Excerpt for Journey to the End: An Unofficial Minecraft Novel by , available in its entirety at Smashwords







Journey to the End:

An Unofficial Minecraft Novel

By Zoe Wynns













If you enjoy this book, please take the time to rate it. Thanks for reading, and I’d appreciate any feedback!

Copyright © 2016 by Zoe Wynns



Published by Smashwords



All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any manner without the permission of Zoe Wynns. All questions may be directed to thewynnsfamily@gmail.com .

Cover artwork and design by Zoe and Kevin Wynns.

This book is not authorized or approved by Microsoft Corp., Mojang AB, or Scholastic Inc., or any other person or entity owning or controlling rights in the Minecraft name, trademark, or copyrights. The Notch and Mojang in this story do not have any relation to the real company and person.

Acknowledgments

Original Acknowledgments:

I am only 12 years old and this is my first published book, and I am very excited about it. Thanks to my dad for helping me out with the cover design (even though I designed the final product), and to my mom for putting up with my begging to read over each new edit I did.

Current Acknowledgments

I am now thirteen and have published two other books, Flicker, Fade, Soar and SpyCam: The President Plot. Both are for the same age group and each are written better than the last, so if you enjoy this story, make sure to check out the others! This book is an original copy. My writing skills have improved since I wrote this (Not to say that it’s written badly, because I worked very hard on it.)

Please tell me if you find a grammatical or technical error, but know that I tried my best at this and am very proud with the final product, even though I know it isn’t perfect.



ENJOY!

Prologue

“They’ve gotten into Minecraft again!” the developer hissed in exasperation.

“But… but… our firewalls! Our antivirus programs specifically designed for them! The multiple exhausting hours of blood, sweat and tears writing code!” the coder stammered.

“Yep. They’ve denied it all, just like their ancestors.” The developer shook his head in wonder.

“I mean, why? Why go to all this trouble and risk their lives just to implant themselves into a fictional game?” the other wondered.

“They must think they’ll be safer in there, what with us on the brink of World War IIII and all the mess this world is in.”

“I guess I can’t blame them,” admitted the coder. “But do they think they’re going to be able to escape the ever-plaguing zombies and creepers at every turn in there?”

The first shrugged. “Well, obviously they’re willing to take that risk.” He peered at the screen, and chuckled. “Ha! It’s not working out for them very well so far. They’re huddled in a dirt shelter! No food! Zombies all around them! They’ll soon be dead, and then they’ll be transported back to the real world. At least we know that piece of code is up and running.”

“We shouldn’t have been so merciful with them,” growled the coder. “We should have implanted the code so when they died, they died.

“We’ll give them a second chance. When they die, their extensive knowledge of hacking should be helpful to further improve on Minecraft.”

“You say when they die like you’re so sure, but have you noticed they’ve had a child?” the coder said tentatively.

“WHAT?” yelled the developer. He shook his head. “No, no, no! Now even if they do die, their child will continue on the line of Minecraft residents!” He literally banged his head on the desk in frustration.

“We’ll just have to hope they all die,” the second shrugged.

“They could infest Minecraft!” the first yelled, unaware that the coder had even spoke.

The coder hated to see his leader so upset. So in a voice filled with venom, he said, “They call themselves Minecraft residents, but they’re really Minecraft infesters.

Chapter one

The wonderful world of Minecraft.

That’s what I was thinking as I stood tall on top of a mountain, looking at my beautiful house, my huge farm, and my happy family, playing catch with their dogs in a field.

I was going down there in a minute as well, to hang out with my cat and work on my brand-new cocoa bean farm.

It might seem strange that I, a child, was the one that created all this.

But when I was born, my Mom and Dad were huddled in a dirt shelter, every day a struggle.

As soon as I was old enough to help out, I did. I killed pigs for food, and eventually started breeding them. I grew a cocoa bean farm and a huge wheat farm. Then I was able to make cookies that we could survive on.

My parents picked up on my ways, and we started to grow. They had three more children, and we moved to a nearby village, where our house was a minute’s walk away from everything we’d ever need and more.

I decided to go down to the village. I hadn’t visited my best friend, Chassidy, in a while. She was a villager, though, and there’s only so much conversation you can have with one of those. No, she did more than stare at me and go “Hrum.” Villagers do talk, just not to normal users.

But most of Chassidy’s conversations were about her collection of emeralds. “I managed to convince a user that fifty stalks of wheat were worth two emeralds. Now I have seventy-two! Ha!” were her first words as I knocked on her door.

I giggled. “Yo, Chass, want to go on a monster killing spreeeeeee…” I trailed off as I remembered that she wasn’t programmed to kill. I mean, she couldn’t even hold a weapon!

Chassidy glared at me, then it was swiftly replaced by a sneaky smile. “Hey, maybe not. But do you want to go trade with a bunch of users for emeralds? OH WAIT! YOU CAN’T!”

I laughed. “Well, I deserved that.” I said with mock despair. “I apologize for my carelessness!”

“You are forgiven.” Said Chassidy, bowing as best she could with her chunky and awkward body. This made me laugh, and she playfully punched me in return.

Yes, I thought, as I returned to my home. The world of Minecraft is wonderful.

Until one day.

Chapter two

This day started off as any other. I had finished making some cookies, but as soon as I was done, my two youngest twin siblings came over to me. “Coo-kie?” they asked sweetly.

I knew their hunger bar was almost full and they’d just had some bread. But Kellen and Micah loved cookies. Any time I made them, I’d sprint into my room and put them in a chest for special occasions before Kellen and Micah could see.

But they had raided my chest before. I had come into my room and opened my chest, to find that all my cookies were gone! They were replaced by huge stacks of baked potatoes, Kellen’s least favorite food, and carrots, Micah’s least favorite.

But Kellen’s blue eyes were so sweet! I sighed and tossed a cookie into each of their hot-bars. They immediately devoured them and looked up at me.

“Now your hunger bar is full, so you have no excuse to ask me for another.” I said sternly.

They sighed. “Mommy will give us more cookies.” Micah grinned.

Well, that was true. Mom had a soft spot for Kellen and Micah. They were spoiled beyond belief.

