MC Story Mode 2: Assembly Required

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dancing4Jesus
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Hi guys!  Here we go again!  Part one of my Minecraft Story Mode fanfic was a success, so I'm starting to post Part 2.  This part is shorter than most of the others, but it's still fun.  :)  Hopefully I'll be updating a little more regularly this time around. 

If you missed part 1, go here to avoid spoilers: http://forum.schoolofdragons.com/content/minecraft-story-mode-fanfic

 

Here we go!

 

Axel and I went back to the nether portal, and passed through to the minecart hub on the other side.

“But which track do we choose?” Axel wondered.  “There are so many.”

I looked around.  Most of the tracks were labeled, although some of the signs were chipped and fading.  “Ellegaard… Emerald Mine… Gabriel… Soren…”That One Village”… Tower…Magnus…That’s all the ones that I can read.”

“We should take that last one.  I mean, it says Magnus right on it.”

“It does,” I hesitated.  “But will Magnus be at the other end?  Or will he be somewhere else?”

“It’s all we have to go on.  Besides, we came from the one that said “Gabriel,” which ended at Gabriel’s fortress.  If we’re going to find Magnus anywhere, it’s most likely going to be at his fortress.”

“True.  And the “Magnus” track runs west, which is the direction the map said he was in.  So I guess it’s our best shot.”  We climbed into the waiting minecarts and set off, both hoping that this ride through the Nether would be much smoother than the last.

Axel lost his misgivings much sooner than I did.  “Woohoo!” he shouted, his hands in the air as we shot along.  “Come on, Jessie, aren’t you at least having a little fun?  Because I sure am!  We get to be heroes, we get to meet our heroes...”

“Just don’t lose focus, okay?  If we don’t get the Order back together, the Wither Storm is going to eat everything.”

“I know, I know.  But it’s going to be okay.  We’re going to get Magnus, bring him back, and he’s totally going to know how to blow that thing sky high!”

I grinned at Axel hopefully, but didn’t reply.  Suddenly, his expression changed to one of alarm.

“Um, dude?”

I turned to see another ghast staring at us.  “Not again!”  It didn’t give us a chance to react, but threw a fireball at us.  It hit the last minecart, sending us all flying.  We landed with a thud a little further down the tracks, where the track bent to avoid a drop off.  The minecarts landed beside us, but their momentum rolled them forward.  For a moment the perched precariously on the edge of the drop-off, then slowly the first minecart tipped over the edge and began to pull the others after it.

“Axel, grab the minecarts!”  I pulled out my bow and the arrows that I had left, fitted an arrow to the string, and fired.  At that range, and with the ghast as large as it was, it was impossible to miss.  The ghast shrieked and fell, dissolving into mist.  I turned to help Axel with the minecarts, but he already had them on the track and ready to shove off.

“Alright, let’s go.  And can we please have no more incidents now?” I looked around, not sure if there was anyone relevant to hear.

To our relief, the rest of the trip was uneventful.  As we travelled, Axel got more and more excited.

“That was awesome, Jessie!  You with that ghast and me with the minecarts…  It’s a perfect warm-up for when we get to Boom Town!”

“Boom Town?”

“Yeah, Boom Town!”  He gestured to a sign at the outside of the tunnel we were entering.  Sure enough, it said “Boom Town,” with a variety of colors and very creative capitalization.  After a short time in the tunnel, the track turned a corner, and stopped in the entrance to a chamber hollowed out of the netherrack, just large enough to hold a nether portal.  A sign on the obsidian frame also proclaimed that it led to “Boom Town.”

We got out of the minecarts and approached the portal.  Axel hesitated.

“You know, I liked it when you went first last time, Jessie.  It went really well.”

I rolled my eyes.  “Alright Axel, I’ll go first.  Come on, Reuben.”

I walked into the nether portal, and stepped out into empty air.  Who puts their nether portal 15 blocks above the ground?  Axel, following me through the portal, fell on top of me.  We picked ourselves up from the ground, and started to move into the town.

 

__________________

Proud sister to NetaianWastling, geekdomalways, and HTTYDforthewin

 

I have a fanfic: 

Part 1: http://forum.schoolofdragons.com/content/minecraft-story-mode-fanfic

Part 2: http://forum.schoolofdragons.com/content/mc-story-mode-2-assembly-required

 

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Sandstrike, give me back that subject!

Tracking! 

__________________

Ruggedturf's Signature

 

Drawn by the awesome geekdomalways

 

Sandstrike is getting into the Valentine spirit! By the amazing Floofqueen

 

_________________________________________________________________

 

If you would like to see some of my art, click on this link: http://forum.schoolofdragons.com/content/ruggedturfs-art-showcase

 

If you would like me to do some art for you, feel free to PM me!

___________________________________________________________________________

 

Avantador the Signature Protector by Werewolfgirl1253

 

 

Art: 

 

Argdon drawings by the one-of-a-kind donnala

 

Argdon by the awesome AllyNadderRider (left image, also profile pic). Argdon by the gifted Snowflake (right). 

 

 

Argdon by the amazing Vanilia Viking (left). Argdon trying to fly by the talented TosiLohi (right).

 

 

Left, Argdon by the legendary Varku. Right, Argdon by the awesome Aelyras

 

Argdon by the artistic kimbenoso

 

Left, drawing of Ukjenta by the artistic Werewolfgirl1253. Right, drawing of Ukjenta by the talented Fireflash.

