Search for the Crown was a puzzle plot released on July 17th, 2001 (Year 3). It was the third plot in quick succession to feature the Lost Desert, and lasted for only two days until the solution was found on the 19th. This plot introduced the Meerca Brothers and Malkus Vile as characters, Coltzan's Shrine as a daily, and was the first puzzle plot to be released on the site.
The story began with Princess Vyssa and Advisor Wessle attending a ceremony to open Coltzan's Shrine. Using the dead King's crown as a centrepiece, it was hoped that the shrine could be reopened for citizens of Sakhmet to use. Unfortunately, when the curtain was pulled back, the crown was missing. In its place was a hastily written note:
The race was on to find the crown and restore it to its proper place. Neopian super-sleuths gathered to examine the clues. The most obvious one was the name of the criminal, Heermeedjet, on the note. By looking up the pet by that name, mention of a secret meeting at Hubert's Hotdog Stand was found, along with mention of his brother, Meerouladen. Meerouladen's page supplied a helpful password - Codestone.
Neopians raced to Hubert's Hotdog Stand and said the password, but were given nothing more than a scrambled note:
Cpngrbt vlb tjpn smyb vmbljngl jttlf frjfnds, Jhvbfb vfrys pfcjblt bsk thbt wjllrfqvjrfy pvr "gjft jf grbb," spm bkfs vrfn pttp mfssj tvp! Ypvrm jssjpn wjllbf tpstfbl thf crpwn pfkjngcpl tzbn. Jh bvfbrrbngfd fprypvt p mfft prjncfsssbnk brbbtp fppbtrbsp ftpfts hpp, whfrfypv wjllr fcfjvff vrthfrjns trvctjn. Lppkf prhfrj nthf trbpdppr vndfrnfbth thftfnt. Dpntf bjlmft hjstjmf, M.V.
The code was soon broken, and the message translated to:
Congratulations my bumbling little friends, i have a very special task that will require your "gift if grab," so make sure not to mess it up! Your mission will be to steal the crown of king coltzan. i have arranged for you to meet princess sankara at peopatras petpet shop, where you will receive further instructin. Look for her in the trapdoor underneath the tent. Dont fail me this time, M.V.
The message led Neopians to Peopatra's Petpet Shop, and a secret trapdoor within. A diary was found randomly in the hidden chamber below, with the following message:
As you open the diary, a crumpled up, yellowed piece of paper falls to the floor.
I got you into that kitchen once before, I can get you in again...
19 1 25 9 14 14 1 8
The numbers were found to relate to the letters that form the name Sayinnah. Following the trail to that pet's homepage led Neopians to a very surprising location.
The Lost Desert Cybunny Defence Initiative (LDCDI). There, a Cybunny would ask for a password. Hidden on the page was the phrase "Cybunny InforMation MatrIx". The capital letters were roman numerals, and clues to the Cybunny's password - the numbers 100, 999, and 1001.
Supplying the Cybunny with the code led Neopians to a message board mentioning the user, happy_islander. Their guild contained a link to the infamous parrot on Mystery Island.
The parrot repeated phrases he heard Malkus Vile and Princess Sankara talking about. Malkus wished for half a million Neopoints to be put in a safety deposit box, the number of which would be delivered to 15563 Fruity Path, Mystery Island. There, a note was found:
my first is in sun but never in shade
my second works hard but never gets paid
my third a candle beginning to fade
piece together this riddle to find plotters three
his majesty betrayed by jealousy and greed
two plotters you know, the third is the key
my last lives in winter but then dies in spring
listen to my clues and help avenge the king
Taking the first letter of each line would spell out a page. Solving a small puzzle would supply the safety deposit box ID of 84561587. By finding that box in the National Neopian, users discovered a note:
Further manipulation in a graphics program would reveal another clue:
These were coordinates for a location on Mystery Island, a beach. Neopians visiting the beach would randomly find letters in the sand, which would spell out 56south42west.This would lead Neopians to the numbers 335 and 127. By visiting these coordinates, the crown of King Coltzan III was found buried in the sand.
With Princess Sankara arrested for the murder of Coltzan, and Malkus Vile's plan foiled (even though he escaped), Sakhmet was saved.
Users participated in this plot by following the clues left around the site by the Neopets team. TNT later released a solution to the plot.
Prizes were released after the plot, however no details as to their nature were released.