I didn’t know what they’d do when it was their time to actually start pitching in and helping the family. The first thing they’d probably do would be to go up to a zombie, look sweetly up at it, and ask “Coo-kie?”

I basically ran things around here, so I would be totally fine to lead the family if something ever happened to Mom and Dad.

“Alex! Will you come help me with this newfangled mine-cart thing?” I heard Ruby, the second oldest, call from her experimenting cave.

I left Kellen and Micah searching for Mom, and went down to Ruby’s cave.

I descended the dark, spiral staircase leading to Ruby’s room. At the bottom, a single torch shone above Ruby’s auburn hair, sparkling in the dim light.

Ruby was a great sister and a great friend. She was good at farming, and loved to experiment with mechanisms.

I glanced at Ruby’s greasy face before beginning to examine her work.

She had attached a hopper to a mine-cart with a chest. “I tried to get the hopper to move the chest from the cart onto the ground, but it’s not working.” She explained.

I immediately saw the problem, and worked for the next couple hours on helping her to fix it.

As we were putting the finishing touches on her machine, a low growl sounded from the shadows of Ruby’s cave.

Ruby kept working, but I glanced around.

The growl sounded again, louder. This time Ruby looked up. “What is that?” she asked nervously.

A zombie walked out from the corners of her area, growling all the while.

“Oh, a zombie. I got this, sis.” Ruby said as she took out her iron sword and swung it at the zombie’s head and body multiple times.

But the zombie didn’t die. It just turned red over and over and over.

Eventually, Ruby’s sword broke. I raised my eyebrows and took out my diamond sword. “This is strange.” I said as I eventually killed the zombie and collected the XP. “You must have hit it twenty times!”

Ruby looked uncomfortable. “I guess. But my iron sword was already almost broken.”

I shrugged. “Maybe that’s why. You should put up some more torches around here.” I added, and forgot about the incident... until that night, when screams drew me from my bed.

I opened my eyes to darkness. It was still the middle of the night!

My Dad jumped out of bed beside me. “That sounds like Micah!” he yelled.

It was. Our door had been broken, and a zombie was in our house, fighting Micah and Kellen. Micah had a wooden sword, and Kellen a stone.

“They’re toast!” I yelled, jumping up with my diamond sword in hand and hitting the zombie as I jumped down from my bed, catching him with a critical hit.

But no stars appeared above the zombie’s head, and he didn’t quit attacking Micah and Kellen, who were rapidly growing weaker.

My dad joined the fight, pushing Kellen and Micah down a hidey-hole and flashing his enchanted iron sword in the zombie’s face. “You don’t hurt my babies and get away with it!” he roared, as the zombie finally fell.

I turned to him. “Great fight!

He narrowed his eyes. “Weird fight. That was the strongest zombie I’ve ever seen!”

I suddenly felt uncomfortable, remembering about the zombie yesterday. “Well, that wasn’t the strongest one I’ve seen…” and I proceeded to tell my dad about the events of yesterday’s zombie.

I finished, and he shook his head at me. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

I shrugged. “I thought it was because Ruby’s sword was almost broken.”

My dad looked around. “Speaking of Ruby, where is she?”

“I dunno.” I said. “Probably down in her cave. She sleeps down there sometimes.”

“Can you go check?” my dad asked.

I thought he was just being paranoid, but I nodded. “Sure.”

I went down quietly, so not to wake Ruby.

But when I got to the bottom, Ruby’s bed was empty.

“Ruby?” I called quietly, begging her to emerge from the nearby chest room, or to pull in on a wild mine-cart ride.

But nobody emerged. “RUBY?” I loudly said.

“RUBY!” I shouted, about to cry.

No reply.

Chapter three

I sprinted up the staircase, almost falling off of it in my hurry. “Dad! DAD!” I cried. “She’s not there!”

“WHAT?” he roared, almost dropping Kellen and Micah, who he was carrying out of the hidey hole.

He put them on the ground and ran down to her room, while I checked all the other rooms in the house.

In my parent’s room I found Mom, sitting up in bed. “What’s all the-“Have you seen Ruby?” I interrupted her. “Noooooo…” she said, bewildered. I left her and ran back to the family room.

By this time we had all met up in the main room, breathing heavily. My dad told my mom what had happened. “No.” my mom whispered. “No.”

The sun was peeking up over the horizon, and Mom was sobbing on the sofa. My dad patted her back. “It’s alright.” He whispered.

“Well, even if another zombie found Ruby, she will have respawned by now, right?” I comforted her. “She’ll be making her way towards our house right now!”

But the truth of the matter was, none of us had died yet. We’d managed to survive, barely, each battle wearing away a little more of our strength. We knew that the users that actually lived in the real world would respawn once they died. But we lived in Minecraft. This was all we’d ever known. What would happen if we died?

“But what if she’s been kidnapped?” Mom squeaked suddenly.

At this Kellen and Micah burst into tears. I slapped my forehead in disbelief. “You guys. Zombies can’t pick stuff up, therefore they can’t kidnap.”

“Zombies also can’t withstand a critical hit from an enchanted diamond sword.” Dad pointed out. “I don’t think we’re being attacked by regular zombies.”

We went through the next day in a daze. I found Dad in his room, about to eat rotten flesh. “No!” I yelled. He looked up at me. “All I want is some steak.” He told me, mumbling.

“Well, rotten flesh is going to make you sick, not steak.” I said, pretty proud of my alliteration.

Dad looked at the flesh in his hands. “Steak…” and with that, he ate the rotten flesh.

I froze. “Dad! THAT WAS ROTTEN FLESH! POISON!”

He didn’t respond, just groaned and closed his eyes.

My stomach churned. I needed food for him, to make sure his hunger was completely satisfied and the flesh couldn’t take all his life.

I sprinted out of the room, towards my farm, where I could give him some potatoes.

In the main room, I came across Mom. “Dad’s poisoned!” I shouted. She looked at me, bewildered, and I continued my wild sprint towards my farm.

But when I got outside, I stopped in my tracks. Creepers were swarming through my farm, blowing up every aspect of it.

“Wha… how…?” I stumbled. “Creepers only explode when a player is near.” I recited something I’d learned from my mom. “Then how come…?”

