At 9 o’clock in the morning, all of their teammates were downstairs. Seeing the neatly arranged bread, milk and omelettes on the dining table, Ye Qi was moved. “Thank you Professor Xiao. Professor Xiao worked hard to make breakfast for everyone!”
Xiao Lou replied, “Thank Group Leader Yu today. He made the omelettes for everyone.”
They couldn’t imagine the always indifferent man cooking eggs in the kitchen while wearing an apron. The teammates couldn’t believe it and turned to look at Yu Hanjiang…
Yu Hanjiang’s expression was calm. “Professor Xiao gave me good guidance.”
The group glanced at each other. So it was Professor Xiao who instructed Officer Yu to make these eight omelettes? Did the two people get up so early in the morning for Professor Xiao to personally teach cooking to Group Leader Yu?
Shao Qingge knew everything but he just smiled and said nothing. Once everyone tasted it, they all praised Yu Hanjiang’s omelettes. “It’s delicious!”
”Unexpectedly, Group Leader Yu is quite talented at cooking.”
”Is this another skill awakened by Professor Xiao?”
”Whoever marries Group Leader Yu in the future will be blessed.”
Then Shao Qingge suddenly said, “Doesn’t Group Leader Yu already have a wife?”
Everyone stared at him with disbelief.
Shao Qingge glanced at Xiao Lou with a smile. “Group Leader Yu and Professor Xiao were husband and wife for a lifetime. They loved each other, grew up together and adopted children. Am I right?”
The group finally reacted. This person was talking about the story of 8 of Hearts.
Xiao Lou coughed and said, “Chief Shao, don’t make such a joke. That was all a setting of the secret room.”
Yu Hanjiang also added, “Don’t mention the past.”
Ye Qi wasn’t aware of the deep meaning in Shao Qingge’s words and instantly raised a hand in agreement. “Don’t mention it. If someone mentions my role as a girl then I’m finished with them! It’s all over. Let’s forget this black history.
Shao Qingge glanced at Ye Qi. ‘For you, it is a black history. For Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou, perhaps it is a beautiful thing that they didn’t want to forget…’
However, Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou were still in the ambiguous period of mutual love and testing. Shao Qingge didn’t want to cause more trouble so he bowed his head and drank the milk.
Mo Xuemin wondered, “What’s our next plan? Do you want to continue to the next room or take a two day break?”
In Beacon in Troubled Times, Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou looked for the correct reasoning and their reasoning was overturned several times. They also had to interrogate the assassins and suspects. It was estimated that they hadn’t slept well for several nights. Long Sen hadn’t slept well because he had to rush to the capital. The others basically followed the thoughts of the two big Hearts leaders and won without much trouble. They weren’t tired and it didn’t matter if they continued to break through.
The key lay with the opinions of Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang.
Xiao Lou was about to speak when a message popped up on his phone. “Have you returned from 8 of Hearts? If you have time, can the two of you come to the Intelligence Bureau. I have something for you—Tang Ci.”
Once Xiao Lou opened it and read it, the message suddenly disappeared. It had come from an unfamiliar number and Tang Ci had obviously used an automatic clearing procedure to avoid leaving any traces behind.
Yu Hanjiang’s phone also rang. He looked down at the phone, apparently receiving the message.
The two of them looked at each other before Yu Hanjiang spoke. “I have something to do with Professor Xiao at noon. We need to go out. Everyone, rest in the villa first. The arrangements for the next level will be discussed after we come back.”
Their teammates had no opinions.
At noon, Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang finished eating and drove to find Tang Ci.
The abandoned site the person of the Intelligence Bureau took them to last time was extremely remote and the route was tortuous, making it hard to find. Fortunately, Tang Ci sent navigation to the two people’s phones. They parked at the nearby parking lot and walked to the construction site. They arrived at the location where the mechanism was triggered and the ground at their feet collapsed. They once again descended.
Xiao Lou remembered the last time they came to Tang Ci’s underground factory together. Due to his body suddenly falling, Xiao Lou had grabbed Yu Hanjiang’s hand nervously and Yu Hanjiang had held his hand back. That was the first time they held hands.
The feeling of his heart beating when Yu Hanjiang held his hand was still fresh in his memories. In fact, as early as that time, had he liked Group Leader Yu? He just hadn’t thought about it carefully and assumed his heart beating faster was from tension…
The familiar environment reminded Xiao Lou of his first experience with holding hands.
