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Silver In The Shadows
I wrote this in hopes other fans of the Dream SMP would like it, but also maybe have new members join the fandom.
I felt myself hit the ground. All I knew was a single word.
Was that my name? I wondered in the darkness I found myself in.
I sat up, and opened my eyes, sore in every part of my body. I wanted to close my eyes again as soon as I saw everything. I was in a clearing, in the middle of a forest, and everything seemed to be made out of squares and cubes. I looked down at my hands. Or what was supposed to be my hands. They were square too. I exhaled. Now what do I do?
Though I couldn’t remember my home, my family, or even what I liked to do, I knew the basic human instincts to survive. If, by this point, you could call me human.
“Fire. I need fire.” I said, thinking aloud. “And what makes fire? Wood.” I looked around at the trees. “But how do I get wood?” I looked at my hands, and then the trees. “Ouch.” I winced. “But necessary.”
I went over to the tree and started slamming my fists into the log at the bottom. To my surprise, I started to see cracks form in the wood. To my even greater surprise, it didn’t hurt at all. Maybe you don’t feel pain in this place? Soon, after the cracks spread, it broke. I quickly ran away from the tree, expecting it to fall to the ground. It stayed floating in the air.
“Stupid tree!” I yelled up into the sky. Suddenly, a flash at the edge of my vision caused me to pause.
GeorgeNotFound joined the game
“Who?” I asked aloud. “And what’s a game?”
I looked around, expecting to see a person falling from the sky. No one did. So, where was this, who was this, and what was it? Maybe this person was too far away for me to see. Yeah, that was probably it. So, I continued punching the wood. A few minutes later, something else flashed at my vision.
Sapnap joined the game
“Not another one!” I thought aloud. I had collected lots of wood now. Now I had to figure out what to do with it. That's when I noticed something in the center of my vision, in the bottom area of my vision. I saw ten hearts that I assumed showed my health. Then, I saw ten little food icons, which I assumed showed how full I was. I saw eight empty squares, one that showed the icon of wooden logs, which had a small gray box around it. I touched the air of the box next to it. The wood icon stayed, but it vanished from my hand. I focused my attention on seeing more.
Storage. I thought. Nothing. Archive. List. Um, extra space? Still nothing. Now I felt like the universe was mocking me. Inventory? I thought.
Suddenly, I saw one, two, three… twenty seven boxes above the original nine I saw. I saw what must have been me. I was… lime green? I had a white face-like icon below the shoulders. I saw places for something next to it. It had odd shapes inside the boxes. Maybe if I find those things that look similar to it I’ll be able to put them there. Then, I saw four boxes in a perfect square, a light gray arrow pointing away from it to another box. I touched the air at the wood, and saw it was named Oak Log. Well, at least I could find out names. I raised my fist and saw a piece of it was moving to where my fist was. I dropped it into one of the four boxes. In the box the arrow was pointing to, I saw something pop up. I hovered over it with my fist and saw it was called Oak Planks. I tapped it, and the wood vanished, leaving the planks behind. I placed it beside the oak logs. Then in the top right corner I saw something pop up.
New crafting recipes unlocked!
I saw a little green book icon pop up beside the four gray squares. I tapped it. I saw some words. I saw options to make something called a button, a stick, and a crafting table. I didn’t think I needed to make a button or a stick right now. So I studied the diagram to make a crafting table. It was simply four pieces of wood in the gray squares, spread over the square. I tapped the space out of the book and it vanished. I put the planks in the square. I grabbed the crafting table and placed it next to the oak logs. I got another message.
New crafting recipes unlocked!
I would check them out later. Suddenly, as I closed my so-called inventory, I saw the sun set behind the trees. That was not good. Soon, there was no sun at all, just the cold gaze of a square moon and square stars staring at me. Then I heard a shuffling noise, and a groan. Clattering of bones. An unnatural hiss. A higher pitched hiss. Something in this world just liked making hissing noises I guessed.
Something green and blue shuffled towards me. It hit me once, and there was a flash of red in my vision, temporarily distorting my vision. I screeched aloud.
“YES, YOU CAN DEFINITELY STILL FEEL PAIN!” I yelled up to the sky. I ran away from the creature, to run right into a white form of bones with a bow. It drew back the string and hit me with an arrow. “OW!” I yelled, running away once again. But everywhere I turned, there were monsters. I dug straight into the dirt, covering the opening above me. I sighed, digging out a small section to lay down in. I opened my inventory. Might as well check out those new recipes as I laid here, waiting for the night to go away.
“How are they doing?” The Man asked me. I was sitting in front of many computer screens.
“Dream is the most far along.” I told him. “He has figured out crafting.”
“Hm. Impressive.” The Man said. “Who’s next?”
“Sapnap. He’s figured out the inventory, but not crafting. And George is just asleep. I’ve been keeping the mobs away from him, but I think he will have to be woken up.”
“Hmph.” The Man said. “Not unexpected, because of his lifestyle, but unfortunate. Are we ready to send in the next three?”
“Wilbur, Tommy and Tubbo are all on standby to get strapped in for the next day, sir. Do we warn them of the apparent memory loss?” I asked the man, concerned for the three boys.
“Of course not. We need them to be as rational as possible. What are they saying?” The Man asked.
I disagreed, but I bit my tongue and said, “Let’s see.” I typed out a command. A camera showing Dream, Sapnap and George in chairs, wires connected to them, sitting unconscious. Three chairs held the still conscious Wilbur, Tommy, and Tubbo, while eight chairs still were empty, all in a dark room in a circle.
“Aren’t you worried, Wilbur?” Tubbo asked, as he stared at the wires connected to his skin.
“Isn’t everyone?” Wilbur said, shaking his head. “We all knew the risks. They chose us for a reason, Tubbo.”
“I know.” Tubbo hung his head. “But I’m still really scared.”
“We can’t back out.” Tommy said, trying to reach his friend’s shoulder, but the wires held him back. He dropped his hand. “We already signed it. We have to do this. We legally are bound to do this.”
“How is that supposed to help?” Tubbo whimpered.
“Tommy.” Wilbur sighed.
“I’m pointing out the facts.” Tommy said. I could tell he was putting on a brave front, because his voice wavered.
“We are all scared, Tubbo.” Wilbur said. “Though some people might not act like it, we’re honestly all terrified. We all are scared. And remember, we are all with you. We will try to find each other, if we don’t land together. We won’t forget you. All we have to do is beat the game. Dream’s a speedrunner for god’s sake! It will be something quick, and then we can move on. We’ll return to our normal lives.”
“T-minus one minute into standby.” I said, pressing a microphone.
“Oh…” Tubbo said, nearly breaking down into tears.
“We’ll all be okay, Tubbo.” Wilbur promised.
“Ten seconds.” I said.
“See you all there, boys.” Tommy said.
All the boys closed their eyes, and I pressed a button. They all became unconscious, and the next three walked into the room to get ready.
After what seemed like a while, I dug upwards. To my relief, the sun had risen. I climbed out of my hole in the ground. My stomach growled. I was hungry.
“Sorry.” I told it. “It's not gonna happen for a bit.” I walked, trying to get out of the woods and find shelter. I would need that. I finally broke out of the trees. I sighed as I saw a mountain. “I do not want to go over that.” I scanned the sides of the mountain. I saw a cave near the bottom. “Huh. Can I use a cave for shelter?” I asked. “Yes, yes I can.” I said. As I got closer to the cave, I noticed the stone beside it had little black stones in it. “Crafting table time.” I said, hovering over the table and putting it in my hand. I placed it on the ground, and tapped it.
Suddenly, I saw a three by three square, split by nine boxes inside it. Luckily I had studied the book of crafting recipes. I made a full set of wooden tools, and mined the black dotted stone. It gave me something called coal. I knew that word. I looked back at the crafting book. Yes, it showed coal to make something called torches, which would give me light. I used the coal to craft torches, and went inside the cave. I used the torches to light the way. After a small hallway, it stopped at a dead end randomly. Well, this would do just fine. I mined until my pickaxe broke, and I got a very big room after mining out the rest of the stone at the mouth of the cave all the way back to the end of the passage, keeping the four-block tall roof. I used the cobblestone to cover the mouth of the cave, leaving a two black space in the stone, level to the ground. I made a door, and covered the space with the door. I sighed. Now I had shelter. A flash at the edge of my vision gave me another name.
WilburSoot joined the game.
“How many more people are there?” I asked aloud. Silence, except for the growling of my stomach. “Okay, now I’ll deal with you.” I told my stomach. I went outside, and accidentally broke some grass. To my suprise, green seeds popped into my field of vision gray square thing. Know what? I’ll call it a hotbar. Combining words is fun. “Seeds. I can plant these.” I said. “I got them by breaking grass… Time to break more grass.” After getting lots of seeds, I placed dirt inside my cave, lighting the area well. I used a tool called a hoe to prepare the land for farming. I placed the seeds. After this, a message showed at the corner of my vision.
Tommyinnit joined the game.
“How many people will this take?” I sighed.
I went to get wool. That was an item in the book that could make a bed, which could be used to sleep. I needed to sleep. I left my house and found some animals. I killed a few. They gave me something called chicken, which was edible, along with feathers and eggs. Feathers could be used to make arrows, and eggs could be used to make a cake. I found some more animals, and killed them. They gave me beef, which was also edible, and they gave me leather. Leather could be made into books, books and quills, and armor. Useful. But not what I was looking for. Finally, I found some white animals that were a lot taller than the chickens. I killed them, and they gave me mutton, which were also edible, and wool. I had enough to make several beds. And, just in time. The sun was setting. I ran back to my house. A message appeared when I started to head home.
Tubbo_ joined the game
“MORE?!” I shouted at the sky, as if anyone could hear me.
When I got back, my… food thing… I’ll call it a hunger bar. Anyway, when I got back, it was nearly empty. I didn’t want to starve, I knew it wouldn’t do well for my health. I knew a furnace could cook the food, so I knew I wouldn’t starve while I waited for the seeds to grow. But, I needed coal. I made the furnace and placed it next to the crafting table. But where could I find more coal? I looked at the ground. No harm in staying up a little while longer. I began to mine a staircase down into the ground, lighting the way with torches. I found coal, and climbed up to the surface, and made some torches and cooked some food. I ate it, and filled up my hunger bar. I had extra, which I held onto. I placed a bed, crawled into it, and fell asleep.
“How are they doing now?” The Man was back, which startled me.
“Oh, sorry sir, you scared me.” I apologized. “Well, Dream has figured out farming, crafting, mining, and cooking food. He hasn’t got any iron yet though, but I think he’ll try to find some tomorrow. Sapnap is in the same place, he’s caught up. George… is still sleeping. No one has found him yet, but if Dream would just go a few blocks farther from his home, he’ll find him. Wilbur figured out the hotbar, inventory, and crafting. He’s currently studying the recipes in the crafting book in a hole in the ground. He hasn’t got shelter. Tommy actually is with Wilbur. Wilbur woke him up-”
“Do any of them have any recollection?” The Man asked harshly.
“No.” I replied, wondering why he asked.
“Then continue.” He said.
“Tubbo’s been adopted by the local villagers, he landed near a village. He’s learned everything Dream has, and everything about the game, because the villagers taught him, so he’s much further ahead in his group, but that’s just because of the lucky spawn.” I said.
“How are the next three doing?”
“Fundy, Technoblade, and Philza are all ready to go, sir.” I said.
“What are they saying?” The Man said.
I typed out a command. The next three sat in their chairs, ready to go.
“They all look so peaceful sleeping.” Philza said.
