More than Mining (Terraria Fanfic) By Errol Elumir
"More Than Mining" (Terraria Fanfic)
By Errol Elumir (http://elumir.com)
Written for NaNoWriMo 2012
Kayle looked towards the sky. It was a dark green, which wasn't the normal colour of the sky. He had seen many other colours, like blue, purple, red when there was a blood moon. But not green. Green was not a normal colour.
He was warming himself by a torch that he had stuck in the ground. The bricks he had built was over him, and he found himself stuck in a hole in the dirt. He had explored this new world for almost two weeks, and he was fortunate to be alive.
Nothing made sense. Nothing was familiar. Nothing worked.
He had to start from scratch. His tools he had brought barely scraped the ground, the weapons he thought would devastate an army barely made a dent.
And his way dice didn't work. That was the disturbing part. Because his way dice were inoperable, he could not go home.
He researched for days, trying to find the proper symbols, and then he discovered it wasn't the symbols that were the problem, he needed four more dice. That didn't make sense, and he didn't even know how he came to that discovery, but that's what he needed. Four more dice.
It had taken him a long time to craft the dice. He wanted to make sure every glyph was perfect, he wanted to make sure that every side was smooth. Making way dice sloppily usually meant a sad and painful trip, and the last thing he needed was more sustained injuries.
What if he died in this world? Could he come back? He did not know, and he did not want to know. He looked at the worn way dice that he brought with him.
They were still serviceable, although worn from use. He had them ever since his father had given him the dice, and he used them on his first outing at sixteen. They were made from bones of the Mummies. He didn't know if that made them more powerful, or if that was why he was able to come to this world, but it did cause him to materialize in a place he had never expected.
And that's just it. All the worlds were the same. Every world that mankind had ever explored, did not differe from one to another. If he could make it back. He coudl be famous, or ridiculued for being a liar.
The sound that was the cross between licking and sneezing came again. Kayle cursed. It was the sound of one of those worms that dug through the ground. And itwasn't the worms he was familiar with. No, this worm had teeth the whole length of his body.
Kayle reached into his sack and took out a serrated knife. He looped that into a rope, and then started spinning it around and around. His ears tensed. He had a flail that he did bring, it was his old trusty Ball of Hurt, but it did nothing here. It just bounced off the first monster he tried it on, and he thought he saw the monster laugh.
But this knife was crafted from materials of this world, and he knew that he would do damage. The sounds came closer, and then switched behind him. kayle did not flinch. he listened again, and the sound of the awful licking sneezing combo came from above.
Kayle then leapt to the side as dirt exploded from the ground and he swung his knife with all his might. The knife cut lacerations into the worms body as it flew through the room. It hit the roof and started digging upward but kayled wrapped the remaining rope around it's tail. The rope was securely fastened to a hook, and the worm was stuck. It writhed back and forth, the teeth on the worms body jabbed and tried to slash about, but it was held fast. It could only go forward not backward.
Kayle sighed and leaned backwards. He hated this one. He hated them all, but at least the other creatures of the night could be fooled by a roof, or even a door. Not the worms. The worms dug through the ground and never gave up. They could sense when another living thing was in the ground and they would turn back and forth, hoping to run into the prey.
Kayle reached and grabbed a spear. This one made from the tooth of these worms. The teeth of the worm were very sharp, and very tough, but the muscles that held them in were simple enought to cut, as long as you didn't impale yourself on the other teeth.
Kayle grabbed hold of his spear and started stabbing at the worm. The beast gave off even louder slurping sneezes, and it's blood oozed and dripped to the floor. It smelled awful and Kayle knew he would have to find another place to hide. No way he could stay in this place now that this thing occupied it.
He would need to make a new rope of course. He had plenty of rope, but rope seemed to be the most useful tool that one could have in this world.
A few of the monster's teeth fell to the ground and Kayle scraped it over to him. He didn't want to go anywhere near the beast nor it's blood. It's still wiggled about, screeching it's slurping screech, and trapped by the hole he was in, with it's tail fastened to the hook.
"See! Maybe you'll evolve to go backwards with your stupid teeth scales, and your stupid mouth of death!" yelled Kayle, sick of this monster, sick of this world, and sick of what he had to do to survive.
He grabbed his things and started digging away from the monster. He could go up into the normal world, but he knew it was still night, and the monsters that occupied the night were far worse than a worm whose skin was all teeth.
Jex was a boy. An ordinary boy, that lived in an ordinary world.
He was fifteen. That meant in one week's time, when he turned sixteen, his graduation would begin. He would take the test, and become one of the people who would contribute to society. He would do the ritual as everyone person, male and female, did when they turned sixteen.
And he was excited.
The morning was the same as always, the light shone in through the window and there were the sounds of the many natury things that occured outside.
Jex didn't particularly like the outside, but that's where most of the things that happened happened. And so he got out of bed, put on his shoes, and walked outside of his room.
His sister came running by. He didn't remember this one's name. There were many children in the building, his parents had a thing for copulating, and so after a while, he started to call the children by different attributes. Considering that the most prominent gene seemed to be brown hair and straight, he ran out of different ways of describing them.
"Hey! Don't run in the halls! It's early. I could bump into you. I could be carrying coffee!" yelled Jex. He didn't drink coffee, and he wasn't the type to get coffee for anyone else, but you never knew. He could have been carrying something precious.
That reminded him, something precious. He did an about turn and went back into his room. He opened up a particular beat up old drawer in a particular beat up old dresser and pulled out his prized possession. It was a set of way dice. He dumped them out of the cloth, velvet bag he kept them in onto his bed.
They rolled about, and fortunately did not fall off. Every person on World 8291 had a set of dice. In fact, every person within the multi-worlds had a set of dice. When one was born, you didn't have way dice, obviously, but a toy one was given as soon as one could grasp things. Although the children were given bigger things because they swallowed anything that they could fit in their mouth.
Jex looked at his dice. He had fashioned them to match the colours of the different precious metals that could be found in the multi-worlds. He had a dice that looked like it was made out of adamantium, another out of cobalt, and another out of mythril. He even had dice that looked like it was made from a unicorn horn. Of course, he didn't have access to any of these materials, but he was good at faking them.
He studied the symbols on the dice. Each way dice had 16 sides, and there were 16 different symbols on those dice. With a set of 8 dice, one could form the coordinates to any of the worlds in the multi-worlds.
And in one week's time, it would be his turn. He had waited for this all his life. It would be his turn to find a new world. To find a new world, and make it his own.
He heard a knock on the door from below. It was bound to be Pan.
Dill answered the door. She was Jex's mother and was up early making pancakes for the rest of the family. There were a number of people in the house, and so pancakes were the normal breakfast food of champions.
Pan came bounding in, "Hi Mrs. Herm! Is Jex here?"
"He's upstairs still in bed, Pan. And good morning to you!"
"Thanks, Mrs. Herm! I'll go find him!"
"Do you want any pancakes," called up Dill.
"Of course! Thanks a bunch, Mrs. Herm!" shouted Pan as he ran to Jex's room.
"I'm not sleeping," said Jex as Pan bounded in.
"Guess what! Guess what?" said Pan.
"You got another way dice for your set."
"I got another way dice for my set!" said Pan as he took a small leather bag from his pocket and dumped the contents on Jex's bed.
"You keep swapping your dice, Pan. Why can't you settle on a design you like?" asked Jex.
"Because I keep finding cooler ones!" said Pan.
"But look! None of your dice match anymore! They are of different designs. Some are even different sizes! They aren't aestheitcally pleasing anymore!"
"Like I worry about that! look! This one is made out of BONE! Out of BONES!"
"Oh? Jats has a set of way dice made form bones as well. In fact, they're made out of wizard bones, if I remember."
"Well, sure, but these are made from the bones of a fairy!"
"Uh, sure. You do realize that all fairies are is dust. That's it. Light fairy dust. They don't have bones."
"They do! Look! See? That's why these bones sparkle," said Pan.
"Whatever, let's go downstairs," said Jex as he went downstairs.
He was met by his family, all seated around a picnic table one would normally reserve for parks and school cafeteria's. Jex took his normal seat, and narrowly missed one of the younger children dropping syrup on his lap.
"Thanks so much, Mrs. Dill," said Pan as he squeezed between two of Jex's younger siblings.
"It's like an orphanage in here," said Jex.
"Enough with your complaining, Jex. Just eat up. You have to get ready for next week you know." said Mrs. Dill.
"I know. I was hoping that Pan and I could train in the underworld today," said Jex.
Mrs. Herm looked at her husband, Hyrim Herm. He just looked back and gave a look that could have been knowing, but it came off as confused.
"You know I don't like it when you boys go down into the underworld."
"I won't bring any more demons back, honest, " said Pan.
Pan was known for not doing bright things at inappropriate moments. He gulped down some orange juice, and then laughed it out when a particular younger sibling of Jex's spit up syrup on her father's shirt.
Hyrim took this in stride and stood up.
"I have to go to work, seems that they found a particularly large source of adamantium. Strange for it to be bunched up like that," said Hyrim.
"Oh! How large?" asked Jex.
"I think it's larger than this house," said Hyrim.
"That's crazy!" said Pan. "Are you serious! I thought that most mineral patches never exceeded about, oh, 20 feet wide and up!
"Well, it seems they found the jackpot. So I better go."
"Daddy, what do they do with adamantium?" asked Milly. She was one of the younger siblings, and for some reason, Jex remembered her name. Maybe it was because her hair was never straight, for she had a strange habit of cutting her hair to match that of plants around her.
"Well, just like any metal, they use it for crafting," said Hyrim.
"Tools, weapons," said Hyrim.
"Clocks!" said a sibling.
"Clocks are usually made out of gold an dsilver," said another sibling.
"Why can't you make clocks out of adamantium?" asked Milly.
"Adamantium is too precious for just clocks! you can make drills out of them! Weapons! Armour! Imagine all the wonderufl things you can do with adamantium! It's the strongest, most powerful metal in the world, and it glows!" said Pan.
"I want a glowing clock!" replied Milly.
"I'm done now, mom, can we go to the underwolrd?" asked Jex.
"I dunno..." said Dill.
"Sure, go son. Just remember, don't die ok? At least bring soemthing if you fall in the lava," said Hyrim as he left the table.
"Awesome! Let's go!" said Pan as he leapt up and out of the kitchen.
Mrs. Herm gave a strained look but said nothing. She grabbed a bag from the counter and gave it to Jex.
"Lunch! Awesome mom!"
"Are you going to stay in this world?" asked Mrs. Herm.
"Of course not! You know that the underground is boring here! I think Dad and his friends, when they took it over, completely cemented it with tunnels and proper lighting!"
"I know, that's why I like it!"
"There's even doors and I think dad draine all the lava! How on earth did he do that?"
"Patience dear. He had a lot of patience," said Mrs. Herm.
"Well, i don't see how he was able to get a job if all he did was drain lava. Anyway, thanks a bunch mom. I will see you tonight.
Dill Herm gave a small smile and started to clean up another child who decided milk was for wearing.
"Wait, I want to go to the dungeon first," said Pan.
"What? We got permission to go the underworld, and you want to go to the dungeon? I hate the dungeon. I hate those spike things that swirl about!"
"I need to get some keys! I ran out of golden keys!" said Pan.
"Look, I'll lend you some of mine," said Jex.
"No, I owe you keys from the last time we went out, and then when I wanted to go replenish keys from the dungeon, you said no!" said Pan.
"I hate the dungeon." said Jex.
"Come on, I don't like going there alone! You know that! Besides, it's good training. When you get to your world, you will have to do the dungeon as well!"
"Yes, but at least I'll make a decent tunnel to get there!" said Jex.
"Oh, this one isn't so bad," said Pan as he started walking down a hill. The dungeon was located on the complete opposite side of where they were now. Well, not exactly true. Every world had a border, and after the border was end.
It was hard to explain, there was land and material, but at that point, the world ended. There was the sea that bordered it on each side, but even then, if you could cross the sea, there was still no further to go. It was as if the sea was infinite.
That was impossible, of course, however no one could traverse the sea on either side of the world. And at the end of it, no one bothered to try. One man, his name was Umber, set upon a three year journey to discover what was beyond the sea.
He came back after ten years and went to the local inn, which had changed hands and locations after that many years.
The townsfolk remembered him, and gathered around, regaling him with questions, offering him drink to talk. After he drank what seeemed a keg of ale, and ate enough rations to feed an orphanage, he uttered "nothing."
He then took his stuff, went to the way gate, and portaled out. No one saw him again. And no one dared to cross the sea.
Jex grumbled the whole way. It was about a three hour journey to get to the dungeon, and Jex knew that he would then need to listen to Pan talk about whatever was on his mind for the next three hours.
"I want to make some way die out of dungeon stone," said Pan.
"Why?" asked Jex, not know why he was rising to the bait.
"Because they won't get destroyed if you bomb them!"
"Why would you bomb your way die?" asked Jex.
"Look, what happens if I put my die in the bag where I keep my bombs? Hunh? And then what happens if those bombs go off, and destroy my die!"
"They'll destroy you too. Besides, you can always get another set of die. What's the big deal?"
"What's the big deal! You know how long it takes me to make the intricate way die I've been making?" asked Pan.
"Yes, I do. Because you tell me. And then, when you get tired of them, you make another set. Or you find one in a market and use that die. Or maybe you then decide you want to mix and match your die. Look, you're obsessed with them," said Jex.
"Of course I'm obsessed! I'm no more obsessed than you. We all love our die, and after our first foray into a new world, we can start making ones out of materials we mine ourselves! At least, the material from the worlds we explored."
"Well, are you ready for next week?" asked Jex.
"Of course I'm ready! Aren't you? I see how you've been fondling your way die. Sickening if you asked me. Anyway, I hope to go to the Unknown."
"Whatever," said Jex.
"I'm serious! I will find the Unknown! And I will go!" said Pan.
"I'm not listening to you. All you do is talk about the Unknown!"
"But it would be awesome! IMagine! A world that isn't familiar! A world with different creatures, different beasts! A world that has different minerals, different materials!"
"A world that would probably kill you because you have no idea what to do!"
"How different can it be that we can't use the skills we have here?" asked Pan.
"How would I know, but it's a myth."
"It isn't a myth, look. How many worlds have been explored."
"I don't know, I never pay attention when we get to those parts in math.
"There have been over, 3 million worlds explored throughout the years. In the meantime, there are over 4 billion worlds. Can you believe that? 4 billion! One of those worlds is bound be unknown."
"So you hope to find the one world, in the 4 billion, that is unknown. That is pretty astronomically against your odds," said Jex.
"I will find it," said Pan.
"I don't want to hear about it, it's all you talk about," said Jex.
"Fine. That's why I build alternate weapons." said Pan.
"I know," said Jex.
"Don't you want to see what I am in the middle of crafting?" asked Pan.
"No." said Jex.
"No it isn't. The last time, you wanted to make the most deadliest weapon you could think of, with only the materials that we could afford, which is copper materials. And then you took a sword, a knife, a spear, a boomerang and then you melded them together! That's not a weapon, it was a mess! Or a really awkward rake," said Jex.
"Don't forget I put in that gel slime so that it could catch fire if someone tried to steal it," said Pan.
"No one would try to steal it! Anyway, it was unuseable. Why did you add the boomerang?"
"So it would come back if I threw it!"
"You are a moron," said Jex.
"Oooh! If we get some keys, maybe we could go check out a floatin island!"
"Well, if you want, but I want to go to the underworld!"
"Well, yes, but what on earth do you need?"
"I want to get a pail of lava," said Jex.
"Lava, why don't you get some from market. Or at least from the inn. Or the lava well?"
"Because I want to get it myself," said Jex. "Why on earth do we have a lava well anyway?
"Because you're dad is weird," said Pans.
Hyrim Herm did a number of different things to the world they occupied. This was his world he discovered when he was sixteen, and since then, he had been cultivating and making it to his liking. Every child that turns sixteens, as a rite of passage, gets a chance to discover one of the worlds out the 4 billion that are out there, and make it there own. After awhile, they start to mine their world, or if their world is exhausted, help out mine other worlds and the development continues.
"There will be a time, you know, when the worlds run out," said Jex.
"It won't be our time, "said Pans.
"But what will happen then?" asked Jex.
"Someone was listening in philosophy class. Good grief, that class is boring. All they do is think about dumb questions we can never find the answers too," said Pans.
"Seriously though, what happens when the worlds run out? Is that it? That's boring, don't you think?
"No. Talking about it is boring. Come, let's talk about what you plan on doing next week. Are you going to roll the die, and get lucky? Or do you hope to just pick a combination out of thin air. Do you have a particular lucky code you've been dying to try out?"
"No. I know Milton likes playing with combinations of the glyphs, but I don't care."
"Did you see the last one he made? It kinda made the shape of a turtle. It was cool. Or maybe it was a gastipod that he was going for."
"Well, whatever. I'm just going to randomly generate a world code."
"That's boring! I want to make sure I don't have the same symbols as this world. Or my world for that matter. It was a small one, and I'm sure that all the worlds in my code area are small worlds."
"I think that itself is random too," said Jex.
"I don't think so! You've seen the worlds around mine with the same code area! They're all small. And they're boring. And I don't think they even have any floating islands in them!"
"Oh come on," said Jex.
"Heck, my mom and dad completely mined out the world in three years! Good grief, it was pitiful. In fact, they didn't even bother any more because the world was too boring."
"And then you all came over here to bother me," said Jex.
"Well, you're dad sure is a crazy decorator," said Pan.
"That's for sure." said Jex.
"I don't think my dad has an ounce of creativity in him. He made his first house out of dirt, and then it just stayed that way."
"But he has patience and determination. It's impressive to mine out a world in three years. Even a small one."
"Ya... great. He has patience. That's totally exciting. 'What can we do tonight for fun?' 'Why not wait, and see what happens.' It was snoozeville growing up in my family," said Pan.
Pan continued to talk about his family, growing up in a small world, and how the pancake he had was a bit lumpy. Jex started to think ahead to a week from today. It was going to be his very first world. A world which had not been touched by anyone. A world that he could call his own.
"Can I join you?" asked Pan.
"I said no!" said Jex, wondering how Pan knew he was thinking about his new world.
"Look, we will get things done sooner!"
"I want to do things on my own!" said Jex.
"Jex, you get bored and you know it! I remember the last time you wanted to go to the underworld on your own. How long did you last? A half an hour until you came back and told me to go with you," said Pan.
"I found a statue you would like," said Jex.
"No you didn't, you were bored. Admit it. I provide entertainment and frivolity for you! What DOES your mom put in her pancakes. Why do I keep burping up pancake taste. It lasts forever, I tell you!"
Jex didn't like to admit it, but Pan was right. Jex didnt like being alone for too long. He liked to hear Pan talk so that he didn't have to think too much about, well, all the things that he thought about. Most of it being anxious about the new world. However, he wanted to try something without help from anyone. Without help from his myriad of siblings, without help from his mom, without help from his dad.
His dad made this world. His dad made an amazing world. There were decorations, there were streets, there were all sorts of crazy, wild and inventive things in the world that his dad had crafted. It was the main reason the most people wanted to move to the world that Hyrim had built. No matter where you looked, there would be another sculpture, another building, another landscape he had designed. You could walk for hours and find the most amazing things.
Jex wanted to make his own things. Jex wanted to do something without the shadow of his father. But then again, he didn't know if he could do that without at least someone to talk to. Or at least fill the void of silence.
He group up in a world occupied with children. He didn't like silence. He tried it, and it was awful. For some reason, he enjoyed the din of noise around him. Pan did a good job of making a din.
"You know what is my favourite thing your dad made?" asked Pan.
"The sky castle." said Jex.
"The sky castle," said Pan. "Why do you keep guessing my answers?"
"Becuase you keep repeating questions," said Jex.
"Good grief, I'm 15 years old, I don't have a lot of stories to tell yet!" said Pans.
"Did you know we have to write an essay on our experience of the new world?" asked Jex.
"I plan on doing mine orally," said Pans.
"I don't think you can do that," said Jex.
"Yes, you can. I asked the teacher, and she said as long as I had notes to hand in after the presnetation, I can do it orally." said Pans.
"That's not really fair to the teacher, is it?" asked Jex.
"What do you mean by that?"
"trapped in a room with you, going on about how you found a rabbit and how you killed it because you were trying to grab a hold onto an acorn you saw and then you fell on it."
"That happened last year! And it won't happen in the new world!"
"But something like that will happen, and then we will hear about it for the next five years!"
"It was a funny story!"
"Pipee started to cry when you told that story," said Jex.
"Well Pipee cries at everything. Especially when you spurned her advances."
"Pipee liked you!" said Pans.
"Shut up, she did not!"
"You wanted to marry her, didn't you?" teased Pans again.
"Shut up! Look. Fine. If you shut up about Pipee. In fact, if you never bring her up again, we can explore a world together."
"What? Are you serious?!" asked Pans.
"yes, I am totally serious." said Jex.
"Then I'm in! I will never bring up her name again! This is totally awesome!" said Pans. And he started to go on about the plans he had for the new world. Jex kept his mouth shut, worrying about what he had agreed to.
"My world had a dungeon with this sickly, pink looking bricks," said Pans.
Jex looked at the dungeon before him. The bricks were silver, and his dad, of course, had fixed it so that it was easier to access, and it was a lot more prettier. He couldn't do anything about the monsters that lived in the dungeon, but he could at least make it easier to travel. The first thing his dad did was design the entrance into a huge hallway, with statues the lined the steps up to the dungeon walls. He placed lampposts on either side to light the way at night, and along the top of the dungeon were gargoyles along the parapets. The shape of the entrance was of a skull.
"Your dad is cool," said Pans.
"Yes, yes, I've heard that many times, " said Jex.
"I mean, look at the eyes on this. They glow! Red! How did he do that?" asked Pans.
"Torches. You know? They provide light," said Jex.
"How on earth did he get enough silver to line the old dungeon? He must have had to dig for years! And I remember one of the sky castles he made being made with pure adamantium. How do you DO that?"
"Well, he has perseverence, like your dad," said Jex.
"Well, the most my dad could make was a bucket. With a hole in it."
Jex climbed the steps of the dungeon and entered the maw of the skull. The opening room was huge, with a large pit in the center.
"Ugh, I hate this part. You know, everytime I come here, and I throw something into the hole, I can still feel my stomach sinking as if I just jumped down," said Pan.
"Why are you throwing things into the hole? What if we land on whatever it is you are throwing?" asked Jex?
"It's harmless! Besides, it's for science experiments!"
"What science experiments do you do where you don't see the results? How is that a science experiment?"
"I time it to see how long it takes to hit the water below." said Pans.
"And, what have you found out?" asked Jex.
"Well, I'm too impatient to wait that long," said Pans.
"Ok, you jump first," said Jex.
"Oh! I didn't bring any potions of featherfall, so... uh... you jump first."
"That doesn't make any sense," said Jex.
"Look, I hate the whole falling thing." said Pans.
"And I hate the dungeon," said Jex.
"Fine, let's jump together," said Pans and he grabbed a hold of Jex and threw themselves in.
The darkness ate them up and Jex couldn't see anything.
"Couldn't you wait for me to turn on the lights? My father installed them, remember?" yelled Jex as he tried to yell above the noise of Pan screaming.
"AAAAAAA" screamed Pans.
"Would you stop that?" yelled Jex.
It was another five minutes until they splashed into a small pool below. Pans began coughing and spluttering and Jex pulled himself out of the pool.
Pans soon followed. He lay on the floor as Jex turned the lights on. The Dungeon was area was lit around them. There were two doors that led to the east and west, and in the middle of the room was a small pool they had landed in. Pans was still on the floor coughing.
"I hate falling." said Pans.
"You know, you wouldn't have drunk so much water if you stopped screaming. I think my dad has to refill the pool every single time you jump down here.
"Come here so I can spit up on your shoe," said Pans.
"As soon as you are done being a baby, let's get this over with," said Jex.
Pans got up and took out his miner's hat and put it on. He flipped the switch and light was barely visible in the already pre-lit room.
"You don't need that, you know. My dad has the whole place lit. It's a pretty sorry excuse for a dungeon, if you ask me."
"And yet you don't like coming," said Pans.
"Well, it still has those swirly spike balls. I hate those," said Jex.
A small moan came from one of the doors. Jex took out a flail, and pans took out his sword.
"You know, swords don't work all that well on skeletons, and considering there are nothing but skeletons here, there's no point in taking out that sword." informed Jex.
"Hey, I am here for some golden keys, and for some inexplicable reason, they're inside dungeon slimes. And swords work great against dungeon slimes. You hit it with a hammer, or a flail, or a mace, and hwat happens? Dungeon slime guts all over you, and a key that may get lost in some crevice. No thanks. You take care of the skellies, I will take care of the slimes."
"Oh thanks, the skellies appearance rate is about 5 times that of a slime! You just want me to do all the work!"
"Hey man, I just want to pay you back for all those keys I borrowed."
"Just make sure we get enough of them so we don't have to get back for awhile," said Jex as they walked towards the door.
Jex pulled on the solid oak door, which opened up to a long hallway before them. Lamps had been installed the whole way down, and from the end, they could see a parade of skeletons running towards them.
"I don't know where they keep coming from," mumbled Jex. "Everytime we come, there is this horde of skeletons, and they just charge after you. HOw do they all come? Where do they come from? Why are they so intent on killing us?"
"You know, you really enjoy that philosophy class, don't you. Just kill them." said Pans.
Jex sighed and grabbed his flail in both hands. He swung it around and it crashed neatly into the skull of one of the skeletons, rebounded, and hit the second skeletong in the rib cage. The skeletons went down without much of a fight and in a few minutes, Jex was surrounded by a pile of bones.
"How do you like that, stupid animated bones of death!" screamed Pans.
"That made no sense," said Jex.
"I wish we had dragons down here," said Pans.
"Dragons don't exist, and besides, how would it fit? Why would it be in a dungeon for that matter? Dragons like to fly, right? Where would it go? How would it get out? It's not like there's much room for a wingspan down here," said Jex.
"You are utterly without imagination. Are you sure you are your father's son?" asked Pans.
"I've wondered that myself," said Jex.
"I'm kidding, you are almost as creative as him!" said Pans.
"Ya, thanks for that," said Jex. They continued to walk down the corridor until the got to a bigger room. There used to be spikes in this room, all laid down to cause innumerable holes in the unwary adventurer, but Hyrim had them all removed. blue candles lit the wall on either side, as well as shelves for books.
"I don't suppose your dad left any spell books behind, did?" asked Pans as he looked at the number of shelves that lined the room.
"Oh probably, but I don't want to go and check all of them out," said Jex.
"I want to get a spell book that helps me cast fireballs," said Pans.
"I thought you had one," said Jex.
"My mom took it away," said Pans.
"What did you burn?" asked Jex.
"Everything," said Pans.
"We're not getting you a fireball spellbooks," said Jex.
"You sound like my mom," said Pans.
"Your mom is smart." said Jex.
"Aha! I hear one!" said Pans as he ran off towards a door. Jex heard it too, it was the familiar squelching sound of a dungeon slime. Pans opened the door, saw two of the slimes, squeeled with glee and started hacking them in the most inefficient way one could hack slimes, and that was a feat in itself.
"You know, they are easy to kill, couldn't you just hack them into quarters, it goes much faster!"
"It's more fun this way! HAVE AT YOU! BWA HA HA HA HA HA HA!" laughed Pans as he continued to cleave away at the slimes before him.
After ten minutes, there was nothing but two quivering masses of jelly at Pans feet, with a golden key in each.
