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    posted a message on [Survival journal] Legends of Quintropolis (Season 4)

    What we build in the shadows will always come to light.
    What we see with biased eyes will always look to fight.


    The ship did its best to anchor against the frozen peaks, but the wind blew at a pace none of the archers could easily manage. Parts of the ocean were entirely frozen over, but much of it was simply dotted with icebergs. The archers knew that venturing through this area would bring with it the potential for danger, but they also knew that any other direction would have significantly diverted from their trajectory. They followed the path towards the rising sun, for they believed this was the way to the promised land.

    Bumps and jolts greeted the archers unexpectedly. Some of the icebergs must have protruded underneath the water, the solid matter obstructing the boat’s necessary draft.

    Their movement had been far too smooth sailing. Everything happened fast as they lost control of the boat, its frayed frame soaring into a frosty peak. Time was of the essence, forcing the archers to vacate and find a new vessel. The problem was that no sign of solid land was in sight.

    The axe-wielder observed the eccentricities of the creatures in this realm. Concerned about their presence, the axe-wielder looked to the others as they surveyed the surrounding area. The poor polar bear’s defense mechanism, as it happens, swiftly challenged the tolerance of the collected archers who were already wary of the fact that this creature had seen them. One quick gesture by the axe-wielder gave the archers permission to engage.

    Nature ran its course as it does in the wild, the hostile display of survivalist instinct as cold as the air itself.

    The axe-wielder stepped back from the brawl to assess the landscape, attempting to make sense of their predicament. Without any access to resources with which they could rebuild a boat, things looked hopeless for the group.

    The axe-wielder responded shrewdly to a whistle from one of the archers, who pointed towards what looked like another shipwreck. A faint sight to be sure, it was enough to persuade them into an ice-cold swim.

    Instinct, perhaps, does not always lend to instigation, but rather investigation. Warming themselves up as they explored the tattered ship’s remains, the archers began their routine scouting of the new land.

    One of the archers opened his pack to check his compass, only to find that it rocked back and forth in an obscure fashion. North became south as quickly as a heartbeat, the needle swinging like a pendulum seemingly unsure of its intended direction.

    Another archer revealed his compass to compare, and the two might as well have been synchronized by a redstone clock. The two archers looked at one another in harmony, somewhat displeased but not surprised either. They put their compasses away in succession and readied their weapons.

    “It’s this way,” the axe-wielder claimed.

    Posted in: Survival Mode
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    posted a message on Questions about a survival world that starts from old versions

    For #4, you could put both Mending and Infinity on a bow prior to 1.11.1, so that might be worth knowing in case you want an OP bow. After that version, the two enchantments became mutually exclusive even with an anvil, so it's no longer possible to put them together.

    Posted in: Survival Mode
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    posted a message on Adventures in Gaia (Hardcore)

    Well this is relieving to read then, because I felt my contributions to this thread so far might have been seen as "pointless" by some because I'm covering the 'boring early days" and because my progression might seem slow.

    I keep saying "I'm going out for iron" and then just explore. And I do actually look for iron, and even go in caves and get some (but mostly coal), and then explore, so I was wondering if my "oh, pretty, a nice looking landscape, let's explore" on repeat was turning anyone off, haha.

    I took about two years before ever going into the Nether in my main world, so I can certainly relate to the slower playstyle here. Just because Mojang designed Minecraft with a certain structure reflecting how they interpret game progression doesn't mean we have to follow it - you recognize this already. Perhaps, the beauty is in how we interpret the concept of progression, whilst the game exists as more of a creative canvas. In terms of the narrative itself, I imagine there is a story behind every shrub - what you explore on the surface might just ignite the lore for what lies underneath, even if at a much later date.

    I think the primary reason for the rather aggressive playstyle that many players foster is that Mojang has given clear objectives for how they think Minecraft is to be played, and people largely view Minecraft as a game with objectives to be completed - as is the case with all games. It's easier to be told what to do than to create your own rules - once you do the latter, you're not playing the same game anymore. As a result, most players will never look past the "game" aspect of Minecraft to explore the artistic medium it functions as so well (hence why they get bored so quickly). I firmly believe that in order to enjoy Minecraft to its fullest, you must first transcend the established narrative of what it is "supposed" to be and play it in the manner that supports what you want it to be.

    Posted in: Survival Mode
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    posted a message on What have you done recently?

    By pure accident, I managed to get this coveted trophy:

    At first, I was surprised because I knew I had explored a frozen ocean before. However, what I only realized in hindsight was that deep frozen oceans are treated as a separate biome! And alas, the final one I needed to complete this achievement. This location, as it happens, instantly resonated with me, and I chose it for some opening scenes of my next survival saga...

    ...But that's all for another day.

    Posted in: Survival Mode
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    posted a message on Adventures in Crafterra

    I'm a big fan of mystery and this particular journal approach, so I'm looking forward to seeing what you've developed with these characters. Of course, I am one to agree that it's better late than never, as this was my own case too. I think the standard of survival journals starting from the very beginning of a world is an archaic one, and while it may make certain aspects of the journal easier to follow, this isn't always the case as it depends largely on the style of storytelling you choose. Such is the case here.

    Posted in: Survival Mode
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    posted a message on Main World The Alpha/Beta Years..

    Great stuff, leangreen! Origin stories are really interesting especially when you see the state of a current world, as you wonder how it all came to be. I'm working on doing something similar, but as I imagine is the case with you - it's quite a challenge! Especially if your documentation isn't as detailed as it is today.

    Looking forward to more.

    Posted in: Survival Mode
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    posted a message on [Survival journal] Legends of Quintropolis (Season 4)

    I'm excited to announce that Quintropolis has officially entered Season 4, as I initiate several play sessions of sorting, stocking, farming, and overall priming Starlight for the projects that are coming up. Until this point, I never really spent a lot of time just playing in the world. I always focused on the current or next project. But right now, I'm enjoying what's here. I'm utilizing Starlight's modular functions to optimize production, using the various farm systems, playing some of the games, enchanting books, and harvesting lots of sand down at Utopia. Stepping back from the typical world progression cycle for a bit, it's a great way to decompress after work or pass the time while still getting resources stocked in preparation for the new season.

    The tone and style of Season 4 will be very different from the current entries, and this is largely in an attempt to make the journal more approachable for new readers. If you joined somewhere in Season 3, particularly near the end, then you would likely have difficulty catching up because of how intertwined everything is (and as a result, you might be demotivated to do so). The fact that this world is so far developed means it is not very relatable to most players, and this is something I'd like to address without compromising on the scale of what I have planned. So, a couple key characteristics will be in play:

    (1) With the exception of Starlight, most of the projects planned for Season 4 are brand new, meaning that you will not need to catch up on content in the prior seasons in order to enjoy their development. While I will be actively developing many existing areas, I plan to do so in a way that's easily digestible. We will be introducing several key new locations in the upcoming season, and I intend to reintroduce existing locations as though it's your first time hearing about them.

    (2) The storyline is fresh and will not require prior readings to follow. Although I'll be sure to integrate Easter Eggs and other connections to plot threads which have already been introduced, the journal's original story concluded with the Season 3 finale. A new chapter comes next, with lots of new content in the works.

    (3) The scale of the world's upcoming projects is big - much bigger than anything in this journal so far - but I'm working to balance the huge builds with smaller, more intimate projects as well. You'll see both extreme ends of the spectrum this season, and I believe this will make for a more engaging, nuanced reading experience.

    Finally, I will not be updating Minecraft beyond 1.15.2 for this season. I did finally decide that I want to eventually update the game past 1.18, but it will not be at any point throughout the next 100 sessions (so, that's at least another few years). The main reason is because of the storyline - the general itinerary for Season 4 was written out long before Minecraft 1.16 was even announced, so I've already got everything I need to fill 100 chapters. There is already way too much to do without post-1.15 content, and as such there is not currently an incentive for me to update. Given also that every update beyond 1.15 is fairly major, I would have to write all the new content/gameplay into the story, which is not currently my priority.

    Season 4's title will not be revealed right away, and at this time, no start date has been set (it will be at least another month, as I'm actually leaving town for a few weeks). Consider this the season's intro post, and if you haven't yet downloaded Quintropolis 3, refer to the first post or the post atop this page to do so.

    See you soon! :)

    Posted in: Survival Mode
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    posted a message on What have you done recently?
    Quote from Agtrigormortis»

    Some people might complain about oceans being too big with large biome world types, but this is an open world game not just a sandbox,

    however large oceans are in Minecraft, they're nothing compared to the size of the oceans on real life Earth, which can take weeks by boat to travel across.

    Actually, I wish the oceans were even bigger, like how they were pre-1.7. One of my gripes about the 1.7 terrain changes was not just the reduced size of the oceans, but the way in which landmasses are all interconnected in such a way that true oceans no longer exist. Perhaps, some might argue this makes it easier to explore the Overworld and obtain access to biomes and other features that might not exist on your primary "island" (or continent). However, the pre-1.7 continents were huge - large enough that you could find most of what you needed. The distinct use of oceans to separate these landmasses either motivated or demotivated you to attempt crossing them, but in both cases, the exploration factor was higher than it became post-1.7, because after 1.7 you were no longer really faced with such a daunting task.

    Posted in: Survival Mode
  • 3

    posted a message on [Survival journal] Legends of Quintropolis (Season 4)
    Welcome to
    Quintropolis: A Minecraft World Tour

    The final cherry on top for Season 3 following its explosive FINALE, the ambitious world tour for Quintropolis has finally been completed as the world approaches a TEN-YEAR tenure! Considering this journal started after a mere 2.5 years of its life, I think it is safe to say that the journal has served its purpose in prolonging the life of this world far beyond what I ever believed it would achieve. The first post has been massively updated to the world's current state, with all Season 3 content now added.

    This world tour is BIG, so get your snacks and beverages because there is a lot to see. This is a comprehensive showcase of every project in Quintropolis, which includes several modular demonstrations of Starlight HQ (FINALLY), lots of history, fun facts about the world, and an introduction to the various activities you can do within the world. The editing is snappy, the pace is fast - there is just that much to go through. Timestamps have been used to divide the tour into sections so that way you can jump around to specific projects if you would like.


    You can now download Quintropolis 3 and engage with all the work we have done over the last ten years, which includes the following:

    • Starlight HQ 3.0 - the world's primary, progressively expanding modular base with an uncountable number of features, the first of its kind that offers an innovative approach at customizable automation
    • Aftermath - a secondary base housing my primary guardian farm, which holds major significance in Quintropolis lore
    • Enderquin HQ - the world's tertiary base focused around one of the two discovered end portals
    • The Inner Circle - the home of the Quintropolis World Council, a thriving village built up from nothing in the center of Quintropolis Island
    • Starlight Arcade which features two fully fledged mini-games and animated aesthetic features!
    • A complete fireworks display that can be activated with one switch!
    • Eight complete parkour courses around the world, along with Starlight Playground which includes three additional parkour activities
    • An adventure map that encourages the exploration of Quintropolis Island and its surroundings
    • A comprehensive library that includes hours of reads, including mythology and mini-games
    • Foursquare on the roof!

    Download HERE on CurseForge (also added to first post).

    This world is intended to be played only in Minecraft 1.15.2. It has not been opened in any version newer than this, and it is likely that many things will not work properly if you don't open it in this version.

    Other world download notes:

    SPAWN: You will spawn at the Quintropolis Welcome Center with a book of notes in your inventory regarding things you should know about Starlight HQ. Make sure to read through these so that you know what to expect.

    OPTIMUM PERFORMANCE: Quintropolis (specifically Starlight HQ) will not function optimally on low-end PCs. Even on higher-end equipment, you’ll find that the world will still lag in spots. To remedy this, I recommend turning particles off, smooth lighting off (or minimum), bobbing off, clouds off, and graphics on fast. Again, tweak these parameters to what suits you best, but know that you might have to sacrifice graphic quality for play quality. This will be the case especially if you want to play "Landing Pad" at Starlight HQ.

    I'm happy to finally bring this world to the public! If you give the world a download, do let me know your feedback on the courses and other games/activities that have been put together for your enjoyment.

    With that, it's time to take a break. Please enjoy Quintropolis, and I'll see you in Season 4. B)

    Posted in: Survival Mode
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    posted a message on Return to Minecraft Journal

    This is pretty great - I'd like to think maybe we're returning to that 2014-2015 era where journals were quite trendy, but I suppose time will tell. The forum community is certainly much more like a small town today, which is not necessarily a bad thing at all - but comparatively, activity is much more muted than it once was.

    Personally, I haven't ventured into a post-1.18 world as of yet, and I don't know if I will. It's not because I take issue with the terrain, but more so because I think updating my world beyond that point will create significant performance issues amongst other things.

    On the topic of hot and cold biome distances - it took me years to find a mesa biome initially, and when I finally did so, guess where it was? A solid 10,000 blocks from spawn! Later, I found a closer one about 6,000 blocks away - how much more convenient (sarcasm). On the other side of that spectrum, I have sections of ice spikes across bodies of water from a bamboo jungle even in 1.15-generated terrain. I didn't mind that they kept some realistic blending among biome temperatures, but the distances were exhaustive in the beginning (and continue to be, though now I have access to every biome in the game within a 10,000 block radius).

    Posted in: Survival Mode
  • 3

    posted a message on What have you done recently?

    After almost ten years, Quintropolis has reached Day 7,000!

    This also just so happens to fall on the conclusion of the journal's 300 chapter (which is now published HERE). Totally didn't plan that or anything.

    Here are some key builds from the Season 3 finale:

    First, Tetraquin Monument:

    Finally, I acquired more than enough gold to complete the centerpiece of the Inner Circle, as well as the eight beacons which now surround it. This village is now not only fully protected by a hedge wall, but it has also been granted Witherquin's blessing.

    Next, Rainbow Cliffs now features two new builds, starting with The Sanctuary:

    This land was generated back in Minecraft 1.7, and it used to be a working village. However, once the game was updated to 1.15, the village no longer functioned. I tore the old, ugly village down and rebuilt it with a modern aesthetic, giving the villagers new jobs such that it now functions as a village again. You'll also notice that The Sanctuary is completely surrounded by a red wall. It is protected from the outside world, and over time will continue to develop as I intend to completely build out the areas inside the red wall with gardens, museums, and other aesthetic features.

    Right outside The Sanctuary (you can see it in the distance) is Milestone Mountain, on top of which is the colorful Enderquin Monument:

    I first discovered this savannah plateau back in 2013 (pretty crazy, right?). I never imagined it would be the location of Quintropolis' most important monument - the one that signifies our ultimate victory against Enderquin. Over time, this mountain will also be further developed into an interactive history parkour course - one that takes you on the entire journey throughout the world's first 300 chapters.

    Here's the first progress on that:

    In Session 23, which took place back in June or July 2013, I built the first foundations for Starlight Castle (my main base). So, here I illustrate that through the design of a parkour course. You can see that this is a very ambitious project, as it will effectively move my journal into the world itself. I look forward to seeing what it will become, as this is one of those projects I'll work on intermittently throughout the next season.

    It's been a fun journey so far.

    Posted in: Survival Mode
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    posted a message on [Survival journal] Legends of Quintropolis (Season 4)
    Quote from Daymens»

    Holy cow. This is so cool. I can't imagine the amount of time and effort put into your series, but the work shows. Awesome job Joey.

    Thanks a lot for your support, Daymens! I've been waiting a while to reach this point, and I can definitely say that I spend more time on this journal than actually playing in the world itself. In the beginning, what I wrote was a reflection of what I played. But now, it's the other way around, and I'm looking forward to exploring other legends that are waiting to be uncovered.

    After I finish up the world tour/download (hopefully within the next week), I'll definitely be taking a break for a few months before starting up again.