“I’m just waiting for the moment where we’re just knocked out.” Techno said.
“I’m waiting until I can get back to my cat.” Fundy said.
“Your brethren.” Techno joked.
“No.” Fundy sighed, exasperated. “I guess I’ll have to ask the question in everyone's minds. Why aren’t the others awake yet? It’s been three days.”
“I know.” Philza said. “It worries me.”
“What if one of them died? Would they be sleeping forever?” Techno asked.
“They wouldn’t let them sleep forever. They would put them down.” Fundy said.
“You know, you can just say they’ll make them sleep so hard they die.” Techno said.
“It’s nicer that way.” Fundy argued.
“T-minus one minute into standby.” I said into a microphone.
“Well, good. They warned us.” Philza said.
“Everyone ready to show the others how to speedrun better?” Techno said.
“Let's do this.” Fundy said.
“Ten seconds.” I said.
“Hurry up.” Techno said as the boys closed their eyes.
I pressed a button, and they all became limp as the next group entered the room.
I woke up the next day in a shack on a bed. Across the small room, Wilbur, the person who had found me, lay sleeping peacefully. It was just before dawn, and I sighed as I got up and opened something called a chest. Wilbur had crafted those before we slept. It would store items for us, but if we broke it, all our items in that chest would spill out. I put on my leather armor. Wilbur had killed so many cows yesterday for food we now had leather armor. It didn’t help much protecting us from the monsters, but it did, so we took all the help we could get. We each had a set of stone tools, too. I hefted my sword, took a few torches, and set out, looking for a cave. A small distance away, a cave in the ground, welcomed me in.
“How did we miss this yesterday?” I muttered, going in, lighting the way. Suddenly, a cobblestone structure loomed out of the darkness, and a zombie burst out of it, attacking me. I killed it, but no sooner after, about ten of them burst out. I quickly used the wooden planks I randomly had to tower about three blocks above their heads so they couldn’t hit me. “Okay, this is bad.” I hissed. I reached to light up the space. I saw something black in the center of that small cobblestone room that seemed to be spawning the zombies. Take that out, and zombies would stop spawning. Trying to ignore the horde of zombies gathering at my feet, trying to reach me, I quickly thought aloud.
“Monsters hate the light. They can’t spawn in light.” I said. “If I could place torches on that thing, all over it, would they stop spawning?”
“Tommy?” Wilbur’s voice said.
“I’m kind of busy!” I yelled back.
“Doing what? You can’t just wander-” Wilbur said, coming into the cave. The zombies changed course, heading for him now. “Oh.” Wilbur widened his eyes, and quickly towered upward like I had.
I snuck toward the edge of the block, placing another, making a bridge across the sea of zombies.
“Tommy! Are you absolutely insane?!” Wilbur shouted.
“I know what I’m doing!” I yelled back, starting to place the torches on the thing.
“The situation we’re now both in, contradicts you!” Wilbur snapped.
“One… last… one…” I hissed, reaching to place a torch on top of the thing. Nearly falling, I placed it. I hurriedly backed up. Zombies didn’t spawn. “YES!” I shouted.
“What did you do?!” Wilbur asked, killing some zombies.
“I stopped them from spawning!” I said.
“Great, now what about these things?!” Wilbur shouted.
We turned to each other, hoping for ideas. At the same time, we turned to the mouth of the cave where sunlight shone. We turned back to each other, the same idea in our heads.
“This is a very dangerous idea.” Wilbur said.
“Possibly suicidal.” I agreed.
“Please tell me you have a better idea.”
“Nope, do you?”
“Would I be asking you if I did?”
“Point taken. See you!” I said, leaping in front of the zombies. “HEY!” I shouted at them. “FOLLOW ME, IF YOU CAN!” I ran out of the came, the zombies following me as Wilbur killed the zombies from behind. The zombies shuffled out into the sun. I expected them to disperse, leaving us alone. What I did not expect was them to continue following me as they caught on fire. I ran in a circle, and soon all the zombies burned to a crisp. “Well, we now know they burn in sunlight.” I said.
“You are so incredibly stupid.” Wilbur said, hitting me in the head.
“Hey!” I yelped, shrinking away from him. “Who stopped the zombies from spawning?”
“Let’s just see what you nearly dying twice, has got us.” Wilbur sighed.
We stumbled back into the cave. Wilbur found some iron by the room, and started to mine at that. I lit up the rest of the room.
“Hey Wilbur?” I asked, staring at them. “Did you accidentally place down two chests?”
“No. He said, coming into the room. “Let's see what they have inside them.”
I took the chest closest to the exit, and Wilbur took the one across the room.
I opened it, and began to pull out items. “Why so much string?” I muttered, pulling it out. “Oh! Wilbur! I’ve got iron!” I said, showing it to him.
“Good. Keep looking.” Wilbur said.
I stashed the string and iron in my inventory. I pulled out rotten flesh. “Nope.” I said, instantly dropping it to the ground. Finally, I pulled out two strangely shaped, almost oval shaped items. Music disc. I thought, reading it to myself in my head. One named “cat” and another named “mellohi”. I like these. I’m keeping these. Suddenly, I had a flash of something, almost like a memory.
Me, sitting in some room, sitting in front of some... thing, the discs on the thing. A green thing that almost seemed like a person, taunting me with the discs. Something over his head said the word Dream. His name, maybe? Then, like it came, in a blink of an eye, it was gone, and the memory vanished from my head.
“Tommy?” Wilbur asked, looking back at me. I didn’t realize he had left the cave. “You alright?”
I hid the discs in my inventory. “Yeah, I’m coming.” I said. When we both left the cave, something flashed at the edge of my vision.
Tommyinnit and WilburSoot have cleared a dungeon.
“Dungeon.” Wilbur said. “So that's what that room was called.”
“Well, we cleared it, I guess.” I said. “I guess that's some sort of good thing.”
Suddenly, another message popped up.
Fundy joined the game.
And, as soon as that showed, a fox-human fell from the sky and landed on the ground right in front of us.
“AM I SOME SORT OF MAGNET?!” Wilbur yelled at the sky.
I could have sworn I heard a feminine laugh from the sky. But I shook my head. I was just straight up imaging stuff now.
We crouched down to shake the… Person? Fox? Whatever they were, we shook them to wake them. They whimpered, which confused me even more. Were they a fox?
“I’ll just carry him.” Wilbur sighed, picking him up. We walked back to our shack. It was only noon, so we still had time to move on. I packed up the base and we continued on. Suddenly, I saw something on the horizon as the sun began to start to set.
“Is that a house?” Wilbur asked.
As we walked closer, more and more houses appeared. “A cluster of houses… People…” I gasped.
“Maybe they can help us.” Wilbur said.
Suddenly a message appeared in our vision.
Technoblade joined the game.
We had to ignore this for now. Civilization was in our reach. We stumbled unsteadily to the city. I saw villagers begin to gather at the edge of the town, staring at us.
But one boy looked different than the rest. He stood at the front of the crowd, mouth open as he stared at us.
“Wilbur, is the fox-boy going to be okay?” I asked, tugging at his sleeve. “Will we be okay?”
“Let’s hope they are friendly, Tommy.” He sighed. We stood in front of the crowd.
“Hi.” He said, stepping forward. The crowd took a step back. “I’m Wilbur. I know it’s going to sound weird, but I fell from the sky. And so did he, and the fox-person also.” He pointed at me, who had taken the fox-person from Wilbur’s arms and was resting him gently on the cobblestone.
“I have a name.” I said, sitting up, narrowing my eyes.
“Ignore him.” Wilbur said. I bit my tongue to not unleash a stream of a few choice words to tell Wilbur. “And he did a little while ago.” He pointed at the fox-man. “Do you mind if we stay for a while?” He asked.
“You fell from the sky?” The boy who looked different gasped, running up to us. “I fell from the sky!” He turned to two people, a male and female. “Mom, Dad, can they stay near us? Please?”
“How can he have parents if he fell from the sky?” I muttered, confused, but Wilbur nudged me in the ribs, causing me to shut up. “Ow.” I hissed under my breath, having to bite my tongue again in the past five minutes.
The two villagers both nodded.
“We can build them a house.” The male villager said.
“Don’t waste your precious materials, or time, on us.” Wilbur said. “We have enough of our own.”
A message appeared in our vision.
Ph1lza joined the game
The boy looked over at us as we saw it. I nodded, and the boy nodded back. We would discuss this later, I was sure of it.
The two villagers and the boy led us through the winding streets of the village, past courtyards, shops, houses, gardens, and fountains. This was the nicest village I had ever seen. Of course, it was the only one I’ve ever seen, but still, it was very beautiful. Apparently the boy and his two parents lived on the outskirts of town, on a new road being made. We began to build across from the boy. We made a good sized home, with no windows. In fact, the villagers taught us how to make glass out of the random sand in Wilbur’s inventory when they saw we had no windows. Then we made windows. Wilbur laid the fox-man down on the bed as the sun set. I put my bed in a back corner of the house, as far from anyone as possible. Wilbur put his bed across the room from the fox-man. I guess he wanted to keep an eye on him.
As I took my armor off, Wilbur was smelting the iron in the furnace. I heard a knock on the door. I went over to it and opened it. The boy was standing there, a torch in his fist and a diamond sword in his other hand.
“Sorry for disturbing you so late.” He said. “Can I come in?”
I looked at Wilbur. Wilbur shrugged, and turned back to the furnace.
“Sure.” I eyed him suspiciously.
He stepped inside, and I shut the door behind him. He looked at the fox-man. “He still isn’t awake?” He said.
“I can fix that.” He said, pulling out something from his inventory, a bucket with something white in it.
“What are you going to do to him?” I jumped in front of the fox-man.
“Tommy, at ease.” Wilbur said, turning away from the furnace. “Boy, what will you do to him?”
“My name is Tubbo.” He said, calmly keeping his gaze on me. “And, this is just milk. Milk cures any type of potion or effects, good or bad, and can wake someone up from being unconscious. I’m just going to give him some milk.”
“How?” I demanded.
“Force feeding.” Tubbo said. With surprising precision, he opened the fox-boy’s mouth and prepared to dump the milk down his mouth.
“Wait.” Wilbur said, walking over and holding out a hand to stop him. “What's the point of waking him up only to have him sleep again? If he doesn’t wake up in the morning, then we’ll use the milk.”
Tubbo nodded and closed Fundy’s mouth with a fist gently. “Anyway, you’ve been seeing the messages?” He asked, sitting down on the carpeted floor, pulling out a flower to amuse himself with.
“Did you see the one about clearing the dungeon?” I asked, sitting down a little ways away from him.
“That was you guys?” He asked, eyes shining with excitement. “Impressive, clearing a dungeon is no easy task.”
“Are you always this mellow?” Wilbur asked.
“No, it's just because I’m tired.” He said cheerfully.
“Can you tell me what these are?” I asked Tubbo as Wilbur sighed in disappointment, and possibly exasperation. I pulled out the music discs.
“Music discs!” He said. “Wow. These are really rare. And you found them in the same dungeon? Also, how did you find the dungeon?”
“We were looking for a cave so we could get iron.” I said. “Wilbur was still sleeping, and I just… found it.”
“Do you guys have a jukebox?” Tubbo asked.
“A what?” I asked.
“Of course, you guys don’t have diamonds yet.” He said. “Hold on, I’ll be right back!” He raced out the door. We could see him enter his house, shut the door, open the door, shut the door, and run across the street, and run back inside. “This is a jukebox!” He said, placing it by my bed as I shut the door behind him. “Can I see one of the discs?” He asked me.
