Chapter One: A New Adventure
JJ stacked the last of the dishes in the dishwasher and switched it on. He grinned as his eye caught sight of a picture of himself, Jamie, and Sam on the fridge. He wondered what his cousin was doing. Probably trying to find his own real-life portal knowing Sam. JJ never thought he’d say it, but he missed having Sam around.
His parents came into the kitchen breaking into his thoughts.
“We’re going to pop next door and get the Robinson’s place ready,” his mother said. “We’ll only be about half an hour.” She opened the fridge and took out a pile of containers.
JJ smiled, it was just like his mother to cook meals for their friends and welcome them home. Charli and her family had been away for the last ten days on a family vacation. JJ’s parents had kept an eye on their house. His father had even cut their lawns that afternoon and trimmed the hedge out the front.
“Okay,” JJ said. “I’ll go and find Jamie. Do either of you know where he is?”
JJ’s dad rolled his eyes and started humming. His tune perfectly mimicked the music from Minecraft.
JJ laughed. “I guess that means he’s playing on the Xbox.”
“Tell him he’ll need to turn it off and get ready for bed as soon as we get back,” his dad said.
“Will do.” JJ left his parents organizing supplies and went in search of Jamie.
Minecraft music increased in volume as JJ approached the family room. He hadn’t played much Minecraft since their last adventure. He’d been so busy with school and soccer training there was little time for anything else.
“Hey bro,” Jamie said as JJ flopped down on the couch next to him. “Grab a controller and join if you want to.”
“Nah, I think I’ll just watch,” JJ said.
Jamie’s on-screen character, JamieG14, stopped moving as Jamie turned toward JJ. “Really? You’ve hardly played lately, are you sick of Minecraft?”
JJ shrugged. “Not sick of it, just taking a break.”
Jamie nodded and returned his focus to the screen. “Charli’s home tomorrow. We should go back through the portal. Don’t forget, you promised us the most awesome adventure yet when Sam left.”
JJ sat in silence watching JamieG14 build a mountain of TNT. He had promised them an awesome adventure. He hadn’t forgotten. He knew exactly what he wanted to do, but he wasn’t sure whether it was possible. He would give the group the choice of which map they wanted to enter, as long as it had tall mountains, or an area where they could build a high platform.
Half an hour later the front door opened and his parents called out to them.
Jamie groaned as they were told to turn off the Xbox and get ready for bed. “It’s Friday night, what difference does it make how late we play?”
JJ laughed and stood up. “My soccer match is at eight o’clock in the morning, so it does matter.”
“Charli will be home by ten o’clock tomorrow,” Jamie said. “While you’re at soccer I’ll organize for her and Annie to come over so we can make plans.”
Nervous excitement pulsed through JJ as Jamie spoke. Each adventure into the Minecraft world had been amazing. Scary, thrilling, yet exciting. His idea for their next adventure shouldn’t bring any trouble with it, but they’d thought that each time they’d entered the Minecraft world. So far they’d been proven wrong every single time.
Laughter drifted down the hallway from the family room as JJ pushed open the front door and entered the house. His soccer bag was slung over one shoulder and he could hardly contain his grin of excitement. His team had defeated the top team in the league by one goal, a goal he’d kicked in the final seconds of the match. His first goal for the season and his team’s first win. It had been awesome. Hearing the laughs of his brother and two best friends coming from the family room stretched his grin even wider.
He deposited his dirty soccer kit in the laundry, grabbed a drink from the kitchen, and made his way to the family room.
“I think it will be a texture pack,” Annie was saying.
Three excited faces turned as he entered the room.
“JJ!” Charli’s smile was wide. “It feels like ages since I saw you.”
JJ laughed and sat down on the couch next to Annie. “That’s because it has been. How was your trip? You look really tanned.”
“Fiji was amazing,” Charli said. “We snorkeled and went on Jet Skis. Best holiday ever.”
“But not as good as going into the Minecraft world,” Jamie said.
Charli laughed. “No, but good in its own way. Nothing attacked us or tried to kill us for starters.”
The four friends laughed.
“Speaking of being attacked,” Annie said. “Jamie says we’re going back through the portal today.” Her eyes gleamed as she spoke to JJ.
“If everyone wants to we can,” JJ said. “I thought after getting stuck in the End you might not want to go back in—ever.”
“Of course she does,’ Jamie said before Annie had a chance to answer. ‘Annie’s proven time and time again that not only is she brave but she’s great at problem solving. We need her to come with us in case we get into trouble.”
Annie laughed. “I’m not sure about that but I’ve been itching to go back. I’m not scared like I used to be. It’s exciting. I’ve missed it.”
“See,” Jamie said. “Now tell us, what’s this amazing adventure we’re going to have?”
‘I’m sure it’s a texture pack,’ Annie said. ‘I can’t think of anything else we haven’t done.’
Charli laughed. ‘There’s heaps we haven’t done but I agree, it has to be a texture pack.’
JJ shook his head. “Nope, we just need to create a new world and use that map.”
“To do what exactly?” Annie said.
JJ took a deep breath. It was something he’d wanted to do in the real world since he was three.
“I want us to fly,” JJ said. “I want to use elytra to glide around a map.”
“Elytra?” Annie asked. “What are they?”
The other three turned and stared at her.
“Really?” Jamie said. “You haven’t seen them?”