 

 

Ukjenta by the AMAZING donnala 

 

Sandstrike and Argdon by the talented Aisha Snowqueen

 

Argdon and Sandstrike by the gifted Laykary

 

Sandstrike and Argdon by the artistic donnala

 

Sandstrike and Argdon by the awesome Flowercrystal

 

Sandstrike, an edit by me

 

Sandstrike drawing by the awesome DatOneTrumpet

 

 

 

Sandstrike blinkie done by the legendary Nessie (left). Sandstrike by the talented mangopopcorn (right).

 

Sandstrike, done by the talented donnala (left).                         Sandstrike by the gifted FloofQueen (right). 

 

Sandstrike in chibi form, made by the awesome 1flower (left). Chibi Sandstrike made by the crazy talented Vanilia Viking (right)

 

Sandstrike by the amazing Flowercrystal

 

Sandstrike by the awesome Archery and Dragons

 

Vespa (left), and a blushing Sandstrike (right) by the crazy-talented Archery and Dragons

Vespa the Triple Stryke, made by the gifted donnala (left). Vespa by the legendary Megaboltpheonix (right).

 

Vespa by the talented Laykary

 

Vespa by the amazing grumpyforlife2

 

An ADORABLE chibi of Vespa by the awesome Vanilia Viking

 

Wintertide by the legendary Witcherforever

Prismarc the Splinterhorn, by the gifted Flowercrystal

 

Cealum the Griptuk, made by the talented Bavelly 

 

Oaken the Signal Fire, by the gifted donnala

 

Stonestalker the Armorhead, made by the awesome FloofQueen

Seafoam the Spongeret, an adoptable by Flowercrystal

 

 

My dog, Benji, done by the talented ScaleFeatherz

 

Soilmuncher the Gronkle, done by the wonderful Cinderflower

 

The "Twins," Grumble and Rumble, made by the gifted donnala.

 

Darsmeglen the Peephole by Jada

 

By the incredible Fleetwing

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“Just be careful,” I told

“Just be careful,” I told Axel.  “With a name like “Boom Town,” we don’t know what we’ll find.”

Axel nodded, and together we slowly walked past the first house.  As we rounded a corner, I heard a ‘click.’  I looked down and saw a trail of string leading to a tripwire.  We jumped away just in time, then hurried on, dodging several explosions.  One person came running towards us, TNT held aloft.  He jumped over us and we ducked, trying to avoid the explosion.  Just as he passed us, the TNT blew up, and we felt the blast of hot wind rush past us.

From a ledge above us, a man threw an egg, as though pitching a baseball.  I dodged to the side, and the egg broke open.  A chick shook itself, then skittered away, squawking.  Finally, we reached an area that seemed to be a little safer, with no one in sight.  We paused to catch our breath.  Even Axel seemed a little less excited now.

“You see this?  This is utter chaos, man!”

“I know.  Keep your eyes open.  Anything could be trying to kill us.”

Glancing around, I shuddered at the destruction I saw.  Explosions were sending people flying, sometimes off of the roofs of buildings.  One person was holding a TNT aloft, chasing another person through the streets.  A sudden ‘boom’ told me that they had gotten their target.  The building in front of us was on fire, and a crater was smoking nearby.

On the wall of the building beside us, several different banners were hanging.  I moved closer to examine them.  “Are these banners for different griefers, or are they all official “Boom Town” banners?”  I looked around again.  “How does anyone live here?  Are they nuts?”
“They’re adventurous, Jessie!”  Axel was grinning again.  His shock at Boom Town’s chaos was beginning to wear off.

Just around the corner of the house with the banners, there was a different banner.  This one carried only one image: the Order’s amulet.  Intrigued, I pulled the Amulet out of my pocket.  It looked the same as it had in Gabriel’s fortress, only…

“Look, it’s glowing!”  

Yes, Axel, that’s pretty obvious.  But all I said was, “well, the green part is, at least.”

I turned to look around again, but my eyes were pulled back to the amulet.  “Look,” I gasped.  “It glows brighter when I move it in certain directions!”  I turned slowly in a circle, my eyes on the green bar of the amulet.  I found the direction it glowed brightest, and looked up.  Towering above the houses was a tall black spire, broken in the middle, but otherwise apparently undamaged.

“I bet you that’s it.  That’s where we’ll find Magnus.”

 
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Footsteps sounded behind us,

Footsteps sounded behind us, and a girl wearing an eye mask jumped down from a roof.  “Hey, new people.  You said you know where to find Magnus?  Everyone in town wants to find Magnus, y’know.”

The girl kept coming closer, making Axel and I a little uncomfortable.  Reuben was backed up against my legs.  “Well, we think we might,” I avoided answering directly.  “But why do you all want to find him?”

“Oh, um… no reason…”

“Hey, what’s going on?” another person called from a rooftop.  This one was wearing a full face mask, blue and green.  Other people began to crowd around as well.

“What’s going on?” one of them asked.

“Nohr found some noobs with a thingie that can find Magnus,” another, in a red face mask, replied.  They all came towards us, grinning in a way that I very much didn’t like.

The girl, Nohr, I guess, turned to face them.  “You’re all a bunch of scavengers!  This drop is mine.”

I hesitated for just a minute, but I couldn’t think of anything that would make them go away.  So I did the only thing I could think of.

“Do you guys want to help us?  We’re trying to find Magnus so he can help save the world.”

“Eh, that sounds complicated,” blue-green mask guy replied.  “I’d prefer you just handing me the thingy.”

I tried to tuck the amulet in my pocket, but Nohr was too quick.  She leaped forward and grabbed it, then turned and ran.

“Come back here with that!”  Axel shouted.  He and I pushed through the crowd and chased after her.  The crowd also turned and gave chase.

She only ran a little ways, before she turned and held the amulet aloft.  The others stopped in confusion, and even Axel and I hesitated.

“Oh mighty Magnus,” she shouted, “I have for you this offering!”