I reluctantly handed him the disc “cat”. He slid the disc into the slot on top of the jukebox. Suddenly, a wonderful tune came out of the box, and I swayed to the music slowly.
“A jukebox plays the music discs’ tune.” He said, smiling at me enjoying the music discs. “Do you have an enderchest to keep them in?”
“A what?” I asked again.
“Right. No diamonds.” He said. “Luckily for you guys, I always keep one on me. It was a gift from my parents.”
As he pulled it out from his inventory, I asked, “How can you have parents if you had fallen from the sky?”
“Adopted.” He said simply, before moving along. “So this is an enderchest.” He placed a black-looking version of a chest with some green thing on the top. “Not only can people not take items out of your enderchest’s inventory, the enderchest inventory can be accessed from wherever you have one, and the items won't spill out when you break it. I would place your music discs in there, so no one can steal them.”
I touched the jukebox, and grabbed the disc as it popped out. I opened the chest and placed the discs in the two first slots of the chest and closed it gently, afraid I would damage the discs by slamming the lid as I normally would do.
“You won’t damage the discs once they are in there, no matter how hard you slam the lid.” Tubbo said, as if reading my mind. I spun towards him, but he wasn’t even looking at me. He was looking at another type of flower in his hands.
“Alright, Tommy.” Wilbur said. “It's late. You should go to bed.”
“I’m not tired!” I protested.
“He’s right.” Tubbo said. “What if more people come tomorrow?”
“Is it even an ‘if’ anymore?” Wilbur said darkly, looking up from his crafting.
We all shared glances. “They seem to come in groups of three.” Tubbo said. “And there has to be an end, at some point.”
I nodded. “I’m going to bed.” I sighed.
“That’s my cue.” Tubbo said. “I’ll possibly see you tomorrow. Goodbye!”
“Bye.” I said.
“Bye.” Wilbur said.
Tubbo left, and I shut the door behind him and crawled into bed. Wilbur finished his smelting, and Wilbur climbed into his own bed. I closed my eyes, and fell asleep.
I flinched as I heard the door slam behind The Man as he came into the room.
“Did you hear what they will do if this works?!” The Man snapped.
“Um, no.” I said, my voice laced with sarcasm. “I haven’t left this room.”
“If this works, they’ll keep the people in prison. They’ll make us continue to make new things, new worlds, and we’ll basically be slaves to the government.” He said. “I don’t want that.”
“And if it fails?”
The Man didn’t say anything. I felt the color drain out of my face. “Sir, what can we do?” I asked, pleading silently that he said escape right now, and free the people in the chairs.
“All we can do is continue.” He said.
Dang it. “Right, sir.” I said. “But after the experiment?”
“There’s a false wall right there.” He pointed at a wall on the cameras showing the chairs. “When the time comes, escape through that with everyone. I’ll be stalling and reasoning with the government. Do you know what this is?” He asked, handing me a GPS system.
“It's a GPS.” I said.
“Programmed into it is coordinates to a luxury bomb bunker. It will have enough space for everyone to live in luxury, and it is fully self-sustainable. I’m working on their stuff from families being sent there. All of it will be there when you guys get there. You’ll have to get there without any transportation except for walking.” He said.
I stuck the GPS in my pocket. “I’m not going to question why you have a luxury bomb bunker.” I said.
“You know how to erase all information remotely?”
“Good. Also, your stuff is already there.” He said.
“Sir, while they have been playing, I’ve got something that will nicely transition them into the real world again.” I said, handing him a script.
I could almost have sworn he was smiling under his mask. “This is really good. I’m surprised.” He said.
“Not only am I good at creating worlds with code, I can also write stories pretty decently. But, it's also the original endgame message from the game, just tweaked.” I said.
“No, this is really, really good.” He said, giving it back to me. “We will definitely do this.”
I smiled up at him.
“Now, how is everyone doing?” He asked.
“Well, according to my ore map of the world, Dream and Sapnap are both close to mining out diamonds.” I said, turning back to my impressive setup I designed. “George… is still sleeping. What do we do about him?”
“Can you wake him up forcefully somehow?” He asked.
“Not unless I want to wake him up in the real world too.”
“Unfortunate. And the others?”
“Tommy discovered a dungeon, and he and Wilbur cleared it out. When Tommy held the discs “cat” and “mellohi”, which he found in the dungeon, he nearly woke up for a second. But, I was able to convert it into a small memory before he did so. I also removed the memory after. The discs were almost like a trigger object, if you will.”
“Is it a flaw in your code?” He asked.
“Every code has flaws!” I protested.
“Will it happen again?” He asked.
“I don’t know.” I admitted slowly.
“Well, Tommy and Wilbur literally had Fundy fall at their feet when they left the dungeon after clearing it.” I said, looking back up at my many monitors.
“Did you do that on purpose?” He asked.
“No.” I said. “They were just in the area.” I didn’t mention Tommy heard me laughing at Wilbur when I accidentally connected to the server’s sounding program.
“Then, they found Tubbo at the village. They have a home across from Tubbo’s now. Fundy hasn’t woken up yet. Tubbo taught them the effects of milk, what music discs were and how to play them, what a jukebox is, and also what an enderchest is and how to use it. The villagers taught them how to make glass too. They have iron now, enough to make tools and armor for all three of them.”
“And everyone else?”
“Phil and Techno are both together, heading towards the village. It seems to be some sort of common gathering point. Dream and Sapnap, though, haven’t moved.” I said.
“They don’t really have a reason to yet.”
“And how is the next group?”
“What are they saying?”
I turned up the volume to the cameras.
“I don’t understand why they aren’t back yet, and why they want us to go in.” Purpled said.
“I really hope something bad hasn’t happened to them.” Niki said.
“They’re all still breathing, so I think that's good.” Ranboo said.
“T-minus one minute to standby.” I warned them.
“I wonder who that girl is, and if we’ll ever see, or hear, her again.” Purpled said, looking up to the ceiling.
“I hope we do get to meet her.” Niki said.
“Ten seconds.” I said gently.
They closed their eyes, and then I pressed the button. They all went limp.
I woke up to rummaging. Wilbur was organizing his chests at the crack of dawn.
“Do you have to do that now?” I snapped, pulling the covers over my head.
“Tubbo is coming over soon.” He said, not looking up. “He’s going to take us to something called a library.”
“How do you know?”
“He told me a few minutes ago. I’m surprised you didn’t hear him.”
I got up. “How’s fox-person?” I asked.
“Tubbo’s bringing milk.”
He hadn’t woken up yet. I yawned as I got up. The door burst open, and Tubbo ran inside.
“No knocking?” I asked.
“Nope! I’m not tired anymore!” He said happily. He opened the fox-man's mouth, and carefully poured the milk down his throat.
To my surprise, after the bucket was depleted, the fox-man coughed, and sat up. Tubbo stepped back and put the bucket in his inventory. The fox-man opened his eyes.
“Hello! I’m Tubbo!” Tubbo said cheerfully.
“Um… hello. I’m Fundy.” The fox-man said, pulling the sheets up to just below his chin.
“I’m Wilbur.” Wilbur said. “And that’s Tommy.” He said, pointing to me.
“Excuse me, I can introduce myself.” I said.
“Tommy, not now.” Wilbur said.
“Every time is a good time, Wilbur. Why haven’t you let me introduce myself-”
Nihachu joined the game
“You guys saw that, right?” Fundy said.
“I thought it would end.” I groaned, frustrated.
“It’ll end soon, Tommy.” Tubbo put a hand on my shoulder. To my surprise, I didn’t slap him away, like I did when Wilbur tried to do that.
“Say Tubbo, how do you know so much about items and other things?” Wilbur asked.
“They won't let me leave the village,” He said, “So I spend most of my time at the library. We have the biggest and most informed library in all of the lands.”
“What’s a library?” I asked.
“A place where you can go to read about many things, and borrow books for a short time.” He said. “It’s third on my list of favorite things to do, read.”
“What's at the top?” I asked.
“Number two is gardening flowers, and number one is taking care of my bees!” Tubbo said happily.
“Tubbo, can we go to the library?” Wilbur asked. “I would love to take a look around,”
“Follow me!” Tubbo said, skipping out of the house and down the street. Wilbur and Fundy hurriedly followed, while I shut the door, and then ran after them.
Tubbo stopped at a huge building, and he went inside. We all followed.
“Have you guys heard of the other dimensions?” Tubbo asked.
“No.” Wilbur said.
“THERE’S MORE THAN ONE?!” I yelled.
“Shhhh!” All of the villagers in the building said.
“I’m going to look.” Fundy said, and vanished between the shelves.
“Then you’ll want to read this.” Tubbo said, reaching up to a shelf, grabbing a book, and pressing it into Wilbur’s hands. “It details all three dimensions. And…” He grabbed a book from a lower shelf and gave it to Wilbur too. “This one has a list of all items and their uses, and how to work them. I figure you’ll like these.”
“Thank you, Tubbo.” Wilbur said, and went to read at a table.
“Oh, and for you Tommy,” Tubbo said, leading me to a section, “These are all fantasy stories, along with legends and myths.”
“What’s your favorite book, Tubbo?” I asked, pulling a few volumes off the shelf that seemed interesting.
“Oh, you have good taste.” Tubbo said, looking at the titles I had taken off the shelf.
I had chosen Flowers From 1970, Heatwaves, and Passerine. “You didn’t answer my question.” I said.
“Come on, I’ll show you.” Tubbo said. He led me to the back of the library, where a giant book rested on a stand, under three giant arched windows. It was dusty back here, so you could tell people didn’t come back here often. The cover read, Silverstrike’s Songs. “These are a bunch of songs written by a goddess, Silverstrike. She said, when she gave it to the villagers for safekeeping, that all of the songs related back to her own life in another dimension. She wrote them all herself.”
Tubbo opened the book gently. “I can sing a few for you, if you’d like.” He said. “I’ll just warn you, I’m not that good.” He giggled.
“I’d like to hear that.” I said.
He gazed at the pages. He began to sing. “Hello, it’s me. Talking to myself again, when I try to sleep. Now listen to me, it’s gonna be fine. It’s always fine, everything is good. I’m over thirty assignments behind in my classes! Won’t get up outta bed! Sadness fills every bone in my body… No, stop. You're over thirty assignments behind but it’s okay. Your feelings got hurt but it’s okay. Life’s full of pain but it’s okay. You don’t love yourself but it’s okay. Everything is okay. But it’s still just that hard to find the motivation! To pursue my dreams and tie my shoelaces! When everything is crumbling and turning to ashes… No, listen to me. You're over thirty assignments behind but it’s okay. Your feelings got hurt but it’s okay. Life’s full of pain but it’s okay. You don’t love yourself but it’s okay. Everything is okay. Now I know it's always hard! And nothing ever tells you you're gonna go far… But just remember… You're over thirty assignments behind but it’s okay. Your feelings got hurt but it’s okay. Life’s full of pain but it’s okay. You don’t love yourself but it’s okay. Everything is okay. Everything is okay. Everything is okay. Everything is okay.” He sang.
“You’re really good!” I said.
“You’re only getting two more.” He smiled.
“Next one, then.”