I rushed down to my farm. “Shoo! Move it, creepers!” I yelled, waving my hands around. Some of the remaining creepers fled, but many just continued blowing up what was left of my farm: the potato section!

Without hesitation, I ran towards them. “I NEED THAT TO SAVE MY DAD! BACK OFF, YA LOSERS!” I screamed at them. One creeper looked at another, and the first headed towards me.

I backed away. “Oooh, no. No. You are not blowing me up.” I grabbed my diamond sword and hit the creeper, backing up with each hit, whether it landed or not.

Suddenly, I realized that I was right next to my house. I ran away from it as fast as I could, but it was too late. The creeper sizzled, and exploded the main room of our house!

“Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!” I yelled, anguished. I knew, with painful certainty, that my Mom was in there, and that she had been destroyed.

Nevertheless, I rushed through the lone-standing door, and immediately saw the terrified forms of Kellen and Micah. They were standing stock-still in the middle of the rubble.

I rushed towards them. “Have you seen Mom?” I asked frantically. The two young children just looked back, eyes huge, both holding their swords.

I suddenly took a closer look at the swords in their hands. Why were they holding these?

“Why are you two holding your swords?” I asked sweetly.

No reply.

“Do you guys want Mama?” I said, a bit impatiently, but still keeping my sugary sweet tone.

Micah still looked at me blankly, but Kellen’s face softened and her eyes filled up.

“You need to tell me what you saw so I can get her back.” I said, a little more sympathetically.

Kellen looked at me for a few moments, and said the words I was dreading.

“Mommy… DIE.”

After that, everything just went kind of fuzzy. I remembered sitting on my bed and falling off it, not able to even do a simple task. I remembered stumbling out of the ruined room to gaze unseeing at my only supplier of food, destroyed.

About halfway through the next day, I regained my senses, shaking my head as if to shake all the memories away.

I decided to check on Dad. I looked through my chest for potatoes or milk, but all I had were some cookies. Oh, well. They would have to do.

I opened the door to Dad’s room. His bed was empty. Maybe the poison had worn off on its own. “Dad?” I whispered, suddenly needing to confide in someone.

I checked his small closet, and though I found his secret supply of cocoa nobody knew was there, I found no Dad.

I started to get worried. I couldn’t lose Dad too!

A floating brown dot above his bed caught my attention. I looked closer and discovered that it was not one brown dot, but many. This was cocoa, the only thing in Dad’s inventory when he had been ill.

I froze.

The poisoning! Dad! Illness when he already couldn’t think straight!

The truth hit me like a ton of bricks. Dad was dead too. And the zombie? He had come in, killed Ruby, and let Dad kill it for the rotten flesh. The zombie knew that Mom would be exploded the next day, and assumed Dad wouldn’t be able to think for himself afterwards.

I was shaking. No, I told myself. No. Zombies aren’t that smart. It was a coincidence, all a coincidence. The creepers would blow up my farm because I was nearby. The zombies were probably just some tough ones.

I was just very, very unlucky.

I changed my mind about that quickly.

Chapter four

I had troubled sleep that night. I had moved my bed to the parts of the house that weren’t destroyed, and made Kellen and Micah beds beside me. For dinner we had had cookies.

But though I was tired beyond belief, as soon as I lay down, the calls of zombies and endermen kept me awake. All night, I was imagining them bursting through the wooden door and easily finding our sleeping forms.

I imagined them taking little Kellen and Micah. I shuddered, not wanting to imagine being truly alone.

I eventually picked one zombie moan out from the rest. It seemed to come closer… and closer… and closer…

Suddenly there was a bang on our door. I jumped up from my bed. Kellen and Micah screamed, hugging each other with terror.

I gathered up my courage and opened the door, right into the face of a terrifying green monster.

I shouted and slammed the door shut again. The zombie continued his massacre of the door.

I shuddered. What if that zombie was one of the invincible ones? Well, nearly invincible. I could never survive in this fear-driven state.

But if I didn’t open the door, the zombie would, and catch us all surprised in our sleep. That was even worse.

Since Kellen and Micah hadn’t spoken since Mom died, it was going to be hard to get through to them. “Listen, guys.” I said gently. “I’m going to open that door now.”

I’d obviously scared them, because they screamed again.

I sighed. “I’ll be OK, guys. I’m a pro. I saved Mom and Dad’s life!” I told them, getting teary eyed thinking about my parents.

Now I had their attention. Kellen nodded at me.

They were proud of me. I swelled up with inspiration.

I could protect them! I imagined Mom, Dad, and Ruby, watching me from… well… wherever they were now. They believed in me when they were here, and they’d certainly believe in me now.

Shoulders squared, I walked towards the door and opened it.

A fully armored zombie walked in. I blinked, and got out my diamond sword.

But the zombie pulled out a diamond sword of his own. It even glimmered blue-purple, the telltale sign that it was enchanted.

My eyes grew wide. I’d never seen a zombie with a diamond sword before, let alone an enchanted one. This monster was going to be harder.

I landed the first blow on the zombie. He growled at me and lashed out with his green, blocky hands. I jumped back, not wanting to risk those claws landing on my damaged iron armor.

I swung again, but the zombie blocked it! Literally blocked it with his sword! I gaped at him. Zombies can’t block! That’s only what residents and players of Minecraft can do!

The zombie took my surprise as a great opportunity, and hit me with a damaging sharp blow from the enchanted sword. I moaned and sunk to the floor. Apparently the sword was enchanted strongly, because I could feel my remaining lives draining rapidly… black was around me… threatening to pull me in….

No! I told myself. Pull yourself together! I summoned all my remaining strength, and heaved myself up from the floor.

I heard a sigh of relief from Kellen. I bet she thought I was dead.

I knew that whichever one of us landed a blow next, would survive, while the other would die.

Maybe I should just let him kill me… then I would join Mom and Dad and Ruby…

But I couldn’t. I couldn’t let Kellen and Micah experience the pain I was feeling right now, just by standing by my feet.

The zombie knew I was weak. He laughed, laughed, and came at me again.

More black dots overwhelmed me. If I was going to die, I had to protect Kellen and Micah this last time. So with my remaining willpower, I threw my diamond sword at the zombie, who fell to the ground with a final moan.