Yu Hanjiang also remembered that time.
During the rapid fall, the strong sense of weightlessness could make people feel nervous. In addition, Mr Tang’s elevator had no lights and the surroundings were dark. It felt like they had suddenly fallen into the darkness of a heart.
This time, Yu Hanjiang took the initiative to hold Xiao Lou’s hand and said gently, “Be careful, don’t step on empty air.”
Xiao Lou made a hum and held the other hand in an embarrassed manner. He didn’t break free and was led quietly. It was unknown how long the elevator fell but it eventually slowed and stopped.
The two people saw the familiar corridor again. The dazzling incandescent lamps illuminated the corridor. Once the two of them verified their identities in front of the metal door, the passageway opened to them.
Yu Hanjiang held Xiao Lou’s hand and went into the underground factory.
The thing that surprised Yu Hanjiang was that his brother Lu Jiuchuan was also there. He was lying on a bed and Tang Ci seemed to be helping him. After hearing their footsteps, Lu Jiuchuan turned around and found his brother and Xiao Lou standing side by side, holding hands.
Lu Jiuchuan gently raised his lips and smiled. “Xiao Xiao is here?”
Xiao Lou immediately withdrew his hand like he received an electric shock and his ears were slightly warm. He had just forgotten to let go. As a result, Yu Hanjiang’s brother saw them holding hands… Brother Jiu shouldn’t think too much?
Yu Hanjiang looked calm as he asked softly, “Brother, why are you here?”
Lu Jiuchuan explained, “Xiao Tang asked me to come. He recently studied the data and made some discoveries.”
Yu Hanjiang wondered with interest, “What did Mr Tang find?”
Tang Ci opened a large screen in front of him that contained dense code none of the other three could understand.
Xiao Lou made a guess. “What type of program is this?”
Tang Ci sat in a wheelchair, his pale fingers pressing a few keys in a row. The screen started to play a plot from a god’s perspective while many small chibi versions played several roles in the plot. “This is the code of an RPG game. I analyzed the samples of the A-grade Hearts room and found that the plot of the Hearts room can be dynamically adjusted at any time according to different choices made by each challenger. The plot will also change, just like it has been played before. It is like an RPG game with multiple endings.”
His words startled Xiao Lou. “Yes, the plot we experienced this time kept changing. Every choice we made had an impact on the follow-up plot. It really is like an RPG game with multiple endings.”
Tang Ci nodded. “Professor Xiao, you’ve heard of RPG games with multiple endings?”
“I played a lot of games in university including stand-alone games, online games and escape room games.”
Yu Hanjiang looked at him in an unexpected manner. “I thought you were studying every day in university. You were actually playing games?”
Lu Jiuchuan sat up in bed and joked, “You don’t understand. He is smart and learning and the knowledge that other people need a week to read can be learned by Xiao Xiao in one day. He is bored and has no girlfriend to spend the rest of the time with. Doesn’t that mean the only thing he can do is play games?”
Xiao Lou coughed. “Brother Jiu is right. I didn’t spend too much time studying. The rest of the time was spent on games.” This was why he became hooked on escape rooms, allowing him to get an S-rated score in the Hearts room after entering the Card World.
Tang Ci stated, “The Hearts room is equivalent to a multiplayer online RPG with multiple endings. It is similar to the previous popular single-player story games. If you don’t pay attention, you might trigger a death flag and the ending is the group being destroyed.
Yu Hanjiang also understood this. The experience of 8 of Hearts was indeed thrilling. They might’ve been destroyed by a single misstep.
Tang Ci added, “For this type of multiplayer RPG, you can’t make any mistakes when aiming for a perfect ending. You should’ve also felt this in 8 of Hearts?”
Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang glanced at each other and nodded.
Lu Jiuchuan touched his chin. “That’s why once we reached the S-grade secret rooms, we first selected Clubs which we thought was very simple. The result was that we were wiped out in J of Clubs. If we chose Hearts first, we might’ve been wiped out in J of Hearts? After all, there were a few people in our team who didn’t understand reasoning at all and the clues assigned to them were likely to be missed by them.”
Yu Hanjiang heard this and finally understood Tang Ci’s meaning. “Mr Tang, are you saying we need to develop the logic analysis ability of every team member from now on, trying not to miss any clues when we reach the S-grade secret rooms so as to not take the wrong branch and trigger the death ending?”
