Everyone was mentally prepared. They wouldn’t be surprised even if they saw a bloody operating room and stinking corpses. Who would’ve thought that as they were investigating the case, the Diamonds keeper would suddenly come out to make trouble, turning the basement into a labyrinth?
Ye Qi had a bitter expression. “I hate going through mazes the most. In addition, we don’t have Professor Xiao this time. How can we get out?” He didn’t want to lose a kidney.
Qu Wanyue and Long Sen exchanged looks, both of them a bit guilty.
Long Sen told them, “I’m not very good with mazes either and Wanyue… cough, she is a road idiot in reality. She has to use her phone to navigate when going out or she will get lost.”
Qu Wanyue smiled awkwardly. “My sense of direction is a bit bad…”
In terms of the Diamonds secret room, Xiao Lou was the strongest person. Following Xiao Lou, everyone could lie down and win. However, Xiao Lou was currently investigating the source of Cheng Shaoyu’s heart. Yu Hanjiang was a ‘poor student’ in the Diamonds secret room. Qu Wanyue and Long Sen weren’t good at mazes. Ye Qi’s problem solving speed wasn’t bad but he was dizzy in mazes. Then Old Mo…
The group turned their heads simultaneously to stare at Old Mo. Old Mo was everyone’s only hope!
Mo Xuemin felt numb when four pairs of eyes stared at him. He touched his nose and coughed. “Cough, I… I can get through mazes but my best result is an A-grade evaluation. I can’t solve any problems.”
Yu Hanjiang thought that an A-grade evaluation was better than his C-grade. After all, Old Mo was a designer and he was sensitive to space. He shouldn’t be afraid of a simple maze. He was afraid of encountering various questions to solve on the way.
Yu Hanjiang took out his phone and found that the phone signal was blocked. They couldn’t communicate in the group chat. He had to try and contact Xiao Lou through the heart channel. “Xiao Lou, are you there?”
Xiao Lou’s voice was soon heard in his mind. “What’s wrong? I sensed you seem nervous.”
Yu Hanjiang simply explained, “We entered the basement of Antai Garden to investigate the organization’s lair. As a result, the moment the five of us entered the basement, we received a notification welcoming us to an underground labyrinth.”
Xiao Lou was stunned. “A labyrinth?”
“Yes,” Yu Hanjiang answered helplessly. “When I checked the basement in the afternoon, the basements of each building weren’t connected to each other and there was no labyrinth at all. My guess is that it was temporarily made by the keeper of Diamonds. We must find the exit of the labyrinth before we can enter the basement in reality and continue searching for clues.”
“I see. A of Diamonds should’ve collectively teleported you to a small labyrinth in the instance. Hurry and explore the road first while paying attention to the mechanisms under your feet.” Xiao Lou advised. “If you encounter a password problem and can’t solve it then contact me. In addition, keep in touch.”
“Yes.” Being able to communicate with Xiao Lou made Yu Hanjiang feel relieved. He looked at the teammates behind him and said, “I can contact Xiao Lou and ask him for help if necessary. Take out your Night Pearls for light.”
Everyone took out their Night Pearls.
Thanks to the faint light from the Night Pearls, they could see a narrow corridor in front of them. There were many doors on both sides of the corridor and each door was marked with a house number. On the left were the five rooms 101, 201, 301, 401 and 501. On the right were six rooms marked 102, 202, 302, 402, 502 and 602. At the end of the corridor was a ‘丁’ intersection with a left and right fork.
This was completely different from the basement house numbers that Yu Hanjiang saw previously.
He came to the basement with the agent in the afternoon and the layout was seven doors on the left and right. The numbers on the left were odd numbers from 101, 201 to 701. The numbers on the right were even numbers from 102, 202 to 702. 1 was the first floor and 7 was the seventh floor. The house numbers in the basement corresponded to the 14 owners of the seven-storey building.
It was said that the developer designed it this way because they originally wanted to make money and sell the basement as the owner’s storage room. However, many owners didn’t need a storage room and weren’t willing to spend money to buy one. The basement was so redundant that it was mostly vacant. For this reason, it was strange that all 14 basement rooms of Unit 1 of Building 13 would be rented out.
Now there were five rooms on the left side of the corridor and six on the right side…
Rooms 601 and 701 were missing on the left and 702 on the right. Where were the three missing rooms? Or were these missing rooms related to the password? Yu Hanjiang had doubts but he couldn’t think of an answer.
