Copyright 2016 by Sara Wilson – All rights reserved.
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This unofficial Minecraft novel is an original work of Grand Book Store which is not sanctioned nor approved by the makers of Minecraft. Minecraft is a registered trademark of, and owned by, Mojang AB, and its respective owners, which do not sponsor, authorize, or endorse this book. All characters, names, places, and other aspects of the game described herein are trademarked and owned by their respective owners.
I woke up in an unfamiliar bed, a group of worried faces gathered around me, shadows dancing on them in the torch light. I sat up and rubbed my head, where a sizeable lump had formed.
‘What happened?’ I mumbled, as I wondered whether my head was actually about to split open with the horrendous headache that was just starting to form.
‘You jumped out of a window, you utter idiot!’ Sabrina leaned forward, and began dabbing at the lump with an unfamiliar purple potion. ‘You’re lucky you’re still alive.’
‘I’m glad you had that potion of leaping on your belt, that’s all I’m saying’ said Saunders, half hidden in the shadows. ‘It didn’t completely shield you from damage, but it softened the blow enough for you to live.’
‘You still gave yourself a huge bang as you hit the ground though’ said Sara, looking worried. ‘We all thought the worst.’
I rummaged through my muddled memories of the last few hours. We’d climbed Niflyn’s tower in order to confront him and stop him from hurting the inhabitants of Lunaris. We’d freed everyone he had imprisoned in his cells, and found him at the top, about to experiment on a couple of unfortunate villagers. We’d gone to stop him, and then Sia had shown up…
‘SIA!’ I yelled, and tried to jump out of bed. Multiple pairs of hands instantly reached out and pushed me roughly back in, and kept me there.
‘I have to get Sia! Niflyn has her! She’s in danger!’
This was true, at least. Niflyn had seen Sia, and took his chance. He’d grabbed her and absconded with her, before any of us could do anything about it. He knew we wouldn’t touch him as long as he had her, so he ran away with her and now we had no idea where he had gone.
‘We know, Steve, we know.’ Simon said, ‘but there’s nothing we can do right now. We need to investigate and find out where he’s holed up before we can even find her.’
Sabrina nodded. ‘We’re going to do out and look into it, but you need to stay here. You didn’t exactly do yourself any favours by jumping out of a 200 foot high window.’ She moved away, and looked back at me. ‘Promise me you’ll stay here, Steve.’
‘Promise me, Steve.’ Sabrina’s voice had turned to steel.
‘Fine. Fine. But don’t leave me here long, ok?’
‘Fine. Now rest. Lie down! You can’t do anything like this at the moment, so let us go and do the work. Trust us, we’ll help you find her.’ With that, everyone left the room, and I was on my own.
Last night, as I lay in bed, I stewed over what had happened. I had let Niflyn take off with my only living family, and it was most certainly all my fault. I should have been quicker, I should have stopped him, I should have…
I let these thoughts swirl around my head all night, driving me more and more distressed and upset. What was I going to do? What could I do? I had no idea where he was, and neither did anybody else! It was all over, I knew it. I’d lost Sia, and the villagers here were right about me. People went missing, or worse, died, when they were under my care.
As I thought these gloomy thoughts, I slowly became aware of noises coming from outside the house. I heard voices chattering away excitedly, and the clatter of furniture being moved. A band started up in the distance, and there was laughter and the sound of feet dancing against the cobblestones of the town square.
Despite my promise to Sara, I got up out of bed and investigated. Looking out of the window, I saw what looked to be the whole town out in the square, even at this late hour. plenty were up and dancing, but many more were sat at hastily arranged tables, eating cakes and chatting away to each other.
I opened the door and stepped outside. For a few moments, my presence went unnoticed. Then, the cries went up.
‘There he is!’
‘Look, it’s Steve!’
Multiple hands pulled me over to the nearest table, and someone pushed a bowl of stew into my unresisting hands. I held it as I watched everyone rush over to me. Some came and slapped me on the back, and others shook my hand as they gabbled at me about how happy they were.
‘Niflyn’s gone, he’s really gone! You did it, Steve!’ said one lady, pumping my arm up and down like she was trying to prime a well.
‘Stand back everyone, stand back and give him some room. Can’t you see he’s in a bad way?’ The crowds parted, and a woman came towards me, and pulled me up gently. ‘Look at your head, you took a nasty hit there’ she said. ‘Come on, let’s go where it’s a bit quieter.’
I followed her unquestioningly, grateful to get away from the noise and voices of the street party. She led me over to a nearby pond, and sat me down at the side. It was much quieter here, although we could see the lights and hear the sounds of the party from where we were.
‘Sorry about that’ she said, sitting down next to me. ‘I figured you needed to get away.’
I nodded, then winced. ‘Ow.’
‘That does look nasty, I have to say.’
I looked into the surface of the pond, and saw that somebody had wrapped a large bandage around my head. A worrying looking red spot had begun to seep through them, just above my left eye.
‘Oof.’ I looked back up. ‘I’m really sorry, what was your name? I’ve forgotten it.’
‘That’s because I didn’t tell you. I’m Sheila.’ She held out her hand, and I shook it.
‘Hi Sheila. I don’t recognise you. Of course, that could be because of that hit I took to my head, but I’m guessing you didn’t live here at the same time I did?’
‘You’re right, I only moved here recently. I was hoping I’d run into you, actually. I’ve heard you’re quite famous around these parts.’
I groaned. I was indeed quite famous, but not everyone held the same esteemed opinion of my exploits. I’d originally moved away to get away from my reputation and adventuring entirely, but my team had found me, and here we were.
Her face fell. ‘Sorry, did I say something wrong?’
‘No no, sorry, it’s nothing like that. It’s just, well, not everyone is very happy with me right now.’
‘Really? It looks like the whole village is delighted with you at the moment.’ Sheila looked up, and saw Sabrina, Sara, Simon and Saunders making their way towards us.
‘Oh, I see your friends are here’ she remarked, as they drew nearer. She stood up, and brushed the grass off her trousers. ‘I’ll see you around, hopefully.’
‘Yeah, maybe.’ I watched her as she walked away, so I didn’t notice Sabrina coming up to me and gently shaking my shoulder.
‘Steve!’ she cried. ‘You scared us! Didn’t you promise us you wouldn’t wander off!’
I looked up at her. ‘Sorry’, I said, ‘I heard everyone coming out, and I went to see what it was all about, and then I got brought over here…’
‘Are you sure he didn’t hit his head harder than we thought? He looks like he’s dazed’ said Saunders, peering at me. ‘Are you ok, Steve?’
‘Yeah, yeah… sure.’ I let the others pull me to my feet and guide me back towards the house.
‘Come on, back to bed. We can’t do anything until the morning, anyway.’
As we walked back I looked around for Sheila, but she had disappeared.
This morning, after a long sleep and a freshly grilled fish for breakfast, I was feeling a lot more like myself. My head was pounding, and when I’d changed the bandages the injury looked rather horrible, but I was alive, and that was something.
‘I’ve been in worse scrapes’ I thought, looking in the mirror as I re-bandaged the wound.