Annie shook her head.
“They’re a type of wing,” JJ said. “You wear them and you can glide from the top of mountains or platforms all the way to the ground.”
“Sounds amazing,” Annie said.
JJ nodded. “I’ve always wanted to be able to fly and this is a way it’s possible.”
“But if we’re in survival we’d have to go the End City to get them, we can’t do that without defeating the ender dragon,” Jamie said.
“We’re not doing that,” Annie said. “No way. Not after what we learned when we visited the End. There’s no way we hurt the dragon”
JJ shook his head. “I wasn’t suggesting we do that. I hoped we might be able to go through in creative or, assuming we end up in survival, try and load elytra into chests before we go in. It’s worked before.”
Jamie shrugged. “But if it doesn’t what sort of adventure is that? We go in and do nothing? Hardly sounds like the most awesome adventure yet.”
JJ laughed. “Don’t be so negative. Who says the chests won’t work?”
“Let’s at least give it a try,” Annie said. “I’d love to be able to fly.”
“Okay, let’s create a new map.” JJ picked up a controller. “We’ll load in some chests and see what happens.”
The four friends watched as a new map loaded on the Xbox. JJ quickly opened the inventory box and started choosing items to store in chests. The elytra was the first item.
“They look cool,” Annie said.
“Put in spare elytra in case we damage one,” Charli said.
“Great idea.” JJ added extra elytra to the chests.
“Don’t forget cakes and other supplies,” Annie said. “There’s no point being hungry.”
The others laughed. JJ filled a chest with cakes, pork chops, baked potatoes, steak, bread, golden apples and watermelon.
“Weapons and healing potions would probably be more useful,” Jamie said.
JJ nodded and filled a chest with weapons and potions, then added obsidian and flint and steel. “In case we have any portal problems,” he said.
He finished filling the chests then stacked them neatly next to a lake. “Hopefully if we leave the map open here we’ll all end up next to the chests when we go through the portal.”
“Why don’t we all join the map,” Charli said. “If we put the elytra on now we might arrive in the map wearing it and not have to worry about chests and things.”
Heat rushed to JJ’s face. Why hadn’t he thought of that? It was a much simpler solution. “Good idea.”
The other three grabbed controllers. It only took a few minutes and JJLee45, JamieG14, CakeGirl1, and Charli9 were all wearing elytra wings.
“Check this out,” Jamie said. He moved JamieG14 to the top of a mountain and ran off, his character immediately glided over the landscape below. “This would be so awesome to do for real,” he said.
The others nodded in agreement, all their Minecraft characters were now using their elytra to glide.
“Let’s build a wooden platform on top of the mountain,” Charli said. “It will be easier to run off than just running on the grass. It might be rocky.”
“You don’t have to run with elytra,” Jamie said. “We could just step off the mountain.”
“It works better if you run,” JJ said. “You might tumble down the mountain if you haven’t got any speed.”
Charli grinned. “And it would be much more spectacular to run or even sprint off the edge of a mountain.”
“It would,” Annie agreed.
JJ selected wooden blocks and started to build the platform. It was fifteen blocks long, five blocks wide and the end pointed off the side of the mountain and hovered over the valley below. Concern crossed his face and he looked up at the others. “If it doesn’t work, we’ve got nowhere to go but down. It’s a pretty big drop.”
“It’ll work,” Jamie said. “If it doesn’t we’ll just crash to the ground and our health will be damaged. If the chests are full of food and healing potions we should be able to fix ourselves pretty quickly.”
“Unless we die,” Annie said.
Silence fell among the group.
“It is a possibility,” JJ said. “Hopefully a slim one. We’ll work out how to use the elytra before anyone runs off the platform. We’ll make it as safe as possible.”
Jamie grinned. “You must really want to fly, JJ. It’s so unlike you to suggest something dangerous.”
JJ shrugged. “We’ve ended up in so many threatening situations I hardly consider this dangerous. Like I said, we’ll work out how to activate the elytra before we do anything that could end us in trouble. Now, everyone move to the top of the mountain and onto the platform and hopefully that’ll be our arrival point when we go through the portal. We can go and find the chests later.”
Soon all four characters stood on the mountain. Four remotes were deposited onto the coffee table and the Crafters’ Club members rose to their feet.
“Time to visit the portal,” JJ said.
The four friends traced the well-trampled path through the forest, across the now dry creek bed and up the other side. They moved into the clearing and stopped.
Charli grinned. “This still blows me away every time I see it.”
JJ agreed. The large glowing portal was an amazing sight.
“It’s surprising no one else has found it yet,” Annie said.
“A few have,” Jamie said. “Remember the professor?”
Annie shuddered. “Don’t remind me.”
The other three laughed. Annie was right, the professor was someone no one wanted to remember.
“Let’s hope this adventure goes to plan,” JJ said. “We’ll step through the portal together, end up on top of the mountain wearing the elytra and spend some time gliding around. Then we’ll come back through the portal and go home for some food.”
“Sounds great,” Annie said.
“Sounds highly unlikely.” Charli pointed at the portal. “I don’t think we’ve stepped through the portal once and things have gone to plan.”
JJ smiled as he stepped toward the purple light. “Follow me,” he said. “I’ve got a feeling that today’s going to be different, today it will go to plan.”
He stepped into the portal’s flickering purple light with Jamie, Annie, and Charli close behind.