Chapter 9 – Fast caving

Back at the cave the group aren’t doing too well fighting off the monsters. Even though in Hardcore mode the enemies deal more damage, Sharon, Ashling and Greenmushroom have managed to avoid lethal amounts of damage by their normal dodging skills alone. Skeletons have been able to hit them with arrows, spiders tackling them and Creepers exploding. Luckily the Creepers still hurt the other enemies as well, but if the enemies keep attacking, at some point someone will die.

“Is it possible to lower the difficulty?” Ashling shouts to Greenmushroom while positioning himself so that a zombie is between him and a skeleton. The skeleton fires an arrow and hits the zombie, who turns to attack the skeleton.

“Yes, but only the guy in charge of the server console can,” Greenmushroom answers.
“And that is?”
“The Superhero.”

Ashling rolls his eyes. Of course the one who can fix this got kidnapped. Ashling hides behind a stone block sticking out of the ground, and Greenmushroom is right behind him.

“Hey, things could be worse,” Sharon tries to cheer the others up and proceeds to kick a skeleton to pieces. In this case pieces being falling to the side and disappear in a puff of smoke.
“How?” Ashling asks.
“I, um… I’ll let you know when I think of something.”
“May I suggest that we find a choke point or something? Fighting every enemy at once seems like a really bad idea,” Greenmushroom points out from behind Ashling, and notices a small tunnel.

The others agree without saying a word, and follow Greenmushroom to the small tunnel. Greenmushroom places down a couple of cobblestone blocks he acquired from his previous excavation to make a thin passage that will make it so that only one monster can reach them at a time.

Greenmushroom, currently having the most health, keeps the monsters away while the other two heal up, and he’s shortly joined by a fighting fit Sharon, and together they defeat the majority of the monsters while dodging arrows and knocking away Creepers.

“Alright! Keep it up, GM! Ashling how’s it going at the back?” Sharon says while slashing at a zombie with her stone sword.
“All good. I blocked the tunnel with some rock, so we should be safe from that end,” Ashling answers.
“I’d like to remind you that last time some Creepers blew a hole through a defence like that,” Greenmushroom comments and places yet another block on the ground at the choke point to make inaccessible for any monster to pass through, while they still have the strange extended reach.
“That’s why I blocked it off a bit in. If they blow it away, we’ll still have time to react.”

“Guys look!” Sharon says with surprise and points through the hole in the choke point. “What?” Ashling wonders and walks up to them.

Out in the cave, the monsters are moving away from the choke point, while still looking towards the group. The skeletons have stopped firing arrows and even lowered their bows and are staring just like the others.

“Okay, that’s really creepy. Is the game supposed to do that?” Sharon leans away from the hole and looks at Greenmushroom, who shrugs, another incredible feat due to lack of shoulders and arms.
“Not normally no, but remember that we are playing with different rules now,” he answers.

“Uh-oh,” Ashling says, grabbing the attention of the other two, who first look at him, then out the hole. There, a small group of Endermen have appeared in front of the monster crowd. With their pink eyes they give a menacing look towards the group and opens their jaws and begin to shake, causing Greenmushroom to slide back a bit in fear. Other than that, nothing much happens.

“What are they doing?” Sharon whispers to Ashling, who responds with “No idea. They might teleport. Stay alert.”

Suddenly, instead of teleporting, the Endermen walk over to the choke point and goes down on their knees to see through the hole better. Ashling decides to strike the monster with his iron sword, but the Enderman grabs the sword and drags it out of Ashling’s hand, throwing it away into lava, then turning his head back to look at the now shocked Ashling.

The Enderman lets out an abyssal cry and then the other Endermen starts to take out blocks from the choke point and place them to the side. Ashling realises what’s going on: they are moving the blocks so that the other monsters can reach them. That’s not the only thing he notices.

He doesn’t get to share his discovery with the others as the hole is now big enough to let an army through, and that’s what’s waiting behind the dark, long monsters.

“Ashling! This way!”

Ashling is dragged out of his thoughts by Sharon’s voice. He looks back, seeing that Greenmushroom has mined out a bit of the wall he placed out. It’s time to leave.

And so the chase through the dark tunnels is commenced.

The group runs far, up and down and never splitting up. There’s no point in staking out torches as they quickly leave the area anyway and don’t want to alert the monsters of their location. Even so, they can still hear the Endermen behind them.

The chase takes them deeper into the caves. Deeper than they have been before. In fact, some mysterious darkness begins to shroud them, lowering their view distance, but disappears as they climb up a few blocks.

The chase goes on for a few minutes, and the group has to slow down a bit to eat. As they munch on their pork chops they hear how the strange cries of the Endermen get closer. The group finishes their meal and keep running.

The chase leads them into a fairly big cave, which is also a dead end. They turn around to leave, only to see that the Endermen are blocking the way, not only by standing in the way, but also placing blocks to make the entrance disappear.

“No! We’re stuck,” Sharon exclaims.
“Then we have no choice but to fight them. You and I will fight them. Greenmushroom, you place torches to prevent more monsters from appearing,” Ashling says and raises his sword, ready to fight. Greenmushroom nods and starts to place down torches in the immediate surroundings, not wanting to move until the battle has started.