    Posted in: Survival Mode
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    posted a message on [Survival journal] Legends of Quintropolis (Season 4)

    As a note, the two posts were merged into one - however, I will not be able to edit the post without being forced to split them into two posts. In the event this needs to happen, I'm reserving this post for that purpose.

    Posted in: Survival Mode
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    posted a message on [Survival journal] Legends of Quintropolis (Season 4)

    After more than SIX YEARS, Legends of Quintropolis Season 3 finally reaches its explosive finale. This is a huge moment for the Quintropolis Journal, mostly because I never imagined I would have gotten this far (nor did I think it would take this long if I did). Through perseverance and patience, and lots of delayed gratification and events in my own life - the story I have been wanting to tell is finally being told through the world's builds. This has always been the goal of this journal, from its humble beginnings in 2015. When I first started this journal, I always imagined being able to use Minecraft as a storytelling medium. The seeds for today's entry have been planted ever since, as the entire "Age of Ender" storyline has been mapped out since well before the season even began back in 2016. From Stonewall to Violet, from building Starlight HQ 3.0 to cracking the puzzles that led to discovering Enderquin, from establishing Starlight City to building characters and actual relationships with the villages all across Quintropolis - the slow build of the season's stories has paid off in allowing this world to blossom into the canvas of narrative storytelling it has become. Today, we enjoy the fruit of those labors, as this entry fittingly showcases all of the world's builds in a way that aligns with narrating how this season comes to an end.

    Get your snacks, and your beverages, because this finale is an eight-part multimedia marathon which itself is about the length and structure of a modern novella (four parts spread across two posts due to the character limit on posts). It is a full-blown story mode episode, the reading experience of which is much more like a book than a Minecraft journal. Without reading any other session in this journal, you will still be able to enjoy this entry as a self-contained story (it's written this way). But to experience the full depth and weight of this finale, you'll need the knowledge of all that has come before. For those interested and able to embark on that journey, I'll provide a brief but comprehensive overview of the sessions you need in order to capture the full essence of the story leading into the finale (if you're caught up, you can skip this bit):

    This was not always a story-oriented journal. Storylines and lore have been hinted at since the beginning of Season 2, but weren't explored until the end of Season 2. Build projects and world development aside, here's what you need to get up to speed on the storyline:

    Begin with the first post to get a sense of the locations (you don't need all the checkpoint sessions listed there - you can skip those). Start in session #108 for an introduction to Stonewall Territory, then you can skip to #167 for a little worldbuilding. The North Shore Adventure in #182-183 is pretty important, but isn't entirely "in-universe" yet. The actual storyline starts in #195 which introduces the Secret of Stonewall, then you can skip to #198 - actually, you just need the beginning and the last few minutes of 198's accompanying video. It leads directly into #199, and #200 (Season 2 finale) is one you can't skip. That's when Techtropolis became Quintropolis - read the introductory tale (Secret of Stonewall), then watch the first two sections of the accompanying video (first 15 minutes). The rest of that video is just a world tour, but the last ten minutes are very important and they set the entire tone for Season 3.

    For Season 3:

    #201-210 (optional) - This is probably the most self-contained story arc in the entire journal. It'll provide some good insight on the civil conflicts, but you'll already get that out of #200 and could skip this part.

    #219-220 - First mention of endermen and discussing theories about their existence.

    #235 - Important revelation at the end.

    #236 - Violet's visions about the future. Very important session - we've yet to see whether those visions will come to light...

    #242 - Further information about Violet's situation.

    #245-246 - Several plot vouchers introduced here...

    #247-249 - Pretty much a buildup for #250, you can skip around these a bit.

    #250 - Ender dragon fight, video-oriented session but contains some important dialogue especially near the end.

    Story doesn't really return until #269, which introduces the first major characters other than Violet.

    #275-277 - Three-part mini-series establishing the nation of Quintropolis and my relations with the villages. Several characters introduced, major worldbuilding, and big plot elements.

    #279 - Also just need the beginning of #280 afterwards.

    #282-283 - Essential - need both of these and the beginning of #284 (you can skip the rest after Starlight Compressor is introduced).

    #291-299 - The entire final stretch of sessions is crucial to establishing the premise, stakes, and history/lore that will lead directly into today's finale (especially #296, which explores the history of Enderquin and the Overworld itself).

    Through twists and turns, surprises and action, thoughtful dialogue and moments of heart, no stone is left unturned in Quintropolis's most thrilling chapter yet. Please enjoy the epic conclusion to Season 3: Age of Ender.

    NOTE ON NARRATION: Most scenes are separated by lines (--------). Because there are many scenes in which my character is not present, the events of this chapter are told from two narrators: (1) a third-person perspective in scenes without my character, and (2) a first-person perspective - my perspective - during all scenes in which I am present in-universe. As my character starts where the previous session left off, it should be clear when each perspective is used without detracting from the reading experience.

    Session 300 - "Let There Be Light"

    PART ONE: The Wages of War

    -- A LONG TIME AGO --

    “Good morning, Jakar!” greeted Jaman as Jakar headed out into the market. It was a beautiful day, the sunlight beaming brightly on the villagers.

    “Jaman, beautiful day for a harvest, is it not?”

    “Most certainly so! Arksyn is on his way to the farm now. Perhaps you should join him.”

    Jakar did want to join; he had not seen Arksyn in many days. However, there was much work to do. “I’ll have to tag along another day. I’m heading into the sanctum today.”

    Everyone knew what that meant. They called it the sanctum to be respectful. The people who built the sanctum wanted it to be a place that others only ever heard about – few ever visited, and those who did were thought to be chosen prophets for some higher purpose.

    “Have fun…” Jaman said simply. Jakar left without another glance.

    The sanctum, located roughly 8,000 meters north of the village, largely hid within the otherwise deserted landscape.

    Jakar took his place on the pedestal next to Myra – the two had never spoken to one another, despite always occupying the same space on their respective visits to the sanctum. Speech was not considered respectful in the sanctum’s space unless under specific conditions, such as being exercised as a response when spoken to by the elders.

    A mist emanated from the lake, and an ominous elder rose from the depths of the sparkling waters. He stood for a moment, fixating his gaze upon Myra first, then to Yoz, then to Dorphi, then to Garsha, then to Nephrim, then to Pasturik, then to Agras. He stopped there, before facing the seemingly endless gulley behind him. He never once looked at Jakar.

    “The sanctum has preserved the civilizations each of you have constructed so masterfully,” his ominous voice began. “We are grateful to see that the Overworld thrives under your leadership.”

    An awkward silence followed, as all eight of the prophets eagerly awaited what was to come next – they already knew, however.

    “We are glad that this iteration of Quintropolis has been considered successful, as the time has come for a new Purge. Please return to your respective villages and continue leading them to greatness. When the sun falls, the world will reset. Your work is done.”

    The elder descended back into the sparkling water, and the fog mostly dissipated into darkness. The eight prophets glanced around at one another, but no words were shared. Without much more hesitation, they departed the sanctum one-by-one.

    Jakar’s pace hastened the moment he stepped outside the temple, which caught the attention of Dorphi.

    “Jakar, my brother!” she called out. Now that they were outside the sanctum, speech according to human society’s rules was permitted to continue. “You are not particularly satisfied with the result?” she asked Jakar.

    “He never looked at me,” stated Jakar nervously. “He made contact with every one of you, but not me.”

    “And what do you suspect the issue is?”

    “I don’t think he is happy with my village. I don’t think I will survive the Purge this time,” admitted Jakar in defeat.

    “Jakar, your village is among the highest of technological advancement!” Dorphi praised. “Your people show great strength, hospitality, leadership, and intelligence. If I am honest, it has given all of us a slight bit of envy!”

    “Then why do I feel like something is wrong?”

    “You have always been one to jump to paranoia first. I even believe it is this thinking of yours that has propelled your village to the heights it has achieved. Sentien will be proud to see Kuli Aleilm on Judgment Day.”

    “Yeah, maybe…” Jakar did not exactly feel so sure, and Dorphi could tell he was still on edge.

    Dorphi placed a hand on Jakar’s shoulder. “Remember one thing – you would not have been called to the Inner Circle if Sentien did not feel you were worthy. You’re here for a reason. We all are.”

    Jakar nodded and left, as the other seven prophets all returned to their corresponding villages. The fact that the elder never looked at him had him worried, and he remained unsure what to make of this information given that nightfall was just around the corner. The end of the world was on its way, and nobody would ever know it. In an instant, Quintropolis would reset.

    “Welcome back, Jakar. It took you a little longer today!” Jaman was always the first to greet Jakar from his visits to the sanctum. But Jakar hastily pulled Jaman aside.

    “Jaman, I have always trusted you as a brother, yes?”

    “Why… yes, of course! What’s the matter with you? You look frightened.”

    Jakar peered around to observe the villagers, to look for anything or anyone that might appear out of place. He did not want to cause any commotion.

    “Okay, I am not supposed to tell you this, but tomorrow none of you will exist, and neither will Kuli Aleilm.” Naturally, Jaman showed no initial reaction to this, because how does one react to that? After a moment, he burst with laughter, attracting unwanted attention from other villagers. Jakar was understandably defeated.

    “What in heavens goes on up there in the sanctum?” asked Jaman curiously, still chuckling at Jakar’s comments. “I mean, you left earlier today instilled with such confidence. Now look at ya!”

    “It’s complicated… I can’t fully explain everything exactly, but I just… I want you to know that I’ve always tried my best to lead you all to be independent thinkers for yourselves.”

    “Of course, Jakar – any human being would be blessed to be living within the constructs of your village. And you know I have been to the other villages. Delta and Quarica are nice, but they are led by people who don’t encourage the same freedoms you do. They lead by fear.”

    Jakar finally smiled, feeling a bit more at ease to know that the people thought so highly of him and his leadership. He had wrestled with the question of whether this was more important than what the gods thought. Did they approve of Kuli Aleilm? Does that matter if the people thrived? He had begun contemplating these things in the wilderness outside the village, the sun coming ever so close to dusk. He knew this was the end of this world.

    Perhaps what he always believed was true – that the gods never wanted people to become intelligent. To be their own free innovators. To use the tools that were provided by them to build things the gods never even conceived. It was true what Jaman said – the other villages were led in a more aristocratic fashion. People did their jobs and slept, all while simply contributing to the ecosystems that would allow their leader to thrive at the expense of their happiness. This set Kuli Aleilm apart from the other villages. Every villager had their own voice, their own practice, their freedom to explore and to innovate.

    Jakar, realizing these things, decided to use his last moments to craft a message for the next world. He knew that while everything resets, there is one particular area that the gods cannot touch. Hastening for his office, he drafted a document for the curious explorer who might one day find it.

    To the explorer who finds this message:

    After many cycles, the mythical sky dimension has been discovered. We do not know about its inhabitants, as we have run out of time to venture into the portal. The clues left by the previous world helped us get here. We can give you the next step, so that you will have more time to discover what the gods are hiding from us. I have left you several tools that may assist you when you find the ancient underground city. Continue what we started.

    He signed off the message, taking it cautiously to a hidden room beneath his office, revealing an ender chest. Inside, he placed the message, along with the Relics of Enderquin, a powerful bow, a few end crystals, sixteen ender pearls, sixteen eyes of ender, a stack of golden apples, a few bottles of enchanting, and the materials needed to spawn one of Witherquin’s demons.

    Jakar then destroyed the ender chest, the last one in Quintropolis, knowing that the gods would no longer have a way to access its contents. He sent off the message believing that somebody in the next world would find it, put the pieces together, and continue their search for answers about their world.

    Returning to Kuli Aleilm, Jakar watched the villagers continue their work, smiling at one another, trading with one another, all without any knowledge that their lives would end as abruptly as a single snap.

    He, himself, smiled at the satisfaction of his village, feeling humbled that he had the opportunity to lead them. Whether or not the gods admired him as a leader, he determined that what mattered most was whether his people lived a life they desired.

    The sun set, and the countdown to the Purge began.











    PART TWO: Chaos at the Clubhouse

    -- PRESENT DAY --

    Another tree crashes through the high winds, rain and thunder continuing to cascade upon the worn wooden roof like Vayaquin’s fury. Whispers in the air cut through the echoes of fallen branches, metal scraping the sides of rocks, and the occasional woosh indicating teleportation. Whilst nature’s wrath dominates the town, refuge becomes less and less stable at the church.

    “Jacque, I already know about the portal. We’ve been over this – nobody gets near it. I can’t get in touch with anyone at the Council Clubhouse,” Mayor Sensha states as he tries to calm the villagers in the church who have escaped the storm.

    “You can’t just get a boat?” asks Jacque, who is more out-of-the-loop than the others.

    “Once again, the island is not served by any roadways! Furthermore, any moment outside this church is a potential moment that an enderman will see you.”

    “I’m a butcher for God’s sake! What’s the worst that can happen??”

    “How many times do I have to say it?? If he sees you, and he gets into your head, he can make you see all the things that scare you. Can you butcher those hallucinations, Jacque??”

    “Can’t be that difficult,” Jacque shrugs it off.

    “We stay put!”

    “Until when??!!” yells another villager from the back of the church, amidst a huddling of twenty others. “We’ve been stuck in here for days!”

    “Until Joey returns! He is the only one who can get us to safety! Until that happens, we DO NOT leave this church!” Mayor Sensha’s frustration overwhelms his judgment, his optimism slowly draining as days turn into weeks without any sign of Joey and with more wooshes occurring every passing day, the rain subsiding as the endermen take its place.

    “Mayor…” a calmed yet cautious villager removes himself from the despaired crowd, speaking to the mayor more subdued. “You know that Joey would not have left us helpless, don’t you? Something is very wrong.”

    “I know…” admits the disgruntled mayor. “I just wish he would have been more honest with us. We could’ve helped if we knew what we were up against.”

    “Good thing you hired that spy of yours…”

    “Huh?” Mayor Sensha is shocked – nobody is supposed to know about that.

    “Yeah… where is Greta, anyway? Haven’t seen her around since the last time Joey was here. You know – when you told him about Stonewall.”

    Mayor Sensha stands speechless.



    “Staz, would you stop fiddling with that?” Böshtok yells as Staz continues trying to open the ender chest.

    “What? The darned thing’s gotta open someday!! And ya know what they say, or I guess they say it: there’s no time like the present! Especially when the world’s prolly gonna end tonight,” Staz casually suggests, all the while trying to pry the ender chest open with shears – an effort that had so far been fruitless.

    “This is not a joke, Staz,” Arian stomps into the clubhouse, soaking wet, as the building remains heavily guarded by iron golems. She slams two potions of something down on the community chest before continuing to track footprints all over the clubhouse, in a typical pissed off fashion.

    “FIRST, I get jumped by two husks that want to eat me. Didn’t see the idiots. Then I come back from the desert and hear all this crazy sh*t, as if I walked right back into a portal to my ex’s house if you know what I mean. All of a sudden, lightning strikes the tree right next to me before endermen start pouring out from God knows where… like did I die and enter a real-life RPG??”

    “Arian… have you been drinking again?” Böshtok notes, concerningly trying to determine what is in those two potions.

    “What?” Arian looks down at the potions, then back at Böshtok, her demeanor shifting ever so slightly. “These aren’t poison potions! It’s just a new flavored water that I, uh… a vendor in Techtown was selling them.”

    “Right… I guess I won’t ask about the green bottles, either.”

    “Oh, those?” Arian pulls out three bottles from her pouch. “They’re bottles of good vibes. They make you feel good. Here!”

    “No, stop!!” But it’s too late – Arian splashes two at Böshtok, who reluctantly gives into the immediate ecstasy the aura provides. Staz can’t help himself, either.

