Chapter One: Revelations
The car gave a last beep, turned the corner, and disappeared. The Wilsons had gone, leaving JJ and Jamie with plenty to consider. As if they didn’t have enough to think about already. The adventures they’d all experienced since finding the real-life portal into the Minecraft world were mind-blowing. The challenge of their first adventure had been to learn to survive and find a way home. They’d helped a village build traps to stop killer zombies and gone to the Nether on a rescue mission. Their most recent adventure had them outwit a crazy professor who had trapped Charli and tested his experiments on her.
“At least we know what happened to the Wilsons,” Jamie said as he and JJ walked to their house.
“Yes but none of us know how the portal got there,” JJ said. “We’ve always assumed the Wilsons built it, but they found it, like we did.”
“And now they can never go back in, the portal won’t let them.”
JJ opened the front door. The Wilson brothers had died in the Minecraft map. They’d arrived back in the real world, bruised, bleeding, and unable to go back through the portal. Each time they’d tried the purple light had pushed them back, preventing their entry. Now they had moved for their dad’s new job, so accessing the portal was impossible.
Jamie followed JJ into the house. “The good news is that the professor died yesterday in the map, so now he can’t go back. We don’t need to worry about him trying to experiment on us anymore.”
“Thank goodness,” JJ said. “It’s still a mystery who he is.”
The crazy professor used the portal to travel between the real world and the Minecraft map, the same as the Crafters’ Club members did.
Jamie flopped down on a couch in the family room. “What time are Annie and Charli coming over?”
JJ glanced at the clock above the television and grinned. “Any minute.”
“Really?” Charli asked. “They blew themselves up with TNT?”
“Yes.” Jamie laughed. “Noah was so mad with Joe. They’d set up a massive firework display and Joe triggered it by mistake. They were in the middle of it, not up in the lookout tower they’d planned to watch from. They exploded.”
“Exploded? Were they badly hurt?” Annie asked.
JJ shook his head. “No, as soon as the TNT exploded they came flying out of the portal back into the real world. They didn’t feel any pain at the time but when they arrived they were bruised and covered in scratches.”
“That’s not too bad,” Annie said. “If we get hurt in the map it won’t be a complete disaster. We’ll still be okay in the real world.”
“So you want to go back into the map?” JJ asked.
Annie glanced at Jamie and Charli. “Yesterday we said we should go back to thank the horseman. The professor can’t go back in and we won’t get badly hurt if we die in the map. I can’t see any reason why we shouldn’t go.” She blushed. “I would love to ride a horse.”
“Me too,” Charli said.
Jamie grinned at JJ. “Looks like we’re going to ride some horses. Let’s open the map on the Xbox and explore so there are no surprises.” Jamie turned on the Xbox and picked up a controller.
“Leave it as full screen,” JJ said as Jamie started to connect each player’s controller. “Let’s explore together, we can split the screen later.” He picked up a controller and moved his Minecraft character, JJLee45, around the map. He stopped at the theme park they had visited the day before. The Ferris wheel stood tall, its carriages glistening in the sunlight.
“The roller coaster’s still broken.” Annie pointed to the damaged tracks JJ had been forced to break to stop her minecart from hurtling into a raging fire. It had been a lucky escape.
“And the portal’s still in the same place,” Charli added. “So is the island the professor trapped me on.”
JJ flew above the theme park, across the lava to the island. “Nothing’s changed on Lava Island.”
“Except Charli’s no longer a prisoner on it,” Annie said.
JJ laughed. “Yes, that’s a good change. Now, let’s see if we can find the horseman.” He flew JJLee45 back over the land and hills as they searched.
After a few minutes exploring, Charli pointed at the screen. “By the waterfall. I can see horses.”
JJ moved JJLee45 closer. Six horses grazed on a flat area of grass next to a lake and waterfall.
“Do you think they belong to the horseman?” Annie asked.
“Maybe, but where is he?” JJ said.
“He’ll be nearby,” Jamie said. “The horses are here, let’s go into the map. If we can’t find him we’ll ride the horses and come back home.”
“Hold on a minute,” JJ said, “we’re not prepared to go in.”
“Yes we are,” Jamie said. “We know how it works. We’ll be in survival mode and only have what’s in our inventory from last time. We can store materials, in a chest or a house, and pick them up once we arrive in the map.”
“Items we stored using the Xbox didn’t work in the Nether,” Annie said.
“I’m wondering if Toby being with us in the Nether messed it up,” Jamie said. “I had my inventory when I went to get the nether warts.”
“Perhaps being in a different map changed things,” JJ said. “There doesn’t seem to be a lot of consistency. What works in one map doesn’t always work in another. I don’t know why.”
“We have tons of food, weapons, and crafting materials,” Jamie said. “I don’t think we need to add anything else.”
“What about saddles?” Annie’s eyes danced. “Can we add some in?”
JJ smiled. “You’re really looking forward to this aren’t you?”
Annie nodded. “I’ve never ridden a horse. My parents always say I’ll get too scared and freak out. They’re probably right but I still want to try. Riding as CakeGirl1 won’t be as scary.”
JJ stared at the screen as Jamie joined the map.
“It’s working.” Jamie placed a chest with saddles in it by the waterfall. “I was worried the professor had done something to stop me placing new items in the map.”
“His potions might not work now he’s dead,” JJ said.
“Let’s hope so,” Annie said.
Jamie put his controller down and jumped to his feet. “Okay, we’re ready.”
JJ pulled himself up off the couch as Annie and Charli followed Jamie out of the family room. Each time they’d visited a map something had gone terribly wrong. Was it possible to enter the Minecraft world without a disaster occurring? He crossed his fingers and chased the others through the house and down to the forest.