Saving crafter, p.1
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Saving Crafter


  Books by Mark Cheverton

  The Gameknight999 Series

  Invasion of the Overworld

  Battle for the Nether

  Confronting the Dragon

  The Mystery of Herobrine Series: A Gameknight999 Adventure

  Trouble in Zombie-town

  The Jungle Temple Oracle

  Last Stand on the Ocean Shore

  Herobrine Reborn Series: A Gameknight999 Adventure

  Saving Crafter

  The Destruction of the Overworld (Coming soon!)

  Gameknight999 vs. Herobrine (Coming soon!)

  The Algae Voices of Azule Series

  Algae Voices of Azule

  Finding Home

  Finding the Lost

  This book is not authorized or sponsored by Microsoft Corp., Mojang AB, Notch Development AB or Scholastic Inc., or any other person or entity owning or controlling rights in the Minecraft name, trademark, or copyrights.

  Copyright © 2015 by Mark Cheverton

  Minecraft® is a registered trademark of Notch Development AB

  The Minecraft game is copyright © Mojang AB

  This book is not authorized or sponsored by Microsoft Corp., Mojang AB, Notch Development AB or Scholastic Inc., or any other person or entity owning or controlling rights in the Minecraft name, trademark or copyrights.

  All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any manner without the express written consent of the publisher, except in the case of brief excerpts in critical reviews or articles. All inquiries should be addressed to Sky Pony Press, 307 West 36th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10018.

  Sky Pony Press books may be purchased in bulk at special discounts for sales promotion, corporate gifts, fund-raising, or educational purposes. Special editions can also be created to specifications. For details, contact the Special Sales Department, Sky Pony Press, 307 West 36th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10018 or info@skyhorsepublishing.com.

  Sky Pony® is a registered trademark of Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.®, a Delaware corporation.

  Visit our website at www.skyponypress.com.

  10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

  Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available on file.

  Cover design by Owen Corrigan

  Cover artwork by Natalie Cilia

  Technical consultant - Gameknight999

  Print ISBN: 978-1-51070-014-7

  Ebook ISBN: 978-1-51070-016-1

  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

  I’d like to thank my family for putting up with my long hours writing, for waking them up at 4:00 a.m., writing, and spending the weekends writing, and generally spending every free second writing. I couldn’t have written all these books without their support.

  I’d also like to thank the readers—without all your kind words sent to me through my website, www.markcheverton.com, I would have likely lost the strength to continue when I was exhausted, but your support and encouragement has kept me writing. Thank you for all your support!

  “As a child, we crave to be treated like a big kid; at the end of adolescence, we want the respect of adulthood. But both of these transitions require the shouldering of responsibility and the desire to reach farther than we can reach and become more than we were yesterday.”

  —Monkeypants271

  CHAPTER 1

  CRAFTER

  Looking down on the battlefield, Crafter watched as the last of the zombie horde disappeared into the woods, their fallen comrades leaving behind glowing balls of XP and the occasional sword. Piles of zombie flesh floated about across the grassy plain.

  “They almost made it to the village gates that time,” Stitcher said.

  She paced nervously along the battlement, her eyes probing the forest for any sign they might return.

  Crafter grunted his agreement.

  “If they didn’t have all those leather caps, they’d be forced to attack at night,” Digger said. “Then at least we’d know when to expect them.”

  “The zombie king is driving them harder and harder,” Hunter added as she put away her bow and wiped her square forehead with a green sleeve. “Did you hear the zombies during the battle? They blame us for the defeat of their king’s master, Herobrine.”

  “Yes, I heard them,” Crafter snapped. “Everybody heard them. The zombie commander screamed it loud enough for all of Minecraft to hear him.”

  “We need to do something. We need … you know … him,” Hunter said.

  “He’s done enough for us,” Crafter said as he walked across the top of the wall and took the stairs down to the ground level. “We need to learn to defeat these monsters on our own.”