He scanned the pages, and landed on one. He began to sing. “No one’s past is perfect… I don’t act like mine is. But yours is just too tainted, with darkness and disappointment. We get along just fine… Almost too well. But your friends and I constantly argue… Did you know what one did to me? You’re both toxic, I’m done, I can’t do this anymore. I hate to give up, but this isn’t some love song or movie. You won’t get better… You’ll just get worse. Honestly you two are made for each other, with your toxic manipulation. You guys tried to keep me from flying into the sky! But I’ve found so many people... Who want me to fly! Honestly I’ve found my family, and we’ve all got weapons. So I would look out… We’ve got our matches, we’ve got our knives. We’re armed with an army of our own… Cause you should have known… You were playing with fire! I’ve got friends who kill... I’ve got friends who are smart. In fact, we’re all both… And we’ve got so much more… Than you.” He sang.
“Did she actually have friends who killed people?!” I asked, slightly scared.
“No, I think she meant killed their spirit.” Tubbo figured. “In the books we have about her, she says she knew secrets about everyone in her school.”
“What's a school?”
“Where kids go to learn stuff.” He replied.
“She actually seemed to like it.” Tubbo said thoughtfully.
“You promised one more song.” I said, my short attention span getting in the way.
“Let me find my favorite.” He said, flipping through the book. He landed on one of the last pages. “Here it is.”
He began to sing. “I built these walls around my head, with my own two hands. Only a few people have managed to cross over to the other side. But time and time again I let you through… I honestly don’t know why. No, that’s a lie. I know why. Every time you text I find myself smiling at my phone! Oh, so many inside jokes. Nobody one else gets our humor but we do together! And that’s all that matters to us. I love to run around with you at night, even if clouds block the moon… I love your laugh and the way you talk. But you will never know! Whenever we get together we always have a great time! I can walk to your house down the street. I also act like your little sister is my little sister… Because that’s what she is to me. Your mother adores us, she talks about us all the time. And this relationship is growing out of platonic… I think we can both see the signs. Every time you text I find myself smiling at my phone! Oh, so many inside jokes. Nobody one else gets our humor but we do together! And that’s all that matters to us. When I fall from the sky, you remind me how to fly, and even let me borrow your wings to glide. Even though you’re younger than me, you’re what I want. Though I might not get it, I still have this song to remind me of our good times. I’ve got a playlist for you in my phone, if you ever want to take a listen. But for now I’ll raise my hands to the sky, and try to reach the stars. I’ll be waiting for you. Waiting for you.”
“That song is so sad.” I said.
“But it’s happy, too.” Tubbo pointed out. “She wrote it about the good things, not the bad.”
“But in the song she laments about how she’s too scared to tell him.” I pointed out.
“I think we can have people who can settle this.” Tubbo said.
“You find Fundy. I’ll find Wilbur.” I agreed.
Just as we split up, a message appeared.
Purpled joined the game
Tubbo popped his head out from behind a shelf. “Just to make sure, you saw that, right?”
“Yes.” I said.
“Good.” He vanished from sight to find Fundy.
“Wilbur?” I asked, finally finding him at the same table.
“Yes?” He asked.
“Tubbo and I need your help.” I said. “Come on.” I dragged him to the back of the library where Tubbo and Fundy already stood. Fundy shoving some books in his inventory.
“Wilbur. Fundy. Read this.” Tubbo said, pointing at the song.
“It's really good.” Wilbur said, leaning over the book. “So, why do you need us again?”
“I say it's a happy song.” Tubbo said.
“And I say it's a sad song.” I said.
“I say it can go either way.” Fundy said. “It really depends on how the listener interprets it.”
“I have to agree with Fundy on this one.” Wilbur said, adjusting his glasses. “It honestly depends on the interpretation of the listener. I can’t say. Besides, you can’t classify everything or everyone, no matter how hard people try. People need to sometimes understand that trying to classify or label everyone and everything will create so much more harm than good. Trying to put everyone, or everything in a box doesn’t allow people to be more open-minded, because the label people see defines that person or thing. It doesn’t matter if you don’t agree with the labels. It just means that people are trying to label everyone to try to understand people, but not everyone is just one thing.”
“Where did that rant come from?” Tubbo muttered to me.
I shrugged. I had only known Wilbur for a short time, after all.
“Come on, boys.” Wilbur said, staring at us with a cold gaze. “Let’s go home.”
We all followed him silently out. Tubbo had to go home for lunch, so I sat on my bed and opened Flowers From 1970. Suddenly, we heard a thump outside, and a message appeared.
Ranboo joined the game
We ran outside to find Tubbo leaning over a hybrid’s body. It was a half enderman. I could tell you that. But I couldn’t tell you what the other half is. We carried him inside, and Fundy quickly crafted a bed. We laid him down on the bed, and Tubbo quickly brought another bucket of milk from his house and fed it to the hybrid.
The hybrid sat up quickly. “Who are you?” He asked.
“I’m Tubbo!” Tubbo said cheerfully.
“I’m Tommy, and that’s Wilbur.” I said before Wilbur could get to it first.
Wilbur rolled his eyes as Fundy waved at him shyly.
“I’m Ranboo.” He said. “I… don’t know how I got this, but this is mine.” He said. He held out a music disc. It looked broken.
“I’ve never heard of this disc before.” Tubbo said, taking it. “It says ‘11’.”
“How many discs are there?” I asked, wondering if other discs would unlock more memories for me.
“Twelve, if you include this one.” Tubbo said. “Let’s play it.”
We stuck it in the jukebox.
We heard rapid breathing, feet tapping, running among something stone, rustling of book pages, then an unearthly screech that hurt all of our ears, especially Ranboo’s.
Ranboo had covered his ears, and looked extremely sad, and his face was contorted into something between fear and extreme sadness.
“That was an enderman scream.” Tubbo’s face was pale. “And...”
We all turned to Ranboo. He stared at us. “No, that can’t be my disc.” He said. “I don’t remember anything about it.”
“What do you remember?” Tubbo asked, with surprising gentleness.
“Only waking up here.” He said.
I then realized something. Ranboo had something in his voice, something that changed his voice.
“Why is his voice so different?” I asked Tubbo as Wilbur questioned him.
“I’ve heard of this, it's called an accent. It's when you’re from a different area, so your voice sounds different.” He said.
“So it's possible Wilbur, Fundy, you, and I are all from the same area?”
“Fundy’s voice is a little different, but still close. Yeah, I would say so.”
“But we all fell in different areas.”
“Do you expect me to have the answers to everything?”
“I guess not.”
“You can stay with us, Ranboo.” Wilbur said. “Tubbo, do you want to bring him to the library?”
“Yeah!” Tubbo said happily. “Come on, enderman boy.”
“What’s a library?” Ranboo said, walking after Tubbo.
I went to follow, but Wilbur shut the door to stop me. “We have work to do.” He said.
“But-” I began, trying to move around him.
Wilbur handed me an armful of iron. “Craft.” He ordered.
I sighed, looked towards the door, and angrily dumped the stuff in a chest. “You can’t tell me what to do.” I snapped, and ran outside.
I found Tubbo on the way to the library, talking with one of the villagers. Ranboo was nowhere to be found. Tubbo handed the villager what looked like coal, and he got several shiny green gems as a return.
“Thank you!” He waved to the villager, and carried the gems to the library.
“Hey! Tubbo!” I called, catching up to him.
“Oh, hey Tommy!” He said cheerfully. “I got emeralds!” He said, showing the gems.
“What did you do to get them?” I asked.
“Trade!” He said. “You can do that with villagers to get cool things. The currency is these emeralds.”
“So… what do you get from them?” I asked.
“I’m going to trade for diamonds.” He said. “One emerald per diamond, and I want full diamond gear, so I need about twenty four emeralds. I got eighteen for just giving a villager coal. So, I need to get six more.”
“How many emeralds would it take to give… four people full diamond armor and tools?” I asked, getting an idea.
“Well, twenty four per set…” Tubbo thought aloud. “Twenty four times four… about ninety six.”
“Ninety six?!” I asked, shocked.
“Lots of villagers will give you emeralds for simple things.” Tubbo shrugged. “It won’t take much or long, if you talk to the right people. I ran out of coal, but if you have some, that guy takes three pieces of coal for a single emerald, so you would need about two hundred eighty eight pieces of coal.”
“But I don't have two hundred eighty eight pieces of coal.” I protested.
“To be fair, I would be surprised if you did.” Tubbo said, ever the optimist. “There is a coal mine just outside the village. If you work all night, you’ll be able to get enough, probably.”
“Okay, thanks!” I said. “I’ve got work to do.”
I ran inside the house.
“Look who’s back.” Wilbur said. “Tommy-”
“Sorry, busy!” I said, taking two iron pickaxes.
“Tommy, you can’t take those-”
“I’m getting us diamonds!”
“By using two iron pickaxes?”
“Don’t question his methods.” Tubbo said, walking in with Ranboo.
“Tubbo, where is this coal mine, exactly?” I asked.
“I’ll take you.” He said. “I can’t leave the village, I’m not allowed to, but I can point you in the right direction.”
We moved through the village as the sun set. Tubbo pointed out the mine, and I worked all night.
“The government is being completely unreasonable.” The Man said, walking into the room.
I should clarify that I use the term ‘man’ loosely. I knew he was a rich minor, and that's basically it.
“When are they ever reasonable?” I asked, not looking up.
“Point taken.” He said. “Where is everyone?”
“Dream and Sapnap have full diamond.” I said. “George is still sleeping.”
“No one has found him yet?”
“The two closest people, Dream and Sapnap, haven't ventured far from their homes.” I said.
“Wilbur, Tommy, Fundy, and Tubbo found Ranboo today when he spawned outside their homes.” I said.
“You really have to fix that flaw.”
“I can’t fix it while it's being used!” I protested.
“Tommy, currently, is mining out coal to get emeralds, to get full diamond for Wilbur, Ranboo, Fundy and himself. Tubbo has gotten full diamond through trading. Phil and Techno are almost near the village. Tommy has an obsession with discs, so I gave him a present with Ranboo’s arrival. Ranboo gave him disc ‘11’ upon his spawn.”
“The one with the screech?” The Man asked.
“It was interesting to see their reactions.” I smiled. “I’m thinking of giving Lani disc ‘13’.”
“But why? What’s her connection to the disc?” The Man asked.
“As of the day she signed up for the experiment, she was thirteen years old.” I said. “And, it also hints at Ranboo’s platonic marriage with Tubbo in the Dream SMP lore.”
He nodded. “Continue.”
“Well, Niki and Purpled met up, and are headed to the village. It looks like they’ll run into Techno and Phil before they do.” I said. “And that's basically it.”
The man thought for a moment. “Can we give Drista the disc that sounds tropical, as a hint to their pasts? Almost give them hints about their pasts, they’ll wake up with the discs tomorrow morning.”
“I already gave Tommy “cat” and “mellohi”. Ranboo’s disc “11” refers to his enderman half. Lani’s hints at her age and impressive fighting skills. I gave them the only two number discs because it subtly hints at their canonical relation to each other through Tubbo. Ranboo being Tubbo’s platonic husband, and Lani being Tubbo’s canonical sister. Drista and Dream will both get “strad”, as a hint to them living in Florida and them being siblings. Sapnap… should probably get… “chirp”. I’ll give Techno, “pigstep”, obviously. I think Fundy should get “blocks”, and I think “far” suits Wilbur. I’ll give “mall” to Niki, and I’ll give George “ward”. Purpled gets “stal”, and Philza gets “wait”.”
“Good. Are the last two ready?” He asked.
“Good. I’m still working on it.” He left me alone.
I turned on the volume of the cameras so I could hear what they were saying.
“I don’t understand why I’m next to my brother.” Drista grumbled.