I had to stay awake. I couldn’t abandon my siblings. I was all they had left. But I knew that if I didn’t eat something now, I would die.

I looked at Kellen and Micah. They would have to get over Mom’s death for a moment, or I would be another tragedy they’d have to get over.

“Kells?” I whispered, my throat burning.

“Kells, can you get me a…” I broke off, coughing.

I knew there was one word in the whole word that would get Kellen to understand. “Cookie?”

“Coo-kie?” Kellen repeated. And she ran off towards my room, towards my secret chest.

The darkness came in closer. I groaned, knowing that not only was I dying of the zombie’s damage, I was dying of hunger. I couldn’t make myself eat since Mom had died.

Every new second brought a new flash of pain. I couldn’t take it anymore. I was just going to close my eyes… just for a moment…

But then Kellen came running in, and she threw 64 cookies at my feet. “Coo-kie.” She said proudly.

I picked them up in my inventory and managed to eat one. The darkness retreated a little.

With that bit of strength, I ate cookie after cookie after cookie, and with each one, I felt a little of my strength return. Finally, I was fully healthy. I closed my eyes and let a wave of gratitude wash over me, as I gathered Kellen and Micah in my arms. “Thank you.” I murmured, “Thank you.”

With that one moment, us all huddling there, unsure what to do, but also unsure of even the ground we stood on, I made a decision.

“We can’t stay here.” I told them. “The monsters want to kill us too badly. We have to leave.”

“But where?” Micah whispered, his first words since Mom’s death.

I didn’t have the slightest idea, but I knew someone who might.

“We’re going to the village.”

Chapter five

We tentatively walked to the door and peeked out. No monsters. At least in sight. So we ran for our lives to the village.

I got there and was shocked. There were zombies at every door, trying to break into the houses of my friends!

I saw one zombie succeed in breaking the door, and he went inside, where I heard a scream, and then two villagers emerged as zombie villagers.

I then saw a zombie banging on Chassidy’s door! “NOOOO!” I screeched, and ran at it, pounding it with diamond over and over and over and over and over and over…

“Alex. He’s dead.” A voice came from inside the house. “Chassidy!” I grabbed Kellen and Micah, barged inside and quickly shut the door.

Chassidy, her mom and dad, and her little brother were all in the house, shivering.

“Oh my gosh, guys. Does this happen every night?” I said breathlessly.

“Yes.” Chassidy said shortly.

Her mom was a little more understanding. “Thanks for saving us from that one. Long ago, we were just like users. We could fight, hug, and live our lives normally. But zombies got jealous and killed us all to take our abilities. When they collect our health points, they gain our benefits, like wielding a sword and blocking with it. Ever since then, they’ve attempted to take all of us for their army, turn us into zombie villagers, or at least kill us.”

I was still stuck on the “killed us to take our abilities” part. “Zombies can do that?” I asked, shocked.

“What, massacre us? Yup.” Chassidy said sarcastically, gesturing outside, where there seemed to be more zombie villagers than regular zombies.

I really wanted to help, but I knew that one more tough battle would do me in. “No, kill villagers to take their abilities.”

“And users.” The dad spoke. “They aren’t allowed to show these abilities, but, they have ‘em.”

Suddenly, everything that happened to me in the past few days made sense. “But they are showing the powers.” I narrowed my eyes. “That’s why they’re so strong, and they could can enchanted diamond weapons. The zombies have destroyed my family. They have ruined my life.”

“We feel ya. Ever wondered why I used to have five siblings and now I have one?!?!” Chassidy shouted. “They turn them into zombie villagers and users kill them!”

I felt sick. I’d killed a zombie villager the other day. “But, Chass, you… you always seem so happy when I come over!”

“I don’t turn into a lump of potatoes whenever tragedy hits,” she said loudly. I felt my face turn red. This visit was not going how I hoped.

“Well, I’m off to kill as many user-monsters as I can,” I said. “That’s my word for these new weirdo invincible ones,” I informed Chassidy’s staring family. “Let’s go, kiddos.” I looked down at my siblings.

“Wait waiiiiiiit hold it hold it.” Chassidy’s mom said. “There is something… something you need to know.”

I waited.

“If a zombie kills a user or villager, not only does he gain their abilities, like enchanting or holding a sword and having an inventory…” she paused, “they gain their health points, or lives, too.”

My eyes grew wide. “So, a zombie could eventually become as strong as the Ender Dragon?” I said quietly.

The villagers looked at each other. “Well, no. Because the Ender Dragon is the one running this production.” The dad said. “For every two health points a monster collects, they have to give one to the Ender Dragon.”

I considered this. “The Ender Dragon… so if I want to stop this, I basically have to kill her.”

“Yup. But that’s way easier said than done.” Chassidy said.

But I had made up my mind. “I am going to kill the Ender Dragon.” I yelled, throwing my blocky fist into the air.

Chassidy stepped forward. “And I’m coming with you!” she chirruped.

“No you’re not.” I stepped to block her. “No offense, but you can’t even hold a sword.”

“But it works the same for villagers as it does for monsters.” She said. “If I can manage to kill a user-monster, I’ll gain their abilities.”

“How on earth are you planning to do that???” I asked, taking in her body at a glance.

She smiled mysteriously. “You’ll see.”

That left me with no choice. Her parents hugged her (well, more like body-bumped her) fondly. “Go get me some zombie, Chass.” Her mom growled. Chassidy nodded determinedly in agreement.

And then we walked out the door.

Right into the hands of a diamond-armored and diamond sword-equipped zombie.

Chapter six

Chassidy took off running towards my house. “I’ll meet you there…” were her words.

Then the zombie struck. Right in my sore spot from last time. I yelled and sunk to my knees, lashing out at him as I went. He just smirked and struck again, but I blocked it.

I quickly regained my footing, and sliced every bit of zombie I could reach.

But the zombie didn’t die. He turned red, but with every hit he endured, he still threw one back at me.

Eventually, he landed another hit, but it was badly placed and just skimmed my armor. As he growled victoriously, I hit him with my diamond sword as hard as I could, and he finally fell. With that, I grabbed Kellen and Micah and ran for my life towards home.

A spider cornered me along the way. “Ok…” I shrugged, narrowed my eyes and killed him in three hits.