I walked back into the main room, where everybody was waiting for me.
‘How are you feeling this morning?’ asked Sabrina.
‘Yeah, you didn’t look too hot last night when we found you’, Sara added.
‘I’m fine, I’m fine. A good night’s sleep did me well. Now though, we’ve got to find Sia. Did you find anything out last night?’ I sat down on a nearby sofa and tried not to think about how were sitting in Sia’s house, without Sia in it. What had I done?
‘Well, we didn’t find out an awful lot, but we’ve got something to go on.’ Sabrina opened a notebook, and riffled through the pages. ‘We talked to all the people who had been locked up in that tower, and they all said the same thing. They said Niflyn had been talking about a place called… where is it?’ She began flicking through the pages again.
‘Black Hallows’ said Simon. ‘They were talking about Black Hallows.’
I frowned. ‘I know that name, but I’ve never seen it on a map. How can I know it?’
‘It’s a legend’ Sara piped up. ‘The legendary town of Black Hallows. It’s in all the history books, but I think it never really existed.’
Of course! I remembered the tales being told to us by the town elders, years ago. Naughty children who didn’t listen to their parents were sent to Black Hallows. People who were turned out of the village for wrongdoing usually ended up in Black Hallows, never to be seen again. It was a town full to the brim of monsters, evil doers and the lost and frightened people who ended up there.
‘Does Niflyn think it existed?’ I asked, fiddling with the corner of one of Sia’s blankets.
‘Hard to say. He was looking to create a magical army, so what was he planning on doing with it? Had he found the village himself?’ Sabrina looked concerned.
‘It’s a good guess’ I said. ‘What do we do now?’
‘Head back to the mansion in Wellspring’ said Sara, promptly. ‘There was a huge section on myths in that library, or at least there was when I lived there. Sabrina, have you been in the library since you moved in?’
‘No’ she said, shaking her head. ‘I hadn’t had time, what with everything that’s happened. I’m not sure what state it’s in.’
‘Could be interesting… ok, is everyone ready to go now? The sooner we get started, the better.’
‘Wait! Before we do, I need to know what happened to Harry’ I said.
‘Who?’ asked Simon.
‘Harry, my friend. Sia said he’d been taken away, but no one found him in the tower. I need to know what happened to him!’ I jumped up. ‘Everyone get ready to go, I’ll be back as soon as I can.’
Without looking back, I rushed out of the door.
Harry, how could I forget? In all the commotion since our raid on Niflyn’s tower, I’d forgotten that we were still looking for him. I ran down the road towards what I hoped was still his house. He’d lived there years ago when we were kids, but now? Who knew.
I skidded towards the door, and my heart sank. The house looked dirty, unkempt and distinctly un-lived in. If he’d made his way home last night, he hadn’t even open the dusty curtains in the windows. I tried the door, and it swung open. Dust swirled around in the light that now streamed in the door, and it was clear that no one had been there in quite some time.
I sagged against the door frame. What was I going to do?
‘Excuse me, sir?’ I felt someone tugging on my arm. Looking down, I saw a small girl staring up at me with huge, blue eyes.
‘Hi?’ I said. I didn’t have the energy to entertain whatever she wanted to ask me, but I had to try.
‘Are you looking for Harry?’
I stood up straight at that. ‘Yes, yes I am. What’s your name, kid?’
‘I’m Paula, pleased to meet you. I know you, you’re Steve. Everyone knows you.’
Yep, sounded about right. I nodded. ‘Pleased to meet you Paula. Do you know where Harry is?’
‘No, I’m not sure, but I did see him last night.’
I knelt down and held Paula by the shoulders. ‘Where did you see him? It’s very important that you tell me exactly where it was. I have to find him, he could be in danger.’
She looked up at me. ‘He was with a man and a woman. They were running through the village, just after everybody was freed. I saw him, but I don’t think anyone else did?’
‘Who was he with?’
‘He was with Sia, and that scary man. The wizard who lived in the tower.’
‘And you’re absolutely sure about that?’ I asked.
She nodded. ‘It was them. They ran away. I don’t think Harry wanted to go.’
‘I bet he didn’t.’ I stood up. ‘Do you live here, Paula?’
She nodded and pointed up the road. ‘I live just there. I can see Harry’s house from my bedroom window.’
‘Ok. Listen to me carefully, Paula, because I need you to do me a big favour. If you ever see any of them here again, I need you to write to me immediately. Can you do that?’
She nodded again. Her face was solemn.
‘Ok, here’s the address.’ I pulled a scrap of paper and a quill from my pocket, and scribbled the address of the mansion and the fortress down. I didn’t know where we’d be, so I thought it best to cover all bases. ‘I know it’s a big responsibility, but can you do it?’
‘Yes. I’ll keep watch for them, I promise. I’ll be a hero, just like you!’ Paula then smiled, took the paper, then bounced away to her house.
I hoped she’d be there if they came back.
I made my way back to Sia’s house, to find everyone packing up ready to leave.
‘Any luck?’ asked Saunders.
I shook my head. ‘Nothing. His house is deserted. There’s a kid who lives nearby though, who thinks that he’s been taken by Niflyn.’
‘I’m sorry’ said Sara, worry in her face again.
‘It’ll be ok. We’re going to save Sia anyway, so hopefully we’ll find him at the same time. So, are we off to get the train?’
‘Nope!’ Sabrina stood up straight, after studying an open book on the desk closely. ‘I can get us there in an instant. It’s just a quick spell.’
‘Is the same one you used in Swordclash? As I remember, you hadn’t really learned how to stick the landing’, I said.
‘No, it’s fine, it’s fine, I’ve been practicing. And we don’t really have the time to waste, do we? Everyone, get your stuff and gather round. We all need to be touching for this to work. Hold hands, that’s easiest, that’s right.’ Sabrina took one last look at her book. ‘Ok, ready?’
Everyone mumbled words of assent, although I don’t think anyone was feeling that confident about the endeavour.
‘Ok…’ Sabrina began muttering words we couldn’t quite make out under her breath. At first, nothing happened. Then, all of a sudden, the colour began to drain out of the room. For a moment, I felt as though I couldn’t breathe, that the oxygen had been sucked out of the room, too. Then, as soon as it had happened, we found ourselves in the main hallway at the mansion in Wellspring.
‘Well, that went well!’ Sabrina dusted her hands off. ‘What’s next?
After another long, sorely needed night’s sleep, we set to work this morning finding the library. As we made our way there after breakfast, there was a knock on the door.
Sabrina answered it. At the doorway was a young looking boy, holding a bag that smelled like freshly baked bread.
‘Excuse me, madam, I thought I’d best knock as I saw the lights on last night’ he said to Sabrina. ‘I’ve come to feed the witch.’
‘Oh, thank you Roger!’ Sabrina ushered him in. ‘We’ll be here for a while, but I don’t know how long exactly. We’re quite busy at the moment. Are you ok to carry on working for me right now?’
‘Of course! As long as you keep paying me, that is!’
Sabrina laughed. ‘Of course, here you are, this should be enough for the next couple of weeks.’ She dug in her pockets and dropped a few emeralds into his hand. ‘Thank you, Roger.’
