When A Snail Loves - TopLightNovels.com
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Chapter 63.1: Do you know how much I love you?
When Xu Xu woke up, she saw a small yellow lamp above her head, and an unfamiliar, grey ceiling.
Ji Bai was sleeping in a chair by her bedside without having changed his clothes. Outside the window, the night was dark and gloomy. Under the light, his face was especially handsome and quiet.
In the wee hours of morning, it was extremely cold. Xu Xu's throat was a little dry, and she could not help coughing, trying to muffle the sound with the blanket. Ji Bai immediately opened his eyes and got up, his big hands caressing her icy, small face, "You're awake?" He poured her a glass of water, while saying, "It's nothing serious, your blood sugar is on the low side, and you were given an IV (intravenous drip). This is the village health centre. Rest here tonight, and we'll go back to Lin City tomorrow."
"Ok." Xu Xu sat up, and took the glass of water. She felt so much better after drinking the warm water.
Ji Bai pulled his chair even closer, his dark eyes staring at her. He was unable to hold back a faint smile, "Getting angry to this extent . . ."
Xu Xu was silent for a moment, before replying, "You're not angry?"
Ji Bai caught up her hands and brought them to his lips for a kiss. Her skin, originally pale and delicate, bore needle marks after the IV drip, and had taken on a slightly green cast. Ji Bai held her hands in his without speaking.
Angry. Of course he was angry. Clearly, there were two murderers, but today, given the irrefutable evidence, as solid as a mountain, that there was only one killer. This was both really depressing and extremely infuriating, so much so that he found it difficult to calm down.
But, precisely because of this, he could not give way to his inner turmoil. As a criminal investigator, he needed to have a seemingly cold-blooded tenacity.
Thus, he looked at her, and smiled faintly, "I won't hurt myself by getting angry. When have cases ever been easy to solve?"
Xu Xu nodded. How could she not understand this? She was mentally more robust than most people, but, having seen Yao Meng become the victim of a crime with her own eyes, she found herself unable to dismiss the experience from her mind.
After a period of sleep, she felt less burdened. The sky outside was becoming lighter, and she got up. "I'm going to wash my face."
Ji Bai pressed her back onto the bed, "I'll bring you water. You had better stay still."
Xu Xu watched him as he walked to the side of the window. He picked up the thermos flask on the floor, and poured the water into a basin. His figure was tall and grave, and his movements were agile and vigorous. Watching him gave her a sense of peace and security.
Xu Xu stared at his back, and asked, "What's your opinion?"
Ji Bai knew that if they did not discuss the issue without ambiguity, she would definitely keep thinking about it. He handed her the water, and replied, "There are three areas of doubt.
First, the chosen victims were all different. The first victim was a white-collar worker. The second, although a recent graduate, was already a trainee at an organisation, which is in line with your description of the victims. However, the third victim was only an ordinary university student, with nothing special about her.
Second, the methodology in each case is different. The first two were obviously carefully planned. No one knows to this day how the victims disappeared, so we were previously unable to trace the killer. However, with the third case, the victim was only killed after she entered the forest region for her hiking trip. Moreover, Tan Liang abandoned her body in the forest. This enabled us to determine – the third case took place entirely in the forest region, and the killer was in the forest region, which led us to capture Tan Liang.
Third, the degree of thoroughness exhibited by the killer is different. The footprint next to the second corpse can be said to have been inadvertently left behind. The footprints by the side of the third body were too obvious."
Xu Xu nodded, "Before you came down the mountain, I had already seen the photographs Da Hu brought down. The cave that Tan Liang lived in, gave off the feeling of simplicity, disorder, gloominess, impulsiveness . . . Even though the way the third corpse was handled was similar to the Angel Killer case, I agree with your perspective. The planning and implementation of this case is very much in line with his personal characteristics, but, it is only this case.
However, why would Tan Laing take the blame for the first killer? What is the relationship between them?"
Ji Bai said calmly, "The status and position of these two people is worlds apart (天壤之别 – as far apart as heaven and earth). According to reason, they should not have any opportunity to interact. I have already assigned someone to check on their communication records – they have not had any contact."
"But, there must have been an opportunity for them to meet."
They were silent for a moment. Ji Bai took out a stack of information from his bag and laid it on the bed. Under the light, both of them quietly looked through the information, frowning.
After a while, Ji Bai suddenly picked up a picture of the crime scene and handed it to Xu Xu. His dark eyes were bright, and his voice was low but forceful, "I know – look here. The location where the second corpse was abandoned, was in the area of the forest region under Tan Liang. This is where they interacted. It is highly likely that the first killer came into contact with Tan Liang when he was abandoning the corpse."
Xu Xu was startled. As her brain connected the dots, several clues fell into place and she immediately nodded, "You're right! This explains why Tan Liang's footprints were at the side of the corpse. Moreover, that's when the killer started having sex with the corpse. Previously, I thought it was because there was a change in the killer's mentality, and he was escalating his crime. On thinking about it now, the sexual intrusion before death and after death, is very likely to be the actions of two different criminals!"
Ji Bai reflected for a moment, then agreed with her speculations. "Although we don't know how the first killer managed to persuade Tan Liang to take the blame for him, this explanation is far better than the theory that Tan Liang is the only killer. It is entirely possible that all the evidence we found in the cave was the work of someone else. He would only have to pass the items to Tan Liang, or place them in the cave himself."
As their minds churned with possibilities, they became more excited. However, as Xu Xu looked at his solemn expression, her voice became very soft, "But, we don't have any evidence."
Ji Bai did not say a word. He furrowed his brow, and looked out at the brightening sky, and the peaceful, distant mountains.
It was true. Without evidence, there was no way forward at the moment.
In a while, he turned to look at Xu Xu, "Do you know about the Baiyin City serial murder case?"
Of course Xu Xu had heard of it. That was one of the most famous unsolved cases in recent years.
Sixteen years ago, more than nine women were killed in Gansu province of Baiyin City. The killer either raped and killed the women, or sexually violated them after killing them. Moreover, he always removed their organs and took them with him. The youngest victim was an 8-year old girl. The case was still unsolved.
Ji Bai's expression had become cold and remote, "That year, the most capable criminal investigators were assigned to crack the case. My teacher, Team Leader Yan, was also on the team."
Xu Xu nodded – when exercising in the morning, she had always seen Team Leader Yan's strong and muscular figure.
Ji Bai said dully, "Later on, my mentor told me, there was no way to solve the case. They were even able to find traces of the killer's semen in the young girl's body, but they could not find the killer. Each time the killer committed a crime, he planned everything meticulously, and he left behind no evidence, no trace. A group of senior officers, the most illustrious of the country's master sleuths, broke down upon looking at the desecrated body of the child, but they could not solve the case."
Xu Xu's heart ached on hearing his words, but she did not speak – she understood Ji Bai's purpose in telling her of this case.
Ji Bai looked at her. His voice was gentle, but his eyes were steely, "Certainly, there are some criminals who are cunning enough to escape the reach of the law. Justice and righteousness cannot be upheld. Where this case is concerned, we have no other evidence. Soon, the provincial department will announce this case is closed. However, in comparison with the situation my teacher's generation was in, we have made many advances – Lin Qingyan may not have left behind any evidence or traces, but we have your criminal profile, and we at least know he is the most likely to be the killer. We will not allow him the opportunity to harm anyone again. And, we will not give up the investigation until he is convicted."