"See? This way, I don't lose the key. If I went for quickness, who knows where these keys could have gone?"
"It's not that hard to find, you know," said Jex.
"Ever pee on ice cubes?" asked Pans.
"WHAT?" asked Jex.
"You know, pee on an ice cube. It's awesome, because it's like you're holding a death ray and it slowly eats away at the ice cube until it melts into nothing. And the main goal I have is to see how many ice cubes I can melt."
"You're sick," said Jex.
"Hacking away at the slimes is similar. I don't want to destroy it immediately! I can watch it slowly melt into nothing!"
"You know what? You keep your urine habits to yourself. Besides, I see a skeletal wizard down there flinging spells at us," said Jex as he readied his sword.
A blue shimmering ball of fire sailed through the air and Jex sliced at it with his weapon. The blue fire dissapated and Jex ran to the wizard before he coudl send another one off. In two quick strokes, the bone wizard was incapacitated.
"You're quite good at this, I don't know why you're scared of the dungeon," said Pans.
"I'm not scared of the dungeon. I just don't like it! It's boring, it's dull, and then the spiky things come."
"Ya, ya, I haven't seen a spiky thing yet."
"Leap!" yelled Jex as he nudged Pans. Pans turned around and jumped as an energy bolt raced t through the room. The bolt passed by and underneath them and continued down the room into the next corridor.
"I hate those too," said Jex.
"I heard you can trap those things in a ledge," said Pans.
"And then what?" asked Jex.
"I dunno, it's trapped. Maybe you can do experiments on it," said Pans.
"Like how much it will hurt if you touch it?" asked Jex?
"Maybe it can be a new energy source! It never seems to run out!" said Pans.
"Well, you keep working on that then," said Jex as he continued down the corridor.
"I wish we could fight a dragon," said Pans.
"I know. Enough. How many more keys do you need?" asked Jex.
"I want twenty more," said Pans.
"Twenty! Good grief, we'll be here for hours!"
"Then quit making sarcastic comments and let's go kill some slimes!" said Pans.
"And I can kill off the skeletons?" asked Jex.
"That's the spirit!"
Jex scowled. He and Pans were seated at the picnic table of the Herm household, surrounded by children. The noise was a bit louder than a theatre hall, but Pans seemed to be enjoying the commotion. Jex's mom had put on some rabbit soup and some vegetables on the table and they were enjoying a hearty lunch.
"How was the underworld?" asked his mother.
"We didn't go," said Jex.
"I did get almost 30 keys from the dungeon though!" said Pans.
"That's nice. I like the dungeon better, it's a bit more safe. No lava!" said Mrs. Herm.
"We had lunch even, mom, and yet Mr. 'I like hot lunches' didn't want to have your sandwhiches," said Jex.
"Hey, we've been fighting all morning and afternoon! I don't want to have a cold, manky sandwhich! And I knew your mom would be making something awesome!" said Pans.
"We're still going to the underworld though!" said Jex.
"Yes, be careful dear. Will you be back in time for supper?" asked Dill Herm.
"Yes! Definitely," piped up Pans.
"No! We won't, sorry mom. Maybe we'll take dinner at Pans house too!"
"Uh, no way. My mom cooks like she hasn't figured out the difference between rocks and things that are edible. If we can help it, I say we eat here," said Pans.
"Can I come?" asked Milly.
"No, you can't" said Jex.
"It's too dangerous, " said Mrs. Herm.
"When can I go to the underworld?" asked Milly.
"When you can forge your own weapon," said Jex.
"I have a weapon," said Milly as she pulled out a rock. "See? It's pretty too."
"And will you throw it?" asked Jex.
"No! I will just show it to the bad things, and then they will see how pretty it is, and then they will go away."
"That's wonderful," said Jex.
"Sorry, dear, you can't go to the underwolrd yet. But don't worry, mommy will take you sometime, said Mrs. Herm.
"I want to see the underworld!"
"But there are demons down there, dear. And they fling fire, and nasty death spells!" said her mother.
"I wanna see deaths spells!" said Milly.
"There's also bone worms!" said Pans.
"Yuk! Hate worms," said Milly.
"And they're everwhere! They climb out of the walls, and then they fly through the air, and then they poke you!" said Jex.
"I hate worms! Don't talk about worms!"
"Have you seen the worms that go through this house? They sometimes come through the floor!" teased Jex.
"MOM!!!" screamed Milly.
This was followed by more screaming as the children realized it was now time for more loudness. Mrs. Dill let out a sharp bark and scolded them. Soon the din died down and things were to about the normal rock concert levels.
"Jex! Don't tease your sister. You know she hates worms," said Mrs. Herm.
"I hate worms," said Milly.
"Yes, mom," said Dex.
"Mrs Herm, I hear so many stories of Mr. Herm. But did you have your own world?" asked Pans.
"I did," said Dill.
"And what was it like?" asked Pans.
"It was a small world. However, it had the most beautiful sky islands. I went and decorated one of the sky islands so that it took up half the sky. Mr. Herm, on seeing, fell in love with it and then with me. And then we got married."
"Eeeeewwwww! Marriage!" screamed the children.
"We brought over the small sky island to this world, piece by piece. It's right about our house, in fact, but only he and I can get there."
"I want to go to secret sky island," said MIlly.
"There are worms, there," said Jex.
"There are not!"
"Goodness gracious me, Jex Franklin Herm. Could you please finish up and go to that underworld you've been meaning to get too?"
"Yes mom," said Jex as he finished off a last bit. He looked at milly and mouthed worm, and milly through a carrot at him. Jex laughed, popped the carrot in his mouth and went to his room. Pans followed.
"Let's go already, what are we doing now?" asked Pans.
"I wanted to get my bucket so that I can get some lava."
"Why on earth are you so set on lava?" asked Pans.
"I want to make some obsidian way dice," said Jex.
"are you serious? I thought you had some dice. Why do you need obsidian ones too?"
"Because I don't have any, and I saw something my dad had. He had four of them."
"Four obsidian dice? Really? That's not enough for a set."
"No, that's isn't, but he did, the thing is, they were ten sided die."
"What? Why does he need that?"
"I dunno. I asked him about it, and then he gave me a long lecture on probability and whatnot. And then after an hour of this, I had to go to bed. Every time I approached the subject, he didn't say anymore other than what he told me." said Jex.
"So what are you trying to say. You want to make the way die because..."
"Because I want to see what happens when I use them!"
"Oh! So you're trying to find the Unknown too!" said Pans. "Ha! I knew it! And you were making fun of me."
"Look, of course we want to find the Unknown. All of us do. But I'm not getting my hopes up like you, and I don't go around announcing it to every person I can! Remember, the chances of finding one are one in 4 billion! That may as well be never!"
"Not really, remember, 3 million planets have been found already, so we can discount those."
"Oh good, the let's round down to 1 in 3 billion. OH! MUCH BETTER!"
"Let's just get your stupid way die. But I want some too!"
"Sure, get as much lave as you want!"
"Will you make them for me?" asked Pans.
"No, make your own!" said Jex.
"You make better shapes than I do," said Pans.
"These are 10 sided! I have never made ten sided die before," said Jex.
"Well then you will have more pracitce if you make mine too!" said Pans.
"Tell you waht, I made some practice ones already, how about you take those," said Jex.
"What did you make them out of," asked Pans.
"Uh, just normal wood," said Jex.
"I want obsidian."
"Make it yourself!"
The hole to the underworld was called the hellevator. It was a long and narrow passage that was dug down to the very bowels of the world itself. The world Herm had acquired was a rather large world, and the time it took to reach the underworld was almost an hour of straight falling.
"I can't believe we have to take the hellevator," said Pans.
"It's not so bad, at least you can't scream for an hour," said Jex.
"Couldn't we just walk?" asked Pans.
"It would take us almost all day to do that. You know that! And besides, it still requires some falling," said Jex.
"But not a whole hour of falling! That can't be good for the constitution," said Pans.
"Look, just take a deep breath, and before you know it, equilibrium sets in, and you don't know that you're falling," said Jex.
"I don't see why no one has figured out how to teleport like the mirror. Why can we only get back to the portal. Why can't we teleport anywhere we want?"
The mirror was a special magical device that teleported a person back to the original start location of every world. Just like taking a way gate with way dice will let you appear in a start point of each world.
Pans grumbled the whole walk to the hellavator. It wasn't close to the house. WIth the children running about, they didn't want to risk the chance of a child finding it by accident. So the hellevator was hidden somewhat, and also locked behind some special doors. Of course, it didn't help that there was a sign on the door which read, "hellevator. Keep out".
"Your dad is a great designer, but he sure couldn't hide anything," said Pans.
"I remember you and desperately trying to get past this door," said Jex.
"I remember digging around it, beside it, but I think your dad laced it so that it was dungeon block, right?"
"Yes, and so none of our tools could get through dungeon block," said Jex.
"What on earth is dungeon block made out of anyway? Bombs don't work on it, and only the strongest of tools can make it through. I think that's the biggest worry I have of starting anew world. It's starting over. We aren't allowed to take any of our pre made tools or weapons. And we can't even take any gifts we were given... or took from our parents," said Pans.
"Well, I don't think your dad would like it if you tooke his adamantium drill," said Jex.
"But that thing is totally sweet! Do you see how fast it cuts through stuff?" asked Pans.
"Whatever, let's just go to the underworld," said Jex as he unlocked the door and entered a small room. He closed the door, turned on a small switch that was to the side, and then unlocked a second door. He and jex went through, and closed this second door.
The room the entered was not that large, enough to fit five to ten people if they were very thin. An iron fence was around a hole in the center of the room, and as one looked down, there were lights that ligned the hole and went on forever.
"Did you throw rocks down here too?" asked Jex.
"No, I hate coming here. Not only is it claustrophobic, but then you get that urge to jump."
"You get the urge to jump? You hate falling," said Jex.
"I do, but then it's just so... close and tight in here, that you want to escape as soon and as fast as possible and down that hole is the quickest way!"
"I guess, anyway, you ready?
"No, I hate falling."
"Look, hold your breath. And don't throw up on me this time."
"I was 8 when that first happened," said Pans.
"And you were 9, 10 and 11 when it kept on happening."
"Well, I'm better now." said Pans.
"You never know if a resurgence would happen. Come on, you go first this time," said Jex.
"No! We do it together," said Pans.
"You can't push me in this time, there's a fence. Besides, if you throw up, I want to be above you!"
"I won't throw up," said Pans.
"Well, I don't want to risk that. You go first. Look, you want me to make you obsidian dice too. So you go first!"
Pans looked into the hole. It wasn't dark, not by a long shot. But he thought he'd prefer it was dark. If it was dark, then he coudln't see how incredibly deep and bottomless it was. With it being completely lit, he could see that no matter how far he looked, he couldn't see the bottom. Even though he knew it took an hour to fall, it wasn't reassuring that he couldn't see how far an hour was when it came to holes.
He opened the gate on the fence, and stood on the side. He heard noises come from the hole, which was perfectly normal. There were all manner of monsters that lurked in the underground, and the worst of them were in the underworld.
Actually, that wasn't true at all. The worst of the monsters were in the corrupted lands, and in the hallowed lands, which ran all the way through the worlds. Jex's father made sure to cleanse the area to more restricted parts of the world so that his children didn't have to face them. The creatures the inhabited those areas were much too hard for Jex or Pans, and neither of them wanted to test their mettle on them yet.
The underworld we of a difficulty they both could handle, together, as long as they watched each other's back.
Pans looked down the hole again, just to reassure himself that it couldn' t possibly get any deeper. He wasn't reassured. Jex poked him.
"I'm going! I'm going!" said Pans.
"We don't have all day," said Jex.
"Maybe I need more golden keys," said Pans.
"No, just jump!"
Pans held his breath, and walked off the side. He fell into the corridor of light. Jex followed right after.
Pans closed his eyes. This didn't help at all, because all the nastiness happened in his stomach, but he felt maybe if he closed his eyes then he wouldn't see the rushing of the lights go faster and faster by him, indiciating that doom was soon approaching.
Jex was correct though, after a few moments, equilibrium did set in, and there was nothing but waiting that was left. He looked up and saw that Jex was just a few feet above him. He reached up, grabbed Jex's foot, and pulled him down to his level.
"See? Not so bad," said Jex.
"Ya, ya, whatever. I still hate falling." said Pans.
"However, this is the best way to travel! We don't have to worry about a thing!"
"Except landing," said Pans.
"Look, we land in water. Besides, you know we wouldn't be able to do this unless our parents gave us the magical horseshoes."
"We wont' have them in the new world you know. They strip us of everything. That means falling is DEATH! Unlike now. We will have to make our own pools to fall in. We will have to find our own golden horseshoes. And where are those kept? In the floating islands! We have to build our own ladders to those islands!"
"Are you actually worried?" asked Jex.
"No, not really. I was of course. I was worried about doing it alone, but if we're doing it together, heck, we'll have the world conquered in a week!"
"Well, there is one good thing. You ARE good at making potions," said Jex.
"Ha! That I am! I am AWESOME at making potions," said Pans.
And Pans was right. He wasn't competent at a lot of things, fighting and surviving being one of the more vital things, but he was good at making potions. In fact, that was probably the only reason he survived at all was because of the number of healing potions he did make. Jex knew it would be smart to bring him along, but he couldn't admit that to himself. He had to be forced into doing so. But jex was relieved, it would be easier to take on a world with someone else.
"When do you think we should take on the Wall of Flesh?" asked Pans.
"Don't you think you're getting ahead of yourself? I don't think we can just nonchalantly take on the wall of death! First we have to establish our little village you know. Make sure that the clones find a place to stay, and then we need to build our house. I want to have a decent house to stay in and not some dirt shack."
"Hey! I don't have a dirt shack!"
"Yes, you do. Every time we stay somewhere for the night, you just make a dirt shack. And do you put in a door? No, you just dig your way out and make a mess of everything"
"I don't know why you like shelving so much," said Pans.
"I like to organize, Pans! I like to find all the stuff that we collected for our survival! I don't want it in some big pile in the corner! You NEVER throw anything away!"
"It's nothing but shelving, shleving shelving. I think you're obsessed with shelving." said Pans.
"Once you start throwing stuff away, then we can worry about less shelving," said Jex.
"Look! Everything has it's usefullness, you know that!"
"Then organize it, or throw it away! We can always get more!"
"Remember the time I needed another spiderweb? Hunh? Remember? And you through the whole stack of them away! And then I couldn't make my robot hat! I wanted that robot hat!"
"Whatever. You didn't want the robot hat until the day I threw out the spiderwebs."
"I was saving them!" said Pans.
"Look, in the new world, tell you what. YOu have your OWN room, and I have my own room, and then we can organzie however we wnat"
"Sounds good," said Pans.
"And I don't want you throwing your junk in my room! I am going to have as much shelving as I possibly can!" said JEx.
"You are welcome to it. I am going to have a big deep pit where I throw all my stuff in," said Pans.
"So not unlike what you have now," said Jex.
There was a moment of silence as Pans looked a bit uncomfrotable. Well, as much silence as you could get when you've been falling for the distance they had been. The wind and noise was quite audicble, but not so much that you couldn't hear one another.
"You know, Jex. I've never actually been out at night. My parents won't let me," said Pans.
"Stil? But we are going to a new world in a week! How do they expect you to sruvive?"
"I think they were hoping that you would accompany me," said Pans.
"So they want me to be the tank, then, is that it?" asked Jex.
"Well you are a good fighter, after all. You took down those skeletons without even a thought," said Pans.
"But we will only have one wooden sword between the both of us. Right? We won't have any weaopns. It's going to take a life time to take down the zombies."
"We don't take down zombies, you know that. At night, we wall ourselves in, and hope that they don't break down the doors."
"Ugh, I will HATE starting a new world. It will be a lot of waiting at night!"
"And digging! I like diggging," said Pans.
"Well, you can dig to your hearts content, but your'e not collecting dirt. The last time, we had barrels and barrels of dirt, just so you could build your dirt shacks."
"Hey man, we have separate rooms, remember? I can keep what I want!" said Pans.
"Well, when we first start off, we won't" said Jex. "You will have to share with me, and then as we get better weapons and stuff, then we can start making bigger rooms and places."
"How long has it been anyway, it seems like it must be an hour now!" said Pans.
"Are you kidding, it's only been 10 minutes. We still have another 50 minutes of falling!"
"Good grief. Did you bring abook?" asked Pans.
"I always bring a book. What about you?' asked Jex.
"I got nothing, can I borrow one of your books?" asked Pans.
"Here, you can read this. It's about an owl. I think it likes to go quantity surveying," said Jex.
"I read this last time. It was dull," said Pans.
"Then bring your own books, next time," said Jex as he took out a novel he had been reading. He started to read. Turning pages was difficult what with the wind, but he had a lot of practice at it.
"How do they remove our magic?"
"Well, we are supposed to start fresh, right? However, you and I have been quite adept at magic."
This was true, Pans and Jex were good at magic. Not overly so, but good enough to grasp intermediate spellbooks. Pans was good at potion making, and some magic. Jex was quite good at offensive magic.
"I don't know what they do," said Jex.
"I mean, how many stars have you collected? You must have enough magic potential now that you could send off 80 fireballs without exhausting yourself," said Pans.
"I have no idea. But I think they have a way of removing magic. Remember, they do that to some criminals," said Jex.
"That's no fair! We worked hard to get those fallen stars!"
"Well, I told you that there was no point."
"At least we're practiced at it," said Pans. He took out one of his spellbooks. It allowed him to light a flame. Falling at this speed, however, it quickly went out. He took out another spellbook and shot off a bigger flame.
"What are you doing? Those things will be the death of you! No wonder your mom took away your fireball spell book. How did she not manage to take aware your other tomes?"
"I hide them. And they're small."
"Practice your magic somewhere else, or at another time. I'm trying to read here," said Jex.
Pans sighed, it was going to be a long hour.
Pans was on the floor again of the lower levels of the underground. A pool was at the bottom to help stop the fall. Jex was waiting beside him.
Jex's father had completely renovated the waiting area before the underworld. There was nice stone bricks that formed a large and grandiose chamber with one door that lead to the underworld.
The area was brightly lit, with banners and paintings to decorate what should have been a dismal locale.
A sign was by the door, and on it were the words, 'Abandon all hope, all ye who enter here.'
"You're dad sure had a lot of time on his hands. Look at how decorative he made the entrance to hell," said Pans.
"You don't know the half of it. That whole hole we came down? Apparently, it took hime three months to do that. Straight. Or was that three years? I don't remember. I think he had help though." said Jex.
"I don't think I've been to the underground with out a parent," said Pans.
"We went last week!" said Jex.
"No we didn't. You went. I was too scared to fall, and my parents didn't give me permission," said Pans.
"They're coddling will be the death of you. How do they expect you to survive in the new world if you can't even survive this one which my dad has babified to the nth degree?" asked Jex.
"I dunno. They're funny that way. One minute they are giving me spellbooks that could take down a village, the next they are grounding me for trying to burn the head offf of a zombie form my bedroom window."
"You seriously haven't been outside after dark?" asked Jex.
"No. I tried to sneak out once, they caught me. They are diligent, and patient, my parents."
"Do they know you're even down here?" asked Jex.
"Well, they know I'm with you, so they're not worried. And it's the day time."
Jex walked to the door and opened it. Immediately a flaming bat flew in.
"Kill it! Kill it! It's a bat! And it's on fire!" screamed Pans.
Jex took out a knife and threw it at the bat. It squeaked once, and fell into the water. A loud hiss emanated from the pool and the room began to fill with steam, which soon dissipated.
"That was quick," ssaid pans.
"yes, that's why I'm the tank, and the guy that kills things. Look. You have to do something more than beat at slimes."
"Slimes are easy. They're big, and they are vulnerable to blades. Flaming bats? Good grief, those things are hard to kill. They're small, and they fly all over the place."
"Do you have any range weapons?" asked Jex.
"I have the boomerang," said Pnas.
"Which you've never succeeded in returning to you, have you," said Jex.
"Well, I keep throwing it like they tell me too, but it doesn't work! I think there is some huge conspiracy between all of you and boomerang makers. You use magic or something, don't you." said Pans.
"No. However, I will teach you later. Come, let's get some lava." said Jex.
They walked through the door, and down some stairs. The air was thick with sulpher, and ash was the only thing that formed the walls. Red plants found some way to grow down here, and Pans picked a few up.
"These are great for potions, you know," said Pans.
"Yes, I know. Pick up as much stuff as you want. Just don't put it in my room. Although, you can't bring it with us next week anyway, so don't stock," said Jex.
"Aren't we allowed to go back at all? I thought we could go back and stuff," said Pans.
"no! They covered this in class! We have to survive three months! THREE MONTHS on our own! How on earth do your parents think you're going to do it if they don't let you out after dark!"
"I told you, they're insane or something. All that digging has rattled their brains. Anyway, they are perfectly fine if I'm with you. It's like all manner of reason leaves their head when I'm hanging out with you. I bet they think it's ok if we attack the wall of flesh now!"
"No. Don't even think it, good grief, we don't even have any good weapons now," said Jex.
"Imp!" screamed Pans as he took out his boomerang. He threw it at the imp and it hit Jex.
"OW! Thanks!" yelled Jex as he threw one of his knives at the imp. The imp cast a fireball at them. The knife went threw the fireball and into the imp. Jex dodged the fireball, and pans ducked just intime, but not enough in time to not singe his hair.
"Ugh, have you noticed how awful hair smells when you burn it?" asked Pans.
"No, because I try not to burn my hair," said Jex.
"Anything of use on that creature?" asked Pans.
"He had a few copper coins, that's about it," said Jex.
"Oh! I see a lava pool!" said Pans as he rushed towards it. He was almost beheaded by a demon flying by.
"DEMON!" screamed pans as he tried to pull out his boomerang. But the boomerang was still on the ground after being haphazardly thrown earlier at Jex. Jex, took out his sword and began slicing at the wings of the demon. The demon, tried to cast a few damaging spells in their direction until it noticed that its wings were completely innefective. It fell into the pool of lava and screamed out a sound that should have haunted them for years if it hadn't done already three years prior.
"I hate that sound," said Pans.
"You hate a lot of things," said Jex.
"Well, you hate dungeons." said Pans.
"Look, I just want to get some lava." said Jex. He took out his bucket and lowered it into the lave. He got enough of it to make enough obsidian dice for his whole family. The bucket was cool enough to touch on the outside, due to some magical imbuement, and Jex closed the top of the bucket. He placed it in his backpack.
"You know, if you spill that thing in your backpack, poof! There goes everything." said Pans.
"Look, that bucket is foolproof. If it can hold water for us, it can hold lava," said Jex.
"Is till don't trust it, I think it leaked water that one time we were in the desert!" said Pans.
"That's because you left the lid open!"
"Well it should be automatic, and who ever heard of a bucket with a lid? That's confusing!' said Pans.
"How is that any more not confusing than putting an open container of water in a backpack?" asked Jex.
"I was twelve at the time! Hormones were getting the better of me," said Pans.
"Whatever. Come. We got what we wanted. And we closed the door to hell, right? It's not like open or anything. Last time I did that, Dad got really mad at me."
"I made sure it was closed. If we ever come here again, I don't want fire bats flitting around. With my luck, I'd land on it."
"Cool, just mirror home. Can we eat at your house?"
"No! How can you stand mom's cooking? It's awful!" said Pans.
"It's much better than the noise at my house!" said Jex.
"I like your house. I only have one sister. And she just wines. At least your house has a variety of noises."
"That's a pleasant way of putting at it. Come, let's go to yours. You've already eaten at my house twice!"
"Fine fine," said Pans as they both winked out of existence, but only for a brief moment in time.
Mr. and Mrs. Seet had a modest home that was only a mile from the home of Mr. and Mrs. Herm. Mrs. Seet had awful cooking, but Mr. Seet had even worse cooking and so for the sake of the children, and a lot of begging on their part, Mrs. Seet had the sole job of feeding the children.
Mrs. Seet, like her son, Pans, was an accomplished potion maker. In fact, Pans got most of his training from his mother. There was almost nothing that she could not make, and no ailment she could not cure. She was renknowned for her work, and the Herms were quite delighted to have them move into their village.
"Jex! It's so good to see you. Are you keeping my boy out of trouble?" asked Mrs. Seet.
"I don't think anything could keep your boy out of trouble. But I am trying to keep it at bay, Mrs. Seet," said Jex.
"I'm sure he's in good hands, Jex. Are you staying for dinner?" asked Mr. Seet.
"Yes, if that's ok," said Jex.
"Of course it is, dear. Would you like anything to drink?" asked Mrs. Seet.
"Just some water, please," said Jex.
"I'll have some water too, mom," said Pans.
They both made their way to the living room once they got their water. Unlike the Herm household, Mr. and Mrs. Seet were all about utility. The room was large, comfortable, and had very little decoration other than a few photos of the family and some drawings that Pans younger sister had made. She was about 6 years old and was playing with some toys on the ground.
"Hello, jex. Will you play with me?" asked Tina.
"No, Tina, Jex can't play today, we are preparing for our final test!" said Pans.
"Can I come?" asked Tina.
"You know you will get tested when you are 16, Tina. You have another ten years to wait," said Jex.
"Besides, you have to know how to fight off zombies. Have you fought off zombies?" asked Pans.
"Have YOU fought them off?" asked Jex.
"Shut up, Jex," said Pans.
Tina ignored them because her attention span only lasted a bit longer than Pans's attention span. She was in another world that had simpler creatures, like puppies and cats.
Pans leaned back in his chair and stared at the ceiling.
"How much do you think we can do in 3 months, Jex?" asked Pans.
"As much as we are meant to do," said Jex.
"You're sounding philosophical again," said Pans.
"Well, that's a dumb question," said Jex.
"Everything is dumb to you!" said Pans.
"Look, maybe you should worry about training the next few weeks. The only thing you kill are slimes! There are a lot more monsters out there than slimes!"
"I kill bunnies too!"
"You are sick," said Jex.
"Well, they don't try and kill you," said Pans. "And I have to practice somehow."
"Killing innocent bunnies," said Jex.
"You know my dad's old world? It's completely mined out," said Pans.
"Ya, you mentioned that," said Jex.
"No, but I went and checked it out. Dad gave me permssion and the code to get way get there. You know what? I was standing on a small platform when I ported in. And all around me, nothing. Just empty space. They totally mined it out."
"For what?" asked Jex.
"Who knows! A lot of people have very stupid goals and projects. Maybe somebody decided to completely fill another world with only dirt. I don't know. You know what would be awful? The sprawl worlds."
"Oh, ya, that would be awful."
"I went there once," said Pans.
"You did not!" said Jex.
"I did too! It was awful. The whole world is one big building, and crammed in small rooms, families! Tons of families. If you think your house is loud, just imagine living in a building where there are thousands of people! One huge building, that fills the entire world, and it's filled with people."
"But why don't those people have their own worlds? Why would they choose to live there?" asked Jex.
"I dunno. Why do you choose to eat here with awful cooking when you could be at home?" asked Pans.
"That's different," said Jex.
"It's only different when it doesn't involve you," said Pans.
"Look who's the philosopher now," said Jex.
"Sure thing. Anyway, I'm surprised they didn't do that to dad's world. You know. Convert it into a apartment sprawl. But I guess they want big worlds for that. Not small ones."
"Prison families," came Mr. Seets voice.
"What?" asked Jex.
"They are prison families," said Mr. Seet.
"I don't understand," said Jex.
