“Hurt me with the truth. But never comfort me with a lie.”
– Erza Scarlet (Fairy Tail)
The sentence that reads, “20 times 3 equals 4,” is what most people notice when they look at Phantom Thief’s notice letter.
They think that if they can figure out this sentence, they will be able to figure out all of the notice’s clues.
However, Barbara had a different perspective.
When she couldn’t figure out why 20 multiplied by 3 would equal 4, it meant that there was still another extra puzzle hidden within the sentence itself.
In other words, it wasn’t important whether 20 multiplied by 3 would equal 4.
What’s important is what these three numbers—’20’, ‘3’, and ‘4’—represent.
And what does the word “multiply” represent?
Barbara shifted her focus to the third and fourth sentences of the notice.
“Mars and Caesar, one is the god of war in Roman mythology, and the other is the dictator of the Roman Empire… Rome… Rome… Rome…”
After pondering for a while, Barbara suddenly remembered the “Introduction to Greco-Roman Polytheism” in the religious section of the library.
And she also remembered Dean Sutton from the last time she saw him at the library reading it.
‘Could it be a coincidence?’
Barbara thought suspiciously, ‘I didn’t think there was anything unusual when we met last time, but now that I think about it, why would a young magician prodigy be interested in Greco-Roman religious studies?’
The more she thought about it, the more something seemed off.
Barbara’s gaze sharpened as she headed to the bookshelf where she had met Dean before, took out the research introduction, and flipped through it.
However, after a quick scan, besides information about the Roman god of war, Mars, Barbara did not find any relevant clues to decipher the notice.
“It seems like I’m just being paranoid. He couldn’t possibly…”
Barbara chuckled and placed the book back on the shelf.
Just then, the corner of Barbara’s eye caught sight of another book on the shelf.
“The Negative Impact of the European Church on Cultural Development”
On March 1st, the first day of the Dragon’s Egg Ruby Necklace Exhibition.
The exhibition venue was the Gotham Natural History Museum.
This was the city’s biggest museum, with thirteen exhibition halls that all connected to each other, each with five floors and dozens of large exhibition rooms.
Mrs. Chandler’s necklace was placed on the top floor of the Central Cultural Exhibition Hall.
Today, there were more visitors to the museum than usual.
In the past, there were almost no visitors. Now that it has only been open for two hours, it has already shown signs of a huge crowd.
It’s unclear whether it was because of the ‘Dragon’s Egg Ruby Necklace’ due to its fame, and everyone wanted to see what it looked like, or if it was because they wanted to see how Phantom Thief would steal the necklace.
Over two hundred undercover officers from the GCPD kept close watch around the Cultural Exhibition Hall, monitoring every visitor who came.
Inside the Exhibition Hall, nearly a hundred police officers were spread out at different locations on the five floors.
The show of control was pretty impressive, and even visitors followed the rules without even thinking about it.
In addition to the Cultural Exhibition Hall, the other exhibition halls also had different numbers of officers assigned to them to act as a roaming task force for timely support if needed.
This time, the GCPD sent out more people than they ever had before. But Jim still didn’t think it was safe enough.
They temporarily brought in two police helicopters to patrol the museum.
If Phantom Thief tried to surprise them with a glider, the helicopter rotor’s airflow would teach him a lesson.
However, this time, the police didn’t use the face-squeezing method to verify if the visitors were pretending to be Phantom Thief.
The exhibition would last for fifteen days, and they couldn’t be sure when the Phantom Thief would sneak in.
If they squeezed every visitor’s face for fifteen days in a row, it would cause public dissatisfaction.
If handled poorly, it could even lead to a fight.
This is definitely not the situation Jim wants to see.
Therefore, the police could only work hard on surveillance.
At this moment, a beautiful young redhead girl walked into the Natural History Museum.
As she entered the square, she spotted a familiar figure wearing a cowboy hat leading a patrol team.
Barbara walked over and greeted Harvey.
“Oh, hey, Barbara! Are you here to visit your Uncle Harvey?”
Harvey turned around and smiled happily when he heard Barbara’s voice. He had known Jim for many years and had watched Barbara grow up.
For some reason, he was still single, and deep down, he might have considered Barbara his own daughter.
“I’d love to humor you and say ‘yes,’ but I’m sorry, that’s not why I’m here. I came for one purpose only, and that is to see Phantom Thief.”
Barbara teased playfully, blinking her eyes.
Suddenly, Harvey made a gesture to silence her and exaggeratedly said, “Be careful. Don’t let your dad hear your words. He’s so sick of Phantom Thief, it’s driving him nuts.”
“Don’t worry, Uncle Harvey, I know very well how much my dad hates Phantom Thief. I suspect if he wasn’t afraid of being reported for disturbing the quiet at night, he would spend the whole night criticizing Phantom Thief.”
Barbara chuckled in amazement.
“Anyway, I’m going to go to the exhibition and see what Phantom Thief wants to steal, so I won’t bother you to continue patrolling.”
After separating from Harvey and others, Barbara’s mischievous and cute smile vanished in an instant, replaced by seriousness and determination.
She calmly took out an earphone and put it on, and a slightly eager voice came through.
“Have you entered the museum?”
At the same time, in the senior year classroom of Gotham Academy, Dick wore a pair of earphones in his ears.
He was having a hidden conversation with Barbara, and he was doing it in the middle of a class.
Gotham’s private high school was relatively open-minded and did not exactly restrict students from using electronic devices.
It was normal to see students wearing earphones and using phones, tablets, and even laptops in class.
As long as the students believed that these devices improved their learning efficiency, they were allowed.
However, the condition was that when the teacher called on you to answer a question, you had to be able to provide an accurate answer instead of being clueless.
Otherwise, it would be seen as a disrespectful attitude towards learning, and your electronic devices would be confiscated on the spot.
Therefore, Dick’s wearing earphones in the classroom didn’t draw much attention.
He kept his voice very low, just enough for Barbara and himself to hear, while everyone else around couldn’t hear what he was saying.
Even Dean, who was sitting in front of him, couldn’t hear his voice with his ears.
But the interesting thing is that Dean also wears an earphone on his left ear…