    “Oooo, pretty colors!! Where’d ya find these? Got anymore??”

    “Cool it, Jazzy Stazzy. This last one’s for me when I inevitably fall into some other trap on this godforsaken island. The one day I decide to go for a hike…”

    “What were you doing at Techtown, Arian?” Böshtok’s mental clarity is still relatively stable. “I mean, ever since we moved here, that town has been abandoned.”

    “You couldn’t be more wrong, Poshy Boshy.”

    “Please don’t call me that.”

    “There are a few vendors still there – most of them migrated from Starlight City when they realized that Joey is a fundamental liar. They figured it would be a better place to conduct simpler lives under the radar.”

    “Well, okay, let’s not be haste with judgment.”

    “Oh, you know it’s true! You’re always tryin’ to stay in the middle ground, but you and I both know that Joey had absolutely every intention to bring this supernatural bullsh*t into our otherwise peaceful world. If not for him, I would have four drinks here instead of two.”

    Böshtok raises his eyebrows, now realizing that his original question to Arian had been answered.

    “Oh, come on, don’t you see? This is all part of Joey’s master plan. ‘Oh, poor villagers! They’ll HAVE to rely on me to save them from gods who want to destroy them! Oh, they’ll worship me as their savior after I unleash catastrophic chaos on their sheep-like society!’ You’re not a shamefaced idiot, Böshtok.”

    “He’s not a perfect person; we’ve been over that. But I don’t believe he intended for any of this.”

    “Then where is he now, huh? Why has he failed to show up? Got some new redstone project he decided to build without anyone’s permission?” Arian’s frustration begins to boil as Staz quietly backs into the corner, trying his best not to be noticed. He continues prying at the ender chest with negligible, silent effort.

    “Arian, you’re upset. I understand; trust me. I’m right there with you. But-“

    “Nope, stop right there. You actually don’t understand. I came to this clubhouse because the mayor thought I would add a good balance to the Council. But you know what? There is no diplomatic balance here at all!” Arian disappointingly looks over at Staz, who is still embarrassingly fiddling with the shears.

    “And where is your other council member? Ibram, is it? Do you even know what goes on here?!”

    “Arian, you don’t gotta be so rude,” Staz decides to add his voice to the argument, shears still in hand.

    “Is that your attempt at trying to sound useful and contributive to this conversation, Staz?” Staz doesn’t respond, but he does finally put down the shears. “Yeah, thought so.”

    “Arian, I’m not sure you recognize the relationship we have with Joey,” Böshtok tries to level things back out. “We cannot control him.”

    “Oh, that much is clear.”

    “Our job is to monitor his activity and report to Mayor Sensha everything we observe. That’s all.”

    “Really? That’s it? Oh, how I didn’t realize this sooner!” Arian’s sarcasm is not wholesomely welcomed by Böshtok, who reaches into a chest to reveal a book that looks as though it hadn’t been touched since the day the world began.

    “Do you know what this is?” Böshtok asks, but Arian just throws up her hands. “It’s an old document – I don’t even know where it came from, really. A dungeon dweller brought it to the mayor ages ago, who then gave it to me.”

    Böshtok places the document on a lectern and opens it with great care, doing his best not to disrupt the already tarnished spine.

    “It’s a peace treaty between two Quintropolis factions who originally shared a disagreement regarding the dispersion of chorus fruit crops. One faction claimed that the other had secret ties to illegal distribution networks that allowed mass circulation of the product.”

    “That doesn’t make sense. Why would they start a war over some fruit that they could just grow themselves?”

    “Because chorus fruits do not grow in the wild. In fact, there is no evidence that they ever grew here. Not only that, but many did try and grow the fruit. It didn’t react positively to soil, or any other material of this world.”

    “But then…” Arian gestures to the chorus fruit plants that surround the Inner Circle outside.

    “Exactly,” Böshtok closes the document. “Somehow, Joey acquired these forbidden fruits. Mayor Sensha was curious whether Joey might have ties to these factions, and he formed the Council of Techtown as an undercover establishment to investigate the source of the fruits. It’s one of the main reasons we invaded Starlight all those years ago, even before we knew he had them.”

    “So, okay, let me get this straight. Ya’ll started some freemason sh*t because you wanted to find some otherworldly fruit that looks like an ugly, dried-out cactus which also hates everything. Ever tried just tracking down these factions?”

    “These factions are part of an older age than the one we’re living in. They don’t exist anymore.”

    “How old, exactly? Prehistoric?”

    “Don’t be silly. We know they existed because the treaty confirms a relationship with the fallen society of Kuli Aleilm. The problem is that we cannot seem to find any physical ruins of them, no language, no relics – nothing except this treaty. It’s as though whatever civilizations they fostered abruptly ended with seemingly no explanation.”

    “Ah, so it’s conjecture, then. You don’t have any evidence that these places were even real. Who’s to say that ol’ dungeon dweller wasn’t enjoying a couple potions of his own and decided to doodle in his spare time?? Pfft, for a man of such composure, you are glaringly naïve.”

    “You’re missing the big picture. Chorus fruits are not supposed to exist!” Böshtok’s tone shifts as he starts to match Arian’s energy. “How would a dungeon dweller have any knowledge about such things? You see the fruits for yourself. They only grow on end stone. Where do you think that comes from?? The fact that this document exists means that somebody else knew about Enderquin’s existence long before Joey ever did.”

    “Seems you answered your own question. If you suspect the fruits originated from Enderquin… I mean, what do you plan to do with that information? I’m still missing the whole point of this. Seems like poor timing to be talking about fruit when endermen are terrorizing the city.”

    “Someone had to originally bring these fruits back from Enderquin. But all the gateways to the sky dimension had been closed for centuries, if not millennia, until Joey opened them again. If there’s a way to close the portal and cut Enderquin off from the world, then Joey is our best hope to find it.”

    “Yet he is nowhere to be found. You should be stampeding Starlight right now in search of the answers you seek. I’m sure Joey has all kinds of stuff in there that he refuses to share with anyone, including the location of that portal.”

    “It is the Council’s purpose to be discreet. Joey doesn’t know about this document, nor is he aware of our interest in the chorus fruits. We’re not trying to start a war – that’s exactly what caused the fall of Kuli Aleilm.”

    “Ha, you don’t want to start a war, yet look what’s happening around us. The world is falling and you’re all bathing in its broth.”

    Arian strides to the community chest and grabs the two potions, placing them in her pouch.

    “Where are you going?” asks Böshtok, taking a step towards the door as Arian does.

    “To Starlight. I’m certainly not waiting here for a petty god to **** all over my life when I just wanted to go for a hike in the woods. If you’re not going to demand answers, then I will.”

    “Arian, you have no idea what kind of defense system Joey has set up, or how to navigate that place.”

    “I’ll figure it out. Can’t be that difficult if there’s a damn railway to it right outside.”

    Staz watches pitifully as Arian charges out the door. “Wait!” he yells. Arian stops. “I’m coming with you…” Staz grabs the shears, as a reaction, probably to feel useful and contributive.

    Böshtok’s anxiety continues to heighten. “Staz, this is a bad idea! We don’t just break into places. This is not what the Council does!”

    “Ya know, ya’ll do treat me like a child. And frankly, I’m tired of it! Joey could’ve prevented Drexel’s death; he could’ve warned us!! He did NOTHING!”

    Before Böshtok conjures a response, he is left standing in dismay as Staz rushes outside into the silent storm, joining Arian as the two hop onto the railway towards Starlight HQ.

    PART THREE: God Mode

    “Get me out of here, god of war,” I plead in the most desperate fashion. For all his supposed power, he must be able to free me. If he can’t, then who can? Our enemy alone?


    “Then you’ll die like the rest of them,” I reply, powering myself up with golden apples before assaulting the demon head-on. If the supposed ruler of this hellish place cannot free me from his prison, then the least I can do is conquer him.

    Facing the wrath of fire in a heated showdown as the Nether awakens with glorious vengeance, I take to the sky and use the power of movement to diminish the god’s ability to fight me. His attacks are strong, but they rely on my position being relatively steady. Let’s see how he handles me in God Mode.

    He can’t kill me, but that doesn’t stop him from unleashing his anger. With every successful attempt to lure one of the demons out from the pool, I use the skills I have learned to take them down in the sky.

    The key is not allowing him to bury himself back into lava, because when he does that, I have already lost. I have proven capable of fighting a god hand-to-hand, but not one that I can’t see.

    “Stop hiding! Come out and play with me!”


    Both the pigmen and ghasts have rallied up against me, all the while Witherquin’s demons continue spilling from the pool ready for battle. A few years ago, back before the Secret of Stonewall, before that first Wither battle, before all the legends about gods and wars and anything of that nature, imagining this situation would have terrified me. I’d have been comfortable just living peaceably in my little mountain abode farming carrots. Some time, right?

    But things change. These creatures don’t scare me anymore. It is them who should be scared of me.

    Perhaps it is natural selection which Sentien and the others severely underestimated, but I believe the Chosen One was right about me. Maybe I am destined to become like a god. Maybe the reason Witherquin cannot break the curse is because he lacks the power that lives inside of me. We have something the gods never did: freewill. Each one of them was given a place and a purpose. They were created to fulfill their role, and nothing beyond that. But what am I meant to do?

    I believe my purpose is to destroy Enderquin.

    Facing the fury of the storm, I realize that trying to kill Witherquin will not serve my objective. This is a meaningless fight – sure was fun, though. I’ll give him that.

    “I’m done with these games! Try and kill me if you wish, but without some way to break free from this cage, I’m afraid both of us have lost.”

    Witherquin has nothing left to say to me. And I have nothing left to lose. My soul has already been sold to the devil, and the longer I spend in hell, the more it starts to feel like home.



    At the city church, Mayor Sensha paces while roughly twenty frightened villagers make attempts at comforting one another as the earth continues to rumble underneath them. Light tremors batter the doors, but they remain intact. Torches had to be removed as the enderman infestation is growing more prevalent in the immediate area.

    Suddenly, a shriek is heard in the near distance, though the mayor cannot pinpoint its location. The scream baffles the villagers a second time, before erupting into a violent panic. Something horrific is happening, but nobody can make out what.

    “I’m going out there,” the conflicted mayor announces.

    “What, no! You can’t!” one among the chorus of disapproving voices declares. “You’ll die.”

    “Somebody is crying out for help – they need help! I can’t just listen to that!”

    “Mayor, the area is completely surrounded. You will risk giving away our location to those cursed creatures!”

    The elongated screech continues outside, morphing from the cry of a villager to the cry of something much less recognizable.

    “What is that?” one of the children asks.

    “It’s nothing, sweetie. Everything will be okay,” mom assures as she shares discordant eye contact with Mayor Sensha. The struggling mayor grabs his bag and dashes out the door without a second thought, much to the shock of everyone inside the church. Sighs and scares abound as Jacque rushes to brace the door shut.

    The mayor keeps to the ground, crawling to the nearest hill to hide, noticing that the endermen are mostly facing towards the ensuing panic taking place on the other side of the hill. The screams, crisply echoing in the silent night, grow deeper in frequency. The single voice splits into many, the cries turning to distinct roars.

    Keenly sneaking around the hill, the mayor tucks himself into a pocket and peeks over the edge. He notices a blue-robed figure blocking what appears to be the turmoiled villager. But the blue-robed figure does not move so much as a muscle, rather enacting some type of ritualistic force on the villager.

    Mayor Sensha watches as the poor villager succumbs to the power of this unexplainable force, but not by death. No, this villager had completed her metamorphosis.

    She is now an enderman.

    Before Mayor Sensha could react, he turns to see two endermen towering over him, staring into his soul. He freezes, but notices that the hillside opening runs into a cave system. He figures that they cannot fit underneath the opening.

    Going somewhere? the dreaded, growling voice of Enderquin calls out.



    “The walls of your guilt will find closure in the aftermath,” Böshtok states while Ibram reads from a book. “That’s the last thing I said to Joey before he disappeared. It was a message from the wandering trader.”

    “Hmm, did you get the trader’s name?” Ibram closes his book and arranges it in a chest full of at least twenty other books, many of which have lost the battle against time.

    “No… he’s a wandering trader. I didn’t figure he had a name.”

    “Oh, that’s bright of you, Böshtok.” Ibram shakes his head, then stares into space a moment, still sifting through the books. “Wait… what does that mean? The aftermath? Aftermath of what?”

    “Enderquin’s siege, I suppose.”

    “Did Joey tell you where he was going after he left that day?”

    “Does Joey ever tell me where he is going?”

    “I did figure it was our job to know that…” Ibram’s frustration, though still muted, begins spilling into his words. “Did you get an idea of the general direction, at least?”

    Ibram’s question is met with a dazed look and nothing further. He sighs, grabs a book with no cover, then leaves the clubhouse.

    Böshtok waits for nothing in particular, generally unamused but marginally disappointed with himself. None of his fellow council members seem satisfied with his leadership, yet he wonders all too specifically about the chorus fruits outside. While his thoughts evolve like waves during high tide, his actions stagnate like a squirrel trying to stay warm on a winter night. His comrades have all stood up and pushed towards their own plans to find a solution. Meanwhile, his solution is to wait. For nothing in particular.



    I toss an arrow back at the grueling god, who continues to taunt me. Two bombs later, he finally hits me with a wither skull.

    “Finally, you got a point. I thought I’d beat you all too easy!”

    Technically, it had been too easy. But I figured I’d give Witherquin a fair shot. Besides, this was his idea.

    He hits me with another skull, but admittedly I let him.


    “Better late than never.”

    For a god that preys on smaller creatures, Witherquin seems all too desperate for some interaction. His fierceness does its best to hide the fact that deep inside, I think he wants out of here as much as I do. Whether he likes it or not, we’re in this together. Or rather, out of this, together. We cannot get out. But hang on…

    “Nothing can get out of here…” I begin to form a coherent thought, but it takes some effort. Witherquin seems all too interested in this thought, but honestly, I cannot read his mind as much as I’d like to try.

    “…but what would happen if something else were to come in?”

    An intriguing thought, I sprint away from the sporting arena back to the Inferno Launch Chamber. Witherquin offers no response, instead retreating to the lava pool once more. Maybe he has given up, again.

    Fiddling with the controls, I try to make some sense of how I can communicate with the Overworld in the absence of a portal.

    “Come on! If only I could contact Böshtok or the mayor and explain this situation! They’re probably so frightened right now.”



    “Get back, you fiendish creature! I will destroy you for invading our world!” Mayor Sensha aggressively yells to Enderquin’s imposing form.

    Now, that is not how you speak to your creator.

    Without another word, Mayor Sensha dashes to the cave opening, still quite startled but nevertheless equipped with confidence and vengeance, the sight of his citizens being subjugated to such torture fueling his desire for justice – the same desire that Joey had otherwise haphazardly demonstrated.

    Approaching the cave opening, the apprehensive mayor turns to see that the two endermen not only did not pursue him. They are nowhere in sight. Unsure whether to freeze or fight, he slows his breathing a bit, refocusing his attention on the captured villager-turned enderman. He inches out to find her, but much like the endermen, she is nowhere to be found.

    None of them are.

    Inching out into the quiet plain, Mayor Sensha listens keenly for any similar sounds that might point him in the right direction. Much like the sudden disappearance of the endermen, no further sounds fill the air around him.

    “Show yourself, coward!” Mayor Sensha calls out, still knowingly unprepared for a potential attack. His bravery, starkly like Joey’s own arrogance, overshadows his better judgment.

    As the frantic mayor begins to ponder whether his senses had been lying to him – a tool of Enderquin’s arsenal he knew well – a sudden grouping of whooshes, at least ten of them in an asynchronous fashion, finally gives him something to notice.