‘Thanks!’ with that, he happily skipped down the stairs.
‘Wow, you’re paying him well!’ said Simon, as we carried on up the hallway.
‘Well, he has to buy the food, too. His mother’s not well, so he needs the cash right now. He’s doing a great job for me. Brave, too. No one else will go near Marigold right now.’
‘Where’s the werewolf, by the way?’ I asked. ‘He was transforming back into a human the last time we saw him.’
‘Yes, he’s still here, but he has a bedroom on the third floor now’ said Sabrina. ‘His name’s Kevin, turns out he’s a fisherman. He’s still not entirely himself, so he’s staying here for now until he’s better.’
‘I hope you know what you’re doing, letting him stay in the house’ said Saunders. ‘He could still be dangerous.’
‘I think he’s ok for now. Here we are!’ We had arrived at the grand double doors for the library. Sabrina fetched a large ring of keys from her pockets, and began looking through them for the right key for the door. ‘I haven’t been in here at all, I hope it’s all still in one piece.’
She located the key and turned it in the lock. As the door opened, it was the smell of dust and mould that hit us first. We all coughed as the long dormant dust was disturbed and swirled out to greet us. Looking inside, we could see that what was once a beautiful, opulent library was now crumbling and falling apart. The floor to ceiling bookshelves that lined the room were now falling apart, spilling old and dusty books to the floor. The floor appeared to have cracked and broken in the time it had laid abandoned, and the windows were so thick with grime that almost no light could make its way inside.
Sara groaned. ‘My library! Look at it!’
‘It’s nothing that we can’t fix.’ Sabrina rolled her sleeves up. ‘Let’s try a little something here.’ She reached out towards the windows, and sparks shot from her fingertips. Before our eyes, the dirt washed away from the glass, letting in streams of light.
‘Nice, I didn’t know that one worked so well. Now we can see.’ Sabrina stepped into the room. ‘Now, where should we start, Sara?’
‘If I remember correctly, the Myths section was up in the far corner of the room. We need to get in there and start reading.’ Sara lead the way into the dark recesses of the library, and we all followed. There were rows upon rows of old, musty, unread books in here, untouched for years. I saw books on long dead monsters, the great adventurers of the ages, and dangerous potions that no one in their right mind would dare make now. Eventually, Sara brought us to the Myths section.
‘Ok, everyone, we’re going to start from this shelf’ she said, indicating a shelf near the floor, ‘and work our way all the way up, until we find something about this place. Take a book, and get reading.’ We all selected an old tome from the shelf, and got to work.
An hour passed, with nothing. Still, we were hopeful. Another hour passed, and we started to get worried. Although no one said anything, I could see it in their faces. When we hit the third hour with no information, we’d almost lost hope. Eventually, though, we struck gold.
‘I’ve got it!’ yelled Saunders, from his spot where he was sitting cross legged on the floor. ‘We’ll find him yet!’
He brought the book over to a nearby desk, swiped the dust off it with one potion splattered sleeve, and laid it out. ‘There’s not an awful lot here, but it’s something at last’ he said. We all gathered round to read.
Saunders had opened his book onto an old, faded page that had grown ragged at the edges. It looked well thumbed, before the dust and mould had got to it. The ink had faded somewhat, but it was still legible.
Black Hallows, although shrouded in mystery and considered a myth by many, does indeed exist. Many who are learned in the magical arts have been able to access the secluded village over the years, although many have come back, refusing to speak of what they saw there. Many more never came back at all.
The village cannot be found on any map of the land, and striking out in search of it in the normal way is a fool’s errand. One will have to have deep knowledge of magic, and will have to contact the Great Sage of Ironhaven in order to begin their quest.
However, if you seek the village of Black Hallows, we beg of you, please reconsider your quest. Is your life worth sacrificing in order to find it?
‘Ominous’ said Saunders, as we finished reading. ‘Does anyone know where Ironhaven is? I’ve never heard of it.
We all shook our heads, even me, and I thought I’d mapped out most of the land over the years.
‘Hang on, there’s atlases somewhere near here.’ Sara headed off into another aisle of bookshelves, and after some rustling and a small book avalanche (‘I’m ok!’), she hurried back with a huge, leather bound tome in her arms.
‘Hey look, I found it!’ She slapped it on the table, and began flipping through the pages. ‘Where’s the index… Ironhaven… Ironhaven…’ Dust flew up into the air, making us all sneeze, and our eyes stream.
‘Here!’ Sara stopped on a two page map and pointed to spot at the top of the spread. ‘Look, it’s a tiny little town here, right up in the north. That’s going to be a long way to travel, though, and I don’t know if we have the time…’
‘Sabrina?’ I asked. ‘Could you get us there?’
‘I can try’ she said. ‘It’s going to be difficult, though. I’ll need to prepare.’
‘That’s fine, so will everyone else. Everyone, get everything together you’ll need for the journey. We’re going out as soon as possible. In the meantime, I want to go talk to this fisherman. Where did you say he was again?’
‘On the third floor. Go up the stairs, go right, and it’s the fifth door on your left’ said Sabrina.
‘Great.’ With that, I turned round and escaped the musty library and into the comparatively fresher air of the mansion proper. Climbing the stairs, I saw more cats wandering around the place, as I had on our last visit. As I neared the werewolf’s room, though, I saw that they shied away from that area of the house. Experimentally, I picked up a rather friendly seeming kitty and walked towards the door Sabrina had pointed out. As we got nearer, the cat started scrabbling in m arms and yowling to be let go. As we were nearly at the door, it leapt away from me and went careening down the hallway, meowing wildly as it went.
With some trepidation, I knocked the door.
A small voice from inside called, ‘Come in.’
I pushed the door open onto a small but well kept room, that contained a large, plush bed, a bookcase, a fireplace, and an armchair. The fireplace was roaring away happily, and in the window a man was curled up, reading. He looked up with some surprise.
‘Oh, you’re not Roger’, he said, mildly. ‘Who are you?’
‘Hi, I’m Steve.’ I walked over and offered my hand, which he shook. ‘I don’t suppose you remember me.’
‘The last few weeks have been somewhat of a blur, yes. Do I know you?’ He stood up, and offered me the chair. I declined, sitting on the corner of the bed.
‘I found you here when Marigold and Niflyn were experimenting on you. I saw you again in the cells downstairs, when you were…’
‘A werewolf, yes.’ The man nodded. Looking at him now, it was hard to imagine that he’d ever changed shape. He was small and wiry, wearing small glasses on the bridge of his nose so he could read. He looked nothing like the huge, snarling monster Marigold and Niflyn had turned him into.
‘Yes. It looked like it must have hurt’ I confessed.
‘Like nothing else I’d ever experienced before.’ He nodded. ‘Sorry, I didn’t introduce myself. I’m Kevin.’
‘Yes, Sabrina said.’
‘She’s been very helpful, very kind. Once I’d turned back properly she brought me here, to recuperate properly. I do hope to go home soon.’