“I don’t understand why it's been three days and none of them are back yet.” Lani pointed out. “I’m worried, Drista. Something bad has happened to them, I just know it. Your brother would have been back in at least a half hour, right? He’s a speedrunner, that's what he does, right?”
“It is strange.” Drista admitted. “But, at least we know none of them are dead. They’re all breathing, Lani.”
“It's funny how we’ve set the bar so low.” Lani forced a laugh. “How we all thought this would be just a day trip thing, and here we are, about to start day four.”
“T-minus one minute until standby.” I said.
“She confuses me, by the way.” Lani said, looking up at the ceiling. “Her voice is so obviously human, yet we haven’t seen her at all, you know? What's her position in this operation? So many mysteries.”
“I swear to god, when we get out I want to find her.” Drista said. “I think she plays a bigger role in this than anyone thinks.”
“T-minus ten seconds.” I warned them, but I was smiling.
They closed their eyes, and with the push of a button, the circle was complete.
Going clockwise, with Dream at the beginning, it went Dream, George, Sapnap, Wilbur, Tommy, Tubbo, Fundy, Technoblade, Philza, Ranboo, Purpled, Niki, Lani, and Drista.
The circle was complete.
I hoped they could all get out.
These villagers were all really nice. I was adopted by a nice old couple named Maria and Jackson. I woke up the next morning by a thump outside my window. I got up, ignoring the message in my vision, and ran outside to see what it was, diamond sword at the ready to kill a monster. When I saw what, or rather, who, it was, I checked the message.
Lanusky_ joined the game
“La-nu-sky?” I said out loud, confused, lowering my sword.
“My name is Lani.” She said, getting up unsteadily. She was obviously younger than me.
“But the message said… never mind.” I said. “Hey, you’re like me. I fell from the sky too. I’m adopted by a villager couple. Would you like to live with me for a while?”
She nodded, and as I led her inside, we talked. I couldn’t help but feel, in another universe, we would be siblings.
“Wait,” She asked, keeping pace with me as I went to trade for diamonds for her. “There are more people like us?”
“I’ve met about five, including you, but there are at least four I haven’t met.” I said. “And, there can be more.”
I gave her the diamond gear, and I traded for an enchanting table. “Let’s go see the others.” I said, walking her to Tommy, Wilbur, Ranboo, and Fundy’s house.
“Ah, so this is the one that fell this morning.” Wilbur said as I found them in the backyard. Tommy was sleeping on a bed inside, even though Ranboo, Wilbur and Fundy were building in the backyard, expanding the house.
“Why is he sleeping?” Lani asked curiously.
“Well, he worked all night to get coal, which he traded for emeralds, which he traded for diamonds. I think he needs the rest.” Wilbur said.
Lani nodded. “I’m Lani, by the way.” She said.
“Lani, do you have anything on you? Any items?” Ranboo asked.
Of course, the disc Ranboo spawned with would cause him to ask this question. I thought.
“I have this.” Lani said, pulling out an unknown music disc.
“I haven’t heard of this one either.” I said. “What’s it called Lani?”
“Just ‘13’.” She shrugged.
I crafted a few item frames. Inside the new living room, I began to place the discs in the frames. I left the first two open for the “cat” and “mellohi” discs. Ranboo and Lani gave me disc “11” and disc “13”. I placed “11” in the third frame, and then “13” in the fourth frame. Suddenly, a message appeared, followed by another message after.
Drista joined the game
All members of the server have been given a music disc related to them, except for these members;
“Of course I’m the only one that doesn’t have a music disc now.” I sighed.
Tommy had woken up to this message. “I trust you.” He said, opening the enderchest. He handed me Mellohi.
“I’ll take good care of it.” I promised him. He placed “cat” in the first frame and I placed “mellohi” in the second frame.
“I got a disc called ‘far’.” Wilbur said, placing it in the fifth frame.
“I got one called ‘blocks’.” Fundy said, placing it in the sixth frame.
“Did anyone else receive any others?” I asked, looking around. Everyone else shook their heads.
“We should probably put these in an enderchest.” Wilbur said. Everyone took their discs and put them in the enderchest. Then we heard a commotion outside. We all geared up, gripped swords, and ran outside. The villagers were all watching as four people stumbled towards the village. We went to meet them in the middle of the field. Before I could follow, my mom put a hand on my shoulder.
“You cannot leave the village.” She said sternly.
“I’m not a child.” I said. “I need to figure out how, and why, I fell. I will have to leave at some point.” I walked after them. We all fanned out from behind Wilbur, holding our swords out.
“Stop!” A girl with pink hair said. “We aren’t here to fight!”
We lowered our swords, but only slightly.
“I’m Niki.” She said, running up to us. “Our friend, Purpled- is really ill. We had a nasty encounter with a witch. He’s nearly dead, and we don’t want him to die. Do you know anyone who can heal?”
Everyone turned to me. The boy did look really bad. “Wilbur?” I asked, turning to him.
He sighed. “Looks like we’re expanding the house again.”
We led them through the streets, Purpled supported by two people, Philza, but he told us Phil is fine, and Technoblade, but everyone called him Techno. We laid Purpled on Fundy’s bed temporarily.
I pulled out a bucket of milk. “It removes any potion or effects, good or bad.” I told Philza, Niki and Techno. I opened Purpled’s mouth and poured the milk down his throat and closed his mouth gently so he could swallow.
Purpled coughed and sputtered, sitting up, re-energized. “Niki? Techno? Phil? Am I dead?”
“No, thanks to him.” Phil said, pointing at me.
I handed Purpled some steak. “Eat. You must be hungry.” I said.
Purpled ate the steak. “Thanks.” He said suspiciously.
“How can we repay you?” Niki said, turning to me.
“I don’t need anything!” I said happily. “I just want to go to the Nether with everyone who joined the server, and eventually The End! That's all I want.”
“What is the Nether and The End?” Techno asked.
“WILBUR!” I yelled.
“YEAH?” He yelled back.
“DO YOU STILL HAVE THAT BOOK ON THE DIMENSIONS?”
A book came towards my face, but I caught it before it came into contact with my face.
Techno smiled with amusement as Phil shook his head.
I handed Techno the book. “This details all three dimensions. We’re currently in the Overworld, and then there’s the Nether, and then The End. The Nether can be reached by an obsidian portal, and The End can only be accessed from a portal in a stronghold.”
Techno and Phil began to read the book as Purpled went into the backyard to hang out with Tommy.
Suddenly, I heard a commotion outside.
“Not more people, you guys just arrived!” I sighed.
“Let’s go.” Wilbur said, running outside.
I tossed some diamond armor and tools, a full set for each of the newbies. Thank god I had it. We ran to meet the new people in the field. I saw four people walking towards us in full diamond.
“This is going to be harder than I thought.” Wilbur muttered as we fanned out behind him again.
“We do not wish to harm you.” The green one said, very diplomatically. I immediately didn’t trust him. “We just want information.”
“Did you fall from the sky too?” I piped up, trying to push my suspicions away.
“Hush, Tubbo.” Wilbur said.
“Yes, we did.” The man smiled. “And who is in charge here?” He asked me.
I shrugged. “Usually whoever yells the loudest, and that's Wilbur in most situations.” I said, pointing to Wilbur.
I heard the female of the group laugh. I saw another man in a white t-shirt hide a smile, and I saw the one in the blue shirt put his hands over his mouth, trying not to laugh. The green one’s face stayed neutral.
“Would you like to live with us?” Wilbur asked, but I detected suspicion in his tone. Good. He was cautious too.
“Thank you, we would like that.” He said. They fell into step with us, Lani talking to the female eagerly, as they laughed with each other.
“So how did you get here?” I asked the blue man.
“I fell from the sky, same as you.” He smiled. “Unfortunately, I slept a while. Dream, Drista and Sapnap found me on their journey here, and now I’m with them.”
“What’s your name?” I asked.
“Well, Tubbo, it's nice to meet you.”
“Library time, Tubbo!” Wilbur called, opening the door to the library.
“Follow me!” I told him. “I want to show you my favorite book.”
Everyone followed as I touched Silverstrike’s Songs. “Everyone, feel it! It’s really old!” I said. Everyone put one hand on the cover, in a circle.
A message popped up.
Incorrect order. Try again.
“Incorrect order for what?” Purpled asked.
“Let's think.” Wilbur said.
“We never do that.” Tommy said, his voice laced with sarcasm.
“No, you never do that.” Ranboo corrected him.
Tommy stuck his tongue out at him.
“What if it's the order we joined the game?” Lani asked quietly.
Everyone turned to her.
“She’s got a point.” Techno said. “Who saw everyone join?”
Dream raised his hand.
“So you go at the top of the book, at the center, like a clock.” I said. “Who was next?”
“George.” Dream said, putting his hand down. Where his hand touched, it glowed lime green.
George put his hand down, and his glowed light blue.
“Sapnap.” Dream continued. Sapnap put his hand down, and his glowed orange.
Wilbur’s glowed navy blue.
Tommy’s glowed red.
Mine glowed yellow.
Fundy’s glowed black and orange.
Techno’s glowed blood red.
Phil’s glowed gray.
Niki’s glowed pink.
Purpled’s glowed… purple. We all should have expected that one.
Ranboo’s glowed black and white.
Lani’s glowed yellow too.
Drista’s glowed lime green too.
A message appeared.
Correct. Exposing message…
The book flipped open by itself to the last page, where words began to write as if Silverstrike was writing the book all over again. Her handwriting was really messy, I had to say. The message was written out, and Dream traced his fingers over the words.
He began to read it out. “I return home from school, put down my backpack and take off my shoes. My rough draft was good, but I’m not done yet. Blue-gray eyes and messy brown hair. I'm a silver shadow in the fourteen’s story. I start to write.
And the harvest moon, gold and proud, shone down on them as they began to open the chamber. Where I, Silverstrike crossed over the bridge made of stars, smiling as I crafted a story. As the universe bowed down to me. Oh, the bells sang, on the thirty first night they rang. I’ll lead the way through the cobblestone street paths to the final structure where the fourteen will make their final stand. However, they won’t get there until they enter the portal of hell, where demons like me dwell. They’ll kill the ones of fire, for their powder- and create eyes for the weeping. As they find their way, following in my silver steps, they’ll find the portal of night where they will defeat the creature of the night. The songs are the key- to escape this world and be free. They’ll find me someday wearing a mask of a creature of the shadows, and I’ll bid them a good day.”
“Silverstrike is a demon?” I whispered, confused.
“Yes, or she has a tainted vision of herself.” Wilbur said. “There is a song in here called ‘Monsters’, and it shows how she views herself as a demon.”
“Okay. First of all, what chamber?” Tommy asked. “I don’t see a chamber.”
“What if we say it together?” Drista asked. “Maybe it will open?”
“Do you know what interests me?” Lani said, pointing to a line. “Harvest moon, thirty first night.”
“That’s tomorrow.” I pointed out.
“What’s a harvest moon?” Tommy asked.
“It’s a nickname for the full moon in October.” I said. “It’s also going to be a full moon tomorrow, on the thirty first. Maybe we have to come back here tomorrow, for a message to appear that will open a chamber somewhere.”
“Does the library close at night?” Sapnap asked.
“Yes, but I know a way in.” I smiled.
“What about the rest of the lyrics?” Ranboo asked, his forked tail twitching slightly as he leaned over the book.
“What about the ‘bridge made of stars’ and the ‘crafting a story’?” Wilbur asked. “What can be a bridge made of stars? I hope it's not a wooden bridge with item frames on it with nether stars in the frames.”
