Chapter 5 – New lands

The four make their way up the steep side of the cliff. Climbing the many ledges does take a while due to no other surfaces besides the actual blocks to grab a hold of. As Ashling discovered before: while the surfaces look and feel like they have texture, they are actually still flat. Needless to say, it did take Sharon a while to get a hold of it, and she’s a seasoned hiker.

Greenmushroom has it a bit better than the others. Where it requires the others to jump before they can start to climb up, or even climb up, Greenmushroom can clear a two block tall ledge in a jump. Climbing up a ledge is no problem either due to his light weight.

The Superhero is not doing much better than the others, but he does help before climbing up himself. He’s not even thinking of how easy it would have been of using his various suit powers, such as the Rock suit or the Fly suit to make it easier. He likes the challenge, kinda. There’s a difference between challenge and labour. He endures it though. He’s had worse.

“I’m not liking these hills,” Sharon says between breaths. “I can seriously not see what the appeal of this game is.”

Ashling helps Sharon up the last ledge by offering his hand, then pulling her up. They have reached the top of the cliff. In turn, she helps The Superhero.

“I mean, how are you supposed to explore a landscape like-” as the turns around to refer to the landscape in question, her voice fades away and she just stares at said landscape with an open mouth.

The cliff they scaled is actually a small mountain with its own top they are now standing on, it joins into another mountain range to their left which is even bigger and more intricate. A vast desert is spread out on their right, next to the ocean. Beside it, behind the mountain rage is a field, with cows and sheep walking about. In the background is a massive jungle.

“Wow,” Sharon softly says with amazement at the scene.
“Are you appealed?” The Superhero asks her with a smile. He’s, too, taken on how beautiful the world looks. As a response to his question, Sharon slowly nods, not taking her eyes of the scene.

Suddenly, they are brought back to virtual reality as something oinks, and three pigs that has jumped up the one block high ledges appear, catching the attention of the four.

“Piggies!” Sharon happily exclaims. The pigs doesn’t look as filthy as real pigs, and are just as blocky as everything else in this game. Even their snouts are small squares. “Oink,” the pig grunts.

Greenmushroom smiles, relieved and interested.

Behind them, Ashling grins and takes out his stone sword.

A while later, the four are making their way down the hill to the other side. Ashling looks happy. Sharon, disturbed and annoyed.
“Why did you do that?” she frowns.
“We needed food, remember?” Ashling responds and hold up the uncooked porkchop he more than likely got from killing the pigs.
“But they were so cuuute,” Sharon wails. The guys look at each other, not really understanding how Sharon could have though that.
“Next, you’ll be saying you had names for them,” Greenmushroom jokingly says and chuckles.

Silence.

“No,” Sharon finally says, not sounding too convincing though. The Superhero quietly giggles for himself. Ashling joins in. Sharon either doesn’t hear or just ignores them.

“Aaanyway,” The Superhero tries to change the subject. “We were going to look for material, right? Iron and stuff?”
Ashling nods. “Yeah.”
“So we are going underground,” Sharon brightens up again. Besides hiking, she is a big fan of spelunking. “All we need is a cave, then.”

The Superhero makes a nod to indicate there’s something behind him. Everyone turns around and see a small cave entrance. The cave goes in for a bit before going down and right. All the walls are lined with the same material: smooth stone.

The party heads into the darkness.

Back at the base, Silver is punching down some trees while Martin runs around and plants saplings where trees have stood.
“You know what I find weird?” Silver suddenly asks. He waits for Martin to respond before continuing.
“Hm?” Martin responds after a second.
“That Sharon has so much trouble with the physics of this game,” Silver continues.
“Yeah, I mean, the ‘humorous bad luck’ trait shouldn’t affect that, right?” Martin speculates and stops to plant saplings. Mostly because he has run out of them.
“And she has magic in her world,” Silver adds. “Eh, I’m sure she’ll learn… eventually…”

“Well, that was a failure!”
The group of heroes exit the cave after a quick exploration revealed it didn’t go far at all, and none of them being too familiar with the mining aspect of the game, had not decided to try and mine around, save for some pieces of coal to make torches out of.
“A mountain range like this should have more caves,” Sharon encourages the team. While she also was a bit beat down that the cave didn’t go any deeper, the sense of adventure overpowered that thought. She is already scouting out locations for other caves.

Ashling notices some more pigs running about a bit down the hill, and nods to the others that he’s going to attack. The Superhero nods back.

Moments later, after a small chase that ensued when Ashling tried to kill the pigs, the party’s food supply is set for a good while, provided that they can find a furnace to cook the meat in. Sharon is less than amused over this, but does agree that they will need to eat eventually.

“You know what this game needs?” Ashling asks as he jumps up the last few blocks to the others.
“What?”
“Bacon.”

“Anyway, it looks like there’s a cave over there,” Sharon says and points along the range. There seems to be another cave with a bigger entrance, but it’s hard to even notice the cave from their position. “How are we doing on time?”

Greenmushroom looks up to take a look at the sun. It’s right above him. “Midday, five minutes. That is, unless we changed the speed of the day/night cycle.”
“We did, I halved it to give us more time,” The Superhero explains. Greenmushroom nods.
“Then we have ten minutes. But it should be enough to do some more exploring. We could always make a shelter if we have to.”

*

A quick hike later, the party stares into the new cave and they quickly find that this one is indeed leading somewhere. It goes in for a few blocks and takes a soft turn left, into the mountain, before leading into a long drop, riddled with other holes. A waterfall drapes the other side of the hole and there seems to be a pool at the bottom. If this doesn’t lead anywhere interesting, something must be terribly wrong.