‘Glad to hear it. Listen, I came here because I wanted to ask you about what happened. We need to find Niflyn, as he’s a real danger and I’m worried about what he’s going to do next.’ What he’s going to do to Sia next, I thought.
‘They found me by my hut, when I was out fishing. I live by the sea, on my own, so no one’s been missing me, luckily. They must have been passing by, and decided to demand my catch for the day, as they were hungry. I offered them a couple, but said they couldn’t have the whole catch, as that was my food that I couldn’t go without. The man, Niflyn, you said his name was? He took offence to that. The next thing I knew, I was locked up here and they were threatening me with “transformation”.’
‘I’m sorry to hear that. They’re nasty people to cross.’
‘That they are. In the end, they dragged me into that cage in the lab, and the next thing I know I’m back in that cell and covered in fur.’ Kevin shuddered.
‘I’m sorry to bring it up, but there was something else I wanted to know. While you were here, the whole time you were in contact with them, did they say anything else that you could hear? Anything about their future plans? It’s very important, if you can remember anything.’
Kevin thought for a moment. ‘Hmm. I couldn’t understand much at the time, as I’m sure you can imagine.’
‘However, there was something. Something about creepers? I’m not sure. They were looking to build an army, weren’t they?’
‘It looks that way. The sooner we stop Niflyn from doing so for good, the better.’
‘That’s all I can remember, I’m sorry. Is there anything else I can help you with?’
‘No, that’s fine, thank you. Thank you for your help. If he’s looking to use creepers, that’s a start.’ I got up, and went to the door. ‘I hope you make a full recovery soon!’
‘Thank you.’ Kevin went back to his book.
As I left and walked back to the library, I passed several ornate mirrors that decorated the hallways. As I passed them, something felt… off, somehow. At the third, I stopped and looked into one.
Nothing unusual. Still that big bandage above my left eye. Still the same Steve. Still, though… something wasn’t right. I leaned out and went to touch the glass. To my surprise, it seemed warm under my fingertips. As I did so, the glass began to ripple under my touch.
I yanked my hand away quickly. The glass looked normal.
I backed away quickly, and made my way back to the library.
‘Sabrina!’ I called, running inside. ‘Have you done something to your mirrors?’
‘What do you mean?’ she asked, stuffing books into a large messenger bag.
‘I looked in one… have you put any spells on them? Anything like that?’
‘I have no idea what you’re talking about.’ She looked at me quizzically. ‘Steve, are you sure that fall did nothing to your head?’
‘I’m sure’ I said, but I dropped it. The last thing I needed was Sabrina and the rest of the team thinking I’d gone slightly mad. I looked around, to see if anyone else had noticed our exchange. Saunders and Simon were busily packing and had seen nothing, but when I looked at Sara, she was staring at Sabrina with suspicion.
She caught me looking at her, and shook her head. ‘Don’t say anything’ she mouthed.
Last night, once I’d dropped the mirror matter and fetched my supplies, we gathered again in the library to get going.
‘Ok,’ said Sabrina, ‘I’m going to do exactly the same I did before, but this time we’re going a lot further away than Wellspring. Quite frankly, I don’t know how rough the journey will be, so just be prepared.’
We huddle together in the middle of the room, and got ready. Sabrina began muttering under her breath again, and soon the colour began to drain out of the world, just as it did before. This time, though, it felt as though literally all of the air and been sucked out, too. I was struggling to breathe, and I could see the others were too. From where I was stood, I could see Simon’s lips going blue.
I tried to yell ‘Stop!’ to Sabrina, but the words wouldn’t come. There just wasn’t any air to carry the sound to her. She was still muttering, and beads of sweat were now standing out on her forehead.
This was it, I thought. We were going to die. This was too ambitious, Sabrina’s still a new witch and it was all going to go wrong.
Just as I thought it was all over, though, the colour began to come back, along with the air. I gasped for breath along with the rest of the team, and stumbled to the floor. I felt water begin to seep into my clothes, and I jumped back up again.
We found ourselves on the top of a snowy mountain, in the middle of the night. Everyone else was still picking themselves up out of the freezing snow. The wind bit at our skin and whipped our clothes about.
‘Look over there’ called Simon, pointing out into the distance. They looked, and saw a small patch of light out in the vast expanse of snow.
‘That must be Ironhaven’ I said. ‘Is everyone ok?’
‘I think so’ said Sara. ‘At least, everything’s in one piece.’
Sabrina rubbed her eyes. ‘I’m not trying that again for a while. I feel like my head’s full of lead.’
‘You did well though, we’re nearly there. This would have taken us weeks to trek out on foot. Come on, everyone, let’s get going.’ I started marching out towards the light, and the others followed me. We tramped through the snow, getting colder and colder. Soon, I couldn’t feel my nose. Not long after that, it was my fingers. Still, though, we trudged on, and soon the village was in sight.
‘Nearly there!’ I called.
‘Good, I think my toes have dropped off’, Saunders called back.
As we grew nearer, I heard Simon yelp.
‘What was that?’ he said. I turned back to look at him, and saw that the side of his face was covered in snow. He rubbed it off with one frozen hand. ‘What hit me? I can’t see anything.’
I held out my hand for everyone to stop, then peered around us to try and find the assailant. ‘Who’s there?’ I yelled out into the snowy landscape.
At first, nothing. Then -
‘Ow!’ Another snowball came out of nowhere and hit Sara, this time.
‘Show yourselves!’ I yelled, angry. ‘Stop fighting like cowards!’
Again, nothing. Then, a flurry of snowballs came flying in our direction.
‘GET DOWN!’ We all threw ourselves into the snow, as the hail of snowballs continued to fly over our heads. Soon, our assailants began to move forward and make themselves known. What appeared to be snowmen glided towards us, leaving mounds of snow in their wake. On their heads were pumpkins, carved to resemble bizarre, frightening faces. Oh no…
‘They’re snow golems! We need to take them out!’ I pulled my sword out and began stabbing out with it from the ground. It sunk into the snow easily enough, but it didn’t even slow them down. They continued to move in, threateningly.
‘Wait! We need to melt them!’ Saunders was digging in his bag, looking for something. In the end, he found several bottles of plain water, and tossed them around the group.
‘Throw them!’ he said. ‘They’ll melt if hit by water!’
I grabbed some bottles and began pelting the golems. The first one I hit I got in the middle, and it melted away instantly. It’s head fell off to the ground, looking rather forlorn in the snow. I hit a couple more, and looked round to see how the rest were doing.
Saunders and Simon were doing well, and Sara was trying her best, even though her aim wasn’t great. We were holding back the hordes, but they weren’t going to be driven off that easily.
‘Does anyone else have any other ideas?’ I asked desperately.
‘Stand back’ said Sabrina, rolling her sleeves up again. ‘I’m going to try something.’
She stretched her fingers out, and the sparks began to fly again. This time though, they flew further, and burned white hot. Soon, there was actual fire flying from her fingertips. She aimed it at the golems, and they began backing away warily. Sabrina trained her fire onto a group bunched together, and they evaporated instantly.
‘Aha!’ she cried. ‘This is more like it!’
She boiled more and more, until there were only a few left. They began making a run for the nearby forest, and she went after them.
