The blazing sun was burning up the earth, on the vast expansive plains, the grass and plants were moving gently in the wind. Between earth and sky, it was as if they were only in two colors, the color of blue water on the above and down was the color of lush green.
The train galloped through the hill, the train’s whistle roared, breaking the silence.
This was the second day that the task force came to Burma.
Upon arrival in Yangon the capital of Myanmar yesterday, the officials from both sides, China and Myanmar had a meeting. China’s purpose was not only to arrest “Brother Lu” but wipe out the entire cross-border criminals under her control. So today the team was going to Kachin state by train, the place with a high possibility that “brother Lu’s” criminals gang might be stationed.
Kachin state was equivalent to a province of China, where the armed forces were autonomous. Therefore, in addition to the two policemen to accompany the team, the Burmese also sent a senior officer of the Kachin state. He led two battalions of soldiers along to escort the task force.
The train departed at noon and was expected to arrive the next morning.
Along the way, the air was still and the sea calm.
Slowly the night fell, there was only the roaring sound of the train in the vast plains. Sparse lights began to flicker as they started to near a state.
The task force consisted of a total of eight men and two women. Other than Xu Xu, there was one other female who was around 35-36 years old from the ministry of public security called Chen Yalin, who was mainly responsible for liaison with the Myanmar.
The two women were staying in a cabin with soft beds. The night had just fallen, Chen Yalin had already washed up and gone to bed. Xu Xu read for a moment, then she also picked up a towel and toothbrush and left the cabin, to go to the washroom.
The door of the cabin next door wasn’t closed, the light was blazing bright inside, the men chatting sounded very enthusiastic. Xu Xu turned around just right in time to see Ji Bai sitting on the lower bunk facing the door. Hearing a sound, he glanced up at her then continued to chat with other people.
No one was in the washroom, she could hear the sound of footsteps just as Xu Xu finished brushing her teeth. She looked up to see Ji Bai appear in the mirror in front of her. His hand was also holding toiletries, there was a slight smile on the handsome face.
Since they had got on the plane, they hadn’t got the chance to be alone nor spoken a word to each other. After looking into each other’s eyes for a moment, Xu Xu continued to wash her face, while wiping her face Xu Xu said: “Third brother, you don’t need anyone to accompany you to sleep with you tonight?”
(* sleeping with you / accompany you to sleep seems weird. I don’t know, you can decide. I feel like sleeping with you means something else? Lol, what people usually use in this situation?)
Her tone was of particularly casual indifference, but also made the corner of Ji Bai’s lips curled up. He spoke in a deep mellow voice, happy tone: “Xu Xu, I didn’t do anything yesterday.”
Xu Xu was slightly embarrassed.
She could mention the word “sex” with Xu Xuan and make him speechless but only a few vague words from Ji Bai, and it already made her feel nervous.
What brother said was right, as they say, she really was a “females are outsiders”.**
**The idea that girls care about their husbands more than family.
“Why did you decide to come?” Xu Xu changed the topic. When the deputy announced that day, he hadn’t intended on going to the action scene this time.
Ji Bai didn’t answer, he pulled the washroom door shut then dropped the toiletries, pulled her into his arms, and bent down to give her a passionate kiss.
Do you even need to ask? The expedition, this time, whether he went or not wouldn’t affect the overall situation. He only wanted to be beside her.
Ji Bai was only intimate with Xu Xu for a moment, not long after that, he let her go back to her cabin.
The train’s swaying disturbed Xu Xu’s sleep. While still drowsy, she suddenly felt the train stop, outside the window, came the sound of rigorous footsteps, casually someone shouted in Burmese.
She and Chen Yalin immediately became alert and sat up, pulled aside the curtain to observe. The train stopped at a small station. Outside the military searchlights were shining brightly as if it was daytime. Many soldiers were walking around the station platform carrying guns, at least, few dozens of them.
Everyone in the team came out of their cabins, standing in the dark corridor, wary of the movements happening outside of the train. Xu Xu and Ji Bai looked at each other across from a few people, didn’t say anything.
More and more soldiers had gathered outside the train, almost a soldier stood every 3 steps surrounding the train.
