There are many topics that polarize. But not a single topic comes close to the one and only age-old question that some claim is the root of all division between people: "Are pickles disgusting or not?"
I'm not taking sides at all here. But since I assume you, the reader, is an intelligent and moral person, I decided to present the following story from the perspective of a member of the NPG (No Pickle Gang). The NPG is
a cult a group of like-minded people, questioning and fighting the dark agendas of the evil pickle-lover cult.
You are lying in your bed, dreaming about the prospect of a utopian world free from all pickle-lovers, where hate ceased to exist and all which remains is love and compassion. The dark ties of the pickle-lovers were ripped apart, unleashing all people from the web of lies that the cult has spun.
Suddenly, you are woken up by a loud scream coming from your neighbor's house: "I love pickles and I'm proud. I love pickles and I'm proud. I love pickles and I'm proud" - Is that what they call it? Proud? Raw hatred overcomes you. You get dressed in your full NPG clothing, chug a cup of black coffee, get your anti-pickle tools ready, and head down to your neighbor's door.
You look-pick the door and enter his residence. The entrance area is filled with decoration resembling pickled food. This view of total disgrace forces you to throw up onto his carpet, which also has illustration of pickles on it. After you've gotten yourself together, you discover a stairway leading down to presumably his cellar, with a large sign beside of it: "Crypt of the Pickles"
You really don't want to go down there for your own well-being. But what have all the years as a member of the NPG taught you? You cannot simply dishonor your ancestors, who spent their life studying and fighting the causes that lead people to like pickles. You have to go down there; Down into the abyss of humanity.
As you enter the crypt, you hear strange sounds coming from somewhere near. It sounds like somebody is drowning. You quietly sneak to the source of the sound, and after you've found it, you cannot believe what your eyes are perceiving. A cult-member dressed in a tribal clothing made fully out of pickled food is forcing the head of a young man into a bathtub, filled with vinegar and pickled food. You quickly realize that this is their initiation ritual, which was only ever speculated about, but never actually seen by anyone in the NPG. The loyal members who have tried to see and document it first-hand never came back from their journey.
This poor young man is already lost, there is nothing you can do to help him, so you sneak by this perverted scene, traveling deeper and deeper into the crypt. You reach a suspicious corner (depicted below) of the crypt. There is a chest with the word "imgur" engraved onto it, and a small note lying beside it.
The note reads:
For one time, we operate in a larger visible spectrum, with Pickle in front of everything else. The base range isn't the standard, but it's still standard.
The key for a fulfilling life:
29: Pickles represent indulgence, instead of abstinence
10: Harm any disbelievers
3: Pickles represent all of the so-called disgusting things, as they all lead to physical, mental, or emotional gratification
15: Do not make seXual advances on pickles unless you are given the mating signal
14: Cardinal sin - A lack of taste
What secret lies inside of this chest?
To spare you of some trial & error
As you have probably already guessed, you need to go to a i.stack.imgur URL, and since it's a hassle to try out every single result you come to, here are some indications, beside the hints already present in the puzzle:
- First 'step' contains two punctuations characters.
- Final image name of the URL contains 3 lowercase letters, 1 digit and 1 uppercase letter
(See the newly added tag, cipher). If you think a required part is missing from that: Read the subscript below again
The cipher to use is a Vigenere Cipher, albeit with a different alphabet
The entire story (everything inside the first blockquote) is
Illustration by dankovychart