    Remember the bonfires we used to do every seven cycles? I thought we might do another,” one of the endermen projects as they hone in.

    “Huh? Ryo?” a befuddled mayor remembers the bonfires well. But the Ryo he knew died long ago.

    We are grateful to see that the Overworld thrives under your leadership, mayor. It will be most satisfying to recreate you.

    Violet, the dreaded illusioner, appears among the crowd as the endermen surround him. The overwhelmed mayor, realizing the cost of his courage, already anticipates what comes next.



    The End gateway underneath Quintropolis Island sits at the center of an excavation site housing various working villagers, but helmed only by one.

    “Sir, nothing has come through the portal, yet. It flares every now and then. But pretty silent,” one villager states to the director of the site – none other than Böshtok himself.

    “Good,” Böshtok states. “Get everyone ready to make an appearance.”


    “If Joey is in trouble, then it’s time for us to step up. We’re going in.”

    PART FOUR: Gauntlet of Games

    “So, are you always this timid?” Arian asks Staz, somewhat aggressively, as the pair arrives at Starlight HQ.

    “I’m still figurin’ things out, ya know. But when I saw that thing, whatever that was that used to be Drexel, everything changed. I was scared it might happen to me, too.”

    “Yeah, that’ll do it.”

    Arian begins towards STAS while Staz heads upstairs. “Whoa,” he exclaims. “Arian, come here!”

    “What is it?” Arian annoyingly asks, turning around to meet Staz at the Starlight Station lobby.

    “It’s so pretty!!”

    Unsure whether to be disappointed or enlightened by Staz’s innocence, Arian gazes about noticeably, trying her best to make sense of yet another nonsensical scenario.

    “Staz, notice anything odd about this place?”

    “What do ya mean? It’s big – that’s for sure.”

    “Of course, you don’t… anyway, I don’t see any endermen here. Wouldn’t this be the first place they would come?”

    “Hmm, maybe they already found Joey and he ain’t here.”

    Arian motions behind them and focuses her attention onto the Nether Temple. “Or, maybe he is here. Just not on this side.”

    “Oh no – I’m not going anywhere near that death trap! Not happening.”

    “Damn it, Staz – you really need to get out of that circus prison more. Guarantee you he’s in the Netherworld.”

    “What makes you so sure?”

    “Because that’s the only place Enderquin cannot see.”

    Arian races downstairs, Staz following close behind. She follows the tunnel that leads into the Nether Temple, examining the state of the structure as she contemplates what must lie on the other side.

    “Arian, I don’t feel good about this.”

    “Relax, I just want a look,” Arian reassuringly confirms as she then proceeds to the storage room. She opens some of the chests with intent to find something, even if she doesn’t know exactly what.

    “Holy hell,” she shouts upon noticing the sheer quantity of items present. “Where on earth does one person get all this?” She slams the chest of Nether brick shut as she storms out of the storage unit. “Let’s go.”

    Arian leads Staz into Starlight Castle, where the two take a moment to beguile at the structure’s elegance and outward display of wealth.

    “Do you think he mined all these?” Staz asks, gesturing to the diamond blocks.

    “I’m more concerned about the overwhelming presence of Enderquin’s favorite color. Why would he build Starlight’s centerpiece modeled after the god that wants to destroy us? Does that not seem suspicious to you?”

    “I guess I never really thought about that.”

    “You don’t think about a lot, Staz. But you will.”

    Arian steps into the center of the Lifeline, beaming brightly with Witherquin’s blessing, and notices openings to other floors within the Starlight. “Staz… head upstairs and see what you can find.”

    “Okay… er, what about you?”

    “I’m gonna check downstairs first.” Arian begins down the stairwell into Starlight Room, while Staz stands confused. “We’ll cover more ground this way. Now stop standing around and go make yourself useful.”

    Defeated, Staz ascends the transport spire in search of something useful, he figures. Arian, having furthered her explorations into the affluent Starlight Room, gazes in awe at the meticulous design and amazed that such a place could exist in their world.

    “You didn’t say it was so charming, Joey,” she notes to herself, observing intently at the sparkles radiating off the end rods, contemplating whether it would ever be Joey’s intention for villagers to see this place and the sheer abundance that it could offer them.

    Staz, meddling his way towards the top of the spire, notices a map on the third floor.

    Make yourself useful,” he mockingly reiterates, pitifully pouting his way to the map. Observing the map, Staz begins to postulate Joey’s location, though it may never be known how seriously he took that affair.

    “Hmm… yeah, okay. Okay, yeah…” he has never looked so deep in thought.

    Moving along, he finds discreet excitement in the discovery of the lift spires. “Whoa…”

    “ECHO!!” he yells, and indeed his voice bounces off the walls of the cathedral spire. “ECCCCHOOOOO!!” he goes big, which he would prefer over going home.

    Arian, deeply involved with the analysis of Joey’s diamond swords, makes haste towards the sound. “What the…?”

    “Welcome to the STARLIGHT! We are glad to have YOU!!” Staz gleefully indulges in the playful endeavors of his virtue. “We would like to-“


    “Oh, hi Arian… what’s up? Find anything useful??!”

    “Actually, I did. Yourself?”

    “Well, you’ll be glad to know that we have access to a map of this fine establishment. I can show you the way if you’d-”

    “I saw it on the way up. Anything else? Or are you too busy coddling yourself in the comforts of your echo chamber?”

    With a snark grin, Arian walks off. “Hey, wait up!” Staz decides to stop coddling himself, for now anyway.

    “What did you find??” he asks curiously, almost as if he really wants to know.

    “Answers to questions I didn’t even know to ask.”

    Arian leads Staz to investigate the second floor, concluding rather self-righteously that Staz didn’t bother to stop here on the way up.

    “Wow, I didn’t know we had such great artists!” he notices.

    “And I didn’t know we had such great voice actors.”

    Making her way to the library, Arian’s eyes widen with surreal satisfaction. Books and books of knowledge, all tucked neatly in this hidden floor where no other villagers could possibly find it – what secrets would lie inside? What clues would they uncover? What answers would they find, and what questions would they discover? Arian’s relief that this place existed at all finally allowed her to relax a little, as she had been silently pondering whether Starlight had anything at all that could point them in the right direction. And perhaps, because of this, she might also have felt a little proud about having gone against Böshtok’s advice.

    “Staz, get up here. We’ve got some work to do.”



    Frantically sifting through my materials at Brimstone Beach, I don’t see ANYTHING that could break the barrier between worlds. Even trying to send a signal through the dimensional rift into the Overworld isn’t possible without a portal. That’s the only way anything crosses the rift! But maybe I don’t need to send a physical object. It’s possible I might be able to affect the Overworld in another way.

    Distance increases eight-fold in the Nether, but it is my understanding that time passes at the same pace. If I could somehow load a signal into Aftermath – anything at all that would spawn guardians, then those guardians should travel through the farm and end up right here in the Nether. Meaning that a portal should open for them.

    The problem is that I cannot communicate with anybody on the other side who might be able to get to Aftermath and provoke that signal. But I think I have an idea that might stir the pot.

    Ender pearls and a minecart in hand, I return to Brimstone Beach and wait for an enderman. I’ve noticed that they appear every now and then, but I remain unsure whether Enderquin can communicate through them in this realm. However, since I know that all endermen are connected to Enderquin’s hive mind, this means that endermen here serve as a direct connection to whatever is currently happening in the Overworld. That’s why I am going to capture one. If I can hurt an enderman here, then it might be enough to disrupt Enderquin’s forces in the Overworld. But I, alone, won’t be able to do much damage.

    I wait a while, noticing eventually an enderman not far from the Wither Storm. Entrapping it inside the minecart, I call for Witherquin’s help as the enderman attempts to teleport away. He cannot! Witherquin fires wither skulls at the foul creature, damaging it severely.




    As Violet casts a purple mist into the circle, preparing the ritualistic chant to enact Mayor Sensha’s new fate, the endermen rapidly take damage, teleporting uncontrollably around the area as though a heavy downpour was forcing them to relocate. Violet disappears along with them.

    Mayor Sensha takes a moment to reshape his thoughts from accepting his demise, seemingly amazed at the strange sight of Enderquin’s army being attacked by a force he cannot explain. The onslaught lasts only a few seconds longer, before the night silences once again.

    Realizing now how quickly Enderquin can change his perception of reality, the mayor sprints across the valley. He grabs a boat from a nearby shed on the way back to the church, carefully evading it to not draw attention in case an enderman is watching.

    Unfortunately for this tactic, Jacque notices Sensha and rams the door down to greet him.

    “Mayor!! You’re alive!!” he races to hug the mayor, but this greeting is anything but well-received.

    “Jacque! You fool! You risk giving up your location! Get back inside, now.”

    “What’s going on? You don’t look so good, mayor,” Jacque notes as he observes the mayor’s wide-eyed, almost desperate breathing patterns. The boat doesn’t make things look any better, either.

    “And, uh, what are you doing with that?”

    “I need to get to the Inner Circle. You need to stay safe!”

    “Mayor!!” Jacque calls as the newly determined mayor races off to the chunk border. It remains unclear to Jacque what exactly has driven Sensha’s collected courage to recklessness, but it is clear he gathered something that warrants Böshtok’s attention.

    Ibram returns to the clubhouse, only slightly surprised that Böshtok is not there.

    “Guess he finally decided to do something,” he notes with the slightest smirk as he puts the coverless book back in the chest of many. Irritated that none of the books held any clues, he quickly transitions into the offensive as he hears frantic footsteps through the grass outside, pulling a sword from the arsenal and drawing it towards the door.

    A boisterous knock at the door startles Ibram such that he drops the sword almost concurrently as the mayor breaks through the door. Ibram, unsure whether this is the mayor or some kind of illusion conjured by the sky god, picks up the sword and backs up to the wall.

    “Ibram, what is this? What are you doing?” Mayor Sensha holds his hands up.

    “Mayor, are you good? You seem a little off,” Ibram maintains a solid distance, the sword still pointed to the mayor.

    “I saw something. A poor villager turned into an enderman. They are us, and we are becoming part of him.”

    Ibram lowers his sword, his demeanor shifting marginally as Mayor Sensha drops his hands. “So, you know about the hive mind theory,” he concludes.

    “It’s real. I saw it with my own eyes. Ryo spoke to me! Wait… where’s Böshtok?”

    “I figured he was with you.”

    Mayor Sensha starts to panic again, but he keeps his composure.

    “Ibram, we need to keep track of everyone. There was something else…”


    “Well… when they were about to turn me into one of them, they all stopped. They started taking damage – all of them. Randomly. It’s a miracle, truly.”

    “What do you mean? Taking damage? How?”

    “I don’t know! Just like, you know, getting hurt by some exterior force. I didn’t see anything attack them. They just started teleporting around like rabbits!”

    “It’s Joey,” Ibram is quick to respond. “If they are all connected, then someone, somewhere, is fighting Enderquin right now. Has to be Joey.”

    “From where??” the mayor asks much more assertively. Ibram connects the dots in his head, considering that perhaps Böshtok’s final message to Joey was actually a set of directions.



    IT IS NOT ENOUGH.” Witherquin kills the trapped enderman, and I am unsure whether it did anything at all other than **** him off. We need to find more.

    Capturing another enderman, I guide the demons to destroy it without allowing it to teleport away. As Witherquin attacks them, I begin feeling discomfort in my own body. As though the attacks impact me just as well. That doesn’t bode well.

    Witherquin stops attacking the endermen.


    In the distance, I see… I see… a villager! Do my eyes deceive me? It’s possible – Enderquin might have more power in this realm than I previously supposed. In either case, it’s obvious that I need to verify for certain.

    Leaving Witherquin, who I suspect would not treat the villager with care, I realize that it’s not just any villager. It’s Ibram!

    “Ibram! Over here!!” I call out as he looks in this direction.


    “What are you doing here?? HOW did you get here?”

    “We followed the signal. How did you get here?”

    “Long story – I’ve been stuck here trying to find a way out. Enderquin put some kind of curse on me.”

    “So, the attack… it wasn’t you?”

    “Well, that’s complicated…” both of us look back towards Witherquin’s demons which are mindlessly patrolling the area. “Let’s just say I formed an unlikely alliance. Are you able to get me out of here?”

    “I hope so, otherwise we’re both doomed.”

    Ibram takes me back to the portal he came through, and I let out a sigh of relief on seeing that the portal is lit.

    “I should probably fill you in on what’s going on up there,” he notes as we travel through.

    The sky is bright and glistening with optimistic energy. It’s the first time I have seen the sun in a long time. The feeling of its warmth on my skin once again – only now can I find the appreciation for such subtleties. They mean everything to me.

    Two villagers approach me in the clubhouse, but Ibram is not among them.

    “Hello, Joey San. How are you today?” asks Böshtok. He doesn’t even seem surprised to see me.

    “You know you can just call me Joey… we’ve been over this.”

    “Joey San, can we get you anything?” asks Staz, ignoring what I just said.

    “I’m good thanks… are you guys good? Where is the mayor? Has anyone been hurt??”

    “Joey San, how about some tea? We can get you Maker’s finest concoction,” Böshtok continues, again ignoring my questions. “We’re here to help.”

    “What?! Stop this nonsense, Böshtok.”

    “Please, let us get you some tea, Joey San,” Staz’s voice begins to split into many, each echoing at a different frequency.

    “Joey San, we have so many gifts for you,” continues the voice, which is now unrecognizable.

    “What are you- AHH! GET AWAY!” I scream as they turn into zombies. I race outside the clubhouse and hop on the train to Starlight HQ. This is madness!!

    Come back, Joey San. We have gifts for you.

    Approaching Starlight, I hop out and race to the treehouse, only to find the entire area infested with endermen, the sun trading places with darkness. And the iron farm roof is eroding away, like a rotten apple. Unprovoked, all of them stare towards me, temporarily paralyzing me until I realize that I have flight.

    But I can’t take off.

    “What the? Where are my wings??” They’re gone. In fact, I have no armor at all.

    A dragon spawns over the iron farm, and a swarm of angry endermen chases me.

    As I escape into the water, heading downstairs, villagers start pouring out from the wall, mindlessly and without any obvious source. It’s actually quite horrific.

    Joey San, let us continue to feed your farms. Let us be your sustenance.

    “What is this nightmare??!”

    Everything you ever wanted, Enderquin’s conscious voice emerges, a growling vocoded chorus of many.

    You wanted to have it all. To be a leader. To be a god. I am giving you those things now.

    “This is not what I want!” I race back outside to face Enderquin. “Show yourself!”

    That’s not exactly what I meant.

    PART FIVE: The Call of Qletlna

    Laying out the maps, Ibram and Mayor Sensha observe the waypoints while intermittently checking for endermen outside, the sun rising after a blistering night.

    “So, the aftermath that the trader was referring to could very well be the location where the Secret of Stonewall was fulfilled,” Ibram narrates, after which he receives a jarring look from the mayor, who knows all too well that the myth was nothing more than a ruse.

    “Oh, right… I mean, the place where we thought the Secret of Stonewall was fulfilled.” Again, he receives a jolting look.

    “I mean, the place where JOEY blindly misinterpreted everything about that document and unleashed demons from hell, which is probably what got Enderquin’s attention in the first place.”

    “That’s better,” the satisfied mayor affirms, looking back to the map.

    “He called that peninsula ‘Aftermath,’ and I can only presume that’s because of the damage caused by the withers he unleashed there.”

    “Not a bad theory,” the mayor concedes. “It still doesn’t explain why he isn’t here now, or how he could harm Enderquin from there. What’s his play?”

    “I haven’t figured that out. Not from this, not from any of these books,” Ibram gestures to the chest of books he had been cycling through.