The underground labyrinth that didn’t conform to reality proved that Yu Hanjiang’s speculation was correct. The underground labyrinth created by A of Diamonds was an independent instance and they weren’t in the real basement of Antai Garden. It was only by getting out of this maze that they could go to the real basement to continue investigating clues. If they couldn’t get out then they would really lose a kidney.
The countdown had become 29:30. Yu Hanjiang took a deep breath and told everyone, “Let’s go.”
The five people observed the area closely as they walked. The doors on both sides of the corridor were equipped with a code lock. The Night Pearls illuminated them and the number panel of 0-9 flashed with a long blue light. The panel was a four digit code and was currently displaying the initial password of 0000.
Ye Qi wondered, “What could the four digit password be?”
Long Sen speculated, “Is it an important date? For example, November 17th when Wang Wei and Xu Fangfang broke up?”
Qu Wanyue rejected his idea. “It shouldn’t be. First of all, this isn’t Wang Wei and Xu Fangfang’s residence. Second of all, there are so many people dead in this secret room such as Cheng Shaoyu and Liu Renyuan that the corresponding dates are different. A date shouldn’t be the password.”
Old Mo grabbed his grey hair in a puzzled manner. “The key isn’t the password. There are so many houses. What door is the one we want? We can’t open all the doors…”
Ye Qi agreed. “That’s right! If we pick the wrong one, a room full of scalpels might be waiting for us.”
Ye Qi’s mind always went to scary places and they didn’t want to talk to him.
Yu Hanjiang said casually, “Don’t worry, I will ask Xiao Lou.”
If there was a problem they couldn’t figure out then it was right to ask Xiao Lou. Who made Xiao Lou’s mind spin faster than anyone else’s? Xiao Lou heard Yu Hanjiang’s description and wondered, “There are only doors, corridors and door numbers, nothing else?”
“Yes, the 11 doors look exactly the same and it is impossible to open all of them.”
“Perhaps the hints are still later on. Go and take a look.” Xiao Lou couldn’t think of what door it should be for the time being and warned, “By the way, the size of the labyrinth and whether it is dangerous or not isn’t known. It is best not to get separated. The five of you should go together.”
“Understood.” Yu Hanjiang was also worried that if they split up, he wouldn’t be able to find his teammates. He took out the Four-way Arrow card and placed an upward arrow sign before leading everyone forward.
The five people walked along the narrow corridor to the end. There was once again a ‘丁’ intersection with a left and right road. Yu Hanjiang stuck the left arrow to the wall. “Let’s go to the left first.”
His team members nodded to express their understanding and quickly followed Yu Hanjiang.
They took a few steps and found that the layout of this corridor was exactly the same as the one just now. There were five rooms on the left and six rooms on the right. The room numbers were also 101-501 on the left and 102-602 on the right. Everyone could see the doors had password locks.
Ye Qi was stunned. “Isn’t this exactly the same as before? Is it a copy and past model?”
Yu Hanjiang calmly told them, “Keep walking and first figure out the general layout of the maze.”
They continued forward and the ‘丁’ intersection appeared again. Yu Hanjiang stuck the left arrow and continued leading everyone to the left. The layout of the corridor was still the same and there was a ‘丁’ intersection…
After going through three ‘丁’ intersections, Yu Hanjiang saw the upward arrow. This was the mark he made at the starting point.
Qu Wanyue felt numb. “We went around all this way and returned to the original point.”
Ye Qi got goosebumps and whispered, “Surely this isn’t the legendary ghost wall?”
The so-called ‘ghost wall’ was when a ghost made an illusion so that people couldn’t get out no matter where they walked. For example, if one wanted to climb up from the second floor, no matter how many stairs they climbed, they would always be on the second floor. This scene often appeared in horror movies. In addition, the underground labyrinth’s environment was gloomy and the surrounding area was pitch black. Ye Qi’s words gave his teammates goosebumps.
Long Sen sent Ye Qi a reproachful look. “Why do you always say such scary things?”
Ye Qi smiled wryly and scratched his head. “I’m good at thinking about the worst consequences.”
Yu Hanjiang glanced around the corridor. There was no such thing as ghosts so he was calm. “This isn’t a supernatural secret room and there should be no ghost wall. We will try going to the right.”
This time, everyone kept going to the right at the intersections and as a result, after three intersections… they returned to the starting point. All corridors had the same layout. They each had 11 doors with a password lock.