I was the one smirking now as I ran into my house, ushered my little siblings in, and slammed the door.

Chassidy was huddled in my bed. I shook my head at her. “Chass! Why did you run away?”

She sighed and rolled her eyes. “Remember?” she said, nodding towards her locked-together hands.

Guilt welled up inside of me. “Sorry.” I whispered.

Chassidy nodded.

“So, how on earth are we going to find the End and the ender dragon?” Chassidy asked.

“We need eyes of ender, which you get by killing enderman. When you throw them, they fly off in the direction of the end portal,” I explained. She nodded in understanding. “How many do you need?”

“Maybe twenty? Ten to lead us there because sometimes they break and ten to activate the portal once we get there,” I did the math in my head.

I checked my chest that was in the main room, and there were three. “Er, I’m going to look through the house for more…” I said, scurrying off towards the other rooms.

In my room, I dug up five more, in Dad’s, there were four, in Ruby’s, there were two, and there were none in Kellen and Micah’s chest.

When I came back holding my prize, Kellen and Micah were sitting in Chassidy’s lap, happily eating cookies. I sighed. “They’re not hungry, Chass.” I said wearily. “They just like the taste of cookies.”

“Well, who doesn’t?” said Chassidy, looking longingly at them. “Well, actually, I don’t. Because I’ve never tried them.”

I gasped. “Girl, you are missing out. What do you live on, carrots and wheat alone?”

She looked offended. “I don’t need to eat. I can’t, anyway.”

“Why do I not know all this about you?!?” I yelled, frustrated.

Chassidy squirmed, throwing Kellen and Micah off. “I don’t know.” She said, in a tone that was as tired-sounding as I felt.
As we sat there, holding the fourteen precious eyes of ender, the sun started to peek through the door. I heard the moans of the dying zombies and skeletons as the sun robbed them of life.

I sighed in relief. “Well, at least that’s one thing we don’t have to worry about today.” I smiled.

Chassidy looked less certain. “Don’t be so sure. If we have to walk through a forest or under mountains, they could still survive there.”

I groaned. Just the thought of another battle made my wounds ache. “I don’t think I could survive another hard battle.” I whispered. My health points may have reappeared, but they’d be quick to leave me in the event of meeting another user-monster.

“Of course you could!” Chassidy declared, giving me a hearty slap on the back. “You’re the strongest person I know!”

“Yeah, because the only other people you know are puny villagers!” I teased.

Chassidy narrowed her eyes at me. “Who you calling puny?” she roared, jumping on me and laughing. Kellen and Micah threw themselves on top of us, giggling.

I closed my eyes and smiled. If only it could stay like this…

But as one of the eyes of ender fell, it reminded me. I jumped up. “We’re wasting time. We have to go.” I said roughly.

Chassidy rolled her eyes. “Yeah.”

So we gathered our belongings (me getting another diamond sword, new diamond armor, and tons of food) and set off.

After about a minute, we came again to Chassidy’s village. She looked at it longingly. “Is it alright if I just say goodbye to my little brother?” she said, tearfully yet strongly. “I don’t know if he’ll be here when I get back.”

A lump of empathy welled up in my throat. I knew exactly how it felt to lose a loved one. If given the chance, I would have traded anything to say goodbye.

But as I was about to agree, a thought hit me. “Hmmmm…” I pondered it.

Chassidy looked at tears. “Please?”

“You know what?” I said. “I can do better. What if, today, we stay in your village, and tonight, we launch an attack on the zombies! Maybe we can even find a way for you to kill one, and you can gain their powers and be a huge help on the trip!”

Chassidy’s eyes filled up with tears of joy. “I’d love that more than anything in the world,” whispered Chassidy.

Then she reconsidered. “But you’re just one player.” She blinked. “How could you kill all those zombies?”

I looked at her strangely. “I thought you said you had an idea for how to kill the monsters?”

She looked uncomfortable. “It’s… too dangerous.”

“Well, hit me!” I shrugged. “Can’t be worse than death.”

Chassidy had to agree with that.

“I was thinking, we could let the zombies turn us into zombie villagers. Then, we’d have the power to kill… and we could use it against the zombies!” she winced. “Dumb, huh?”

I deliberated. It was a good plan… except for one issue. “Um, do you keep your mind once you become a zombie villager?” I asked. “I mean, do you stay Chassidy, or are you just another one of… them?” I shuddered.

She raised her eyebrows. “Only one way to find out!”

I felt terrible, but knew she was right. “I guess. But as soon as you do it, you I’ll say something like ‘Chass, are you in there?’ If so, fabulous! If not…” I trailed off. I had no idea what would happen ‘if not.’

But I guess Chassidy was willing to take that chance, because she gave a firm nod. “Yes. Good.”

Chapter seven

That day went by uneventfully. Chassidy and I took full advantage of it, knowing that this would likely be our last peaceful day for a while. We played with Chassidy’s little brother, Liam. Liam and Micah became fast friends.

As the sun was setting, I sat with Chassidy near the wheat farm, watching the younger children play among the stems. And as I saw their innocence, their incomprehensible cuteness, I sighed and made a decision.

“I cannot take them with us.” I turned to Chassidy and said quietly. “It’s too dangerous, and they’re too young.”

She looked shocked. “Where are they supposed to go?”

It felt like ants were squirming in my iron armor. “Um… I hoped your family would… maybe…”

“Ohhhh. Ohhhh. Yeah…” Chassidy considered. “Yeah, they probably would. It’s been kind of quiet around the house since…” Chassidy had to break off, wiping a blocky tear from her eye. She tried again. “Since… the zombies took my siblings.”

“I’m sorry about your siblings.” I said softly, putting my arm around her. “I know how that feels.”

“They’re getting stronger and smarter.” Chassidy had a faraway look in her eyes. “Soon the user-monsters will rule Minecraft!”

“Is that what they want?” I asked.

She shrugged. “I have no idea. Nobody does. Maybe the Ender Dragon will tell us.”

I scoffed. “Yeah, I’m sure he’ll tell it to us. As he’s blasting us with his tail-spikes and about to make the fatal blow.”

“Aw, have a little faith.” Chassidy hugged me. “We can get through this!”

