The Legend of Potato King - Part 1
There it was. The artifact he’d been looking for; it was stained and caked in mud, but in much better shape than he’d expected, given that it had been buried underground for hundreds of harvests. It was a nondescript wooden box, across which were written in fading cursive: “Preserving Potatoes: The Secret to Immortality.”
This was the final step to cement his legacy as the “Greatest Potato Pirate That Ever Sailed” - if he was immortal, then he could hold onto the title indefinitely!
He had sailed the Seven Seas and conquered every single part of it; explored the ends of the oceans and experienced all they had to offer, and amassed enough gold, jewels and other treasures to last a lifetime.
He was Solanum Tuberosum Edward of Scotter Lincolnshire, the Seventh of the House of John Butler - the King of Pirates, and he had done all that any potato could hope for ... except conquering death.
However, that would change soon enough.
Potato King quickly pulled out the worn wooden box out of the dirt, and broke the rusted lock. The box squeaked open to reveal a tatty but still legible manuscript. He carefully picked it up and opened it, scanning the immaculately penned script.
For the past harvest season, he had been pursuing many rumours and stories about a legendary recipe that would grant immortality on any potato who performed the mystical ritual, and after several death-defying wild goose chases (one of which most notably involved a particularly irate Kraken), the recipe had been hiding under his non-existent nose all this while - buried in the backyard of his dock.
Wasting no time, he gathered all that the ritual called for - pepper, salt, several assorted spices, a large frying pan and some of the finest oils - ordered his crew to not interrupt him for the rest of the day, and sequestered himself in his cabin.
As soon as everything he needed was assembled, he skimmed the recipe one last time, and began the ritual. He could almost taste it - the everlasting life, and eternal recognition as the Great Potato King. The last thing he remembered was a sense of great elation.
The ground shook as a large explosion tore through the cabin and the ship.
When Potato King came to, the ingredients and materials he had used for the ritual were in a disarray and burnt; he felt different somehow but couldn’t quite place it. Was this what immortality felt like? He felt as though a weight was lifted off his starchy being, and more carefree than he’d ever been in ages.
He opened the door of his cabin, eager to spread the news to his crew - except the ship, and even the docks, were deserted. He couldn’t find a single member of his crew, except one. The lone potato stood stock-still, his hands gripped tightly around his spear. His eyes seemed blank and vacant.
Potato King could not remember that spud’s name, for some reason - but he remembered that he was important.
“Where’s everyone gone?” Potato King asked. Even his voice sounded different - not as gruff. The spear-holding spud stared blankly ahead, and mumbled a single word. “That’s helpful,” Potato King muttered to himself.
He looked over the sides of his ship and caught sight of his reflection in the calm waters. A chill ran down his back and he rushed back to his cabin, tripping over himself as he did so.
He looked at himself in the mirror, and his appearance was clearly not how he remembered it. What had happened?
He checked the manual, a sense of dread rising in the pit of his tuber-tummy. Then he saw it - he had misinterpreted something crucial. What had seemed like an important symbol was simply just a large chunk of crushed peppercorn.
Potato King groaned - this was going to take a while to decipher, but he’d have to do it if he wanted answers.
Would you like to lend Potato King a helping hand to decipher the code?
You would? Cool beans! Here's how you can help.
- Download & install Python 3 here. (Skip this step if you already have it)
- Start decodin'!
- Once you've cracked it, simply fill out the submission Typeform below and upload your code. You will be given the hint to the next level.
All the best!