Suddenly, a man appeared on the roof above her.  He dropped a fishing line down and hooked the amulet, then pulled it up before Nohr could react.  She shrieked in rage and ran after him as he jumped across the rooftops.

Axel and I ran up some steps to the roof of a building, and pursued them as well.  We rounded a corner and saw both Nohr and the man with the fishing pole laughing together atop one of the houses.  The man turned and saw us, flashed a nasty grin, and then they turned and ran.

“Bunch of noobs!” Nohr shouted back at us.

“Wait a minute, why are they going the same way?” Axel wondered as we ran.

“They’re working together.”  Really, Axel?  It should be pretty obvious.

“Oh come on guys, don’cha know?  This is just how we do it in Boom Town,” the man taunted us.  He and Nohr jumped onto yet another roof.  He continued to go straight ahead, but Nohr turned to the right.  But which one took the amulet?  

“Axel, you take the guy with the fishing pole.  The thief is mine.”  I didn’t know whether the fishing pole man had given it to Nohr or kept it, but I guessed it didn’t matter.  There were two of us, and two of them.

Axel bounded after the man, and I went after Nohr.  She bounced expertly from small ledge to smaller ledge, and I kept up as best as I could.  After a minute, she turned to face me.

“Do you know what the best time of year is to visit Boom Town?” she asked mockingly.

What kind of question is that?  Of all the completely obvious things…  “Let me guess, Fall?”

She chuckled in answer, then flipped a lever.  The ledge underneath me gave way, and I fell into a pit.  She looked over for an instant and laughed, then turned and ran.

“Well, there’s only one way out of a pit.”  I pulled some sand blocks out of my pocket, and started a nerdpole.  I climbed out of a pit, and then through a glass-less window in the building.  I looked around, but I didn’t see Nohr.  What I did see, just before he almost ran into me, was Axel, looking as confused as I was.

“Jessie, there you are!”

“Axel, what happened?”

“So, I totally cornered that fisher dude, and he was all scared and stuff, but--”

I cut him off.  “Did you see the amulet anywhere?”

Just then Nohr ran by, behind Axel’s back.  In her hand was the amulet.

“Stop right there!” I shouted.

“How about ‘no’?”  She stopped just long enough to laugh in my face, then kept running before we could get to her.

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Nohr ran into a building,

Nohr ran into a building, closed the door, and placed two blocks of obsidian, so that we couldn’t pass the doorway.  Axel tried to break the stone brick walls, but there was no way he would be able to do it fast enough to catch her.

“We have to find another way in.”  I glanced around, then up.  “Well, look at that, vines!”

Axel and I started climbing as quickly as we could.  In places, the vines were broken or weak, but for the most part, they were solid enough for us to climb.  Suddenly, Nohr poked her head out of a window.

“Sorry guys, but I’ve been looking for Magnus for way too long to let you stop me now!”  She pulled a TNT out of her pocket and threw it down towards me.  I jumped up and sideways, grabbing onto a different section of vines.  The TNT dropped past me, and exploded relatively harmlessly on the ground.  Axel and I were almost to the roof when she poked her head over it.

“You know what you remind me of?  There was this song I had stuck in my head once.  I just couldn’t get it to go away.”  She threw another TNT, but I was expecting this one.  I jumped back over to the section that I had been on before, and this explosion missed me just like the first had.  I scrambled onto the roof, panting.

As I straightened, I realized that Nohr hadn’t seen me dodge the second TNT.  She was standing at the edge of the roof, trying to figure out how to use the amulet.

“Okay, little amulet.  Show me the way to Magnus.  Of course, I’m not sure what I’ll do when I get there, but that’s future Nohr’s problem.”

Quietly, I snuck across the roof towards her.  As soon as I got in range, I tackled her, snatching for the amulet.  I got a hand on it, and then it turned into what was probably the most serious game of tug-of-war I had ever played.

“Give it back!  This is way more important than you know!”

As we struggled, Nohr tripped over a block of TNT.  We both fell, and the amulet flew out of our hands and landed on the very edge of the roof.  The TNT hissed, suddenly activated, and Nohr and I glanced at each other in sudden fear.  Then we both lunged for the amulet, as the TNT exploded and the shockwave threw two people and one amulet off of the roof.

Somehow, the explosion managed to send the amulet right in my direction.  I grabbed for it but missed.  Being much bigger, I was moving through the air slower than the amulet, but both it and I went through the same hole in a building.  Only it didn’t land on the floor of the room like I did.  It slipped through a crack and fell into the room below.  Right into the hands of two griefers who had been waiting there to watch the show.

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“Nice!  I told you the

“Nice!  I told you the teamwork would pay off!” the boy said.

“What?  I’m the one who said we should work together!” the girl retorted.

“No you didn’t.  Give me that!”  The man reached for the amulet, but the woman snatched it away from him, holding it behind and above her, and about ten inches below me.

My hand shot out and closed around the amulet, pulling it back to me.  The girl had not been expecting an attack from behind, and she wasn’t holding it very tightly.  The amulet flew out of her grasp before she could react.

“Got it!  I actually got it!”  I...might have said that just a touch too loudly…

“Quick, flush them out!”  A lit TNT flew up through the crack and landed beside me.  I glanced across the skyline, and saw one building with a ledge barely within jumping distance.  As the TNT exploded, I jumped, and the blast carried me the extra distance to land on the ledge.

I glanced down from the building, trying to find a way down.  But all I saw was about fifteen griefers swarming the building.  I knew I shouldn’t have said I had it so loudly.  Around the corner of the building, the Magnus’ tower taunted me.  I had to get to it, but I had to get away from all the griefers first.  And I had to do it with the amulet, no less.

