LilZah: Yes! We’re back! Or at least tofudessert is. However, before you start reading, we’d just like to warn you that this is a pilot chapter and we’re still unsure of whether this is the novel that we will be going on with — especially considering the length of this novel (162 chapters + side stores).
As a note, the official English name of this novel is “Memory Lost” while the Chinese name, 美人为馅, roughly translates to “A beauty as filling.” Without further ado, here’s chapter one!
Chapter 1: A Beauty as Always
The sun rises, creating a majestic yet subtle golden crease on the surface of the river. The river steamer from afar gradually passes beneath the bridge as birds play in the sky. The city gradually reveals its outline, like a monstrous beast awaking from the sunlight.
The scorching summer has arrived.
Bai Jin Xi is certain that she is residing in the hottest spot of the city.
At the back alley of Su Se Nightclub, she has been “steaming” inside an ordinary van for the entire day.
She brushes her sticky hair away from her face annoyingly, not letting them stick to her neck from the sweat. Zhou Xiao Zhuan beside her expresses his disapproval, “If it’s inconvenient, you shouldn’t let your hair grow then. Leader, why do you have to be so one-track minded in something so miniscule?”
Bai Jin Xi smiles faintly, and doesn’t answer. But she thinks in her heart: You’re one-track minded! In any case, I’m the beauty of our district police station and has even been on TV. My image is very important. Like you know shit about it!
The two keep their silence and continue to stay in their spots while sweating.
The mission to “bust illegal sex trade” this time is being coordinated by the city’s police force, surrounding the area with officers. Even though Bai Jin Xi and Zhou Xiao Zhuan are criminal investigators, the Guanhu county station has no more than thirty people. Therefore, whenever there is a big mission, it’s all hands on deck, regardless of your position. Today, they are responsible for “surrounding” this Nightclub that is suspected of illegal sex trade, drugs, and gambling.
The sky finally becomes dark.
The street lamps turn on, and a tint of coolness can finally be felt with an unknown scent of fragrance in the air.
Two people cross the alley. They are two pretty faces wearing hot pants with suspenders accompanying their long legs and small waists; absolutely eye-catching. Zhou Xiao Zhuan can’t help but sigh, “Why do you women like wearing so little fabric in the summer? Do you not know that this is the high season for sexual assaults and robberies? It’s all due to these bright and beautiful legs!”
He doesn’t hear Bai Jin Xi respond, so he turns around to look. She is looking out of the side window; she brushes her bangs and tilts her chin. Zhou Xiao Zhuan doesn’t need to think to know what she’s comparing, so he says, “Can we not be so full of ourselves?”
Bai Jin Xi answers, “No.”
At this time, the walkie talkie that has been silent for a long while finally transmits a middle-aged man’s voice full of excitement:
“Attention everybody! This is District Chief. The mission will start in five minutes! Please get ready, and let’s show our fellow city police how formidable we are at Guanhu County! Anyone who falls behind or makes a mistake will have their bonuses be deducted on next month. Over!”
Although Bai Jin Xi and Zhou Xiao Zhuan are used to fooling around with the district chief, when it comes to critical times, they will immediately put away their smiles, sync up the times on their watches, put their handcuffs and police batons in place, and count down.
The mission starts.
Under the district chief’s order, over ten police officers head to the place. The Nightclub is completely surrounded on all sides. Bai Jin Xi and Zhou Xiao Zhuan are the quickest; when other officers enter the lobby, the two of them have already pushed away the security guards; they jump over the bar and press the manager onto the tabletop to prevent him from notifying others.
The scene is immediately under police control.
Music continues playing in the hall. The girls stand together in shock while the customers look at each other in dismay.
Bai Jin Xi has no interest in these “small fishes.” She leads Zhou Xiao Zhuan with her and heads to the second floor like the wind; they start to check every room, one by one.
After they clear out three rooms undergoing sexual activities and a messy room with drugs, Bai Jin Xi senses something odd.
In all the other rooms, the mistresses, customers, and drug addicts…….have all acted the moment they charge in, running away in the hallway frantically. But only the doors of the room at the very end continue to be shut tight; quietly and calmly. As if no one is in there.
Bai Jin Xi walks up to it slowly and quietly. She puts her ear against the door. She hears a strange and energetic melody that seems surreal.
The theme song for the movie, “Black Hawk Down.”
