The five gift boxes found in the storage room all had a combination lock and the countdown of the labyrinth challenge showed only 10 minutes remaining. Everyone couldn’t help being nervous when they saw the countdown floating in front of them.
Xiao Lou took a deep breath, stabilized his emotions and quickly scanned the five boxes on the ground. The five boxes had different colors: white, blue, purple, green and red.
Apart from the different colors, the size and shape of the box were exactly the same. There were no password hints written on them. How to unlock the five boxes? The teammates were all in deep thought.
Xiao Lou quickly judged, “Since these five boxes are Christmas gifts brought by those invited to the Christmas Eve party, the boxes of different colors must correspond to their identity or hobbies…” He picked up the white box and declared confidently, “The white one was sent by Dr Simon.”
He was a doctor and the most representative color was white. This box must come from Dr Simon.
The teammates got Xiao Lou’s tip and suddenly became cheerful.
Yu Hanjiang followed up by saying, “The blue box was given by Jack. In the photo of him and Wells at university, the color of their team uniform was blue. The color of the box is exactly the same as the team uniform. It is a very special lake blue.” He found the photo and compared it. The color was exactly the same.
Qu Wanyue followed next. “The purple gift box is from Miss Susan. It is difficult for ordinary women to control this glamorous dark purple but in the photo, her heels are this color. She should like dark purple very much.”
The remaining ones were green and red. Yu Hanjiang turned back to the photo of the best friends.
In this photo, the three friends were standing side by side. They wore the same white dress and held bags of the same style but in different colors. Shirley was holding a cute pink handbag, Martha with her long straight hair was holding a dark green bag and the blonde curly haired Karen was holding a red bag. Obviously, Martha liked green and Karen liked red. The two boxes left were their Christmas presents.
After locking onto the owner of each box according to the photos, Xiao Lou started analyzing the password.
Yu Hanjiang pulled out several related photos in the album. “Will the clues to the passwords be in the photos?”
Xiao Lou nodded. “Let’s take a closer look.”
There were no clues in the storage room and the five guests weren’t present. Only the photos were related to them. There was a photo of Jack and Wells, both wearing jerseys. On the left, Jack had the number ‘12’ while on the right, Wells had the number ‘08.’
This box was the simplest. Xiao Lou handed it to Ye Qi and Chief Shao. “1208, open it and look for clues.”
Time was limited and they had to all act together. Xiao Lou was responsible for cracking the code while finding clues was left to his teammates.
He followed up with the white box. In the photo with Simon, Wells should’ve gone to the hospital because of something. Simon was wearing a white coat with a stethoscope around his neck while Wells held a medical record in his hand.
Xiao Lou moved the photo closer and examined it carefully. The patient’s name was written in the medical record: Wells. Height: 180 cm. Age: 21 years old. BP: 98/70 mmHg. Among these data, only the last blood pressure item was a set of numbers that could form a password. High blood pressure came first and low blood pressure came after. It happened to be a four digit code.
Xiao Lou handed the box to Liu Qiao and said, “9870.”
Liu Qiao immediately entered the password to open the box and found a letter inside. She read it carefully.
The purple box came from Susan, a classmate with a good relationship with Wells. In the photo, the two people lifted up the trophy of the architectural design competition together. The trophy was distinctive and was composed of several metal lines interwoven and arranged. Apart from the trophy, both people were wearing suits and there was nothing on their clothes or in the background related to numbers.
Xiao Lou looked at the trophy and didn’t see anything special. He handed the photo to Old Mo. “Old Mo, look at this trophy?”
Mo Xuemin had studied design. After seeing the trophy, he immediately realized the answer. “The lines of the trophy make up a number. You have to cover up the gold part to see the silver.
The trophy had a large silver area as the base color while the shining gold was used as embellishment. If people looked at the trophy then they were often attracted by the golden embellished. For example, if a few black lines were drawn on a white wall then people would first notice what the black lines expressed, not the below white wall.
Xiao Lou was also looking at the golden embellishment and didn’t see it clearly, but he reacted the moment he heard Old Mo’s words. This was the commonly used anti-color treatment from escape rooms.
On puzzles, walls and other places that were easy to confuse people, the creators would paint some colors on a large area of the background to make the players think about what these colors represented. In fact, the painted color was the distracting item. They should be looking at the background color instead.
Old Mo soon saw the code. “The background color around the cup forms the number 1989.”
Xiao Lou nodded. “Look for clues.”
Old Mo opened the box and looked through it carefully. There were two boxes left, the green and red boxes from the best friends.
In the group photo of the three friends, Martha wore a necklace around her neck. There were four small pendants with diamonds strung on the silver chain that looked very delicate. The four numbers were 7679. This clue was very obvious.
Xiao Lou handed the green box to Qu Wanyue and Long Sen.
The clue for Karen was a bit hard to find. She didn’t have anything symbolic on her body. Aside from carrying a bag, she was also holding a small doll. The background of the photo was an amusement park and there were many children taken in the background.