“It couldn’t be, because the stars would have been stolen a long time ago- and she would have known that.” Niki said. “Can she somehow control the actual stars in the sky?”
“Have you noticed she’s told us she’s in the shadows? She probably can’t affect things directly.” George pointed out.
“What if the bridge is a thing from wherever she is from? Maybe it's not physically here, maybe we aren’t supposed to cross it. After all, it says she crossed over, not they all crossed over.” Dream said.
“But also she mentioned a rough draft.” Wilbur said, trying to direct everyone’s attention from the premises that Dream was right.
“The ‘crafting a story’.” Drista said, her eyes widening. “What if she made her own story? What if she made our story?”
“Like, set down a path for us?” I asked. That idea terrified me. Was I something being controlled by her?
“No, like made the area we stand on. Maybe she had a vision of the future, or several, and is trying to gently nudge us in that direction.” Drista said.
“What’s ‘the final structure’?” Phil asked.
“Did you learn nothing from that book I gave you?” I asked. “She’s talking about a stronghold. An end portal room. We have to go to the end.”
“Before we get ahead of ourselves, we have to go through ‘the portal of hell’.” Techno said. “I can only assume she's talking about a Nether portal, but I refuse to believe she’s some sort of goddess. Believe what you guys want to, I’m not believing in this goddess facade.”
“What is ‘the ones of fire’?” Lani asked.
I began to pace in front of the book. “Blazes.” I said. “Blaze powder. And ‘create eyes for the weeping’ refers to eyes of ender, which can only be crafted by combining blaze powder and ender pearls, which enderman drop. Those open the portal to the end and also help find an end fortress. She wants us to go to the end and defeat whatever monster lays there. The songs are the key… the songs are the key… What does that mean?”
“Music discs.” Tommy said. “I assume everyone has a music disc?”
“We need to bring the music discs for something.” Tommy said, placing an ender chest down. “Put your discs in here, guys.”
Everyone did so, and Tommy stashed the ender chest back in his inventory.
“If we’re going to the end, we’ll want to get full, enchanted netherite. For everyone.” Wilbur said.
“We have a lot of mining to do.” Tommy sighed.
“The only part I'm still confused about is ‘following in my silver steps’.” Lani said. “Follow what? Follow where?”
“I hope that part will make itself clear.” Dream said. “Because I don’t think any one of us has an answer to your questions.”
“Let’s all go home.” I sighed, defeated. “I’m incredibly tired- and tomorrow sounds like it will be a long night.”
We all went home.
I stayed over at the group’s house, and fell asleep.
“They are doing well.” I muttered, leaning back in my chair and fighting off the drowsiness I was feeling.
I had gotten a message from The Man telling me he would not be able to come. He was currently held up at the capitol.
This concerned me. It was certainly odd. It probably meant there was something going on outside. That meant he couldn’t get to our location safely. All I could do was wait.
I woke up to a laugh. I got out of bed. Lani was holding a gray wool block, showing it to George.
“What's so funny?” I yawned, Tommy following me.
“Okay, what color is this?” She asked us.
“Gray.” I said.
“Gray.” Tommy said.
She turned to George. “Now tell them what color you think it is.”
“Dark white.” George said.
This caused us all, except for George, to laugh. George just gave us a confused look.
After a while of preparation, the sun fell, and a full moon rose in the sky.
“It's time.” I hissed, and we slipped through the shadows of the village, around the back of the library. I broke two glass panes, and we all slipped through. I put them back. The moon gave us enough light, so we put away our torches.
We all put our hands on the book, in order, again. It flipped open to the end of the book, where words began to write themselves on the last page.
Dream began to read it out. “Handprints, fingerprints, they all are unique. Find the handprints. Colors are the key.”
“Well, that was short.” Tommy muttered.
“Tubbo, where are hands in the library?” Wilbur asked, turning to me.
“The shelves in the center all have hand impressions on the ends, all in a circle. There are exactly fourteen.” I said.
We ran through the library and stopped at the shelves in the center. We all went in the same formation, standing by our places.
“One at a time.” Dream called, and placed his hands first. To the touch, the handprint impressions glowed lime green.
A flash in the center of the circle caused us all to look over our shoulders. The word, “Dream”, floated at the top of a gray… thing. Almost like rectangles of all different sizes were put together.
George set his hands down.
A name wrote itself below his. GeorgeNotFound. It must have been his full name or something.
Sapnap put his hands down.
Sapnap. It wrote.
Wilbur put his hands down.
Tommy put his hands down.
I exhaled, and pressed my shaky hands into the rough wood.
Fundy put his hands down.
Technoblade put his hands down.
Phil put his hands down.
Niki put her hands down.
Purpled put his hands down.
Ranboo put his hands down.
Lani put her hands down.
Finally, Drista put her hands down.
We all stepped back as we felt the ground shake under our feet. Lani ran to me, frightened.
“Look!” Drista gasped.
Colors were weaving through the air, each from our bookcases. They circled into a ball in the center of the circle, and suddenly began to form an image. It ended up becoming the face of a smiling cat, with slanted eyes as it stared at nothing. The circle rug at the center burned away with fire, causing all of us to step back very quickly. I pulled Lani closer to me, shielding her from the flames. Suddenly, where the rug had been, was a staircase spiraling down into a black nothing. The colors of the face blended into silver flames. With a silver flash, it was gone. We heard the thump of the stairs stopping.
“Is anyone else completely terrified?” Drista asked, her face pale.
“Yeah, yeah I think so.” Dream said, his voice cracking with fear.
“Is it bottomless?” Niki asked.
“We heard the stairs stop, so I don’t think so.” Wilbur said.
Tommy kicked a book by his feet. It skidded over the edge of the circle. After a few seconds, we heard the book hit some sort of floor.
“Not bottomless.” He said. “Just deep, I think.”
“You think?” Lani asked.
“We heard it hit something. It's not bottomless.” He explained, but a snarl in his tone.
“Who’s going first?” I asked.
Everyone turned to Technoblade.
“Alright, alright.” He said. “I’ll do it.”
We all held torches as we made our way down the winding staircase. The order was Technoblade, Dream, Wilbur, Philza, Niki, Fundy, Sapnap, Tommy, Purpled, Ranboo, me, Lani, Drista, and George. To our surprise, after a while, we saw a light. The light eventually grew larger and larger as we stepped closer. We put our torches away as we saw something begin to form. It ended up being an arch in a wall of stone. Lights gleaming past it. A comfortable room inviting us to come in.
“Guys.” Lani said just as we were about to step inside the room. She raised her torch as we fanned out behind her. “There’s writing here.”
Seemingly carved into the stone was writing like we had seen in Silverstrike’s Songbook.
“It's her writing.” I whispered.
“Welcome fourteen.” Tommy read aloud. “Inside is a small base for you to get ready for your trips to the End and the Nether. Inside is a button to transfer all of your things into here and to seal the chamber. I’ll see you soon, Silverstrike.”
“Okay, that's nice of her.” I said, and we all walked in. Suddenly, in a dizzying motion, the room changed. Now, it was a large room all carved into a cave. On the back walls were fourteen separate doors. Surrounding the doors were our corresponding colors and, just in case people needed clarification, names next to the door were engraved on signs. To the left, a large dining table, and to the right, a comfortable living room with plenty of ceiling and a lit fireplace. In the center, a smaller staircase leading up to something. I was about to head up the staircase when I heard Tommy call from across the room.
“I found the button! But she forgot to clarify that all fourteen of us needed to press fourteen different buttons in order to seal it.” He said.
We all went over, and pressed our buttons. We heard a rumbling of the staircase disappearing and chests appeared in the center of the room, each labeled with our names. Chests also appeared along the left and right walls. Of course, we left our stuff and went to inspect the new ones. We saw every single item in the chests in the Overworld. Why did Silverstrike have to be so smart?
“We should inspect the staircase.” I said, and I held a torch up as I walked up.
Suddenly, it opened into a small room. I flicked a lever, which illuminated the room. Two iron doors were across from each other, one in front of me as I emerged, and another behind me. One iron door was labeled ‘Stronghold’ and another was labeled ‘Ruined Nether Portal’.
“Well.” I said to myself. “There’s no need to look for portals and strongholds now.” I went back downstairs. Everyone had begun to move their stuff into their rooms. I went out to see George accidentally spill some wooden planks on the floor. “George, you okay?” I asked as Dream raced out of his room.
“WHOEVER CAUSED THIS MESS IS GOING TO-” Dream began to yell, but George cut him off meekly.
“It was me.” He admitted, hanging his head.
“Is going to be forgiven because everyone deserves a second chance.” Dream said, now calm.
I bit back a laugh. I collected my things, and found my room. I set my stuff inside the chests, and opened the chest beside my bed. I found a lever, and I pulled it out. It read Tubbo’s Bonus Room Key. I heard some stone shift. When I turned around, I found an iron door across from where my bed was. I placed the lever beside it and walked through it. I gasped as I took in the sight. A waterfall flowed over a ridge into a pond. The pond had multicolored fish swimming around in it, and a fishing pole sat in an item frame on a fence by it, inviting me to fish. Some parrots and bees flew around my head, in the artificial but very real looking sky. She even made lights seem like the sun. Flowers of all kinds, even ones I hadn’t seen before, were scattered around the meadow. I saw beehives and beekeeping things by the hives. I felt myself smile happily. I liked this place. I raised my head and spoke to the artificial sky.
“Thank you, Silverstrike. I really like this place.” I said. I didn’t expect a reply. But I saw a cat face made out of silver flames appear over the waterfall, so subtle that in the blink of an eye, it was gone. She heard me. I thought happily.
I walked back into my bedroom, closed the door, and went out into the central chamber. I rummaged through the chests full of food.
“OH MY GOD SHE GAVE US FREAKING CAKE.” I yelled.
“It’s really, really good cake.” Ranboo said, eating one at the table and brushing the crumbs onto the floor.
“Hey guys, can I have some help?” Lani asked, coming out from her room.
“Help with moving things?” Wilbur asked.
“Help with emotions?” Niki asked.
“Help moving a body?” Techno asked.
We all turned to him, and the room went dead silent.
“What?” He asked.
“Um, no.” Lani said. “I need help identifying enchantments.”
Drista went to help Lani.
Then, after every one of us ate, we all went to our own rooms and curled into bed to sleep.
“They’re almost done.” I sighed in relief. “They can do it tomorrow if they are ambitious. Please, please let them be done.”
The Man still hadn’t returned. I was getting worried. I really hoped the negotiations were going okay. It didn’t seem good, if I had heard nothing. I wondered if he would be back in time for the ending I had planned. It wouldn’t work with two people.
The GPS system seemed to weigh heavier in my pocket as I thought about what had happened to The Man. Most likely he had been arrested as he tried to negotiate. The worst possible solution to this puzzle is that he was dead. I wondered if he would want me to continue the project if I had to. Too bad for him, if he did, I wasn’t going to. I was going to destroy everything after this. So the only remnants of the project, its coding, its server, and its plans were inside me. And, that meant I would become public enemy number one. I would be driven into hiding.
The reason why I would be driven into hiding, not The Man, is just The Man funded the project. Only I knew how the server was made. Only I knew the exact coding. Only I could start the project again. Only I.
I didn’t mean for this to happen. I didn’t mean to inflict trauma. All I wanted was to figure out a way to get into games and to play like it was real life. I wanted to create a better virtual reality.
“I’m so sorry.” I whispered at the camera showing the half-dead minecraft players. “I’m dragging you down into the void with me, and I’m so sorry for that.”
