CR: Chapter 284

The number of clues found in the study was the highest among all the rooms. The invitations had the names of the people invited to participate in the Christmas Eve party and the murderer was probably among these people.

In addition, they found the Christmas gift box given to his wife by the host as well as the hostess’ performance schedule. They used the locations on the schedule to check the longitude and latitude on the globe, unlocked the gift box and saw the Christmas card written by the host.

However, the door of the study still didn’t open. Xiao Lou looked around and stopped on the wall of bookcases. “There should be a clue we have missed. Hurry and look at the row of bookcases. Search through them as soon as possible.”

The desk and drawers had been carefully rummaged through and no other clues could be found. Only the bookcases hadn’t been checked. Qu Wanyue started with the left-most cabinet and found a lot of professional music books. Old Mo looked on the far right and saw some books related to architecture. He quickly flipped through these books and told Xiao Lou, “The host, Wells, is an architect and has opened a design company. There is a brief introduction of his company in this book.”

Xiao Lou took it and put the clue away in his pocket.

Judging from the brief introduction, Wells’ architectural design company wasn’t small and the income was considerable. Along with the money earned from his wife’s performances all over the world, this family could afford a five storey villa. It was obviously a rich family so he couldn’t completely rule out a servant killing the master for money.

Long Sen rummaged through the bookcase in the middle. “There are so many CD cases here. Xiao Ye, come and take a look.”

Ye Qi stepped forward and immediately said, “These are all high quality CDs of Richard Clayderman’s piano music. It seems that Shirley is a big fan.”

Richard Clayderman, a world-renowned piano master was born in France and had many famous masterpieces. The CDs that appeared on the bookcase were all famous songs. Ye Qi explained, “These five songs are ‘My Destiny’, ‘Lyphard Melodie’, ‘A Comme Amour’, ‘Dream Wedding’ and ‘Don’t Cry for Me Argentina’.”

Ye Qi took out the five CD cases and handed them to Xiao Lou. “Are these CDs related to the password of the room?”

The tape recorder in the piano room just now could only play tapes, not CDs. Obviously, this room didn’t have a sound mechanism that required playing the CD to unlock the room. What was the significance of these CDs? A case hint or a password reminder?

Xiao Lou lowered his head to think for a moment. He opened all the CD cases and was surprised to find that four of the CD cases were empty. Their CDs seemed to have been taken away by Shirley. There was only a brand new CD left in Don’t Cry for Me Argentina. The image on the front of the disk was the capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires.

The team members saw this and looked at each other. There was only one CD on the CD case and an image of the capital city printed on the disc. What did this mean?

Xiao Lou reacted immediately. “Liu Qiao, check the latitude and longitude of the capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires on the globe.”

Liu Qiao hurriedly rotated the globe, found the capital of Argentina and reported the result. 34 degrees south latitude and 58 degrees west longitude.

Xiao Lou walked up to a bookcase on the wall.

North was up, south down, west left and east right. If the latitude and longitude corresponded to the bookcase then the book he wanted was 58 books from the left (west) and 34 books from the bottom (south).

The bookcase had only four shelves. Counting from bottom to top, it was impossible to count 34 books up. However, Xiao Lou found that after aligning with the longitude coordinates of 58, the books here were stacked horizontally. Nearly 20 books could be placed on each shelf.

Xiao Lou counted 34 books from the bottom according to the coordinates of 34 degrees south latitude. Finally, he locked onto the location corresponding to this latitude and longitude. This was a world famous book.

—The Lover.

The moment Xiao Lou pulled out the book, the bookcase in front of him suddenly made a banging sound. Following this, the bookcase rotated 90 degrees and a long, narrow passage appeared in front of everyone!

The team members stared at each other.

They were all still wondering what Argentina meant. As a result, the latitude and longitude of the globe corresponded to the horizontal and vertical coordinates on the bookcase. After the main book was extracted, the bookcase would automatically rotate to open the passage. This was a detachable mechanism!