‘Sabrina, NO!’ Sara yelled, but it was too late. Sabrina got the stragglers, but the trees had caught fire as she melted them. Soon, the trees were ablaze, and we were beaten back by the flames.
‘Sabrina, what have you done!’ yelled Sara. ‘They were retreating! What was the point of going after them? Now you’ve put us all in danger!’
‘Me! You couldn’t hit anything even if you tried! At least I DID something! You’d be golem food if it weren’t for me!’ Sabrina glared at Sara.
‘Guys, this is not the time…’ I muttered, looking around me.
‘You’re dangerous, Sabrina!’ Sara paid no attention to me. I couldn’t even remember if I’d ever seen her angry. ‘What’ll happen next time? Maybe we’ll disappear into the nether! Maybe we’ll all drop into a pit! You’re lethal!’
‘Guys, pack it in’ I yelled, looking around me at all the angry faces.
‘Why should we? Sara is an ungrateful hanger on, who’s no good for anything at all! Why do we keep her here?’ bellowed Sabrina.
‘How DARE you…’ Sara started, but finally she looked around her.
Apparently the whole of Ironhaven had seen their trees burning, and had come out to find out what was happening. They’d walked into a scene where their forest was afire, and two women were screaming at each other in the snow.
One man stepped forward. He was bundled up in what looked like wolf fur, and looked out at us from within a deep hood. ‘Is this your doing?’ he asked.
‘We were fighting the snow golems’ I said. ‘We didn’t mean to hit the trees, I’m sorry.’
‘Our golems? They destroyed our security?’ called one woman from near the back.
Last night, we were marched through the gates of Ironhaven, and into matching jail cells deep in the basement of what I guessed was the town hall. We all came along quietly, but Sara and Sabrina sullenly avoided speaking to each other as we were shoved down the stairs. Once I was in my cell and the door was shut on me, the only light to be seen was the flame of a single torch, placed high up in the corner of the tiny room.
It was freezing. I bundled my coat around me and shivered.
‘Can anyone hear me?’ I asked. There was no answer.
I was going to have to escape on my own first, before I could do anything about the others. I looked around me. The room was old cobblestone, filled with grooves and carvings from previous prisoners. I wondered briefly what had happened to them, and shuddered. The iron door was locked tight, and there were no windows to speak of. Escape wasn’t looking good.
I sat down on the cold stone floor and thought about my next move. For a while, no ideas were coming to me, and I was beginning to feel rather despondent. How was I going to get out of this one?
After some time, there was a knock at the door. I didn’t bother to reply. It was only going to be one of my jailers, what was the point of answering?
‘Steve? You awake in there?’ called a voice.
‘Yeah.’ I shrugged. So what?
A key turned in the lock, and to my utter surprise the door opened. ‘Steve’, said a guard. ‘The mayor has requested to see you. Get up, you’re coming with us now.’
I got to my feet, not without difficult, as my feet felt like blocks of ice. ‘Why does he want to see me?’ I asked.
‘Not my concern’, said the guard, gruffly. ‘Come on, we’re going.’ He took me by the arm and began pulling me up the stairs.
‘Wait, what about my friends?’
‘He hasn’t asked to see them. Quickly, now! Mayor Thompson is a busy man, we don’t have long.’
I was hustled through what felt like miles of stone tunnels on my seemingly frozen feet. The feeling slowly returned, and pins and needles tormented me all the way up to the highest floor of the town hall. Eventually, I was shoved into a large, high ceilinged room, carpeted in rich reds and draped in folds of purple cloth. A desk sat at the far end, with two people behind it. One red faced, rotund man I assumed was Mayor Thompson. The other, I was astonished to see, was Sheila.
‘Nice to see you again, Steve’ she said, doodling on a piece of paper on the table.
‘What are you doing here?’ I blurted out.
‘Well well, that’s not polite, is it? Let me introduce my friend here, Mayor Thompson.’ She gestured towards him, and he nodded towards me. I returned the gesture.
‘Good evening. You wanted to see me?’ I said, trying to give off the air of someone that hadn’t been locked up in a cell for hours.
‘Yes. Your friend Sheila here came to see me, not long after we caught you and your friends outside the city gates. She says you’re on a very important mission.’
Ignoring the fact that Sheila couldn’t know what our plans were, I said, ‘That’s right. My sister has been kidnapped by the wizard Niflyn the Terrible. I’m trying to save her, and the only way forward is to visit The Great Sage here in your town. Are you going to release us?’
‘That depends. I’m sorry about your sister, but you did take out our entire snow golem herd. They’re our only protection out here’, said the Mayor. He scowled at me.
‘They attacked us! We were visiting peacefully! What else were we supposed to do?’ I asked, baffled.
‘You set fire to the forests!’
‘That was an accident, and I’m sorry about that, but why did you set your golems on us in the first place?’
‘The north is a dangerous place, Steve. We have to be careful. We let one outsider in, and we could be ruined. I don’t know how it where you’re from, but we can’t afford to lose anything at all.’
I rubbed my eyes. ‘I appreciate that, Mayor, but you do understand that weren’t intending on harming you, aren’t you? We want to visit the Sage and then we’ll leave. That’s it. That’s all we’re here for.’
Sheila chose this moment to lean in and whisper in the Mayor’s ear. He listened, and when she was finished, he addressed me again.
‘You destroyed our town security and half our forests, but in this instance, I’ll believe in your innocence and let you and your friends go.’
‘Thank you’ I said, trying to hide my irritation with his arrogance.
‘Sheila here will go back with you to the cells to release your friends. Please go about your business, and leave as soon as you are done.’ He began to shuffle papers on his desk as Sheila stepped round and took my arm.
‘Come on’, she said, ‘let’s get your friends.’
As we made our way back down to the basement, I asked, ‘What’s going on Sheila? I thought you lived in Lunaris?’
‘I move around a lot’ she shrugged. ‘I get bored.’
‘And how did you know about our plan? Have you been talking to my friends, because I’m sure I didn’t tell you about it?’
‘Why are you so suspicious? We all knew Niflyn had taken off with Sia, did we really think that Mr Great Adventurer Steve would let that go? Of course you were going to go after her!’ She paused to unlock the door to the cells. ‘Plus, aren’t you glad I was here? If I hadn’t been, the Mayor may never have let you go, and there would you be?’
‘I suppose. Thank you Sheila’ I said. There certainly was something about her that made people go weak at the knees and suggestible to whatever she asked. I felt hazy again, walking along with her. I couldn’t stay suspicious with her. She was helping us!
She began unlocking the doors to the cells, and everyone came out, shivering. Sabrina and Sara were still eyeing each other, but were too cold to really start fighting again.
‘It’s awful down here. Let me take you to the local inn. It’s lovely, and more importantly, warm.’ Sheila began walking away, so we all started following her.
As we did so, I filled the team in on what had happened in the Mayor’s office.
‘Ugh, seems like overkill to me’ said Saunders. ‘What is he so afraid of? What’s possibly going to get them around here?’
‘Who knows, but it’s all ridiculous. I just want to get into bed and warm up before I get frostbite. I’m pretty certain I’ve lost at least one toe.’
