Our path northward led into mountains, and we began to climb an increasingly narrow ridge. A cow guarded the top.
|cow of the Highlands|
And the cow didn't want to let us past. We could easily have continued below the ridge, but the cow was looking at us with a sort of wall-eyed belligerence that screamed challenge. Were Boxter and I not, combined, the largest creature in all of Minecraft? We charged over the ridge of the mountain.
|Occupying the path, huh? We'll see about this.|
The cow knocked us off.
We charged again, and were soon engaged in a perilous high-altitude shoving match.
The cow knocked us off again.
|I think those block dots near the top of the picture are the hooves of the cow as it did a ninja-style backflip over the mountain peak.|
And then the cow seemed to lose interest, sauntering down the ridge as if it had made its point.
|...ok, I'll chalk this one up as a moral victory.|
Carefully, and a bit sheepishly, we wound our way down to the desert floor.
|Ahh, vast and open. We'll make good time.|
I am still not good at descents on horseback, so I had to dismount to gobble a health-restoring pork chop. Fortunately, Boxter didn't stray too far - in fact, he startled me by breathing in my ear just as I was turning to find him.
|Cue Jaws theme music|
In the next second, the shark answered that question.
|With a single casual sideswipe of the jaw|
We passed a perilous cave, from which a skeleton ambushed us. His ambush would have been more frightening had he not been on fire at the time. We stood back, and let the skeleton problem sort itself out.
|...yeah, not much for me to do here.|
|Bird teasing fox. Bird won, on account of fox's inability to fly.|
|Dungeon! Not interested!|
I contemplated jumping straight into water, but wasn't 100% sure that as a human-horse combo, we would survive such a move. For example, individually we can each swim, but not when I'm on horseback. Would the same caveat apply to avoiding falling damage by landing in water?
|It occurs to me, though, that maybe I could have dismounted and given the overhanging sand a nudge. It might have collapsed into a convenient downward slope.|
During our indecision, I happened to see a lone patch of grass in the desert, for which the forces of Bear and Lion were doing mighty battle.
|For the record, it looked like the Bears beat the Lions.|
|Quiet valley, with pig.|
As I began my hurried construction, Boxter's snorts and neighs grew gradually fainter. I looked up to find that he had made friends with the local pig, and the two were wandering out toward the open desert together.
|Boxter communes with a pig. His is the simple life.|
|Friends heading toward the far horizon.|
|In fact, there are multiple problems with this entrance scheme, given that we are two blocks wide and three blocks high.|
"...so you're still looking for that pegasus, huh?" he said at last.
"Yeah. It's out there somewhere."
"I'm not so sure."
I shrugged my pixellated shoulders. He'd tried before to convince me that pegasus didn't exist, and that the one I'd so briefly had tamed was a figment of my imagination. "I've ridden one. They exist."
"One, perhaps," he said. "If I ignore the overwhelming evidence against your sanity - you are talking to a horse, after all - and allow that maybe you did see one pegasus... do you really think there are any more? We've searched hundreds of miles by now, and all possible habitats, and haven't seen a second pegasus. There can't possibly be a sustainable breeding population. I think they're extinct."
I looked at him, stunned. Could he be right? I'd only ever seen one, and that was hundreds of miles ago, and it was dead now. "No, I don't believe it," I told him, and stiffly shouldered my pickaxe.
To clear my mind, I began to mine. But after digging a long and torch-lined shaft that led single-mindedly down into the depths of the world, and not finding a single lump of coal in the entire thing, the symbolism was not lost on me.
Perhaps Boxter was right.
|The Mine of Nothing|
"So what do I do, if they're extinct?" I asked Boxter.
"You build a portal to the next world," he answered simply.
"What, the Nether? The land of screaming mud and flaming rocks and seas of lava? Pegasus hang out there, do they?"
"No, the next parallel universe on. You might have better luck there."
"How do I build a portal like that?"
He told me the plans. They were simple. I could make it out of glass.