"There are those whom you can't trust with a weapon. Those you can't trust with a tool for that matter. So they are not allowed to work, and they live in those complexes. However, they have families, so they live their too. The worlds that they once had, if they weren't imprisoned at a young age, are taken and / or mined out compeltely. The children of prison families, of course, are still allowed to be tested."
"I thought those complexes were for people who have failed the test," said Jex.
"It's pretty hard to fail that test, actually. You take a world, you conquer it. Only the truly lazy don't succeed, and yes, they're in those apartment sprawl worlds as well. But mostly, they're prisoners." explained Mr. Seet.
"Do you have any advice for next week?" asked Jex.
"Oh no, you asked the wrong person," mumbleed Pans under his breath.
"Patience, diligence, and perseverence. The three P's, if diligence had a p in it. Which it doesn't. However, that's not the point. The point is, you need to not quit. You need to not give up. As I said, just don't be lazy. You want to build a hellevator? You know what some people do? They use bombs. They just wait till they get enough bombs, and then they just try to blow the dirt out all the way down. Do you know how long that takes? Where as, a simple pick axe will do and get the job done much quicker! Be patience. Persevere! And be diligent. For against those, nothing can stand!"
"But you can still be attacked by a zombie," said Pans.
"Look, son. I had a stick. That's all I had. One piece of wood between me and the maw of the undead looking to turn my brain into a pinky milkshake of mush. However, I took that stick and I wacked that zombie, and it was confused. And I think I removed one bit of flesh off of it. So I kept wacking that zombie, and it kept getting confused, and little by little, and whittle by whittle, I reduced it to a shadow of it's former self."
"You killed it then?" asked Jex?
"Well, not exactly, the sun came out and the zombie just upped and died."
"I thought zombies didn't mind the sun," said Jex.
"I think it died from boredom," said Pans.
"Anyway! Patience, Diligence and Perseverence! And you can get through anything," said Mr. Seet.
"Do you know what a 10 sided dice would be used for?" asked Jex.
"I guess if you want to randomly get a number between 1 and 10" said Mr. Seet.
"No, I mean a ten sided way dice," said Jex.
"No, can't say that I do. You would be missing out on a lot of worlds if you only have way dice with 10 sides. You kids and your new fangled ways. Just stick with 16 sides! More worlds, more diligence!"
"What? That makes no sense, dad," said Pans.
"And don't you be going on about the unknown, Son. I've heard enough of that. However, if you patiently work through all the worlds, I'm sure you may find something new an dinteresting," said Mr. Seets.
"Oh! You believe an unknown world exists?" asked Jex.
"With over 4 billion worlds, I can't imagine all of them being the same," said Mr. Seet.
"But we've already checked 3 million of them, and they only differ in size. But when it comes to monsters, materials, and even the dungeon, it's all pretty similar."
"There are still a lot we don't know. And we shouldn't pretend to know even if we are sure. The multi-world is still young. Talk to me in a few thousand years, and we'll find out," said Mr. Seet.
"Dinner's ready!" called Mrs. Seet from the kitchen.
"What are we having tonight?" asked Pans.
"We're having your favourite! Fried egg and yams!" said Mrs. Seet.
"I don't recall that being my favourite," said Pans.
"It sounds delicious, thanks Mrs. Seet!" said Jex.
"Why don't you have manners like Jex, here," said Mrs. Seet.
"Because I'm not a brown noser," said Pans.
"Don't you be rude. Now sit, boys, and we'll get some food into you guys. Honestly, with the test coming up next week, you'd think you boys don't know to get food into you. You realize you 'll be hunting on your own! And if my son is any indication of skill, you may be going without food for long periods of time!" said Mrs. Seet.
"Thanks mom, for the vote of confidence," said Pans.
"I'm sure we'll be fine. Pans can cook a mean squirrel," said Jex.
"As long as I don't have to kill them, we're all good," said Pans.
"And he can fish too! Why, he can fish like there's no tomorrow!" said Mr. Seet.
"Oh? I don't htink I've ever seen you fish, Pans!" remarked Jex.
"That's because I don't like to eat fish. However, if they come along, then it's not that hard to just wack em. LIke slimes!"
"Maybe you should learn to like eating slimes, you seem to like killing them," said jex.
"That's not a bad idea, mmm! Slime pie!" said Pans.
"Eat up boys, and quit being disgusting," said Mrs. Seet.
Every world had a way gate. Every world had a portal. Every world had an entrance which was also the exit. Every world had that once location within that you could access it.
And Kayle had marked that spot. He just couldn't find it again.
Night time was too dangerous. There were these creatures, like flying eels of shadow. He could not attack them, he could not hit them, he could not figure out how to take them down. And once they reached him, he could feel cold, and death was near. He did not give them the chance to full entrance him in their cold tendrils of murky slumber.
There were also these large beasts completely covered in long stringy hair, and pustules. How he longed for the zombies at home. Even in their decayed state of undead, they were predictable. They just wanted to kill him. The shaggy beast of rot that constantly stocked didn't even register pain when he tried. Nothing fended it off. He had to run.
Kayle only travelled during the day. During the day, he could see further and he could see if a monster was about to maim him. He could test the waters, he could smell the danger. The day was much better. And it was soon fading.
It had been almost another three weeks of failure. Another three weeks of not recognizing a single landmark. Another three weeks of wandering aimlessly. He tried to set up markers, breadcrumbs, shall we say, but by the next day, they were gone. As if the monsters knew what he was up to and did everything they could to keep him trapped in this forsaken land.
But he remembered what the entrance looked like. It was etched in his mind as he first entered. There was sun, that peered through two trees, that was surrounded on either side by two waterfalls. And behind... a golden pasture of flowers he didn't recognize. He knew what that looked like, and all he needed to do was find those two waterfalls.
But he couldn't even find a stream. He couldn't find a river. He just found small stagnant ponds, which he used to sustain himself as he hunted for food and water, and the entrance.
To him, it was the only way out, the only goal. And it was a good goal, for it kept him alive.
Kayle started a small fire. The meat did taste rather good. There were these small, rabbit like creatures that had long legs and pointed snouts. They gave off a peculiar noise, but they were easy to snare, and tasted rather good. He didn't wish to eat the plants or the fruits. He had no idea what would be poisonous and what wouldn't in this new world, but so far, he had been lucky. He found the ones that didn't outright kill him, and made sure to keep an eye out for them.
And he journaled.
He didn't know why he journaled. One part of him still believed that he would make it out alive, but the majority of him new he was dead already. He did hope to find the entrance, but it was a glim hope. A hope that did keep him alive.
And if he did find a way back, then they would need some indication on what he was doing. They would need to know what the place looked like. They would need to know the monsters, the fauna, the landscape, the freaking colour of the sky.
And they would need to know the code to get to this world. The code, which he entirely wasn't too sure of, but he's pretty sure it invvoled another set of four glyphs.
The sun was getting low. He would need shelter again. He took out his pick, and started to dig a hole. The ground was not as yielding as back home, but it did eventually give and he did his best to form a small cave that would fit him, his pack, and a small fire that wouldn't smother him. This would be his home again for the next 12 hours. He tried to make it coze. He tried to make it big enough to stretch out his legs. And he made sure that it was close enough to the surface so that the spiky tooth worm creature wouldn't get him, although he wasn't too sure on that one. But one could only hope, if that was all one had.
Jex woke up. It was the big day. It was the day, and he was apprehensive, nervous, and feeling quite unprepared. He looked out his window. The day didn't look different. There was still a sun, there were still nature noises, and the occasional rabbit about to be snared by his father's traps.
He listened for other sounds. There were children, too many of them, and of course, he heard his mother yelling at them. He had hoped that on this day, things would be a little different. But they weren't. He walked down the stairs into the kitchen.
"Jex! have something to eat. I made some eggs and some bacon for you. Just you, because today is the day!"
"what about me?" asked Mr. Herm.
"You can have pancakes," said Mrs. Herm.
"Again? We had pancakes yesterday!" complained Mr. Herm.
"I also have oatmeal, if you want," said Jex's mother.
"You have sugar?" asked Hyrim.
"Not for you, remember your blood sugar levels," said Mrs. Herm.
Mr. Herm sighed and took his oatmeal. Jex was excited about the bacon and eggs. The children around him were excited that something new was happening. They were scared for Jex and were giving him all sorts of accounts and advice that he should heed now that he was going to be an adult.
"Remember, Jex. To be nice to your new wife," said Milly.
"I'm not getting married!" said Jex.
"You might meet a nice girl now that you are old enough. ANd you have to treat her like daddy treats mommy," said Milly.
"I think all daddy does is annoy mommy," said Jex.
"You got that right," said Mrs. Herm.
"Thanks," said Mr. Herm.
"And clean socks are important," said Mrs. Herm.
"Yes, well, I will see to that, considering I won't have soap, or a washing machine in this new world," said Jex.
"Just remember to bathe more regularly than you do here. You don't want to catch diseases from living in your own filth." said his mom.
"You also don't want to get a bad case of plague!" said Milly.
"no, right. No plauge," said Jex.
They continued to eat their meal in chaos, when Pans appeared.
"Bacon and eggs! Awesome! Is there any left?" asked Pans.
"Of course there is," said Mrs. Herm as she laid out a plate for him.
"What? There was more, and none for me? " asked Mr. Herm.
"I have more oatmeal," offered Mrs. Herm.
"You know what, I think I should go to work," said Mr. Herm.
"Hey, boys. This is it. This is the test. This is the day. In three months time, you will come back as men, and I will be mighty proud of you."
"What if they come back as women?" asked Millly.
"We won't come back as women, Milly," said Jex.
"How do you know?" asked Milly.
"Anyway, you will make me proud. I don't have anything else to tell you. I've seen you work. And I am fully confident you will make the new world, your world," said Mr. Herm. He pulled Jex towards him and gave him a firm and quick hug. He grabbed Pans hand and shook.
"Remember, you've made me proud already," said Mr. Herm. And he gave his wife a peck on the cheek and was off.
"You don't have to be at the Way Gate until 11am, right? So why don't you go upstairs and get more anxious as the hours pass," smiled Mrs. Herm.
"Wow, thanks mom. You sure know how to make a guy feel better," said Jex.
"I call it like it is. If you want, you can help me with the little squirts down here!" said Mrs. Herm. The other children yelled in agreement.
"No, that's ok, I better get back upstairs and do some... meditating, or something." said Jex.
"I'm not meditating, that's for sure," said Pans.
Eleven am came a lot slower than it normally did, and Pans and Jex found themselves outside the small town hall in their world. They needed to go the Great Gate which was not in their world, but in the first world. The first world, legend stated, that was discovered long ago by Zane Anker. Where did Zane come from? Who was he? No one really knew, but he discovered that first world, and many followed.
It was a confusing history, one that Jex got a C- on, but he at least passed.
"Morning boys," came a familiar voice. Old man Wilbur was manning the waygate.
"You guys off to the Great Gate? That's pretty exciting. I remember when I had to go to the Great Gate myself! That may have been almost, uh, 65 years ago!"
"What was your first world like, Mr. Wilbur?" asked Jex.
"It was wet. There was a lot of water. I didn't like it, that's for sure. So as soon as I made my way in that world, I moved over here. Not as much water, and Mr. Hyrim's a good man, your father is."
"I have the Great Gate codes plugged in, so no need for your Way dice."
Both jex and pans, in disappointment, put theirs away. They've been quite anxious to use them. Pans had already changed his way dice three more times.
"Don't worry boys, you will get plenty chances to use them. Well, not really, you get to use them once. But after the 3 months are over, by all means, way gate where ever you want. You guys ready?"
Pans gritted his teeth, and Jex steadied himself. They both nodded.
"Good luck!" Jex heard until he the familiar rush of noise bombarded his senses.
Travelling by way gate had been theorized by a number of people on how it actually worked. For most, 'magic' seemed to be a good answer. For others, they speculated that every atom in your body was completely destroyed and reassembled elsewhere. Other's theorized that the atoms were just destroyed, and a copy was reassembled elsewhere. All Jex knew was that it hurt.
And he didn't like doing it one bit. But it was a necessity, and the thought of being stuck in his Dad's world for his whole life wasn't one that appealed to him. Fortunately, it didn't last more than three seconds, and he found himself, once his vision stopped blurring, in the largest Way Gate Portal he had ever seen.
The room was huge, he was in the Great Gate, and surrounding him were twenty small circular way tables. A tall, and officious man wearing a uniform gently took his arm and lead him to a group of other children his age. He saw Pans standing looking nauseous.
After a few moments, a few more children portaled in. Some didn't hold their breakfast in as well as he did, and he was glad he didn't do that in front of the other children, not that he would see them again.
After a few minutes, a rather portly man waddled into view. He had a ridiculous white wig on that had curls, and a red cloak that barely covered his immense girth. His face was a shade that did not match the cloak at all, and underneath he wore a brown suit that sported a gold watch coming out of his breast pocket. When he spoke, however, his voice was a deep and soothing baritone, and Jex was entranced immediately.
"Welcome. I am Chief Counsellor Maz, and I am here to prepare you for the Test. It is the first and only rite of passage for you before you begin your journey into adulthood. You have been preparing for this for your whole life, so I must say there is no further need to keep you waiting. As you know, you are welcome to go on your own, or in pairs, and I believe that was sent in to us a few days prior. You will notice the way tables around where you portaled in. You will see your names clearly on each Way Table. Please find your table and when you are ready, place your way die and begin your journey."
Pans looked at Jex with a quizzical look. "What about the magic?" he asked.
"Note that when you came in, the Great Gate is special. Anything on you that may indicate a more advance tool or weapon has been left at your original world. And also, you are now without magic. Any mana you have gained over the years from star collecting has also been stripped. You are as the great Zane himself. Vulnerable, and like a baby."
Jex and Pans found the Way Table with their assigned names. Since they were only going to one destination, Jex agreed to have only four of his way die, and Pans could choose the other 4 from his set.
Counsellor Maz wheezed, although it was a pleasant wheezed, and said, "Whenever are ready, you may begin. May the day always be with you, and the night be ever safe."
Pens looked at Jex again, "We have sayings? I've never heard that before."
Jex watched a few of the other youth were eager to start. Some just took their way die and threw it on the table. Others placed them deliberately. Each table glowed green, with light pulsating lights, and within moments, the participants at the way table would wink out with a slight warp in the atmosphere. He wasn't looking forward to the immediate portal warp right after the last one.
Pans took four of his way dice and shook them vigorously in his hands. He then threw them on the table and looked at Jex expectantly. Jex smiled, took his dice and put them on the table.
"Wait, you're using the ten sided die, aren't you?" said Pans.
The table glowed red.
"Crap! You did something wrong! You did something wrong! Remove the die! Remove the die."
Jex looked up and saw that one of the officials, the one that guided them to the group, had noticed their red table. Jex quickly palmed the ten sided die and placed his normal ones in, hoping that this would trigger the table into working. However it was no dice. The table still glowed red.
"It's not my fault! It's his!" stammered Pans.
"Way to assume guilt, Pans," said Jex with a scowl.
"Having trouble boys?" asked the official as he approached. Jex looked around. All the other kids had warped out successfully except for them. He had hoped this didn't mean some type of discipline. He glanced at the die just to make sure that they were all correct and then looked up at the official sheepishly. He hoped that they didn't see him swap the die.
The official calmly looked at the die, and within a few seconds grabbed one of them. It was one belonging to Pans. He pointed to a glyph on the die.
"Here you go. This die has a wrong glyph. Our Way Tables are quite sensitive to errors and irregularities on the Way Die. If you want, we can provide you with another so you may be on your way."
Pans stammered a bit, and sputtered. Jex let out a sigh of relief.
"No! No, thank you officer. I have another that I can use," said Pans as he pulled out a way Die from his pocket. He gave it tentatively to the official just in case. The officiall delicatlely took the way die, looked it over, and then asked "May I?"
Pans nodded, and the official rolled the die onto the way table. It turned green and started to pulse. Each of the boys took their respective way die back, and then waited for the ingratiatingly painful process to begin.
"Good luck," said the official as the Jex and Pans winked out of existence yet again that morning.
[Oh utter crap. I lost stuff.]
Pans was sitting on the ground throwing up again. Jex looked around, the world was new, it was fresh. There wasn't a sign of construction, there wasn't a sign of human intervention for miles around. He coudln't believe they could have a fresh start to a new world. He looked at Pans who was already doing his best to leave his mark.
"Seriously Pans? We aren't in this world for more than one minute and all you can do is soil it with your breakfast. "
"Just give me a minute, oh stomach of iron. I can't help it if I'm weak with this sort of stuff. I think it takes a sadist to love that type of teleporting. I think I want to die," said Pans.
"And we will if you don't hurry up."
"It's the morning, look at the sun, it's on the horizon. We have plenty of time."
"Well, I'm going to cut down some trees so that we can start building shelter before the night. If you want, why don't you start finding some food to eat."
"And slimes! I need to find some slimes!" said Pans.
"Yes, we need some fuel. Oh, and keep your eye for the guide. As soon as you see the guide, then yell, because we have to protect him first."
"Sure thing, captain," said Pans.
Jex looked around to get his bearings. The first rule of thumb when entering a world is to know where you are. The only time you could exit a world was from the place you entered, and many an adventure had been lost for days not knowing where to exit. This is all solved once you find your first magic mirror, which transports you to the entrance, but still, being caught without one is death itself.
He looked off in the distance, and could see a mountain range. To the south, there was a hill with some trees on top and to the west he could make out a lake. To the north there was more flatlands. Of course, the landscape would change, and they would make sure they had found a mirror before then.
Jex began to get to work, he came to a small copse of trees and started to take them down. The axe he was using was flimsy, hard to grip, and totally an axe meant to make cutting down trees as difficult as possible, but he endured. He wondered if he should use his first iron deposit finding on a better weapon, or a better tool. Since Pans fondness was digging, and it was the only way to find better minerals, it would be best to get a better tool.
After a few hours, Jex had enough wood to make almost anything. He wondered where Pans was. The guide shouldn't be that difficult to locate, considering it is spawned at the same area he was in.
"Pans! Where are you?" yelled Jex. He heard a yell far off in the distance, but it wasn't one of alarm that he normally expected from pans.
After a few minutes Pans came running with a huge grin on his face.
"There are rabbits everywhere! As well as slimes! It's awesome. I forget that because your dad had cleared the area, that game is a lot more scarce as opposed to a world that is new and untouched!"
"Did you even see a guide?" asked Jex.
"Oh! Right. He's over there," said Pan as he pointed to a small hill. Jex sighed and he walked in that direction. Sure enough, the guide was just behind an outcropping, walking back and forth with this vacant look in his eye.
"These things creep me out," said Pans.
The guide was a simulacrum. It was sent from the Great Gate as soon as each participant had found the location and world they were going to. The guide wasn't human, it was just a simulation of human but out of synthetic materials. They chose the form of a human because they had thought this would make it more approachable and comforting for those who had undertaken the world alone. For most, they felt that the simulacrums reminded them of creepy toys, and they were normally buried as soon as they could.
Of course, they weren't buried as in coffin buried, they were given a hole to live in. The problem with simulacrums was their life span. They did not know how to defend themselves, and thus were completely vulnerable to the world around them. They could fall into a pit of lava and that was the end of that.
"You're the digger. Why don't you start building a hole for our friend to live in."
"Shouldn't we check to see if it works?"
"Of course it works, they test these things."
"Hello Guide! My name is Pans, what's yours?"
The guide gave them the most creepiest grin that it had in it's repetoire of ways to frighten children, and said, "Hello! My name is Darren. Welcome to the world. If you have any questions, please ask, and did you know that at night, zombies attack? It would do you good to build yourself a shelter before then."
No one ever listened to the guide, it spoke the same helpful hints that all of them did. However, it had an encyclopedia of knowledge of how to craft just about anything. Even though every person of the multi-world was trained since birth for this moment, at least the guide could be used to remind them how to make weapons or building materials.
Pans started to dig a hole around the guide, and the guide stood there smiling. The hole got deep enough so that it came to the guide's waist.
"How may I help you?" asked Darren, the Guide.
"Just keep still," said Pans.
Jex came over with some wood and in not time, built a small hut around Darren. Before long, Darren was completely enclosed in wood and dirt, and thus safe from any thing that would try to end his life.
"We're not going to build a room for that thing in our house, will we?"
"No, of course not, I don't want him to be staring at us when we sleep."
"Well, I'm going to cook some food. And then we can start building the house. I see that you also leveled the are around us to make it easier for building. You're quick." said Pans.
"What can I say. I practied a lot," said Jex.
"And got good marks."
Jex went back to his small clearing he had made and started to assemble the wood into a room that was livable. This room wouldn't be like the hut they made for the simulacrum. They needed to live in the room for long periods of time. Of course, as time passed, they would definitely expand the room with better materials other than wood, but for the time being, and because the sun would set sooner than later, they had to get their house built.
It took Jex and pans another four hours to build their house. Pans would periodically go off to catch more slimes and rabbits for their store of food.
After another trek of hunting, Pans came back to a finished house. He was pleased, Jex certainly had his father's eye when it came to making things aesthetically pleasing. He opened the newly made door and was greeted to a small but cozy room. There was a workbench that Jex had made, a table, and also shelving.
"Of course there's shelving." said pans.
"Of course," said Jex.
A small fire pit was at the center of the room, with smoke trailing out the top.
"If you could, why not make us some supper. I've been snacking on few of the berries and nuts you found, but I could do with something a bit more of substance."
"Aye aye, Captain!" said Pans as he grabbed a few of the rabbits he had skinned and threw them on the spit of the fire. The room soon smelled like cooking meat, and Jex, who had been making a few more torches, couldn't stand it anymore.
"I'm starving! Is it almost done?"
"Yes! And look at that, I think the sun is about to go down. You did a good job. Is our serial killer guide still safe?" asked Pans.
"I think so. I can see his little hut from here, and it doesn't look like it caved in or anything." said Jex.
They sat down at the table with a few wooden plates that Jex had carved.
"You're terribly good at crafting, I think it's magic," said Pans.
"What? No way, it's skill," said Jex.
"Think of it. You and your dad. When my dad builds a door, it's a plain door. When you build a door, the wood seems to peel off like butter and you put in engravings and bevels and whatnot. And it fits perfectly the first time. And how long does that take you? Barely ten minutes. It takes my dad an hour to build a door. And I don't build doors." said Pans.
"Well, I just practice a lot," said Jex.
"No, it's more than that. Anyway, you think we can risk going out tonight to find some falling stars?" asked Pans.
"Of course not! We have simple wooden weapons. There is no way we can fend off the horde of zombies that will come," said Jex as he continued eating his rabbit.
"Oh, I got some water from the lake over there," said Pans as he pulled up a container and put it on the table.
"Right. I forgot to ask. Ugh, I hate drinking lake water, but it looked safe?" asked Jex.
"As safe as it will ever be. There may have been a few slimes in it," said Pans.
"Or you probably killed the slimes and it splashed all over the pond. Great. Couldn't you be a bit more careful with that?" asked Jex.
"Just drink the water. When we get some stone, we can make something to boil it in."
It would have been a quiet evening supper if it wasn't for the fact that pans was beside himself with excitement. It was their first night, and the first night was going quite well. They had built a house, they had found the guide, they had crafted a number of tools, and now all they had to do was get better ores to make better tools and conquer the land.
From the distance a cry could be heard. Pans looked up.
"You're kidding. It's a blood moon." said Jex.
"A blood moon on the first night?" asked Pans.
"That's totally not fair. That means those doors won't hold against the zombies or the evil eyes."
"Do we have anything to hold back the horde of zombies?"
"No, you were off killing more slimes! Couldn't you dig as you normally did?" aksed JEx.
"Dont' blame me. You gave me three tasks, and I did those tasks brilliantly!" said Pans.
"I'm not supposed to be the leader here, we should think independently!" said Jex.
"If we did that, you would soon be mad at me!"
"Fair enough, well, take out your wooden sword, it's going to be a long night." said Jex. Pans grimaced in agreement.
The groan of a zombie is something one doesn't get used to. The groans of hundreds of zombies doesn't help the matter any. Jex looked out the window. He could see a number of the undead heading towards them. The hut he made for the simalcrums didn't have any doors, and the undead would probably be more concerened about the real flesh inside the house than the simulated one outside.
They started to bang on the doors, and Jex thought he heard some evil eyes bouncing on the roof. He wondered if the house was tall enough for the zombies not to get to the top, but he was pretty sure that it wasn't.
The doors still held, but it wasn't looking good. Jex got out some of his tools and started to reinforce them. Pans grabbed one of the tables and pressed it up against the back door.
"You know, we should only have one door. That would make life easier," said Pans.
"Oh, and what if they burst in? Do you want no exit?" asked Jex.
"Good point," said Pans.
"This is why you need to pay attention in class," said Jex.
"This is no time for lecutres, that's all you do! Lecture me on how I should pay attention in class. You sound like my mother!" said Pans.
"Well, then you wouldn't be asking me all these questions if you paid attention!"
"Why pay attention when I know you have all the answers?" asked Pans.
"I'm not always right!" said Jex.
"You don't act like it," said Pans with a grin.
The door to the front split in two. A hand reach through. Jex wacked at it with his sword. The hand retreated.
"Where do the zombies come from?" asked Pans as he barricaded the back door with more wood he had found.
"I don't know." said Jex.
"Where do they go when the sun comes up?" asked Pans.
"I don't know!" said Jex again, as he tried to repair the damage the Zombies were doing to his front door.
"You should barricade the front door," said Pans.
"You took everything I could use for the back door. Besides, we want to make sure that they don't attack us from both sides anyway. So make that door secure."
"Well, then that beats the purpose of having two doors, doesn't it," said Pans.
Jex remained silent, Pans was right. There probably was a scenario where having two doors was helpful, and it probably was a scenario where the zombies could not access the other door. But he didn't have time to think about that right now.
"Start digging," said Jex.
"what? I'm not leaving you here," said Pans.
"Don't be ridiculous. I want you to start digging a tunnel. We will need to block it off if the zombies get too much. I don't think we could survive in this house once they break through," said Jex.
Pans took out his pick axe and started digging a hole in the floor. Jex may have had some magical skills when it came to crafting, but Pans was part gopher, or mole, or whatever dug well in the earth. Within ten minutes, he had already cleared a hole deep enough to hold two people up to their heads.
"Doing great pans! Just keep on digging. You only have to make it big enough so that we don't suffocate!"
The zombies broke through. Jex was the fighter of the group, and with his sword, he started beating away at them. The zombies were slow, and not a group that can figure out how to get through the opening when there were so many of them, and so little of door.
With the use of a torch and his sword, Jex swung and swung and swung at the zombies. They weren't dying, but they were being held at bay. He just needed to give Pans a bit more time to make as much room as possible.
After about another 10 minutes of endless fighting, he heard a cry from the hole. It was one of Pans more paniced cries, and he wondered if he got in trouble. The zombies were doing a good job of not dying, so with a leap, Jex ran to the hole, grabbed the table and pulled it over him, hoping it woudl make a decent enough cover that the zombies wouldn't figure out how to get down the hole.
Trouble was, the hole was deeper than he expected.
Jex landed hard on the stone ground.
"Ugh! Are you here Pans?" he looked around. A torch came on and Jex saw Pans was off to the side with a torch sitting on the ground. He gave a feeble wave.
"Ya, I'm here. I just pulled myself out of the way because I knew you were going to jump down the hole as soon as you heard my cry and I didn't want you to land on me."
"Smart thinking. Figures there would be this cave underneath our house," said Jex.
"At least that makes clearing a bigger area for our new abode easier!"