    “Everyone else has run off to God knows where… they always leave me out of everything.” Frustrated, Ibram retreats to the fireplace.

    The mayor takes another look at the map, still listening carefully for any endermen outside. He looks solemnly upon Ibram, wondering whether this council he put together was worth the effort. They had so far proven to be anything but a team.

    “You know, back before I became the mayor, I was a farmer,” he walks to Ibram and sits by the fireplace. “I farmed potatoes, carrots – not beets, though. We didn’t have much of a market for those at the time. But each day, I would trade those products with the clerics, the masons, and the butchers. My plot wasn’t very big, and usually other farmers had much more to offer. I would watch them trade hundreds of vegetables at a time, compared to the measly twenty or so I would offer. Made me feel like a lost cause.”

    “So how did you overcome that?”

    “Oh, I didn’t. Nope – lost my entire plot, was even stripped from my status as a farmer. I became a nitwit. However, I had something that the others did not. Foresight. I could see the issues rampaging our community. I noticed when things were not agreeable among the villages. One day, two of the villages got into a bit of a scramble over land. Things got a little dicey. I had a self-imbued task of fostering a peaceful resolution, even if I no longer had a job among the community.”

    “How did you do it?”

    “Nope, didn’t do that, either. They fought; people died. It was ugly… But after that, I offered a solution so that nobody else would have to die. A solution nobody asked for. But it was one that would have prevented a war in the first place, and the mayor at that time knew it. I had the kind of foresight they needed to prevent a war. That was my superpower, and that’s my point.”

    “…that I should have tried harder to prevent an all-powerful god from reigning chaos out of nowhere?”

    “No, no that’s not…” Mayor Sensha shakes his head. “I offered something valuable to the community they didn’t realize they needed. I focused on my strength, which was not in farming, but rather diplomacy. You have a strength, too. Figure out what it is and lean into that. Maybe it’s a superpower that we don’t realize we need.”

    Ibram smiles, then continues to look down at the floor.



    Arian and Staz diligently study the books on display in the library, looking specifically for those which might highlight clues relevant to Enderquin’s plan. Only the sounds of pages flipping, the occasional footstep, and wood creaking are heard, and while Arian is all too comfortable, Staz constantly looks over waiting for her to say something. Maybe he just isn’t used to hard work.

    “So, uh, here’s a book I found,” he looks over at Arian, pulling a random one off the shelf. The awkward silence must have been unbearable.

    “What’s that?” Arian asks half interested, still involved in the book she is reading.

    “It’s called, uh, Dad Jokes.”

    “You’ve got to be kidding me,” Arian whispers to herself.

    A few moments go by; Arian rightfully presumes that Staz has already moved on from that silly venture.

    “Without geometry, life is pointless!”

    Arian looks over at Staz, who very adamantly did not move on from that venture.

    “I’m reading a book on the history of glue – can’t put it down,” he continues.

    “Are you serious?” Arian, looking as disgusted as ever, can no longer focus on her reading.

    “What do you call a sheep with no legs? A CLOUD!” Staz, more than amused, flips the page. Arian sighs in contempt.

    “A duck walks into a pharmacy and says, ‘give me some chap-stick, and put it on my bill!’”

    “Okay, that one wasn’t bad…” Arian admits.

    “What’s a pharmacy?” Staz asks himself.

    Arian walks over and takes the book from Staz. “No more dad jokes. You should consider moving to a different section,” she suggests, trying very hard to maintain patience.

    “Fine…” Staz heads to the back, intrigued by the enchanting table. He notices the shelf of Quintropolis tales, and decides to have a look, even if his comprehension of such ancient books may be slightly less established than that of his comrades.

    “Wonder what this one is about,” he notes, sifting across an old letter, Ode to Betsy. “Arian, know anyone named Betsy?”

    “For God’s sake!” she yells impatiently, putting down her book and joining Staz in the back. Leaning against the bookshelf, her answer to his question is little more than a discerning expression of displeasure.

    “How did you get this job?” she asks, almost seriously.

    “I was born in the clubhouse. To Böshtok. And Drexel, too.”

    “How does… you know what, I don’t even want to know… What is this chest, anyway?” She shifts her attention away from Staz’s questionable origins to the interesting nature of the books in this corner.

    “Yeah, there’s lots of cool stuff in here!” Staz exclaims, mishandling the books, almost tearing a few.

    “Be careful with those! The goal is to be discreet – it’s not like we want Joey to know someone destroyed all his ****.”

    “Right, sorry…”

    Arian checks out some of the tales in this chest, many of which are books that Joey, himself, found and used as a roadmap, including the Mystery of the Endermen, Secret of Stonewall, and the Relics of Enderquin.

    “Would you look at that…” she responds, reading the Relics. “The gauntlet thrives with infinite lives.”

    “What did you say?” Staz’s alarm goes off, and his curiosity turns to panic. He stands from the chest, backing against the wall, his breathing becoming increasingly heavier.

    “Staz, what the hell? Are you okay?” Arian, unaware of the mantra’s weight, stands to reassure Staz that she is in control of herself. She gives Staz the book. “Look here.”

    Staz, cautiously taking the book from Arian, observes the poetry at a glance.

    “That’s what it says,” Arian claims, and Staz confirms this fact just moments later. His shock lessens as he moves to a sigh of disbelief.

    Theorizing in his mind how Drexel would have even known about this poetry, his overarching carefree attitude almost instantly vanishes as he explores the other books Arian pulled aside, notably Mystery of the Endermen. Arian, silently respecting Staz’s recognitions without overtly understanding them, lets Staz do what he needs to do.

    “He already knew everything that would happen,” Staz gloomily reports as he reads Mystery of the Endermen. “Joey knew everything before it happened.”

    “That’s why we need to stop him,” Arian asserts.

    Staz reaches into the chest, hoping to find something more useful than information they mostly already know. “How ‘bout this one?” he asks, dusting off what appears to be a much older book at the bottom of the chest.

    Arian collects the old book, noticing the cover, The Call of Qletlna.

    “Ever heard of this?” Staz asks.

    “Not even a mention.”

    Arian opens the book carefully, together with Staz indulging in the archaic but still strangely modernized poetry.

    Spread of silence, twice in the cycle. It waits.

    Rabbits caught timely in the tide pool. It hates.

    Bees abroad branches, birds bury bait.

    Foxes fight feathers, freedom fears fate.

    Tethered in a well of thoughtful desires,

    The cry of a ghastly ghoul in the fires.

    It waits. It hates. Scorch in the sky.

    The wish of a wading whisper gone awry.

    The lake lifts the jungle, the spirit sings with glee.

    Temple faces tempest, all things joyfully.

    When flight turns to fight, the storm listens close.

    Valleys brew puddles, movement morose.

    Fires and flashes, floods in the well.

    The elements dance more than before.

    A score and a snake, meet far beyond the lake.

    The waters crash through the door.

    “What does it mean?” Staz, himself barely paying attention to the text, asks of Arian. He suspects she probably already knows everything about this document, anyway.

    “I don’t have the slightest clue… but Böshtok might.”

    Arian hears a noise outside, almost like a tree uprooting, except that no audible storm or tremor would have caused it. “Come on,” she states, leading Staz out of the library with The Call of Qletlna in her inventory.

    As she and Staz race out of Starlight Castle, they are met with an unwelcome surprise at the door.

    Going somewhere? Violet asks, her mangled voice meeting Arian with uncomfortable satisfaction.



    Trying my best to avoid falling debris, I rush back through the flood of villagers in the Power Museum looking for a way out of this maze. The mindless villagers mutter about but with no clear speech. I wonder if the MISC can help me out.

    I go to create a link to lock down the base, but it doesn’t work. The glowstone is locked.

    “What’s going on?” I ask myself.

    Racing down to check out the redstone, what greets me is nothing short of catastrophic.

    “GET OUT!” My mind works to fight what I believe is a hallucination, but I… I can’t be sure. I don’t know what the real Overworld should be like right now if this is not it. “You are not welcome here!!”

    I fall through the wreckage, finding myself lost in the redstone which has already broken entirely apart. All my hard work. Gone. Everything I built for them. Gone. Like it never even happened at all.

    I can see you,he states. I can sense your fear.

    “There’s nothing to be afraid of,” I respond impatiently. “You can’t hurt me in here.”

    I don’t want to hurt you.

    I navigate the redstone passageways trying to find a backdoor into some system, but to be truthful, I don’t know what I am looking for. Maybe I am not looking for anything at all. Perhaps it is just a ruse built to mask my lack of control. Perhaps, I am pretending to dive deeper into a search for escape as a last-ditch effort to stay strong in the eyes of a condescending creature.

    I want to free you.

    “From myself, I’m guessing? Not gonna happen,” I jump through the wires and find a pathway I remember digging out long ago. I was building MISC links down here, but the redstone is fragmented now. Bits and pieces – I’d never be able to reassemble everything.

    Don’t you see? We are one.

    “Stop trying to convince me that I’m somehow the same as you. You can’t control me like you do them.”

    Can’t I?

    “I’m only here because you know I’m stronger than you thought. That’s why you won’t let me into the real Overworld.”

    Perceptive. Let me add that to my notes…

    “That’s why you locked me in the Nether at all!”

    Is that what I did? Were you locked down there?

    “It must have been a move of desperation for you. That you were so afraid of what I could do that you had to shut me out completely.”

    Your greatest weakness deceives you again. I cannot manipulate portals. Only fear – something you already know.

    “But, you did, though,” I conclude, bewildered at Enderquin’s comments. “You cursed me from being able to escape. Now I don’t even know where I am.”

    Tell me. Did you ever try to enter a portal? Or did you simply accept that you could not see it? Perhaps, it is your own fear of me which kept you sedated under the spell of denial.

    “Your mind games won’t work anymore,” I outwardly exclaim, despite the fact that I never did try to enter a portal. They didn’t light – I know they didn’t. He’s just playing games with me. He knows that I know that he is playing games with me.

    Don’t be so sensitive, Joey San. Look at the bigger picture.

    I look around, but I can’t see much beyond all the stone. I suppose Enderquin could choose to show me the bigger picture, just like he did with Violet, but I guess that choice is not up to me.

    You are a product of your environment. But your environment is nothing except a garbage dump hidden from the true paradise I can create.

    Don’t let your selfish interests get in the way of all that is intended to be.

    “I can’t help it,” I confess. “My selfish interests are the only hope they have to be safe from you.”

    Enderquin growls, understandably so, as my stubbornness prevents me from being capable of giving into his mind games. It does not matter whether his intentions are “bigger” or whether they fall into the “means to an end” category relevant to his revenge path against Sentien and the other gods. This is my world. And I’m going to protect it the best I can.

    Following the underground pathway, a strange mist appears where stone used to be. I slap myself, even though I know all too well that I’m inside a vivid hallucination. A dream world. It should not be here.

    He wants me to jump inside. That’s why he put it there.

    “Nice try.”

    You think you have a choice?

    The dragon has already destroyed all my redstone, clusters of stone cascading above me, effectively trapping me underground. With every choice I make inside this twisted simulation of my world, he forces me into another. It’s a chess game in which I am the pawn trying to usurp the queen.

    I’ll make you a deal,he starts as I ponder at the cosmic mist, rocks crashing down all around me.

    If you beat me again, I will let you out. Again.

    What a way to get inside my head.

    PART SIX: We Are One

    We are grateful for your courage, Arian. It will be most satisfying to recreate you.

    “Cut the ****, gravel gurgler.” Arian draws a sword she pulled from the arsenal downstairs. “What will be most satisfying, is what I’m about to do to your dumb ass outfit.”

    Staz retreats to the steps. Violet lifts her arms, summoning an initial attack. But Arian dodges the attack, sending a sword straight to Violet’s chest.

    A quick spell by Violet sends Arian into confusion as her vision becomes severely impaired. As she begins to get hit with arrows, she swings her sword almost aimlessly, unable to find Violet.

    Got anymore wise comments?

    “Yeah,” Arian gets a hit on Violet, forcing her to use the cloning spell. “Your dimension sucks.”

    Arian uses an ender pearl, hiding herself in the castle beams to regain strength. She waits for the blindness to wear off, sneaking behind the Lifeline and watching closely for any endermen in the area that would give away her location.

    Come out, and play with me, Arian. Do you think I can’t already see you?

    Arian sneaks around to another beam, well aware of Enderquin’s mind games, knowing all too well that he cannot see her. But a complication arises when endermen begin teleporting into the castle.

    Got you, now.

    Arian attacks the enderman, using her pearls to evade Enderquin and Violet’s attacks. She realizes that Violet cannot see her, having regained enough health, and draws another pearl to finish the job.

    “Recover from this, *****.”

    She delivers the final blow to Violet, severing Enderquin’s ability to cast the spells necessary to change villagers into endermen. The endermen disappear, as Staz pops out from underneath the floor.

    “One day, you’ll learn to fight like that,” she reassures Staz, but his reaction does not suggest he wants to.

    Arian puts away her sword, swiftly making for the entrance to make some sense of the landscape.

    The grounds around Starlight Castle greet her almost theatrically so, with hordes of endermen appearing and dragons spawning in the sky. They roar and soar, triggering flashes of lightning and shockwaves of thunder across the ground. It’s almost too much to bear the sight of. Instead of reacting in discomfort, Arian’s confusion manifests through scowling at the melodramatic display of Enderquin’s power – as though he should be embarrassed at trying to amuse her so desperately.

    The sudden flood of elder guardians makes no sense to her, and upon seeing these, she immediately rebukes the sight of this extravagant mess.

    “No,” she states, and the hallucination vanishes almost as immediately.

    She ponders for a moment, partly relieved at the inability of Enderquin to grasp onto her mind as easily as the others. Perhaps it is the first attempt he has made to control Arian, but this attempt, it seems, had failed.

    Upon further reflection, she smiles. “He can’t control me,” she declares to herself, internally hypothesizing new ways they might be able to save the others. She turns back to Staz, repeating her declaration in excitement, only to be met with a sword pointing straight at her. She holds up her hands, her smile fading, as she steps towards Staz.

    “Staz, what is this…”

    “Stay BACK! I’m not afraid to use this!!” he yells, shaking but still aware of his surroundings.

    “Staz, you’re seeing things, right? You know you can’t hurt me with that.”

    “You trickster! It was always you!! Making me think Drexel was dead!”

    Arian raises an eyebrow, wondering whether Staz sees Drexel in her place. “Staz, you need to rebuke this! Don’t let him beat you!”

    “Enough talking!” Staz takes a step to Arian, his diamond sword still pointing at her chest. “Let’s see who has infinite lives, now!!”

    “I swear, when I find you, I’m gonna rip you apart,” she quietly states to herself, referring of course to Joey, who she continues to condemn for this chaos. Intently, she runs at Staz, who tries but fails to attack her with the sword. Arian reclaims the sword, pointing it back at Staz, who falls to the floor still anxiously frozen in place. “Do it,” he says, which produces a solemn reaction from Arian. She decides to change strategies.

    “You imbecile!” she yells at Staz. “I can’t believe I got stuck with an ill-witted, flower frolicking chicken ****, with the attention span of a restless rabbit trapped inside the body of a walking jukebox whose music discs are routinely shattered and burned because its sheep-screeching voice tears into the spirit of the hopeless souls who have to listen to it.”

    Staz awkwardly looks around, very perplexed but no longer shaking so fiercely. Arian puts the sword down, instead lending her hand to Staz.

    “Tell me – would Drexel be capable of insulting you so deeply?”

    After a moment of consideration, Staz accepts Arian’s hand, standing and seeing her once again instead of Drexel. Processing these events, he stares profoundly into Arian’s soul, reaching his hands out to her face to make sure it’s really her.

    “Okay, that’s enough,” she disregards these efforts, walking to the backdoor of Starlight Castle.