A smell of coffee and cigarette seeps through the door gap.
The scent of coffee is rich; definitely not the instant coffee that is commonly used at nightclubs. It is freshly grounded. The smell of cigarette is strong; looks like the person has been smoking a lot inside.
Bai Jin Xi pulls out her police baton, strikes it against her palm like she usually does, and reveals a callous smile. Even though she is wearing a police uniform, she is undoubtedly beautiful and full of pride. The customers in the hallway who are being taken away by the police can’t help but stare her way.
Zhou Xiao Zhuan follows behind her and whispers, “Leader, should we charge open the door?”
“Why waste the effort?” Bai Jin Xi takes out a key from her pocket. She had snatched it from the bar just a while ago.
Click. The door is pushed open slowly to reveal a crack. Just when Bai Jin Xi is about to slide herself inside through the crack like a cat, Zhou Xiao Zhuan behind her shouts excitedly, “Don’t move! Police!”
Bai Jin Xi really wants to kick him! Anyone with eyes can see that there is something particularly strange about this room. For all they know, a big drug lord could be hiding behind these doors, or he could be prepared to fight them with a knife or a gun. It would have been the perfect time to show her skills! Who knew that Zhou Xiao Zhuan would shout out like that? There goes their advantage!
There’s no turning back now. Bai Jin Xi has no choice but to swing her police baton and shout, “Police! Don’t move!”
The doors are completely open now.
A slender woman dressed in a cheongsam stands in the middle of the room, staring at them in shock. She looks to be twenty-four to five years old; she is pretty with clear and shiny eyes, but her aura of being in the business is also obvious.
Bai Jin Xi glances around the room.
What a smart fella. There’s more to this, isn’t there?
The room is very quiet, elegant, and decorated with an antique style; a pot of delicate orchids sits by the window lattice; beside the chaise lounge made of pear wood, two octagon glass lamps are hanging, lighting up the old fashion room in haziness. On one side of the room, there is also a big red wood screen standing, drawing the river under the sun, moon and stars.
Zhou Xiao Zhuan is a little stunned from the view, rendering him speechless.
Bai Jin Xi gestures for him to lead the woman out of the room, while she looks to see who’s behind the screen.
A man is sitting inside.
The screen is blocking half of his body, so Bai Jin Xi can only peek through the patterned holes and see that he is wearing a black shirt. His legs are crossed with his long and slender hands resting on his knee. The smell of cigarette and coffee is emitting from his area.
At this moment, the woman turns her body to avoid Zhou Xiao Zhuan’s hand. She says anxiously, “Miss Officer, we are only here to chat and have a drink of coffee. We’re not doing anything else!”
Bai Jin Xi and Zhou Xiao Zhuan both look toward her.
Zhou Xiao Zhuan doesn’t need to wait for Bai Jin Xi to ask him before he says with a scowl, “The police are working on a case here, so stop the nonsense! Get out!”
Who knew that the woman would not tolerate this? She turns her head to Bai Jin Xi and says, “You guys have the right to work on a case, and we have the right for privacy. We have not done anything illegal, so you guys….you guys should not interfere.”
Bai Jin Xi stares at her, and smiles.
Heh, this is one interesting woman.
It’s clear that Si Si is very protective of the man behind the screen as she says further, “We really aren’t doing anything, you guys……”
Zhou Xiao Zhuan feels a bit of a headache——after being a police officer for so long now, this is the first time he has met a mistress who would ask an officer to not bother her customer.
But Bai Jin Xi lets out a laugh. She nods to Si Si and then looks directly at Zhou Xiao Zhuan as she says in a cold and crisp voice, “Take her out! Handcuff her if she continues to refuse to leave.”
Si Si’s eyes are wide open as she couldn’t believe how this female officer, who looks beautiful and gentle, is being so strict and cruel. But she doesn’t dare to say anything more; she looks over to the screen worriedly and is then led outside by Zhou Xiao Zhuan.
Zhou Xiao Zhuan returns to the room soon after. He closes the door after him.
The two of them stare at the man behind the screen.
Bai Jin Xi says, “Come out. Come with us to the station for a recording. Whether or not you’ve broken the law, we won’t do you injustice.”
Zhou Xiao Zhuan gives her a weird look. Based on her usual domineering personality, she would have rushed over to the screen and yank that man out from behind. But she’s actually being patient today and is even giving the man an explanation?