There was one stair that the griefers hadn’t reached yet.  Axel was waiting at the bottom of it.  “Axel, we’ve got to get to Magnus!”

“Then quick, toss me the amulet!”

“What?  Why?”

“You’re surrounded by griefers, and they’re going to tear you apart!  From here, I have a head start on them.  If you give it to me, I’ll lead them off!”

He was right, I knew.  I pulled it out, and threw as straight as I could towards him.  “Be careful!  I’ll meet you at Magnus’!”

Half the people saw the transfer and ran after Axel; the other half kept coming after me.  I ran up some stairs to a higher level, jumped through the window into the room, and jumped out the window on the other side.  Glancing around at my options, I noticed a pile of eggs to my right, left by some careless griefer.  I scooped them up, and ran up a few more stairs to get a good throwing point.  I love a good table-turning.  

At the corner of the stairway, I turned back around.  Two griefers were on the stairs, a third was about to reach the stairs, and two more were on platforms nearby.  I threw one egg at the front of the two people on the stairs, and as he fell, he knocked the person behind him over.  They both rolled down the stairs until the corner, and then fell over the edge to the ground below.

The two on the ledges were promptly dispatched, and one of the eggs hatched into a chicken, which scurried around the on the small space.  The fifth person reached the stairs, and I threw the last egg, knocking them to the ground as well.  There were still griefers coming, but they were far below me.

I kept running up the stairs, until it flattened out again onto what was probably a room once, before it had been exploded beyond recognition.  In the middle of the room, someone had left a TNT.  What is it with people just leaving things lying around?  I picked it up, and went back to the edge, overlooking the stairs.  Trying to time it right, I lit the TNT and threw it down.  The blast knocked me back against the wall, but it also knocked everyone else off the stairs.

I looked over the edge of the ledge for a minute, but no one else came.  With a sigh of relief, I climbed down and headed for Magnus’ tower of obsidian.

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I climbed the stairs at the

I climbed the stairs at the front of Magnus’ tower and stopped in dismay.  The beginning of the bridge to the door was blasted and broken, and past the blast area were dispensers firing arrows.  What is it with the Order and dispensers full of arrows?

I jumped carefully over the blown up parts of the bridge, from one lone block to another, until I was past the hole.  Two pressure plates stood between me and the row of firing dispensers.  Remembering the Order’s temple, I set my foot carefully on one of them.  Sure enough, the dispensers stopped firing, and I walked across the rest of the bridge easily.

Axel and Reuben were waiting for me by the door.  “Jessie, you made it!”

“You don’t have to sound so surprised,” I grinned.  “Do you have the amulet?”

“Of course I do!” Axel pulled it out of his pocket and handed it to me.  “Me and the pig, we totally rocked it!”  He grinned at Reuben.

“Well, I’m glad everyone is safe.”  I chose to ignore the arrow sticking out of Axel’s knee.

We went up the quartz stairs to the iron doors.  We glanced at each other uncertainly.

“Maybe it’s locked?  That’s a thing that people do with important doors, isn’t it?” Axel asked.

“Only one way to find out, I guess.”  I went up and knocked on the doors.  When they swung open with a click, I think we all took a step back in surprise.

Axel looked at me moodily.  “Fine, knocking worked.  For once.”

“So it seems.  Let’s get in there.”

“I’m right behind you.”

We walked in cautiously, trying to see what was around.  All we saw was obsidian passageways.  A few steps in, the ground dropped from beneath us, and we fell.  Reuben scrabbled at the edge of the drop for a few seconds, but he dropped to join us.

We landed on a walkway of obsidian, accented with strips of sand, in the middle of a room with a floor of lava.  Reuben, falling after us, landed first on Axel, then bounced on top of me.  The amulet was knocked loose from my pocket, and rolled along the walkway, managing to make it around a corner without falling into the lava.  After a few seconds, it lost the momentum to stay upright, and tipped over to lay flat, next to what appeared to be a control panel.

Cautiously, Axel and I got to our feet, and I started moving across the walkway, but stopped short as a man in green walked in from a different room, between the control panel and the amulet on the ground.

“You are completely surrounded by hundreds of hidden death traps,” he told us, calm threat in his voice.  “One step closer, and...KABOOM!”  He reached for the control panel and threw a switch.  The strip of sand immediately in front of us was pushed up, above the obsidian.  Underneath the sand, two TNTs stared us in the face.

Before the man spoke, I had been about to step on that strip of sand.  As it shot up, it ran into my upraised foot, shoving it up as well, and knocking me over.  I landed safely on the walkway, although my shoulder was enough off the edge to make me uncomfortable.  As I slowly got to my feet, the man bent just as slowly to pick up the amulet.  When he straightened up, Axel caught sight of his face, and finally put two and two together.

“It’s Magnus!  We totally got caught by Magnus!”  He was bouncing with excitement, until I turned to glare at him.  Then he looked around at where we were, and sobered up a little.  “Um, I think we’re going to hidenow…”

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“Did you really think you

“Did you really think you could just sneak up on me?” Magnus gloated.  “You two are the worst griefers I’ve ever met.  And a pig?  Really?  One of the least stealthy animals in the world.”  Reuben grunted angrily while I tried to think of something to say.

“We’re not griefers,” I managed after a minute.  “We need your help.”

“Riiight.  So tell me something, “Not Griefers,” how did you find me?  Who are you working for?  For two noobs, I’m impressed you found me at all.”

“Gabriel sent us.  He’s the one who gave us the amulet.”  The one you’re tossing back and forth, dangerously close to the drop-off over the lava…

Gabriel?  You expect me to believe that you are buddy-buddy with Gabriel?  Do you have any idea how often people try to tell me that?”
“ “Do most people have the amulet to back them up?”

