Sunday, November 11, 2012

Part 25: On the importance of roofs

... So there was a slight spider problem to deal with this morning.  Specifically, three problems, all skittering across the roof over my head.  In the daytime, spiders are supposed to turn harmless, but these three had me nervous: they were tracking me.  I shifted to one side of my shelter; they scuttled along to the same side.  I shifted again; they followed.  This was not the behavior of harmless Minecraft creatures.  Bunnies don't do such things.  Chickens don't follow fondly at your heels.  Creepers, however, want nothing more than to snuggle.

So, I batted at the spiders with a sword through a tiny hole in the glass until they were no longer a problem.

Of course, strings are completely useless to me.  I've already got a bow, which won't wear out in this version of Minecraft, and which I won't lose unless I die (or accidentally throw it at a charging creeper).  The only other thing you can build with one is a fishing rod.  To fish properly, you have to sit still with the hook in the water and stare fixedly at it for several seconds  - by which point, Boxter would be a distant dot on the horizon.

There was a creeper out there, though - I'd caught a glimpse of it while I was edging around, trailing spiders.  I took off running, and this time managed to spot the creeper early enough to dispatch it with a volley of arrows.

Here it comes!

 I collected Boxter, and we were soon on our way northward.  At least, for about 20 seconds, until we ran up against the coastline I'd detected yesterday.  But I could see land to the northwest that looked as if it might be connected.

Onward to the distant pointy mountains!

It was, in fact, connected, although it was also full of bears.  At one point I dismounted to collect some arrows, only to find to my surprise that Boxter had taken off running top-speed toward the bear.  I have no idea why, since I'd always thought him a brainy sort of horse.  Maybe it was an attention-seeking move.  The bears seemed willing to give him attention, all right.  But we got away.

Or maybe Boxter was planning to save that other horse, now that I look at the screenshot.  I've been beginning to make a habit of saving horses when I find them menaced by predators, but I guess I mistook this one for another bear.

 Soon we had come upon mountains again, sparsely forested, and topped by a massive summit.  We bounded to the top - going UP mountains is no problem.

It would probably be pretty fun to watch someone climb one of these mountains on horseback.

 The view was terrific, and encouraging.  More treeless plains.  But to descend the sheer cliffs on this side of the mountain would be madness.

Treeless majesty!

I opted instead for the slightly-less-sheer cliffs on the other side of the mountain.  We weaved our way slowly down, inching up to each dropoff before jumping down - I have no idea why I thought falling off a cliff slowly would be any better than taking a running start.  The downward acceleration is the same in either case.  But we survived with only minor falling damage.

The sprinkle of yellow flowers on the distant hill is a nice touch.

 And this was another mini Horse Heaven, a conclusion soon verified by the appearance of a horse party.

An adults-only horse party

There were no caves nearby as it began to move toward sunset, so, upon finding a protected and bearless valley, I began to enact a backup plan.  I parked Boxter (he ran a little ways off, then stayed watching), and began to carve a grand opening in a sheer cliff face.

So patient... so innocent.

I made the opening four blocks high and two blocks wide and several blocks deep, so that I'd be able to ride Boxter right into the hole and park him.  To my surprise, when I'd finished making the cave and turned to find Boxter, he trotted right toward me.  Maybe he was going to cooperate this time.

So obedient...

 Nope. Here's a shot of him leaping out of the opening as if the back were full of bears.  I keep forgetting to get a haystack ready in my hand when attempting this maneuver.  The cobblestone block I was holding would avail me nothing.


 By nightfall, though, I had managed to freeze Boxter in place, put in a luxurious tall glass window, and enlarge our hole into a spacious hall.  That's code for "mined and didn't find a single thing".

He's got his face in the wall again, but it didn't seem to do him any harm.

 In the morning I went to the window to watch the sun rise.  I was snapping scenic sunrise shots when suddenly I noticed a weird shape rising up into the air at the edge of the valley.  Reflexively, I grabbed a screenshot - what IS that?  Is that a flying skeleton?  Flying? I only had a split-second glimpse before it was gone, disappearing behind one of the giant pixellated scratches that seem to appear even on newly-placed glass.  Seconds later, a cow strolled nonchalantly from behind that pointy mountain.

I don't know what this was, but I have a feeling it wouldn't have been friendly.  Perhaps this was the true form of Spooky Cow.  In which case, if this thing flies, I had better always build good roofs on all my shelters in the future.  I thought of the roofless pits I'd been building toward the beginning of my journey and shivered.  Caves.  Caves from now on.

This is probably very bad.

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