Chapter 4 - Rose Funeral (End)
However, things weren’t as simple as Xiao Lou thought.
He put the deceased’s right thumb on the button but the phone screen didn’t light up. Instead, there was a warning message. ‘The fingerprint isn’t recognized. Verification error. The phone will be locked after five errors. Remaining attempts: 2.’
Not recognized? Was it the wrong finger or something else?
Xiao Lou looked at the dead body and suddenly had a thought. After death, the body would become cold and stiff within three hours. After 12 hours, the stiffness of the body would reach the peak and only start to ease in 24 to 48 hours.
Judging from the stiffness of the deceased, her death time should be between 24 and 48 hours ago. The water in the vase of roses was very clear and it could prove that the roses had been placed in the water no more than two days ago.
The principle of fingerprint unlocking was that the microcurrents carried by the human finger activated the phone’s capacitive sensor. The uneven fingerprint path would draw a unique graphic password on the sensor, corresponding to the entered fingerprint graphic, thereby unlocking the phone.
After death, the cells’ metabolism would stop. Moreover, Zou Xiaomei’s death was more than 24 hours ago. There were no currents in the body and the fingerprint couldn’t activate the sensor of the phone.
The fingerprints of the dead weren’t the same as the fingerprints of the living. He was a forensic doctor and actually ignored this key point!
If the numerical password was wrong and fingerprint unlocking didn’t work, was there another way to unlock the mobile phone?
He had used two tries on the birthday numbers and after the fingerprint test was wrong, most people would subconsciously change fingers to continue the test. Xiao Lou had realized there were no currents in the deceased’s body and simply gave up on the idea of trying fingerprints.
He had only two chances left and had to find another way as soon as possible.
Xiao Lou carefully observed the phone and found that on the back of the mobile phone, there was a small button next to the camera. He pressed it gently and a scan box appeared on the screen of the phone. He thought about it before pointing the scanning box at the face of the deceased.
—Unlocked successfully, the clues collection is 100%
Xiao Lou was shocked!
in the 2 of Hearts secret room, the phone was the most critical clue and the password certainly wouldn’t be unsolvable.
Numbers, graphics, fingerprints and faces. There were several ways to unlock the phone and there was always one way that would work.
The birthday numbers didn’t work. This was the first difficulty. Most people might panic when they reached this point. If they tried numbers like 6666/8888, they would only waste their chances. If the fingerprint didn’t work, it was easy to lead people to the wrong area and make them try the fingerprints of other fingers, so as to reach the unlocking limit of five attempts and the phone would be locked.
In fact, the real method of unlocking was hidden behind the phone. The facial recognition next to the camera!
Facial scanning usually relied on characteristics like forehead width, eyebrow distance and lip size to comprehensively drew a geometric figure as the unlocking password. As long as the person wasn’t too disfigured, the changes in facial characteristics wouldn’t be too great even when dead.
Of course, if the phone had a high-tech living body detection system and needed characteristics such as pupils and retinas, this was a dead end.
Fortunately, the unlocking function of the woman’s mobile phone wasn’t so advanced. It only needed to detect the distance between various points on the face. After pairing most of the facial features together, the mobile phone was finally unlocked successfully.
There was only one bar of battery left so Xiao Lou quickly opened the photo album.
There were many selfies in the album, each one had a star. Obviously, Zou Xiaomei was a somewhat narcissistic person and her friends circle also took selfies every day. In her address book, apart from her husband Zhao Sen, her lover He Yongqiang and her friend Liu Wei, she had three other people set up as a star friend. They should be colleagues/classmates associated with this case.
Xiao Lou rummaged through her friends and saw the three most recent ones she praised.
The first one was one her husband sent to his circle of friends at noon on July 15th. “I have a business trip on the 17th. I’m attending a medical conference on cardiac surgery and can only come back at the end of the month. This year, I can’t accompany my wife for her birthday [sad].”
Zou Xiaomei had praised it and written: “Work is important. Travel smoothly and take care of yourself!”
The second was a photo that He Yongqiang sent from the gym on July 16th. The man was tall and the photo deliberately showed his chest muscles. “The result of training for a month.”
Zou Xiaomei had given him and compliment and the message: “Your body is awesome.”
Then there was the news sent by Liu Wei at noon on July 17th. “I wish my best sister, big beauty Zou Xiaomei a happy birthday [cake][cake].” The woman liked and commented: “Thank you.”
Xiao Lou turned off the circle of friends and opened the WeChat chat interface to continue looking for clues.
