The two of them headed back down the stairs towards the Colony of the Deep Dark. It was extra spooky this time around, for reasons that neither of them could quite understand. It just had this feeling . . . this —
“Malevolence,” Dad said, sharing a look with Dean. Dean shuddered. He didn’t know what it meant, but it sure sounded like the right word to describe it.
Dow the chasm they could see monsters lining various ridges and holes along the cliff face. Those monsters had definitely not been there before.
“Hey Dad?” Dean asked.
“Yeah, what’s on your mind?” Dad asked back. The two of them watched their surroundings warily, going down the stairs slowly with their weapons gripped hard in their hands.
“I feel like, when we took that quest, we maybe upped the difficulty level,” Dead said. “Look around us. Where did all of these monsters come from? They weren’t here before.”
Dad looked just for show. He’d already noticed and his thoughts were similar.
“Maybe we just shouldn’t think about it. We’re strong and we’ve been doing really well. Even if it is harder, does that matter?” Dad asked.
Dean shrugged in reply. The two of them continued down the stairs, reaching the level that contained the entrance to the mine. The lava flows, once jolly, seemed darker and hotter, the air mustier and streaked with evil.
“So, uh, who wants to go first?” Dean asked.
Dad’s eyes bugged out and he laughed.
“Not it,” Dad laughed and Dean laughed with him, moving forward to walk in front.
Dean led the two of them into the mine.
The two of them moved through the mine. All around them were the growls and snarls of monster mobs. Zombies, spiders, even the clack of skeletons. The monsters mostly hung to the shadows, watching from the distance.
One did come out to challenge them, a big dumb zombie. Dean killed him in an instant.
Moving on and on, they found deposits of coal. Dad mined them while Dean stood watch. Then, past a place filled with water and lava, they found patches of iron. Dean mined them while Dad stood watch.
And still the monsters watched from the shadows, not daring to move forward.
“This feels weird,” Dean said, watching two skeletons stare at them from a narrow side passage. “It almost feels like it’s a trap.”
Dad nodded. “Yeah. Maybe the game getting harder means that the enemies are getting smarter too. Some of them anyways.”
They continued forward.
And Dean took a corner, then gasped. “Dad, there’s redstone!”
Dad jogged up to join him at his side. Giving a quick look around the mine, he pointed to a few other places. “There, and there too!” he said.
They looked to the shadows, and saw monstrous mobs waiting in the darkness. They hadn’t attacked before, so why would they attack now. Dean and Dad decided to take a chance and they moved into position, mining the pockets of redstone.
That was until arrows started flying. Dad was hit, and Dean would have been next if he didn’t act fast and jump out of the way. The two of them looked back and saw that two zombies, three skeletons, and a creeper had come out from the shadows.
“Dad watch out!” Dean shouted.
Dad took notice of the situation and used his trusty Iron axe and slayed one of the two zombies. Dean used the enchanted iron sword and slayed one skeleton while blocking arrows with his shield and shooting two crossbow bolts into the two skeletons’ faces. They fell back onto the ground, flashed red, and died, dropping bones behind them.
“Dad, there is a creeper on your six o’clock!”
Dad was busy attacking the last zombie, so he wasn’t really thinking well. He looked down at his blocky Minecraft arm, trying to find his watch.
“No, Dad, I mean behind you!”
The zombie lunged forward and dad was too busy to do anything about the creeper sneaking up on him! He killed the last one, but couldn’t do anything about the flashing creeper because it was too late. Dad screamed, closing his eyes and getting ready to wake up in a bed who knew where, but Dean shot the creeper in the back with his crossbow just in time.
The flashing stopped and the creeper fell over, dead.
“How did you kill him so fast?” Dad asked, his Minecraft mouth an open block of surprsie.
“That was my sneak attack,” said Dean. “If you sneak attack monsters from behind it does super awesome damage.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” said Dad. “Shall we continue?”
Dean nodded. “Yeah. But I’m running out of inventory. How about you?”
Dad checked his own inventory, noting that by this time it was full of zombie bits, skeleton bits, lots of coal and iron and also railway ties that he’d been hammering off the ground and taking with him as they went.”