Magnus hesitated, then turned back to the control panel. “I dunno, this is all sounding pretty weird, dudes.” He flipped a lever, and the sand and TNT in front of us suddenly shot off to the sides of the walkway, and off into the lava. I walked over the pistons, and down the next stretch of obsidian. I was focusing on making sure I stayed on the walkway, but out of the corner of my eye, I saw Magnus watching me. Just as I reached the next stretch of sand, he flipped another lever, and this sand also rose up, with TNT below it.

“Who are you really?” he demanded. “Why are you here? I want answers, and I want them now.”

“We were sent by Gabriel to re-unite the Order of the Stone.”

Magnus glanced down at the amulet, with the green stone glowing brightly, then back at me. “Go on.” He flipped the second lever again, and this set of TNT shot away, just like the first set had. I came down the walkway again, more slowly this time.

“There's a huge monster, eating up the world. Nothing can stop it. That's why Gabriel asked us to reunite the Order. Magnus, you have to come with us. You might be the only chance we have.”

As I reached a third strip of sand, Magnus reached down and flipped a third lever. As before, TNT came up underneath it. But it seemed to me that Magnus had hesitated, that he hadn't flipped it as suddenly or as eagerly as he had the other two times. But when he spoke, he showed no sign of softening.

“Give me one reason why I should come with you, even for one second. I rule this place, why would I want to leave?”

I hesitated. One wrong word here might change his mind. But I had seen him hesitate, I was sure of it. I decided to challenge his steely facade.

“I thought you were supposed to be a hero, Magnus. Right now, the world needs its heroes. And if you don't help us now, sooner or later the Wither Storm will run out of other things to eat, and will arrive at Boom Town. And by the time it does, there will be no one left to help you.”

Magnus sighed, then masked his emotions again and glared at me. “All of this...stuff you've told me. You expect me to just take your word for it? Two strangers with wild stories, and nothing to show for it?”

“Whether you believe us or not, it is the truth. Besides, what about the amulet? Where would we have gotten it, if we weren't telling the truth?”

“Okay, okay, you've sold me. I'm in,” he told us after a minute of thought. He pulled the third lever, and the last section of TNT and sand flew out of our way.

“We might have a little trouble getting out of here, though.” He chuckled grimly.

“But you're Magnus. You could just walk out,” Axel told him, speaking for the first time since he had recognized Magnus.

“It's not that simple. I don't know it you've looked around this place, but it's kinda full of griefers.”

“Well yeah, but, that's kinda awesome. Right?” Axel looked at me uncertainly.

“Not for me. You've heard of the whole “challenging the king for his crown” idea, right? That's kind of the only reason they're there. So long as I'm king, I can't leave this tower.”

“Could we sneak you out?”

“They'll spot me. I'm too good, and they're too eager. It's a vicious cycle that keeps me stuck here. That's life as king of Boom Town. Not as exciting as you'd think.”

“Can't you just choose a new king? Let one of them win, or something?”

“Nope. I've beaten them dozens of times. They'll see right through it. For a bunch of idiots, they're pretty smart.” Suddenly he looked at me thoughtfully. “You, though… You're a stranger here. You just showed up with a golden amulet, and you outsmarted them all to get in here. By now, there will probably be all sorts of rumors about how awesome you are.” He turned and started to pace the walkway with excitement. “I can't believe I didn't think of it before!”

“Yeah, sounds great. Except that when I win, wouldn't I be stuck here?”

“Nah, you're not a legend like me. Should be easy enough to throw the fight, or give up the crown to way lower level griefers. Ooh, this is going to be good. I'm actually getting excited about this! But we have to make sure it looks legit. If they think we're working together, they'll riot. The Death Bowl has never seen the carnage that we're about to create!” He strode towards the stairs and the door. Axel and Reuben and I followed uncertainly.

“Um… what's the Death Bowl?” I asked.

“Oh, you'll see,” was all that Magnus would say.

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“This, my friend, is the

“This, my friend, is the Death Bowl!” Magnus told me, as we walked up the steps. All around us, griefers were flooding the stands, eager to see the show. From a building at the other end of the arena came a man with a microphone and the voice of a sports announcer.

“Welcome, ladies and gentlegriefers, to the Death Bowl! In this corner we have Magnus, your king, prepared to defend his title and crown!” Magnus waved to the cheering crowd, then turned to me.

“So, Tiny, welcome to the Death Bowl. The grief-off to end all grief-offs. How do you wanna fake this?”

“Let's start small, just throwing eggs. Then maybe I'll graze you with some TNT.”

Magnus was still waving to the crowd. After a minute he turned back to me. “Um… I heard something about eggs and TNT. Got it!”

My confidence soars.

The announcer approached me as Magnus moved away. “And you, what name do you go by?”

“Um, I am… the Amulet Holder!” I did my best to sound impressive, but I sounded weak, even to myself.

“You heard the name, folks. Let's give a big Death Bowl welcome to: the Amulet Holder!” The crowd hooted and cheered. “So let's begin! Each combatant will craft their own griefing towers, which they will then use to grief each other. The only rule is-”

“That there are no rules!” a griefer interrupted.

The announcer shook his head. “The only rule is: no eye poking. Other than that, anything goes.” The crowd murmured in disappointment, but the announcer stood firm. “Now, Amulet Holder, pick your building materials! And Magnus-”

“Nah, I'm good. I brought my own supply.”

“Then let the griefing begin!”

Magnus and I turned away and walked to our own sides of the arena. At my end were three chests. One had wood blocks, the second had stone, and the third had pink wool. Reuben put his front hooves on the “pink wool” chest and looked at me pleadingly.