    “Did you really mean all that, though?” Staz follows Arian to the back.



    I jump through the mist which lands me onto an obsidian platform surrounded by eight beacons. I’m back in Enderquin’s homeland.

    Welcome back, Joey San. Did you miss me?

    “I’m going to end you.”

    Ha, I see what you did there.

    Mists begin emerging from the ground as beams blast onto each of the obsidian towers, one at a time, each one producing a new end crystal.

    I want you to know that you have my utmost respect, Joey San. For a child, you exhibit uncanny bravery. It will be most satisfying to try recreating you.

    “Not nearly as satisfying as it will be for me to watch you die.”

    Your arrogance has always betrayed you; it is your true enemy. Now, I give you a chance to fight it.

    The crystals converge in the sky as a new dragon spawns above me, causing a shockwave across the island. This one should be easy to kill, because now we both have the power of flight.

    “I don’t know what you’re planning, or why you are staging this little play. But you would be wise not to underestimate me,” I declare as I soar through the sky, making child’s play out of Enderquin’s crystals of chaos. It is nothing to me now.

    Don’t forget whose game you have been playing since the day you spawned.

    “There is no such thing as fate. I write my own destiny!”

    Enderquin laughs.

    Sure, you do. Now go on – kill the dragon.

    That was no trouble at all. The better half of my judgment says that Enderquin is playing a much deeper game; I already know this. What I cannot determine is why he continues to stall me. He is keeping me from entering the real Overworld, but I’ll find a way out. It’s all inside my head, after all. This much, I have determined.

    Jumping through the exit portal, I find myself in a slight conundrum.

    I am back on the obsidian platform. Mists begin emerging from the ground as beams blast onto each of the obsidian towers, one at a time, each one producing a new end crystal. The crystals converge in the sky as… Wait… I’ve said this already. This happened, already.

    Welcome back, Joey San. Did you miss me?

    “Wha- What?”

    I said: did you miss me?

    “You said you would let me out!”

    I also said you needed to beat me, first.

    A new dragon spawns just as it did before. I claim the crystals just as I did before. I destroy the dragon just as I did before. The beaming lights in the sky have become commonplace – not a sign of triumph, but rather a reminder that triumph continues to elude me.

    Jumping through the exit portal, I find myself in a slight conundrum.

    I am back on the obsidian platform. Mists begin emerging from the ground as beams blast onto each of the obsidian towers, one at a time, each one producing a… a…

    Go on. Finish your narration, Joey San. This is your story, after all.

    Producing a… new end crystal. The crystals converge in the sky as… Something is wrong here.

    “You’re full of tricks! I had gotten out of your little gauntlet of games.”

    You have only walked down the road I paved. And still, you continue to wade in troubled waters, the depths of which you know not.

    “What have you done with Ibram?!”

    Humans… it’s amazing how easy you are to manipulate.

    This is a conundrum.



    Hearing a crash outside the clubhouse, Mayor Sensha jumps at the opportunity to see if anyone had been hurt. His instinctual response, as always, drives him to protect. He does not notice any endermen outside, nor does he hear any distress signals beyond the Inner Circle. But his paranoia remains in control, and he retreats within the clubhouse.

    “Stay away from that balcony,” he firmly instructs Ibram, who is getting all too close to the outside world.

    “What’s wrong? I’ve been running around all day.”

    “You don’t understand… he can teleport anywhere. He can be anywhere.”

    The dissatisfied mayor watches from the windows, waiting for the blue-robed figure to appear again, constantly turning back towards Ibram to prevent any surprise appearances that Enderquin might attempt. Ibram, noticing the mayor’s fearful behavior, kicks his sword over to the window. The mayor looks back at the sword, a bit puzzled, but accepting of the weapon regardless.

    “Better to be prepared, right?” Ibram asks, and the mayor agrees.

    An extended screech somewhere outside surprises both of them, however it is not clear whether it was a person or some type of metallic object.

    “Ibram, stay on guard. I’ve heard this sound before,” he instructs, but Ibram does not offer a response. “Ibram?”

    Turning around, Ibram is gone. His heart dropping from his chest, Mayor Sensha picks up the sword and sneaks to where he was standing. Wind begins picking up outside while faint thunder resonates in the far distance. Temperatures drop as chills flood the clubhouse, the lights losing power as an uncanny presence fills the air.

    “I know what you’re doing,” the mayor calls out, seemingly aware that he is now in a hallucination. “I know your tricks,” he whispers. Suddenly, the lights turn back on, which startles the poised mayor. The door opens as Ibram returns, shivering slightly.

    “Seems a storm is in the distance – the lights never go out like that,” he notes nonchalantly. “I got ‘em fixed up, though.”

    Mayor Sensha lowers his sword, but not his guard, as Ibram returns to warm up near the fireplace. He wonders whether this is really Ibram, this time preparing for the trick instead of hiding from it.

    “Ibram… what did you tell the others? Why aren’t they here?” his superpower of foresight begins to kick in as he suspects something is not right.

    “What do you mean?”

    “You said it was a map. How would you know that?”

    “Well, I-“

    “Have you been there once before?” The mayor raises his voice, in a subtle interrogating manner.

    “Mayor, please, it’s my job to know these things.”

    “You didn’t go outside to fix the lights. You were signaling someone,” the mayor holds up his sword in defense. Ibram, anxious as ever, backs away to the fireplace.

    “Mayor, you have been erratic. You’re not okay.”

    “I should’ve known that he would come for you next. I’m such a fool not to see it.”

    This comment confuses Ibram, furthering his assertion that the mayor was in no position to make rational decisions about their next moves.

    “Mayor, please listen to me. We couldn’t risk you knowing…”

    “Risk me knowing… what?”

    It would seem that the two were raising completely different narratives, though only one had drawn a weapon as a means to the end of that narrative.

    “Böshtok knew you wouldn’t approve,” Ibram holds up his hands, fearful but hopeful that the clearly terrified, dissatisfied mayor would lower his weapon. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen.

    “I offered to help, but he insisted that the footprint around the portal was minimal,” Ibram continues, though only now does Mayor Sensha begin to understand what Ibram is talking about.

    “You… you’re leading an army into that place.”

    “Well, no, not me, technically.”

    “You have NO idea what he is capable of!” Mayor Sensha shouts, shakily but fiercely as he takes a step closer to Ibram, sword still pointed.

    “This is not the council I put together!!”

    Ibram looks upon Mayor Sensha with such despondency, balanced with faith in Böshtok yet still a slimmer of shame. After all, it is exactly this sly behavior which prompted Mayor Sensha to keep tabs on Joey’s whereabouts in the first place. Now, it would seem that everyone had gone off the rails, though in this case that meant a form of betrayal against the one person determined to keep everything running smoothly. It was his job, after all.

    Mayor Sensha lowers his sword, his face boiling with both sadness and rage as he studies Ibram, attempting to discern why he and the others would deliberately behave so mischievously.

    “I hope you know what you’re doing,” he delicately responds, the rage turned to hopelessness as he just walks out of the clubhouse, disappearing from the Inner Circle with not a care in the world.



    Arian and Staz venture to Starlight Outback, where Arian takes an immediate interest in the chorus fruit plants that she notices in the distance.

    “Staz… check out the treehouse. I’m going to head back there and see what I can find.”

    “Okie dokie… well just don’t eat any of those.”

    “Thanks for the helpful advice.”

    Setting foot in Vax Valley, Arian sees a librarian near the furnaces who is taking notes in a book. She does not perceive a threat, but she is also keenly aware that chorus fruits are central to the mayor’s interests. Approaching the librarian, Arian tries not to be startling.

    “Excuse me,” Arian calmly asks, but the librarian nearly drops her book in surprise. “It’s okay,” Arian holds her hands up, keeping her distance.

    “I’m not a threat. Just here to find answers.”

    “Well, join the club,” the startled librarian agrees, readjusting her book and continuing to write as though nobody approached her at all. She returns to ignoring Arian completely, fully immersed in her notes. Arian, unsure whether to be offended or simply bewildered, lowers her hands and takes a step closer.

    “Umm,” Arian looks around. “Aren’t you gonna ask what I want?”

    “Beg your pardon?” The librarian looks up from her book, visibly annoyed at being interrupted again.

    “I just mean, well, you probably didn’t expect to see other people here,” Arian figures. The librarian shrugs and returns to her book.

    “What are you writing about?” Arian takes a step closer, but the librarian promptly closes the book. She looks up at Arian but makes no attempt at conversation.

    “Okay, then. Can you at least tell me your name?”

    “It’s Greta,” she answers, then walks away into the chorus fruit garden. Arian’s irritation intensifies as much as her patience dwindles, given the events she and Staz had recently endured. She pursues Greta into the garden.

    “Look, I understand you’re probably busy with whatever the hell this is, but I’ve had a long, aggravating day. And I’m not a big fan of the ‘guess-who-it-is’ bullsh*t. So, respectfully, I need you to tell me what’s going on here,” Arian demands firmly, gesturing to the chorus fruits.

    Greta adjusts her glasses.



    Treading alone through the jungle on Quintropolis Island, Mayor Sensha encounters a strange group of critters making odd sounds. They hiss and sniff the ground, but they make no attempts to harass the mayor. In fact, they barely seem to notice his presence at all.

    “What on earth? Where did you come from??” he approaches the mutated bugs, clearly concerned. The close sound of his footsteps scares the critters away, but that only amplifies their ambient noises throughout the entire jungle. Looking around, with a much sharper eye, the mayor observes the overwhelming presence of the bugs, dropping his sword in disbelief.

    “Mayor!! Help me!!” a concerned citizen calls out while running down the road. At a closer glance, Mayor Sensha sees what he is running from.

    Picking up his sword, armed with the courage of a curious explorer, he freezes in his tracks when he realizes the size of the swarm scurrying straight for him.

    Readying his sword, he charges to the swarm, attacking the bugs with all his might, only to be overpowered by the sheer mass of leeches from every direction. They bite and they fight, but the mayor refuses to surrender.

    “You WILL not see this world, Enderquin!! You won’t see it!!”

    The mayor drowns in the abyss of purple pests which promise to engulf him, yet he never gives up the fight down to his last breath. The distressed citizen gasps in shock as the pests leave no trace, but it isn’t long until he makes haste towards the Inner Circle.

    PART SEVEN: The Gateway

    “Mayor Sensha is obsessed with gods,” Greta confesses to Arian in the garden, deliberately taking notes in her journal. “He always believed that their behavior towards us was mostly a reaction of their relationship with one another.”

    “Doesn’t explain why Enderquin seems to enjoy toying with us so much.”

    “Sure it does,” Greta corrects Arian. “We are a product of them. We were made by them. To him, it’s like spilling water on a painting done by your enemy, but not all at once – just drops at a time, watching the canvas gradually bleed with imperfections.”

    “How do we preserve the painting?”

    “Keep it locked away, I guess,” Greta chuckles. She walks to the other end of the chorus fruit garden.

    “What’s the fixation with these fruits, anyway? Do they really taste that godly?” Arian mockingly asks.

    “Don’t be silly,” Greta retorts. “These fruits don’t belong here. The chorus fruit god never intended for it.”

    “Come again?” Arian questions in skepticism.

    “Taravax created the fruits to represent the perfect sustenance – the embodiment of fertile harmony for all living things,” Greta explains.

    “Somewhere, harmony took a left turn, and Enderquin got his hands on them. Determining what he did to them might tell us about their origin beyond his realm, and our world’s history as a whole.”

    “Ah, so you’re another one of those history nuts who still believes ancient stories.” Arian shrugs it off.

    “Seems you’re not far off, yourself,” Greta gestures to The Call of Qletlna, which she must have noticed a while ago.

    “Oh, what? You know about this book or something?”

    “I haven’t deciphered it entirely… but I do know about Qletlna’s interest in the Quinn Zodiac.”

    “The what now?”

    “It’s humorous, really,” Greta laughs. “Always the god of fire who is quick to the path of destruction.” Arian doesn’t share Greta’s relaxed attitude, perhaps unsurprisingly.

    “Arian!!” their conversation is interrupted by an all too excited Staz yelling from the treehouse. “You’ve gotta see this!!” Greta looks up to Staz, likely shocked by how one person could be so excited about anything.

    Convening in the treehouse, Staz brings them into one of the two map rooms, entirely oblivious to the fact that Arian is joined by someone new.

    “Isn’t this place so cool?? I could totally live up in here. Anyway, come in here!” he gestures to the adventure map. Arian and Greta cooperate, but not with nearly as much enthusiasm.

    “Remember what Böshtok said to Joey before he got lost? What was it exactly… something about guilt and aftermath?”

    “Yeah, yeah – the walls of your guilt will find closure in the aftermath,” Arian validates.

    “Well, I think we have our answer,” Staz points to Aftermath on the map.

    Arian takes a step to the waypoint, her lack of enthusiasm transitioning seamlessly into concern.

    “That’s in Stonewall Territory,” she notes.

    “Well, allegedly, it is,” Greta adds. “To be fair, our understanding of those boundaries is limited to what we know of the region’s history.”

    “Yeah, yeah, okay. Whatever. Sure, my point being, that if this is where Joey is, then he isn’t safe. Why would Enderquin direct him back to the very place he first unleashed a fury of Witherquin’s demons?”

    “Perhaps, Enderquin knows Joey’s greatest fear. That’s what he uses against us.”

    “And what would that be?”

    “Failure. As a leader.”

    “Please… leader? Come on, with all your knowledge, you still believe that he has led us??” Arian moves about the treehouse, joined by Greta, while Staz’s fervor morphs into muted observation – a similar role, perhaps, that he played at the Council Clubhouse.

    “You speak as though he has done something terrible,” Greta answers.

    “Yeah, look around us. Enderquin is only here because Joey’s ignorance led him to whatever ancient stories he wanted so much to believe in.”

    “I wouldn’t be so quick to that conclusion…” Greta retrieves a nether star from her bag. “Enderquin was always prophesied to come. His war on humanity, according to our ancestors, was inevitable. We all did this. Together.”

    Greta gives the nether star to Arian. “Don’t think that Joey could have unleashed Enderquin without the help of others. Curiosity plagues us all – I mean, it’s why we’re here, now.”

    Arian, still surprised by the presence of a nether star outside the context of war, quietly puts it away in her inventory.

    “How many people know about this?” Arian asks.

    “About what?”

    “About… all of this. Enderquin. The chorus fruits. Ancient myths and **** like that.”

    “Danger always follows the path of the curious. Or, in our case, we follow the danger.” Greta chuckles. “Mayor Sensha came up with that one… he only knows about these things, but not by indulging in such reading as I have. He took in a strange wanderer who knew about them. I think her name was Violet.”

    “Oh, well, she’s dead now.”

    “What?” A concerned Greta shows a sign of worry – one of the first expressions of emotion she has so far presented.

    “She wasn’t whoever you think she was. Not anymore. Enderquin got to her, differently. She can change people into endermen. Or could, rather. I finished her off in the castle over there.”

    “No,” Greta responds. “That’s not possible… she was our only link.”

    “Link to what?”


    A wandering trader arrives at the treehouse, blowing a horn. Greta leaves, knowing that the call is for her.



    Think about their quality of life. Think about what you’re taking from them,Enderquin tries to convince me that somehow, I am the enemy.

    I try to conjure other ways of killing him, thinking that perhaps the perfect weapon just hasn’t yet been utilized. But it’s all a joke to him. He created this fantasy as a way to mock me. Well, it won’t work. I already know all his tricks.

    “I am their protector. From you.”

    Of course, as I say that, I start to see villagers popping up from the island’s entrance. Namely, Böshtok sprints out from underneath, probably trying to make sense of this place. That would be a wasted endeavor.