"Come, those zombies are going to break through that small table and start falling in here. We can probably wall off that small entrance over there," said Jex as he made his way to a small opening.
Beyond it was another cave, and also a chest.
"Oooh! Chest! Awesome! Maybe I can find a boomerang!" said Pans.
"If you do, then give it to me. You can't use a boomerang to save your live," said Jex.
"I have 3 months to practice!"
"You've had your whole life to practice, and you still can't manage it. Why don't you stick to soemthing like arrows?"
"Well, I never liked them. I like the boomerang. It's cooler!"
"Just help me close off this entrance!" said Jex. He could hear the sound of the zombies as they were echoing through the first cave.
The entrance was easy enough to seal with more rock and dirt, and with any luck, the zombies wouldn't know that there was a second cave to get them. With a sigh of relief, they sat down against the wall.
Pans fished out a piece of rabbit meat from his pocket. "Want some?"
"No. I'm not hungry for pocket meat," said Jex in disgust.
"You're loss," said Pans as he started sucking down the juicy meat which looked as unappetizing as pocket meat could.
Jex looked off into the darkness. This cave was also large, and he felt a small breeze.
"You know, that breeze means there's an opening somewhere," said Jex.
"Ya?" said pans.
"Then that means the zombies can get in here," said Jex.
"Crap," exclaimed Pans.
Jex picked up the torch, and walked the permiter of the cave, he heard a moan and saw another zombie enter from another opening.
Jex took out his sword but there was an "urk" from the Zombie and it fell down. Jex turned around to see Pans with a Bow.
"Wow, I didn't know you could shoot one of those," said Jex.
"I've been practicing."
"Was that in the chest? Anything else you find?"
"I did find some iron!" said Pans.
"Totally awesome! I can make a better pick for you so that it's easier to dig," said Jex.
Pans got up and they both started sealing off the opening. They didn't want to spend the night fighting off the zombies.
"You think this is good?" asked Pans.
"Pretty sure, there aren't any other openings, and we're not low enough for any worms to attack us," said Jex.
"Oh right. I hate those things," said Pans.
"Of course, I'm assuming that the entrance point of this world is quite above sea level. I could be wrong, you know."
"Don't worry, we're above sea level. I can tell by the type of dirt. It get's darker and more thick the lower you go down," said Pans.
"And who said you were useless to have as a partner?" asked Jex with a smile.
"I certainly didn't, it must have been you." said Pans.
"I'm going to get some sleep. You should do the same," said Jex.
"What? You don't want to set up some sort of sleeping schedule so we can just be sure a zombie doesn't attack us?" asked Pans.
"Zombies can barely walk, let alone dig through walls. The best it can do is break down doors. But against the walls we sealed, no. It's fine."
"Well, I'm not going to sleep. You may be comfortable with zombies nibbling on your face, but I'm not. I'll stay awake."
"Fine, wake me when you get tired."
"I don't think I could sleep for a week after seeing those things," said Pans.
"OH! Right! I forgot, you've never seen one up close, have you?" asked Jex.
"They're disgusting! They're rotting flesh just on bones. That one zombie had no eye! It was gross! They screamed, and roared, and moaned, and looked so... hungry and angry! What are they? Where did they come from?" asked Pans.
"I don't know. Let me sleep," said Jex as he lay down.
Pans sat in silence for a moment. The zombies unnerved him more than he thought. Jex was right. He was in a new world, almost all by himself, and he had to survive for three months. Albeit, Jex was there, but he couldn't believe his parents were going to let him do this without him even seeing a zombie that close. His skills with melee weapons were awful unless he had to slice slimes, and he couldn't craft a wooden plank.
He sighed and leaned his head back.
"You awake, Jex?" asked Pans.
"Since one minute ago? Yes," said Jex.
"How large do you think this world is?" asked Pans.
"How would I know? I've been here as long as you. Can't you tell by the feel of the dirt?" asked Jex.
"No. I have to dig down. I can tell by how far I dig. Bigger worlds are obviously deeper. So if I reach a type of soil sooner than I expect, then we're on a small world."
"Well, we'll dig in the morning then."
"I think we should dig for stone so that you can make a sturdier house. I don't like the fact that you let those zombies in," said Pans.
"I'm not falling for your bait. Go to bed," said Jex.
"I'm not sleeping," said Pans.
"Then let me sleep," said Jex.
"Fine, good night, Jex," said Pans.
"That one zombie dropped some coins when you killed him. Why would they have coins?" asked Pans.
"good NIGHT, Pans." said Jex. and then he didn't say another word.
Morning came quick enough for JEx, but not so for Pans. He couldn't stay up late, of course, and was well asleep after two hours of uneventfulness. Fortunately, Jex was correct again, and the night was quite uneventful.
Pans woke up late to an empty cave. Light came in from an opening and he could smell food cooking. He got up, made his way into the first cave and saw that Jex had made some steps up to their house.
The first cave was rather spacious, and he coudl see that Jex had already moved some stores down into the room. One section even had some stone bricks set up, and there was shelving. He climbed the steps and popped his head into the room. Jex was there at the table with a second plate beside him. The room was much bigger, Jex had been working a lot that morning.
"How long did I sleep in?" asked Pans.
"You've been asleep for 6 hours!" said Jex.
"What? What time is it?" asked Pans.
"Oh, mid morning, but I got up pretty early. The blood moon had abated, so there weren't any zombies any more."
"That was pretty risky, how could you tell the time with us being in the cave?"
"Well, when I woke up, I peaked through second opening we closed up. I could see sun coming in from a bit a ways. So I risked it and came back here."
"You must have been bored," said Pans.
"You're snoring is loud," said Jex.
"It's always been loud. And you always complain about it," said Pans.
"Anyway, I think what we should do is square out the little sub basement we have right now, and also follow the tunnel out. Sounds good? We can remove the doors to this room, and then just make it a second floor once we clear out he hill." said Jex.
"What do you mean, clear out the hill?" asked Pans.
"I want you to dig it out. I want you to make sure that we build a large enough trench around the house so that if zombies come, we will either be above them to easily pick them off, and that they can't enter the house. We can set up a bridge, or a moat even."
"A moat won't stop them," said Pans.
"I always wanted a moat regardless," said Jex.
"Sure, I can do that."
"Wait! No, we can wait on that. Look, I got you this," said Jex. He gave Pans an iron pick.
"Oh cool! You used the iron we found in the chest!" said Pans.
"Yes, it was easy to work with. Anyway, with that, you should be able to dig easier. So I think I want you to start digging and finding more ores. Maybe if we dig deep enough..."
"We can get attacked more by other monsters!"
"Quit being a scaredy cat," said Jex.
"I don't even have my miner's hat. That means I'm going to have to use old fashioned torches!"
"Oh noes, first world problems. Look, you'll be fine," said Jex.
"The sooner you find a metal that is better than the one you have, bring it here. I will need more iron though. I had enough to make an anvil and your pick. I'm shocked you didn't wake up with all the pounding I did," said Jex.
"Well, I did have an awful nightmare of zombies jumping on my head. That was awful. They also were eating at my arms. I think I woke up just in time," said Pans.
"Really? You woke up six hours later than me and from the sounds of it, you were sleeping like a baby," said Jex.
Pans finished up his meal and grabbed the pick. "I'm going digging, wish me luck. Are you just going to build a bigger house?"
"I'm going to build a moat! But I will probably zombie proof the house more. I doubt we'll get a second blood moon with double the amount of zombies, but you never know," said Jex.
"You never know," repeated Pans as he climbed down the hole in the center of the room.
Pans went to the second cave they slept in. The last thing he wanted was a hellevator to close to their house. And that's what he was going to start digging. It was alwas the first thing one started on once things were more in order. Of course, it would take a few weeks to get anywhere, and depending on how large the world was, it could take months. However, digging straight down was the best way to figure out how exactly large the world was.
He swung his pick around. It was perfectly balanced, and finely crafted. He was still amazed what Jex could do in only a few hours. It didn't make sense, and it was probably magic. He struck the pick into the earth, and started digging.
It wasn't long before he ran into more stone. Jex made sure to keep all the stone he had for they made the perfect bricks. Sure, he could eventually find the dungeon and bring out dungeon bricks, but that had a way of attracting dungeon creatures, and besides, they were way too inexperienced to tackle the dungeon yet.
The ground was rich, however, with ore. He was able to find a lot of pockets of iron and made sure to store as much iron as he possibly could. He wished he had a depth meter, and he wondered if he could find enough gold, silver and copper to make one, however he knew that if he did find those metals, there were better tools to make. Like a new pick!
However, he figured he should get the iron up to Jex so that he could make himself a better axe. Chopping trees was the worst, and the axe seemed to be the dullest component of all the tools they used.
It was about three hours until Pans returned home. He had run into a few more slimes and this pleased him greatly. Even more so, he didn't run into any worms, which he absolutely loathed. Jex was still clearing out the basement but Pans could see that the storage area was more elaborate. There were a few barrels and some chests that Jex had brought over. Pans put some iron ore in one of the barrels.
"You made all these barrels?" asked Pans.
"Yup," replied Jex.
"Good grief. I didn't realize you can spit them out so fast. Anyway, I threw some of the iron in there, did you see?" asked Pans.
"yes, thanks," said Jex.
"I haven't dug deep enough to get any silver or gold, but could you make us some iron swords? I would feel a lot better if I had a better weapon before a worms starts attacking my face." said Pans.
"Sure thing," said Jex as he grabbed some iron and went over to the anvil.
Jex had moved most of his working material into the basement of the their house. The stairs to the second floor was more fleshed out now, and pans went upstairs to explore. The second floor was now amazing.
Gone were the doors, and in it's place were two rooms, one for each of them. He even had some windows put in.
"You found sand to make glass?" yelled down Pans.
"Yup! It wasn't that far actually," said Jex.
Pans looked out the window and could see that Jex had done a lot of digging. Before, the floor he was in was level to the ground, but Jex had dug that out so that they truly were on a second floor. He didn't understand how Jex did this so fast. Well, he understood the digging part. After all, Pans was the better digger, but he was impressed that Jex could do as much as he did. He saw the shack they had made for Darren, still untouched, and probably still holding the guide. Pans walked back downstairs.
"We probably should make a room for Darren," said Pans.
"Why? He's perfectly fine where he is," said Jex.
"Well, I want to build rooms anyway. I want the market to start selling some stuff and get some decent coinage."
"We need 50 silver to prove to the Great Gate that we have achieved that. Then they'll send over the other simulacrum."
"What? We need FIFTY silver for that? That's asking for a lot, is it not?" asked Pans.
"You never pay attention," said Jex.
"Well, I guess I better go and find more chests and monsters to kill," said Pans.
"I'll kill the monsters, you go and find more ore for us to use. It's only day two and I'm already wishing that I could get some better equipment. I can't believe I've used this stupid copper pick for this long. In fact, let me join you. We could get more done on our hellevator if we work together."
"I want to find some glowing mushroom patches too. I feel a bit uneasy we don't have any healing potions," said Pans.
"Right, we should get those. Ok, I'm good to go."
"Can we eat first?"
"We ate three hours ago!" said Jex.
"I need snacks though! Don't you smoke any of the meat?"
"They need more than just a day to make! I did start it though," said Jex.
"Good, let's make some stew." said pans as he rushed upstairs.
"Ok fine, we may as well take our time."
"And can you shower," called down Pans, "Becuase you really stink."
"I'm not the only one, mole boy!" yelled back Jex.
Chapter 12 - Kayle
Kayle was mighty pleased with himself. He had finished his tower. It was night time, he was high up in the sky, and there were no worms to attack him up there. Furthermore, he could see. He could finally see where he was from this vantage point. And what he saw gave him more hope than he ever could dream.
Off in the distance, about a couple of miles away, he could make out the waterfalls. It was still quite a ways away, but it was in view. He took for granted his magic mirror. He had brought it with him, of course, and as soon as he entered the world, he did a quick view and then went off. He had taken for granted the ability to warp back and after about a few days of travelling, he realized it didn't work. It also didn't help that he had spent most of those days running away from things and hiding. He had no bearing on his location after a week's time.
Kayle could now see from his tower the two falls, the hill, the lake. He knew he was close to home. He wrote in his journal about the wonders he had seen. He began to take more detailed accounts because there was finally a chance that he would make it back.
Would people believe him? They must. Most of the minerals and rocks he could not seem to break with his tools, but he did find a particular small hunk of ore that he knew did not exist in his world. This would convince them if nothing else would. He began to sketch some of the animals he had seen, and point out some of the week spots.
He wondered if he wanted to go home. He wondered if he gave himself more time, he could conquer this land. If he could even bring people here. Now that he knew how to exit this land, he wanted to stay. Once the opening to leave was presented, less and less did he wish to use it.
A small thump came from the wall. He knew that it was the wispy tentacle smoke thing, but for some reason, it didn't go through walls. He was happy about that. He still didn't know how to kill it, but at least it didn't go through walls. With a satisfied smile, he fell asleep.
Kayle woke up to a bright morning in the green sky. He noticed some strange flapping birds that looked almost non-deadly, but he didn't trust anything in this world. He grabbed his equipment, and climbed down from his tower.
It was high enough that he hoped he would be able to see it. He wondered if he should make a series of towers so that if he lost his way, maybe he could make it the way back.
Or was that stalling. that was definitely stalling. He wanted to go home, but the land, uninviting as it was, was calling to him.
BUt he wouldn't fall to their siren songs. He had to get home. He trudged onwards up a hill until he entered a small wooded area.
It didn't look familiar, but then again, nothing looked familiar. He just knew the direction he had to go in in relation to the sun. At least the sun moved in a familiar pattern like at home. His eyes wandered up to check the sun, to see if it was visible from where he was, and that's when he noticed he stopped moving.
Kayle looked down. He was in some type of thick mud. He tried to pick up his feet, but they were stuck fast. He pulled and pulled, and was able to release one foot, but the other one went deeper. What was this and how did he not experience it in the last month of his travels through here.
That was when he heard a roar. He turned around to see one of the four footed hairy beasts that roamed the area. He hated the monsters here. This one had claws the length of his hand, and of course a mouth that could swallow his entire head. It roared again, and leapt towards him.
The beast missed and landed in the mud beside him. Kayle knew that he was dead unless he could escape, but he could not escape what with the mud keeping him trapped. And woudln't you know it, the mud also kept the beast trapped.
It thrashed, it roared, it was angry. It's sharpened clawes swugn in the air, narrowly missing Kayle each time. The best thing Kayle could do, even as he was sinking, was to lie on his back and play dead. The beast did it's best to try and hit him, but it soon realized its own predicament and then went into a spastic rage.
It was stuck even more fast than Kayle was. Kayle was too busy cowering to worry about sinking. He had to choose between a slow death, or a quick death through mauling but the roaring maniacal hairy beast wasn't really giving him a rational choice. he lay there still as a dead bird, and hoped that maybe all the movement of the monster would just propel him out of the mud. Unfortunately, that didn't work.
The beast was up to its waist now. It's legs were gone, and it's fore pwas were still thrashing about but it was more tired.
"How do you like that, eh? You just wanted a piece of little ol me, but NO , you got greedy! You had to jump in to the mud! Why don't you pick on someone your own size?" yelled Kayle.
The beast roared in anger and tried to reach him, but it couldn't get any further than where it was stuck. Kayle wondering if suffocating by mud was any better than mauling by claws.
And then Kayle wondered, why wasn't he sinking? The beast was already up to it's chest in mud, with a future not looking any brighter other than fossilization, and Kayle was still where he was, lying on his back, on mud.
This was brilliant, he was sinking. If he could get to his journal, he would write this down. And then he thought, "If I could get to my rope, which happens to be ... ha!"
An escape. The rope was muddy, and slippery, and probably not going to do much, but it was a chance that something could work. Kayle looked over at the flaily beast, who was now up to its neck. It looked paniced, scared, and Kayle almost felt sorry for it. He woudl have kept it as a pet if it didn't try and tear holes in his skin. The beast had stopped moving though, it had given up. It waited for it's death as the mud closed in.
The were still open, staring at him, as it went under. And before Kayle could even utter a farewell, the beast was gone.
Not wasting another minute on emotional connections with killer animals, kayle threw the rope, which head fashioned into a lasso, at the nearest tree. Surprisingly enough, it caught. Kayle wasn't known for his rope tricks or his knot tying, but he was glad something went ok today. He pulled himself, and found that he could glide along the surface of the mud. His feet slowly became unstuck, but it took a while to work at them. he did not, however, change from his lying position, and within the hour, he was free.
As soon as Kayle could stand, he held on to the tree with dear life. He stared at the mud. Yes, he could tell the difference between it and the normal ground, but you had to be careful. If the woods, or any part of the land was pocketed with this, he was going to have a long trip indeed. But he knew how to survive it. And he knew that other animals didn't.
He was going to make it to that exit, and nothing on this world could stop him.
Jex had been keeping track of days on a the wall of the store room. Of course, he didn't keep track of days with simple marks, he made an intricate day calendar out of different coloured rocks he had Pans find throughout the land. It covered the whole wall and each every day was a successful mark. Some day were marked with special rocks to highlight achievements, for example, when the Market guy came, and when they found their first shooting their star.
It had been two weeks of their new world. Their house had been decorated and built up now to withstand almost any attack. Zombies were nothing to them, and they built a small little building off to the side where all the simulacrums could come. There was a guy that sold goods, the guide of course, a nurse, and some loopy elf girl. All in all, they were well on their way to successfully taming the land and they were mighty proud of themselves.
Jex and Pans were seated at the table in the main dining room. They had found some wonderful pheasant and Pans had started a garden in a walled off green house. They were treating themselves to a must scrumptious dinner.
"It's amazing you can cooke what with the example you had at home, " said Jex.
"Well, I did pay attention during cooking class," said Pans.
"That's because you like to eat a bit more than you probably should," said Jex.
Pans patted his belly. It was a bit rounder than it normally was, but that's because the digging, although hadn't abated, he wasn't working as hard at it. But it was still enough to keep both of them in shape.
"How deep have you gone today?" asked Jex.
"Pretty deep. I'm pretty sure that we're in a large world, in fact. It's quite large, but I found something very strange the other day." said Pans.
"Oh?" asked Jex.
"Yes. Too strange. I didn't say anything because... well... I'm embarassed," said Pans.
"You're kidding, you?" said Jex.
"No, I'm serious. I found a wall."
"So dig through it."
"No, I found a wall I can't dig through, " said Pans.
"What? It's not ebonstone is it? That's strange if you found corruption so close to here." said Jex.
"I know what ebonstone is, remember, I'm the dirt guy. It's not ebonstone. I'm ashamed to admit, I don't know what it is." said Pans.
"So you want me to take a look at it," said Jex.
"Yes, I admit defeat. Even though all me and my family ever do is dig at times, this is an ore I do not recognize. I've been digging at it for some time too, and it's not easy."
"Fine, is it far from here?"
"No, remember that second room that we first slept in? It's off of there." said Pans.
"That close? And we never found it?"
"Well, we built the other room up and kinda used that room as some sort of barrier, remember? Well, I was looking for more stone and just started picking away and I dug a bit further and bam, I ran into this strange material."
"And you dug around it then?" asked Jex.
"Dug around it?" asked Pans.
"how big is it? Maybe we could isolate it from the rest of the dirt and bring it into the storeage room if it's that close."
"It's quite big. I tried to dig around it, but I dont think we can bring it here."
"Come, I have to see this thing," said Jex as he got up from the table and climbed down the steps to the store room.
The house was larger than it was before. It now had five levels which extended into the sky for no reason other than boys liked to build tall things before they get bored. No one ever went up there other than the one skybridge they built to see if they could search for a floating island. That was still under construction, and they were going to continue it after lunch.
Jex, however, was intrigued. He lived in a world with almost unlimited, but possibly finite types of resources. To think they had discovered something compeltely unknown excited him.
Jex and pans walked into the small room off of the storage room. They had put up a door, and a small torch to light the room, but that was it. In all their weeks of building the place up, for some reason they kept this place pristine, as if it preserving the first night of attack and safety.
"There, see it? It has a bluish tinge," said Pans.
"Like cobalt?" asked Jex.
"I know what cobalt looks like too, just look at it. Besides, we haven't released any of the metals into the world by destroying demon altars," said Pans.
Jex walked to the strange wall that Pans had unleashed. It was off to the back, as he had said, and Pans had dug it away almost to find a different wall underneath.
Jex took out his pick and hit the material as hard as he could. It chipped slightly, but that's all it did. He could see where Pans had been whitling away at it for days. It looked like he was able to get almost a foot in.
Jex felt the rock. It was smooth, almost like marble. But it was bluish in tinge. Hit it again, and it chipped again. He had no idea what it was.
Jex started carving around it. Pans helped and before long, they had isolated a cube of the strange material. It seemed to be human crafted.
"I... don't know what this is," said Jex.
"Neither do I. But I'm glad you don't know either, although you don't know much about stones," said Pans.
"I pay attention in class," said Jex.
"Theory and practicality are two different things. I've worked with almost every stone and ore in my life. Never have I touched this," said Pans.
Jex examined the small indent that Pans had been working on.
"How long have you been chipping away at it for?" asked Jex.
"About two weeks now," said Pans.
"And that's all you got?" said Jex.
"You try it!" said Pans.
"No, I'm sorry. I meant it more incredulously. Look, this thing isn't natural," said Jex.
"You can say that again," said pans.
"It's human made! Someone was here before."
"Impossible. If someone was here before, why didn't they do something more decent, like possibly build a house. And it would have shown up on the ledgers back at the Great Gate."
The Great Gate kept track of every world had been visited, and the Way Tables were all programmed and imbued with this list of worlds. Had a new participant chosen a world that was already visited, it would have randomly generated a new one for them. Most often than not, no repeats were ever done.
"Well, tell you what, you keep working at this. I want to explore more of the islands."
"You going to face those harpies on your own then?" asked Pans.
"Yes. I can work a boomerang, remember?"
"Sky bridges suck. You shoot an arrow, and then it goes off into the wild yonder. I've lost more arrows that way," said Pans.
"Good, you work on this stone thing, and I will go up and work on the skybridge."
"At this rate, I won't be done for another week!" said pans.
"Well, we still have a couple more months to go," said Jex.
"I wanted to take down the wall of flesh though! I want to get some real materials! I want to get some real metals! You know we need to get the hammer it drops before we can get into better materials. In fact, I bet that better materials could help us get through this thing."
Jex looked at pans. He didn't think they were ready for the wall of flesh.
"Are you sure? The wall of flesh is pretty daunting," said Jex.
"Look, we just need to make a flat area in the underworld, and then we can attack it all day if need be."
"All night. Only comes out at night."
"Besides, I don't think we need the guide anymore," said Pans.
"Fine. Let's do it then. But first, I want to pave the underworld."
"Of course you do. That will take us two days, Jex! If we build a road in the underwolrd, we won't be able to do our sky island!"
"Then we will take longer. Look, I don't want to waste any time either, but both have to be done so we may as well do it right," said Jex.
"Fine, fine. Let's go build a road," said Pans as he went upstairs to get his miner's hat.
Jex looked down the hellavator that Pans had built. It was dark, and not well lit, and probably not reinforced as his father's.
"I know what your thinking. You're comparing it to your fathers," said Pans.
"Of course I'm comparing it. But you did a great job. He had his whole lifetime to work on it. We've just had a week and some. Besides, you made it to the bottom, and you did it with no horseshoe, or miner's hat for the first part of it."
"And I killed all sorts of things," said Pans proudly.
"Still haven't figured out the boomerang yet," said Jex with a smile.
"Anyway, I don't think I've made it to the bottom of your hellavator."
"No? I thought you checked it out two days ago," said Pans.
"I was still building the sky bridge, remember? However, we did get enough money to get rocket boots, remember? So I was going to try it when I got those, and we got them."
"Fine. You ready?" asked Pans.
"I'm ready as ever, it's you that doesn't like falling," said Jex.
"Well, after doing it enough every day, I'm pretty used to it now," said Pans.
"Really? No throwing up?" asked Jex.
"Well, yes, I still do that. But hey," said Pans.
"You're going first then," said Jex. Pans sighed and jumped in the hole, Jex joined after.
The ride down was completely dark. There were no lights lining the wall as the hellevator back home. Pans turned on his miners hat. Jex was above him again. With a small activation of his boots, he slowed down his fall so that jex could catch up.
"So is this place as deep as my dad's homeworld?" asked Jex.
"No, I don't think any place is as large as your dad's. He really lucked out there."
It only took fifteen minutes until Pans pointed downwards. Jex looked down and could see that the pool was fast approaching. Not want to land in a puddle of water, he turned his boots on. Both Jex and Pans slowed to a halt.
"Can you believe our moms wouldn't let us have these?" asked Pans.
"I can believe your mom woudln't let you have them. How many times did you almost burn down your house. Of course she wouldn't trust you with rocket boots inside it." said Jex.
"So you had rocket boots all this time?" asked Pans.
"Of course I had rocket boots. I didn't use them aroudn you because you would just ask to borrow them and place your ranky, stinky, festering feet inside of them and the last thing I want to catch from you are foot diseases," said Jex.
The cavern they found themsevles in was completely natural. The hellavator was just newly created so nothing was fashioned in a more aesthetic sense. At least it looked more like the gateway to hell than his father's did. Jex looked ahead and found a small passageway that led down.
"That way to hell?" asked Jex.
"Yup. I didn't up a sign yet," said Pans.
"Don't worry, that's more my dad's thing," said Jex.
Pans was having a great time finding more of the red flowers, but this time he could keep them.
"You can make obsidian skin potions with the fire blossoms, you know." said Pans.
"And we didn't bring any," said Jex.
"Well, we are just building a road," said Pans.
"Well, I brought a few, I was just testing you. You didn't bring ONE?" asked Jex.
"I didn't think it would be that bad down here," said Jex.
"There are demons, imps, fire bats, skeletal worms, what are you thinking? Don't you remember anything from the last time we came down?"
"Hey, did you see the cool armour I have made for myself? These greaves are made out of gold!" said Pans as he showed off his pants.
"Look, that's great, and they melt just fine in lava, remember. It's not the monsters you have to worry about, it's what happens if they push you into a pit of burning death!" warned Jex.
"Ya ya, you always worry," said Pans.
"And it keeps us alive, remember." said Jex.
They ran into a few demons and imps on the way down, as well as some unlucky bats. They weren't as well equipped as they were at home, but they had had a lot more experience in their ways of slaughtering vicious monsters so it didn't take them that long to make their way to the bottom of hell.
A tall underground building was below them, and their boots carried them to the roof.
"Oooh! Oooh! I need to get a hellforge," said Jex.
ALong the base of hell, there many old buildings, most filled with lava, and some filled with pots, chests and a hellforge. The hellforge was used to create a number of more advanced weaponry, and was tantamount to surviving the higher levels and creatures that came once the wall of flesh was destroyed.
Jex dropped down into the dilapitated building, and wondered who had built the place and why. He caught himself, he was thinking like Pans now, and he didn't want to do that any time too soon. Yes, all this was interesting to contemplate, but not during the midst of the battle when danger could lurk at any corner. He noticed some wood platform rotting away, and through them, he saw a forge.
"Bonus!" he cried. He coudln't believe he found one so soon, of course they were normally littered all over the underworld.
"Pans! Can you get some hellstone while we're here? The more the merrier!" cried Jex. Hellstone was very strong material, the only trouble was it oozed lava and was difficult to handle when carried. They had some obtained some protection, however, when they were able to forge for themselves some obsidian skulls that warded off the damaging properites of being burned by hellstone.