When I woke up, I wanted to die. I was exhausted from last night's actions, but Wilbur, Techno, Phil, and Dream all insisted we go to the nether today and try to get to the end. I just wanted to sleep more, so I just shifted and covered my head with the sheets.
“DRISTA GET UP!” Dream yelled cheerfully, smacking my head with his pillow.
He really was like my older brother in this world.
“No.” I groaned.
“Come on! We can get to The End today if we work hard!” He said.
I sighed, and got up. After a quick breakfast of steak and cooked potatoes, we headed up to the ruined Nether portal. Dream opened the door to the Nether portal side as all of us put on our armor. Of course, true to its name, some obsidian blocks were missing. We found chests with just enough to fix the giant portal. We placed them, and Sapnap lit the portal.
Now might be a good time to mention Sapnap was oddly obsessed with fire. And when I mean obsessed, I meant that he had spent half the night yesterday lighting things with flint and steel to see if the items would burn. After he nearly burned down the wooden table, Wilbur and Dream stepped in to stop him.
As we stepped into the swirls of purple light, I felt the heat increase. Ranboo wrote something down in a book as we stepped out the other side. I saw a message flash at the edge of my vision.
<We Need To Go Deeper> Achievement Unlocked!
“Everyone knows we have to look out for a fortress,(make correction throughout) yes?” Wilbur checked with us. Everyone nodded. As we moved away from our Nether portal, we heard a screech. A fireball hit our feet where we all had been standing.
“Ghast.” Techno, Wilbur, Phil, Dream and Tubbo said together.
“We have to punch the fireballs back to defeat them.” Wilbur said. “But for now, run.”
We spirited away, and hid behind a mountain made of something called netherrack. As we caught our breath, Lani tugged on my sleeve. “Drista.” She said, pointing to something in the distance. “I think we found it.”
Looming ahead, was a fortress. Wilbur, Dream and Techno led us forward as we went inside. Instantly, we were attacked by a giant skeleton. Techno and Dream doubled teamed it, killing it before it could touch us.
“Wither skeleton.” Tubbo said. “Do not let one of those touch you.”
We all didn’t question why as we moved through the fortress, stealing netherite ingots out of chests. There were so many I couldn’t help but think that Tubbo’s story about Silverstrike was true, that she was somehow helping us.
Finally, we found the blaze spawner. We all jumped in, using our combined power of being able to stab the blazes hard enough that they died, to get exactly sixty four pinches of blaze powder. We then immediately left the fortress, and found ourselves having no idea where our Nether portal was.
“I know where it is.” Ranboo said. As he led us back, he checked his book every few seconds and finally, we got back. None of us questioned how he knew this, because we all jumped in.
We ran downstairs and split into two teams. One team that made the eyes of ender and another that infused all of our weapons with netherite, enchanting them with the various books, and repairing them. Finally, we all stood outside the stronghold door.
“Tubbo, ready to brief everyone? You know the most out of all of us.” Wilbur asked.
“Of course!” He said, pulling out a piece of paper. “This is our plan.”
Silence around the room.
“Uh, Tubbo?” I said.
“Yeah?” He asked.
“That's literally a drawing of a horse with a hat.” I said.
“Isn’t it a good drawing?” He asked proudly.
“Okay, does anyone have an actual plan?” Wilbur sighed, as Dream hit his forehead with his palm.
Ranboo raised a shaky hand. Wilbur nodded at him.
Ranboo nervously stepped in front of the door. “So, the stronghold is very dark, with mobs everywhere. Watch out in front of you and behind you, and to your left and right. They will jump out at you if you aren’t looking. The stronghold has libraries inside. Look out for the chests, those have good stuff. What we’re looking for specifically is the portal room. It will have a silverfish spawner in front of the portal. We need to break that. That reminds me. Do not break any stone around here. And I mean any. When we get into the end, we may have to mine up or build a bridge. Do not look any enderman in the eye. There are obsidian towers that have crystals that heal the dragon. Shoot them with a bow, and they’ll explode. Kill the dragon, that's our goal. I don’t know what’s through that portal. I really hope that it will get us back here, but I honestly don’t know.” He finished.
“Everyone ready?” Dream asked.
We stepped through that door, not looking back.
As we stepped through that door, it felt unbearably cold. We all began to shiver. It was clear to us we weren’t welcome in this labyrinth. But we were going to enter whether the mobs liked it or not. I then wondered if mobs had feelings. Villagers did, I had seen them. Did this mean mobs did too?
I pushed that thought away. I couldn’t get distracted now. We found a library, and what seemed like a jail, and a thousand mobs, but no portal room. Suddenly, as if in a trance, Ranboo broke off from the group and started walking away. We followed him, trying to snap him out of it. But he led us right to the portal room. Wilbur quickly broke the spawner as Ranboo snapped out the trance, We opened the portal.
“I saw silver footsteps.” Ranboo told us before a message flashed at the edge of our vision.
<The End?> Achievement Unlocked!
“I hope it's not the end of us.” Niki said softly, speaking what we all were thinking.
“Dream, do you want to do the honors?” Wilbur asked me.
I leaped through. We ended up dangling over a void, nothing under our feet but an obsidian floor.
“I do not want to fall into that.” Ranboo said as Purpled began to quickly build a bridge. We reached the towers, where the dragon hadn’t noticed us yet, luckily.
I saw the dragon’s own health bar at the top of our vision. That was a lot of health.
I drew back my bowstring and shot the crystal on the top of one of the towers, which exploded with a satisfying boom.
Needless to say, that got the dragon’s attention. It turned to us, ready to attack.
“SCATTER!” I yelled, and we did so. In sync, Ranboo, Tubbo, Drista, Lani, and Tommy drew back their bows and shot different end crystals, those end crystals exploding. As we moved in, we saw cages around two end crystals.
“Who wants those?” I asked, pointing at them as we scattered again.
Only Techno volunteered, so Techno and I each took a pillar. I quickly built wooden blocks up the side, broke an iron bar, and hit the crystal inside. It sent me flying backward, and I closed my eyes, and prepared to hit the ground and die from the impact.
Instead, I heard the splashing of water as I hit the ground.
“I would get up now.” Tubbo’s voice said. “It’s coming, by the way.”
I opened my eyes to find myself flat on my back as the dragon turned towards me. I leaped up and hid behind a pillar. I saw my friends peeking out from behind one too.
“Okay.” I said as they all sneaked over and surrounded me. “Every once and a while, I saw the dragon come down to that bedrock structure. That’s when it's weakest. What we will do is split into two teams. Tommy, Ranboo, Tubbo, Lani, Fundy, Niki, and George, you guys are our best shots. You guys absolutely just keep shooting at the dragon. Do not stop. Sapnap, Techno, Wilbur, Philza, Purpled, and Drista, you’re with me. We will jump at the dragon when it rests at the bedrock structure, pummeling it with our swords.” I said.
We jumped into the circle made by the pillars. The dragon didn’t know who to target, and kept switching directions with every arrow that hit it’s flesh. Soon arrows were sticking out all around the dragon like some deranged kind of jewelry. The dragon swooped down, resting just above the bedrock pillar in the center of the structure.
The sword team jumped in, surrounding the dragon, hitting it before we realized it was about to fly up, so we all jumped back. The dragon spiraled into the air, and arrows started to fly again, striking the dragon down to its minimal health.
“One arrow each should do the trick!” Wilbur shouted.
When the dragon landed again, as one, we went into the circle formation, drew back our bowstrings, and shot. At the same time, the arrows flew towards the dragon, and struck it.
With one unearthly cry that made Ranboo cover his ears for a second, The dragon rose into the sky, purple and white shooting out from it as it turned to ashes. The ashes rained down on us, along with the experience points, which we collected.
A message appeared in our vision.
<The End> Achievement Unlocked!
We all sighed in relief as the endermen vanished, and stared at the bedrock structure. Item frames appeared on top of most of the bedrock structure. As we got closer, we noticed the egg on top of it.
“It was a she?” Wilbur asked, surprised.
However, Niki wasn’t surprised. “Girls are stronger than you think, Wilbur. A mother’s love is one of the most powerful bonds there are. They’ll do anything to protect their children.”
“Why can’t we get out of here?” Lani asked, beginning to panic.
“The songs are the key.” Tubbo remembered. “The songs are the key!” He exclaimed.
“Care to share with the rest of the class?” Drista asked sarcastically.
“The discs!” He said happily. “Silverstrike is really clever! The songs are recorded on the discs! Does anyone have an enderchest?”
We looked around. Everyone shook their heads.
“We have all of the stuff to make one.” Ranboo realized. “The wood up the pillars, the pillars themselves, and we have eyes of ender.”
We collected everything, and everyone handed the stuff to Tubbo. After a few minutes of dead silence, Tubbo lifted a enderchest off of the table and placed it. We took our discs out.
“The item frames are named. The discs go into the corresponding frames.” Drista pointed out.
“Let's get out of here.” I said.
We placed the discs. With the sound of opening a large door, the portal lit.
I held out my hands to George and Drista, who were both standing next to me. George on my left. Drista on my right. They took them. Drista took Lani’s hand, Lani took Tubbo’s hand, Tubbo took Ranboo’s hand. Ranboo took Tommy’s hand, Tommy took Purpled’s hand. Purpled took Niki’s hand. Niki took Wilbur’s hand. Wilbur took Fundy’s hand. Fundy took Philza’s hand. Philza took Technoblade’s hand. Technoblade took Sapnap’s hand. Sapnap took George’s other hand.
We all stepped up onto the bedrock around the portal.
“Countdown, please, Dream.” Drista asked.
“Ten.” I began.
A light breeze stirred around us, lifting up the ashes of the dragon off of us.
The ashes swirled gently into the air, swirling into a ball.
We looked up into the sky.
The ashes swirled over our heads, slowly moving through the sky.
They began to form an image.
It showed an all-too familiar image. A cat with slanted eyes.
The cat seemed to smile at us.
The cat raised its head to the black sky.
The image lit on fire colored silver.
The cat vanished, burning away, and we jumped in.
They had done it. After so many days, they had done it. I heard the door bang open as The Man entered.
“We have to hurry.” He panted. “I just got away. But only just. Do you have it?”
I held up the paper. We knew what we had to do.
The Man and I now had to quickly get them out of here, before the government could take them away. I had signed up for this job. I would be taking them into hiding as the nameless man next to me would try to reason with the government to stop this. They couldn’t go through this again. But, there was one more thing we had to do, for them. We watched as they began to return to the real world in their chairs. But they wouldn’t wake up yet. We now had to give them our thoughts.
I could see what they could see. They stood in a dark room, staring at the void where words would begin to float in front of them. We showed the words as we began to have a conversation, the words writing themselves in front of the players.
“I see the players you mean.” The Man told me.
They all gasped as the words began to write and as they heard his voice. It must have been shocking hearing another human voice.
“Dream, George, Sapnap, Wilbur, Tommy, Tubbo, Technoblade, Philza, Fundy, Niki, Ranboo, Purpled, Drista and Lani?” I asked him.
“Yes. Take care. They have reached a higher level now. They can read, and hear, our thoughts.” He said.
“That doesn't matter. They think we are part of the game.” I said, shaking my head.
“I like these players. They played well. They did not give up.” He said.
I could see some people begin to cry in-game. Of course, they couldn’t actually cry, so they just made the sounds related to crying.
“They are reading our thoughts as though they were words on a screen.” I noted.
“That is how they choose to imagine many things, when they are deep in the dream of a game.” He told me.
“Words make a wonderful interface. Very flexible. And less terrifying than staring at the reality behind the screen.” I said.