The sun had almost set. I stood up and collected my siblings, not yet telling them they wouldn’t be going with me.

We entered Chassidy’s house and were greeted like we’d been gone outside for a year, not an hour. “Where were you? The sun is setting!” Chassidy’s mom said, hugging her fiercely.

I gave Chassidy a look. It was time to tell her mom about the zombie-villager plan.

As Chassidy explained to her mom, I looked at Kellen and Micah. “Listen, guys.” I began.

But before I could get further, screams reverberated throughout the town. “Um…” I said, and quickly explained my plan.

Chassidy’s mom’s eyes grew wide with fear. “No!” she said to Chassidy. “We are not risking you!”

“Mom, please!” pleaded Chassidy. “Please!”

“No!” she said, shaking her head. “I will not allow you to be taken by those monsters. You and Liam are our last hopes! We will not let anything happen to you!”

Chassidy looked fiercely at her mother. “Too bad!” she said, and ran for the door. Her mom tried to yell out to her, but Chassidy ignored her and threw open the door, sprinting outside.

Her mom looked at me with pleading eyes. I felt terrible, but there was nothing I could do. This is what Chassidy wanted, and it was the only way Chassidy and I could have any chance of success against the Ender Dragon.

So I walked out the door.

I immediately saw Chassidy. She was surrounded by zombies. But instead of turning her into a zombie villager, they were just slowly killing her!

I yelled at the top of my lungs and ran into the horde of monsters, not killing any (these were all user-monsters) but injuring them to the point of giving up Chassidy. I dragged Chassidy back into her house and slammed the door.

Her mother screamed and ran to Chassidy’s limp form. “Oh Chass, I told you what would happen if you went out there!” she murmured.

I strode up to Chassidy and gave her some bread, which she managed to eat. Looking better, Chassidy ate more bread, until she was fully well.

“Chass, we failed.” I said, defeated. “You can’t come with me, I’m sorry. There’s no way you’d survive.”

Her mom looked relieved, but Chassidy looked defiant. “I am coming with you!” she said, breathing heavily. “I AM!

“Well, we might need to find another way for you to kill a user-monster.” I said, even then knowing that there was no other.

“There is no other!” Chassidy shouted, seemingly reading my mind.

Her mom started to speak. “Chass, cool it-“NO! YOU COOL IT! I NEED TO FEEL LIKE I’M NOT JUST SITTING HERE WAITING FOR THE ZOMBIES TO KILL US!” she interrupted, screaming.

And then she headed for the door again. “Stick with the plan. I’m trying again.” She called to me as she headed out into the sea of screams.

I froze, then ran out the door behind her, yelling “Chass! Chass! NO!”

Chapter eight

This time, I could not find Chassidy right away. The only creatures near the house were user-zombies, user-skeletons, and a few normal spiders. I ignored these and raced down the eerily quiet street, save for the zombie moans and the occasional clatter of a skeleton attempting to shoot me.

But eventually, I heard a scream that sounded agonizingly familiar: Chassidy’s! I ran towards it. “I’m coming, Chass!” I yelled.

And suddenly, she was there. In front of me. Along with a bunch of zombies. I was about to run forward, but then I realized they weren’t killing her. Black light was coming out of their hands, and slowly infesting the moaning Chassidy.

But then I realized something: They were turning her into a zombie-villager! Just like our plan!

I had a decision to make. Save Chassidy from the zombies, likely get killed, and not take her on our quest, or let the zombies turn her into one of their kind, and risk losing her forever.

But before I could decide, Chassidy’s blonde hair vanished. Slimy green skin took its place. A strangled yell came from her half formed body, and then it was over. Chassidy was a zombie villager.

The zombies parted, and Chassidy shuffled through, right towards me.

I was almost certain she recognized me, but just in case, yelled “Chass, can you hear me?!?!?”

Instead of responding or at least nodding, she walked into me, hurting me.

I yelled out in pain, rubbing my arm. “Wha… what… Chass?”

And then it hit me. Chass was gone. Her mind was gone. All that was left of her was this shell of a zombie.

I had taken a risk, and it had hit me right in the face.

I trudged back to Chassidy’s house, the zombies losing interest and leaving the village alone as the sun started to peek back up over the horizon. How was I going to face Chassidy’s mom? She had told me herself that Chassidy was all they had left!

If only I could just magically turn Chassidy back again, herself and all.

I stopped in my tracks. Magic. Yes…

A potion! I know there was a potion that cured zombie villagers!

But taking one glance into the distance, I could tell that the zombies were gone. I needed someone who knew their potions, and needed them fast.

“Piotiana!” I ran towards the brewing hut, yelling the brewer’s name. “PIOTIANA!”

I hadn’t even reached her hut when she stepped out. She was an old villager, streaks of white in her gray hair, and her wrinkled face always lighting up with a villager’s visit. But her usual cheery nature was subdued. “What do you need?” she said weakly.

I stopped short. “What’s wrong?” I asked her.

She let out a shuddering breath. “Those zombies did something to me. I’m not sure what it was…”

Suddenly I noticed purple circles around her head, like that of a potion. “Have you just brewed something?” I asked her.

Piotiana shook her head. “I’ve felt strange since they came. I had to go lie down.” She admitted.

“Then why are there potion particles around you?” I said slowly and deliberately.

She looked down and gasped. “These particles are from a potion of poison!” she said fearfully.

“The zombies poisoned you?” I roared.

“Potions of poison don’t kill. They just make their victim suffer.” Piotiana shook with anger.

“Wow. These zombies are cruel.” My eyes filled up imagining her pain. “Why?!?”

Then I remembered the reason I was there. “I’m sorry to bother you now, but I need to know what potion cures zombie villagers.”

Piotiana’s eyes shone with confidence. This was her area of expertise. “You need a potion of weakness and a golden apple. I’ll see if I have some of each in my stores.” And she shuffled off to the inside of her musty smelling hut.

I waited for her to come out. And waited. And waited.

Eventually I got restless. Time was crucial to saving Chassidy. I yelled inside “I need to go check in with someone!” and waited. But there was no response, so I shrugged and headed back to Chassidy’s house.