“Sorry, Reuben,” I sighed. “But I need something a little sturdier this time.” I took the stone blocks, and began to build my tower, as quickly as I could. When I had finished, I glanced over to Magnus' tower. He had built a tower similar to mine, only using carved brick rather than regular stone. We both had a wooden platform at the top to stand on, and a supply of eggs and TNT.

 

I glanced down to make sure that Axel and Reuben were a safe distance away. Reuben was standing where I had left him, by the chests I had gotten my building materials from, but Axel was on the other side of the arena, looking adoringly up at Magnus.

“Axel, what are you doing on his side?”

“Yeah, I… wondered if you were going to bring that up. See, Reuben really wanted to be in your corner, and I didn't want to crowd him, so I thought I'd watch from over here.”

I rolled my eyes, and turned back to Magnus.

“Take your best shot!” he yelled to me.

I turned and scooped up a few eggs, and wound up to throw one.  It swerved far left, and too high, and missed Magnus by a wide margin.

“And that’s how you shouldn’t throw an egg,” I called, trying to cover my mistake.

Magnus laughed at me.  “You’ll have to do better than that, kid.  You grief with me, you grief with the best!”  He turned to the ranks of cheering spectators, posing proudly.

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Raising my eyebrow, I took

Raising my eyebrow, I took another egg, and wound up to throw it.  This egg sailed true, and hit Magnus in the back of the head, knocking him over.  A chick hopped up, and began to skitter around the platform.  The crowd gasped.

Magnus rose to his feet, glowering.  “So, ‘Amulet Holder,’ it’s not enough that you took the amulet.  You need to take my crown as well?”

I scrambled to come up with a suitable retort.  “I… I do not discriminate in my accessory-taking.  Your crown shall be mine!”

Magnus turned to look at the chicken, still circling his platform.  With a swift movement, he kicked the chick off the ledge.  Axel caught it as it fell, and set it down in the arena to scurry to its heart’s content.  Then Magnus turned back to me with a scary grin.

“You are but a student.  I am here to give you your final lesson.”  He flipped a lever beside him, and a piston pushed a TNT onto a slime block, which sent it flying towards me.  I started to duck, but the TNT fell short.  It landed on the floor of the arena, and knocked the announcer into a hole in the floor.

“Um, that was just a warning!” Magnus shouted, trying like I had to cover his mistake.  But the crowd wasn’t buying it.

“A warning of what?” one person yelled.  “A warning that you need glasses?”

I took my chance.  “It seems that the student has become the master, and the Amulet Holder will win the day!”

The spectators cheered.  “I don’t know what that means, but I love it!” one shouted.

Magnus had turned his back to me and was waving at the spectators.  I turned to my own TNT and launched it at him in much the same way as he had at me.  At the last possible second, he turned, and placed down two slime blocks, directly in front of him.  The TNT bounced off of them, and rebounded towards me.  It clipped the edge of my platform, and knocked me backward as it exploded.

“Nobody messes with the BOOM MASTER!” Magnus taunted me.  “Had enough yet?  I’m pretty sure ‘Noob Time’ is over.  We’ve had some nice laughs, but it’s time for them to come to a close.”

“That was a nice shot,” I congratulated him.  “But I think it’s time for people to see what true greatness can look like.”

The crowd laughed at me.  I was nowhere near as good as Magnus was, and they knew it.  The only reason I was still alive appeared to them to be dumb luck.

“Magnus, craft a cannon!” one of them shouted.  The others cheered in agreement.  Magnus waved in acknowledgement, then turned to me with narrowed eyes.

“If it’s a cannon you want,” he shouted back, “it’s a cannon you’ll get!”

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I'M BACK!!!!!

I am SO sorry guys.  My computer crashed, and I had to get a new one, and then I had to remember how to login, because I had my other computer set to auto-sign-in, so I didn't remember my password.  But here I am at long last, having managed to hack into my own account, and ready to go again!

 

“Um, I’m pretty sure Magnus has lost it!” Axel shouted up to me.  “He’s going for the kill!  Jessie, you’d better craft...I don’t know, the greatest thing of your life, or something.  And you’d better do it now!”

“Well, I think there’s still some stone in the chest.  I’ll see what I can do.”  I pulled out the stone, and built a facade as quickly as I could.  There was only a small window for me to look through to attack myself.

“Well, that’s as good as it’s going to get, I guess.”

Axel wasn’t very optimistic.  “Yeah, that might work, I guess.  But… um… Jessie, look!”  He pointed across the arena to Magnus’ tower.  

I looked across and gasped.  Across the way, Magnus had build a giant skull wrapping around his tower.  He stood on a platform above the nose; in the jaw cavity sat row after row of TNT.  Over the mouth, like a mustache, a block of lava dropped two long flows to the arena floor below.  In the eye holes of the skull, two sets of pistons and slime blocks were in prime positions to throw TNT after TNT at my tiny wall.  Two levers in front of Magnus were connected via redstone wiring to the two TNT launchers.

Magnus laughed, running his hands menacingly over the levers.

“I thought you were going to throw the fight!”  I hissed at him.

He didn’t reply, instead flipping one of the levers.  He did a better job of aiming with these cannons, and the TNT flew right into my flimsy wall.  The wall crumbled, and I was knocked to the floor of my platform.

Magnus flipped the levers again and again, sending TNT after TNT towards my tower.  Most of them landed below my wooden platform, but the tower beneath was shattered and broken.  I couldn’t do much in my defense except watch for the TNTs and dodge them.  At last, one blast broke the platform under me, and knocked me onto a small ledge of cobblestone.