We walked through the snowy village, and as we did so we saw curtains twitching in nearby houses. I was getting uneasy flashbacks to our first time in Wellspring, and I’m sure the others were, too. The roads were deserted at this time of night, so we trudged through the snow to the one building with its lights still on, the Ironhaven Inn.
As we all came in, stomping our boots on the doorstep to get rid of excess snow, we heard a voice yell from the front desk. ‘Hey! You can’t all be coming in here!’
‘Why not?’ asked Sheila, amiably. ‘It’s an inn, isn’t it?’
‘The town’s in danger! I don’t have time for this! You can’t stay here!’ Behind the desk was a small, anxious looking man with a white handlebar moustache. He stared at us incredulously, as if he couldn’t believe we’d dare some inside.
I walked over to the desk. ‘I know for a fact, Mr. Humbergang, that your rooms are totally empty tonight. Do you really want to turn down business?’
‘Mr. Humbergang?’ Simon muttered under his breath.
The inn keeper got a good look at us. ‘They’re the ones that attacked the village! I can’t let them stay here! I’ll be arrested!’
Sara rolled her eyes. Sabrina said, ‘Excuse me? It was the snow golems that attacked us!’
I stomped over to the desk, my patience, which was already wearing thin, now worn through completely. ‘Mr. Humbergang’, I said. ‘It’s freezing out there. We’re on a mission, and we came here in order to seek help. We came peacefully, and rather than being welcomed in, we were attacked and then locked up in cells for the crime of protecting ourselves. Now, you’re going to rent us our rooms, and I don’t want to hear any more arguments.’ As I finished my speech, I was nearly nose to nose with the man.
He looked even more nervous. ‘Fine, fine!’ He turned round and grabbed some keys from the rack behind him. ‘Here’s your room keys! Just, go! Go!’
I handed the keys out, and we all went to our rooms, silently. It had been a long day.
This morning, no one was to be seen in the inn, except for our team. I went to the front desk, hoping to ask about where to find The Great Sage, but Mr Humbergang was nowhere to be found. I called out for him, but still nothing. As I was walking back upstairs, I heard a stifled cough from the back room. I shook my head, and decided not to challenge him. He wasn’t going to help us even if we tried to make him.
I headed back up, and saw the team ready to go.
‘Is everyone ready to go?’ I asked. Everybody nodded.
‘Ok, we’re going to start asking around the village. I’m not sure if anyone will help us, but we’ve got to try. We’ve dealt with worse. We’re going to split into two teams to cover more ground quickly, as I don’t want to spend more time in the cold than I really want to. Sara and Saunders, you’re coming with me. Sabrina and Simon, you’ll be working as a pair. My team, we’re heading out and covering all the east side of the village. You guys, you’ll be covering the west. Any questions?’
‘Nope. Let’s get going, shall we?’ said Saunders.
I was relieved. I’d split Sara and Sabrina up on purpose, hoping that doing so would help them cool down a bit from last night. I needed to talk to them about it, but now was not the time.
With that, we left the inn and began knocking on doors. We found that most people opened the door and upon seeing us, simply slammed the door into our faces. Others simply hid in their homes until we gave up knocking and went away.
‘Wow, we’re having no luck’ said Saunders, as yet another door was slammed in his face.
‘Are you surprised? After last night, no one would trust us’, Sara grumbled.
‘Now, the mayor was convinced to trust us, so everyone else should have got the message by now’ I mused. Trying to find the Sage was going to be harder than I thought.
After trying every home on our side of the village, we came back to the inn, dejected. We found Sabrina and Simon sitting in the lobby, looking equally miserable.
‘No luck?’ I asked.
‘Nothing. No one wants to talk to us at all. I suppose I can’t blame them’ Sabrina shrugged. ‘What now?’
‘I have no idea.’ My feet were sore, my head still hurt, and I was freezing. ‘Let’s just bed down for the night. There’s nothing we can do as we are, so we’ll regroup in the morning.’
Last night, after a well deserved bath and warming myself up by the roaring fire in my room, I knocked on Sara’s door.
I entered, and she was sat by her own fire, reading a book. I got closer, and saw it was ‘Myths and Legends of the Last 1000 Years’.
‘Still reading up on Black Hallows?’ I asked, sitting down beside her.
‘Tying to, there really isn’t anything out there about it. Doesn’t surprise me, as no one’s ever come back from the place. Steve, do we really have to go there?’
‘We’ve got no choice, if that’s where Sia is. It’s my fault that she’s there.’ I groaned at the thought. I could only hope that Niflyn was keeping her safe for now.
As if she were reading my mind, Sara said, ‘Hey, Sia’s ok, I know it. There’s no way that Niflyn would hurt her. He likes to mess with people. What’s a better way to upset someone then stealing away someone they love?’
I shrugged. ‘I guess. I don’t trust him as far as I can throw him though. We need to find him sooner, rather than later.’
We sat in silence for a little bit, her reading and me enjoying the warmth from the fire. I never realised how good we had it back home, until we came here. If I never see snow again, it’ll be too soon. After a while, I said, ‘What is it with you and Sabrina?’
Sara closed her book and sighed. ‘I knew you’d ask me about this eventually.’
‘I have to, really. I’ve never seen you yell at anyone before, especially the way you yelled at her.’
‘Well, can you blame me? She sold us out to Niflyn and Marigold in the first place, and then all of a sudden she’s a witch? How does that work? I thought I knew her. She’s my friend, but I feel like she’s a completely different person now. She just strolls into my old home and calls it her own…’
‘She’s done a good job of keeping Marigold contained’, I said, worried about where Sara was going with this.
‘How do we know she’s still not working with them?’ she asked. ‘How? How can we trust her?’
‘She’s not steered us wrong yet, Sara.’
‘I know, but still! How can you trust her?’
‘I have to. She’s helped us so far, and where would we be if we didn’t all trust one another? I know it’s hard, but I need you to call a truce with her, just for now. Can you do that? Once we rescue Sia, you can have it out with her. Until then, we need to be a team. Can you do that?’
Sara sighed again, staring into the fire. ‘I’ll do it for now, for you, Steve. I haven’t forgotten what you did for me. But after we’re done… I don’t know.’
The next morning, I sat in the inn’s tiny library, trying to find anything I could about the Black Hallows. Mr. Humbergang was still steadfastly ignoring us, despite the fact I was pushing emeralds across the desk to pay for our rooms. When I came back later, I saw that he wasn’t above taking our money.
I decided to walk across the village to the town hall, in order to see if Sheila was still there. Maybe she’d have some information for us. I did hope so, or I was really stuck. As I was walking across their frozen village square, I saw a familiar shape running towards me.
‘Sheila?’ I said, peering through the falling snow.
She ran up to me, grinning. ‘Hi’ she said.
‘Need any help?’
‘I do, as a matter of fact. I was coming to see you.’
‘Well, I was coming to see you. What a coincidence! Here, let’s go back to the inn and let’s see how I can help you guys out. I still feel bad about how the mayor treated you.’