Jex examined the hellforge. It didnt look any different than the one he created back at home, except this one glowed a bit more menacingly. He doused the flames, and then took it apart, piece by piece, and place them individually in his backpack. It was heavy, but it was worth it.
"I'm going to mirror home, I don't want to build a bridge with this thing on my back!" Jex cried out, but he didn't hear a thing.
He called out Pans name, "PANS!" and strained his ears.
Did he leave without him? That wasn't like him. It was more like him to have explored further without him. He hoped he didn't fall into lava.
And then that's when heard it. He had never heard such a noise before, but it had been described in such great detail that he knew what it was. Pans had summoned the Wall of Flesh.
Jex cursed under his breath. He removed the hellforge from his backpack and flew through the broken ceiling, out of the building and into the underworld. He could see Pans, looking paniced, flying towards him on his rocket boots.
"You tried to kill a demon with a voodoo doll didn't you!" accused Jex.
Pans gave a paniced look.
"And you succeeded in killing that demon, which then dropped that voodoo doll into the lava, which then of course killed our guide since the voodoo doll is our guide. Didn't you!"
Pans gave another looked which was more panicked.
"And then the death of our guide mean summoning the Wall of Flesh! You did it! Didn't you!"
Pans turned around. In the distance, they could see it moving towards them. A massive wall of flesh, with two large eyes larger than any creature they had known before. (Well, there was the eye of cthulhu, but he didn't count at this moment)
Leeches sprung from the mouth of the wall of flesh, a mouth that was large, very moist and red looking, and not a mouth one would use for anything other than providing nightmares to a few children and most adults. It was a disgusting, rotting, exposed and raw mass of flesh that was advancing towards them. And they had to someone how kill it.
They had to somehow kill it with one boomerang, and some arrows that Pans had.
"We aren't equipped for this! I left the big weapons at home because we AREN'T EQUIPPED FOR THIS!"
"Let's mirror home!" said Pans.
"And let it just wander about down here?" asked Jex.
"Look, it will be fine. We mirror home, the Wall of Flesh goes about it's business of roaming, and I think it goes away at night."
"That sounds like a smart plan," said Jex as he pulled out his mirror.
Pans was fumbling for a bit. He was fumbling for a bit too long because the nerves of a screaming ton of fleshy bits descending on you was not something that could calm your nerves. He finally reached and found his mirror, but it was too late. A long tendril of a tongue came lashing out and grabbed him. Jex watched in horror as he saw his best friend being lifted into the air as the wall of flesh descended on him.
Jex blasted into the cavern with his boots. Futiley, he threw his boomerang at the wall of flesh. He grabbed whatever weapon he could find, most of them being simple arrows, and show them at the eyes of the wall of flesh. He pulled close to the tongue and started slashing at it with his sword, but the tongue was a lot stronger than he thought.
A worm leech dived at him, and it was all Jex could do to avoid it as he tumbled to wards a lava pit. With a desperate blast of rocket boot, he avoided nearly being roasted alive and landed on a small island of ash. He looked up, and saw that Pans wasn't faring much better. To his credit, he was shooting arrows at the eye, but leeches were flying through the air and attaching themselves to every exposed skin on Pans.
Jex looked around, he had nothing that he could use to take down the Wall of flesh. He found some dynamite in pack and he wondered if he could attach that to the tongue, free Pans, and then just mirror out.
Wait, Pans dropped his mirror. Maybe he could toss his mirror to Pans, and then.... fly his way back to safety? Now he knew why he should have remembered to bring two mirrors. He grabbed his mirror and figured this was the best recourse and flew towards the wall of flesh, and a screaming panicked Pans.
Before he could get close, Pans threw the last remaining bomb he had at the wall of flesh. Jex didn't think that Pans had anything else in his backpack, for he threw everything he could at it, including coins, cloth, and some mud.
The last bomb landed in the mouth of the Wall of Flesh and a bright light suddenly hit both of them, followed by the largest explosive sound he had ever heard in his life.
The force of the explosion threw him backwards, and Jex put out his grappling hook, hoping it would snag on to something because couldn't guarantee he wouldn't fall into another lake of lava. He barely saw Pans fly further backwards, still attached to the tongue, but the tongue itself was attached to nothing.
The sound ended, and after a few moments, Jex's vision returned. The underworld, for the first time, was quiet. He didn't hear the far off cackles of a demon. He didn't hear the splashing of a lava slime. He didn't hear the squeaks of a fire bat. It was quiet.
Hanging in the air was a room. A room which normally appears when the wall of flesh was destroyed. Jex unattached himself from the ceiling, and flew towards the room. The rocket boots did provide permanent lift, but it was enough for him to get to the room. He looked inside it for the room was open from the top and only about 4 feet square and found the pwnhammer, and hammer used for destroying demon altars. Doing so blesses the world for more rare and stronger metals and ores. There were a number of other treasures that he scooped into his bag, and decided he would inventory later.
"Pans! Pans! Are you alive?!" called out Jex.
"Help! Help!" cried a voice. Jex looked around, and he could see a tendril of the tongue, amongst a lot of other fleshy bits, snagged on the room he was on. He turned on his boots and lowered himself to underneath the room, and there, hanging by a flesh of tongue, was Pans still wrapped up in it.
"That's pretty disgusting," said Jex.
"Yes, I'm aware. and it's also uncomfortable. I don't supposed you could help me."
"I had a cunning plan, back then. A super cunning plan, and then you destroyed that plan when you destroyed the Wall of Flesh." explained Jex.
"I'm sorry to be such a bother," said Pans.
"What I don't get, is how you did it," said Jex.
"Look, can we discuss this at home? I'm upside down, and I don't know how long it will be before some other baddy comes and tries to stick it's appendages down my orifices," said Pans.
"You do know how to make things sound unpleasant," said Jex.
"That's because it IS unpleasant! Cut me down!" said Pans.
"I have a better idea, which was all part of my cunning plan. Here. Take my magic mirror, oh clumsy one. I bet it broke, and that's seven years of bad luck for you," said Jex.
"Oh, it's too late for that, I already have about 14 years stored up. I don't have a free hand, by the way," said Pans.
Jex took the mirror and put it into the hand which was tangled up in some icky flesh. Pans smiled a thankyou, and a shimmering sound accompanied an static feeling of electricity in the air. With a bright light and a soft pulse of sound, Pans disappeared.
"Great. I have to make it up to the surface the hard way," grumbled Jex. That would give him enough time to stew and wonder, how on earth did Pans kill the Wall of Flesh?
Jex was sitting at the table, patiently waiting for Pans. Pans couldn't get the feeling of rotting flesh off of him and was in the shower taking the longest shower, jex was sure, just to try jex's patience. Pans finally came to the kitchen. Jex had a pot of coffee on for him.
Pans sat down and did a quiet shiver. Jex passed the coffee to him and waited.
"I never want to be wrapped up in tentacle flesh ever again," said Pans.
"That's a worthy goal," said Jex. "Ok, I can't stand it. What did you do? What did you throw at it? I had a stick of dynamite on me, but it would not have done what you did with whatever you threw in it's mouth! The wall of flesh is near impossible to kill on one simple blow like that!"
"I don't know! It was something I found when I was excavating that unknown block downstairs."
"You didn't show it to me?" asked Jex.
"I forgot!" explained Pans.
"How could you forget! You find an completely unknown contraption, and instead of giving it to the guy who is good with crafting, you just put it in your backpack!?"
"Look, it looked pretty innocuous! It was just a round ball. That's it! I thought it was something else, like maybe a toy. I found some other dumb stuff too, but they didn't amoutn to much either. Just that round ball, and a few other knick knacks. There was a cube too. But that looked more like a wooden block."
"Where are they?" asked Jex.
"I kinda threw them at the Wall of Flesh," said Pans.
"All of them?" asked Jex.
"Well, at least one of them worked."
"So you just through waht looked like the most powerful weapon of mass destruction at the wall of flesh, you know what this means right."
Pans looked down fallen. He did know what it meant. He meant that the spirts of light and dark were now free to roam the land. He knew now that there were crazy and difficult monsters that were released into their world, and they were not ready to take them on.
"We don't have anything! We don't have strong enough weapons to take on the creatures that are about to pounce on our souls! We could have been ready. We could have been ready if we stockpiled a bit more. You know, grab some of that hellstone, made some cool armour while we were building the pavement of hell. And then, we could have purchased some awesome ammo from the arms dealer, and taken down the Wall and presto! We would have been ready. We would have been prepared. There's a plan to all of this! A plan, Pans! Something that has worked throughout the centuries, and something that no one else has really deviated from. But you had to go and kill the wall of flesh. No... wait... You had to SUMMON the wall of flesh!"
"Hey, I didn't see the lava pit, I was sure i could kill the demon and it was supposed to fall down on solid ground," said Pans.
"Demons aren't predictable. That's why they're demons. And now, we have no guide, since the voodoo doll was destroyed, and we have unleased the hard mode monsters onto our land."
"Maybe we can go home early," said Pans.
"And fail? That's called FAILURE, Pans. We will have to wait again until next year to start our own world, and I like this one! We had it going pretty well," said Jex. He was not very pleased.
Pans tried to think of something positive.
"You're right, we shouldn't leave anyway. We found that strange stone thing. Maybe we can go back and say we wanted them to see it. That's why we went back." suggested pans.
"I doubt they'd believe we'd do that. Look, they know us. They know we wouldn't go back if we had something like that in our world. No, our best bet, I think is.. to fortress in. We go and start building tunnels underneath, around sea level, and avoid the outside world as much as possible. We start taking down all the demon altars we can, blessing the world as much as we can with cobalt, mythril and adamantium. We find those metals, we start making the most wicked armour we possibly can, and the hopefully we will be ready to take down some of the monsters that are going to try and EAT OUR FACE OFF."
"Fortunately, we haven't destroyed any shadow orbs, have we," said Pans.
"No, that means we shouldn't be attacked by the goblin army," said Jex.
"You know, we could also try and break into that stone thing."
"You do that. I am going to try and get us out of the mess you got us in," said Jex.
"Jex," said Pans with a bit of hesitation.
"What?!" said Jex.
"I'm sorry," said Pans.
Jex looked at Pans. He sighed and sat down, not realizing he had stood up at one point in time. He refilled his cup with some coffee, and noticed that Pans hadn't touched his.
"You know, Pans, it was getting boring anyway."
"What?" asked Pans.
"It was too calculated. Look, school has prepared our life in the new world too well. It's all mechanical. We know exactly what we had to do. Sure, there are slip ups, but in the end, it's all worked out. There is nothing new. There is nothing, sadly, fun about setting up a new world."
"I'm having fun," said Pans.
"Well, yes, I know, it's exciting. It's exhilarating. It was darn right scary attacking that wall of flesh. But, it was all expected. Nothing is new anymore. We know it in theory, but it's not something that no one else has done. It's like, our worlds are stagnant."
"You've been thinking about this a lot, I see," said Pans.
"I have. And... this new thing. This is exciting. You summoning the Wall of Flesh, as stupid as that was, was kinda exciting. We were so dead. We were so so so dead. And yet, because of that thing you found. We are alive. And we probably won't be alive for much longer because of unicorns, and eaters, and cthulhu eyes, but you know what? This gives us a bit of a challenge. And we now have an unknown. In fact, I wonder if it was FROM the Unknown."
Pans looked up. He could sense the capitlaization on the last word.
"How would that work?" asked Pans. "How would something from the Unknown get here?"
"It could get here, if someone brought it," said Jex.
Jex had a point. This was getting exciting.
"So what's our plan, captain?" asked Pans.
"Our plan, since we released the hard mode a week early, is to continue as I explained earlier. We do not go outside, and we start accumulating rare metals as much as possible. We will find the better weapons, but we need to upgrade our picks to drills so maybe that will help us drill through that block a lot faster. Maybe there's something encased inside, maybe better weapons, maybe more information, maybe a whole stash of those round bombs you found. If we could get those, we could kill off some of the more nastier bosses!"
"You mean, we could solve hard mode in three months? That would wow everyone back at home," said Pans.
"It totally would. They wouldn't believe it. We do have a problem. We haven't isolated the corruption which would have been generated from the death of the Wall of flesh."
"As well as the hallow that would have been created," interjected Pans.
"So we need to get some upgraded drills as soon as possible. Cutting through that stuff is annoying," said Jex.
"You ready?" asked Pans.
"Let's start tomorrow. It's late, and I could do with a long bath myself," said Jex.
"Ok. I think I want to sleep. All that tentacle mauling has really shaken me up anyway." said Pans.
"You do that. I'll see you in the morning." said Jex.
Pans was upstairs in his room, looking out the window. They had built their house taller so that they could see over the lands. Pans had always liked the idea of living in a tower, and chose the highest room for a bedroom. He could see the land laid out before him, and also the large moat that Jex had created. It did a good job of keeping the monsters out. Well, the monsters mostly fell in the moat and kept going, but some tried to get in the gate.
There was a cursed armour, bouncing up against the gate door. It was reinforced with iron and could only be activated by a switch, but the armour continued relentlessly.
Pans remembered the first time he saw the armour. He was only a child, but he had read about it as horror stories from some of the older kids. then his dad brought him to see one in a museum that was on the other side of town. It scared him so much he didn't want to go outside for month, and the dreams persisted for two years after that.
The world of Herm, as the occupants called it, had it's Wall of Flesh killed years ago by Hyrim Herm himself. So the monsters of light and dark had been released. However, Hyrim employed many soldiers and adventurerers to make sure that the town was free from any creature that could harm a child, and there was a significant bounty on many of the monsters that tried to roam the land.
Zombies were worth nothing. It was to the point that even a toddler could take down a zombie. However, the wraiths, clowns and werewolves were a bigger problem. Hyrim had set up an adventurer's guild for people to apply, receive their bounty, and also be eligible for adventurer of the month. This adventurer would get his picture placed on the wall, and receive free ale for that whole month. Of course, this was a sought after prize by most of the adventurers on the world, and brought in a number of people from around the multi-worlds. Needless to say, no creature stood a chance of even appearing without some drunken warrior trying to bash in its head.
Some adventurers would try and bring in monster tokens from other worlds, but they were diligent at the Way Gate, and it wasn't mere tradition that kept it manned and policed from those who would wish to take advantage of Herm's free ale.
It had been about four days since they had killed the Wall of Flesh, and the monsters were very difficult to get rid of. The cursed armour he was watching now took almost his whole quiver of arrows, and that's if he shot at the right spot, and if his arrows were all enchanted. Arrows did nothing to a cursed suit of armour.
So he stopped trying after a while. A werewolf almost made it into the house, but that's because one of the trap door at the top of the building was left open. It was by pure chance that Jex was upstairs and heard the howling of the beast. As quick as he could, Jex shot out his grappling hook to the door on the roof and pulled it shut, just as he could make out the shape of the wolf about to leap in. The howls of the beast were immense as it realized how narrowly close it got to access of the Jex and Pan fortress.
They had found cobalt. The first altar was close by and they had been able to destroy it with the hammer the received from the Wall of Flesh. With the destruction of the demon altar, the world was blessed with cobalt. Considering that the world was huge, it was difficult to find but Pans had a nose for minerals, and he was able to locate it within two days. Of course, by then, Jex had been popping demon altars like they were pimples on a teenage loser, so maybe there was enough cobalt now to competely stock most of the multi-verse.
With the new cobalt, he was able to make himself a drill. This speeded up digging considerably, and he made progress on the mysterious stone structure which haunted them every day with it's unknown secrets.
Jex was off in search of more demon altars. Every time he destroyed one, he was beset by wraiths, but he was quite adapt at taking them down. He was able to get himself a cobalt drill as well, considering he was doing a lot of digging across the world. Adamantium, the most strongest and rare of metals, was still difficult to come by, but they had enough to at least make a forge out of adamanitium. It wouldn't be long until they started getting more of the advanced armour and weapons.
Pans grabbed made his way down the tower. In fact, he didn't even bother using the steps, he jumped down a hole he had made, making it easier to quickly get places. They had not found any golden horseshoes, which kept them from dying if they fell from a high enough place, but that's because the skies were now populated by wyverns, and the only place you could find a golden horseshoe were from the floating islands.
Pans walked down to the storage room and picked up his drill. He was always wary going into new rooms, for he never knew if a wraith or werewolf made it in, but he also knew that they don't exactly go around stealthily. Well, teh wraith did, but they were usually far and after jex since he's the one destroying all the altars. Wraiths hated that.
The stone block stood before him. He revved up his drill and started on the same hole he had been working on for the last two weeks. He had progressed four feet in, and he wondered if it was worth it. The whole time, he assumed it was hollow. Why have a block in buried if it wasn't some type of container?
One thing for certain, they couldn't use or craft the material. Every time Jex had tried, he couldn't seem to break off large enough pieces to be useable in bricks or material. The stuff didn't make very well into anything useful. The drill was loud, and made a lot of dust. Pans put on a mask he had made from some silk he got from upstairs and continued the long and arduos process of drilling. He hoped it was hollow. he truly hoped.
After about three hours of drilling, he stopped. It didn't look like he made much progress, but he felt that it was a good three hours spent. He examined the progress he made, and poked his finger at the hole. It was still warm from drilling, but as he pressed, his finger broke through.
It was hollow. And he was close.
A strange stench hit him, but he didn't worry too much about it, he was protected by a mask. He picked up his drill again, and continued drilling. Slowly making the hole bigger. It took a bit, but with an edge to catch on, the hole was a lot easier to manage. And after what seemed an eternity of drilling, Pans was able to make the whole big enough to stick in his head.
Pans of course, wasn't that stupid to stick in his head in a hole which could contain all manner of nasties, but he did have a glowstick which was not flammable and would work at illuminating the contents within.
He paused for a second, anxious at what two weeks of work would bring him. He even contemplated waiting for Jex, but that thought was soon pushed aside. He threw the glow stick in and peered inside.
It wasn't empty.
Jex was off doing some ebonstone drilling. Every world had a corrupted area. This area slowly spread about the land like ink that fell onto a white bedsheet. Once the world had been awakened from the destruction of the wall of flesh, then the corruption would continue even faster.
The hallow also appeared. The hallow was a special type of land which, like the corruption, spread across the land blessing everything it touches. It turned stone into pearlstone, and the monsters that roamed it's lands were pixies, unicorns, and very deadly. The underground was worse. It sported all sorts of pinky, glowing creatures that phased in and out of the world.
But there were all sorts of crystlas that grew, and these crystals were a powerful reagant when making a number of spells, potions, and weapons.
Jex wasn't crystal farming, however, he was still trying to get as many different rare ores as possible. That meant destroying demon altars.
A demon altar, for some magical reason, carried the potential for magical ores. Once it was destroyed, the magic that bound it was released, and it seeps into the soil, in reappears in some random place, and blesses it into one of the rare world metals. It also realeases ancient evils known as wraiths.
The wraiths are a deadly bunch, with glowing red eyes and the ability to pass through walls. However, they were not that difficult to kill. Being ephemeral, surprisingly enough, meant that it was super easy to pass them on to whatever spirit world they came from and Jex had no problem in dispatching them into the ether.
Jex looked about and noticed on a ledge above the glowing form of another altar. With a smile, he shot off his grappling hook, and swung into close range. He examined it closely. He had been drilling all day and the thought of taking down more wraiths was a bit disheartening. One more altar, a few more wraiths, and he thought to mirror home to take a break. Maybe make some coffee.
The demon altar was like all the others. It was the same colour of ebonstone, but looked to be made of a more fleshy substance. Sharp and large horns protruded from it's edges and curled around it to make it look more like a maw than an altar. When he first saw one, he didn't realize it was an altar, since it didn't look like any altar he had known before. But Pans seemed to be quite aware of what it was.
With a long sigh, he pulled out his pwnhammer, and with a swing, broke off two of the horns. A second swing cracked the surface of the top, and a third swing destroyed it in a puff of smoke. Nothing of the altar remained. No horns, no debris, just the rough surface of the stone it was on.
He put his hammar back and took out a phase saber. These were wonderful because they destroyed things within walls themselves, and he knew that wraiths would be coming soon. It was sad thing that he had to study all of this. He wondered what was like for the Zack, when he first discovered the world. What did he do? How did he not die immediately what with every creature intent on disembowling you. Was there even a guide back then? Or did Zack have to figure everything out by trial and error?
Was there anyone with him? The history books don't talk about anyone else. They only talk about the town he first set up, the town that surrounded the Great Gate.
The low hiss of a wraith whispered by his ear and he turned his phase sabre on. He could sense the dread coming from his right and the swung his sabred into the wall. Three, four, five times, he swung and the cry of a million souls emanated and he knew that he had dispensed of one wraith.
He waited again, sometimes one wraith came, sometimes four. He never knew, but he knew enough. Another low hiss and he turned around to see a wraith had come through the floor. He dispatched it simply enough and it disappeared in a burst of ethereal black wisps. Another ten minutes passed by, without a wraith to follow. He gave a short nod to himself, closed his phase sabre, and mirrored home.
"Jex! Jex! You're finally here! You're finally here! Come come!" cried Pans.
Jex couldn't tell if Pans was excited for something important, or if Pans discovered a new skill he acquired by balancing leaves on his knows. But he gambled on the former and raced down to the storage room where he heard Pans was calling from.
"LOOK! LOOOK!" cried Pans as he pointed to the stone monolith that had been the focus of their attention for the past two weeks.
The room smelled. The room smelled old, and ancient, and foreign. Jex didn't like it. He saw a glow come from a large hole, about the size of his torso and large enough to crawl in. He peeked into the eerie glow cast from the glow stick that Pan must have thrown in.
There was a man inside there.
At least, the remains of a man. A man, that must have been in the stone tomb for hundreds of years.
"It's a skeleton! And not one of the alive ones. This is one of the dead ones!" said Pans.
"They're all dead, silly," said Jex.
"You know what I mean! It's a man! And he's dead! And he has stuff on him! Look at all the stuff on him!" said Pans.
"And you ddin't get any of the stuff? You didn't touch it?"
"I am not about to rifle about a dead skeleton. You never know, maybe a wraith would appear, and you know I don't like fighting off those things! Who knows what curses and ghosts would come and haunt this place if I distrubed him. I figured it would be best ot leave you to that. You're good at upsetting and killing the undead," said Pans.
Jex was a bit excited. He didn't know whether Pans was being genuine, or if pans was actually being considerate and letting him examine the newly found surprise. The hole was big enough to reach in, and even crawl in, but the enclosure wasn't large enough for both he and the skeleton. He grabbed the satchel that the skeleton had. It was on the ground, not attached to the man. So he knew that the man who was once there had maybe had time to relax and inside the enclosure.
"Was he trapped? Did someone try to kill him and encase him in this? Who is he? What is he doing in our world? Did he have a jrounal?"
"I don't know Pans! Slow down! He must have had a journal! I mean, if I was stuck inside a block for that long, I would have a journal. And how boring would it be if you didn't write about your imminent death?" asked Jex.
Jex examined the satchel and pulled it out. It did not fall apart, and it felt heavy and old. He opened the top and found a number of things inside, including a journal.
"Thank good ness there weren't any bugs. That would have been awful. I was expecting huge spiders or centipedes just crawling out of that satchel. You are a brave man. I would have opened it wiht a stick, and not just popped it open while holding it. Ugh, that would have been awful."
"Come, pans. Let's go upstairs and properly examine this."
Pans needed no prodding and they both wen upstairs to the dining hall where they had enough room to do a full inventory on their mysterious dead man.
The dining hall was designed by Jex, of course. It wasn't the dining hall where Jex and Pans ate, of course. The table was too large and they weren't the type to be shouting at each from different ends of the table. But it was used for planning, and organizing any adventures they decided they needed to embark on.
The satchel lay on the table, and with it, a number of pages from the journal. They were old, worn, but still quite legible, and surprisingly a language that they coudl understand.
"Look at this! Look how neat their writing is! And look at this language. It's like studying all those old books in school. Did they write this way all that time ago?" asked Pans.
"Yes, they did. And this looks like a language used from that one guy whom we had to read the journals of. What's his name?" asked Jex.
"how should I know. I definitely skipped out of those classes," said Pans. "Who knew they could be useful."
"Well, I don't know if we have a dictionary, but maybe we coudl get a sense of what happened here. I'm going to transcribe, and you write this down."
"What? Why do I have to write it down?"
"Can you read what it's says?"
"No," said Pans.
"Then write it down you lazy luggard. I don't want to translate twice. Besides, I can think clearly in my own language and if we have to read it again, I don't want to be all messed up like you."
"Thanks," said Pans.
"Look, it's even dated! Wait, no... that's just a doodle," said Jex.
"Just read it! Wait how many pages are there! That thing isnt' a journal, that thing is a book! look at how large it is! We will be here for the next week before that's transcribed!" complained Pans.
"My Dear Esther, -" began Jex.
"Who's estHer?" asked Pans.
"How should I know, I'm reading this with you. I just started as well. Just write, and I iwll read."
"Do you think it's his girlfriend? Or his wife? Did he have a ring on? Is he married?" asked Pans.
"I don't care at this moment. Shut up and write," said Jex.
"My Dear Esther - "
"I got that part already," interrupted Pans.
"I have stumbled upon something that is both amazing and wonderful. Oh the joy. Oh the excitement! My heart cannot contain the elation I feel at the discovery of what is both new, exciting, and something that will benefit all of mankind. I tell you, Esther, we will be famous. Rich. Enlightened, in fact, and it is due to your -"
"Does he really talk like that, or are you embellishing a bit?" asked Pans.
"Why on earth would I embellished. I'm worried that you can't spell half these words," said Jex.
"Ha ha, continue."
"It is due to your diliginece, patience and faith in me. I miss you already and we had parted only a mere few hours ago."
"This guy is a tool," said Pans.
"We will get through this a lot quicker if you would actually let me dictate," said Jex.
"Couldn't you summarize then? We ddon't need all the flowerly 'oh i love you so much' nonsense".
"Look, he drew a picture of the entry point of the world he's from," said Jex.
"That's talented of him," said Pans.
"Can you draw that?" asked JEx?
"Well, then can you use the gnusto spell?" asked JEx.
"The gnusto spell. You know, Enchanting 101. Copy print from one page to another. Except we only want the picture, not the text itself."
"I have never heard of such a spell," said Pans.
"It's the first spell we learn in enchanting because we don't want to copy all the stupid notes by hand!"
"You mean like I'm doing right now?" asked Pans.
"Do you know a spell that not only copies but translates at the same time?"
"I don't even know what you're on about. Is this why you guys got done your notes so fast?"
"You skipped that class, didn't you," said Jex.
"I skipped most of those classes. This is why my handwriting is much better than yours. I had practice."
"Whatever, let me do it." said Jex as he grabbed the sheet of paper out of Pans hands. He folded and put half of the unwritten sheet on the book with the picture. After a few small words, the journal began to glow, and a picture began to form on the new sheet of paper.
"That's pretty awesome," said Pans. "I can't believe you didn't teach me that spell."
"I can't believe you didn't learn it," said Jex.
"Well, continue. So far this is riveting. This guy should be an author." said Pans.
Jex continued into the night, with Pans scribing away. He described a world, a world beyond imagination, a world with a green sky, a world with different monsters, a world where magic didn't work. This disturbed both of them, but they continued on. It was a world that they had been hoping for. It was a world of the Unknown.
Inside the journal were not only the coordinates, but descriptions of animals, plants, hints, tips and tricks on how to survive the world, for it was nothing like their own. It had taken them two more days to full copy the book into a journal of their own.
"This is it, the last entry," said Jex.
