Chapter 7 – Dead man walking
The blocks of iron were quickly mined out and put in a furnace to be smelted into iron bars, and the source of the light was revealed as the group got closer to it: lava. In true video game fashion, the lava did emit some heat, but not nearly as much as real lava would, and they were pretty certain the lava would only hurt them if they actually touched it.
“Alright, we got iron. What’s next on the list?” Ashling wonders, keeping his eyes out for any monsters. Some distant grunts from zombies echoes through the cave.
“Didn’t Silver say we needed iron to make better gear? Like armour?” Sharon asks. The last sentence is said with hope. Greenmushroom nods, an interesting feat considering he doesn’t have a neck. “Yeah, but we only got six bars of iron from this. It’s not nearly enough to create anything big. If we had Redstone, we could make a compass, though.”
“Like that?” The Superhero points to a red spotted block above the lava lake.
“Yes! Although, the compass would only point back to our spawn point.”
Sharon gives Greenmushroom a puzzled and curious look.
“Hey, Green. How come you know so much about this game? I thought you never played this before?”
“Well…” he begins, unsure if he really wants to tell them the truth. Sharon keeps looking at him, and Ashling joins in, but mostly because he’s curious to see what the mushroom is going to answer. The Superhero listens in, but is mostly trying to figure out a way to reach that elusive Redstone.
“Well?” Sharon says. Greenmushroom puts a hand behind his head.
“I’m actually reading the official Minecraft wiki as we play, for information. Heh,” he gives them an nervous smile.
Sharon lowers her head and begins to chuckle slightly. “That’s all?” she says.
“Yes,” Greenmushroom answers, relieved that nothing bad came out of the situation.
“Hey, Martin, what are you doing?” he then proceeds to ask The Superhero, who’s still standing next to the lava lake. The hero turns around.
“Well, I was thinking of digging to the Redstone from above, but it will probably just fall into the lava after I mine it, so I thought to reach it from below. Problem is, there’s lava there and I don’t know how deep it is.”
Greenmushroom slides up to the lava and brings out a miniature cobblestone block. He then places it in the lava, but instead of a small block, the block turns out to be its full size, much like how any other block they placed before was. He then proceeds to walk out on the block, and place another one in front of it. However, they hear it being placed, but don’t see it.
“Guess that’s deeper than one block,” he says, and places another one. This time it appears.
Greenmushroom walks back and throws The Superhero a full stack of small cobblestone blocks. 64 of them. They get automatically sucked into The Superhero.
“That looks really unstable,” The Superhero remarks, referring to the cobble stone bridge.
“We saw dirt blocks float in mid-air thirty minutes ago, I shouldn’t be too worried,” Greenmushroom answers with a smile. Of course, in his world, floating blocks is a common occurrence anyway.
The Superhero walks out on the bridge.
“Just don’t look down?” Sharon says, trying to sound helpful, but even doubts it herself.
“Seriously?” is the answer she gets. Sharon shrugs.
The Superhero places down some blocks to continue the bridge at, and it doesn’t take long until he’s almost close to the Redstone block. Falling into lava is not a good idea, super powers or no. Unless he used the Fire suit of course, but he’s not allowed to use his powers. The battle from before was just an exception, and The Superhero has no idea how much the lava would actually hurt if he touched it. Would it be an instant kill? Throw him up in the air like Super Mario 64? Or would he slowly sink in, burning to death? One thing was for sure though: he had no intention on finding out. It was just something about the thought of walking on what appeared to be loose rocks bundled together into a block, centimetres from boiling lava that was a bit nerve wrecking, even for a superhero.
Meanwhile, Greenmushroom decides to take two of the iron bars and a stick and turn it into an iron sword. In comparison to the wood and stone sword, this one actually looks more like a sword in colour, even though it has the exactly same shape as the other two types of sword.
He hands Ashling the sword, without saying a word. Ashling nods as a thank you, and then turns back to look at The Superhero. Sharon is also watching, with excitement, not moving a bit. It’s like an Indiana Jones movie, except blockier, and instead of watching it on a screen, she’s just a few metres away from the action.
Sharon’s face goes from excited to horrified as a Creeper suddenly falls down from some hidden cave to the bridge, just a block away from The Superhero. Due to the Creeper taking damage when it landed, the noise gave it away to the hero, who had his back against the green monster.
Without hesitation he takes a leap forward, towards the lava as the Creeper blows up behind him, taking a good chunk of the bridge along with it. Greenmushroom can barely watch, but Sharon keeps looking. She’s confident in The Superhero’s abilities, even though he just jumped out to the middle of a lava lake without superpowers. Well, she has to admit she’s worried, but mostly excited.
The Superhero lands, but not in lava. When Greenmushroom doesn’t hear the sounds of a team mate burning to death in pure agony he gets brave enough to see what happened.
In the middle of the lava lake stands The Superhero, on a lone cobblestone block. As he was about to land he had frantically tried to use the extended block placement reach to place blocks down to land on. Had the lake been a little bit deeper he wouldn’t probably had been able to make the pillar, and therefore burn to death.
The hero notices he’s alive and begins to laugh in relief. “Ha ha ha… I hate those things,” he laughs, then takes a moment to relax.
“I’m starting to wonder if that Redstone is really worth it,” Ashling comments. He then hears a noise from somewhere deeper into the caves. A noise he only heard once before, but can’t quite place it.