    “Joey!!” he yells. I’ve been fooled before, and I won’t let it happen again. Going to face Böshtok, or rather this illusion of him, I’m not letting Enderquin continue to distract me. I will escape the gauntlet.

    I go for an attack on Böshtok, who dodges me. “Joey, it’s me!! Böshtok! Are you mad??”

    “You can’t control me anymore. I’ve already beaten your little game.”

    “What are you talking about?”

    I get a hit on Böshtok, which elicits an aggressive response from the other villagers who form a circle around him.

    “What is this?” I ask, confused at why Enderquin would illustrate such an exaggerated display. I turn and face the dragon once more. “Very funny tricks!”

    Incredible,Enderquin observes. You don’t even know your own friends.

    “Joey, I’m real,” Böshtok emerges from the circle. “And we’re here to help.”

    “Sure you are,” I go in for the kill, but Böshtok presents one of Maker’s finest concoctions – the same splash potions I always prepared to cure them. Halting my attack, I become trapped in a conflict once more between not knowing whether this is the Böshtok with whom I’d become friends, who somehow knew exactly how and when to get here. Or if it’s just another illusion that Enderquin has created to further distract me. Wouldn’t be the first time today.

    “If you’re real,” I start, “then you shouldn’t have come here.”

    I back off for now, finding this to be the only solution. I won’t worry about them in case it’s just another trick. If they’re real, then they decided to come here, which would’ve been their mistake – one I warned them about far too many times. Now, Enderquin scorns me for it.

    I’ve already lost count of how many dragons I’ve killed. Regardless, I’ll give these villagers a chance to leave.

    “He’s gone. Let’s go,” I command to Böshtok and the villagers, gesturing to the exit portal.

    “No,” he answers, which is not the response I expected. “One does not simply defeat a god, Joey,” he echoes Mayor Sensha’s words to me in years past. I can’t imagine Enderquin would have known those words, at least not like that… still, I have seen Enderquin’s power. I know what he is capable of, and I won’t be fooled so quickly again.

    “Even if I don’t kill you, you’ve already signed away your life, Böshtok.” I declare, jumping through the exit portal myself.

    I am back on the obsidian platform. Mists begin emerging from the ground as beams blast onto each of the obsidian towers, one at a time, each one producing a new end crystal. Purple beacons surge from around the island every now and then as the dragon prepares to spawn. Wait… those weren’t there before.

    At a closer glance, I notice new portals to the outer islands popping up around the island. I know for a fact that only one such portal existed the first time I was here. Does that mean this isn’t an illusion? That it isn’t in my head? Did Enderquin drive me here by mistakenly masking the real Overworld with my own fears? It’s possible, but I won’t be letting my guard down that easily.

    There’s something I wanted to ask you, my child. Call it a curious thought.

    “One thing we both have in common,” I say whilst flying through the air hurling my strongest attacks.

    Did my brother say anything?

    “What?” I stop on the obsidian platform for a moment.

    You know, about me. I never got a chance to say goodbye before Sentien cast us out.

    Now that I think about it, there truly is no way that the two would have been able to interact for the thousands of years that Sentien locked them apart… at least, based on what the Chosen One had told me. Is this entire conquest a façade of his attempt to speak to his brother again? It’s possible… that he will use my compassion as a tool to broker my surrender. Nice try.

    “He did say something, actually… he said that everything you touch dies. And everything that doesn’t die runs from you. Like your scared sister who couldn’t bear the sight of you after you left them.”

    Enderquin creates a new dragon without the need for me to jump through the portal, in a furious fashion. Böshtok and the others duck out in the barracks underneath the island as quakes start accompanying the spawn of end crystals. At this point, bedrock portals almost surround the entire island.

    Let’s see how Enderquin likes some competition at his own game.



    Greta returns to the treehouse, ridden with broken thoughts as she fails to make eye contact with Arian. After a few moments of silence, she shares the news.

    “The mayor is dead,” her fragile voice concedes, still staring at the wall. Staz can’t help but cry, while Arian channels the news into newfound frustration. She turns to the wall, pacing a bit, her face boiling red and her stance ready for the offensive. She takes her sword and rams it into the wall, startling Staz, and Greta to a lesser extent.

    Arian grabs The Call of Qletlna and slams it on the lectern. She flips the pages to find a specific line of poetry.

    “It waits. It hates. Scorch in the sky,” she states loudly, like a teacher preparing for a classroom lecture, but neither Staz nor Greta understand what she wants them to say.

    “Come on!” she yells, again startling Staz. “It waits. It hates. Scorch in the sky! What does it mean??!!” she interrogates Greta.

    “Why do you think I know?”

    “You know everything, do you not?! Or are you just another pawn in the game?” Arian’s anger strengthens.

    “Arian, maybe don’t-“

    “Stop talking, Staz. I don’t expect you to add ANYTHING useful to this discussion.”

    Staz swallows the lump in his throat while backing into the corner of the room, watching shrewdly as Arian continues marching around the room, her sword constantly clashing against her belt. She clearly fosters a myriad of thoughts, but they are processing more quickly than she can communicate.

    “Maybe it’s Qletlna’s response to imprisonment,” Greta contemplates, slowly, so as to not further aggravate Arian.

    Arian stops to consider, though it isn’t clear exactly what she is considering.

    “He was often curious about the zodiac, thinking it could bridge the gap between our world and theirs.”

    Arian, parading back to the open book, flips to another page. She points raptly at a new line. “Floods in the well,” she repeats. “Does he escape his prison?”

    “I suppose it’s plausible,” Greta takes a step towards the book, feeling marginally more comfortable in their discourse. “In fact, it may even be true that he discovered how to control the zodiac gate.”

    “Might explain why he was imprisoned,” Arian’s frustration propels her brain to work. “If he found a way to connect all the dimensions – of course, the other gods would cast him out.”

    “What are you thinking?” Greta asks as Arian stares into the words a little longer than normal.

    “Maybe Enderquin found out how to do the same.”

    “How do you figure? He and Qletlna rarely interacted.”

    “Doesn’t matter. Enderquin wants totalitarian control. His actions have shown his devotion to taking over everything.”

    “Still, I can’t form a relation from the text.”

    “Maybe it’s not in the text,” Staz flees from his corner with an idea. Greta and Arian wait for his response, almost hoping it is useless so that she can chastise him again.

    “Enderquin can only do stuff through others’ minds, right? Well, if he could, I dunno, get through this gateway, then he could do anything he wants. No more limitations.”

    Arian and Greta share a perceptive look, each waiting for the other to continue that train of thought.

    “It’s not wrong,” Greta concedes.

    “Sure, but even if Enderquin could somehow get through the gate, what’s he need Joey for? Is it just for shits and giggles?”

    “Maybe he needs Joey in order to open it,” Greta flips the pages in the book. “When flight turns to fight,” she continues.

    “The dragon fight… he’s likely doing it now,” Arian acknowledges.

    “The fight frees him? How’s that?” Staz asks, actively trying to stay involved.

    Arian flips another page.

    A score and a snake meet far beyond the lake… waters crash through the door… Oh god,” Arian panics. “Twenty rounds against the serpent himself.”

    “That’s the gateway,” Greta realizes.

    Arian jumps out of the treehouse and hops on one of Joey’s horses. She races back to the Inner Circle determined to get into that portal as fast as possible.



    I’m impressed.

    “You’re delusional. Why can’t you see that we are thriving without you? That we don’t need you?” I continue attacking the dragon, mostly just for fun at this point.

    Did my brother create you? He used to say the same thing before they left me here to die,Enderquin nearly kills me, although I’m not sure if me being here automatically destroys the curse of immortality he had placed on me.

    “So that’s your play,” I recognize the deep sibling rivalry that seems to be driving Enderquin’s motives. “You don’t care about us. You just want to dominate them.”

    Don’t think any of the others care about you,he adds. I’m halfway surprised he didn’t refute my accusations.

    When I am done creating the new world, I will let you live. The others wouldn’t think twice about removing you during the Purge.

    “How nice of you…”

    I go in for the kill, but I hear a frantic Arian on the ground behind me.

    “No… JOEY DON’T!!” she yells at the top of her lungs.

    But it’s too late.

    As the particles settle, an eerie silence looms. It’s done. We wait to see if another dragon spawns, and if the arena resets. It doesn’t. We wait for the sound of Enderquin’s voice. Nothing.

    Swiftly, a bombastic hiss booms behind me. But it’s no enderman.

    It’s a beacon, illuminating the sky over the first gateway portal. Not more than a second goes by before the next one spawns.

    Like a snake gaining momentum across the sand, each successive gateway powers up, all the way around until all twenty have surrounded the island.

    “Joey…” Böshtok starts. “What did you do?”

    What he was meant to…” The dragon’s voice emerges again, as a new entity spawns above me.

    Rest now, my dear Joey San. You have fulfilled your purpose. Now, I keep my word. My work is done, which means it is time for you to be free.

    PART EIGHT: The End

    At 0,0:



    I respawn at the Quintropolis Welcome Center. I’m back in the Overworld for the first time in what feels like many long months – the real Overworld, I think. But this is no welcome party. Only the sounds of trees collapsing, thunder clapping, strange hisses, and dragons roaring fill my ears outside. I now realize what I’ve done. I just freed the most dangerous god from his home world and allowed him unrestricted access into mine.

    Grass. It’s so nice to step on the grass again, even given the circumstances.

    What are these?? Get off me!!

    “Joey!!” I hear in the distance as somebody runs towards me. “Joey, what’s going on?!”

    “Where’s Mayor Sensha? I need to speak to him.”

    “The mayor is dead, sir…”

    “What? How??”

    “He sacrificed himself to save a civilian.”

    Of course, he would do that. His heart was always full of unwavering love for his people. He wanted the best for them, but he never let his ego get in the way of that. I should have strived to be more like him. Now, the entire city is paying the price for my choices.

    Tarnished, I scramble down the road to the Inner Circle, the constant whooshing sounds and screams of panic filling the atmosphere. People are hurt. They have suffered. I have lost the Overworld. My greatest fear has become my greatest mistake.

    I approach the Inner Circle, only to see it completely taken over by dragons and strange bugs. Hastily, I escape, now recognizing the gravity of opening that gateway.

    “Staz… Ibram…” I conclude they must already be dead.

    There truly is nowhere left to run. Nowhere to hide. I’ve learned how it feels to be inside a hallucination, and that feeling of being trapped inside my own head… it isn’t here.

    But there might be one retreat…

    “Arian, didn’t see you there,” I admit clumsily walking into her as I cross into the Nether. “Wait, how do you know how to get here?”

    I’ve certainly never brought her to the hub.

    “Oh, uh, well the portal isn’t exactly hiding.”

    “I guess that’s true… but this dimension is no place for a villager.”

    “Don’t treat me like them. Besides, several of ‘em already ventured way out of their way here.”

    “What??!” I exclaim with great concern, for I know the dangers that lie within this realm. “Why would they do that??”

    “Refuge, against the all-loving sky god, obviously. Getting everyone down here is the new plan now that our world is a tainted painting. He has no power in here… but don’t worry, they have plenty of fire resistance. I made sure of it.”

    “That’s not what I’m afraid of…”

    “Get your head out of the sand! What are you even doing here? You look like crap,” she really doesn’t hold back. I guess that’s why Mayor Sensha put her on the Council.

    “I…” my voice starts to get heavy, but I stay strong. “I failed them.”

    Arian looks to me with anguish as I weep as silently as possible, trying my best not to appear weak. But even I am not immune to turmoil of the mind and soul. With broken and frail words, I reflect on my position in this world, knowing what I have caused. “I brought this chaos into the world… I alone did this. Enderquin told me that I was destined for this. Maybe that’s why they designed me to be so curious. Because they knew that curiosity would erupt into exactly what was needed to bring about a new Overworld. I am their tool. Their weapon against the world. Because of me, it will all start again.”

    “Don’t give yourself so much credit, big guy,” Arian offers some consolation. “Enderquin was inevitable. You just… sped things up, I guess. Yeah, you definitely screwed some sh*t up. No doubt about that. In fact, I blamed you for much of this mess.”

    Arian reaches into her bag to reveal a Nether star. She examines it with great care. “Then I remembered an old legend that spoke of a place where good and evil were always ordained for one great battle under Sentien’s eye. Armageddon was always going to come. If you didn’t open the gateway, someone else would have. And maybe, in that time, you wouldn’t be here.”

    Arian puts away the Nether star and paces around the portal. “You are not a tool for the gods. I mean, come on. Stop the pity party. Your curiosity is a double-edged sword, but it’s still a sword. Don’t let Mayor Sensha’s death be for nothing. He was onto something with these chorus fruits – you need to make his quest worthwhile.”

    “Chorus fruits? Why?”

    “It’s a whole thing – I’ll tell you all about it later.”

    I stand, still unsure of how to cope with losing this war.

    “What am I supposed to do? This gateway… I don’t know anything about it.” I ask her, not really sure if she can point me in the right direction.

    “It connects the worlds together. Think of it like an alignment of the zodiac symbols. Since, you know, that’s what it is, I think.”

    “He’s already won, Arian. He knew everything that would happen and planned it long ago, almost as though he’d already seen it play out. I’m not even sure there’s a way to beat him at this point.”

    “Well, let’s see… Use your head. You said yourself that Enderquin uses our greatest fears against us, right? But you never once stopped to think about what his greatest fear is.”

    Oh, now that gives me an idea.

    “Where’s Böshtok?” I ask a competent villager hiding underneath the trees outside.

    “Isn’t he with you? Last I checked, he was leading an army to the sky dimension to kill that corrupted creature!!” he shouts, pointing at another dragon flaunting over the coast.

    So that was really Böshtok… That might turn out to be good news for me.

    Jumping back into Paradise, I sneak my way into the barracks where Böshtok and the others are hiding. I am not sure whether Enderquin can see me, because I don’t know the extent of his power in this realm – hell, I don’t even know how much power he has gained now that the Zodiac Gateway has been opened.

    “Joey!!” he notices me too quickly.

    “SHHHH!!! Do you want everyone to die??”

    “He can’t see us – he would’ve killed us already.”

    “Do you know that for a fact? Are you ABSOLUTELY certain??!!”

    “He didn’t do anything after he killed you… no endermen came down here.” Böshtok shrugs, only half confident in that response. The others murmur in agreement.

    “Okay,” I pause for a minute, looking around at the proud citizens who have dedicated themselves to the cause. They gave up their life to come here. To save me. To save the world. I know that I can’t control them, the same way they can’t control me. So, it looks like we are going to save each other. “Here’s what I need you to do…”

    Böshtok emerges from the ground, followed by several other villagers. “Hey dragon!” he shouts. “Show me something!” he requests.

    What would you like to see? Enderquin charismatically asks.

    “I want to see… everything burn,” Böshtok answers. “We never wanted Joey’s vision!!” Other citizens pop up, standing side-by-side. The plan is working. “He’s a curse to us all. We’re happy to pledge our allegiance to the new world.”

    Böshtok kneels, as do the others, as they await a response from the sky god.

    In my time observing your world, it would be foolish of me to conclude this as your desire.

    Böshtok, still kneeling, carefully waits for Enderquin to continue… but there is only more silence. With each passing moment, the burden on his next words weighs more heavily.

    “You’ve seen Joey’s strength. He would kill us himself if we had been so upright.”

    And why do you suspect I will choose to spare you?

    “Why do you suspect we want to be spared?”

    You only know this life. You hold onto it so desperately, wading in ignorance and senseless searching for purpose.

    “Ignorance is a tool that can be used to manipulate those who judge you by it.”

    Your attempts to fool me are adorable. Without me, your purpose wanes in an abyss of abstract ideas.

