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The Witch's Epigraph: Prologue



Inspired by When the Seagulls Cry (Umineko no Naku Koru ni)

The difficulty of this opening is Fairly Simple. Would you care to give it a guess?


The Sphinx's Decalogue

I. A fair riddle should require no highly specialized knowledge that the readers cannot easily obtain.

II. Any fair riddle must contain the information needed to solve it, and no "false clues" that mislead.

III. It should be clear what the answer had to have been in hindsight.

IV. The worst riddles contain outright false clues. All clues in a riddle should be explicable in light of the answer.

V. If the answer is "Nothing" or "I can't guess," it is not a fair riddle, but rather an anti-riddle.

VI. A literal, trivial answer to a question is scarcely an answer at all. The chicken must cross the road for an actual reason.

VII. Riddles that rely on spoken homophones should be told in speech or not at all.

VIII. A truly fair answer must be as simple as possible and expressible in a few words at most.

IX. Obscure or improbable puns must not be required for a riddle's answer.

X. If any player's answer neatly fits every single clue of a riddle without breaking these rules, it is a correct answer.

* * * * * * * * *

This is a riddle of riddles and a mystery of mysteries, a challenge of locked safes and sealed rooms.

Do you think you can solve this by guessing? Do you think you can solve it alone?

Do you think I'll confirm your answers? Do you think I'll underline or bold every riddle for you?

Don't be absurd!

If you demand fairness, feel free to wait for it. You'll starve first.

If you demand confirmation of your answers, confirm them yourselves.

If you demand the truth... good luck.

Without hope, the truth cannot be found.


The Witch of Doubt

The First Safe:

The Hapax Club is a museum of riddles. There are no placards distinguishing the exhibits from the fixtures or, for that matter, from the staff and visitors. This is meant to encourage an all-consuming curiosity among its patrons. Is the flickering light in the men's lavatory delivering a message? Indeed, but it took two men a rather long time to be fully sure it is; a puzzle like that can be easily missed, though we all know of it now. As you see, a person must look beyond surfaces here.

(On the other hand, a hapless guest left once her purse on a pedestal on a busy morning, and by noon, seven people had come up with solutions for it. )

Eleven days ago, the proprietor of the club announced his retirement. All of the treasures and mysteries held in those blue-painted halls and scarlet-curtained chambers would pass to whoever could best a final challenge. See the guests filtering in, new riddlers and old! As each one enters, they are given a sheet of paper, the very sheet you hold in your hands right now. They're not to discuss the contents until they've solved the entrance examination. The club must have standards, after all.

The first safe has two locks.

The first is a prime example of a 4-digit number lock.

The second is a digital display, which reads - - - - - - - - -, attached to a scanning pad, on which shapes (presumably letters) can be drawn with a stylus.

Edited by WitchOfDoubt
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