Suddenly, from around the edge of Magnus’ skull, Reuben charged, ramming his head into Magnus and knocking him into one of the pistons.  Then he stood there, glaring at Magnus and squealing defiantly.

“Jessie, use your bow!” Axel shouted up at me.

“Are you serious, Axel?  Use a bow, in a cannon fight?  There are all sorts of cliches about this!”

“Yeah, but the TNT, inside the cannon.”  Axel jumped and pointed.

Suddenly, I caught on.  “TNT plus arrow…” I pulled the bow and arrow out of my pocket.

Magnus bent down and picked up Reuben.  Roughly, he dropped him in front of one of the pistons.  “Time to see how well you fly, pig!”  Laughing, he flicked the lever.  Reuben flew through the air.

“No!”  I shouted, but Axel cut me off.

“You focus, Jessie, I’ve got Reuben!”  He ran backwards toward the end of the arena, watching Reuben’s trajectory.  Just in time, he stretched out his arms and Reuben fell neatly into them like a football.

I shook myself, and made myself focus.  “Hey, Magnus!” I shouted, jumping back to what was left of my platform as Magnus turned to gloat again.  I put an arrow to the bowstring, and pulled it back.  “Flying pig jokes are overdone.  Nobody messes with Reuben.”  I released the arrow, and it sailed over to Magnus’ skull, through the lava, and buried itself in one of the TNTs.

 
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I am so sorry.  I will not

I am so sorry.  I will not allow this delay to happen again.

 

The triumph in Magnus’ face turned to shock, as he realized what was about to happen.  The first TNT exploded, and lit all the others.  As the others went off, Magnus’ tower imploded into nothingness.  Magnus tried to stay on his platform, but it crumbled under his feet, and he fell all the way to the floor of the arena.

Some of the TNT went flying; some of it towards and into my tower, dismantling the rest of it.  One block alone out of my entire tower was left, floating above the floor, and as I fell, I happened to grab onto the edge of it and find a stone to hold onto.

The announcer was just climbing out of the hole in the arena, into which he had fallen.  He looked around, taking in the carnage.  He took a step back, as he realized what had happened, almost falling into the hole again.  Then a slow grin spread across his face.

“We have a winner!  The AMULET HOLDER!!!”

I grinned, climbing back onto the lone block of my tower, and waved to the cheering crowd.  Then I jumped down to the floor of the arena to meet Magnus and Reuben.

“You wanna say something, champ?” the announcer asked me.  “Most people make a speech, or something.”

I turned to the stands.  “Hello, Boom Town!  It’s great to be here today, and I can’t wait to start life as king of Boom Town!”

Nearly every eyebrow went up, and every single spectator got to their feet.  One of them punched his fist in his open hand and chuckled.

“Well, you all ready then?”

“Yep,” another laughed, “this’ll be a way easier target than Magnus!”  All advanced onto the arena floor, several lifting TNT to throw.

“Wait, what’s happening?” Axel asked.

“That’s not good.  Now I’m the king, and they all want to kill me.”  I turned, trying to see a way to get through all the griefers.  As I turned, I saw a black something, or several somethings on the horizon.  Jumping for a better look, I took a step back in dismay.  “Oh no.”

As it loomed over Boom Town, people began to notice it.  Magnus ran up to me.

“THAT THING is your ‘Wither Storm?’  You weren’t kidding!  How are we… What are we…  GAH!”

In far too short a time, the Wither Storm was within laser range.  Three people, caught in its three lasers, began floating away.  Blocks were torn up too, flying through the air to enlarge the black mass.

Magnus stared around him at the carnage ensuing.  “No, no, no, no, NO!  STOP EATING MY KINGDOM!!!”  He ran forward, as if to challenge it by himself.

I grabbed his hand.  “Magnus, come on!  We’ve got to get out of here!”

He ran with me for a few steps, then pulled free and turned again.  “You’ll regret messing with Boom Town!” he promised the Wither Storm, before turning to follow me again, back to the portal and into the Nether.

 
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The sun was setting as we

The sun was setting as we came out of the nether portal next to the temple.  We followed the path to the ridge, and climbed the vines to the top.  The temple loomed in front of us.

Lukas had been busy while we were gone.  The front doorway had been repaired and reinforced, as had most of the front of the building.  Red clay ran up the walls from the edges of the doorway to the glass amulet design above.

Magnus looked over it in surprise.  “Wow, someone really went crazy with the defenses, huh?”

We jumped down to the paved area in front, and started for the door.  Suddenly, a hissing noise came from beside and behind us.  I turned, starting to draw my sword, but I never had a chance to get it out.  Without warning, five arrows punctured the creeper, and it fell to the ground and disappeared.

“Who goes there?” a voice demanded from the fortress.  Turning, I saw Lukas, bow in hand, standing above the doorway, between the two lines of red clay.  He broke into a relieved grin as he recognized us.  “Jessie?  You’re back!”

“Lukas, this looks amazing!  You did all this yourself?”

“Well, Olivia helped.  But we wanted to get this place as fortified as possible, y’know?  I’m so glad you’re back, come on in!”  He flipped a lever, and the iron door below opened.  We hurried in, and the Lukas closed the door behind us, against the deepening night.

Lukas jumped down from the platform, walking with us down the hall.  “You guys are never going to believe who showed up while you were gone!”

We rounded a bend, and Lukas pointed to a figure leaning against the wall, waiting for us.  When the person saw us, they straightened up into the light.

“Petra!” I shouted in relief.

She came over to us, smiling tiredly.  “Hey guys, how’s it going?”

Reuben squealed with pleasure and darted over to her, running around and around her.  She chuckled softly and bent down to scratch his head.  Then it was finally Axel’s turn.  He had been holding back, but now he rushed forward and threw his arms around her.