  He stopped at the foot of the stairs and looked back up at Hunter. The noon sun shown down on her curly red hair, causing it to glow with a crimson aura.

  “Besides, the decision by the Council of Crafters still holds; we cannot interact with users for any reason—no matter what,” Crafter explained. “Would you be asking him to risk his life again and come back into Minecraft? Are we that desperate?”

  “Well … I don’t think …” she stammered.

  “We will let Gameknight999 live his life in the physical world while we live ours in the digital world,” Crafter explained. “Is that understood?”

  Hunter nodded her head as she moved down the stairway, her curls bouncing like little scarlet springs.

  Crafter gave her a smile, then moved out through the iron doors to examine the battlefield closer. The lanky form of Herder followed close behind.

  “Baker, collect all that XP,” Crafter ordered one of the NPCs. “Give it to Smithy; we need some more enchanted armor. Gather it quickly before it disappears. Digger, we need some archer towers on either side of the bridge that crosses the moat. When Xa-Tul returns with a bigger zombie army, he’ll be able to cross the bridge and reach the iron doors. With that huge golden sword of his, he’d smash them to bits within seconds and open the village to his horde. We have to protect it.”

  Digger nodded.

  “Herder,” Crafter continued, “we need your wolves to …”

  Stopping in mid-sentence, the young NPC looked at the grassy plain before him, his bright blue eyes open wide with surprise. Zigzagging across the grassy plain was what looked like a dark, shadowy bolt of lightning. No, not a lightning bolt—the shadow of a lightning bolt, for it was all black, a diseased stain on the surface of the Overworld. It moved erratically, zipped forward in one direction, then abruptly turned and moved in another. Like a hound sniffing after a wild rabbit, the jagged shadow shot about the plain, stalking something. In a second, it had reached Baker and touched his foot. Instantly, the NPC yelled out in pain as black shafts of … something … stabbed at his foot.

  “Baker, are you alright?” Crafter asked.

  The dark stain seemed to hear Crafter’s voice. It moved away from Baker and headed toward the young NPC. Herder stepped in front of his friend and looked down at the shadowy presence. When it touched the tip of the lanky boy’s foot, he jumped into the air like he’d stepped on burning coals. Suddenly, the jagged stain turned when it had found the scent of its prey and shot straight for Crafter. As he took a step back, Crafter felt an evil presence emanate from the jagged shadow; hateful spite rose from it like steam from a boiling pot. Turning to run away, Crafter took a single step, but the shadowy form had found its target. It jolted forward with lightning speed, enveloping the ground under the young NPC’s feet.

  Crafter screamed out in agony as the shadow of evil attacked him from the ground. Dark shapes shot from the diseased patch like shadowy jagged blades. They stabbed at Crafter over and over again, causing his body to flash red, signifying the consumption of his HP. Hunter ran to Crafter’s side and shot an arrow into the shadowy stain, but
the barbed projectile just sank into the sandy ground, having done nothing.

  Crafter moaned as he fell to the ground. Dropping her bow, Hunter caught the young boy. She held him above the ground and away from the darkness. It tried to reach Crafter, slicing the air with slivers of darkness, but could not. Hunter jumped from here to there, playing a deadly game of keep-away. As she held her friend high over her head, the shadow of evil evaporated, leaving behind a scarred patch of ground where it had killed the grass and flowers. Eventually, satisfied the threat was gone, she slowly lowered him to the ground.

  “Crafter, are you alright?” she said softly.

  NPCs ran out of the village gates to help their leader. A group of horsemen rode quickly across the bridge that spanned the moat and streaked past their fallen leader. Taking up defensive position, the cavalry readied themselves for battle in case the zombies were preparing an attack.

  “Hun … ter,” Crafter said weakly.

  She looked down at him and could see that his skin was pale. He was cold to the touch. His normally bright blue eyes were dim and faded, as if the life had been sucked out of them. A worried look came across her face.

  “Crafter, are you OK?”

