Thursday, March 24, 2011

Part 13: Exit, pursued by a bear

I had spent the night in a pit with Boxter, listening to a bear roam the woods above us.  Boxter had guilted me into quitting mining (I wasn't finding anything anyways) and instead spending the night with my sword drawn, waiting to defend us from bears dropping on our heads.  It wasn't till nearly morning that the bear wandered off.

The view that greeted us at the sun rose hinted that today's going would be slow.

Sure enough, I had some difficulty getting us out of the pit.  To an outside observer it must have looked rather odd: a human on horseback lunges out of a pit up a rough-hewn dirt staircase.  The human's head is bonked on a tree, and the two fall back into the pit.  After a second the human and horse emerge again and scrabble at the edge of the pit, bouncing and turning in all directions, hitting their heads on every available tree branch.  They fall back into the pit. Presently the human emerges alone and bats furiously at the foliage, making branches fly everywhere.  The human disappears into the pit.  Human and horse leap up together again and this time clear the pit edge and keep running, crashing into branches and tree trunks, turning and spinning.  They disappear over the horizon when they fall off a cliff.

I wonder if the going would be easier if I just set fire to all this?

We hadn't been traveling long when we came across yet another bear, this time at much closer range than yesterday.   We barely had time to react before the bear attacked, proving beyond doubt that although bears don't attack humans on horseback, they do attack horses under humans.
The bear looks positively evil in this shot.
We raced away at top speed, with Boxter's neighs probably translating to, "#@%ing human... I TOLD you so.  Did I not?  I TOLD you."

We also found out that creepers, although they don't attack horses, do attack humans on horseback.
Notice how the creeper leaves the horse to the left alone, and heads straight for us at a dead run.
We managed to get away without damage from the creeper, although the bear did nick Boxter.  Without a health gauge for him, though, I have no way of knowing whether he was in serious need of healing, or whether it was merely a flesh wound.  With the creeper and bear hot on our trails, I had to hope for the best.

Fortunately, our luck held out - the forest cleared and we entered a flat desert, where we could finally pick up speed and leave our pursuers in the dust.
We raced along at blinding speed, happily crossing the entire desert in no time.  No predators here (or horses either), since they all spawn on grass, not sand.

At the far edge of the desert, we came across the first dirt hill we'd seen in quite some time.

It was - very well occupied.  Animal Party Hill.  Completely covered in bunnies, birdies, foxes, boars, lions, bears, cows, pigs, sheep, all bouncing and jumbling about and chasing each other.  A bear was in close pursuit of a cow, who saw us coming and ran toward us in an evident attempt to transfer the bear to us instead.

Fortunately, in the open desert Boxter and I are much faster than cows or bears and, now that I had gained a healthy fear of bears, we fled at top speed.
It was getting toward late afternoon when we came upon this:
Lake (with shark) on one side, tall cliff on the other side, and thick forest in between.  No way I was going to try to navigate this by nightfall.

Some sheep beckoned us from a nearby dark overhang.  "Come!  Join us!  It's safe here!  Saaaafe!"
I declined.  Not only was the hole already dark and scary, the opening was much too large to secure before nightfall.  "Commmme!  Join ussss!"

Plus the sheep were starting to creep me out.  We ran to the other side of the mountain, and I got to work digging a pit.  This time I risked a roof, since there was high ground on either side that things could drop on us from.  I built the roof high and gave Boxter a haystack (which keeps him standing quietly rather than bouncing about, sticking appendages through walls and roofs).  He stood still staring at the dirt wall - feeling sorry for him, I installed windows.
I set to work mining, working in a straight line so I could keep an eye on Boxter and turning around every once in a while to make sure he was all right.  I kept the entrance narrow so Boxter couldn't wander into this section with the dangerous low roof.  I think I found a few coal.  No iron.
I think I found enough coal to cover the coal I used up in all these torches.  Maybe.
As morning approached, I wandered back to Boxter's room and joined him at the window, staring with resignation at the thick forest outside.
Also, a spot I missed when building the pit!  Luckily nothing dangerous is small enough to get in through that hole.  Unless bunnies are dangerous now too.

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