Ye Qi collapsed. “Where is the exit? A of Diamonds isn’t playing with us, right?”
Just then, there was a ‘pop’ sound at the end of the corridor and the light was turned on.
The dazzling incandescent light frightened everyone. Then Yu Hanjiang discovered that in the place that had been a wall, another corridor appeared. Everyone looked at the corridor with pale faces. The thing that made them even more creeped out was the sound of footsteps echoing out from the new corridor.
Was this going from suspense to horror?
Yu Hanjiang didn’t believe in ghosts so he frowned. “Let’s take a look.”
He took the lead. Everyone was feeling creeped out but they boldly followed.
The original ‘丁’ intersection had now become a ‘crossroads’. There was another straight corridor. The thing that made everyone collapse was that this extra corridor was the same as the previous layout and the end was a ‘丁’ intersection. No matter if they went left or right, they would always return to the starting point.
After reaching the starting point again, the light at the intersection once again turned on and another corridor emerged from the wall. The faces of the team members became uglier as Yu Hanjiang led everyone to continue exploring the way. He found that every time they got the starting point, there would be more roads. In the process of everyone’s exploration, this labyrinth was becoming bigger…
10 minutes passed and everyone was still underground and turning in circles. Yu Hanjiang couldn’t help feeling anxious and he whispered in his mind. “This labyrinth is a bit strange. Every time the light turns on, there will be more roads. However, no matter how we go, we will return to the original point. We are a bit dizzy.”
Xiao Lou softly comforted him. “Don’t walk, take Old Mo to explore again. The forks in the road are well marked and his sense of space is very strong. He should be able to draw a map of the maze.”
“Okay.” Yu Hanjiang turned to his teammates. “Everyone stay here. Old Mo and I will walk it again.”
The other four teammates were relieved. Professor Xiao might not be here but there was still Old Mo. Old Mo learned design and did 3D modeling every day. Drawing the maze shouldn’t be difficult for him.
However, Old Mo was now 66 years old and he was gasping just walking with everyone. Ye Qi took the initiative to hand his teleportation card to Yu Hanjiang. “Group Leader Yu, use this and go together.”
The efficiency could be increased by several times with this card.
Ye Qi’s teleportation card could teleport 50 meters at a time and the length of the corridor was exactly 50 meters. Yu Hanjiang took Old Mo to a corner, made a mark, changed directions and teleported again…
Old Mo didn’t have paper and a pen but fortunately, there was his phone. He opened his notepad software, created a blank document and drew with his fingers as he moved. After doing this many times, the two of them had explored the entire labyrinth. The lights no longer turned on and the strange footsteps disappeared. There should be no missing corridors.
Then Old Mo placed his phone in front of Yu Hanjiang. “I’m done. Group Leader Yu, you can take a look.”
The densely packed map of the labyrinth made Yu Hanjiang suck in a breath. This was the biggest labyrinth they had encountered so far! Fortunately, Old Mo had a good sense of space and didn’t become dizzy. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have been able to figure out the terrain even if they were stuck in the maze for a few hours.
Old Mo took a deep breath and explained to Yu Hanjiang. “The labyrinth we are in is a ‘回’ shaped labyrinth. In other words, it is a large labyrinth made up of countless small ‘回’. This is why after following one direction, we will return to the place we visited not long ago. We walked all the passages and there was no exit. There is only one explanation. The exit is a certain room!”
Yu Hanjiang glanced at the map of the maze drawn by Old Mo again and carefully told Xiao Lou. Xiao Lou took a pen and paper and quickly drew it according to Yu Hanjiang’s description.
The teammates were dumbfounded seeing this final figure and Xiao Lou felt numb.
Ye Qi couldn’t help saying, “There are so many combinations of ‘回’? No wonder why we became confused! Just looking at this is making me dizzy.”
Qu Wanyue was pregnant and already prone to nausea. Just following everyone around in circles had made her feel the urge to vomit. Fortunately, Group Leader Yu and Old Mo explored the maze and she was allowed a short break. She felt much better now. Qu Wanyue carefully looked at the floor plan of the maze and said, “If the exit is really in a certain room, how can we determine which room it is?”
This was the question that everyone wanted to ask. There were countless rooms and dizzying paths. Which room was the real exit?
Proofreader: Fictional Reality & Paranoid Kitten