“I can still pick up more, but I don’t know for how much longer. We probably should have dumped off all the extra stuff in a chest at the castle before we left. Anyways, no problem yet. But, maybe, let’s try to find those spawners and spend less time mining?”
Dean agreed and they started back up on their way, heading further into the mine.
Winding through his tunnels left, then right, then further down, they found and mined more red stone, some gold, and even a few blocks of lapis lazuli. The whole expedition was making them very well-equipped and ready with every turn.
“Maybe we should leave, dump this all off, and come back?” Dad asked. Dean nodded and they turned to leave. An army of twenty zombies and twenty skeletons stepped out of the shadows and stood to block their exit. They didn’t attack, but they waited.
Now it all made sense.
“The monsters are here to keep us from leaving!” Dean exclaimed. “That’s why there are so many!”
Dad’s face furrowed into a grumpy frown. “That is a whole lot of railroading, that’s what that is. It doesn’t make any sense to the game story!”
Dean shrugged. “It’s here to keep us from exploiting this mission. Look at all the great ore! I bet most of it disappears after we kill the spawners. Same with the monsters.”
Dad groaned. There was so much great ore all around them. If only they had another ten people with them to carry it all out.
“Fine,” he grumped. “Let’s just find these monster spawners and kill them.”
Pushing forward once more, it didn’t take long. One turn left and they found a room full of spider web and cave spiders. The two of them spread out, swinging their swords at the spiders who advanced on them.
“Take that and that!” Dean howled, swirling his blade in fury.
“Have at thee!” cried Dad, getting bitten twice before he killed his furry spider enemy. His health dripped down, the green marker of being poisoned coloring his meter.
He pulled out some pork and ate it.
“Oh crap!” Dean yelled.
Dad spun to take a look. Dean had killed his spider enemy and changed out his sword for flint and steel. Then he’d set fire to the webs surrounding the spawner.
And in doing so, he’d accidentally set fire to himself!
Fire was everywhere and Dad pushed himself back against a wall to avoid its reach.
“Crap crap crap crap,” Dad said. Dean went out next to him and starting stuffing his face with cooked meat.
“So how did being on fire feel,” Dad asked.
“Super not good,” Dean answered. He chuckled. “It wasn’t like real fire pain. But it did feel very very hot. Like sunburn.”
Slowly the flames went out before them and they finally worked there way up to the spawner. Dad took out his pickaxe and delivered its killing blows, withing the black cage shatter into nothing.
“Well that’s one down,” Dean said, smiling.
Dad sighed. “I’m guessing they aren’t far from here. Let’s keep going.”
The two of them moved forward, around one turn and then another. There was another set of webs. Again the two of them fought with sword and fire, pushing their way through to the spawner and shattering it.
Then there was just one more to go. Moving into a large cavern, they saw it. It was a zombie spawner, set into the middle of the room on a raised pillar of rock two tiles high, a three tile circle filled with zombies situated around it.
Around that was ten blocks of web in every direction. Spiders filled the room, hissing and hungering for their blood.
Dad looked at it all and laughed. “Well, this got a whole lot more interesting.”
Dean said nothing, just looking it all over and counting numbers under his breath.
“Dean, what are you doing?” he asked.
Dean smiled. “I’m going to distract them with my flint and steel. You dig a tunnel under them and head to that pillar. If I’m right with my monster theory then the moment you break that spawner all of these extra monsters will be gone and our quest will be complete.”
Dad nodded. “Good plan,” he said. Then he started digging, down one block, then forward one block, over and over again. He leveled out and dug forward towards where the block sat.
Meanwhile, Dean did what Dean’s do best. He set fire to the web then started dancing.
“Hey, idiots, over here!” he yelled, shaking his blocky booty at them. “A hundred spiders and thirty zombies? Pft. Someone send me a reeal challenge.”
The spiders moved forward, and the zombies did as well, but they found themselves stuck in web and unable to move. Dean put up his shield and back up slowly, keeping the spiders from biting him.
“Come on, Dad, hurry up,” he whispered underneath his breath.
The spiders starting to slide around him. One of them landed a poisonous bite and then —
Then they were all gone. The cavern was empty except for a grinning Dad holding a mighty iron pickaxe.
“Did you miss me?” he asked, cocking his head.