"You've lost, Pendragon. Again!" Saint Dane laughed. He turned back towards the flume and proceeded to shout "Minecraft!" into the darkened tunnel.
I couldn't let him get away. I had to do something. As soon as the lights and music began to appear, I jumped up off the ground and rammed into Saint Dane. We both fell into the flume together, traveling towards whatever territory Minecraft may turn out to be.
"Let go!" Saint Dane shouted. I held him by the collar of his black suit, making sure he wouldn't be able to play any more of his tricks. But this time, he looked scared. Really scared. Not of me, but of the flume. Was that possible? Could Saint Dane be afraid of the flumes?
"No! I'm going to stop you, right here, right now!" I shouted back at him.
"You don't understand." he said, his eyes wide with fear. "We can't travel together. Not to Minecraft."
No, I didn't understand. What made Minecraft any different than the other ten territories? That name sounded vaguely familiar... have I heard Mark say it before? I was sure I would find out soon enough.
I could sense the genuine fear in Saint Dane's voice so I let him go. Whatever was going to happen on this new territory was not going to be good, I could tell. As soon as I released him, I heard the familiar angry music tune that warned we were reaching the end of the tunnel, and then, everything was black.
The flume went dark. Dark purple, actually. Purple and blue swirled around in the rectangular frame, then faded away. It was nothing but a empty black frame now. This was nothing like the flumes on the other ten territories, but what did I know? On closer inspection, I released it was made of black stone... obsidian?
I remember obsidian from fifth grade science class! Was Minecraft somehow another Earth territory? I took a step back away from the strange flume, trying to find some source of light, and fell over backwards on my butt. Ouch. Where was I?
Most flumes were built underground. That was it. I had to be underground. So that meant Saint Dane must still be around here in this cavern too. Okay, that was one clue, but I was still in the dark. Literally. There was no light down there, wherever I was, so I felt around the walls to try and find my way.
The walls were weird. It felt like dirt, or stone, or something hard, but it was square. Completely square. Maybe it was some kind of mining technique these guys used down here? Each square block was either completely rock, completely dirt, or, as I made my way back down into the tunnel, completely gravel. It was pitch-black and I was lost.
"Hello?" I called out. My voice echoed throughout the tunnel and back to me. I decided to go out on a limb and called, "Saint Dane?"
Instead of hearing an, "I'm over here!" like I secretly hoped but knew would never happen, I heard the scariest sound I've ever heard before. It sounded like a cross between a ghostly scream and someone's fingernails on a chalkboard. The sound lasted almost a full minute, then I heard footsteps running towards me.
A yellow light filled the cavern, followed by a boy no older than me with an old-fashioned torch in his hand. He was the one who was running- from what, I didn't know.
The boy's hair was messy, like he has never seen shampoo or a hairbrush in his life. But I couldn't judge. I bet I didn't look so hot at the moment, either. He was wearing a wrinkled blue tee, and dark pants, brown shoes that were worn and obviously a few sizes to big.
He saw me standing there, like the idiot that I was, and ran past. I spun around and was about to shout, "Hey-!"
"Skellies!" he yelled. Skellies? Were those the quigs on Minecraft? He stopped for a moment to glance back my way, his eyes wide with fear. Or shock. By this point, I was probably the crazy one. "I would run, unless you have a sword in that inventory of yours."
"Inventory?" I asked. Before the boy could answer, I felt an arrow past my head. It stuck in one of the dirt blocks above me. Suddenly, I remembered. I played this game with Mark before, back home on Second Earth. Minecraft, the video game, was a territory of Halla- how would that work?
I didn't have time to ponder that question. Another arrow was shot, then a hissing sound.
The boy let out a small whimper and gasped something that sounded like "creeper" before bolting away. The torch he held was dropped, barely illuminating the walls around me. I turned around slowly, scared of what I might find. There stood three skeletons, all with their own bow and a set of arrows, and a green creature. The green creature was what was hissing at me. It glowed red, then the hissing grew louder, and louder, until-
Kaboom! The entire underground exploded, the impact blowing me against one of the blocks on the ceiling. Though I was hurt, somehow I survived the blast, and could see straight up to the above ground. Stars. It was a dark blue sky, with sparkling stars, and a half-moon hanging over the world.
Everything was silent.
I tried searching the sky for constellations I knew didn't exist. Thrown into another mysterious territory, again, this time without Uncle Press or any of the other Travelers. Who would be the best help on this territory? Mark? No, acolytes couldn't travel. We wouldn't make that mistake again.
Patrick? He was pretty smart. A computer-geek kind of guy, but he might be unfamiliar with Minecraft. That was it. I would find Patrick on Third Earth, bring him back to Minecraft, and we would figure out what Saint Dane had in mind for this particular territory together.
I stood up, brushed the dirt off my pants, and continued down the tunnel in towards where I hoped the flume might be hidden. I was totally lost, but at least now there was some sort of light from the blasted hole above me. Only after walking a few meters, I heard a voice.
"Look what you've done!"
It was Saint Dane.