Chapter 23: Working Together Long Term
Morning of the next day.
The moment Bai Jin Xi steps into the training room that is big enough for a hundred people, she can sense that something is wrong.
Other trainees who have arrived are sitting up particularly straight, all wearing their police uniforms. In the back row, those who haven’t been doing well, are flipping their books frantically, as if they’re putting in all their efforts last minute. On the stage in the front, the training instructors are also wearing their police uniforms, chatting among themselves quietly; the atmosphere seems rather serious. There are a few empty chairs beside them.
A banner is hanging above their heads in the center: “Welcome, Provincial Criminal Investigation Team!”
Jin Xi and Xiao Zhuan look at each other. They sit down in the back row and ask the trainee beside them who’s frowning while reading his book, “Hey buddy, what’s going on? Don’t we have an exam today and graduation ceremony? Why are we welcoming the provincial criminal investigation team leader?”
The person replies, “You guys don’t know? Although they didn’t make an official announcement before, everyone knew about it. There will be a recruiting process on the last day of training. The provincial criminal investigation team will be starting up a “Black Shield Team.” Their main responsibilities will be investigating serial cases or other important cases. One of the main purpose of having this training is to select some candidates from all across the province for this special team. Why else would I have come if this was not the case? It’s natural to look for better opportunities. Holy, how come this criminal psychology stuff is so extensive? I can’t memorize it all……”
Jin Xi and Xiao Zhuan are both struck dumb. They both look at each other.
After taking a moment to think things through, they seem to understand now. They say that the provincial station is always looking for talents, and would search for them from all over. Could this have been a setup from the deputy chief? He asked them to participate in the training without revealing this detail. Their district chief even sent her and Xiao Zhuan off cheerfully. And due to their competitiveness, they’ve gone all out to fight for the top spot. Since others are their opponents and they don’t know anybody else well, so obviously, no one has told them about this recruiting process.
No wonder when she was talking about her training, Han Chen looked at her like that——could he have thought that she came to training hoping to be selected into the special team?
The leadership team has not arrived yet. The atmosphere is still full of nervousness and seriousness.
Bai Jin Xi twists open the water bottle, takes a sip, takes another sip, and keeps drinking. Xiao Zhuan watches her, “You’re nervous?”
Xiao Zhuan places his chin in his hands and is also unusually quiet.
Jin Xi asks, “What are you thinking about?”
Xiao Zhuan answers, “I can’t decide whether or not I should go.”
She wants to go to the washroom for drinking too much water. Before the ceremony begins, Jin Xi gets up and exits through the back doors.
There’s a corridor outside and training rooms are on each side. The hallway is well lit. Bai Jin Xi walks down with both hands in her pockets absentmindedly. The washroom is just around the corner of the stairs. But just when she makes it to the staircase, she sees Han Chen by himself, also with both hands in his pockets, walking up. Noticing the noise, he raises his head and sees her.
He’s wearing his police uniform today. Under his police hat, his pair of rich brown eyes are looking at her calmly.
Bai Jin Xi watches him approach.
She feels that……
She has decided to take part in the recruiting process.
“Why didn’t you tell me yesterday that there will be a recruiting process today?” she asks, “Xiao Zhuan and I aren’t prepared at all.”
Han Chen stands at the top of the stairs. He doesn’t answer but asks instead, “What do you guys plan to do?”
“Give it a try,” she answers swiftly.
Han Chen is expressionless. He walks past her heading to the assembly hall, but Jin Xi grabs his arm.
Of course, she lets go right away.
“Are you a member of the team?” she asks.
He glances at her, “Yes.”
Jin Xi smiles slightly, “As for someone who knows the details, can you reveal a bit of it? Is the work very challenging in the team? Who is the leader? Is it the deputy chief or is it Captain Qin? Are they very strict? Is it good to work under them? Oh, and do you think I have a good chance?”
He’s standing sideways looking at her, but after she finishes talking, he suddenly turns his body, and takes a step forward, “How come you have so many questions?”
They’re suddenly standing very close to each other face to face. Jin Xi takes a step back subconsciously.
He lowers his head and stares at her, “Bai Jin Xi, choosing your own career path and transferring departments are not for jokes. Don’t let anyone or anything influence your decision.”
Jin Xi is struck dumb.
Anyone or anything? Is he hinting something to her?