After a few minutes, Myanmar officials rushed over.
The situation soon became clear. Although originally the independent Kachin army was under the jurisdiction of a unified commander, the underlying armies were chaotic and often used force against each other. In the small town ahead, two factions were clashing and a shootout was likely to occur.
The Kachin officer who accompanied the task force called Tisza, about 27-28, dark skin with handsome looks. Through an interpreter, he appeased the crowd: “Please be assured that we have a flag of the commander-in-chief hung on the train, they wouldn’t dare to offend us. By surrounding the train now, they just hope we don’t intervene on what’s happening ahead. Everyone can go back to sleep.” Then also, with poor awkward Chinese, he added: “Great.” Meaning the situation was great.
Even though he was saying so, the other two Burmese officials looked very tense making the team anxious. Chen Yalin frowned then said in Burmese: “Let’s go to see the situation.” A senior Interpol said: “I’ll go with you.”
Yalin Chen nodded, turned around to say to Xu Xu: “You stay on the train, remember to lock the cabin.” Then the two with two Burmese officials and Yisza went to the front carriages.
Xu Xu didn’t feel anxious. Before going, she had already looked at information regarding Myanmar, Kachin’s commander was very prestigious. Moreover, the Burmese army never dared to touch the Chinese officials. Who would want to touch the powerful neighbor? Also, it was useless to be anxious, an unnecessary waste energy.
She turned to walk toward the cabin, locked the door, and got back to bed. She placed the police baton close at hands, just in case.
Ji Bai watched her until she went into the cabin then he went back to his cabin with other people.
The train was still quietly stopped at the station, there were blazing bright lights outside the window. From the beginning, the men had observed the outside from the windows but hadn’t discovered anything. After a while, someone proposed to appoint a watchman in each cabin and take turns to sleep. They all agreed, at the current situation to keep their physique was the most important.
Then someone suddenly exclaimed: “There’s only Xu Xu in the cabin next door.”
Ji Bai stood up: “I’ll go.”
Ji Bai went to Xu Xu’s cabin door, perked his ears and listened, it was quiet inside. He slightly laughed, she was already asleep? The little girl was always so calm, making a boyfriend like him totally useless.
Xu Xu wasn’t in deep asleep, she only slept vaguely, after a while she would open her eyes to observe the situation outside the train.
Ji Bai didn’t want to disturb her. He lit up a cigarette, leaned on her cabin’s door, looked at the dark sky outside the window, and just stood guard outside motionless for a long time.
Finally, the sound of sparse to dense gunfire came, red light lit up the sky. The cabin behind him still remained very quiet, Ji Bai also became very calm. He put his hand out of the window and handed the young soldier standing guard on the platform a pack of cigarettes. The soldier grinned, waving his arms and legs to him. He observed for a while before understanding that the soldier said they would withdraw tomorrow morning, which reassured him.
Xu Xu woke up the next day, the train had been speeding on the smooth rail since the crack of dawn, on both sides, farmhouses and villagers appeared leading their oxen out to eat. Chen Yalin had come back, was in deep asleep in the opposite bed. It seemed that the crisis had passed.
Xu Xu got out of bed to go wash. Passing Ji Bai’s cabin, she subconsciously looked toward him. He and a colleague were sitting on their bed eating instant noodles. He slightly smiled seeing her.
The train soon arrived at their destination- Muba town.
“Brother Lu” had never appeared at Muba town. Why did the team choose this town to be their first destination? The reason’s a bit complicated.
Since it was a foreign country, the Chinese police don’t have any enforcement powers, they only had the “observer” status with Myanmar for action, they could not carry guns. But Myanmar’s attitude was somewhere delicate, they said the criminals were mostly Chinese, powerful, moreover, they didn’t have any evidence of their crimes. So they were willing to cooperate to arrest but only if there was sufficient evidence presented to them beforehand of crime by these people.
So at this stage, the team’s most important task was to collect evidence of the crime to submit to Myanmar. After that, the Myanmar side would carry out the arrests.