Fortunately, Xiao Lou reacted quickly enough or they might’ve stayed in this room for dozens of minutes.

Currently, the countdown had reached 30 minutes and half the time had been used. They solved four rooms, the little girl’s dream room, the little girl’s bedroom, the hostess’ piano room and the host’s study. They found two bodies and the speed was fast enough.

However, it seemed that the mechanisms were becoming more difficult and Xiao Lou also felt a bit nervous. The host’s body hadn’t been found and there were no clues about the murderer. He held the clues they had collected previously and sorted his thoughts as he walked.

Following down the narrow passageway revealed a staircase that went up.

Everyone went up the stairs. Xiao Lou walked and gave a simple explanation. “The famous book ‘The Lover’ is a love story between a poor French girl and a wealthy Chinese man. The two of them admired each other but due to differences in religious beliefs and ethnic culture, they couldn’t be together. The heroine couldn’t overcome the racial differences and returned to Paris to settle and marry a white man. The hero followed the traditional Chinese marriage. He obeyed the orders of his parents and married a Chinese girl he had never met. Many years later, the man brought his wife to Paris and called the heroine. He said he loved the heroine as much as ever and would love her until he died.”

Many people hadn’t read this famous book but Xiao Lou happened to have read it. Even if he hadn’t read it, the name of the book was very direct. Yu Hanjiang frowned. “It seems that several clues in this murder case are related to feelings.”

Both the piano music Dream Wedding and the book The Lover told the story of a tragic love. It was impossible for so many coincidences to appear in a row.

Yu Hanjiang analyzed it. “The current suspicious characters include the five friends who were invited to the house on Christmas Eve as well as the little girl’s personal doctor, nanny and driver. The motive for the crime is love. The murderer couldn’t get their love and their psychology gradually became distorted. Therefore, they looked for a chance to kill the family.”

Just now, Xiao Lou thought maybe a servant had killed the family for money but the continuous ‘love story’ clues made him deny his guess. Yu Hanjiang’s analysis was more reasonable. There was a greater likelihood of killing for love in this case.

Just then, everyone walked up the stairs to the first floor.

There were two rooms on this floor. There was a door to the left and the right. Xiao Lou suggested, “Time is running out so we should split up. Four people enter one room or else the 30 minutes left probably isn’t enough time.”

The fact that the secret room was limited to one hour was the hardest thing. In a real life escape room, there were so many rooms that it would take at least five hours to play!

Yu Hanjiang coughed slightly. “Do you think grouping… is feasible?”

Xiao Lou looked at him. “We will open the heart channel. If one side can’t solve a puzzle then we can discuss it.”

Yu Hanjiang was relieved. There was Xiao Lou providing ‘off-site’ help so he didn’t need to worry about difficult mechanisms. Xiao Lou summoned Qin Guan and connected with Yu Hanjiang. Yu Hanjiang quickly made a decision. “Liu Qiao, Xiao Ye and Chief Shao will follow me to the room on the left.”

Xiao Lou continued, “The remaining three people will go to the right with me. Keep communicating at all times.”

The eight people entered the two rooms in groups and continued to gather clues. In the room on the left, Yu Hanjiang entered with his teammates and found it was a child’s toy room. It obviously belonged to the little girl Lucia.

The room was filled with all types of rag dolls and the walls were painted colorfully by her. There were white clouds, a blue sky, green trees and various cartoon cows, sheep and rabbits. The large room was left a mess by Lucia and the walls were almost ruined by her. The husband and wife clearly loved their only child very much and reserved such a large room for her DIY doodles.

Yu Hanjiang saw the toys all over the room and had a headache. Xiao Lou sensed his thoughts and told him, “Look and see if these dolls have a pattern.”

Yu Hanjiang ordered, “These dolls are too messy. First sort and organize them.”

Ye Qi and Liu Qiao immediately separated to find the pattern while Shao Qingge stood in the middle of the room and carefully studied the drawings on the walls.

