Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou exchanged looks after hearing the prompt and entered the villa’s back garden through the glass door with their teammates following behind. Originally after the end of the secret room, everyone should go directly to their personal space to find the keeper and receive rewards. Yet this time, everyone walked into a garden?
This garden had a large area and there were many tall trees blocking the view. The cobblestone path was winding and crisscrossing like another maze. In the floating boxes above everyone’s heads, the reminder of [Countdown 5:00] appeared.
The group looked at each other.
Old Mo wondered, “The path in this garden looks very complicated. It should be a small maze. Didn’t we successfully solve the mystery and escaped from the secret room? Why is there a five minute countdown? Do we have to escape from this garden?”
Xiao Lou thought carefully about the hint received before leaving the villa: the truth was about to be revealed.
He thought about the words the keeper said when entering 9 of Diamonds. The reward method for this secret room was related to the mechanisms they unlocked. If they unlocked the mechanism of the reward room, they could get rare cards.
Xiao Lou thought up to here and immediately opened his mouth. “This is the rewards labyrinth.”
Ye Qi was excited after hearing this. “I see. This is the same as the treasure chest maze in stand-alone RPG games. At the end of every forked road is either a treasure chest or monsters that are hard to deal with.
Xiao Lou nodded. “The rewards labyrinth is limited to five minutes. Everyone needs to find treasure chests and get cards as soon as possible. We will act in groups and use the Four-way Arrow to mark the forks in the road.
Everyone agreed with Xiao Lou’s arrangement. They were still grouped like before. Xiao Lou was with the Long Qu couple and Old Mo. Yu Hanjiang took Chief Shao, Ye Qi and Liu Qiao. At the first fork in the road, one group went to the left and the other to the right.
Xiao Lou’s group went to the left. It didn’t take long for them to see a square grid path. The grid was painted in different colors. In the first three rows, each row had one red square. The fourth row had two blue squares side by side, the fifth row was one red square, the sixth row was two blue squares and the seventh row was a semicircle in green. This part of the road was all connected by such grids and looked like one house after another.
Xiao Lou looked at the colored grids on the ground in a puzzled manner. “Three single red squares, two blue squares side by side, another red square, two blue squares and the last green semicircle… what does this mean?”
Qu Wanyue chuckled. “Professor Xiao, haven’t you ever played hopscotch as a child?”
Xiao Lou touched his nose in an embarrassed manner. “I haven’t played it.”
He liked being quiet since he was a child and wasn’t as naughty as a boy. The game he played most often at home was piling up blocks. He had never played the game hopscotch.
Long Sen pointed to the grids on the ground. “This is a kid’s hopscotch ground. The first three grids need to be hopped with one foot and you can stand on both feet in the two grids. The last grid is a semi-circular one called a ‘house.’ You can stay there for a few seconds to rest. You can’t stay for long in any of the previous grids.”
Xiao Lou understood. “The single grid is one foot, the two grids side by side are two feet and the last house is for rest. In this section of the road, we need to jump over according to the rules or a punishment will be triggered?”
Qu Wanyue replied, “Yes, this section of the path is full of hopscotch games and we have to follow the rules.”
Long Sen took the lead followed by Qu Wanyue, Old Mo and then Xiao Lou. Xiao Lou copied everyone and jumped according to the rule one foot, one foot, one foot, two feet, one foot, two feet and rest. They hopped all the way forward.
After half a minute of hopping, the group saw a fork in the road. Xiao Lou left a mark at the fork in the road. Everyone walked to the left first and found a treasure chest within a few steps. This time, the chest didn’t have a password. They opened it to find a card inside.
[Special Effects Card: Hopscotch Game]
Description: A labyrinth reward card. It is possible to obtain it from a treasure chest after clearing an A-rated labyrinth.
Use Effect: A large hopscotch game will immediately be arranged in an area of 500 x 500 metres. Everyone in the area must move according to the rules of the hopscotch game. If they make a wrong step then they will be punished.
Cooldown: 24 hours.
Punishment method: Step on the wrong square and freeze for three minutes in the corresponding square.]
The effect of this card was very strong. It filled a large area with squares and could slow down any enemies who entered it.
If they were being chased, they could arrange such a hopscotch game and the chasers would have to slowly hop from one foot to two feet. This was much easier to use than the small-scale Nine Palaces Grid.
If used with cards that blinded the targets such as Old Lady Qin’s Human Bone Medicine Jar or Bai Juyi’s pipa skill that caused chaos, the opponent will definitely make the wrong step. Every time they made a mistake, they would be controlled for three minutes. The overall control time limit was very high.
Xiao Lou put away this S-grade card and asked Yu Hanjiang through the heart channel, “Do you have any gains there?”
Yu Hanjiang told him, “We just walked through a grid.”
The team also encountered a colored grid but it was just a long horizontal black and white one. The order of the rectangles was white, black, white, black, white, white, black, white, black and white.
The moment Yu Hanjiang saw the black and white grids, he knew it must be a stepping type mechanism. They would be punished if they stepped on the wrong one, by falling into a pit, for example. Therefore, he didn’t move for the time being.
This grid wasn’t simply alternating black and white. The two white grids were repeated after three alternating groups.
Yu Hanjiang just wanted to ask the opinions of his teammates when Ye Qi immediately said, “This is a piano keyboard!” He pointed to the horizontal bar under his feet. “The white grids are do, re, mi fa, etc. on the piano. The black grids are all semitones. We should step on the white keys to get the correct tone and make a perfect scale, don’t touch the black ones.”