Brother Lu’s group was notorious for crime in the country in human trafficking, according to the evidence provided by Guangdong police, they trafficked considerably large amount of Burmese women to Guangdong from Muba town. Therefore, the task force was to visit the families of the victims hoping to directly obtain evidence from them. This also created a great drive for Myanmar because all the victims were Burmese.
From the station to the town it took two hours. Tisza had ordered for a military vehicle to carry them to Muba. A small group of soldiers was running ahead of them. In the muddy and bumpy mountain road, everyone sat in the dark trunk in the back, no one spoke, some people closed their eyes to nap.
Ji Bai sat beside Xu Xu, held up his hand to rub his weary brows. Xu Xu whispered: “You didn’t sleep well yesterday?”
Ji Bai glanced at her, didn’t answer but questioned back: “What about you?”
“That’s fine then.” He said unthinkingly, he then leaned his head against the car, closed both eyes and didn’t say anything. After a while, his head fell aside and leaned on Xu Xu’s shoulder. Xu Xu looked to see if anyone paid any attention to them, then adjusted her posture, she sat up straighter so he could comfortably lean on her.
Ji Bai still had his eyes closed, his mouth slightly lifted: My wife, yesterday I once again was with you all night.
Muba town was located on the waterfront, there were a few gold ships by the river bank. There were a lot of simple sheds on both sides of the waterfront. Many cottages were gathered behind the embankment, scattered densely. In the sweltering hot air, there was a faint smell of river water but also the sweetness of sugar canes.
According to the information that the team received, there were, at least, two dozen young women sold to China from this village. It was because this group of Burmese women had been rescued, and were still with Myanmar for the handover. The task force had several files in their hands and would have to visit several families.
They soon found some clues. Although there were few families who hesitated and denied saying that their daughters went somewhere else to work, or they didn’t know anything, and some even refused to talk. But there were four families who burst into tears seeing their daughter’s photo in China. They identified and told them that, there were two young men from the city who had said that they would introduce work for their daughters. After that, the young girls went and never came back.
Witnesses and evidence were all there, God also seemed to be helping the task force. Soon according to the clues provided by the villages, Tisza with a platoon of soldiers raided a riverside restaurant successfully and captured two human traffickers. They also arrested two Chinese people along with them. After that, a villager confirmed the two men had often appeared in the village, and they had also directly brought Burmese women to China.
Tisza people weren’t as civilized as Chinese Police. They had grabbed four people kneeling before the restaurant, and beaten them to the pulp before giving them to the task force. This yield made everyone excited. The force deputy was Sun Pu. He happily told everyone that: On the first day they already had a good start, and it was important to maintain this momentum to completely wipe out brother Lu’s group.
Because it was already evening, the team decided to stay in Muba town for the night, they would continue to visit the surrounding villages from next morning. At the same time, they planned to interrogate the criminals throughout the night, to find more clues about Brother Lu’s group.
The night deepened, the area all around was very much silent, there were loud noises only from the soldiers under Tisza, who were sitting on the open space in front of the village drinking.
Inside the narrow humble farm house, the lights illuminated the tense prisoners face. Ji Bai and several experienced senior Interpol had divided up, to interrogate them. But they were really stubborn and very tightlipped.
But people on the task force ware all battle hardened veterans. They didn’t rush, they patiently tested the criminal’s guts.
At three in the morning, the soldiers outside were laying sleeping directly on the grass. From time to time, someone would wave their hand to slap the mosquitoes on their face, and curse in Burmese.
Ji Bai and Chen Yalin interrogated a young Chinese. Although he hadn’t leaked anything but he seemed to have lost the energy to fight. His plump face was slightly trembling, and sweat was pouring from his forehead. Chen Yalin and Ji bai looked at each other, they both understood, seeing that it was almost time for him to surrender.
Before they had gotten the chance to say anything else, they heard loud sounds of footsteps coming from outside. Ji Bai slightly startled, turned his head to look towards that direction.
“Bang” The door was opened by a platoon leader under Tisza commander, he spoke long in Burmese, he sounded furious.
