Chapter One: A Devious Plan
Jamie pushed his blankets aside and slipped out from the bottom bunk. He hardly dared to breathe for fear of waking JJ. The house was filled with silence. The sun had yet to rise and, with any luck, his family would remain asleep for another hour or two. He and Sam would need at least that long to prepare for their adventure, return to the portal, and disappear into the Minecraft world before anyone noticed they were missing.
Jamie tiptoed down the hallway to JJ’s room, where his older cousin Sam slept while he stayed with the family. It was hard to believe it had only been two days since Jamie had turned eight. His birthday party felt like an age ago. So much had happened since.
The Crafters’ Club members had surprised Jamie with an amazing birthday adventure in the Minecraft world. It had been awesome until Sam nearly caused it to end in disaster. He’d found out about the portal and their ability to visit the Minecraft world. The previous day Sam had entered the Minecraft world alone and once again wreaked havoc.
Jamie could hardly believe he’d be going into the Minecraft world for the third day in a row. What an awesome way to spend Sam’s last day with them. Where he’d initially dreaded the appearance of his cousin, he was now disappointed that it was the last day of the long weekend and Sam would be going home that night. They definitely had to make the most of the day.
Sam yawned and pushed a hand through his messy orange hair. His long legs dangled over the edge of the couch as he waited for Jamie to set up the Xbox. He glanced at the clock. It had only just turned six. There’s no way he’d be out of bed at this time of day if it wasn’t for the sensational adventure he knew was ahead of him. He still found it hard to believe his little cousins had found a way to enter the Minecraft world. The adventure he’d experienced the day before with villagers, a witch, and near death experiences, had been epic.
Jamie handed Sam a controller and sat down on the couch next to him as they waited for Minecraft to load.
“How are we going to do this?” Sam asked. “Just go through to the End now and leave that map open on the screen?”
Jamie shook his head. “No, the problem with doing that is getting back out. I’m not sure where we’d end up once we left the End.”
Sam frowned. “If we were just playing on the Xbox and killed the ender dragon, we’d exit the End and come back to whichever map we’d last been playing in. Can’t you just build an end portal in one of the maps you know and then we’ll end up there?”
“Maybe, but there’s no guarantee that anything we build from out here will work once we get into the map. A couple of times we’ve built things on the Xbox that worked but most of the time they don’t. It’s really random.”
“Glitching do you think?”
“Maybe,” Jamie said. “We haven’t really worked out why it does what it does.” He grinned. “Keeps it interesting though. Nothing worse than turning up in a map and finding out you have no inventory. Just ask Annie, it’s exactly what happened to her yesterday when she arrived at the swamp.”
Sam nodded. “She was amazing.”
“Sure was,” Jamie said. A map loaded on the television screen. “Now, I want to show you something.” Jamie waited until the theme park map loaded before moving his on-screen character, JamieG14.
“I’ve seen this map before,” Sam said. “It’s the one with your friends and the unicorn, isn’t it?”
Jamie nodded. “Yep, it’s where Archer and Flos live and it also has a stronghold. We never found the end portal room, but hopefully it has one. It will be the quickest way to the End.” He moved his character away from the theme park and over a hill to a cave entrance.
Butterflies fluttered about in Sam’s stomach. He couldn’t wait to go back and explore. In fact, he couldn’t wait another minute. He reached across and snatched Jamie’s controller.
Anger flashed in Jamie’s eyes. “Hey, what are you doing?”
“Let’s do it for real, not on the Xbox.”
“We will, I just wanted to make it easier for us once we get in. We need to make sure we know where we’re going and that we have inventory.”
Sam shook his head. “No shortcuts.” He stood up. “Come on, whatever happens is meant to be. Just go with it. Worst case, we’ll just come back out again.”
Jamie grinned. His cousin was mad, completely mad. Still, it was the unknown that made the Minecraft world awesome. If Sam wanted a crazy adventure, Jamie certainly wouldn’t be the one to stop him. He followed Sam out of the house and down the garden to the track that led to the portal. The sun was rising and soft light danced on the leaves of the forest. Jamie pulled his jacket around him, glad of the extra warmth as the cool morning air stung his cheeks.
The two boys moved through the forest, across the creek, and stopped in front of the portal’s purple light.
Sam grinned. “I still can’t believe this is here.”
“Me either,” Jamie said. “But, while it is, let’s make the most of it. Stand next to me and we’ll step through together.”
Sam moved next to Jamie, his eyes still fixed on the portal.
Sam nodded. “Absolutely.”
Jamie grinned, grabbed his cousin’s arm, and pulled him into the portal’s welcoming glow.
JJ pulled the covers snug around his body and willed himself back to sleep. It was early, the room was still dark, and there was no reason at all to get up. Not only was it the weekend, it was the best kind…a long weekend. Memories of the previous day stopped JJ from getting back to sleep. He replayed the adventure over in his head. As he thought about it, he realized there were no sounds coming from the bunk below. He strained to listen, he couldn’t even hear Jamie breathing.
JJ poked his head over the side of the bunk and saw the bed was empty. He lay back, his head sinking into his pillow. He knew his brother well enough to know that he’d have a battle on his hands this morning. He could almost bet Jamie was loading maps and inventory in the hope he would be able to go back into the Minecraft world. Jamie was going to be disappointed. There was absolutely no way JJ was going to risk another adventure in the Minecraft world with Sam.