“Okay, let’s go.” Yu Hanjiang believed in Ye Qi’s judgment. Once he heard Ye Qi’s words, he also felt it was like a piano.
Ye Qi consciously took the lead. He stepped on the first white grid and the piano sound of ‘do’ entered his ears. He continued to step forward and the white square really made the seven piano notes.
His teammates followed Ye Qi quickly through the piano area and saw a golden treasure box around the corner. Yu Hanjiang stepped forward to open the treasure chest that contained a card.
[Tool Card: Piano Music Box]
Description: A labyrinth reward card. It is possible to obtain it from a treasure chest after clearing an A-rated labyrinth.
Additional Skill 1: Music Box
Open the piano music box in your hand and play the music Dream Wedding. Within one minute of the music box playing music, all targets within 50 metres will fall asleep. The cooldown time is 4 hours.
Additional Skill 2: Pianist
Enlarge the piano music box in your hand to become a real piano of the same size in reality. Find a person to sit at the piano and play any piece of music. During the performance, all hostile targets within 100 meters will immediately stop in place and listen to the piano music intently. They can’t move or release any card skills. The friendly targets can move but can’t release skills.
It is limited to one use in each secret room.
Note: The repertoire can only be piano music and it can’t be changed halfway through.]
Ye Qi excitedly took the card. “This card is better than the erhu drawn before. In particular, skill two. I can choose the hostile target and sit in front of the piano to play a song for a long time. The enemy can only watch from the sides and can’t move or use any card skills. Hahaha!”
Shao Qingge saw his happy expression and couldn’t help patting Xiao Ye’s shoulder. “This is equivalent to a special concert card for you. The card allows you to play one piano piece. What is the longest piano piece that can be played?”
Ye Qi smiled. “The longest piano piece in the world is Vexations by American composer Erik Satie. The entire piece is 18 hours and 40 minutes long and many pianists take turns playing it. It can be played for an entire day and night.”
Ye Qi made a sad expression. “Unfortunately, I can’t play it.”
Shao Qingge helplessly touched his forehead. “Among the piano music you can play, what is the longest one?”
Ye Qi laughed. “I know a few Beethoven sonatas that are approximately 20 minutes long. This control time is long enough.”
Out of the group control cards drawn so far, this skill of Piano Music Box was the most flexible. The control time was as long as the time of the piano music played. It was almost customized for Ye Qi. If he wanted short control then he could play a normal three minute song. If he wanted to play for a long time then Ye Qi could play a Beethoven sonata and control the enemy for 20 minutes. It was just that it could only be used once in every secret room. This restriction was relatively large and it could only be used at the most critical moment.
There were also the card skills. The enemy couldn’t move or attack while they could move but not attack.
In other words, if Ye Qi controlled the opponent for 20 minutes then they couldn’t directly kill the enemies. At most, Ye Qi could control a large number of enemies while his teammates moved and escaped. The moment the teammates escaped to a safe position, they would use various teleportation skills to pull Ye Qi over. Ye Qi played the concert alone to hold back the opposite group and it was equivalent to giving the team 20 minutes to escape.
Yu Hanjiang told Xiao Lou about the card skill and Xiao Lou was also very happy. “This rewards labyrinth isn’t very difficult but the quality of the cards is very high. There are two minutes left in the countdown. Let’s keep looking.”
For the next two minutes, everyone spent some time in the back garden. They found more treasure chests but they didn’t contain cards. There were only some strange pieces of a letter. Under the leadership of Old Mo, everyone moved quickly through the maze and collected a total of seven pieces.
In the end, everyone met at the exit of the maze and put the pieces together to form a complete letter. Everyone finally knew the truth about the case in the 9 of Diamonds room, Music Labyrinth.
The end of the letter said: Dear Shirley, I said I would love you until death. I did it—Susan.
Everyone’s eyes almost popped out. It turned out that the necklace was Susan’s gift to Shirley on her 18th birthday. The two of them were high school classmates. Shirley had taken the close photos of the two of them out of the album.
Originally, Shirley said she would never get married. However, she felt the pressure of her identity and family and ended up marrying Wells. After the marriage, Shirley and Susan kept in touch privately. Susan often used the excuse of discussing business with Wells to meet with Shirley and she personally designed the decoration style for the couple’s villa.
Wells often explained to his wife that he and Susan were just classmates and partners. He hoped his wife wouldn’t think too much. In fact, he didn’t know that Susan was actually looking for his wife, not him. They knew each other from when they were young and she was the white moonlight that Shirley couldn’t forget.
Some time ago, her daughter fell sick and Shirley decided to return to her family and completely cut off contact with Susan. This stimulated Susan. She believed that Shirley had betrayed the relationship between the two of them that had lasted many years. It the same situation that was described in the book The Lover. Two people who loved each other had to separate and marry other people. They could only miss each other in this lifetime.
She didn’t want to be apart so she made a crazy decision. She killed Shirley’s family of three and then killed herself in the garden. In this way, she could do as she wrote: I will love you until death.
At the exit of the garden labyrinth, Susan’s body was found. Her dark purple dress was covered in blood and she had a sharp knife in her chest.
Xiao Lou looked over at her and sighed. “It is suicide.”
[Music Labyrinth: End]
Proofreader: Fictional Reality