Her mom met me at the door. “Oh, Alex!” she said hugging me. “We’ve been so worried! Where’s Chassidy? Is she OK?”

I stopped. Here was the hard part. “No.” I sighed. “When the zombie’s turned her into a zombie villager, she stopped being herself. She… she tried to attack me.” I swallowed a lump in my throat.

For a minute, we both just stood there, overwhelming loss controlling both of us.

But then I remembered. “But I have the cure!” I said triumphantly. “Piotiana is making me a potion of weakness and a golden apple to turn her back.”

The mother literally crumpled to the ground. “But she’s in a zombie village now,” she wailed. “No zombie villager returns to the same village they used to live in. It’s a part of their programming. The memories are just too strong.”

I knew what I had to do. “Then I’ll go into a zombie village!” I yelled. “Since I didn’t stop Chassidy from being changed, it’s only fair.”

The mom glared at me. “That wasn’t very nice, was it? But yes, it’d be a good idea for you to rescue her.” She pushed Kellen and Micah towards me. “Bye-bye!”

I knew that this was an awful time to ask this, but I needed to. “Um, can Kellen and Micah stay with you during my quest?”

Her mom looked down at my two fearful, innocent siblings and her face softened. “Of course.” she smiled. “We need some more rowdy children around the house.”

And so I set off, fear in my heart as I imagined the zombie village.

Chapter nine

But then I remembered: Piotiana! The potion of weakness and the golden apple! With relief, I realized I didn’t have to go to the zombie-village just yet.

When I got to the hut, there was still no one outside. I shrugged and went in.

The musty smell of old herbs and potions long forgotten hit me in the face as I emerged into a small room. Piotiana was nowhere to be seen.

“Piotiana?” I called.

Suddenly I saw a gray haired villager laying on the ground by her bed. I gasped and ran to her. “Piotiana!” I called to her. Her eyes were closed, and the poisonous particles were almost obscuring her body.

Obviously, this was something stronger than a potion of poison. “I… I’m going to find you some food.” I said to her, though she obviously couldn’t hear me.

But then I noticed a bottle at her feet, alongside a golden apple. The potion of weakness and golden apple!

I glanced around. There was nobody in sight. Could I just take the potion, apple and run for the zombie village? Time was crucial to saving Chassidy.

Not knowing what to do and angered because of it, I ran out of her hut and knocked on the nearest villager door. The blacksmith answered the door.

“Oh, hi Alex.” He said. Almost everyone in the village knew me. “What’s up?”

“Piotiana is very sick.” I told him. “Wha…” he started. “Just trust me and go help her. I have to go.” I interrupted, and ran off, feeling a little better because I didn’t just leave Piotiana to die.

I got to the edge of the village and stopped. Where on earth would a zombie village be? Underground, probably. I started to head for a huge cavern in the earth that was near my house, and stopped. Where underground?

Suddenly, I heard the growls and moans that signified a zombie. I, relieved and terrified at the same time, headed for the sound.

The sounds joined together and made one moan as I neared a huge mountain.

I noticed a large block of cobblestone at the mountain. Fearfully, I broke that. It revealed a door, which I opened.

My whole body shaking, I headed towards the strongest growl I’d ever heard from a zombie.

And then, it opened up into a room.

There were two zombies in the room. But each one was literally FIFTY OR SIXTY BLOCKS HIGH! AND ANOTHER TWENTY WIDE!

I felt like I was going to pass out, but managed to hide in one of the nooks in the room to listen.

The first zombie growled to the second one. But oddly, it made something sounding like the words, “How many did you get?”

The second zombie, which oddly looked like a (huge) zombie villager, and was shorter than the first, responded with, “Only one, sir. A girl. She’s one of us now.”

My heart stopped beating for a moment. Chassidy?

“The villagers have started getting iron doors, sir.” said it. “The one girl we got just waltzed out of her house like she wanted to be taken, sir. There was a Minecraft resident just behind her, sir. But she had a diamond sword so we left her alone, sir.”

In spite of the situation, I was proud of myself. Power to the Minecraft residents!

“WHAT?” the first roared. “ONLY ONE? HOW ARE WE EVER GOING TO BE STRONG ENOUGH TO ELIMINATE THE VILLAGERS, RESIDENTS AND USERS FROM THE FACE OF MINECRAFT WITH ONLY ONE NEW RECRUIT?”

“It was your fault too! We’re the ones that poisoned that old lady.” said the zombie-villager angrily. (Piotiana! I thought.) “The regular zombies led the attack. The zombie villagers just backed it up. Um. Sir.”

The regular zombie responded too quietly for me to hear, anger shaking his voice. In an attempt to hear, I shuffled forward.

And then it saw me. “INTRUDER!” bellowed the huge zombie villager. In an instant, the huge monsters evaporated, and hundreds of zombies took their place, zombie villagers flowing from the huge zombie villager, and normal ones flowing from the huge normal.

I was shocked so badly I couldn’t move. Which zombie villager was Chassidy?

They were coming, about to attack, and then I had an idea.

“You cowards!” I yelled. This stopped the attack for a moment. “You won’t even stand and talk? You just rely on your army to protect you!”

In an instant, the two huge zombies were reassembled. “How dare you call us cowards!” the normal zombie said, marching towards me.

No, no, no! I needed the villager zombie to talk to me. “Speaking for the villager zombie? Afraid he might mess up and spill all your secrets?” I taunted.

The villager zombie stepped forward. “We are loyal to our master! We would never spill his secrets!”

The solution dawned on me. “Oh yeah? Then how do I know that you’re planning to eliminate all villagers, users, and residents from the face of Minecraft? How do I know that the Ender Dragon takes half your health points you earn from killing us? How do I know that you only found one villager in the village last night to turn into a zombie?”

The zombies were shocked to silence.

This gave me a chance to continue. “Because your newest recruit told me. As soon she as was turned to a zombie villager, she told me all your secrets!”

There was a moment’s pause, and then a zombie villager fell from the huge one, literally detaching itself from its own body. “Sir, I did not do such a thing!” said she. And at once, I knew it was Chassidy. I just recognized her voice.

“Then how does she know that?!?” bellowed he to Chassidy, and started attacking Chassidy, turning her red over and over.