She keeps silent for a second, and responds, “I’m not joking. On the contrary, I’m very serious about considering this opportunity. I want to be in the special cases team not because I want to be promoted or want a raise. I want to go because criminal psychology is very effective in regards to making progress on serial cases.” She pauses before continuing, “I want to use my specialty skills to do more things, help more people, as well as to learn more.”
Han Chen looks at her and doesn’t say anything.
Bai Jin Xi takes a turn in her speech, “But for those who walk this path, it’s impossible to dodge every hit. All the questions that I’ve asked just now are understandable. Of course I have to be clear on what the leader likes, and whether or not it’s a good working environment. Otherwise, it would be a shame to bury up a good sprout like me……”
She suddenly stops before losing herself in her thoughts. It’s because Han Chen is smiling.
He’s already especially eye-catching in his police uniform, and now that he’s smiling, his facial features are even more handsome and captivating.
“How can there be a woman like you?” he speaks slowly in a light voice. He turns around and leaves.
Jin Xi purses her lips and follows him. The ceremony is about to start.
A hand suddenly reaches over and presses down on her hat, almost covering her eyes.
“Wear your hat lower, tuck the hair beside your ears up inside, and don’t smile during the interview.”
Bai Jin Xi adjusts her hat feeling puzzled, “Why?”
“You’ll have a better chance in succeeding.” He stuffs his hands into his pockets, pushes open the door, and walks inside.
The ceremony starts just as Bai Jin Xi returns to her seat.
Their training supervisor gives a brief speech, and then introduces the members of the criminal investigation team. There are four of them present including Captain Qin Wen Long. Han Chen is sitting next to Qin Wen Long, indicating that he is the second most important.
Different from Qin Wen Long’s face full of smiles, Han Chen is serene right from the start; his hat is worn low, making him look as if he’s just a pretty looking sculpture.
It’s Qin Wen Long’s turn to give a summary on the reasons for establishing a special cases team and the expectations.
He is a handsome man who’s about thirty-four to five years old. He’s tall and have eyes like a hawk. He leans forward with both of his hands pressed against the top of the table, he smiles, and says, “This investigation team is being established after I had put in strong efforts to obtain the approval from the higher ups. This is a very bold attempt, as well as a test. I will be the team captain, but the daily tasks will be supervised by the vice-captain, Han Chen. I’m sure you’ve all heard of Han Chen, so there’s no need to introduce him.”
Everyone’s eyes dart towards Han Chen.
The indecisive and talkative guy from before who’s sitting beside Zhou Xiao Zhuan says in a low voice, “Holy! I can’t believe it’s Han Chen, the uncrowned king of crime solving. I’ll be exhausted to death working under him! But there’s no helping it, this is the place where all elite officers strive to get into! I’ll do it!”
Xiao Zhuan is also a little worked up now. He tugs Jin Xi’s arm, “Super Detective Han is the vice-captain!”
Jin Xi slaps his hands away, also feeling vexed.
He’s going to be the leader.
She even asked him what the new leader likes and if it would be a good place to work at.
Qin Wen Long announces the recruiting process: the written exam will be in the morning, and the face to face interview will be in the afternoon. He, Han Chen, and the training supervisor will be the interviewers. He doesn’t speak any further, and lets the written exam begin.
Jin Xi is sitting in the hallway with her hands locked together resting on her knees. Xiao Zhuan is sitting next to her with his back even straighter and looking more nervous than she is.
The written exam in the morning has ended; they did pretty well as the king and queen of exams. Since they are usually the top two, they’ve been arranged to go last for the face to face interview. Jin Xi is second last, and Xiao Zhuan is last.
Watching the others come out one after the other, some look depressed, while others look excited. The sun slowly sets as the people around them gradually decreases.
“Bai Jin Xi,” someone comes out of the interview room and calls her name.
“Here!” Jin Xi takes a deep breath, stands up, and adjusts her police hat. She suddenly remembers what Han Chen said and asks looking down at Xiao Zhuan, “Why should I wear my hat low, tuck all of my hair inside, and don’t smile for my interview?”
Her question seems to come out of nowhere, but after Xiao Zhuan thinks for a minute, he is actually able to answer, “Because you look more like a kind woman that way? And not as voluptuous?”
Jin Xi chuckles, “Get lost!” She raises her head and walks in with her chin high.