  He shook his head slightly, then tried to speak, but he was too weak to be heard.

  “What was that?” she asked in a low voice.

  He shook his head again. Leaning down, Hunter brought her ear to Crafter’s lips.

  His voice was so weak. Terrified thoughts of Crafter dying shot through her mind and chilled her to the bone.

  Taking a strained breath, Crafter tried to speak again. “Bring Gameknight99—”

  And then he fell unconscious, his breathing labored

  “What did he say?” Digger asked.

  Looking up, Hunter was surprised. She hadn’t noticed the big NPC next to her.

  “He said to bring … him,” she said. “It must be serious.”

  Standing, she scooped the young NPC into her arms and handed him to Digger.

  “Take him to Healer,” she said. “I will handle the rest.”

  “You should take others with you,” Digger said, motioning for the cavalry to approach.

  “No, I can move faster alone,” she said and asked for two of the warriors to dismount. Jumping into the saddle, she took the lead to the second horse. Turning, she looked down at Digger. “Take care of him. I’ll be back as quickly as I can.”

  “We will do what is needed.”

  “I know you will.” She then turned her horse, pointed toward the dark forest, and patted the horse on the neck. “I need every ounce of speed you can give me, horse, for we ride to save Crafter.”

  Sprinting away, she disappeared into the woods.

  But where will I find Gameknight999? she thought as she galloped across the Overworld.

  CHAPTER 2

  GAMEKNIGHT999

  Gameknight999 swung his sword at his adversary’s head, stopping just short of actually striking a blow.

  “You’re supposed to block,” he sighed. “I told you—don’t just focus on attack; block as well.”

  “I don’t see what this has to do with playing Minecraft,” his opponent complained.

  “There are monsters out there who will try to kill you,” Gameknight explained. “You have to know how to defend yourself or you’ll just die right away. Now come on, Dad, concentrate!”

  Bringing up his wooden sword, Gameknight pointed it at his father.

  “Are you ready?” he asked.

  His father, Monkeypants271, nodded his head. His appearance was that of a monkey dressed in a Superman outfit, complete with red boots and a large “S” painted on his chest. Gameknight looked at his father and just shook his head.

  “Why did you have to choose that ridiculous skin?” he asked his father.

  “All the other skins looked like warriors or ninjas or monsters,” Monkeypants explained. “I wanted something that would stand out and people would remember.”

  “Well, if that was your goal, you nailed it.” Gameknight said.

  Monkeypants grinned.

  “And what about that name? Really, Monkeypants?”

  “I like it, don’t you?” his father asked.

  Gameknight shook his head, embarrassed.

  A ridiculous name and a ridiculous skin, Gameknight thought. What was I thinking, trying to teach my dad how to play Minecraft?

  At least his father was home instead of away on one of his many trips. Gameknight was glad his dad was back, though having to teach him how to play Minecraft wasn’t what he had planned for their time together. He wanted him here, at home, just not down here in the basement or in Minecraft … in Gameknight’s domain. What could he say? His father knew how rough it was on the family when he was gone. But was this how he was trying to make up for it, all in one day? By playing Minecraft?

  “Come on, let’s try this PnP thing again,” Monkeypants said, raising his own wooden sword, ready for battle.

  Gameknight sighed.

  “I told you a hundred times, Monkeypants. It’s not PnP, it’s PvP.”

  “Oh yeah,” his father answered. “PnP is a transistor junction in computer chips, me bad.”

  “Not me bad, my bad!” Gameknight shouted, exasperated.

  “There’s a difference?”

  Gameknight shook his head again, frustration boiling just beneath the surface. Looking past his father, he could see a tall outcropping that stood some twenty blocks in the air, a long stream of water falling from its height and flowing into a deep underground chamber. That was their next destination: the underground tunnels where zombies would be lurking. But first he had to teach his father how to fight or it would be a quick trip.

  Sighing, he readied another lame attack to demonstrate fighting in Minecraft.

