Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Part 38: Boxter the black belt

I made my customary sword-waving run from shelter in the morning, to find the area clear - almost.  Danger lurked in the form of a tree creeper.  I waited for some moments to see if the creeper was inclined to drop on my head, but evidently it had business of its own up there.  I collected Boxter from the shelter, and we rode forth.

 This territory, if not exactly treeless, was at least much less miserable than the territory we'd encountered over the past few days.

I paused to observe a curious sight - a shark biting the wool off a sheep.  The sheep stumbled dazedly back from the edge of the water, sheared but none the worse for wear otherwise.  The shark swam off, presumably to knit a sweater.

I stopped for some moments to dig some sand, because my lavishness with window glass over the last few nights meant that my supplies were running low.  Boxter amused himself by bouncing around the nearby topology, and we were both watched in turn by a boar.  I didn't get the very highest-quality sand-digging done, on account of my nervously checking Boxter every 2.5 seconds to make sure he wasn't being attacked by anything.

Finally we reached the northern shore of a sea patrolled by sharks.  However, since this is the old Minecraft world and not the scary nightmare vast-ocean world, I figured that I would eventually be able to circle around and find a convenient land bridge or very narrow strait.

 I was right - soon we had bypassed the sharks, and galloped our way to new territory.  With optimism, I headed for the mountains to the northeast, where the trees seemed to be thinning.

We climbed a mighty peak, and crested the ridge to find -

Lovely.  Another treeless Horse Heaven.  I might have to start coming up with new names for these, in order to differentiate them from each other.  This one had vast, wide mountains, and of course the requisite dangerous lions.

There was a pretty cool sand formation, and even a unicorn.  There were clusters of horses all over.

 Here, I considered stopping for the night, solely because of the tempting single block of iron.  But I could hear zombies coming from somewhere, and the rock only extended up a little ways before a treacherous collapsible sand ceiling began.  I wanted that iron, but I would be nuts to try to dig a shelter here.  Reluctantly I passed on, only realizing later that I could totally have stopped to mine that one block of iron.

 Horse sightings continued throughout the afternoon (no pegasus of course, and no mini-horses either), and eventually I sighted a reasonably tall hill with no evident danger nearby, and decided to dig the night's shelter.

Here the Horse Heaven territory seemed to end - I considered building a shelter in one of those pointy bits, but they turned out to be razor-thin.  I ended up doubling back a small ways.
 Boxter seemed content to wander slowly while I executed my patented Shelter2000 plan.

Safe.  Scenic.

It took me a little longer than usual this time, since the hill I'd picked was rather gradually-sloped, and since my shovel wore out early on in the undertaking.

When I finally looked up to find Boxter, I found that he had gone quite far indeed - and that there was a lion very nearby.  I brandished my block of dirt (eventually I thought to switch to a sword) and ran to the rescue.  Oddly enough, the lion didn't seem to be attacking Boxter - but as I drew near, with a roar he attacked me.  I struck with my sword, and he perished with a single hit.  That was odd.  Usually lions are much tougher to kill.  I can only conclude that the lion spent most of his health in trying unsuccessfully to attack Boxter the Horse With Secret Powers, and had stopped out of fear for his life.

Not safe!

Not pausing to contemplate the implications, I collected Boxter, and we once again leapt over the two-block barrier I'd built into the night's shelter, landing safely on the other side.

I dismounted, and once again there was a sort of quantum weirdness where Boxter and I were occupying the same point in space.  This time I retained enough presence of mind to go to third-person camera and find out what it looked like.

The result was... disturbing.

My head is that brown square (I'm wearing a leather hat), and my arm is that purple rectangle (I'm purple).

This is a view from underneath and I don't even know what I'm seeing here.

Finally I got creeped out enough (and nervous enough about the darkening sky still visible through the holes in the shelter) to step aside.  Boxter decided to meld with the wall instead.

Maybe there are oats in the wall.

 As I enlarged the cave, I discovered there was sand above the ceiling.  A stack of sand blocks came crashing down over Boxter's nose - but to my relief it didn't seem to hurt him.  Instead he seemed to use it as an excuse to levitate.

He stayed like this for a few minutes.

 I couldn't stay to watch him - there was a scary hole to patch.  All I could see in my mind's eye were zombies and skeletons leaping down into the cave with us.  I can't believe that at one point I was building shelters as pits with no roof.


 I had meanwhile set some sand to smelt into glass on a pair of furnaces, and now I had some sand ready to install some windows.

Breaking away that first block of dirt to add a window is probably one of the bravest things that I've done in Minecraft.  I think if there'd been a creeper staring in from the other side, I probably would have had a heart attack.

The second pane of glass was easier.  Somewhat.

 My shelter enlarged and windowed and monster-proofed, I started mining for resources again.  Before I knew it, morning had arrived.  Nights seem to go so much smoother when there are no fire ogres in the vicinity.

The invigorating smoky smell of burning skeleton

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