It’s a rather small room. The moment Jin Xi walks in, she sees the three of them sit behind a long table. They all have cigarettes in their hands; the room is smothered with smoke.
Seeing her come in, they all look at her. Jin Xi greets them politely by giving a slight nod to each of them. When it’s Han Chen, their eyes meet, but they quickly shift their gazes away.
Jin Xi sits in the chair in the middle of the room, “How are you leaders! I am officer Bai Jin Xi from the Guanhu station.”
Besides Han Chen, Qin Wen Long and the training supervisor both smile. The training supervisor says with his head down, “She is the one that deputy chief advised that we should take a good look at.” His voice isn’t loud, but Jin Xi can hear him nonetheless, so she can’t help but feel happy about it.
Qin Wen Long takes a breath of smoke, flips through her file, and asks, “Bai Jin Xi, why do you want to be in the Black Shield Team?”
Jin Xi keeps silent for a moment, and then responds, “I want to utilize my skills to uphold fairness and justice. I want to prosecute the vicious criminals and protect the innocent.”
Qin Wen Long and the training supervisor laugh. They probably feel that it’s interesting to see such a beauty be so experienced, determined, sonorous, and full of energy.
Qin Wen Long asks a few more questions, and Jin Xi answers them all. She doesn’t use impressive words; her answers are rather simple, but her attitude is very focused and serious.
“I’m done with my questions,” Qin Wen Long tilts his head to look at Han Chen, “Do you have anything you want to ask? She’s going to be working under you.”
Jin Xi’s heart shakes. She also takes a look at him.
He has been silent this whole time while she answers the questions, so she hasn’t been looking at him until now.
Han Chen lifts his head and looks back at her.
He reaches out his hands, opens up his notebook, looks down, and flips through the pages one by one with a stern look.
Jin Xi keeps her slight smile as she watches him. But it feels as if she has knocked over a bottle of sauce inside her heart.
Is he really planning to ask her some skill testing questions?! He’s even flipping through the notebook so seriously. So he’s not going to let her off easy then?
“I don’t have any further questions,” he speaks in a deep voice. He closes his notebook and glances at her calmly.
Qin Wen Long and the training supervisor smiles.
Jin Xi lets out a breath of relief in her heart.
Seriously……this bastard. He tried to scare her on purpose.
“Please go home and wait for our notice, but please be prepared beforehand. You’ll be transferred to the Public Security Bureau by next week the earliest,” Qin Wen Long says.
It’s Xiao Zhuan’s turn after Jin Xi. When the two pass by each other, they high five in the air. There’s nothing more to say.
There is no one else in the hallway at this time. Jin Xi walks to the window, puts both hands on her hips, and lets out a long breath of air.
She hears the sound of the door opening behind her, and then she hears footsteps.
Jin Xi turns around and sees Han Chen pull out a cigarette, put it in his mouth, and walk towards her.
“Hmph……” Jin Xi turns her head and looks out the window, “Why did you scared me just now?”
Han Chen stands beside the window, takes off his hat, hooks onto it with his finger, and smokes quietly not answering her.
“Between you and Zhou Xiao Zhuan, only one can stay.”
Jin Xi turns her head immediately.
His pale side profile and dark brown eyes don’t reveal any expression.
“You guys are from the same station,” he adds.
Jin Xi’s heart sinks. She feels frustrated and upset at the same time.
She thinks for a moment, and then says, “Keep Xiao Zhuan then. This is a great opportunity……”
But she sees Han Chen staring at her.
“I was just joking,” he says softly, “Don’t take it for real.”
Jin Xi, “……How dare you!”
His eyes are half closed with a hint of smile. He walks back into the room with the cigarette in his mouth.
Jin Xi watches his back full of anger, but she smiles again after thinking more about it.
She turns around, and looks out the window again.
At a distance, the setting sun is shining on the Yangtze River. The surface of the river is vast and wide. A river steamer whistles as it passes, and the birds chirp crisply in the air. At this moment, she is not thinking of her terrible past, or her pending career path. She’s not thinking about the man in her dreams that causes her to toss and turn at night, or the mysterious Han Chen.
She is thinking about the future.
She thinks, perhaps she can step onto a bigger stage, and chase after a more meaningful dream. There is still a long road ahead of her.
Bai Jin Xi, you have to put in your fullest every day, and let yourself live an even better life.