“Petra, you made it!”

She chuckled again.  “It’s good to see you too, big guy.”  Then she came over to me, and hugged me too.  “And it’s really good to see you, Jessie.  Back there in Gabriel’s bunker… it got pretty crazy.”  

“I’m just glad you’re okay.  And I can’t believe you found us!  How did you get through?”

“After you pulled me out of that Wither Storm’s clutches, I just ran and ran and ran.  Gabriel had pointed out the general direction of the temple, and I did the best I could to stay on course.  But if you hadn’t saved me… I owe you everything, Jessie.”

“I’m glad you heard Gabriel telling us where to go.  Is… did he make it too?  Did you see?”

She shook her head and sighed.  “It’s all a blur.  But the Wither Storm left nothing there.  Everything… everyone… it’s all gone.”  She turned and started walking down the hall.  “It even got Gabriel.”

 

As we turned to follow Petra, I caught a glimpse of the shock on Magnus’ face.  He had seen the Wither Storm, but I guess it hadn’t occurred to him that it could kill someone like Gabriel.  Not that any of us would have believed it either, if we hadn’t seen it.  I wished there was something I could say to help Magnus, but I couldn’t think of anything.

As we climbed the stairs to the map room, Magnus began to cheer up a little.  “Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve been here!”  He looked around appreciatively, then visibly tensed.  “What. Is. She. Doing. Here?” he demanded.

I looked where he was looking and saw a woman in red talking to Olivia.  Ellegard.

“Call this a hunch,” Petra replied, “but do you two not like each other?”

Lukas ran an uncertain hand through his hair.  “I, um… I forgot to mention that after we fortified this place, Olivia went on an expedition of her own.”

“And this ‘Olivia’ person brought her?”  Magnus turned to me accusingly.  “Did you know about this?”
I shook my head.  “I didn’t know.  But we were tasked with reuniting the Order to defeat the Wither Storm, and that means that you and Ellegard are going to have to tolerate each other long enough to work together.”

Just then, Olivia noticed us.  “Jessie, Jessie!  I found Ellegard!”

“Just hang on a sec, okay?” I whispered to a furious Magnus.  “I’ll figure out what’s going on.”

“Good.  You do that.”

I approached Olivia and Ellegard, in time to hear them whispering together.  

“Easy now, Olivia.  Let’s try to play it cool, huh?”  Ellegaard turned to me.  “So, who are you, now?  And why did you bring him with you?”

“I’m reuniting the Order of the Stone.  At Gabriel’s request.”

“It was kind of crazy, actually,” Olivia cut in, eager to tell me her story.  “I went to Redstonia, and there were all these amazing machines, and engineers, and inventors…  It was a little intimidating at first, but Ellegard’s made me her protege!”

“Well, ‘assistant’ for now,” Ellegaard interrupted coolly.  “After what happened…”

Olivia looked ashamed.  “I know, I’m so sorry.”

“Redstonia?”

“Yeah, it’s where Ellegaard lives.  Along with all the other redstone people.  I… may have embarrassed myself a tiny bit.  But after I pled my case, she agreed to come back and help.  Not bad, right?”

“Not bad at all.  And Ellegaard, I’m glad you’re here, whatever Magnus may say.”

Just as I mentioned him, Magnus came up.  “Oh, hoo-ray, it’s Ellie.  And here I thought I was going to enjoy myself.”

“Why hello, Magnus.  Your voice is just as pleasant as I remembered.  Which is to say, not at all.”

Magnus laughed harshly, humorlessly.  “Oh?  Is that the same wit you’re going to use to save the world?”

“Why?  Are you here to tell me how to do it better?”

“Oh, I would never dream of doing such a thing.  Unlike you, I actually do things, instead of only talking about them!”

“Ok, people,” I cut in.  “Can we please focus on the bigger picture here?  We have a massive Wither Storm in the process of turning the whole world into its dinner.”

Magnus sighed.  “Yeah, I’ll admit, that thing was pretty nasty.  And I’ve seen a lot of nasty things in my time.”

“Too much for you, was it?  Your usual brutish approach didn’t cut it?”

“Hey, you didn’t see how this thing tore everything up.  You weren’t there, alright?”

“Would you two stop fighting?” I begged, a little… okay, a lot louder than I had meant to.  Magnus and Ellegaard looked at me like I was crazy, but Petra came to my defense.

“Jessie’s right.  We’ve got to figure out how to stop that thing.  And we can’t do that if we keep arguing with each other.”

“I don’t know if you’ve looked around, but this place isn’t nearly the stronghold it used to be.  Most of our supplies are gone, as are Soren and Gabriel,”  Ellegaard pointed out.

For once, Magnus agreed.  “It would take a mountain of TNT to kill that thing.  Even if we had all the TNT in the world, I’m not sure it would be enough.”

“If only Soren were here,” Ellegaard said thoughtfully.  “He might have something that could help.”

“Oh no, not this again!”  Magnus grumbled.  “I’m sick of hearing about you and Soren’s little brainy club.”
“I’m not bragging!” Ellegaard protested.  “I think I really do have a good idea here.”

“Hang on, hang on,” I interrupted again.  “Ellegaard, what did Soren have?”

“It was this ‘Super TNT,’ stronger and more explosive than anything else in the world.  He called it the ‘Formidi-bomb.’”

“Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard about this ‘F-bomb’ before,” Magnus interrupted.

“F-bomb?” I asked.

“Yeah.  Soren claimed that dropping the ‘F-bomb’ could destroy everything.”

“I see.  Do you know where it is?  Can we get some?”

“Well…” Ellegaard hesitated.  “We have no idea where Soren is.  But you found us.  Do you know where to find him?”