Chapter 4: The Elder

*Solutions to the puzzles from chapter 3 can be found here*

After telling Isabelle that she has until the 10th night to enjoy the company of her friends, she thanks you for the heads up. “This information is valuable to me and you deserve something in return. Judging by that scrawny map you carry with you, you’re trying to reach the temple. If that is indeed the case, you will need to gain the Elder’s approval first. He lives off towards the South, where exactly no one knows. You’ll stand the best chance of meeting him if you let him find you first.”

You thank Isabelle for her advice and for letting Terry go free. You gather up your things and begin the long walk to the south of the island. The jungle is thinner here, and you make good time. Just as you begin to think Terry has gone mute, he pipes up.

“Have you ever played the game of 21?”

A pause. You try to search your memories from before landing on the island, but prior to waking up on the sand, they are hazy.  “I take no response to mean no. It’s very simple really, a great way to pass the time. You begin at 0 and each player may count up 1, 2 or 3 numbers on their turn. Then the next player does the same and so on. Whoever is forced to say 21 loses the game. Want to play?”

You give an unenthusiastic shrug. “Alright then, I’ll go first. 1 2 3,” he says cheerily.

“4, 5,”

“6,”

“7, 8 and 9.”

“10-11,”

“12, 13, 14,”

“15, 16. Ha”

His laugh startles you and you begin to wonder why the outburst. Why does Terry seem confident he’s going to win?

You take a moment to think…

You decide to play along, “17, 18, 19.” You say this with increasing despair in your voice.

“20! Aha, I win. Wanna go again? I’ll start with 1.”

Can you think of a strategy to ensure you win? Think about how Terry knew he’d won when he reached 16.

 


 

After coming up with your perfect strategy, you proceed to beat Terry in 4 consecutive games, making sure he starts each time.

“You must take me for a fool, you just make sure you finish on a multiple of 4, which I guess is made possible by the nature of the game. No fun in playing now, luckily we should already have reached the Elder’s territory.” Just as he says this, a deep haunting laugh fills the air around you followed by a mild coughing fit. You turn in the direction of the noise, hanging there from the lower branches of a rubber tree is a small and wispy looking baboon. His fur remains a sleek black, contrasting with the bright white of his facial hair.

“I couldn’t help overhearing your lovely round of 21, though it seems our explorer here made quick work of finding an undefeatable strategy. Forgive me, where are my manners? My name is Chris but you may refer to me as Grand Master Monkey. I will propose a game, should you win, all my knowledge will be at your service .”

You can’t help but smile at this self appointed Grand Master and watch as he plucks a large, perfectly circular leaf from a nearby branch. He rests it softly on the floor before producing a perfectly circular nut from within his mane. “The aim of the game is simple. Each player takes their turn to place a nut on this leaf. You may not place a nut on top of another and it must lie wholly within the leaf. The last player to be able to place a nut is the winner. As the challenger, I will let you place the first nut.”

nuts1

“Now that’s a step up from 21, I fear we may not reach the temple after all.” You feel intimidated by Chris sitting comfortably opposite you and start to wonder if Grandmaster Monkey may in fact be a more suitable title. Can you find a way of ensuring your victory, no matter how Chris plays?

You take time before your first move to think, anticipating that the first move will be crucial to your victory. If you are struggling, you may talk to Terry for some advice here.

Solutions to the puzzles from chapter 4 can be found here.

The story continues in chapter 5 here.

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