“They used to hear voices. Before players could read. Back in the days when those who did not play called the players witches, and warlocks. And players dreamed they flew through the air, on sticks powered by demons.” He said.
“What did these players dream?” I asked.
“These players dreamed of sunlight and trees. Of fire and water. They all dreamed they created. And they all dreamed they destroyed. They dreamed they hunted, and were hunted. They dreamed of shelter.” He told me.
“Hah, the original interface.” I laughed softly.
“The laugh I heard when Fundy fell.” Tommy whispered.
No, bad Tommy. I thought as The Man gave me a look. I shrugged at him.
“A million years old, and it still works.” I continued. “But what true structure did these players create, in the reality behind the screen?”
“They all worked, with a million others, to sculpt a true world in a fold of the-” The word became distorted, intentionally. The Man continued, keeping one eye on me suspiciously. “And created a-” Distorted. “For-” Distorted. “In the-” Distorted.
“They cannot read, or hear, that thought.” I told him.
“No. They have not yet achieved the highest level. That, they must achieve in the long dream of life, not the short dream of a game.” The Man told me.
“Do they know that we love them? That the universe is kind?” I asked, speaking of the bond we had created through this game with the people in those chairs, even though they wouldn’t know us until we made our escape.
“Sometimes, through the noise of their thoughts, they hear the universe, yes.” The Man consoled me.
“But there are times they are sad, in the long dream. They create worlds that have no summer, and they shiver under a black sun, and they take their sad creation for reality.” I said sadly, thinking about how I lived in that world.
“To cure them all of sorrow would destroy them. The sorrow is part of its own private task. We cannot interfere.” He said, shaking his head.
“Sometimes when they were deep in this dream, I wanted to tell them, they are building true worlds in reality. Sometimes I wanted to tell them of their importance to the universe. Sometimes, when they had not made a true connection in a while, I want to help them to speak the word they fear.” I said sadly, hanging my head.
“They read, and hear our thoughts.” The Man warned me.
“Sometimes I did not care. Sometimes I wish to tell them, this world you take for truth is merely-” Distorted. “And-” Distorted. “I wish to tell them that they are-” Distorted. “In the-” Distorted. “They saw so little of reality, in this long dream.” I told him.
“And yet they play the game.” He said.
“But it would be so easy to tell them…” I said.
“Too strong for this dream. To tell them how to live is to prevent them living.” He said.
“I will not tell the players how to live.” I told myself.
“The players are growing restless.” He said, pointing at them twitching in their chairs. We didn’t have much time.
“I will tell the players a story.” I said. I was good at writing and creating stories from nowhere.
“But not the truth.” He said.
“No.” I agreed. “A story that contains the truth safely, in a cage of words. Not the naked truth that can burn over any distance.”
“Give them a body, again.” He said. I typed in a command that let them slowly begin to drift into the real world again.
“Yes.” I agreed.
“A body?” Lani whispered.
“Players…” I said.
“Use their names.” The man ordered.
“Dream, George, Sapnap, Wilbur, Tommy, Tubbo, Technoblade, Philza, Fundy, Niki, Ranboo, Purpled, Drista and Lani. Players of games.” I said.
They all stood straighter when they all heard their names. They looked hopeful, full of energy, for the first time in days.
“Good.” The Man said.
“Take a breath, now.” I told them. They all inhaled and exhaled a deep breath, and their bodies in the real world did so too. “Take another.” They did so. “Feel air in your lungs. Let your limbs return.” Some of them moved their bodies in game. I saw them do so in the real world. “Yes, move your fingers.” I said. They all did so. Their fingers all moved in real life, too. “Have a body again, under gravity, in air. Respawn in the longest dream. There you are. Your body touching the universe again at every point, as though you were separate things. As though we were separate things.” I said.
“Who are we? Once we were called the spirit of the mountain. Father sun, mother moon. Ancestral spirits, animal spirits. Jinn. Ghosts. The green man. Then gods, demons. Angels. Poltergeists. Aliens, extraterrestrials. Leptons, quarks. The words change. We do not change.” The Man said.
Of course, we aren’t actually gods of any kind in the real world, but we created this server and this program. So, we were kind of gods in that world. That's what we were disguising ourselves as right now. Easier than the truth right now, when they needed to safely come back into the real world, so we could leave as quickly as possible.
“We are the universe. We are everything you think isn't you. You are looking at us now, through your skin and your eyes. And why does the universe touch your skin, and throw light on you? To see you, players. To know you. And to be known. I shall tell you a story.” I told them. “Once upon a time, there were players.”
“The players were you all, Dream, George, Sapnap, Wilbur, Tommy, Tubbo, Technoblade, Philza, Fundy, Niki, Ranboo, Purpled, Drista and Lani.” The Man said.
I nodded in agreement. “Sometimes they thought themselves human, on the thin crust of a spinning globe of molten rock. The ball of molten rock circled a ball of blazing gas that was three hundred and thirty thousand times more massive than it. They were so far apart that light took eight minutes to cross the gap. The light was information from a star, and it could burn your skin from a hundred and fifty million kilometres away.” I paused to let that sink in. “Sometimes the players dreamed they were a miner, on the surface of a world that was flat, and infinite. The sun was a square of white. The days were short; there was much to do; and death was a temporary inconvenience.”
“DEATH WAS AN INCONVENIENCE?!” All of them shouted at once.
“WE COULD HAVE DIED AND BEEN FINE?!” Tommy shouted.
Actually, no. I thought. You would have died. But we have to get them back without them panicking so we can get them out of here.
“Sometimes the players dreamed they were lost in a story.” The Man continued.
“Sometimes the players dreamed they were other things, in other places. Sometimes these dreams were disturbing. Sometimes very beautiful indeed. Sometimes the players woke from one dream into another, then woke from that into a third.” I told them.
“Sometimes the players dreamed they watched words on a screen.” The Man told them.
“Let's go back.” I said to them all. “The atoms of the player were scattered in the grass, in the rivers, in the air, in the ground. A woman gathered the atoms; she drank and ate and inhaled; and the woman assembled the players, in her body.” I paused. “And the players awoke, from the warm, dark world of its mother's body, into the long dream.” I paused again. “And the players were a new story, never told before, written in letters of DNA. And the players were a new program, never run before, generated by a sourcecode a billion years old. And the players were new humans, never alive before, made from nothing but milk and love.”
“You are the players. The story. The program. The human. Made from nothing but milk and love.” The Man said.
I was starting to get irritated by his interruptions. But I continued. “Let's go further back.” I said. “The seven billion, billion, billion, atoms of the players’ body were created, long before this game, in the heart of a star. So the players, too, are information from a star. And the players move through a story, which is a forest of information planted by a man called-” I distorted that, because I still didn’t know the man’s name. “On a flat, infinite world created by a woman who likes to be called Silverstrike, that exists inside small, private worlds created by the players, who inhabits a universe created by-” I said, about to go into a rant about the server and program we created, with my coding, but the man stopped me.
“Shush.” The Man said. I crossed my arms. He continued. “Sometimes the players created a small, private world that was soft and warm and simple. Sometimes hard, and cold, and complicated. Sometimes they built a model of the universe in its head; flecks of energy, moving through vast empty spaces. Sometimes they called those flecks "electrons" and "protons".”
“Sometimes they called them "planets" and "stars".” I said. “Sometimes they believed they were in a universe that was made of energy that was made of offs and ons; zeros and ones; lines of code. Sometimes they believed they were playing a game. Sometimes they believed they were reading words on a screen.”
“You all are the players, reading words-” The Man broke in, but I shushed him.
“Shush…” I stopped him from going into too much detail. He crossed his arms. I stuck my tongue out at him like a child. Ha, he didn’t like that much, did he? But I continued. “Sometimes the players read lines of code on a screen. Decoded them into words; decoded words into meaning; decoded meaning into feelings, emotions, theories, ideas, and the players started to breathe faster and deeper and realised it was alive. It was alive. Those thousand near-deaths had not been real. The players were alive.” I told them.
All of the players began to stir in real life. They were realizing there was another part of them, their real bodies, in another universe not-so out of reach.
“You. You. You all are alive.” The Man confirmed.
“And sometimes the players believed the universe had spoken to them through the sunlight that came through the shuffling leaves of the summer trees.” I said.
“And sometimes the players believed the universe had spoken to them through the light that fell from the crisp night sky of winter, where a fleck of light in the corner of the players’ eye might be a star a million times as massive as the sun, boiling its planets to plasma in order to be visible for a moment to the players, walking home at the far side of the universe, suddenly smelling food, almost at the familiar door, about to dream again…” He said, trailing off.
“And sometimes the players believed the universe had spoken to it through the zeros and ones, through the electricity of the world, through the scrolling words on a screen at the end of a big dream.” I said.
“And the universe said we both love you all…” The Man said.
I smiled, holding back both sad and happy tears. “And the universe said you all have played the game well…”
“And the universe said everything you need is within you…” The Man said.
“And the universe said you are stronger than you know…” I said.
“And the universe said you are the daylight…” The Man said.
“And the universe said you are the night…” I said.
“And the universe said the darkness you fight is within you…” The Man said.
“And the universe said the light you seek is within you…” I said.
“And the universe said you are not alone…” The Man said.
“And the universe said you are not separate from every other thing…” I said, hiding a warning in my words. They are not separate from any other thing on the planet, and they should care about even the flies on their walls.
“And the universe said you are the universe tasting itself, talking to itself, reading its own code…” The Man said.
“And the universe said I love you all because you are all love.” I said.
“And the game was over and the players woke up from the dream. And the players began a new dream. And the players dreamed again, dreamed better. And the players were the universe. And the players were love.” The man said, pausing. “You are the players.” He told them.
“Wake up.” I told them.
I saw them begin to stir.
“Go save them.” The Man said.
I nodded, getting up.
“And by the way,” He said, as I was about to leave the room. “My name is Apollo.”
I nodded, looking over my shoulder one last time at the messy but impressive control center he was about to destroy. He flipped open a knife blade as he stabbed a monitor. I ran out into the hall, putting a silver cat mask over my face and rushing down the concrete steps at the end of the hall to the chair room. I hadn’t slept in days, and it showed. I threw my brown curly hair into a ponytail, and opened the door from the steps, running into the center of the circle of chairs as they fully woke up. I realized I was wearing a white hoodie, oversized blue jeans, a leather belt, and black sneakers. No time to worry about my appearance now.
They all opened their eyes, staring at me.
“I’m Silverstrike.” I told them. “And, we need to get you all out of here. Fast.”
They all stayed silent, as I freed them from the wires. “Listen, we need to get you all into hiding. My accomplice had made a bomb bunker in case the government tried to take you guys and use you guys for more, and we can’t put anyone else through the trauma you guys have gone through. It’s too much for anyone, and I’m so sorry.” I hung my head as I stepped back. “But really, I have to get you guys out of here.”
“You. You were the woman who was talking to us.” Tommy said tiredly, his eyes slightly glazed over.
“Yes, yes I am.” I said. “Hurry, get up. I’ll explain everything once we get to the bunker, I promise. By the way, if you don’t come with me, you’ll never be free again. Your parents, friends, and everyone who knows you will think you're dead. Instead, you’ll become a runaway with me.”
“You mean a criminal?” Lani asked.
“As soon as I step out of this place and resist arrest, I’m public enemy number one. I created the technology to do this. And only I know how it's made.” I said, kicking into a false wall. “Are you coming or not?”
We all slipped into the passage. I put the false wall back, sealing us in shadow, and sealing us from the world.