One day in China, a lumberjack was caught unknowingly cutting down one of the emperor's favorite type of tree. Because of this, the lumberjack was taken into captivity. The surrounding towns in which the lumberjack had lived believed this to be unjust and schemed to free the man. They were able to convince the servant who brought the man food every day to give him a scroll. On that scroll, there was one line of words. This is what it said:


The bottom of the scroll had three words: 为什么是子弹

What should the lumberjack do, based on the scroll?

Hint 1:

Later on that day, the lumberjack received another scroll with his lunch. It said this: It was said that you wanted to empress the emperor.

Hint 2:

There are multiple layers of bark on an empress tree. Similar to the encryption.

Hint 3:

There are three layers of encryption. (If you want extra help, one of the encryptions is transposition. Good luck. Also, none of the stories involving the hints actually matter. (The lunch part doesn't matter).

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    $\begingroup$ I know Chinese, so I'm just gonna translate the Chinese: it means "Why is it a bullet". $\endgroup$
    – mbjb
    Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 2:59
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ OP said that the bottom of the scroll had three words, did he use google translate? Because google translated it to "Why are bullets?" $\endgroup$
    – Paul Karam
    Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 12:39
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    $\begingroup$ @PaulKaram Because in Chinese the words are not defined by characters. 为什么 is one word, 是 another, and 子弹 the last. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 8, 2018 at 2:31
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Ok. @QuantumTwinkie $\endgroup$
    – Lionclaw49
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 0:56
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Added a new hint. It should be helpful. $\endgroup$
    – Lionclaw49
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 0:57

1 Answer 1


Partial Answer

Still working on cracking the complete encryption (and what I have may be incorrect) but this is what I have so far:

As confirmed by OP 为什么是子弹 translates to 'why is bullet'. If you use UNFRVFCRIQUULLMQN as a key for a vigenere cipher you get 'cut rx wsudoz'. Then if you use empress as a key on that you get, 'yie at eaqrzi'. The last part I haven't yet found a key that works. If I were to wager a guess I would say it possible will be dinner, since he got the two scrolls from the man when getting his food in the same day and the second was at lunch, so the only meal left is dinner and that fits the required letters. It is also possible that the second key is more than empress and that would change 'eaqrzi' to something else that might be better suited for a decryption.

  • $\begingroup$ It does look strange, though, that the key is longer than the message you decode. Could the whyisbullet be key and the line the message? $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 26, 2018 at 12:31
  • $\begingroup$ @ThomasBlue I had tried that and it didn't seem to lead to anything $\endgroup$
    – gabbo1092
    Commented Oct 26, 2018 at 12:49
  • $\begingroup$ You’re close. But it is a little bit more technical. (And that last word isn’t dinner). $\endgroup$
    – Lionclaw49
    Commented Oct 27, 2018 at 21:28

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