Little does the players know that something is wrong, but it’s not the world generation. Not even The Superhero would have any idea until it’s too late, and the only one that would even have considered it stayed behind to dig where a chicken had told him to search.

“Whoa, that’s deep,” Sharon glances over the edge of the hole. The deeper it gets, the darker it is, and the bottom is almost completely swallowed by darkness. There’s no sign of life though, which is probably a plus if the monsters have turned more dangerous.

Suddenly, a light appears behind her, something more redder than the sunlight, which is about to go down soon anyway. She turns around to see that there’s a furnace block placed and something is cooking, most likely the porkchops Ashling got from killing the pigs from before.

“Alright, we’re in a cave, what’s next?” The Superhero asks. He sits on the furnace with the body facing the cave entrance, but glances back to see the responses.

“We should find various materials such as iron or diamond to make tools out of,” Greenmushroom explains. “The deeper we get, the bigger the chance to find better materials.”

“Hey, Green,” Sharon quizzically looks at Greenmushroom. “How do you kno-” she gets cut of by The Superhero raising his arm to give them the gesture to be quiet. Sharon immediately shuts up and looks at The Superhero. The others do too, confused. The Superhero stares at the cave entrance, eyes fixed and immobile, like a cat waiting for the perfect moment to strike.

“What is it?” Sharon quietly whispers to The Superhero, but he ignores her. His eyes starts to move, as if he’s trying to localise something. With his free hand, he slowly moves it around before resting at a point above the entrance. He suddenly gets his stone sword in hand and slowly stands up. The sun is almost gone.

He takes some careful steps towards the entrance. No one else dares to move. If The Superhero is acting serious, chances are the situation is actually serious. He stops a few blocks away from the entrance. Then he waits.

Silence.

Nothing is moving. No one even dares to make a sound. Everyone is waiting for The Superhero’s next move, but it never comes, he’s waiting as well.

Suddenly the fire in the furnace dies out and it goes dark. Something falls down from the outside and a loud hissing nose is heard. Greenmushroom is quick to place down a torch and they are met with a green monster, whose body seems to be consisting of vines and leaves. It’s face is frozen in a look of fear. A Creeper.

The Superhero is quick to strike it with the sword, but before the knock back has knocked back the Creeper to a safe distance, it blows up in a loud explosion and The Superhero is sent flying backwards and lands on his back a couple blocks away.

“Hey, you alright?” Ashling hurries over to the fallen hero and offers his hand to help him up. The Superhero lets out some pained grunts. “That explosion took away a couple of hearts, but as long as I’m not dead I’m fine.” He gets up with Ashling’s help.

Greenmushroom throws The Superhero a cooked porkchop. “Food usually heals in video games.”
The Superhero starts eating, and then confirms this seems to be the case.

“What was that thing?” Sharon asks, still shaken over the sudden event. She’s not sure she wants to hear the answer though. Although she has seen horrible sights before, she really doesn’t want to.
“That must have been the Creeper Silver wanted us about before. Those things look real dangerous,” Ashling says.
“Guess I’ll need to be faster next time,” The Superhero comments. His wounds from the attack is now all gone. “Sure, I’ll not use my super powers, but I’m not giving up on my normal skills.”

In The Superhero’s case, ‘normal’ skills still happen to be above that of a normal human. Thanks to years and years of training, The Superhero could outdo a great deal of people (but not get all gold medals in the Olympics, they tried once). It’s amazing what one can do when sharpening their mind.

“So, how do we get down?” Sharon wonders and looks down the dark pit. Zombie grunts echoes in the cave and Sharon thinks she sees movement at the bottom. Greenmushroom answers the question by equipping the stone pickaxe he got from Silver. He begins to mine out the side of the pit, making a staircase.

“Hero, watch our backs,” Ashling looks at The Superhero, who nods. No Creeper will pull a stunt like that on him again. Especially not with permanent death on the line.

Luckily, they make it to one of the caverns without incident. Greenmushroom is quick to place out some torches. For some reason, they only burn when placed. It looks like this side-path splits off into even more paths.

“Wow,” Sharon says, impressed. “We should head deeper still, though,” Ashling informs her. Greenmushroom is already under way of making another staircase.

It takes a little while, but they manage to make a staircase to the bottom. While placing out torches on the way down, Greenmushroom realised he could place them up to four blocks away of his reach, fuelling Sharon’s logic headache. It even worked with mining. The rest took notes.

The group defeats the small group of zombies that had gathered at the end of the staircase at the bottom. Interestingly, the attack reach also goes beyond their normal reach. The zombies, although with increased AI, still stands no chance and are dispatched of easily, dropping experience orbs and rotten flesh like before. The few that fell into the pool of water were slowed down and killed even easier.

With no immediate threat, and with the upper caverns initially it up to prevent mobs from spawning too close, the group looks into a huge cavern on the opposite side of the small pond of water. A faint light lights up some walls deep within, and they can see all different kinds of enemies walking about: zombies, skeletons, spiders and Creepers.

“Ooh, this is going to be exciting,” Sharon says as she watches the unaware mobs below. Greenmushroom thinks she’s crazy and wishes he could have brought his raygun to attack the enemies with.

“So, diamonds?” Ashling asks. The Superhero nods with a hint of determination and excitement. “Diamonds. Let’s do it.”

Next chapter

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