Friday, March 4, 2011

Part 8: Guess the journey's not over, then

Sometime during the night I spent alone in the dirt hut, checking the ceiling for cobblestone weasels, unable to dig anywhere for fear of breaking into the zombie and lava filled cave I could hear nearby, unable to go near the walls for fear that a creeper would blast its way in, it dawned on me: I hate this stupid hut and never want to spend another night here again. 
I also hate the stupid windows that are too high to see anything through properly.
I spent my time alone watching the stars slide past the windows.  Finally after ages, the sky lightened, and I prepared for the risky business of actually leaving the hut. My method of checking out the windows for monsters involves jumping up repeatedly so I can see over the windowsills, bouncing and spinning like yet another Minecraft animal species.  I have to get close to a window to see out it properly, but since I'm scared of getting too close to the windows, I end up bouncing forward then quickly dancing backwards, in a sight that would probably look utterly ridiculous to any outside observer.

I also hate the stupid creepers.
Sure enough, there were creepers out there.  I determined which side they seemed to be clustered on, then busted through the wall and ran full tilt for several paces, then spun, looking for the creepers.  A loud sound to my left distracted me and I staggered to the side, waving my sword wildly as I spun to see what the problem was.  It was a pretty green bird.  I spun around in the other direction to find two not pretty green creepers almost upon me.
Aaa!  Run!  Screenshot grabbed in panic mode.
I still have not mastered the art of taking screenshots and fleeing creepers at the same time, so as I panicked I ended up running straight backwards while fumbling indecisively between my sword and my bow and arrow.  I should use my bow - they were too close - I needed to draw my sword - which slot did I have my sword in - NO not a sugar cube!  I finally managed to get hold of my sword but then accidentally threw the sword at the creeper - it bounced harmlessly to the ground as the creeper charged over it and towards me where I stood with no weapon.  The creeper exploded, destroying the sword, but not the second creeper.
The green bird seems to be tagging along to watch the show.
The second creeper advanced, but between running backwards, fetching up against mini-cliffs, hoping not to fall in a hole or back up against a lion, trying to take screenshots, I was having trouble switching to my bow in time.  I was too slow.  The second creeper caught up with me and exploded.
Man, I stink at this.
Finally my immediate surroundings were silent except for the nearby birds offering their commentary on my creeper-fighting techniques.  "Shut up, birds."

I walked sheepishly back to my hut, climbed to the roof, and methodically destroyed the ceiling block by block.  I felt I had to destroy the killer ceiling, even if it was sort of removing the barn roof after the horses were dead - or however that phrase goes.  Then I placed the memorial signs I had crafted overnight.
I looked up from my work to find a herd of horses just a few meters away.
This was a sign.  I could continue my journey on horseback, traveling northward in search of another pegasus. All I needed to do was tame one of the horses.  And all I needed for that was a saddle.  And all I needed for that was - checked my inventory - three leather.  Quickly.  I looked around and spotted my first victim: a cow.
One leather.  Still needed two more - no more cows in sight, and at any moment the horses would get bored and flit off to another dimension or whatever they do to appear and disappear at will.  I spotted a fox, and remembered that you can get leather from killing foxes.  It's a bit risky though, since foxes actually bite back, unlike herbivores which merely stare at you in confusion.

Hey, fox.
For some odd reason, I got two leather from the fox, compared to the one I got from the cow.  Not wanting to argue, I slapped down a crafting table, quickly made a saddle, then looked around for a horse who might be ready for Adventure.

There was a horse on the outskirts of the herd, communing with a cow and a duck.  This was a dark brown horse, not quite as premium a model as Squares the black horse had been (the horses are color-coded so you can tell which ones are the fastest and toughest), but here was a horse
 who was open to hanging out with other species, who was seeking new experiences outside his herd.  The fact that he had chosen to commune with herbivores rather than with lions I took as an encouraging sign that this horse might be possessed of some scrap of intelligence.
Sugar lumps at the ready, I approached the horse, and flipped a saddle onto his back.  I began my let's-make-friends routine by offering sugar lump after sugar lump to the horse, and once I had given him maybe ten sugar lumps, tried to climb on.  He threw me off almost instantly, and as I approached him for another try I discovered that a lion had become very interested in the proceedings.
Maybe the horse was refusing me because he'd just seen the debacle with the two creepers, and me having slain a mighty cow and fox hadn't done much to convince him of my combat prowess.  I would save him from the lion, and thereby impress the horse.  A brief but decisive battle with the lion ensued.
This horse, which I named Boxster, was a much tougher cookie than the pegasus had been.  I climbed on.  I got thrown off.  I climbed on again.  I got thrown off again.  Climbed on again.  Thrown off again. Etc.
Thud.  Ow.
Whump.  Ow.
Boxster was either playing, or still not entirely convinced that he should throw in his lot with me.  "I have sugar cubes!  Nice, nice sugar cubes!"  I gave him some more.  I climbed on.  He threw me off.

Looking around, I noticed that a lion was attacking one of the other horses in Boxter's herd.

Hang on, horse!  I'm coming!
This was it!  I would come to the rescue of Boxter's friend, and slay yet another lion.  I ran to the rescue, waving my sword.  The lion ignored me, dodging around me and renewing its attack on the horse.  I hit the lion on the nose.  That got the lion's attention.
Hey, lion!

Miraculously, I managed to dispatch the lion without injury (through my cunning strategy of clicking on the lion as fast as I possibly could), saving Boxter's friend.

That did the trick.  Boxter let me ride him at last, and we rode off northward, the sun shining bright and yellow as it rose.
The sun took on a more orange tinge, and it took me a second to realize what that meant.  Oh.  Not sunrise.  This is sunset.  Oh shoot oh shoot.  I ran toward the nearest cliff face, dismounted, and began furiously scooping a hole in the dirt.  I'm not sure why I tend to run toward mountains when building shelters; it's not like the mountain is offering me any additional protection.

To my surprise, Boxter jumped in the pit of his own accord, even before I was finished digging it.
Wow - this was - this was great!  Boxter was in fact proving himself to be much more intelligent than Squares had been.  I joined him in the pit and kept digging.

Boxter jumped out of the pit, bounding off into the twilight, dashing all hopes that I had that building this shelter would actually be easy.  A few minutes of frantic digging and horse-chasing later, Boxter and I faced each other in the pit.
"This is what we do all night?" he seemed to be asking.  "We sit in a hole?"

I ignored him.  He might be all set in his pit with high walls and no ceiling, but I was feeling distinctly unsafe.  There were monsters like spiders and possibly Spooky Cow which were capable of getting into pits with no ceilings.  I decided to dig myself a safer retreat in one end of the shelter, carving a tunnel that went back several blocks so if anything tried to come at me, I would have room to shoot it with a bow.  No sooner had I built the tunnel and retreated to the end than a sheep landed in the pit, flashing red with falling damage, and then turning to stare at me, as if blaming me for interrupting its nighttime stroll.
"Shoo," I told it.  It didn't move.  I ran forward and bonked it on the nose.  Its wool fell off (as usually happens when you hit a sheep), but instead of retreating it turned to face me squarely, as if daring me to try that again.
Something was not right here.  I backed away and stood at the far end of my tunnel, sword at the ready, watching the sheep nervously as I waited for morning.

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