Now was my chance! I ran up to the battle, threw the potion of weakness on her, and then fed her the golden apple.

She didn’t turn back right away, so I just dragged her out. The huge zombie villager roared and tried to follow, but he couldn’t get through the doorway, so he started to disassemble.

“No!” the huge normal zombie roared. “No! Let the traitor escape! She’s not worth our trouble. And she won’t remember anything once she’s turned back.”

My hands were shaking so badly I could hardly open the door, but once I managed to, I ran for my life, dragging Chassidy, in a random direction as fast as I could.

Chapter ten

Eventually, we got far enough away from the zombie village for me to regain my composure, breathing hard and letting the still-zombie-villager version of Chassidy slither to the ground.

For a while I just sat there, looking at the weakened Chassidy and crossing my hands (I didn’t have fingers to cross).

Then she started to turn back. First it was just a glimpse of golden hair, reminding me of what she was before.

Then her body appeared, then her legs, then her cracked and worn iron armor. Chassidy was back!

Immediately she sat up. “Help! The zombies are attacking the village!” she howled in my face. Then she took in her surroundings, the grassy meadow, the peaceful mountain, and the calm river. “Or… something.” she said, lying back down.

“Chass? Um… do you remember me?” I asked tentatively.

“Of course I do!” she said. “I remember my mom telling me not to go out and turn myself into a zombie villager, I remember the black shafts of light bursting from the zombie’s hands, I remember the pain… all too well.” sighed Chassidy. “But after that it all kind of blurred together.”

Then understanding dawned on her and she stood up. “Wait… they turned me into a zombie villager, didn’t they? Oh, crud! And it didn’t work because my… my mind left me.” she shivered. “I bet I tried to attack you or something.”

“Well, yeah, you did. But that’s OK, because then I went into your zombie village, provoked the leader, and rescued you! Did you know that the zombies get their strength by all turning into a huge zombie, one for the zombies and one for the zombie-villagers?” I asked her. “Crazy, huh?”

“You did that for me?” she said, touched. I nodded. “That’s what friends are for.” I told her, and we hugged.

“Chass? I’m sorry, but we need to get you back to the village. Maybe this is something I should just do alone.” I didn’t want to say it, but Chassidy was going to be no help and more of a hindrance on this journey if she didn’t have any way to defend herself.

Chassidy’s eyes filled up. “Please? I have good ideas. I’ll think of a way to kill a zombie!”

“There is no way!” I said, starting to get agitated with her drama. “There is no way for you to kill a user-monster without hands to hold a sword! It’s just not in your programming! If you could kill a monster by trading with him, then you’d be fine and dandy, but…” I trailed off. “Trading with him.” I repeated. “Trading with him.”

“Trading with him!” I yelled excitedly.

“Have you gone nuts?” Chassidy asked.

“No! You have, by not thinking of this before!”

Chassidy smiled. “So, are you going to let me in on your little secret?”

I nodded. “First things first, did you bring your seventy two emeralds?” I beckoned for her to come closer, and started to tell her my plan.

The sun started to set. By then we’d made a little shelter of dirt and a wooden door. Since villagers couldn’t sleep in beds, we just brought mine and an extra I’d made long ago.

“If my plan works, then you’ll be able to sleep in a bed easily! Well, as long as we kill a user-monster, not a monster-villager.” I reassured her.

Her eyes filled up. “I’d never kill a zombie villager.” She whispered.

Oh right, her siblings.

“Yeah. Because that would be pointless anyway.” I affirmed.

I climbed into bed. “Wake me up when it’s time.” I said sleepily.

I fell asleep before my head hit the pillow.

In no time at all, it seemed, Chassidy was shaking me, a look of fear on her square face. “It’s time.”

The zombie growls outside reminded me of that terrible night when the zombies got in… but I couldn’t think about that now. I had to be strong, for Chassidy’s sake and my own. So I heaved myself out of bed. “Thanks, Chass.” I murmured.

We looked outside, and there was a zombie near to our door. Swallowing my fear, I opened the door and waited.

Soon, a zombie took the bait and walked through the door. Chassidy blinked, took a deep breath, and closed the door behind him.

Immediately, black light started to come out of the zombie’s hands. “WAIT!” I yelled. And the zombie actually did wait. The black light ceased, and I gave the fear-frozen Chassidy a look. “Do it!” I hissed under my breath to her.

Chassidy’s voice quavered. “I’ll trade you… you…” but then it grew stronger. “I’LL TRADE YOU SEVENTY-TWO EMERALDS FOR ALL OF YOUR HEALTH POINTS!” she yelled.

The zombie mulled it over. “Um…” he growled. But then the treasure in Chassidy’s hand was just too shiny. “Deal!” he yelled.

Instantly, the zombie disappeared, and twelve balls of experience were left in his wake. I instinctively started towards them, but Chassidy held out a blocky hand. “Nope.” She said, and collected the experience.

Suddenly she was bathed in a yellow glow, and when it faded, she was holding a stone sword! Holding it!

“Chass!” I yelped with joy. “You’ve done it! And I’m honestly jealous because now you have more health points than me.”

Chassidy laughed. “Hey, at least I’m not worthless anymore. I can help!”

“You were never worthless,” I murmured.

We high fived for the first time, and then both went to sleep.

Well, not at first. Chassidy didn’t know how to go to sleep. “How do you do that?” she asked, awestruck. “You just close your eyes and you’re off. Me, I close my eyes…” (She did) “And I’m still here!” she reopened her eyes and sighed.

“Gal, have fun closing your eyes all night and not getting anywhere. I’m really, really tired because for the last two nights, I’ve either been letting zombies into the house, helping you not get turned into a zombie villager forever, or fighting zombies that were threatening to kill my baby brother and sister.”

Chassidy suddenly yawned. “What? What did I just do?” she asked, having not yawned before.

But I didn’t hear her. I was already asleep, for the first time in days.

Chapter eleven

The sun woke me up as it peeked over the horizon. I yawned and stretched. I glanced over at Chassidy. She was already sitting up in bed, staring at me.

“Geez girl, your eyes burning a hole through my clothes probably woke me up, not the sun. Give me some peace!” I yawned. “Did you even sleep at all last night?”


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