He opened the chat record between the deceased and He Yongqiang, scrolling to the top. The first contact between the two of them was in March last year. He Yongqiang first added Zou Xiaomei and said, “Sister-in-law, you were beautiful and sexy at today’s wedding!” Zou Xiaomei had sent a shy expression back. “Thank you, Xiao He. I heard your brother say you are still single. My female friend is also single. Do you want to meet?”
“Okay, give me her contact information.”
At first, Zou Xiaomei introduced her friend to her husband’s cousin and the cousin politely called her ‘sister-in-law.’ Then it changed after chatting with her.
In March of this year, Zou Xiaomei’s husband was on a business trip on their wedding anniversary. She was happy at home and He Yongqiang said he bought too much fruit and would send her some. She didn’t refuse.
What happened between the man and lonely woman after the fruit was delivered could be easily guessed. Since then, the chat record became more and more embarrassing, the ‘sister-in-law’ changed to beauty and little baby… Xiao Lou got goosebumps seeing this!
Xiao Lou quickly moved away from these contents and slid to the bottom.
July 18th, 18:00.
“He said that he will travel for half a month. Will you come to my house tomorrow night and spend my birthday with me?”
“No problem, I will come after work around 7 o’clock.”
“I’ll cook and we’ll have dinner together to celebrate.”
This was the last conversation between Zou Xiaomei and He Yongqiang.
Xiao Lou then opened up the chat with her husband and friend.
There was no problem with the female friend’s chat record. The friend said she couldn’t accompany the heroine on her birthday on the 17th. She specifically delivered a bottle of rose perfume as a birthday present and it seemed she didn’t know she was wearing a green hat.
There were three recent chats with her husband. The first one was asking about his travel after seeing the circle of friends. Zhao Sen answered that he would travel for a month. Then at noon on July 16th, she sent a message to him. “Sorry husband, I’m working today and can’t go to the airport to send you off.” The other person replied, “It doesn’t matter, I will contact you at the hotel.”
The last one was the message that Zhao Sen sent to her at 00:00 on July 17th. “Dear, I am at the hotel. Happy birthday. I can’t accompany you this birthday but I will prepare an unforgettable birthday present [smile][smile][smile].”
The row of meaningful smiling emojis made Xiao Lou feel creeped out.
So far, the clues collection of this case had reached 100%.
He first ruled out He Yongqiang as the murderer. He had hooked up with Zou Xiaomei and they talked sweetly, with no disputes. He Yongqiang had no reason to suddenly kill her on her birthday. For the remaining two suspects, the female friend didn’t come to the scene on the birthday. The husband Zhao Sen was on a ‘business trip’ but the ‘unforgettable gift’ he mentioned on WeChat was very suspicious.
At first glance, this case had been planned for a long time.
Zhao Sen was thoughtful and asked private investigators to investigate her. He installed surveillance cameras at home to monitor Zou Xiaomei’s movements. Most importantly, he was a doctor and could kill her simply and neatly. He probably said he was going on a business trip to relax his wife’s vigilance, so he could suddenly attack and kill her.
At this point, there were 12 minutes left on the countdown. Xiao Lou organized his thoughts and reached out to press the ‘murderer confirmation’ button on the suspension box.
System: “Do you want to confirm the murderer?”
Xiao Lou stated, “Yes.”
System: “Who is the murderer who killed the deceased? He Yongqiang/ Zhao Sen/ Liu Wei?”
Xiao Lou chose Zhao Sen and a ‘ding’ entered her ears.
[Congratulations to the challenger Xiao Lou for perfectly clearing the D-grade secret room ‘Rose Funeral’ in 18 minutes, the instance clearance score is greater than 99% of the challengers. ]
[Unlocked all hidden plots and obtained the reward ‘Plot Card: Rose Funeral’.]
[Clearing the secret room’s fixed reward: ‘Tool Card: Fruit Knife’, ‘Tool Card: Rose Perfume.’]
[This instance clearance is evaluated as S-grade. A perfect clearance will get an extra lucky draw chance. Please return to the personal space for settlement of the rewards.
The murderer was really Zhao Sen.
The difficulty of this secret room wasn’t about the identity of the murderer. Even if someone couldn’t unlock the mobile phone in the end, the clues in the safe allowed them to speculate that the murderer was probably Zhao Sen. The difficulty of the secret room was finding all the clues to clarify the murderer’s motives for committing the crime and their means of committing the clue. The clues collection degree had to be 100% in order to achieve the ‘perfect instance clearance’ condition.
Xiao Lou’s clearance score was greater than 99% of the participants must be due to hem being stuck on the mobile phone password.
In this secret room with a strange atmosphere and a female corpse, people’s spirits would be in an extremely tight state. They had to calm down and quickly collect clues. The first time they would think of using fingerprints but not the face and other means to unlock the phone.
