Sunday, December 16, 2012

Part 41: Bad news bear

Today my morning run from shelter involved a flying leap over a waterfall, a scramble down a hill, and nearly falling in a cave.  But the coast was clear - no bad guys lurking near my door, and no lions out surveying the Pridelands.

I wonder why running water has stripes.

I collected Boxter from shelter, and we started approximately northwards, along an increasingly steep and forested, shark-girt coast.

All hint of a gentle coastal slope disappeared, and the cliffs actually became overhangs.

Up above, lions lurked.

And sharks waited eagerly right by the shore, daring us to dip a single hoof into the water.

As if to mock my complaints about steepness and tree-coveredness, terrible mountains loomed suddenly out of the mist.  I rode glumly onward.

We entered the mountains.

Now pause to take a look at this next screenshot.  Perhaps by examining it, we can work out some premonition about what was about to go terribly wrong.

Here I am riding directly toward a bear.  The bear is looking directly at us.  On either side of the bear are steep non-climbable walls, and the bear stands on the only clear path between them.  A tree appears to block another of the exits.  And I am riding directly toward the bear, brandishing not my sword, nor even my bow (though that would have been better used before I even got this close), but, for some reason, a torch.  A torch.

Let us now proceed to what happened next.

The little square of water does not play into the story.

With an enthusiasm perhaps commendable under other circumstances, I ran directly at the bear.  The bear, likely not believing its good fortune at seeing meat rush into its very jaws, attacked.  In evident confusion ("Attack?"  I seemed to wonder.  "Since when do bears attack?"), I directed Boxter to try to climb one of the sheer cliff faces.  This didn't work, on account of Boxter not being a pegasus.  I finally decided that perhaps I would have to do something about this bear problem after all, and dismounted in a what's-all-this sort of manner.  I eyed the torch in my hand, and thought that perhaps I might have something in my inventory more suitable for whacking bears.  I spun through my inventory, toying with the idea of whacking the bear with 19 cubic meters of gravel (sadly, Minecraft physics don't work that way, and this would be about as effective as coshing the bear with the feather), before I finally managed to select the sword.  I brandished the sword just in time to watch Boxter explode in a puff of smoke.  The bear immediately turned away, seeming to instantly lose interest now that its quarry had suddenly disappeared.


Oh, no, bear.  Not so fast.

Vengefully I charged, very aware that I was battling a bear in extremely close quarters, and very determined that if I died, at least I would have registered my complaint with the bear.

Lord Bear, I wish to make a complaint.

I survived - just barely.  I was down to one heart by the time the bear vanished in a cloud of snowflakes or something, leaving me horseless, but with the stunning consolation prize of two fish.

Now it would have been ironic if the fish had landed in that little square of water.

I ate my emergency ration of very filling mushroom stew.  I didn't particularly feel like mushroom stew at the moment, but I had to restore my health very fast.  As it was, a paper cut would about do me in.

And, stew gone and horse sadly gone as well, I began despondently to climb the mountains.  On foot. Alone.

I thought of building a monument to Boxter on the spot, but in the forest it would be nearly invisible.  And what horse would want its monument in such a miserable forest?

And so I climbed higher and higher.  I entered the clouds.  And shuddered, then quickly descended again.  Clouds have always given me the willies, the way they loom up suddenly and then rush at you like a solid wall, suddenly reducing your visibility to a fraction of normal, wreaking havoc with your depth perception.  And up in the steep mountains where the clouds lurk, it's essential to have depth perception.

I can't even tell if I'm in the cloud or about to be in it.

Just below the clouds, I paused to look back the way I had come.  Horrible steep bear-infested mountains.  I had climbed them by building cobblestone stairs because I don't even care anymore about how colossally ugly it makes the landscape.

A terrific view, though, under other circumstances

Night fell, and I dug a little hollow in the side of the cliff, bricked up the opening with glass, and fell to a lonely night of mining.

And you can still kind of see that other bear.
As I dug a spiral down, hoping to descend the mountain a little during the night, I thought about Boxter.  I hoped his mystical horse powers extended to whisking himself out of the clutches of bears in a puff of asterisks.  Or that somewhere he was stepping out of a portal into a wide, treeless, bearless, land, thinking, "That new land is terrifying!  I'm never going back there again."

When my watch finally told me it was morning, I dug my way out of the side of the mountain.

Perhaps it would be a bad idea to run full tilt out of this particular spot... I'd probably go sailing off the cliff.

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