Han, “Tell Yao Meng that she doesn’t have to worry too much.”
The rest of the unit nodded. Although Yao Meng had already left the police unit, it would be a pity if she was being stalked by a perverted murderer. At the very least, she can rest assured for now.
When Zhao Han called Yao Meng, she was at Lin Qingyan’s house. It was late at night already, so Yao Meng and Lin Qingyan had already gone to sleep. When she saw that it was a phone call from the police station, she walked out of the bedroom, closed the door and went into the living room to answer it.
“Yao Meng, the murderer is definitely not Feng Ye. He should already be dead, so you don’t have to worry about it.” Zhao Han said.
Yao Meng remained quiet for a moment then answered with a smile, “Okay, then I can relax now. How can you guys be sure about this?”
Since Yao Meng was originally at risk of danger, Zhao Han did not want to hide too much from her, so he answered in a low voice, “Their shoe size is different.”
Yao Meng thought for a moment. “Feng Ye is size 44.”
Zhao Han nodded and replied, “Yes, the murderer wears size 42. Keep it as a secret, yeah.”
After hanging up the phone, Yao Meng stood on the porch for a while as she could now finally relax after staying up worried for so many days. When she raised her head, her eyes fell on the shoe rack on the porch that was filled with both her and Lin Qingyan’s shoes. Perhaps due to what Zhao Han had said just now, but she subconsciously looked at the size of the men’s shoes and saw that it was also size 42.
She laughed slightly as she dismissed her thoughts as her simply being too tense. She walked into the bedroom and laid down on the bed. Lin Qingyan seemed to have noticed her movements while he was sleeping, so he casually turned around and hugged her from behind.
On the same night, Ji Bai sent Xu Xu home to sleep before returning to the police station to work overtime. However, he received a call from Xu Xu early in the morning. “You are right, I should investigate this case like it’s a brand-new case. Right now, I have a preliminary profile of the criminal. I think that we can filter him out by screening through everyone in Lin City.”