Meanwhile, The Superhero continues his bridge. Due to the jump he made, he’s now much closer to the Redstone, and he’s also farther away from the cave above, so the Creepers can’t try that again. Skeletons, however…
Finally, the Martin-look-alike reaches the Redstone blocks. It hangs above him, gleaming mystically in the glow of the lava. It’s almost magical.
It gets even more magical as The Superhero starts to mine it. As soon as the pick hits the block, it starts to glow faintly red.
Then there’s that noise again. Ashling looks around for the source, but is unable to locate it. The others heard it too this time. There are no mobs running about, as they managed to place out torches to prevent the monsters from spawning, and the ones that may be around seems to be hiding away in the various tunnels.
The cave turns silent except for the small boiling sound the lava makes and the sound of a pickaxe hitting rock.
Martin was blown up by a Creeper.
The message suddenly appears on the HUD, and everyone stops what they were doing.
“What?” Ashling says in surprise. Sharon puts her hand on her mouth. “No.”
Even The Superhero is taken by surprise. If anyone was going to be careful around monsters, or even in general, it would have been Martin, even if they were in a game. He could expect something like that to happen for Silver, but not Martin.
Greenmushroom, also taken aback by the sudden death of their friend, is the first one to compose himself. “Guys, it’s just a game, he’s fine.” The last two words was said with a bit of uncertainty. He’s suddenly forcefully lifted by Sharon. She looks scared and angry.
“But what if he isn’t?! What if there’s a glitch in the system and he’s erased from reality?!” A tear is forming at her eye.
“Well, firstly,” The Superhero begins to catch everyone’s attention. Ashling doesn’t turn to look, but Sharon quickly spins around, still holding the poor mushroom in her grip. The tear is halfway down her cheek.
“If he really died like you think, I would lose my super powers, but I still have them. Secondly, we would all die if he died, especially Ashling as he doesn’t have anything recorded of him.” Strangely, there’s no annoyed ‘Hey!’ from the previously mentioned Brit. He’s busy listening after something else. He know The Superhero is right though. All he has is a vague character text file of five lines that hasn’t been updated in forever and some out of date art. At least Greenmushroom has a game to back up his existence.
“And lastly, my boss has made sure that things like that would be impossible,” The Superhero finishes. Sharon calms down a bit.
“Look, we switched to hardcore, remember? If you die you are kicked out of the game and can’t rejoin. All it means is that he’s fine, but won’t come back in the game.”
Sharon wipes her tear and puts down a visibly frightened Greenmushroom. Sharon can be really scary when she’s moody.
“Also, we still have Silver, if anything,” The Superhero smiles as a final try of being comforting. Sharon doesn’t feel like answering even though she has calmed down. The Superhero goes back to mine the Redstone, he notices that the cracks he made had disappeared. He gets surprised at first, but then starts to mine it again.
“Hey, Ashling. Are you okay?” Greenmushroom answers once he gets his breath back. Ashling slowly nods as if there’s something he doesn’t want to disturb with fast movements. “Yeah,” he answers.
“Speaking of which, what are you doing?” the mushroom asks. Ashling’s weird behaviour has not gone unnoticed.
“Nothing, I just… I though I heard something,” he answers. He doesn’t get to elaborate on the answer as The Superhero makes some excited shouts as he’s almost done breaking the Redstone block.
“Heeere we go,” he says and hits the block one last time. It shatters with grey particles just like every other stone block. Nothing else happens.
The Superhero blinks. “Huh?” He then turns his head towards Greenmushroom, who is just as confused. Greenmushroom looks down at the ground, probably reading more from the wiki.
“I don’t understand, that block should have dropped-” he then looks up at The Superhero again, noticing the pickaxe he’s holding. Stone.
“That pickaxe!” Greenmushroom exclaims. “You are going to need at least an iron pickaxe to mine Redstone. Iron being the tier above stone.”
The Superhero frowns in a way that says ‘and now you tell me that’. Greenmushroom shrugs apologetically.
Meanwhile, Ashling hears the noise again and this time remembers what it is. He turns around to warn the others about the-
The noise had been the sound of an Enderman teleporting, and as Ashling turns around, he sees that one is standing right behind The Superhero.
“Wha-” Before The Superhero finishes his reaction, the Enderman grabs him with both of his long, thin arms and vanishes in a puff of purple smoke, taking The Superhero with him.
Before anyone has any time to grieve, an arrow flies past Ashling’s head and disappears into the lava pool. He turns around to see another wave of enemies incoming. He picks up his newly acquired iron sword. This is going to be one tough battle.
Sharon and Greenmushroom takes his sides, each equipping their stone swords.
“It’s us against the game,” Ashling says.
“Let’s make it count,” Sharon adds.
They charge into battle.
Meanwhile, The Superhero shakes himself loose of the Enderman’s grip, but holds its arm and delivers a blow to the main body. It teleports away without The Superhero, but he can still sense it’s still close.
Sure enough, it appears and goes in for another attack, but The Superhero is quick to equip his sword and attack. Before the monster dies though, it teleports away, leaving the hero alone.
After finally being able to catch a breath, he looks around, and the first thing he notices is the beautiful night sky. There’s a bit red in the horizon though, indicating that the sun is about to go up. He seems to be in a desert. Cacti are littering the sands.
There had been a desert close to the cave they entered. Maybe if e wandered around he would find it? Problem is, he has no idea in what direction to start looking.
Something catches his eye as he scans the area. There seems to be some structures in the distance. He’s not sure what it is, but if it sticks out from the desert, it’s worth exploring. He starts heading towards the mysterious buildings.