‘Oh well, not everyone is as accommodating as you.’ We headed back to the inn, heads bowed against the snow.
We entered the inn, stamped the snow off our boots, and sat down in the lobby, next to yet another roaring fire.
‘If there’s one thing Ironhaven does well, it’s a good fireplace’ I said, holding my hands out towards it.
‘You’re not wrong there. What was it you wanted my help with?’ asked Sheila, instantly down to business.
‘We’re still looking for the Great Sage’ I said. ‘We’ve tried asking around, but no one will talk to us. As soon as we can get in touch with him, we’ll leave, but if no one will help us, we’re stuck here.’
‘Oh, that? I was reading into him after we let you go’ said Sheila, brightening up. ‘I don’t think anyone here knows who he even is. His identity is kept a secret.’
‘Oh.’ My heart sank.
‘However, there is a way to reach him. Have you walked around the village?’
‘Have you been to the north wall? There’s a small statue there.’
‘Oh yeah, the one of the chicken?’ I asked. We’d seen it on our tour yesterday. ‘We were wondering why on earth there was a chicken statue. I haven’t even seen one around here. in fact, we haven’t seen any animals.’
‘They’re all kept inside, due to the cold. You need to go visit the statue, and press in its left eye’ she said. ‘Then you’ll see where the Sage is living.’
‘Really? Ok, we’ll go right now. TEAM!’ I yelled up the stairs. ‘Get ready to go, we know where the Sage is!’ I looked back at Sheila. ‘Why are you helping us?’ I asked. ‘You barely even know us.’
‘Well, you’re adventurers, aren’t you? It’s exciting to get involved with a bunch of swashbuckling heroes. Plus, you’ve got reputation, Steve.’
I looked at her quizzically. What did she mean by that?
‘Anyway, I’ve got to go, or the mayor’s going to miss me. Good luck!’ she chirped. With that, she was up and out of the door before everyone else managed to get downstairs.
Sara was down first. ‘Who was that?’
‘Sheila’ I said. ‘She had some info for me about how to find the Sage.’
‘That’s interesting’ she mused.
‘Well, she just knew about how to find him? I looked through hundreds of books and there isn’t even a single mention of him! What’s going on there?’
‘Sara.’ I left the silence hanging.
‘You think I’m being paranoid again, don’t you?’
‘Well, we don’t know her, Steve! We should go check out whatever lead she gave you… but we should be careful.’
‘When have you known me not to be careful?’ I asked.
‘Erm, how about that time you jumped out of a window?’
We made our way to the north wall as Sheila had directed us, and soon found the chicken statue. It was a small, stone statue sitting on a plinth, and looked distinctly out of place.
‘Why is this statue here?’ asked Simon. ‘It’s not on any of the town plans, and there’s no chickens in this place to speak of.’
‘No idea, but Sheila said it was important.’ I stepped forward, and pressed the left eye as instructed. the eye slid in slowly, but at first nothing happened.
‘Steve?’ said Sara.
‘Sara, don’t, I’m sure it’ll work’ I said. After a moment, we heard a deep grinding sound in the earth. Without warning, the chicken statue slid sideways, and a doorway opened in the ground. Through it, we saw wide, polished steps, leading down into the dark.
‘I guess we’re going down then’, I said. ‘Follow me.’
We made our way down the seemingly never ending passageway. The air grew colder and colder, and we all shivered as we walked. The walls dripped water, and several icicles had formed on the walls. Several times, one or another of us slipped and nearly fell on the ice on the floor.
After what felt like an age, we made our way to the bottom. We found ourselves in a long room, somewhat like the mayor’s office. Where his was light and airy, this room was stuffy and dim. Old, rotten drapes hung from the ceiling, and moss grew between the floor tiles. Everything was grimy that every surface had been reduced to a dull grey colour.
‘Hello?’ I called out. ‘Is anyone there?’
In response, a small panel slid out near the floor at the end of the room. Out of the opening waddled a small chicken.
We stared at the chicken.
The chicken stared at us.
‘Bawk?’ it asked, cocking it’s head.
‘Are you kidding us?’ yelled Saunders. ‘What is this?’
A voice boomed, it’s owner unseen: ‘THIS IS THE ORACLE. IS THIS NOT WHAT YOU SEEK?’
‘This is the oracle?’ I asked. ‘A chicken?’
‘THE CHICKEN IS MY CONNECTION TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD’, the voice boomed. ‘I AM THE ORACLE. THE CHICKEN WORKS ON MY BEHALF.’
‘Riiiiiight.’ I sucked in air through my teeth. ‘This will be fun. Oracle!’ I called. ‘We need your help!’
‘OF COURSE YOU DO. YOU WOULDN’T HAVE COME TO ME IF YOU DIDN’T NEED HELP.’
Sara rolled her eyes.
‘Yes. Well. Yes. We need to find a village’ I said.
‘IF YOU NEED TO FIND A VILLAGE, WHY DID YOU NOT CONSULT A MAP?’
‘Because the village we’re looking for doesn’t appear on maps. We’re looking for Black Hallows.’
There was silence for a while. The chicken pecked around in vain, looking for something to eat.
‘ANYONE WHO GOES TO BLACK HALLOWS NEVER COMES BACK’ said the voice, finally.
‘We will. We have no choice. Will you show us how to get there?’
‘I WILL IF THE FATES DEEM IT SO. CLEAR THE FLOOR, AND THEY CAN DECIDE.’
Sabrina stepped forward, and magically scrubbed the dust from the floor. Under the grime was a large board, with several different tiles painted onto it. From where I was stood, the paintings resembled apples, birch trees, cows, and more. All every day things that we all took for granted.
‘THE CHICKEN WILL NOW CHOOSE THE RELEVANT TILE TO YOUR QUEST’ boomed the voice. ‘IT’S CHOICE WILL DECIDE WHETHER I WILL GRANT YOUR REQUEST, OR TURN YOU AWAY.’
The chicken clucked over to the board, and examined it intently. It began wandering around, and looked at all the paintings. I began to wonder whether it was more intelligent than it let on.
It crossed the bucket, the red flower, and the lily pad, and in the end settled on a tile depicting an enderman.
‘THE CHICKEN HAS SPOKEN. YOU WILL TRAVEL TO BLACK HALLOWS. I WILL MOURN YOUR PASSING’ said the voice.
‘Ominous. How do we get to Black Hallows, then?’ asked Simon.
‘YOU DON’T TRAVEL THERE. I TAKE YOU THERE.’
‘What?’ I asked.
The room began to shake. The floor trembled beneath our feet. The ceiling began to crumble, and I thought it would cave in on us.
‘What’s going on?’ asked Sabrina.
Before anyone could answer, the colour drained out of the room.
‘Wait…’ I started to say, but then everything imploded.
‘Oooooow.’ I heard Sara sitting up not far away from me. I rolled over on the ground, and looked around me.
There was fog as far as the eye could see, obscuring most things in my view. I could see Sara, but I couldn’t see the rest of the team. I struggled to my feet, and tried to look around.
I could see the tops of buildings through the fog. Every single one was black, possibly obsidian, and ominous looking. There was no one else around, apart from us.
