How does Maomao solve Lakan’s problem in The Apothecary Diaries?

Lakan gives Master Jinshi a specific problem to solve after hearing about Maomao’s specific skills.

Lakan is intrigued by Maomao’s reputation for solving puzzles around the palace and brings one of his own to Master Jinshi.

He mentions a metal worker who recently passed away without passing down his secret technique.

He had three sons who were also his apprentices, and he left them a particular will that could hint at his technique.

Maomao is sent to the metalworker’s house along with Basen to solve the true meaning behind the will.

Peculiar gifts

In the metalworker’s will, He passes down his workshop to the eldest son, an ornate chest of drawers to the second son, and a glass fish bowl to the youngest.

He also includes a message asking them to have a tea party together like they did in the old days.

Maomao walks into the workshop and notices certain things immediately, the chest of the drawers is nailed to the middle of the room and cannot be taken out.

The middle brother was given one key for the chest, but it doesn’t fit perfectly into the keyhole. The fishbowl has a a flower adorning it’s surface.

The room has only one window and the sunlight is partially blocked by a huge tree just outside.

The sons cannot figure out what to do with their gifts and chide their father for being so vague.

A melting pot of talents

After spending some time with the brothers, she realizes something that might point to a solution.

She asks them where the fishbowl used to be placed back when they used to have tea together, and they say that it had a fish and was placed on a surface right in front of the window.

They sit down to have tea like their father requested

Maomao places the bowl and fllls it up with water. The sunlight passes through it and is concentrated by the flower design directly into the keyhole.

Something inside the keyhole lights up and the key is finally able to open the central drawer.

Whatever was obstructing the hole melts and flows down into a key mold. Maomao uses the key to open the smaller drawers in the top row of the chest.

Inside each is a different mineral and Maomao figures out the solution, although only the youngest son is able to.

The minerals are meant to be heated up together to create something unique, and the size of the drawers indicates the in what quantities they are to be used.

The older brothers do not see the answer and get ready to level but the youngest brother pleads with them to stay.

They claim the he was their father’s favourite and he’s the only one who is good at metalworking, but the youngest brother shares their father’s views on each of them.

The oldest brother is very precise and thorough in everything he does, while the middle brother is great at making connections with people.

The youngest brother asks if they can work together with different responsibilities and they agree.

The oldest decides to handle the bookkeeping, the middle will manage their clientele, and the youngest will continue in their father’s footsteps.

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