“What’s the point of living, if all we do is hurt each other?”
– Thorfinn (Vinland Saga)
When Dick heard Barbara’s words, his pupils instantly shrank.
“You mean to say you’ve already figured it out?”
Dick asked anxiously.
“Well, what do you think? If I hadn’t figured it out, wouldn’t it be meaningless for me to ask you?”
Barbara smirked and said, “You must be racking your brains to solve the riddle in the notice, and you can’t wait to know what it means. Am I right?”
“Stop teasing me, just tell me already!”
Dick urged impatiently.
Seeing that he was in such a hurry, Barbara stopped teasing and became serious.
“Do you know Roman numerals?”
“Roman numerals? Of course, I know them. But what does that have to do with the riddle in the notice letter?”
Dick scowled and questioned, “But even using Roman counting, 20 multiplied by 3 still doesn’t equal 4.”
“That’s because the real values of ’20,’ ‘3,’ and ‘4’ are not what they appear to be. They may not represent specific numbers, but rather an order of numbers,” Barbara explained.
“An order of numbers?”
Barbara reminded him, “Do you still remember the seven basic symbols of Roman numerals?”
“I (1), V (5), X (10), L (50), C (100), D (500), M (1000)… and so on!”
As Dick recalled these seven symbols, a flash of ideas came to him.
“If we consider ’20,’ ‘3,’ and ‘4’ as an order of numbers in alphabetical letters, it means we need to convert them into the matching letters and then replace them into the Roman numerals… hmm? Wait, that doesn’t make sense!”
Just as he was halfway through the idea, a puzzled expression appeared on Dick’s face.
“If we solve them based on alphabetical numbers, then 3 as ‘C’ would be equal to 100, and 4 as ‘D’ would be equal to 500. But 20 is ‘T,’ which isn’t one of the basic symbols of Roman numerals.”
Hearing this, Barbara’s eyes flashed, and she said it meaningfully.
“According to Roman mythology, polytheism is considered traditional and was slowly replaced by Christianity starting from the time of Constantine the Great. It became a remnant of ancient Rome. In the riddle, the mention of Mars and Caesar symbolizes ancient Roman culture. It seems that Phantom Thief is showing us that we need to solve it using knowledge of ancient Rome.”
“We need to replace the numbers with Roman numerals and the letters with the letters from the Roman period!”
In ancient Rome, there were no letters J, U, and W!
In other words, the order of numbers for the 20th letter in the alphabet is not ‘T’ but ‘V’!
When we use Roman numerals, its actual value is the number 5.
’20 multiplied by 3 equals 4′ means V multiplied by C equals D, which solves 5 multiplied by 100 equals 500, a perfect match.
At this point, Dick suddenly understood, and his thoughts became clear.
“If 20 multiplied by 3 equals 4,
Then I will visit at a nonexistent time,
When Mars passes its tenth day and night,
Following the guidance of Caesar,
I shall come to claim the blood-stained egg.”
“If the intention of the first sentence is Roman numerals, then the nonexistent time mentioned in the second line means midnight because there is no zero in Roman numerals!”
Without further explanation from Barbara, Dick solved the meaning of the following sentence.
“Looking at the first three lines together, Phantom Thief will move at midnight on March 11th, which is twelve o’clock on March 10th!”
At this point, Dick frowned.
“But what does ‘following the guidance of Caesar’ mean?”
“I haven’t figured out this sentence yet. If this sentence is just meant to guide us to focus on ancient Roman-related knowledge, then it seems unnecessary because mentioning Mars would serve the same purpose.”
After hearing this, Dick nodded in agreement.
He also felt that this sentence was not just a simple hint.
Barbara suddenly changed the subject.
“After coming to the Natural History Museum, I think I understand what he means.”
Inside the Ancient Rome Exhibition Hall, Barbara looked at a sculpture of Julius Caesar, and her eyes flashed with a hint of understanding.
The statue of Julius Caesar appeared as if he were pointing towards the enemy when he was leading the army.
If Barbara remembered correctly, the direction the statue was pointing should be towards the Jungle Exhibition Hall on the east side of the museum, where the ‘Dragon Egg Ruby Necklace’ is located.
“Are you suggesting that Caesar’s guidance is just an actual guide and that Phantom Thief will carry out his plan at midnight on March 10th in the Jungle Exhibition Hall?”
After listening to Barbara’s thoughts, Dick asked with doubt.
“I know it sounds a bit direct, but at least for now, it’s the only explanation that makes sense. I haven’t found any other ‘guidance of Caesar’ here.”
Barbara shook her head and sighed.
“Alright, it seems that there is no other way to solve the puzzle. In short, the time will never be wrong.”
After thinking for a while, they realized that this was really only one explanation.
Dick nodded, agreeing with Barbara’s thoughts.
So far, the two of them have deciphered the entire content of Phantom Thief’s notice letter.
After discussing some details of the follow-up arrangements, Dick ended his call with Barbara.
At that moment, Dick suddenly heard someone calling his name from ahead.
“Hey! Dick! Dick! Snap out of it! Mrs. Anderson is coming to find you!”
Dean was calling his name softly while all the classmates looked at him with amused eyes.
Dick’s heart skipped a beat as he instantly realized something was wrong.
“It seems you’ve finally come to your senses, Mr. Grayson. I called your name four times already, and you did not respond at all. I have to question whether your attitude towards learning is good…”
A deep voice from a middle-aged woman came from beside him.
Dick’s face immediately stiffened as he looked up and met Mrs. Anderson’s gloomy expression.
Mrs. Anderson was their math teacher and had a bad temper.
Dick realized that the situation was not good.
He had been too focused on discussing the notice letter with Barbara and completely missed being called.
“Can you give me a reasonable explanation, Mr. Grayson?”
Mrs. Anderson asked slowly and deliberately, her eyes filled with pressure.
Dick’s face broke into a cold sweat as he forced a smile and said, “Um… Mrs. Anderson, I… I was just listening to your class and got completely immersed in the world of mathematics until a few seconds ago.”
Mrs. Anderson stared into his eyes without any expression.
“What you said can only deceive yourself, not anyone else. I think I’ll have to confiscate your earphones now, and if you get distracted again, I’ll have to talk seriously with Mr. Wayne about your education.”
After finishing speaking, Mrs. Anderson took away Dick’s earphones without any further words and returned to the stage.
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