Tang Ci nodded. “Yes. There is also one more point. I’ve found that the scoring rules for the Hearts room are also different. If you solve the main plot line, you might get a perfect clearance but if you want to draw from an S-grade treasure chest, you need to complete more side plot lines and sole all the side plot lines to achieve a final score of S.”
Xiao Lou understood. “I understand. It is like this time, we solved three plot lines in order to get a perfect clearance.”
Tang Ci took out a card from his card pack and handed it to Xiao Lou. “Brother Jiu told me to give this to you. It should be helpful when clearing the later secret rooms.”
Xiao Lou took a look. It was an S-grade tool card Aerial Camera’. It was very similar to the mechanical spiders and drones made by Mr Tang. Its shape was similar to that of a small dragonfly. There was a monitoring screen in the middle and the head was the camera.
Tang Ci explained, “The aerial camera can fly in the sky for continuous shooting. In static shooting mode, it can take up to 10 photos a day. In dynamic monitoring mode, it can monitor for five minutes at a time. Use it in a Diamonds room to shoot the maze from a high altitude and find the path. Or in the Hearts and Spades room, it can be used as a monitor, remotely controlled from a specified attitude. After the card is recovered, the video materials will be brought to you.”
Yu Hanjiang heard this and felt that the card was very strong. The aerial camera was actually very useful for solving cases. It could take photos of the crime scene at different angles, which was conducive to subsequent analysis and reasoning. However, high-tech products such as the aerial camera might be banned in ancient secret rooms.
Yu Hanjiang had this thought and couldn’t help asking, “Are there many ancient environments in the later A-grade secret rooms?”
Lu Jiuchuan replied, “Not necessarily. The 8 of Hearts that we experienced was an ancient conspiracy but 9 of Hearts and 10 of Hearts were both moderns. However, the elite teams of other guilds have experienced interstellar worlds or the Republic of China world. The secret rooms are randomly generated according to the team and there is no reference for a strategy guide.”
Tang Ci added, “Still, from the perspective of big data, the probability of ancient times is relatively small. There will be many opportunities to use the aerial camera.”
Xiao Lou carefully put away the card. “Thank you, Mr Tang and Brother Jiu. I will accept this card.”
Lu Jiuchuan smiled cheerfully. “We are family. Why so polite?”
Xiao Lou was stunned. Family? Perhaps Brother Jiu was already seeing them as teammates.
Only Yu Hanjiang understood Brother Jiu’s meaning. Brother Jiu knew that Yu Hanjiang liked Xiao Lou and had already acknowledged Xiao Lou.
After leaving Tang Ci’s underground factor, Yu Hanjiang drove Xiao Lou back to the villa.
The two of them were silent for a moment before Xiao Lou opened his mouth. “Mr Tang and Brother Jiu don’t have to take the initiative to break through the secret rooms but every week that we are late, they will experience another World Weekly, right? Brother Jiu appeared in the factory today. I don’t think it is that simple. He seems to be injured again and went to Mr Tang for treatment…”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “I saw it but didn’t say anything in case I embarrassed him.”
Lu Jiuchuan’s current identity was still an undercover of the Hunter’s League. Every time he entered the World Weekly, he had to pull his teammates in to help complete the World Weekly mission while he had to find a perfect excuse to explain to the Hunter’s League why their mission failed.
Last time, he passed after being stabbed by Chu Huaying. Yu Hanjiang didn’t know how he acted this time but it certainly wasn’t easy.
In fact, Brother Jiu was fighting for his life every week in the World Weekly.
Thinking of this, Yu Hanjiang’s expression immediately became serious. “Let’s speed up the progress and join them as soon as possible.”
Xiao Lou and he had been bound by the contract and would be together no matter where they went. As long as the person he liked was always around and he could see Xiao Lou every day, he was already satisfied. There was no need to hurry and confirm the relationship.
The most critical thing was to leave this world as soon as possible.
Xiao Lou thought so as well. He was the owner of the contract book and needed to take into account the emotions of his teammates. Old Mo, Long Sen, Qu Wanyue, Ye Qi, Shao Qingge and Liu Qiao all had reasons to go back. Not to mention Brother Jiu who was walking on the tip of a knife every day and Mr Tang, who was physically disabled yet seriously studying the data of this world’s secret rooms…
It would be too bad if they delayed the time any longer.
Thus, after returning to the villa, Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang gathered their teammates and decided to continue breaking through in the afternoon.
The two people looked at each other and immediately drew the next card.
8 of Diamonds.