Yu Hanjiang stood in a corner and spoke to Xiao Lou in his mind, “What is the situation on your side?”

Xiao Lou replied, “It is the hostess’ cloakroom and there are many clothes, bags and shoes.”

A  dressing room that was dozens of square meters in size was extremely luxurious. The closets against three walls were full of beautiful clothing and many dresses for performances. One wall was made into a shoe cabinet with countless high heels and flat shoes. There was a table in the middle with many drawers. It was a place for storing jewelry.

Xiao Lou asked his three teammates to look through the closets on one wall each, focusing on the pockets of the clothes, while he looked at the jewelry table in the middle. The bottom drawer of the jewelry table was locked with a four digit code. In the escape room games, the things with locks must have important clues.

Xiao Lou asked his teammates to quickly search the closets. Long Sen and Old Mo were uncomfortable seeing some of the clothes. Qu Wanyue was the most efficient and quickly found an old wallet with a group photo in the inner pocket of the coat.

The group photo consisted of Shirley, her husband Wells, two men and three women. The seven people stood in a row and smiled happily. A special relationship couldn’t be seen just by looking at the smiles.

Qu Wanyue took it over. “The seven people in the photo are all wearing university graduation clothing. They should be classmates. There are precisely two men and three women. They should be the five people invited to the Christmas Eve party?”

Xiao Lou replied, “It is possible.”

He turned the photo over and saw some numbers on the back.

Group photo of the 98th graduates – June 7th.

The password lock on the drawer had four numbers. Would it be 9867? Xiao Lou thought about it. The password shouldn’t be this simple. If he entered 9867 and it was wrong then he didn’t know what punishment would occur…

Xiao Lou was silent for a few seconds. In an escape room, the password was rarely written directly. The number behind this phone was likely to be an interference item. He gave up on the simple attempt of 9867 and carefully examined the jewelry table.

The jewelry on the table was placed very regularly. There were five jeweled necklaces hanging on the left from short to long, eight pairs of earrings in the middle area and seven bracelets on the right. There were eight pairs of earrings which could be understood as the number 16.

The arrangement of this jewelry might be the password to the bottom drawer.

It was a four digit password. Was it 5167 from left to right or 7165 from right to left? Or none of these options.

***

Meanwhile, Ye Qi and Liu Qiao also found the pattern in the child’s room next door. The two people had sorted out all the dolls in the room.

Ye Qi was sweating profusely. He pointed to the organized dolls at his feet and stated, “There are 5 Mickey Mouse, 6 bears, 7 Snow White dolls in different colors, 3 big turtles and 8 plush rabbits of different sizes.”

Liu Qiao added, “There is a cabinet here with a code lock. It is a five digit code.”

There was nothing else in the room. Shao Qingge thoughtfully said, “It seems the numbers after these dolls are organized are the password to the cabinet. The key lies in the order.”

5, 6, 7, 3 and 8, how should the order be arranged?

There were many possibilities if the five numbers were randomly arranged. If they entered the wrong number then they would be buried by dolls… the adults didn’t want to experience this type of punishment again.

All the dolls in the room had been sorted so there must be clues on the order in the room.

Yu Hanjiang looked at the colorful graffiti on the wall. “What do these drawings on the walls mean?”

Shao Qingge had a headache. “I can’t read these children’s drawings.”

Ye Qi pointed to the crooked graffiti on the left wall. “This wall seems to be the story of the tortoise and the hare. If arranged according to this story, the tortoise won against the rabbit and should be in front of the rabbit. However, there are no animals like Mickey Mouse or the bear.”

Liu Qiao was looking at a big graffiti tree with a sentence written next to it. She whispered, “The lifespan of a tree is much greater than that of a human. If I can become a tree, how good would it be? I can get enough to eat in the sun every day.”

So… what exactly was the password for this child’s graffitied room?


Proofreader: Fictional Reality

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