"This is the most verbose man I have ever met. He's even worse than some of our teachers. Can you believe what that guy wrote?"
"This journal could save our lives!" said Jex.
"Yes, the pretty pictures help. So, where were we? He was being attacked by that big hair beast, which got caught in the mud suck of death place, but he realized he could survive if he laid on his back. And then he was attacked by some flying harpy type things which had it's entrails hanging from their stomachs... totally gross by the way. And after another harrowing episode that involved even more tentacles and claws, he escaped and finally made it here. Right? Where he promtply died. That's pretty depressing." said Pans.
"Let me read - 'It is my final day. I have succeeded. I have left the world, but my wounds are too great. I am fearful, Esther, that with my long absence, and now my eventual death, that maybe you have or will have forgotten me. The world does things to your mind. The world makes you think in only despair and anguish. Or is that me? Is that the life I have been living for these last few months, and now I cannot think in any other way? Have I come to late?'"
"This guy is so dramatic," said Pans.
"'I portaled, yes, but to where? I instantly sealed myself in this small box as I dragged myself closer and closer to this world's gate. Yes. I was attacked again. Yes, I fended them off, but grave and mortal wounds. I couldn't risk being attacked again, for it was night, so I dug this small enclosure to protect myself. With every strength I had, I enclosed it perfectly, so that none could interrupt my final dice. I had hoped that I could go to a land that had civilization, but my eyes were weak. And as I set the die to a known destination, I lost consciousness.
I awoke here. I awoke in this box. The portal did transport me, but I'm afraid I have been transported with the box, which I lack the strength to dig out of. My tools, my weapons, all are with me, but with the man to work them, what good are they? The only strength I have is to write this last one missive.
I love you Esther. It was you that gave me that final burst of strength to make it home. It was you who was on my mind as I tried to return to you. I hope you live a life that is fulfilling.
Ever yours in love,
"So it was Esther that gave him the final burst of strength, but it sounds like he's saying, 'BUT IT WASN'T ENOUGH'. Way to blame the female, Kayle," said Pans.
"I guess we should check the place out then, hunh?" said Jex with a sly grin.
"You mean his little tomb of impenetrable stone? I already did. I found those weapons of his. They're pretty sharp. Oh, he has a pick too, and you know what? It WORKS on that stone. It doesn't work great on our stone though. But it works on that stone."
"Ya," said Pans.
"So could you possible modify our drills, to use the material of the pick that Kayle guy brought?"
"I don't think very easily. We would have to figure out someway to melt it down, or something. I don' t know if we want to destroy the pick considering it's the only one we have. And do we want to destroy the weapons that he brought? I don't think so."
"You're right, Pans. Ok. We take all our stuff, and go with his stuff."
"No, you mean go to the land of crazy death?"
"Yes," said Jex.
"Are you mad, did you not HEAR what you've been saying for the past few days? They have monsters that this Kayle guy couldn't figure out thow to beat! They have monsters that have their guts hanging out of their stomachs? What matter of world is that!? Why would we want ot go there? And what if they have a hard mode? Hunh? What if it's not even in it's most difficult mode yet. What OTHER monsters could there be? Ones that crawll into your ears and EXPLODE? Did you see what that last weapon did. It totally destroyed the wall of flesh. How difficult do the monsters have to be if they're HARDER than the Wall of Flesh in it's easy mode?!?"
"So, say.. two days to prepare?" asked Jex.
"Ya, sure. Whatever." said Pans.
Jex and pans had been preparing for the last two days. For Jex, this was too good of an opporutinity to miss. For Pans, this was a great way to catch new and exciting diseases in the most unpleasent way possible. They were going to check out this world, but unlike this poor soul who had succumbed to his injuries, they hoped to live.
"The only thing we need are our tules and our weapons. I doubt that the weapons will work, but if we could replace the handles and the basics with possibly the minerals there, maybe we could survive," said Jex.
"Maybe we should bring the guide," said Pans.
"We killed the guide," said Jex.
"No, another one came just yesterday," said Pans.
"Oh, took its sweet time it did," said Jex.
"So can he come?"
"No! Why do you want that creepy simulacrum around?" asked Jex.
"Maybe he can help us figure out how to craft there," said Pans.
"How would he know how to do that? He's been programmed where he was created to work here."
"Maybe it's like magic. Maybe he will just be reprogrammed depending on which world he's in!" suggested Pans.
"That sounds quite reasonable, but I don't think it works that way. You don't expect to take a book into a new world, and all of a sudden the book will tell you the different and nuanced meanings of the new objects in thew orld, do you?" asked Dex.
"How would we know? NONE OF US HAVE EVER BEEN!" Pans said.
"Ok fine, we bring the guide."
They all gathered the materials, and the guide whose new name was Bill, into the portal room. They had built a structure around it so that when they would mirror home, the would be instantly taken to their house. They placed Bill in a chair and then took out the new journal that they had copied."
"You think we should take the old journal?" asked Pans.
"No, we'd probably wreck it. Look, if it looks bad, we just come back here. Ok?"
"That Kayle guy didn't," said Pans.
"That's because he wandered off and didn't even bother making a home base in the new world! How ignorant could he be?!" said Jex.
"Ok, well, do you we use his die?" asked Pans.
"He had Way Die?" asked JEx.
"Well, ya, how else did he get here... oh... sorry I took them. Here ya go," said Pans.
"Thanks. It's like your a kleptomaniac or something," said Jex.
"I am not. I just forget that I put things in my pockets, they're handy that way."
"You handed me 12 way die! And four of them are ten sided!"
"Well waddaya know," said Pans.
"That explains these strange coordinates. It starts off normal but then it has those 4 other symbols, which are on this die."
"They're different symbols, that's strange. Do you recognize them?" asked Pans.
"No. I don't. How on earth did he get those symbols." asked Jex.
"Maybe he deducd them," said Pans.
"Well, if you look at the glyphs on our die, there are sixteen of them right? But you can see that there is a pattern. A very small pattern, but a pattern none the less. Maybe this guy tried to extend the pattern and got these symbols. See? The symbols on the 10 sided Way Day look simliar to the ones on the normal Way Die."
"You know what, let's leave that to the smart folk who study that sort of thing, " Said Jex, surprised that Pans had an interesting and plausible theory for once.
"You have the coordinates for this world, right?" asked Jex?
"I think it's this one that he wrote down. See? The same symbols except it's off by one. I think that's what he meant by when he misread one. But look. There are four symbols beside the one that is our world as well. So in order to travel between our world and the Unknown..."
"You need those four die. I wonder how dad knew to make ten sided die..." asked Jex.
"You're dad does a lot of reasearch, and mines on the side. I'm sure it was a hobby of his," said Pans. He took a big sigh and didn't look like he was happy about the current state of affairs to travel into a world of pain and mauling.
"Ok, are you ready for this. There's no going back now, you know," warned Pans.
"Yes there is, we have the way die to go home," said Jex.
"Quit trying to ruin my anxiety," said Pans.
Jex took a small Way Table he had crafted and placed it in the center. He also grabbed Bill and dragged him towards the table. Bill looked rather pleased to be there in that vacant way that all simulacrums looked.
Jex, not wanting to screw up, took each of Kayle's way die and carefully placed them on the table, with the four new way die at the end. The table lit up green, signalling a connection and soon to be teleportation.
Jex grabbed his die and looked at Pans. Pans looked like he was going to be sick. The lights flickered once, or at least it looked like the lights flickered, and then they winked out of existance.
Jex blinked his eyes once as he lay on the ground. That was not the normal way to transport. Not only did he feel every individual one of his atoms being tore apart, he also felt like they decied to embed a nerve in everyone, and then explode them against razor sharp edges of reality. And then to splice them back together, no care was given to how fast and how furious or what order to knit them.
"I am never doing that again. I don't care what is in this world, I am never coming back," said Pans.
Jex just shuddered. Pans was throwing up all over again, but Jex made sure he kept his composure. He looked around. The description that Kayle gave in his journal was absolutely nothing in comparison to what he saw. The sky was green, yes, but the richest green he could possibly imagine without looking garish or out of place. It almost seem that had meant to always be green and you were mistaken this whole time.
Off in the distance, he saw the two waterfalls, and a meadow to the south. This was it. This was the world, and it matched up to what Kayle had drawn.
"We did it! We are in the Unknwon! This has to be!" Said Pans.
Dex looked around to find Billy sitting there, looking more vacant than ever.
"This is not good, I don't think Bill is working," said JEx.
"Yo! Bill! How ya doing? Anything alive up there?" asked Pans.
Bill slowly turned towards Pans, and despite the pain he was currently feeling, he felt the need to back away. Bills mouth open and out came a small whisper. A whisper currently shadowed by other whispers, until a voice emerged. A soft voice, and unsure voice, and a voice that uttered words neither Jax nor Pans could understand.
"Is that a good thing?" asked Pans.
"I don't know. But he's working. I wonder if his language module is broken."
Bill look at both of them and then he returned to staring ahead.
"Could we not have him around when we are trying to sleep at night. I trust him a lot less now."
"Ya, I think you're on to something there. Come. It's still morning. That means we have time to build before the night comes." said Jex.
Pans took out the pick that he got from Kayle's stash, and started digging in the ground. The pick was old, and looked about to fall apart, but it held and they were able to dig a nice hold for Bill to stay in.
Jex had gone to the trees, and using Kayle's axe, he was able to fell one. It took a lot longer than normal and by the end of it, they made a small shelter for Bill.
"You know, this is going to take us all day. I think we should just dig a hole and maybe forego trying to make a house. It's already close to afternoon, and I don't think we can get anything quickly accomplished in this world." said Jex.
"Sounds good," said Pans, as he began to dig another hole that was deeper and could accommodate them both.
Jex continued cut down trees. and by dusk, they had built themselves a small shelter with a wooden roof.
"What do you think. You think we're doomed?" asked Pans.
"If we are, then I'm pretty sure we could just zap back." explained Dex.
"Without Bill? He's kinda in that other shelter we made him," said Pans.
"Look, in our world, we sacrificed him to bring about the Wall of Flesh. NOw you're all worried about him now?"
"Well, in our world, he's just a simulacrum! He just goes back to whatever factory he came from. But in this world, did you see him? It looked like it actually LOOKED at us this time. I've never seen that. It was if it's eyes finally learned how to focus. i definitely don't like the new Bill. But i don't want to kill it just in case it gained sentience."
"I doubt that. Anyway, do you think... ahh! Torches work. Gel is still flammable." said JEx as he li the room with light.
"I didn't see any game when we were working did you?" asked Pans.
"No. Did you study those animals that Kayle had written in the book," asked Jex.
"Yes, I even gave them names," said Pans.
"I bet you did," said Jex.
"No, see, we have this large creature here that is apparently edible. We can eat that one."
"Can't we eat almost every animal?" asked jEx.
"I am not about to eat any of those corruptors as they spit out bile and just mucous up the place, thank you very much," said Pans.
"Good point. So what about those things?" asked Jex.
"Well, they look like our common deer but with stubby legs and a bit more hairy. Right? So I called it Stubby Deer." proudly exlclaimed Pans.
"Wow. Stubby Deer. Did you consult with Bill on this or was the brilliant name all your own?"
"Do you have a better one, oh son of Mr. Creative Genius?" asked Pans.
"Stub Dear is fine," sigh JEx.
"Oh, I think I like Stub Dear better. thanks!" said Pans. "Anyway, that's good eating, apparently, and it was no where to be seen. I think it's shy like our own dear. I want to try these weapons out on creatures that can't fight back," said Pans.
"You are a sick man," said Jex.
"You know what I mean. What if we're attacked by a vicious... uh... tentacle Gut, and we don't know what to do because our weapons don't work? It's been how many years since that guy was here? Who knows how these monsters have evolved by now."
"That reminds me," said Jex.
"What reminds you?" asked Pans.
"Do the worlds exist if we're not htere?"
"Do the worlds exists if we are not present in them" asked Jex again.
"I thought you didn't want to discuss any of this stuff!?" siad Pans.
"I don't want to discuss philosophical questions while we are being attacked or in the great danger of being attacked. HOwever, if we're sitting in the middle of a small stone hut in a world that shouldn't exist, and there's nothing to do, I'm all for talking about philosophy!" replied Jex.
"I don't know." said Pans.
"Don't you have an inquisitive mind?"
"Only when I'm attacking or being attacked, I'm afraid," said Pans.
"Ya, me too."
Jex and Pans could not sleep. Not only was the night unbearably cold despite their fire they had running, all they could hear were the most unearthly noises that they were not familiar with. There were howls, there was screaming, there was laughing, there sounded like children, there were all manner of beasts and goblins and ghouls just outside their little abode, and Jex and Pans knew they weren't up to the task of defeating any of them.
"Let's go home," Pans suggested.
"It's just the first night! Tomorrow, we can make a bigger house," said JEx.
"And then they can come inside and kill us in the bigger house. HOw is this any better?" asked Pans.
"Look. Maybe isntead of doing an upper ground house, we should just dig lower and see about discovering any ores or metals. We can do that." said Jex.
"We can also just go home! Remember, this whole new world thing was not on the required reading list! We were just supposed to conquer our new owrld, or at least see how far we could get, go home to a graduation fanfare, we get fed, get an A on our course, and then we can sign up for any soul sucking job that comes along which doesn't match any of our skills or interests!" suggested Pans.
"Aren't you super cynical this evening," said Jex.
"Do you not hear what is happening out htere? I don't even know if Bill is allive. Do you think he can make it?"
THere was a crash and thumb on the roof. Jex and Pans held there breath as they both looked upward and held on to the roof, as if that could stop it from ripping away.
"What if they rip the roof off. Can they do it?"
"Maybe we should dig deeper and possibly put a second roof interior." suggested Jex.
"That's a good idea."
Pans began digging in the ground, and although he wasn't as quick as he was back home, he was making a lot more progress than going up against that stone tomb they found Kayle in. Jex started adding more boards to the roof, wedging them tightly in, as well as supporting them with wood supports so that they would not be ripped off so easily.
After a few moments of digger, Pans broke through the ground.
"Oh look a cave underneath. Just like home. I'm not falling in it though, because ther'e probably nasty tentacle rocks that peel your skin off." said Pans.
"I don't recall that being in the journal of Kayle's" said Jex.
"Well, he's not alive NOW, is he. So I guess his knowledge is a bit weak on how to survive this crazy place. I want to go home."
"Look! We're safe! Can you hear anything? Can you see any monsters down there?" ask Jex.
Pans took out his glow stick and threw it through the hole that he made, which was no larger than his hand. The glow stick fell down for a bit and into some water, where it sunk deeper and deeper. As it fell, all pans could see were dark moving shapes, and eyes turning towards him.
Pans immediately took some dirt and covered up the whole. He then grabbed a board that Jex had fashioned and put it over the hole.
"I want to go home," said Pans.
"What did you see?" asked Jex.
"Everything. Too many things. I don't think we were meant to be here. Maybe we should leave this world to the adults." said Pans.
"If we did that, then we'd NEVER be able to come back! yOu know it an dI know. This is the only chance that we could get to be hear! this is th eonly chance that we can be in a world that the adults can't have! This is something that only one other man has discovered!"
"And that man is DEAD! Jex! DEAD! He rotted in a stone tomb of his making! I don't want us to do the same thing! We could go home right now!"
"Do you want to go back and think to yourself, you know, we could have stayed. We could have found something interesting."
"We are finding interesting things, and I don't like them!" said Pans.
"We could get the world named after us! Woudln't that be exciting?"
Pans sighed. There was no convincing Jex. Yes, it was exciting to be in a new world, but that did nothing to dispel the abject fear of the worst monsters he had ever seen his entire life. He had read the book, he had lookd at the pictureds, and all the creatures looked worse than anything he had ever imagined. What was it about this place that captivated Jex so.
"You know who wanted this, Pans? It was you. It was you who was obsessed with finding the Unknown for so long, and now you have it. You have it here. you have accomplished something which every sixteen year old boy had wanted to accomplish their whole lives, and you now want to leave." said Jex.
ANd jex was right. He had talked about this like it was up there with birthdays and getting your first girlfriend, not that he would know. And not that he would ever get one if he continued to stay in this world. But if he couldn't get a girlfriend, at least he could get a cool story about how he and Jex found a world filled with feroucious monsters. Maybe he could get a scar. Maybe he could lose a limb!
Wait that was an awful goal to have.
He sighed and found some ear plugs and took a swig of some potion of his own making.
"You stay up. I am getting some sleep. This stuff should do the trick," and Pans within slumber land in a matter of seconds.
"Thanks, Pans, leave me with sentry duty," said Jex, but he smiled to himself.
Pans woke up to the sound of birds chirping.
"Oh, there are birds in this world. They probably want to peck my eyes out and lay eggs in my open sores so that when they hatch they can feed off my flesh," said Pans. However, Jex wasn't around to hear. He looked up and noticed that they had no roof. Jex must be out and about doing work again.
Pans crawled out of his little abode and noticed that the hut for BIll was still intact. He couldn't see Jex anywhere and he paniced. Is he dead already/ Did he live through a death? And then what? Does he go home by himself and tell his friend's parents that he's not dead. What will they say? THey'll blame, him that's what they'll do. Jex was always the favourite, even with his parents. And they will say it was his fault.
OH, they wouldn't tell it ot his face, but he knew what they thought. He knew how they felt and what they said behind his back. And then, when he finally gets that date to the prom he had always been wanting and when he gets the nerve to ask the girl out, she will say, "Oh, you're the reason that Jex died. I had a crush on him." and then all his dreams and all his aspirations will come to halt and he will grow up a cold and bitter man, stuck on some empty and barren world who's only purpose would be to collect the spittle of corruptors for future scientific work.
Jex patted him on the shoulder, " Hey Pans, quit freaking out. Look, see that tower over there. That's the one that kayle described in his book. I think we could make it and it would be a lot more safe than this here."
Pans spun around sharply and winced at the thought his friend new him so well.
"You still want to stay? But... we could leave. It's day, and it's safe. Look, the sky is green here. That can't be right! That breaks a lot of laws of physics if you ask me," said Pans.
"You skipped PHysics, remember? You can't even tell me the colour spectrum," said Jex.
"How is it you attended all these classes and remembered?" asked Pans.
"When your father is Hyrim Herm, there is a lot expected of you," sighed Jex. Pans looked at him and acknoweledged this was more true than he realized.
"How is our psycho killer. Did you check him out?" asked Pans.
"Ya, he's still in there."
"Is he laughing maniacally to himself?"
"No, but I can't still understand him."
"Shall we bring him with us?" asked Pans.
"Do you trust him enough when we sleep?" asked Jex.
"Good, let's go to the tower. It's relatively safe, and hopefully we can formulate a plan.' said Jex.
"What? Formulate a plan? Don't you have a plan already?" asked Pans as he followed after Jex, who started off towards the tower at a clipping speed.
"Plan? How could I have a plan? We just go here!"
"We got here last night and you were up all night listening to the horrors. You must have kept your time occupied with some type of plan," said Pans.
"Well, other than explore the world and find it's minerals, no. That's about it. We have to prepare ourselves first, and that's seems a good a step as any." said Jex.
"Are we going through the woulds, where the deathly mud suck is? I dont know if we can recognize it," said Pans.
"We keep close to the trees. That way, if we fall in, we can at least have something to brace ourselves to pull out. At least, that's what I gathered from Kayle's journal. Or... just don't step in any mud."
"There's mud everywhere! How could I not step in mud!" asked Pans.
"just be neater than you normal are," said Jex.
"Ha ha, aren't you a really card this morning," said Pans.
The woods was thick and dense. The trees were the normal colour for trees, but when it came to the worlds they were from, a tree could be almost any colour, especially in the hallowed and corrupted lands.
"Maybe we can avoid the mud sucks if we just jump from tree to tree," said Pans.
"You do that then. I prefer not to impale myself on branches," said Jex.
"Look, we need to stick together," said Pans.
"So that both of us can fall into mud? We stay close together, but not too close!" said Jex.
Suddenly there came a noise which was a screech and a wail combined with a roar.
"This is it. This is where we die," said Pans.
"Pull out your weapon at least!" said Jex as he reached in and grabbed the dagger he had found on Kayle's body.
"A hammer. That's all that guy had for a weapon," pouted Pans as he took out a hammer.
Both Pans and Jex stood utterly still as they waited for the creature to come crashing through the woods. BUt there was not crashing. There was no branches being broken, nor any kind of thumping ground. The roaring and screeching was still there, but that's about it.
"Do you think it's the trees doing that?" asked Pans.
"Don't be ridiculous. Why would the trees be upset? We aren't doing anything to them. Come, let's follow the noise," said Jex.
"We could walk away from the noise. That seems a lot safer than... following it." said Pans.
"Where IS your sense of adventure, Pans?" asked Jex.
"Probably the same place you left your sense of common," said Pans as he trudged along. The two of them didn't have to go far, it wasn't long until they found the source of the noise. A rather medium sized beast, with a hide that looked leather and scaly was caught in what was obviously the mud that traps. It has horn on it's head, and a horn on it's backside, and it did not look like it was very pleased. It was already up to it's knees and wouldn't be long for this world.
"Whoa, I don't recognize that creature, that's not in Kayles' books," said Jex.
"Great, you want me to draw it?" asked Pans.
"No, what should we do?" asked Jex.
"Leave while we still can? Look. It's trapped. It can't kill us unless it has some type of spitting posiong power like the corrupters. So let's go before it learns how to utilize that on us," saod Pans.
"But it's helpless!" Said Jex.
"And so are we," said Pans as he started to leave.
"The neck muscles on that creature looks extremely strong," said Jex.
"Yes... anatomy is very interesting, but we don't need to do a test."
"I'm serious. I bet you that although it can't pull itself out with it's leg. I bet it's neck can," said Jex.
"really? You wantt o save it so it kills us."
"It's a charging monster, if it tries to kill us, we just go behind trees and whatnot. Look, this forest is too dense for it to do any damage." explained Jex.
"If that were true, it wouldn't be here," said Pans.
"Come on, we may as well do something," said Jex.
"Fine fine! But if this goes wrong, I want you to know I was against the whole thing."
"Yes, I think we all know you're always against the whole thing," said Jex.
Pans threw jex a rope and tied it to a tree with a very thick trunk. He didn't knot it, but made sure he could tighten it and hold fast around a branch so that it would lock. He didn't know if the rope would be able to hold the creature's weight, but the creature didn't look any heavier than both Jex and Pans combined, although it was quite formidable. He then took the other end, made it into a small noose, and aimed it for the horn of the creature.
Jex's arm was true and it caught. The creature, not very pleased with yet another new development thrased about and bellowed some more. As it moved its neck, it noticed that it moved itself in the mud. The creature stopped and looked interested. Pans was amazed that the animal had any intelligence.
The creature pulled itself closer to the tree, Jax made sure that the rope remained tight. Pans held on to the rope just in case it got loose, but the creature did not break the rope nor did Jax and Pans let it slide. Soon, the creature had two feet on dry land.
"Ok, let's go. The last thing I want is to be speared by that thing. Those horns look like they could kill the eye of Cthulhu itself." said Pans.
"Good idea," said Jex and they slowly backed away and started walking towards the tower.
After a few minutes, of what they thought was good headway, they heard a crashing through the underbrush. Pans knew it was no good.
"That's it. We're dead. You went and free the killer animal so that it could stalk us, and then impale us. Twice. Because it has horns on both ends, because life isn't fair. Why maybe, it will impale us both at the same time because it's efficient."
"I don't recall you being this negative," said Jex.
"I don't recall being this close to death all the time," said Pans.
They began to run in the opposite direction, still making sure that they didn't land in any mud that would trap them. They looked behind them, and could see some movement, but they couldn't hear it. Then came the roar. The roar that was described in the book of Kayle's. The roar of the hairy beast that had almost destroyed him.
It was huge and appeared right in front of both Jex and Pans. It was about a whole man's length taller than them, and it's claws were three feet long. It's arms length was massive, and it didn't seem to be very happy. It swung at them threatingly, and felled a small tree.
"Ok, that's not good," said Jex.
"No, no, not at all," said Pans.
Jex pulled out his dagger, more as a comfort than defense, and Pans just made sure he didn't wet himself.
The claw beast lumbered closer, all the while roaring and swinging at them.
"You know, I wonder if we're near a nest or something. I don't understand why it's so hotile," said Jex.
"You know, we should think about more important things," but before Pans could interrupt, he heard a noise from behind. It was the horned beast, and they were trapped on either side.
"Ok, Jex. You have the knife. Why don't you go and do soemthing!"
"CLIMB!" cried Jex and both Pans and he climbed the largest and widest tree closest to them. They had to climb to the very top because the reach of the clawed beast was phenomenal. They were no where near getting out of range when the horned beast charged and ran into the claw monster.
"Whoa, you made a friend," said Pans as he watch the horned animal do a complete 180 and and slash with it's horn in the back. Considering that the rope was still attached to the front of it's horn, this had an interesting effect. It got caught up on the claw beast's leg, and as the horned animal whipped it's head, it tripped the claw beast and it crashing down, right on top of the horn monster.
In fact, the clawed beast's throat impaled itself, and it lay there instantly dead.
"Ow, that's got to hurt," said Pans.
Jex and Pans looked at the scene before them. The horned animal, who was half the size of the claw beast, crawled out from under the hairy monster, looked none worse for the wear, and then sat down, looking at them.
"You're kidding," said Pans.
"I didn't say a thing," said Jex.
Jex and Pans, even though they witness the horned animal save them, was a bit wary for a bit. They hoped it would go away, and so they sat and waited. The animal didn't budge, and started to eat a plant that was near by.
"This is good to know, it eats plants." said Jex.
"What shall we call him? I think we should call him, 'horny'"
"No, we aren't claling him that," said Jex.
"How about Two horn?" suggested Pans.
"These are really stupid names," said Jex.
"Do you have a better name for your pet?" asked Pans.
"he's not my pet!" said Jex.
"then I think we should call him Two Horn! Hey two horn! Hey! Ya, I'm talking to you! Thanks from saving us from hairy, claw monster!"
Two Horn looked up at them from his pleace of eating, chewed for a bit, and then went back to eating.
"I don't think it understands us," said Pans.
"Go figure. Look, maybe we should just go down, on the opposite side of the tree from the thing - "
"Yes, and we can walk on our way. Maybe it won't follow us this time because it found some food. And seriously, do we want to be around that dead carcass? Who knows what other predators that may attract."
"Oh, right. Like that harpy with the entrails? I don't want to see that"
"It only comes out at night."
"Which is close to coming, btw. Look, we're nearly at dusk," said Pans.
Jex looked at the sky. The sun was still quite high over head, but it was slowly goin down. They didn't have much time to make it to the tower.
"Ok, let's go. I'll go first if you want," said Jex.
"Yes I most certainly want," said Pans as he watched Jex climb the tree downwards. Two Horn didnt do anything but chew on shrubs. As Jex reached the ground, Two Horn looked up, paused and then continued eating. Pans made his way down and soon they bothe were behind the tree looking at the masticating animal.
"Should we run?" asked Pans?
"I think he's faster than us. And if he accidentally runs into us because one of us falls, taht would be bad news."
"Bad news with a sharp stick up our butt, that's for sure."
"So let's walk slowly".
"Back away?" asked Pans.
"Ya... let's back away." said Jex as he slowly stepped backwards. Pans looked back, to make sure they didn't step into another hair claw monster, but the forest was quiet save for the chewing of Two HOrn, and the clumsy steps of Jex and Pans.