The three Endermen have now managed to completely blocked off the entrance, so now it looks like any other wall. They get ready to attack, their pink eyes filled with rage.

Instead of teleporting, they slowly begin to walk over to the group. Greenmushroom decides to begin to go and light up the room, which prompts the tall monsters to rush forward.

The room faintly lights up with a purple light, but no-one has any time to pay attention to it, and both Sharon and Ashling strike at the monsters, who begin to teleport around the room. Ashling turns around to try and not lose sight of the monsters, only to be really surprised over a person standing behind him, surrounded by strange purple swirls.

“Oh, hi,” Silver says and steps out of the purple. It seems like a strange gate has appeared in the middle of the room, and Silver along with it.

“Where did you come from?” Sharon shouts out in surprise.
“Never mind that, we are being attacked by Endermen,” Ashling says before Silver has any time to answer. He turns around and sees the monsters. With a smile a bucket of water appears in his hand.

Silver pours out the water near the gate thing and the water quickly flows out into a circular shape but still stays in place. Silver jumps into the water to head for the Endermen, switching out the bucket for a light blue sword. The water knocks away a torch, who was unfortunate enough to be caught in the radius of the water.

“Get into the water, Endermen are weak to it,” Silver tells the others and uses the extended hit radius to deal damage to one of the Endermen. Ashling and Greenmushroom are quick to take Silver’s advice, but they have to keep moving towards the center of the strange puddle as it’s pushing them away. Sharon looks at the mysterious purple gateway from the other side.

“Oh boy, this is Endershadows all over again,” Silver mutters to himself as he defeats the first of the three Endermen.

“How did you find us?” Ashling wonders. Silver attacks the next Enderman, which teleports to the other end of the room, but Silver doesn’t move from his spot.
“I didn’t. I was just lucky, I guess,” he answers.
“And where did you get that armour from?”

As it turns out, not only is Silver in the possession of a diamond sword, he is also equipped with a full set of iron armour. The armour is as cubic as anything else, and looks really unfitting, even for a Minecraft character. It doesn’t seem to be a bother though.

Silver coughs.
“Well…” he begins, but doesn’t make much of an effort to continue that sentence. Instead he deals the finishing blow on the second Enderman.

“Well what?” Ashling wonders while considering helping out defeating the last Enderman, but Silver had warned them to stay in the water.

“Well what long story. Give me a moment,” Silver says and looks for the last Enderman, which is nowhere to be seen. Its strange intimidating growls can still be heard though, but the actual monster they belong to doesn’t seem to be in the cave.

Suddenly Sharon screams out in pain from the other side of the gate. The Enderman has appeared and in biting Sharon’s arm. Ashling, after just a moment of hesitation, is quick to jump through the purple center of the gate and strike the monster, which responds by hitting Ashling with one of its long arms.

In her HUD, Sharon can see how the hearts one by one empties with every passing second the Enderman keeps biting her. It’s getting dangerously close to completely empty, in which Sharon will die and be kicked from the game.

Luckily, Silver will have none of that and managed to land a good hit on the Enderman, knocking it away, and then land another two hits before it lands on the ground, angry. It gets ready to charge towards the Swede, when it suddenly falls forward and disappears in a poof of white smoke. Behind where the monster stood, Ashling slowly lowers his iron sword. He looks up at the others, who are impressed by how quickly he reacted and moved to attack, and gives a triumphant smile.

A calm falls over the enclosed cave now when all the monsters are defeated. The cave is too well lit up to spawn any more monsters except for a couple of bats at the ceiling. Silver scoops up the center of the strange gravity-defying water puddle and the puddle quickly dries away.

Sharon walks up to Silver.
“So,” she loudly says towards Silver, who flinches out of surprise and spins around to face her. She doesn’t look too amused, her arms crossed.
“That gear of yours… . I thought you said there was no iron,” she has a stern tone in her voice, trying to make Silver feel guilty on sending them on a suicide mission.
“I did some caving on my own shortly after you left and found some,” Silver answers sheepishly. It’s true, but much like his Creator, he likes to put on a show.
“Some?” Sharon eyes his full iron armour, still looking stern. She doesn’t buy it.
“A stack… or three. Well, two and a half,” Silver explains, still with his sheepishness, he’s going to let Sharon have that one.
“We almost died!” Sharon bursts out. Silver responds by dropping off a full set of armour from his inventory to Sharon, including an iron sword. He then proceeds to do the same for Ashling. Greenmushroom is given an iron helmet and sword. He finishes off by looking at Sharon again with a silly grin.

He then jumps as if he remembers something.
“Oh yeah! And one for The-” he says and spins around to give The Superhero the last set of iron gear. Except there is a lack of said hero in the cave.
“Um, where’s The Superhero?” Silver wonders.

Greenmushroom coughs. “One of those Endermen teleported him away. So I guess he’s dead?” he says. Silver shakes his head.
“There never was a death message, so he’s still out there then, somewhere. However, this makes it worse than I thought…” Silver answers.

“Makes what worse?” Ashling steps in, curious over the development.
“I’ll explain on the way, but for now we need to enter… The Nether!” Silver dramatically announces and waves his hand in a theatrical fashion.
“The Nether?” Sharon wonders.

Silver smiles and slowly turns his head towards the looming, ominous, purple gateway.

Next chapter

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