  Why is he doing this? Gameknight thought. Why is he pretending that he wants to learn how to fight? I know he hates this. All he ever wants to do is build and invent … and the funny thing is, that’s all I want to do with him. Why doesn’t he realize that?

  Gameknight could remember the countless hours he’d spent with his father, building invention after invention in their basement. He loved those times, but his father was never home anymore and those invention sessions had happened so long ago.

  It’s unfair. Jenny has her art, that’s her thing. But my thing is helping my dad build new creations, and I can’t do that when he’s always gone. Gameknight was getting angry. He’s never home, and now that he is, we’re wasting time in Minecraft!

  Gripping his wooden sword firmly, he danced from foot to foot as he allowed his anger to slowly dissolve, then sprang forward, his blade streaking through the air. As he neared, Monkeypants just dropped his sword and stared over his son’s shoulder. Gameknight stopped the attack and started to yell at his father, but Monkeypants raised a hand and pointed to the edge of the basin where they were practicing.

  Looking in the direction his father was pointing, Gameknight999 was surprised to see Hunter approaching on horseback, a riderless horse trailing behind. She rode to the edge of the falling water, then dismounted right where Gameknight had battled that spider on his first day trapped inside Minecraft. As soon as her feet hit the ground, her hands slid into her sleeves, arms linked across her chest.

  Gameknight signed.

  “The Council of Crafters has decided that users and NPCs must stay separate?” Gameknight asked.

  Hunter nodded her head, her red hair appearing to be painted to the side of her head rather than the flowing curls that Gameknight had become accustomed to seeing. He wasn’t in the game now, as he had been before.

  In the past, Gameknight had used his father’s invention, the digitizer, to actually enter the game and live it for real. While he was in Minecraft, everything looked so vivid, with more detail than he’d ever seen on the screen. But right now, everything was flat and just looked painted on the surface—like Hunter’s curls. Gameknight and Monkeypants weren’t really in the game, they were
just playing it; a pair of users practicing their P vP skills.

  Hunter glanced above Gameknight’s head, then looked back down at him. He figured she was looking at the shining white server thread that stretched up from his head and high into the sky, connecting him to the servers. Only NPCs could see the server threads; that was how they knew who was a user and who was an NPC. Well, that and the letters that floated above his head.

  “Why are you here?” Gameknight asked.

  She did not respond. Instead, she glanced at the horses, leaning her square face toward him and then toward the horse.

  “I think she wants you to go with her,” Monkeypants said.

  Gameknight looked at his father. Monkeypants stepped forward as he put away his wooden sword and moved to his son’s side. Turning back to Hunter, Gameknight saw that she had mounted her horse again. The riderless mount leaned its head down into the pool of water and took a drink.

  “What’s wrong? Is everyone alright?” Gameknight asked.

  She shook her head.

  “Is it Stitcher?” he asked.

  She shook her head again.

  “Herder? Digger?”

  She said no.

  “Crafter?”

  She nodded.

  “Oh no, not Crafter! What’s wrong?”

  Hunter looked at the riderless horse and looked back down at Gameknight.

  “I understand,” he replied.

  After he leapt up onto the horse, Gameknight999 turned and looked back at his dad.

  “Oh, no you don’t,” his father complained. “I’m going with you.”

  Monkeypants ran toward the horse and leapt up into the saddle behind his son.

  “Let’s go,” Gameknight said as he turned to face Hunter, but she was already riding away toward the village.

  Urging the horse to a gallop, he followed his friend toward the village that lay hidden behind the horizon. Glancing at the sun overhead, Gameknight knew it would only be up for a few more hours; they would barely make it to the village before sundown, and only if there were no delays.

  “Monkeypants, take out your bow and get ready to use it,” Gameknight said as they galloped across the landscape. “There will be more monsters as it gets closer to sundown, and we can’t afford to let any of them slow us down. If you see any monsters, shoot them. Don’t wait for an invitation. Do you understand?”

 
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