Ji Bai stared at him, Chen Yalin had turned pale: “Ji Bai, he said that several villagers that had provided clues to us today have been beaten up. Now they are kneeling outside, they are looking for estoppel.”
- [estoppel (noun) – the principle which precludes a person from asserting something contrary to what is implied by a previous action or statement of that person or by a previous pertinent judicial determination.]
The sky was pitch black and the leaves rustling in the wind. When Ji Bai and the people in the team rushed outside, many soldiers had been awakened and were surrounding the villagers kneeling in the middle of the open space.
The villagers who were still clean and normal back then were now all raggedy, black and blue everywhere, some were bleeding and had only been casually bandaged, some had been beaten in the eyes, with blood all over looked very grim.
They cried with horror, there were only their voices in the open space, the Chinese and Myanmar soldiers were all silent.
After that, it took a long time for Chen Lin and the Myanmar officials to appease them but they found out two things from their mouths.
First, there were five to six gunmen who had come to their homes, after the threat of violence, they had said that if they continued to testify when the task force and soldiers were gone, they would come back to kill them. Even if their daughters were rescued back, they would be sold to southeast Asia, the situation would be even worst than it was now.
Second, the gang told them to tell the task force, “The Chinese don’t fight Chinese, Myanmar’s security was not very good, if they continue to pursue this matter, accidents would inevitably happen to the task force.”
Leader Su Pu listened to them then directly burst in foul language: “You g******f Chinese don’t fight Chinese..” Other Interpol also shouted: “F******s so arrogant, a bunch of grandchildren.” Tisza soldiers who had chased after the gunmen came back and said that their cars were already far gone, and there was not even a trace of them.
Ji Bai pondered for a moment, then said to Su Pu: “Su captain, I suggest leaving two people to appease the witnesses while requesting the witnesses to describe the gunmen to obtain portraits of them, and then escort the prisoners first to Rangoon, to continue the interrogation. The rest of us will immediately follow the road to track and arrest the gunmen. Also, request Tisza to leave a team of soldiers to temporarily protect these witnesses.”
Su Pu thought for a moment, and nodded: “Do as you say, without further ado, immediately get on the car.” He looked around, and was about to dispatch manpower when he heard Ji Bai say: “Xu Xu, follow me.” Xu Xu replied: “Yes, master.”
As it was an emergency situation, most of Tisza’s men stayed behind, two other Burmese officials escorted the prisoners back to Yangon; Tisza personally brought a dozen soldiers to followed the task force.
Originally, Tisza had some doubts about the task force’s tracking action because the criminals had left a few hours ago. But when he personally saw the team according to the wheel tracks and footprints, and positioning map precisely determined the locations, he couldn’t help but admire the Chinese criminal investigation capability.
The truck ran on the mountain road through the night until dawn, Tisza had got a few more cars.
Ji Bai never rested, and personally drove a car, while Xu Xu and two soldiers sat in the back. After a few hours, he switched with a middle-aged soldier and sat beside Xu Xu.
Ji Bai held her hand and asked: “What do you think about the current situation?”
Xu Xu smiled: “An opportunity.”
Ji Bai also smiled.
Xu Xu said: “This group of people attitude was very arrogant, their words were a bit impractical. Probably after brother Lu’s force in the country was hit, they came in to recruit few new members. They’re young so their actions can be that bold and impulsive. “Brother Lu” had always acted with caution, we know nothing about her gang in Burma. These people appeared, and actually gave us the opportunity to track them to the root.”
Ji Bai smiled: “Su Pu was right, today’s was a really good start.”
After a while, Xu Xu asked softly: “Did you stay guard outside my cabin all night yesterday? Honestly, it isn’t necessary.”
There was no movement on the side, Xu Xu turned to look, Ji Bai had already tired to the point that he had only leaned on his back on the seat and already fallen asleep.
Edited by proofreader No.5
Sorry, it has been so long since I last release a new chapter. I got sick after midterms due to the late night study sessions, I’ll make it up to you guys.
I’ll make up to you guys. ^^ Anyway the next few chapters are quite good especially the way this case’s going to be wrapped up. Super touching so look forward to that.
~ Happy Belated Valentines Day