Not far behind the three friends was a group of small children gathered together. Everyone was holding cute dolls in their hands and had their parents accompanying them in a line at the gate of the amusement park. The doll in their hand looked like the one in Karen’s hand.
Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang joined together to look at the photo, as if they were playing a game of ‘Find the Difference.’
Yu Hanjiang frowned. “What does this doll mean?”
Xiao Lou thought about it carefully before his eyes lit up. “Children’s Day, the code is 0601.”
There were so many children going to the amusement park in groups with their parents. It was also common for the amusement park to give dolls to people passing by on Children’s Day.
The three girls in the photo were showing cute poses with childlike innocence. Combined with the obvious ‘doll’ reminder in Karen’s hand, Xiao Lou guessed that Karen’s code was related to the holiday represented by the doll. In this photo, Xiao Lou couldn’t think of anything else related to numbers except for Children’s Day.
Yu Hanjiang believed in Xiao Lou’s judgment and immediately entered 0601 on the box. The box was indeed unlocked! There were five people. They looked for clues from the photos and everything was unlocked within two minutes. Their speed had increased to the limit.
The clues obtained from opening the boxes were sorted out by the teammates. Ye Qi quickly said, “In Jack’s box, there is a basketball model and a Merry Christmas card. There is nothing special.”
Liu Qiao continued, “Dr Simon wrote a letter stating that Wells’ recent examination found that stenosis of the circumflex left artery of the heart was more than 40% and recommended medication to control it. In addition, Susan’s physical examination report wasn’t for good. The Helicobacter pylori infection exceeds the standard. He recommended to rest for a period of time and treat it well. He finally said that a healthy body is the best gift.”
Xiao Lou couldn’t help wondering when he heard up to here.
According to the inference just now, Dr Simon had been to the villa on the day they moved in and there was an old necklace in Shirley’s drawer. If he had an old relationship with Shirley then the possibility of him killing Shirley’s family due to love and hatred was the greatest.
However, based on the letter, he was the family’s personal doctor. This letter didn’t fit the identity of a murderer. If he had decided to kill the family then there was no need to write a letter reminding them to take care of their bodies, right?
Xiao Lou temporarily put down the letter and asked his teammates, “What about the other three boxes?”
Old Mo replied, “Susan sent a model of a building and a card that said Merry Christmas.”
Qu Wanyue added, “In the green box sent by Martha, there was a small handmade Christmas tree that is very chic. The greeting card says: Merry Christmas, for the lovely little angel Lucia.’
Finally, Yu Hanjiang talked about Karen’s box. “Karen gave a bottle of perfume and the greeting card says: I wish the baby will always be young and beautiful.”
The group looked at each other. A basketball model, a letter, a building model, a Christmas tree and perfume…
Who was the murderer?
At this time, all the box codes were unlocked and a strange rumbling sound entered everyone’s ears. It was as if something had emerged from the ground. Xiao Lou followed the sound and saw that a square countertop had appeared right by the two glass doors next to the dining room. The size was just right for a gift box.
Old Mo had noticed these glass doors a long time ago and guessed that they needed a password to unlock. Once he saw this, he couldn’t help saying, “Outside the door is a garden. If we walk out this door then we will escape from the labyrinth?”
Everyone agreed with Old Mo.
Ye Qi analyzed it. “This should be a pressing mechanism which is related to weight. The weight of the five boxes is different. Only the correct box can open the door. We have to put the box corresponding to the murderer on it. Does this make sense?”
Liu Qiao’s face was expressionless. “If we put the incorrect one and our challenge fails, will this villa collapse?”
Xiao Lou, “…”
Liu Qiao’s imagination was a bit miserable but it wasn’t impossible. There were five minutes left on the countdown. Time was tight. Which box was the right answer? Who was the real killer? Xiao Lou took a deep breath and scanned the five boxes again.
Suddenly, he remembered that the theme of this secret room was a music labyrinth. He immediately looked at Ye Qi and inquired, “Apart from the letter, is there anything related to music in the basketball model, architectural model, perfume or handmade Christmas tree?”
Ye Qi was startled and quickly turned these things over to check carefully. He was surprised to find a nail-sized button under the beautiful architectural model. He pushed the button down and a clear and sweet piano music played. It was Dream Wedding.
Ye Qi exclaimed excitedly, “This building model is actually a music box!”
The moment the music player, the outer layer of the building model dropped and there was something inside the model. Once the outer layer was gone, two hands appeared on the inner layer. The hands held up a five storey exquisite small villa that was continuously rotating with the rhythm of the music.
This was the most special music box Ye Qi had ever seen.
Yu Hanjiang spoke decisively. “The murderer is Susan, a classmate of Wells from the School of Architecture.”
She didn’t come to the villa the day they moved in because she didn’t need to. She was an architect and this entire villa community was designed by her.
Yu Hanjiang placed the purple box on the countertop at the entrance of the dining room. The next moment, the glass door in front of him opened.
A light-hearted Christmas song played in everyone’s ears and there was also the clear voice of the keeper. “Congratulations on your successful escape from the secret room. Please enter the villa’s back garden. The truth is there.”
Proofreader: Fictional Reality