They had been walking for an hour. They had cleared the woods and the tower of Kayle was in sight. It was an impressive tower, quite tall, although it looked like it would collapse at any minute. Of course, it had been over 200 years, if Jex's calculations were correct, so the fact that it still stood at all was a miracle.
Pans nervously looked behind them. Two Horn was following from a distance. They had learned to trust him, for he hadn't attacked them yet.
"What are we going to do with that thing? You think we can take him home?" asked Pans.
"Take him home? Not just an hour ago you wanted to leave it to die in the mud, and now you want to take it home?" asked Jex.
"It's cute! Look, it just follows us and chews on plants as it comes. I think it was lonely," said Pans.
"Does that mean you want to stay?" asked Jex.
"I do feel safer with that thing around. Much more safer than your stupid knife, and my useless hammer." said Pans.
"Well, I hope it doesn't expect us to feed it. I have no idea how we would take care of the thing," said Jex.
"You don't have to take care of everything, Jex. I'm sure it survived this long without the mighty Pans and Jex duo to save it."
Jex remained silent at this as they continued to walk towards the tower.
"I don't need to fix everything," Jex said.
"Yes you do. You have this complex. YOu have to be the white knight. If something goes wrong, you have to be there to make sure things go right. Look, it's admirable and noble, but after a while, you have to understand that not all of us need help."
"You need help!" said Jex.
"I need help in all sorts of manners, yes. That's the reason I came. I would die on this world alone, I know that. But that doesn't mean everyone has to be rescued by you."
"This is strange talk, coming from you," said Jex.
"You just have to let other people help you, that's all." said Pans.
"I do. YOu're good with potions and digging. I'm good with fighting and bravery," laugh Jex.
"I'll show you who's brave!" shouted Pans and he tackled Jex. Jex lauged some more and effortless threw Pans into some bushes. And then he ran to the tower. Two Horn made no notice of the two boys and slowly followed from a considerable distance.
They had just made it to the base of the tower with the sun in the dusk position.
"We have an hour, at most, so either we trust this tower, or we build our selvs a shelter"
"I don't trust the tower nor our shelter," said Pans.
"Well, then the tower," said Jex as he climbed the ladder up the tower. To his surprise, it was quite sturdy and did not fall apart or even sway as he climbed. "It's good! Come on up!"
"No, I will wait until you're off!" called Pnas.
"I see something coming in the distance," said Jex.
"You play rotten, Jex! You are simply a rotters!" Pans said as he climbed the ladder. The tower was surprisingly tall and Jex wondered how Kayle had done it with all the monsters about attacking. They hadn't seen another attack, however, since Two Horn joined their group. It was weird such a docile animal could be their protector, but it did have two horns still bloodied by the days earlier encounter.
The room Jex entered at the top of the tower was just large enough to hold one person. Pans would have to squeeze in. At least there was enough room to lie down. Pans came in and let out a sigh.
"Ok, maybe a shelter woudl have been better. I can barely breath in here, and when I do, I smell you," said Pans.
"Hey, you aren't a bed of roses either. In fact, you're worse. You ddin't bathe for a whole week if I remember correctly." said Jex.
Pans sat down, and noticed the glass windows.
"Hey, he made glass windows. That's impressive. And the door to the outside is a trap door. We can close it!" Pans said.
Pans was about to close the door when he noticed Two Horn at the base of the tower. Two Horn looked up, then sat down by the ladder.
"Great, we're trapped here. He's at the base of the ladder, how are we going to get out now?" asked Pans.
"Let's worry about that later. It is almost night, maybe it will find some shelter and be gone in the morning." said Jex.
The sun disappeared over the horizon, and on cue, Pans could see the landscape slowly being over taken by creatures.
"They sure don't waste any time," said Pans.
A black whispy ghost slammed up against the window and screamed. Pans screamed back. The specter banged against the window, trying desperately to get in.
"Ok, I can't sleep if THAT is happeneing all night," said Pans.
"Neither can I. Look, Kayle has boards to cover the window, that may make life a bit easier."
"How in the world does anyone sleep in this? Those things are nasty and firghtening. I think my nerves are shot and did I just wet myself?" asked Pans.
"No, that's how you always smell."
"Thanks, Jex" sighed Pans.
"the problem with a tower," said Jex, "Is that we can't work."
"Work?" asked Pans.
"We could be digging. We could be checking out what else this place has to offer for minerals. We need to build up, remember? We need to figure out how to advance and upgrade our weapons. We've got nothing. Look, see this?" said Jex as he took out a small golden bell.
"Oh, that's your fairy bell right? Provides light," said Pans.
"Yes, but whne I ring it," said Jex as he rang the bell, "nothing happens."
"Well, it could be because there aren't any fairies to summon here."
"I've tried other spells. They don't work. The kayle guy was right. Magic doesn't work here."
"So what shoudl we do? Does any magic work here?"
"I don't know. Maybe we have to collect stars all over agian in this world. Or whatever the equivalent may be."
"Speaking of which, who knows what potions are readily avialable here! I could try all sorts of new plants!"
"That sounds quite dangerous," said Jex.
"No, it's fine. we have a way to test plants for poison and whatnot, so we can do a better job than the Kayle guy. Althgouh he did give us a head start, but I still don't trust him. And I think potions still work. Right? It's not magic, it's herbology. So those should still be ok." explained Pans.
"I guess so, Pans. As long as you're sure. I trust you on this when it comes to potions," said Jex.
"Remember that sleeping draught I took? Worked like a charm. You want some?" asked Pans.
"Well, I do want a good night's sleep. Last night was pretty pitiful." said Jex.
"Well, you kept us alive, that's for sure. Here, take a swig of this. You don't really need the ear plugs, but I like the security it gives me. I have an extra," said Pans.
"I don't want earplugs that's been any of your orificies, Pans," said Jex.
"You don't have to be rude. Just drink the potion," said Pans.
Jex took a swig, and he immediately felt a wash of fatigue come over him.
"That stuff. is.... " but couldnt finish the sentence and he fell fast asleep on the floor.
Pans took a smaller swig, and lay down. He place the ear plugs in his ears, and dreamed of being back in school where he was being tested on yet something else he skipped class about.
The night was coming.
The night was dark.
Two horn felt good.
The day was warm.
The ground was moist.
His skin felt good.
The ground that trapped him was bad.
But the two small things helped.
The small things helped Two Horn.
And Two Horn liked the small things.
They put something on his horn, but it didn't hurt.
It helped him pull.
It helped him pull himself.
He had never done that before.
He liked the thing on his horn.
Two horn wondered why they went into the tall thing.
The tall thing was high.
But they went up there.
Maybe they were scared.
Maybe they did not like the dark.
But the tall thing was way in the dark.
Maybe they liked the dark a lot.
It did not matter to two horn.
Two Horn enjoyed seeing something that didn't try to kill him.
The night was coming, but two horn could hide.
And two horn hid.
And the monsters came.
And the monsters didn't see him.
And the monsters ignored him.
His tummy was full.
His ears were closed.
And it was a good day.
Two horn slept.
Pans woke up the next morning expecting to see an empty, but more spacious room, but it wasn't so. In fact, Jex seemed occupy more of the room than he should have been allowed to. Pans took down one of the boards that covered the windows and noted that it indeed was morning and they didn't sleep in too terribly late. The view was spectacular up here, and Pans could see the two falls where they had originally come. He looked further to the north and noticed a small mountain range. That would be interesting, he had never been on mountains before. To the south, was a sea that seemed even larger than the seas at home, although that was impossible since their seas were infinite.
Pans took down the other boards that faced the west and noticed a barran land. And in the middle of that barren land, he noticed a structure. A large structure. A structure that must have been man made.
It couldn't have been Kayle who had made it. It was way too large, and judging from the journal the notes he left behind, he only had enough material and time to build the tower they were in. And it was a puny structure compared to the building that was on the border of the western barrens.
He didn't recall Kayle saying anything about the building. It looked large, and like a temple. But he recalled nothing of any civilization in this world.
In fact, there were constant talks of how there wasn't a civilization in the new world. At least on their worlds, and on any world they entered, there were rooms in the underground. There were chests. There traps, there were statues, there was evidence of something else that had live there.
But in this new land, in this Unknown, there was nothing. Kayle could find no indication that any other life existed here. Of course, Kayle never dug very deep, he was too busy staying alive, but that was curious that he found not one pot. He didn't find one weapon, not wone chest. He had to hew everything himself, and it took him a long time.
Pans looked down at Jex. He was conked out. Probably not used to taking sleeping draughts and whatnot, thought Pans. He opened up the trap door and looked down. Two Horn was gone. Pans was sad. He liked Two Horn. Two Horn felt like a lucky charm or amulet, and he had grown fond of his company. Pans reached in his pack and found some rabbit jerky. He took some and munched on it. He owndered if he could find some eggs if there were birds in this world. What he wouldn't do to have some eggs. He climbed down the ladder and surveyed his surroundings.
The structure wasn't as visible from the ground. He wondered why Kayle didn't notice it before. It must have taken him a while to make the tower, and yet he completely missed the large temple to the west. Something wasn't right there, but that was something for Jex to ponder and not him.
He grabbed his pick and started digging. Jex was right. They needed better materials, and the pick he lifted from Kayle, although serviceable, was worse than a beginning pick back at home. It took him extra long to get anywhere. He heard a snort, and looked up. Two Horn was right beside him.
Pans held his breath and slowly put his pick down so that he didn't appear threatening, although he doubted he could scare Two Horn. Two Horn was awfully close to him, staring at him and chewing on some ferns it had found.
"Nice Two Horn. How are you this monring?" asked Pans nervsoulsy. He laughed a bit to himself and tried to be as natural as possible. He wish jex was here, he would know what to do. Pans noticed that the rope was still attached to Two Horn's horn. He slowly reached out, wondering if Two Horn would flinch, run away, or snap his arm in two.
Two Horn stood there. Pans placed his hand on the rope, and tried to move it off. It was stuck pretty tight, but after a lot of tugging, the rope came loose. Two Horn never made a motion. Pans removed the rope and then, gingerly, placed it down on the ground. Two Horn grunted, gave a list munch on the grass he was eating, and then sat down on the grass. It took another clumb of bush from some plant near by and watched the Pans.
"Well, it was good to have you here, Two Horn. I was ... uh... worried that you had gone off, but believe me, I am glad... that... uh... you are with us. I hope. You stay! Right. I hope you stay," said Pans.
"You sound like you're asking a girl out on a date," said Jex, wlaking from behind.
Two Horn, being a herbivore, had eyes on both sides of his face and noticed Jex coming all along. Pans didn't and jumped.
"Quit sneaking up on me like that! What if I punched you or attacked you!"
"with the hammer you so expertly weild?" asked Jex.
"Hey, if you give me a proper weapon!" said Pans.
"And I will once we find it. Then we both can have proper weapons. I am hoping the same principles apply for crafting here," said Jex.
"Did you look to the west when you awoke?" asked Pans. He starrted to dig. Two horn stayed where he was.
Jex nodded. "Strange, that large building in the west. It's far away, but still quite noticeable. It looks too large for something Kayle to have constructed."
"And even if he did, he would have written it in that stupid notebook of his. In fact, I think he wrote everything in that stupid notebook of his. I'm surprised he didn't keep track of his bathroom schedule." said Pans.
"He did, remember? Right after he ate those berries. That was a nasty account," said Jex.
"And you wanted me to transcribe that. You call ME sick," said Pans.
"Anyway, no where is it mentioned about the building. What does that mean?" asked Jex.
"A number of things. Kayle is blind, maybe it was a time of year when you couldn't see that far because of rain or snow, or maybe the building came after Kayle was here."
"True, a lot of things could happen in two hundred years," said Jex.
"But if that's true, where are they now? You wouldn't think they would build a building and then leave it after two hundred years," said Pans.
"Well, they kinda do that now in our worlds right? Although I guess the mine them and strip them of resources, as opposed to build pretty buildings and then leave.
Pans had dug pretty deep by now, to the point of over his head.
"What should we do with your pet?" asked Pans.
"I don't know. I like him though. It's comforting to have him around, and we don't seem to be attacked as much. I'm surprised he wasn't attacked at night. It seems there still is a predator prey relationship out here," said Jex.
"Maybe that's more with the land animals. When it comes to the freaky mist monsters, that's a whole different story," replied Pans.
"Look, I'm going to see if I can find any game out here. I hope Two Horn will stay with you because I doubt he would be quiet while I try and do some hunting. In the meantime, see if you can find any strange ores," said Jex.
"Yes, I got that. Trust me, I'm not digging for my health," scoffed Pans.
"Really? I thought Mining was great for the lungs," said Jex.
"Har de har, stick to hunting,' said Pans.
Jex looked back as he took his dagger out of his bag. Two Horn paid him no heed, and seemed content to stay where Pans was. Maybe Two Horn knew that we would never split up permanently and chose the person who had the least amount of work. Two Horn was more like a cow, happily sitting there munching on it's cud. Jex took out his knife, wondered if he could get a whet stone somewhere, and then began to skirt the forest.
He didn't want ot go in the forest, the last thing he needed was to be caught in mud stuck without a back up, and he also didn't want to come up against another claw hair. But the last Stub Deer that Kayle found was around the forest, and he was wanting something other than the cold and dry bunny jerky that Jex was sure Pans was just keeping in his pocket to keep warm.
He did see the building to the west, and that was curious. He was going to make sure that they checked that out, but first they needed to get some supplies. First they needed to get the lay of the land, and first, they needed to make sure that they could survive this.
He wasn't planning on going back after the month was out. He knew that they've been fone for a long time, and that the normal scheduled test was three months. However, there have been some that wanted to stay longer but that required special written permision. Would they let them stay. Would he have to port back to the great gate, and then port to their old position. That was what they would need to do, and from there, they would come here.
He wondered if he should name this and. He wondered if he should call it Jex and Pans. But He liked the name Kayle, and it would seem fitting that the person who helped them survived the land would be the person the world was named after. He decided that he would refer to it as Kayle's World from hence forth.
Jex could hear birds. And birds meant that there were some animals about during the day. And he hoped to see a stub dear. Maybe there were other animals to eat, but the only ones that Kayle every talked about were the stub dear, and he was just hoping for something else.
And then he saw it. He wasn't too sure, for the creature was black as night, and it didn't have any antlers, but it did look like a dear wih very stubby legs. He looked at his knife, and wondered how on earth was he going to kill it. Wrestle it? Wait a minute.
He slowely went into his bag and took out his boomerang. Sure, the magical creatures of the land weren't affect by his other weapons, but what about the normal wildlife. He looked at his boomerang. Back in his world, it ws a flamerang, because it left a trail of flames, but in this world, it was nothing but a simple boomerang. That was sad, he loved the flame trail.
Jex checked the wind, it was very still. He hoped that he wasn't down wind and too loud. He decided to get a little closer to improve the odds of taking it down.
Jex looked around him, noticed that nothing was in his way, and he let loose. The boomerang flew curved and true...
Pans peeked out of the hole he was digging it. The day was getting warm and he needed some fresh air and drink of water. He looked over and there was Two Horn, still lazing about on the grass, chewing his cud. Pans grunted and lifted himself out of the hole. He cautiously approached the creature, and noting that Two Horn didn't seem to mind him, Pans sat down.
He fished in his pocket and found another sliver of jerky that he hadn't finished sucking the juices out of. He took a swig of his drink and examined the animal more closely.
It wasn't that large, about the size of a harpy in fact. The ones that were at home, not the ones here that had entrails spilling. It's skin was fascinating, because it looked more like interlocking scale male than it did skin. Pans felt tempted to touch it, but felt the last thing he needed was to be proved wrong about the docility of an animal with two large horns.
Two Horn had a large horn on it's snout. His face was heavily plated with whatever skin/scale thing it used as armour. And on the back, where his tale bone probably was, was a horn instead of a tale. This was not a creature you want to land on.
"And where are you from? Where are your parents? Do you have any siblings? How come you are following us?" asked Pans.
Two Horn looked at him, snuffed a bit, and then went back to chewing.
"So you are folowing, aren't you boy. Well, as long as you don't want us to feed you, we're all good. We barely have food ourselves, and you eat plants. I like platns, I do, but Jex doesn't all too much. He likes meat, but he won't eat the jerky I made. I think he's getting sick of it. That's why he's hunting, he is," said Pans as he snapped his fingers.
Two Horn wiggled his ear to drive a fly away.
Pans felt his fingers sting.
"Oh, that hurt," he said as he looked at his hands. There were flames coming off of his index and thumb.
Pans immediately smothered them in the ground, throwing dirt and leaves on top. Soon the flames abated. He examined his fingers. They weren't burned. They were a bit sorry, for it was a little hot, but his fingers weren't burned. Was it the dust? Was the dust combustible?
Pans took some water and washed his fingers until they were free of grime and grit. He snapped his fingers again, and despite the water, flames rose. This time his fingers didn't hurt as much. He blew on the fire, and it grew larger, but didn't go out.
"Ugh, how do I stop it?" he wondered. He quickly closed his fingers with his other hand and the flames went out again.
"I have... I have magic in this world." thought Pans. He wondered if Jex also had magic. This was too good to contain.
Jex was dragging the carcass of his newly fresh kill behind him. He new that the food would need to be hung but he wondered if that would be bad with all the strange predators that occupied the night. Maybe it would be better to bury the food, but would any underground creatures get at it? Storage was going to be a problem. He decided he would make some type of cooler to keep the food in. In the distance, he could hear Pans cheering. He cerainly wasn't trying to keep a low profile.
As Jex came into the clearing, he saw Pans, and he stood dumbfounded. Pans was a further away from the tower, probably to stear clear of Two Horn, and he was blowing fire into the air. Where he got the fire, he wasn't too sure, but the fact that he was blowing fire was disconcerting. To be fair, he wsa doing it away from Two Horn, he seemed surprisingly calm about the fact that fire was being tossed about as carelessly as it was.
"Pans! What are you doing? Where did you get the fire?" asked Jex. It looked like Pans had access to a flamethrower, but he didn't see how he could accumulate enough gel ammunition in this world. There was no gel, and soon, there would be no torched for only gel could make torches.
"Look! Look!' screamed Pans as he ran up to Jex. The pyrotechnics had stopped but Pans held up his hands, which looked surprsinigly clean. He snapped his fingers, and a flame arose in his hand.
Was it an illusion? Jex reached over to touch the flame... it was very hot and he pulled back and sucked on his fingers.
"It's real, Jex! Here, look, this is a blade of grass. Look! LOok!" said Pans as he took the blade of grass and held it over the flame. It turn black and smoky.
"I can shoot fire! I can shoot fire!" said Pans. Jex looked on with a little bit of jealousy. He had no magical power that he knew of, but at the same time, this was all sorts of useful. Pans had a weapon, and they also had a Two Horn. They could survive quite well now.
"Maybe you have a magic power! Snap your fingers! Snap your fingers!"
Jex snapped his fingers in the same way, but nothing happened.
"Well, maybe it's different," said Pans. "Come! I see you have caught ourselves some dinner! Let's cook us some stub deer! This is the best day of my life!"
Jex smiled, it wasn't often he saw his friend as excited as he was, and also, it was good to see Pans confident about something.
Four days had past. Four days of digging, hunting and foraging. The nights did not end when it came to monster harassment, but it wasn't as terrifying as it once was. Pans found out that a lot of creatures did not like the fire. The ghost, tendril thing, the ones Kayle could not figure out, he found were easily dispatched by fire.
They had found a number of new materials, and they were able to build their tower so that now both of them could slumber more peacefully. Jex build a lower room right off the base because the last thing he wanted to do was lug up materials to the upper level. And Pans, becuase he just seeemed to like height, built another room on top of the watch tower.
Digging and drilling went a lot easier. Pans was able to find a better ore than was used in the pick, and instead of making it into a pick, he rejigged the drill that used to be his cobalt drill. Now he could dig twice as fast and find twice as many gems and ores. Of course, they were all different ones, and Pans was not good at name things. He named one ore, "ore of veigns", and another one "chunk ore". Jex didn't understand that one, but Pans said it reminded him when he at too much crystals and had to throw it up.
No one ate crystla so that was a bit confusing to him, but he didn't wan to broach the subject any more than it already had been.
And every night, Two Horn would disappear. No one knew where he went, but he came back faithfully every morning.
The fourth night was approaching, and much to Jex's sadness, he did not discover a magical power. He was far from useless of course, but there was something lacking when he couldn't do all the skills he knew he was trained to do.
"You think we're ready?" asked Pans.
"For that building to the west?" asked JEx.
"Yes," said Pans.
"And we haven't found any sign of any civilization underneath, have we?" asked Jex.
"No, which is strange. I could spend more time building a hellevator as we did in our own worlds, but it's hard to find the motivation when I know there is that awesome looking building to the east.
"Let me guess, you've been tunnelling towards it." said Jex.
"Yes, the drill makes things so much easier."
"How many more days until you reach it?" asked Jex.
"I would say to more days," said Pans.
"Aren't you tired? You work all day and you work all night. I don't even see you sleep that much." said Jex.
"Now that I know most monsters can be conquered by flame, it's no big deal for me not to work at night! I don't fear the night! Do you remember the first time we were here? How many times did I soil myself. Too many times. I am surprised you slept in the same room as I did."
"There's a reason I took all those swigs of that sleeping draught!" chuckled Jex.
"We can do this, Jex. We can do this."
"But what about two horn. Will he go into the tunnel?" asked Jex.
"That's a good quesiton. I made it wide enough so that he could go down, and I did make some torches to light the whole way. Good thing you found that the fat from those animals you catch are quite good for torches." said Pans.
"Definitely. So you think that we should have two days and we'd be good to assulat that temple, or building or whatever it is?" asked JEx.
"Yes!" said Pans with a bit more excitment than a sane man would have.
"So be it. I will prepare food, water, and wahtever supplies I think we may need. How long do you think the trip there will be?" asked Jex.
"I think it would take us a day as well," said pans.
Drilling was a common practice in their world. You would think that building a road on top would be just as good, however, with the days and nights, and the common interruptions of monsters and creatures, it become much more economical and profitable to drill through the land. The materials gained from the drilling coudl always be used, as it was for building up the tower for Jex and Pans, and it was a great way for finding abandoned caves and chests, although in this particular world, there weren't any.
Pans worked like a fiend after that conversation, determined to make it to the temple before the two days time. It was as if he lowballed the number just to get Jex to say yes. Jex seemed a bit worried about Pans, however, he seemed to sleep quite soundly, without the draught, and coem morning, he was up and out again.
Jex did construct something that he found was quite helpful for Pans, a cart.
"Look, I don't know why we rarely use this in our world, but I think it has something to do with the smoothness of our dirt. But when you drill, it seems that the ground is as smooth as glass, which makes the cart," Jex showed in, " really easy to use to prepel yourself."
"Then I don't have to run the whole time," said Pans.
"You are getting more fit I see, but yes, you can get there faster with this. You don't have to lug all your tools, you can put it in the cart."
"Heck, I can put myself in the cart," said Pans.
"Well, you don't have any way of loco motion." said Jex.
"Don't I?" smiled pans. He brought the cart to his tunnel, and placed all his tools in the cart. You better exit the tunnel, I don't want you to get burned, saied Pans.
Jex nodded and climbed topside. He heard a huge burst of flame, and watch as smoke billowed out of the tunnel. Two Horn looked up, grunted, and then went back to chewing.
"That's pretty impressive," chuckled JEx to himself. "and are you not bored, Two Horn? You sit there all day just watching us. Do you not want fun? Entertainment? Maybe a little excitement from the opposite gender of your species? I sure do."
Two Horn just huffed again. And then took a snooze.
"I think I need one of those," said Jex as he retired to his room.
It was very late in the evening by the time Pans came back after a long day of digging. The sun was still light though, and monsters didn't frequent as much as they did. Pans and Jex had build large flaming torches that seemed to keep most of them at bay.
Pans came bounding out of the tunnel. He looked extremely please with himself and bounded out of the tunnel. He noted that Jex was working a hut to the side of the pasture.
"Look, I made Two Horn a house!" said Jex. "Come on Two Horn, this is for you. See, I made you a trough with some water and some hay!"
Two HOrn looked up. He stood up and walked towards the house and sniffed at the hey and water. He took a sip, and then sat in the house.
"He likes it! Hey Two Horn!" said Jex.
"That's great! I think we can go to the temple, and we don't have to bring Two Horn."
"Aw, I would miss his company," said Jex.
"Me too, but I'm afraid he'd get hurt, and I don't know what he'd do there. Besides, your cart? It's totally awesome. I can get there now in fifteen minutes flat." said Pans.
"Two Horn, will you stay here? You have to stay here while Jex and Pans go off to the building over there. Ok? Stay here!"
"I'm ready now if you are," said Pans.
"Pans! Get some rest, you have been working non stop, and you never know what we will encounter. I know you're closer and closer to it's doors. but if you don't get any sleep, you will fall exhausted."
"You're right. I am exhausted. How about this. A good night sleep, a huge breakfast, and then we're off in the morning!" said Pans.
"That sounds just about right. Let's go. Good night, pans. You take care of yourself," said Jex.
"I will! I can't wait until you see it."
Jex got up bright and early, only to find that pans had already packed the cart with all then necessities.
"You did sleep, didn't you?" asked Jex.
"yes, I even took my sleeping draught. I'm almost running out!" said Pans.
"Ok, are we set to go? Two Horn. Stay here. Ok? Stay here!"
Two Horn didn't do his disappearing trick once the large torches were set up. In fact, Two Horn rarely seemed to move at all. jex wondered if he was sick, but Two Horn semeed to be quite content where he was.
"Ok! Oke! Jump in! Jump in!" said Pans with enthusiasm. He and Jex climbed in the the cart and before Jex could even acknowledge what was happening.
The flame that shot out of Pans's arms was enormous, and engulfed the entire passageway. As Jex looked ahead, he coudl see that the walls were black with soot as the past days of fire propelled cart had been used to its full potential. The cart was moving at quite the clipping pace, and he wondered if he should install some sort of harnass in case of any tipping. Or perhaps steering, as it wavered back in forth, but he could see that pans had got it down to an art form and that he would change the direction of the flame in case it felt like the cart got too close to the walls.
The whole trip, however, was uneventful. No creatures came into the passageway, probably because it was close to the day, and there was nothign to see other than the fiery glow of Pans arms and his maniacal stare into the darkness. This would have scared Jex a bit if he didn't know Pans well.
And then the flames cut out, and Pans periodically would shoot off a flame here and there to steady the cart. It slowed to a halt and they were at the exit.
Jex and Pans got out, and Jex, for the first time, noticed the the building up close. It was huge, and massive. There was no way that kayle could have constructed this, but who did? Who made it? It was made of a stone that once again was foreign to Jex, but it was smooth, as if there wasn't a single seam or a block of stone used. It was like a temple, with arches where arches didn't need to be. The top was a crazy dome, and at the spire was a symbol unfamiliar to both dex and Pans.
Pans hurried on ahead, with Jex trailing behind. He could see that pans had made a nice walkway all the way to the front gate of the building. There was a huge stone gate attached to a white wall that completely surrounded the temple. The gate couldn't only be recognized as a gate because it was slightly indented and on it was a plaque with strange words.
"I can't read it, although not for lack of trying," said Pans.
Jex looked at the plaque. The symbols looked oddly familiar.
"What does it say?" aksed Pans.
"I'm not a linguist, this will take somet ime to figure out. it looks familiar, but I don't know why."
"So can you read it, I think it's a way into the place, but I don't know what it does. I tried to build over the fence, but it's no go. I tried to dig uder the fence, still no go. It's like there is some type of invisible sheild that keeps people out," said Pans.