‘Is everyone here?’ I called. One by one, the team came together by calling out to one another in the fog. Once we were all together, we stared around us.
‘What now?’ asked Sara.
‘I’ve got an idea.’ Sabrina rolled her sleeves up, and started shooting sparks. Soon, a wind had picked up, and the fog was being blown away. As it moved, we could see more of the town itself.
‘It’s a copy of Ironhaven’ breathed Simon. ‘It looks just like it! Except the buildings look… wrong.’
They did indeed. They towered over us, threateningly, but they didn’t look quite real. Directing the wind, Sabrina guided us over to the nearest building, what appeared to be a copy of a villager’s house. Simon walked up and touched it.
‘This is obsidian, definitely’ he said, ‘but why would a whole village need to be built in it?’ He walked around the building. ‘Wait, look!’ He beckoned us round. As we walked around the house, we saw that the front was… well, just a front. There was nothing behind the front wall at all.
‘It’s all fakes’ said Simon. ‘Just an illusion. What’s going on here?’
‘That’s a good question.’
We all swung round. Sheila was stood behind us, twirling a key in her hand.
‘Sheila?’ I gasped. ‘How did you get here? Did you follow us to the oracle?’
‘Oracle? Please, I can get here myself, I didn’t need that batty old nut.’ She looked around at everyone. ‘So this is your team, huh?’
‘Sheila, what’s going on? Everything about this is odd and it sounds like you know what’s happening here.’
She shrugged. ‘You know how it is. Got involved with a wizard, helped him build a mystery village in another plane of existence in order to get revenge. You do it all the time, don’t you?’
‘You’re involved with Niflyn?’ breathed Sara.
‘Of course! I’d never get anything done otherwise. Now, come on, you’re already late.’ She turned to leave.
I was too gobsmacked to reply, but Sara said, ‘What on earth makes you think we’re going with you?’
‘What’s that? Oh, yeah, right. I think these will have something to do with it.’ Sheila clicked a small box in her right hand, and soon, we heard a low hssssssss coming from all around us…
Out of the fog came an army of creepers. They came in threateningly, making that horrible sound, ready to explode. Just before they could get close enough, Sheila clicked the box again, and they stopped in their tracks.
‘What’s wrong with them?’ asked Saunders. ‘They’re glowing!’
‘That’s right! Ten points to you! They’re charge creepers, created by lightening. We can control them with just the click of a button. All I have to do is click it again, and they’ll blow you all up and no one will ever be able to find you!’ She laughed. ‘Now, are you coming with me, or shall I let the creepers have you?’
Warily, we followed Sheila through the crowd of creepers, now all standing eerily still. We pushed through, and were taken to the Black Hallows version of the town hall.
Sheila pushed the doors open, and ushered us through. Inside, the building was as black as the outside. Huge pillars rose into the ceiling, and open windows let the fog roll into the building. In the middle of it all stood Niflyn, a cage by his side and an evil grin on his face.
Who was in the cage? I couldn’t see through the fog.
‘Sia? SIA!’ I yelled. It had to be her. Please, let it be her…
Sheila shoved me, hard. ‘Shut up!’ She turned to Niflyn. ‘I found them, but honestly, I don’t know why you want them here, they’re just a nuisance.’ She shoved Sara this time. ‘This one’s got a mouth on her.’
‘Well, what’s the point in having a nemesis if you can’t use them to your advantage?’ He walked towards us. I craned my neck, trying to see what was in the cage, but to no avail.
‘I’ve engineered your arrival here, you see, from the day I took your little sister. Sia, is it? Don’t worry, she’s alive and well. I needed her, or I knew you’ve never come. Loyal to a fault, aren’t you, Steve?’ He reached out one crooked finger, and cocked it under my chin. ‘Yes. You’ll do nicely.’ He looked around. ‘You’ll all do nicely. Sabrina! What a shame you didn’t pick a winning side in the end. Ah well, you came back one way or the other.’
Sara shot Sabina a confused look, with Sabrina determinedly ignored.
‘I don’t know what you’re planning, Niflyn, but it has to stop. We took Marigold, and we can take Sheila too. You won’t have any allies left, and then where will you be? You know we’ll always beat you.’
‘Yes, quite, quite.’ He circled us all, sizing us up. ‘Yes, perfect. You see, you interfering interlopers, you’re right. You do all have a nasty habit of ruining my plans. When you came to my tower in Lunaris, I thought I had you that time, but you’re so cocky, aren’t you? When I saw Sia, I thought of a new plan. I knew you’d all follow me here. I rule this town,’ he said, ‘and you’re now on my turf! Isn’t that the phrase, Sheila?’
‘Why is Sheila involved?’ I asked. ‘I thought you were on our side?’
‘That IS an interesting story, but I’m afraid we’ll have to save it for another time. GUARDS!’ he clapped his hands. Out of the fog came another army of monsters, but this time, it was endermen who came for us. Without a word, they all held our arms behind out backs, and searched us. Swords, potions, and books all clattered to the floor.
‘Perfect. The cages, if you please.’
More endermen fetched the cages from the middle of the room, and one by one we were thrown in. The doors were locked, and the endermen then backed away into the mist.
‘Ah, they are useful, aren’t they?’ Niflyn commented. ‘I’ve got a knack of getting mobs to do my bidding, you see. I’ve been very successful with them and the charge creepers, who I’m guessing you saw earlier?’
‘They got a demonstration’ said Sheila.
‘Perfect. Now, I could have destroyed you, but what good what that be? I’m nothing if not practical. Oh, I thought about how satisfying it would be, sure, but I decided in the end that I’d make you all my personal bodyguards! Why not? You’re all wonderfully skilled, and with the right… persuasion, I’m sure you’ll be working to protect me for the rest of your lives!’ He cackled at that.
‘NO! I won’t do it! Where’s Sia?’ I shouted from my cage. Similar angry cries came from the other cages.
‘Oh, you say that like you have a choice. Goodbye, Steve’ he said, walking towards the door and waving a hand towards me. ‘It wasn’t pleasant knowing you, but it’ll be a great joy to mould you into something much more suited to my tastes.’
With that, he and Sheila left the room, and the door slammed behind them.
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Diary of a Minecraft Steve (Book 4): The Amazing Minecraft World Told by a Hero Minecraft Steve (Minecraft Books) Steve and his team are in trouble. His sister Sia has been kidnapped by the evil wizard, Niflyn the Terrible, and they have no idea where he went with her. The team have to find them, fast, before Niflyn gets any horrible ideas and hurts Sia somehow. The gang's mission will take them on a journey to faraway lands, to a run in with deadly new foes, and an oracle who isn't all he seems to be. There's also the mysterious Sheila, who appears in Steve's life and seems to know everything that he needs, exactly when he needs it. Who is she, and is she on their side? Join Steve and the gang as they race to save Sia, and save the world from a dangerous and cunning foe! Scroll Up and Click on "buy now with 1-Click" to Download Your Copy Right Now * * * * * * * * * * Tags: diary of a minecraft steve, diary of a minecraft, minecraft books, diary, minecraft steve, jokes for kids, books for kids