In actual fact, Bai Jin Xi has already decided——just from watching Si Si’s reaction, it’s very possible that they really haven’t done anything unlawful. But a man hiding in such a filthy place is most likely up to no good. What could they be doing here? Could it really be just like what Si Si said, and that they’re only here for a pure chat?
Therefore, Bai Jin Xi is full of curiosity. Her intuition tells her that this man is definitely up to something.
Therefore, she decides to give him her patience and probe.
After a moment of silence, the man speaks.
But Bai Jin Xi would never have thought that he would use this kind of tone to answer her.
A deep and mellow voice with an obvious tone of coldness and annoyance, as well as a hint of haughtiness:
“Which subdivision are you two from?”
Bai Jin Xi freezes on the spot.
Zhou Xiao Zhuan behind her answers loudly out of reflex, “We are from Guanhu police station!”
Bai Jin Xi, “……”
She wants to kill him with her laser eyes. They haven’t even figured out what’s going on yet, so why is he being so honest?!
Zhou Xiao Zhuan also realizes right after——Why did he disclose this information to a man who is suspected of being involved in unlawful activities? To add to that, he answered him out of reflex like he was reporting to a superior. He reaches out his hand and rubs his head. Under Bai Jin Xi’s glaring eyes, he obediently keeps his mouth shut.
Bai Jin Xi is almost out of patience. Just as she is about to walk over, the walkie talkie on her waistbelt suddenly comes on.
“>cough<……Xiao Bai (Bai Jin Xi’s nickname)?”
Bai Jin Xi, “District Chief?”
The chief’s voice suddenly becomes serious, “You and Xiao Zhuan, come out of that room immediately. Don’t touch that person. Don’t ask why.”
Bai Jin Xi and Zhou Xiao Zhuan are struck dumb. They lift their heads and look over to the screen at the same time.
Don’t touch that person? Don’t ask why?
The two of them turn around and walk toward the door.
It’s just that the instant they walk out of the room, Bai Jin Xi can’t help but turn her head to look. She catches a glimpse of the pair of legs behind the screen stretched up——the man has stood up.
Fuzzy lighting from the outside is shining through the window, reflecting the man’s long silhouette onto the screen. Among the room decorated in old fashion style full of antiques, the silhouette somehow shows off a sense of reticence and loneliness.
While they drive back, Zhou Xiao Zhuan asks, “Leader, who was that exactly?”
Bai Jin Xi answers, “Do you need to ask? There are only two possibilities. Either he’s an undercover cop, or someone who even the chief can’t afford to offend.”
Zhou Xiao Zhuan feels enlightened and asks further, “Should we go ask the chief then?”
“No!” Bai Jin Xi says simply, “The chief is being so mysterious about it. There’s no way he’ll tell us. He’ll tell us when he wants to.”
Zhou Xiao Zhuan replies with “okay” but then says after a while, “That man feels a bit like a gangster. I just can’t tell whether he’s really a gangster or an undercover cop.”
Bai Jin Xi doesn’t say anything.
A gangster? An undercover cop?
That aura of his sure makes him seem like one; calm but insolent; secluded yet provocative.
He doesn’t seem like a nice person anyhow.
The majority of the people at the nightclub has been brought back to the station. The place has also been closed down with a notice, attracting the gazes of many passersby, making it a dismal view.
Si Si is the only woman who could stay at the place. She knows that she’s lucky, all thanks to that man in the room.
Once all the police officers leave, she secretly goes back to the room. The man is still drinking coffee, sitting at the spacious balcony, watching the colorful lights of the city. His expression is hard to make out at night. His arms are resting on the side of the chair with a cigarette between his fingers. the ashtray on the side is already stuffed with cigarette butts.
Si Si doesn’t dare to get too close to him subconsciously. She pulls out a chair and sits on the side. She asks with care, “Did the two officers give you a hard time?”
The man smiles faintly, “No.”
Si Si feels relieved, “The female officer that came today is quite well known. She’s the beauty of the police force, and I heard that she’s very good at solving crimes. I was afraid that she wouldn’t let you off.”
The man inhales a long breath of cigarette and doesn’t answer.
Si Si thinks for a moment and says, “But she is really pretty. To be such a pretty officer is so great.”
The man taps the ashes off of the cigarette and then says nonchalantly, “For my entire life, I’ve hated female officers the most.”