"Wiat, you were werent' going to wait for me before going in?" asked JEx?
"I was going to explore! I wanted to see what was there. You know how long I've been waiting. I shoudl have brough you on the last drilling escapade, and then we could have gone in together. " said Pans.
"But then neither of us would have gotten an sleep. And I think you need more sleep than you are admitting to!" said Jex. He walked over to a small hut that was to the side of the fence.
"Oh, is this where you styaed somenights?' asked Jex.
"Nah, I just made that last night. Althoguh it's a good outpost, if you want work on the fence, we could build it into something that both of us coudl stay in."
"What about Two Horn?' asked Jex.
"I can go and look after two horn. If you can figure it out."
"I don't think I coudl survive out here by myself thoug."
"hmmm, well, i do have the torches up, but I haven't as diligient in keeping the creatures at bay."
"Tell you what, let's go back, but I will gnusto this sign"
"You know, I will copy this sign onto a piece of paper," said Jex.
"But magic doesn't work here," said Pans.
"Oh yea, our magic doesn't work. Yours does. Ok, I will copy it by hand. You still have any paper?"
"I have some in the hut," said Pans as he went in and got some paper. Jex looked at the symbols. They were oddly familiar but he coudln't make out why. With the copying skills of a pro, he completely failed at copying them down exactly.
"Ok, you were the one with the non-gnusto skills. I think you could do this a lot better. Could you give it a try?"
"Oh! I learned something, I wonder if it would work here." said Pans as he pressed the paper up against the stone plaeque.
"I thought you said you didn't know the gnusto spell."
"I don't, but it gave me a great idea." said Pans.
His hand started to glow with a warmthing, and then Jex could smell the scent of burnign paper. He wondered if pans was just going to burn the paper when he finally pulled away. The indent was burned into the paper with a dark black, while the rest of the paper was still white, which proved to be, a backwards copy of the plaque.
"Oh hey, that's brilliant. I could always hold it up to a mirror if-" and then his voice stopped short.
Pans and Jex both looked at the paper, they recognized the symbols now, they were the symbols on their way die but slanted in such a way that it was difficult to see when reversed. However, there weren't 8 symbols to indicate a coordinate. No, it was a whole paragraph of them as if it was trying to convey a message.
"What does that mean? Not another world, could it?" asked Pans.
"No, not another world. The symbols range from twenty to thirty symbols a line. And it goes on for some pages. I don' tknow what this means."
"Do you mean that those symbols are part of an actual alphabet? Making about, uh, let's see, sixteen, plus the ten... that's a 26 letter alphabet."
"Well waddaya know, all this time we thought they were just funny symbols of sillyness. And no one caught on?" siad Jex.
"No need to." said Pans.
"So this world is much older than our worlds, I woudl assume, unless the language was available to us and also lost," said Jex.
"How are we going to translate a dead language?" asked Pans.
Jex looked at Pans, and Pans looked at him. He did not know, and they were all out of clues.
They came back, with the paper in hand in silence. Pans was feeling quite deflated. He was excited that Jex figured out hte code that was on the gate, but then to be stopped after they had gone for so long was a real blow.
He didn't understand how the magic field around the temple worked. He checked every side, he tried to burn through the field, he tried to burn through the gate but to know avail. In fact, he didn't even leave a scorch mark on the gate, and the drill he had made no dent on that gate. Whatever it was made of was magically or hermetically sealed.
The business of the language really got Jex thinking. There was a whole language buried in the symbols this whole time, and no one knew. There was a whole alphabet that could be part of a long last culture, and yet no one had discovered it. Why not? What were the books that would have been written with them. Who made that language? Does that mean we, as a people, were a subset of that cutlure. An old culture, that was lost to us.
And now, with the four digits after the coordinates, how many more worlds are there? Are they all other worlds? Who was Zane in particular, the very first person who settled a world. Was he a person from the unknown himself. Was the multi-world he knew an unkown at one time, and then Zane discovered it.
Have they not discovered something new, but just rediscovered who they were? These were all questions that really disturbed him. And it was the perfect time to be thinking about them because they weren't being attacked at the time.
Pans and Jex came home in a silence. Two Horns had been waiting in his house the whole time and looked up when he saw the boys approach. He looked happy, gave off an grunt and then returned to his grass mucnhing, his world no whole and complete again.
Jex took out some meet from the cooler and put it on the spit, while pans lite the spit with a little flash of fire. They were both lost in their own thoughts.
What now? Thought Pans. What do we do? We have a temple or building, or whatever that we can't get in, and the only thing was is a code so diffilcut that there's no way we can figure it out. Does this mean defeat ? Do es this mean we have ot go back to teh great gate and let them do all the adult cryptology stuff they need to do to discern it?
Maybe they knew what to do already. Maybe this is a huge conspiracy that they didn't want us to know. Maybe that's why Jex's dad had 4 ten sided dice, because he was beginning to figure it out, and now they were going to hold his son hostage because he knew to much! It was terrorist plot from the beginning.
And then Pans slapped himself and gave out a huge sigh.
"If those are letters," said Pans," Then I bet that language makes sound. And I bet that's what's needed to open the gate. But how are we going to find a native speaker fo that language. I don't think Two Horn can do it."
Jex looked up. Another language.
"Bill!" said Jex.
"Bill! Bill spoke another language!" said Jex.
"You mean the simulacrum that we brought over?"
"Yes I meant he simulacrum that we brought over. Remember when he first arrived? He was speaking in some weird tongue and wwe got creeped out. Maybe that's the language. And if that' sthe language, maybe what we can do is just get him to speak it, and we don't even have to understand it. Maybe if he just reads it in front of the gate, it will open, and we can go in." said Jex.
"I guess, that's a far stretch. I mean, why put the password for a gate right on the gate itself?" asked Pans.
"Oh, people do it all the time! Come. It's only about two miles north of here. remember? We just have to go through the woods."
"Ya, and no Claw hair is going to scare me this time!" said Pans.
"Not at all... but I would like to stay away from all the mud stucks." said Jex.
"Ya, they get you dirty."
"We wont' be long, Two Horn, we just need to go into the woods to fetch a friend, ok?" said JEx.
Two HOrn gave out a snuff and went back to sleeping. Pans looked sad he could not use his cart again.
"That cart was awesome. I think we should develop a system of roads, donh't you think? We could zip around all over the world!"
"I wonder if there's someway we could do that for our world. Why don't we have carts there? We invented the wheel long ago and yet no one has ever decided to use it to tranpsort stuff? I tell you, we are way too depndent on magic." said Jex.
The trip through the forest started off quiet. The birds were in the air, and they did not see one claw hair.
"When you want to run into it, it disappears. I so want a rematch with that thing." said Pans.
"I don't think the soution to every problem is burning," said Jex.
"It's a good start," said Pans.
They were quite familiar with mud stuck now, even though it was mostly Jex that did all the hunting at this point. However, he knew when to tell pans to ignore certain places. They started to walk when they noticed it began to get dark.
"What time is it?" asked Jex.
"I don't know. I was certain the sun was high in the air when we set out. There's no way that it's dark now."
They looked up into the sky, and saw the mooon. It was blue.
"What? What is that?"
"That's a blue moon."
"what does that mean, and why is it happening now! Did we go into some time distortion field?" asked Pans.
"I don't know, but if it's the blue moon, and if it's anything like our red moon,"
They're conversation was interrupted by the cacaphony of a thousand voices.
"I have never heard that before," said Jex.
"I'm ready for them," said Pans.
Suddenly, from the ground burst a pair of hands. A hundred pairs of hands, all clawing for them.
Jex jumped out of the way and tried to ward them off with his sword.
Pans, in a panic started to throw fireballs at every living, or dead, or whatever the things were that laced the ground. This did ok for making them shrink back, but there were too many and they couldn't seem to make further headway towards their destination.
"Can you cut a path?" asked Pans as he held off the hands with a few fireballs.
"No, I can't cut a path. As soon as I get close to cutting ahdn off, it disappears and another one appears. It's like there are a thousand arms underneath us. I'm just trying to keep them away from my legs."
Pans shot off wave and waves of fire but to no avail, the could not seem to end the hands that were clawing at their lives. And then Pans noticed that he had set a tree on fire.
Which lead to more trees on fire.
"This is not good," said Pans.
"Ya, wer'e in a forest We aren't thinking. YOu're mom would kill you right now," said Jex.
ANd at the thought of their parents, both Pans and JEx felt very smalle, and were wishing desperately they could be home.
The hands were not daunted by the burning trees, and the trees were not daunted by not burning. It was not going well, and they were destroying a major resource in the area.
Pans coudlnt' stop though, if he stopped they would be overrun by the arms. And Jex couldn't stop, because he had to keep the hands off of all them as well.
"Can we climb any trees?" asked Jex.
"NO, I'm burning them all," said Pans.
"Could you stop that?" asked Jex.
"I wish I could. I could probably suck some of the fire in, but then that makes it a bit difficult for me to stop the arms, you know. And it doesn't seem that we can swathe a path. We are at a stand still, in a burning forest, and the moon is blue!" yelled Pans.
"We need rain or something," said Jex.
"Yes, we do!" said Pans.
"I dno't uppose you know how to make it rain," said Pans.
"I control fire, I don't control water."
Jex lifted up his sword and swung it around a couple of more times, smiting two hands, out of the two hundred. It wasn't enough. There were more hands than he could hold enough, and despite the fact that Pans was doing his best to keep the ahnds at bay, more of them came.
They targeted Jex first, because even though he had a sword and was good at the sword, he couldn't swing it competely aroudn himself, and the more he tried, the more a hand would crop up. Then He backed into a stone and realized that the hands appeared from the stone as well.
Pans yelled out, trying to be as precise as he could to target each of the hands and not burn Jex, but there were too many of them. All he could see was Jex's sword waving about with his outstretched arm, as a sea of arms continued to drag him downards.
And then a flash a ligthing lit the night sky, followed by a terrible crack of thunder. Pans stopped for a moment, a moment which was just long enough for an arm to grab him. He lost his concentration, and another arm got a hold of his arms. and pulled it down. Pans roared, and fired streamed from his mouth, like a dragon, but it sill did nothing to slow the arms of the dead from pulling him into the ground.
Another streak of lighting lit, and he felt the arms loosen. The loud crack thundered across the sky and then the smallest hint of rain came, followed by a torrential downpour.
And bright flash lit the night sky, and tendrils of electricity hit the ground. A wail of a thousand sould filled the air, and Pans, could see them retreating one by one as tines of electric current hit the ground.
Pans looked up, he could see Jex standing in the middle with his sword raised hi in the sky and the lightnight flashing about him. The wind whipped his coat and his hair, and the rain doused the fires which he had started.
Jex walked towards the edge of the forest, his swords till cleft high, and Pans followed him, hoping that jex wouldn't miss with that whole lightnign thing.
The blue moon abated, and so did the storm.
They stood there, panting and wet, and Jex looked exhuasted.
"Are you serious? Are you kidding me? You control weather? That is totally not fair," said Pans.
"Someone has to keep you under control," said Jex.
They walked the remaining way at a slow pace. Jex was awfully tired.
"How did you know you coudl do that?" aske Pans.
"I didn't know. I just know I was being grabbed in all sorts of comfortable and uncomfortable places with my arm held high and my swords ticking up like some type of antenna, and I had a morbid thought, 'what a way to day. What would be ironic, is if i I was struck by lignting with me holding this sword like this'... and that's when I saw the flash, and I felt an million volts hit me like... lightnight, I guess. I thought I was a goner, and I could feel my skin burn and ache, but there was nothing there. I felt the hands pull back, and loosen, because I had electrocuted each one of them, and I saw you and the fire burning the forest. I though of lightning again, and a thousand tendrils of light hit each of the hands, and the rain began to fall. I was freaking out, but i idnd' twant ot loose whatever concentration I had and before you know, we walked out and are still alive." said Jex.
"We are the luckiest people to have lived this wrold," said Jex.
"You're telling me." said Pans.
They walked for a bit, and the sun became bright again."
"That was totally unfair, I don't think a blue moon should appear during the DAY! Who would be prepared for that. OH cool! LOOK AT YOUR SCARS!" screamed out Pans.
"What? What scars.?" asked Jex.
"On your arms, on your neck. They look like you were hit by lighting," said Pans and Jex did look like he was hit by ligntning, consiering that he was. There wer lightnight like scars that ran up and down his arms and dsiappeared under the folds of his coat. He was scarred with the mark of the elements, and there was no way of getting rid of the blemish.
"That is totally awesome, Jex! I wonder if I can get burn scars!" said Pans.
"Uh, I've seen burn scars, you don't want that," said Jex.
"Ya, you're probably right."
They foudn the hut that they originally started the world in. The beginning, the entry, the key of the world. It had stayed as it stood. And in the backgorund, the two falls which marked their entrance.
"We shoudl have explored those falls," said Pans.
"We couldn't explore those falls, there were these things called deadly monsters that were trying to suck out our soul, remember?" asked JEx.
"But not now, now that we are the element brothers! You control the weather, I caontrol fire, I mean, is there anything cooler than that?" asked Pans.
"It will be quite the disappointment to return to our worlds and not have the abillity anymore." said Jex.
"Ya. You got a point there. I don't kno wif I want to go back, but then again, it would get pretty lonelye here if it was just me and two horn."
"I hope that two horn is ok," said Jex.
The got to the little shack that held bill and the removed the roof. He hadn't moved, and he still had that smile. But he turned towards the boys and give a knowing look.
"How can he register us. A simulacrum never notices that we are there by his eyes," said Pans. "It totally creeps me out."
Jex took out the piece of paper, that was surprisingly unsinged by the previous encounters of wind, lightning, fire and rain, and held it in front of Bill. Bill's eyes lit up in recongztion and he opened his mouth, mumbling at first but then saying the same archaic language that they first heard.
It started off as a whisper amongst whispers, with a a tinge of music and a taint of sorrow. Then the voices came. Not one, but many voices, and Bill begain to speak a langugae that no one had heard in almost two thousand years. Not that they would know that.
"How does one speak like that? I can't do that. I would just sound like I had some phlegm stuck in my throat," said Pans.
"Which you do all the time," said Jex.
Bill finished spekaing the paragraph, and he returned to looking at each of them.
"So, I think that means he knows what it says. Or at least he can read what it says."
"Now what'?" asked Pans.
"Well, I guess we take him to the gate to do the same thing. And then maybe we can go in."
"Sdannnsoooo" said Bill.
"What? What was that?" asked Pan.
"That was in a normal voice," said Jex. And then he felt the ground rumble.
"You know, it's a good thing that every bad thing that happens to us is foreshadowed by sound ore movement, but I really don't like what that does to my nerves," said pans.
Jex look around and tried to find the source of the rumbling.
"Sdannnsoooo" said Bill agian.
"Shut up. I think you caused that." silenced Jex.
"Well, we did get him to read it," said Pans.
"I don't need lip from you." said Jex.
"Come on, how bad could it be now? You have th epower of wind. I have the power of Fire"
"I have more than wind, I control weather," said Jex.
"Ya ya ya, but that doesn't flow off the tongue like the power of wind does. You need a simple sylablle word."
"There was another hellish cry that emanated form teh ground, but this time from the waterfalls."
"So there was nothing there? At least we get to see what happens over there," said Jex.
"You know, I don't know why we keep asking for trouble. I was quite fin with not translateing that peiece of paper."
"Sdannnsooo" said Bill.
"SHUT UP," cried both Jex and Pans together.
A shower of stone burst out of both the waterfalls and they stopped running.
Two Serpents flew out of the waterfalls and lit the sky with electricty and fire.
"Well, I guess dragons exist in this world," said Pans.
"Ya. And I bet they don't like us either," said Jex.
"You know what we rarely use now?" asked Jex?
"What?" asked Pans.
"Well considering those things are flying, I think it's a good time to don our rocket boots." said jex.
"I never take them off," said Pans as they jumped into the air.
Jex, being the more thoughtful one, bellowed into the air, holding his sword aloft. The ligthnigh coursed through the air and filled his lungs as he screamed, "Are you friend or foe?!"
The first dragon, green in nature and very fierce to look at spit out a stream of fire aimed straight for Jex. Pans pulled the fire towards him and disisipated it.
"I don't think they're friendly," said Pans.
"NO I don't htink they are," said Jex.
And Pans let forth the largest flame he possibly could at the dragon in black. He figured that the dragon in green would be ab it more flame retardent. He was hoping the black dragon woudl be a bit more vulnerable to something.
The black dragon looked a bit singed, but he didn't seem to be very phased by the affair. He screamed a noise, and pans and Jex panicked.
They turned tail and flew in the complete opposite direction of the dragons. Pans grabbed Jex by the arm and with the use of his feet, burst out the largest engulfing flame he could and projected both of them towards the tower. Jex screamed the whole time and as they came close to the ground, they landed with a large thud, but they were able to cushion the blow by a gust of wind controled by Jex.
"What was that? I never felt anything like that before."
"He breathes fear!' said Jex.
"Is that even a thing? How can you breathe fear?" asked Pans.
"This isn't a science experiment, I don't know, but that's what he does."
"How can I fight something if all Iwant ot do is wet my trousers whenever the black dragon opens his mouth?" asked Pans.
"I dont'know but we have to make sure it doesn't do that. Else we'll run away.'
"Here they come, they're so fast!
"Whatever the case, make sure we stick together. Good thing Two Horn isnt' here," said Jex as they got up and started to gather their wits and thier defenses.
The green dragon came racing in and Jex hit it wiht a bolt of thunder. The green dragon screamed and was knocked back.
"Yes! They're vulnerable to something," said Pans.
The balck dragon came closer and once again Jex hit it with the strongest lightnig bolt he could. The black dragon nudged it off, like ti didn't even noticed, and then it opened it's mouth.
"Here we go!" said Pans. and the noise emitted penetrated their souls with the cry of a million mourning death wails of a population in terror. Pans and Jex coudl not contain themselves and their eyes filled with tears as the fear copletely overwhelmeed, them. Their hearts bursitn gwith the adreniline with an emotion so raw that they once again, Pans grabbed Jex and blasted themselves in the direction of the temple. His fear and emotion so raw that one burst of flame catapulted them in the direction and they near crashed into the building itself safe for the quick thinking of Jex and his cushion of wind.
"This is not working," said Pans.
"And you really stink," said Jex.
"Hey, YOU threw up on me," said Pans."
"It's like taht guy collects all the fear it has from the years prior, and then just releases it to produce more. He must be pretty upset htat there are only TWO of us!" screamed Jex.
"What do we do? I mean, the green ragon, whatever. We can dance aroudn the green dragon. But the black one? I don't even know what we can do about that one."
"Maybe we can at least try and destryo the green dragon first? It seems to be the faster one and it gets here first anyway. " offered Pans.
"We could, we don't have many options anyway," said Jex.
"We will hit them both at once the, shall we?" said Pans.
"Cool." said jex.
The green dragon did indeed arrive first, his cry filling the air with a sound that would normally send most peopel running, but it had nothing on the black dragon. Jex and pans were prepared and asi soon as it was in range, they let out a blast of electrcity and fire that would have rocked the country side.
The green dragon screeched in pain, and spun about. It burst out flames and anger about him, and then... it transformed.
"You have got to be kidding me," said Jex.
The green dragon wings grew larger, and it's scales started to fall like tear drops, and bwhat lay underneath, were the scales of black.
"This is totally unfair. WHO MADE THIS WORLD? "aske dPans.
Pans and Jex rand around the building, knowing that they were about to be hit with two black dragons.
Coudl they survive that? They did not know. But they didn't know where to run to . They didn't know hwere to hide. All they knew, was that if they got hit with two blasts of a dragon fear, their hearts probably couldn't take all of it at once.
"They heard the screach of the black dragons, and they dragons didn't even bother to find them. They knew where they were and they let out the most deadliest barrage they could, now that they were both together and one.
The scream was silent. It amplified to the point of not only death, and anguish, but to the silent knowledge of seeing oneself in complete and utter chaos and lack of control, and power. It was a silent fear that it would never get better, for the rest of eternity, and it hit the building in full force... with the JEx and Pans behind it.
Jex looked at pans.
Pans looked at Jex.
"What? That wasnt' so bad. I'm not even scared." said Pans.
"Ok, I'm a little bit scared, but that's just the normal scared. NOt the full out I"m going to high tale my butt out of here with the hugest blast of fire dancing I can muster." said Pans.
"There is something wrong," said JEx.
"Well, if this is wrong, I like that. Unles we're dead. Is that it? Did we die?" asked Pans.
"No. I mean, there is no noise. What happened to the dragons."
They both walked around the building gate which they had been hiding. Before them lay the bodies of the dragons in black. It was confusing, it didn't make sense, but they were dead.
"Did they... did htey fear each other?" asked Jex.
"Actually, in a wya, I think they did," said Pans.
"Oh?" asked Jex.
"The force field, the one that surrounds this building. It reflects. It reflected my fire when I first tried to destroy it."
"And it reflected their fear."
"I think it reflects it double what you give it." said Pans.
"Really?" asked Jex.
"Well, no. I just wanted to say that because it would be totally cool if it did." said Pans.
"And that means, that the dragons felt the full brunt of two black dragons, and who knew, they felt fear." said JEx.
"Enough to slay them. How's THAT for a bee in your bonnet!" cried out pans.
"We have to work on your comeback lines," said Jex.
"Ya... well, I control fire. so your arugment is void." came back Pans.
"sigh" said Jex.
Pans and Jex went to check out the bodies of the dead dragons. They were not that large, but the scales were huge.
"Look at these things! Look at how tough they are. I bet we can forge amazing armour out of these!" said Jax.
"Or we can make awesome dinner plates@!" said Pans.
"I wonder if we can drag these back to our place," said Jax.
"That possibliy would scare away two Horn," said Pans.
"I doubt, it' The thing is almost close to being comotose. I don' tknow what's up with that creature at times. He is relaxing though. He does the opposite of these things." said Jex.
"Well, I think we should take some of this stuff home. I'm sure that dragon scales are useful for something." said Pans.
"Or dragon clawes, look how sharp these things are," said Jex.
"Oh oh oh! You know what. We should go back to their caves! Just imagine the loot they have all stored up in there? There could be treausre beyond imagination! Maybe we could magic swords, that can shoot electricity!" said pans.
"I can already shoot electricity, remeber/" asid Jex
"Ya, but then I can too! We can be like the electric company! That would be totally awesome." said pans.
"You make no sense at times," said Jex.
Pans moved as much of the dragon carcass they could, and harvested as much of the body that they could carry.
"Sometimes, I just think we're illegal poachers, you know?" said Jex.
"Well, if the animals wouldn't try and kill us, we wouldn't have any problems, would we? I was quite happy to say, 'hi bill, you know what this means' and then out come the fear dragons all intent on causing us to empty our dinners on each other from either end it seemed fit. I don't think I want to run into anymore dragons, as cool as it was at the time before we though we were going to die," said pnas.
"I don't even know what youa re saying anymore," said Jex.
"OH!@ Do you think Bill is ok? He was hit by that too," said Pans.
"He's not human, he doesn't feel emotino. I doubt it felt any fear at all."
"If you say soo, well. We're at the gate. NOw what?" asked Pnas.
"Well, we could try and go get Bill. or we could try that word he said," said Jex.
"You mean the word that released the dragons," said Pans.
"Yes..." said Jex.
"That seems rather lacking in foresight. What if we say it hear, and then we release, oh, I don't know, large meteors that destroy the planet," asked Pans.
"That is totally a posisbility. But he said the words for a reason." said Jex.
"However, maybe those dragons were put in place to protect this building." said Pans.
"If that were the case, why use the same word to open up the gate?" asked Jex.
"We don't know if that word opens up the gate. We know that words brings on a mess of trouble and death. That's all we nkow! I' am not saying that word!" said Pans.
"You don't have to say the word. I will say the word, and then who knows what will happen." said Jex.
"That's the problem, I don' tkno whwat will happen. I don't want to know. I think we should get Bill to say the statement, and then maybe that will open up the gate." said Pans.
"Or possibly , maybe that statement was what opened up the dragons to begin with," tehorized jex.
"Then it doesn't matter, does it. I mean, we could sit here and split hairs all day, but I am not going to say a word. I've had it up to hear with dragons, with arms that come out of the ground, and with this stupid temple." said Pans.
"You know, this is the pans I know and love. You were scaring me a bit there with all your high energy and dedication to building a tunnel to the building." said Jex.
"Well, those fear dragons reminded me who I truly was," said Pans.
"A coward that wants to go home and sit and eat bacon?" asked JEx.
"Totally. I claim my identity and I'm glad to be who I am." said Pans.
"Sdanssoooooo" said Jex.
"NO! Don't say it! I'm not listening!" said Pans.
"Sdanssssooooooo" said Jex again.
"I'm not listening! Wait, it doens't matter if I'm not listening. I forbid you to say it!" screamed Pans as he pointed a shaking thretenign finger at Jex.
"Sdannsssooooo" said jex for the third time. He coudln't remember if Bill said it three times, but that seemed a good enough number to repeat a phrase.
Pans had his hands over his ears and his eyes closed at this time. He was quite happen to be ignorant to whatever death awaited him at th emoment. Jex hit him on the arm, and pans jumped a bit back, a bit of flame spitting out of his mouth.
"Oh, btw, the mouth flame bit you got going there, that's prety cool?" siad JEx.
"thatnks! I didn't know I could do that until those arms poked me somewhere I didn' twant htem to poke." explained Pans.
"fair enough," siad Jex.
They looked around. Nothing happened. Other than the chirping of the birds, the rustling of the wind, and the sound of the surf they could hear of the sea far off in the distance.
"Why are the birds alive? Why didn't they get scared to death?" asked pans.
"I don't know," said Jex.
"Totally not fair, I do not ever want to go against fear dragons again." said Pans.
They waited some more, but nothing continued to happen. Jex let out a sigh.
"I guess we're back to square one, aren't we?" said Jex.
"Nah, you were right," siad pans.
"What do you mean?"
"You were right about the incantation," said Pans.
"How do you know. The gates didn't open. There's not even a visible door. Just that stupid plaque. The plaque didn't glow, the gate didn't crumble, the walls didn't fall down. We got nothing but a stupid building, with an old dead language, and animal that has fallen in lovew ith one of us, and a creepy simulacrum that summons fear dragons." said Jex as he sat down on the ground. He didn't realize how tired he had become.
Pans looked at him and went over to the side of a tree. He picked up a stone. It was a nice stone, a sonte that was very round in shape and perfect for skipping in the water. NOt that he ever could get stones to skip in the water. He was the dirt guy. He knew dirt. But could he skip stones over water? No. He could tell you the typ eof stone it was, the surface viscosity, and the proper angle to actually have the stone skip the perfect number of times, but could he actually skip a stone? No. And it was not fiar. Jex, on the other hand, held the record for stone skipping of up to 42 skips. Pans was certain that he cheated in some way.
"Look," said Pans. And he threw the stone over the gate. The stone flew easily and landed in other yard."
"It turned off the force sheild," said Pans.
"how did you know that?" asked Jex.
"I could hear it not humming anymore. I've been here, many times, you remember. And all I could think about was that darn humming that was drumming in my ears. But now. There's nothing. Nothing but the birds, the distant shore, the sound of the wind through the trees." said Pans.
"So that' sit? We actually opened the door?" asked Jex.
Pans went to the plaque that was on the wall, and gentley pushed. He heard a click, and a door, completely hidden, opened.
"Yup, I say we did." said pans.