Thanks to being a forensic doctor, he wasn’t afraid of the body. combined with his experience, he was able to get through in 18 minutes.
Xiao Lou sighed with slight relief and gave one final glance to the female corpse lying on the bed before being forcibly transferred out of the 2 of Hearts world and returning to the white Card world.
The huge card wall in front of him had changed dramatically. All the video animations of the cards were gone, as if the windows of those worlds had changed.
There were only four symbols left on the front of the card. They were arranged form 2 to K in order of hearts, spades, diamonds and climbs. The card ‘2 of Hearts’ shone softly and the lower right corner showed the small word ‘cleared.’
Xiao Lou remembered that the system hinted it would reward him with the Rose Funeral plot card. The 2 of Hearts card of printed with a red rose in the middle. He curiously reached out and touched the card. The next moment, the card suddenly flipped and zoomed into a wall LCD screen before playing a video.
Xiao Lou was more and more shocked. This plot card actually showed the whole process of the murder!
It was similar to what he inferred. At noon on July 17th, Zou Xiaomei received two birthday presents. One was the rose perfume sent by her female friend. After she saw it, she crossed out the word on the card and put it into a drawer. The other was Zhao Sen’s 99 roses that he sent to her. She cut up the card and threw it into the trash before inserting the roses in the vase.
At 7 in the evening, He Yongqiang arrived. Zou Xiaomei came out of the kid’s room and left her phone on the table. She went to the kitchen to take out the prepared dinner and the two people had a romantic candlelight dinner.
After dinner, Zou Xiaomei went to the kitchen to cut watermelon and accidentally spilled watermelon juice on her clothes. She went to the bathroom to take a shower and put on sexy silk pyjamas to return to the dining room. The two people were being intimate in the dining room when Zhao Sen suddenly opened the door and entered the house. The two caught people were scaled and pale. Zou Xiaomei hurriedly put on her clothes while He Yongqiang’s teeth were shaking. “C-Cousin, listen to me.”
“There is no need to explain, “I came back to specifically for you.” Zhao Sen smiled and pushed up the glasses on his nose before walking behind He Yongqiang. The next moment, he took out a white handkerchief from his pocket and slammed it over He Yongqiang’s mouth.
He Yongqiang stared with eyes wide in horror but the strong man quickly fell unconscious under the influence of the anaesthetic.
Zou Xiaomei trembled and hide. “You, what are you going to do?”
Zhao Sen dragged the unconscious He Yongqiang to the kitchen, putting on clean gloves and taking out surgical tools from the medicine box. He simply cut open He Yongqiang’s chest, dug out the heart, placed it on a plate and handed it to Zou Xiaomei. “Don’t you often tell Ah Qiang that you hope you are the only one in his heart? Now I am giving his heart to you. He belongs to you alone. Isn’t this birthday present unforgettable?”
Zou Xiaomei saw the bloody heart on the plate, screamed and turned to run outside. She ran to the door, only to find that it was locked by Zhao Sen with a key. Zou Xiaomei panicked and looked for the key to open the door, her entire body shaking.
The man walked behind her and asked with a smile, “Don’t you want to go with him?”
Noticing the man’s meaning, Zou Xiaomei cried out, “No—don’t kill me!” Then the next moment, Zhao Sen grabbed her by the hair and dragged her back to the kitchen. He took the fruit knife and waved it in front of the woman’s eyes, asking softly, “Do you want to go by yourself or shall I help you?”
“Ahhh, don’t kill me… I….” The woman’s struggles came to an abrupt end the moment the fruit knife accurately pierced her heart.
Zhao Sen flushed the blood from her chest with a faucet until her blood stopped flowing and her body was completely cold and stiff. He slowly put her clothes on, wiping some of He Yongqiang’s blood on it before turning to clean the fruit knife. He put the fruit knife in He Yongqiang’s hand, leaving He Yongqiang’s fingerprint on the handle and then inserted the weapon into the watermelon.
He took Zou Xiaomei to the bedroom, took some roses from the table and arranged a beautiful rose bed.
He returned to the kitchen to clean the scene, put He Yongqiang’s body into a large suitcase and turned around, leaving the house with the suitcase.
Before leaving, he stopped at the entrance and raised his mouth slightly towards the camera installed in the corner.
The smile was facing the screen.
Xiao Lou saw the screen zoom in on the strange smile and felt the hairs of his body stand up.
The Rose Funeral plot card showed the hidden plot.
In the secret room of 2 of Hearts, it wasn’t only Zou Xiaomei who died. He Yongqiang was also dead!