    “Says the god who needed one of us to fulfill your own purpose,” Böshtok’s diplomatic skills are remarkable. How he is holding his own against a god who can literally wipe him out in an instant is impressive in itself.

    Enough of this theatrical trick,Enderquin taps back into his better judgment, which honestly took longer than I anticipated. I hope you find what you’re looking for in your next life.

    Before Enderquin can deal a final blow, I emerge from the ground with a surprise attack to the dragon’s face.

    You again…he angrily shouts. Why are you creatures so annoyingly stubborn?

    “We get it from you, I guess.”

    My attacks on this dragon, unlike before, are far less effective. I can’t even land a hit on him without being pummeled down nearly to death, time and time again. Maybe the element of surprise wasn’t such a clever trick on my behalf.

    Don’t you see? You are just a man. You cannot kill me, because I already know everything about you.

    I know what you dream at night. I know what you want from this world. I know your greatest fear. And I know that you think you have overcome it.

    But you have overcome nothing. You run from it, hide it with pointless redstone projects, attempting to convince your villages that they can betray that for which they were designed.

    You think that you have outsmarted me? That I didn’t plan on several of your precious villagers finding security in my brother’s realm?

    That I didn’t see poor Staz and Arian meddling in your affairs? You think I didn’t know where Mayor Sensha was hiding the residents??

    I see everything. And I see how it all ends.

    I told you this a long time ago. Your arrogance, once again, has deceived you for the last time. It’s time to let go, my child. This is the end.

    Retreating to the ground, beaten and no longer under the spell of immortality, I crawl to a ledge near the island’s edge, barely able to move. “You’re right... I understand that. Maybe it’s all happening the way it is supposed to,” I start to realize. “Maybe I cannot kill you…”

    As it happens, this ledge is where I wanted to be. Because it’s where the lever needs to go.

    “…but I’m pretty sure he can.”

    Böshtok and the others retreat to the barracks as the swarm of Witherquin’s army bursts from the ground. Based on what Arian told me, if the Zodiac Gate could forge a connection between here and the Overworld, then I figured it would promote the same relationship with the Netherworld. Looks like that line of thinking worked out.


    How nice to see you, too, brother! I very much hope Hell has been treating you well.


    And to think I was going to give you a sliver of control over my new Overworld. I should have let you rot in the dungeon with sister.



    You will always only be a god of war and death, brother. It’s your purpose. Sentien never chose you.

    “Are you sure about this, Joey? Looks like your god of war is taking one hell of a beating,” Böshtok observes. And I’m privy to that.

    “Don’t lose hope; it’s all we have left. Witherquin is holding a grudge lasting several millennia. I’m willing to bet his anger holds a lot of power.”



    Gasps and cries overflow Arian and Staz’s ability to maintain some clarity of the situation. They help some of the citizens regain control, but there are too many apprehensive attitudes amid the crowd.

    “Get back!!” one villager yells. “I’ll destroy you, myself!!” he points a sword to Arian.

    “Chancellor, you finally decide to come back from the dead to pay me!!” another distressed villager proclaims, staring off into empty space. It’s not clear what he sees, or who Chancellor is, but the relationship likely wasn’t so amicable.

    “Hey, hey – watch it!” Staz yells as several people hit him, bump into him, and generally treat him like he isn’t there. “Arian! Arian, where are you??!!”

    “Staz! There’s too many of them!” she cries out. One villager charges towards her with a sword. She dodges, grabs the sword, and holds the villager close. “You are seeing a doppelganger, you idiot. Stop living this fantasy he wants you to see!” she releases him, dropping the sword.

    “You… you’re Arian. From the Council of Techtown!” he remembers.

    “That’s right,” Arian smiles. “Look around you. We need to help them.”


    “Whatever they’re seeing – we need to prove it isn’t real. These people need to know it’s a lie in order to be free. Believing it isn’t enough.”

    Staz, now huddled under a tree as countless villagers yell and chant uncontrollably around him, suffers from a panic attack unsure of how to help. “Can’t do it, can’t do it, can’t do it,” he repeats.

    From behind him, somebody ruffles the branches of the tree, joining him underneath. He turns to see, hoping for Arian but instead receiving a more welcome surprise.

    “Ibram?? Is that you??” he asks, considering the possibility of a hallucination.

    “I am not a hallucination, brother. And you look like you could use a hand.”

    “I thought you were dead!”

    “Nonsense!” he laughs. “I’ve been busy trying to learn about Enderquin’s power.”

    “Did you find something?”

    “Well, he hates water… and there’s a storm cloud approaching.”

    Staz looks out to see the glory of a huge storm approaching the island. “Maybe it’s good the weather patterns changed after all,” he observes with a glimmer of hope.

    Swiftly, he regains mobility, making for the clubhouse. “Quick! We need to get water buckets!”

    Ibram follows, unsure exactly what Staz is planning.









    The Wither Storm ravages the island, killing endermen, channeling all its destructive power towards Enderquin’s hive mind. I won’t pretend to know how his power works – I can only hope that Sentien was smart enough to know. If his attack on one small enderman in the Nether was enough to spark a wound, then this must be tumultuous in comparison.

    Stop this! We have a chance to start again, brother. We can eradicate all life that represents his image. A new canvas. It can be ours… together.

    Witherquin halts his attack on the dragon.

    You know I only wanted what was best for us.

    Jacque and Böshtok pop out from the barracks. “Get back in there! Nobody should be out here,” I yell, hurrying towards them.

    “What’s going on?” Böshtok asks. “Why has Witherquin stopped fighting?”

    “I don’t know. Just… get back.”

    Sentien played favorites. That’s true. I won’t pretend that I understood how it made you feel, brother. I was a child, too. But as time has developed, being locked away in this metaphysical prison taught me much about the qualities that define desire. I have learned about patience.

    I sought opportunities for redemption. A chance to make up for the distress I caused. The creatures of this world will forever remind us of Sentien’s lapse in judgment.

    I know that vengeance is what you seek, brother. But here, your retribution is misplaced. Sentien created these desolate realms out of spite for you, and for me. He deserves to be punished for it. Perhaps, we both have survived dark dungeons of our own.

    NO, BROTHER.” The Storm collects in the center as Enderquin heals himself at the island’s center.

    ONLY YOUR REALM IS A DUNGEON.” Witherquin’s onslaught continues as the storm multiplies, engulfing the island and threatening Enderquin’s control.



    “Arian!” Staz calls out, carrying more water buckets than any normal person. Ibram follows suit, not far behind.

    “Staz! I’ve been looking for you! What are you doing with all that?”

    “They need water!! Cover the ground!” Staz’s newfound motivation is a genuine, pleasant shock to Arian. While still concerned about his state of mind, she observes Ibram’s backing and decides to pursue Staz’s idea.

    Flooding the ground with water, endermen rapidly leave the area, and the villagers become less able to act upon their illusions. They fight against the water, but they show an unawareness of the water’s existence at all.

    “They can’t see the water, but they can feel it…” Arian realizes to herself. “Amazing.”

    “If they aren’t strong enough to get out on their own, then we’ll pull them out. Because that’s what we do,” Ibram adds, standing side-by-side with Arian, both proudly witnessing Staz’s guidance and gallantry. It’s a day Arian certainly never thought she would see.

    The rain continues as the trio continues to cover the island, more and more villagers being set free from Enderquin’s mental grip.

    “What’s happening?” one fletcher asks, his visions changing as the water fights against whatever subplot Enderquin had already instilled in his mind. “Mom, where did you go?? Am I dead, too?”

    “You are anything but dead, my friend,” Ibram comforts the scared fletcher. “You are free.”







    Brother, stop! Please! God said himself… all that is not sacred is death!


    Tremors rattle the dimensions as Enderquin’s spirit crumbles at Witherquin’s hand, his final cry splitting through the air as his voices break apart, no longer collecting in unison, each one withering away as the light itself shines brighter than ever before, forcing everyone to retreat into the barracks. I watch as the light disintegrates all the endermen on the island, its heat so powerful that the end stone around us starts to crack.

    The light subsides, rocks settle outside, but not a single enderman is in sight. Carefully treading upon the scorched end stone, keeping distance between myself and Witherquin, the sentient whispers I heard before are no longer there. The voices in my head are not invading my choices. The pain inside me is gone. I feel free – fully, wholly, free.

    “Is it finished?” one of the villagers asks.

    “I think so,” I respond cautiously, unsure whether this is just another circus trick. It isn’t long until that question is answered…

    An earthquake flares as the ground beneath us starts to rupture, obsidian pillars rumbling all over the island. The villagers erupt in chaotic fear as we all make our way to the exit portal.

    “Böshtok!! Get everyone out of there!!” I call towards the barracks. “The dimension is collapsing! Soon it will cease to exist!!”

    Fissures split the island faster than some of the villagers can escape, my anxiety peaking with the knowledge that I can’t save everyone from whatever final act that nature has in store. Chunks of end stone sink around us as massive craters explode surrounding the portal. We are out of time. This world is about to implode.

    “Go! Go! Go!” I help direct everyone out – at least, those who have not already succumbed to the Void. “Böshtok!! Get out of here!!” I finally see him with the last group of villagers, struggling to dance around the massive holes that have already dotted the canvas of the island.

    One-by-one, the gateway beacons explode, shockwaves echoing in the wind as the sky starts to split. Böshtok barely makes it, and I make one final attempt to communicate with Witherquin, who is fully soaking in the fate of this world.

    “I hope Sentien gives you a new purpose, God of War. I sense a fragment of goodness within you.”

    I didn’t expect a response, nor was there time to wait for one. The End was gone.



    “Is everyone okay?!” I race around checking on the villagers who made it back from Enderquin, wading through waters that drowned the island, somehow. Böshtok finally pops back into the Welcome Center. “Böshtok!!”

    “Joey, am I dead??”

    “No, sir, you are very much not dead!” I exclaim with a smile on my face as the rain begins to fade, the sun promising to rise soon.

    The villagers smile, some of them mourn, others pinch themselves to ensure they are not caught in a hallucination. Beaten and broken, but far from dead, I follow the road (well, river at this point) down to the Inner Circle while the residents collect their bearings, distinct chattering abound.

    “Never again,” I state as I finally build the Tetraquin Monument, modeled after the chorus fruit, in honor of Mayor Sensha’s sacrifice.

    “Nothing will hurt you, ever again.” Surrounding the monument with eight beacons, I give the Inner Circle Witherquin’s blessing it should have always had.

    “Joey,” a civilian approaches me in the Circle. “How can you be sure we will be safe?”

    “Joey!!” another one dashes from behind. “My head hurts, and I can’t sleep anymore!! Will that dragon come after me again??!!”

    People start pouring into the village, most of them hurt, upset, and generally traumatized. They are expressing all these feelings to me, because they think I have all the answers for them. But I know they don’t fully trust me.

    “Enderquin made me see the death of my child!!”

    “I saw my house catch fire in my sleep!”

    “He drove me to jump off the chunk border! I almost drowned!!”

    “Never have I seen so many zombies before… it’s like they replaced everyone and never stopped chasing me!”

    “I nearly killed my neighbor thinking he was an enderman!”

    “I was an enderman! Worst feeling of my life!!”

    “How can we ever feel safe again in this world?”

    All at once, the people overwhelm me with their troubled experiences under Enderquin’s control. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to help them. Seemingly out of nowhere, Böshtok stands by my side, followed closely by Staz. Ibram pops out from the clubhouse. Arian, a diamond sword in hand, stands next to him. The uproar of the civilians gradually quiets down as they look to us.

    “We have overcome so much together,” Böshtok starts what I imagine is going to be a speech.

    “Each one of you fought against this demon using the power of your mind. Power that comes from within you. Collectively, your strength allowed us to eradicate Enderquin’s presence from this world. We did that, together.”

    “You have all made history today,” Ibram takes the pedestal next. “I can’t tell you how many times I, myself, wanted to give up. Enderquin is a plague. He is that part of our minds that tells us we aren’t good enough. That we aren’t strong enough. His biggest weapon was always inside of us. Not everyone made it out,” he looks towards the other members. “We mourn those we lost today. We come together to honor their lives, and to acknowledge that they were part of a victory.”

    “Enderquin took one of ours, too,” Staz has things to say. “He was a good guy, always full of jokes.” I can see Böshtok tearing up, and I understand why. From the first day I met him back in Techtown, he was always with Drexel. They were an inseparable pair.

    “I looked up to him, and one day he just went insane. He lost the battle to Enderquin. But, he showed us the threat we were up against. He forced us to do better. To be better,” Staz looks at me specifically. “And we will be. Because we are only as good as the way we treat each other.”

    “There’s no cure for this,” Arian steps up. “You’re all part of this, now. We’re all part of this,” she looks to me. I shouldn’t be surprised that’s all she needed to say. The four council members look to me. It’s my turn.

    “I’ve made mistakes. There are things that I would go back and change right now if I could. But I can’t. Some of you will hate me. But don’t let what you think of me affect how you choose to lead your lives. This is a chance to start over. Things are different now, and things are never going to be the way they were before. Our gods have heard us. They’ve seen what we can do. Let us show them who we are. Who we can be.”

    “For all who wish to rest in a safe space, I am opening a direct railway line to The Sanctuary. This is a place of safety, not to be disturbed. You have all suffered, and I give you my deepest apologies for that. Please accept an open invitation into The Sanctuary, should you need a space to recover.”

    “Beyond The Sanctuary, I erect a monument that channels our collective spirits and energy. We defeated Enderquin. He is part of this world now only as a memory. In dedication to Mayor Sensha and all those we have lost, let the Enderquin Monument serve as the pinnacle of our story. In time, it will tell the entire story. This is the SEECRET PROJECT. This is… Milestone Mountain.”

    “We are no longer the Council of Techtown. We are the Quintropolis World Council.

    As the villagers disperse, I approach Böshtok, arms crossed, with just the slightest grin on my face.

    “What?” he asks somewhat playfully.

    “So, chorus fruits, huh?”

    “What are you… what do you mean?” Böshtok looks to Arian, who offers no attempt to “save” him. I can’t help but laugh a little. “Yeah, she told me everything. You know, you could have just asked me about them. Truth be told, I don’t even know that much about them. But hey, now there’s plenty for everyone.”

    “Ah, well, I think maybe we’d better keep those on the down low. Wouldn’t want to start another faction war.” He’s got a point, there.

    Böshtok heads back to the clubhouse as the last few people depart from the Inner Circle, either heading back to their respective villages or The Sanctuary. Today is the first day I have felt real sunshine in what feels like forever. Finally, I can rest.

    “Arian,” I call to her as she walks off. She turns but doesn’t advance towards me. “Something I was curious about…”

    “What else is new?”

    “Well… when I was about to kill the twentieth dragon, you yelled at me to stop. How did you know? About the gateway?”

    Arian contemplates my question for a moment.

    “Danger always follows the path of the curious,” she responds. I guess that suffices, though it wasn’t really an answer. Then again, many of these people know things that I don’t, so perhaps it’s true that we aren’t so different after all. I nod to Arian and set off back to Starlight.

    “Oh, Joey!” Arian calls out to me. “One more quick little thing I wanted to run by ya.”

    “Sure, what’s up?”

    “Well, there’s one villager who is particularly terrified. I think she had become an enderman or something… Anyway, I felt she might feel safer in your treehouse. Much smaller and cozier – The Sanctuary might be a bit much for her.”

    “Oh, uh, okay. I don’t see why not. There’s room in the treehouse.”

    “Great! I figured you’d be able to take care of her.”

    “What’s her name?”

    “Greta. She’s great company, but yeah – very traumatized. Oh, and she likes to be left alone.”

    “Sure, I can respect that.”

    Arian gives me the thumbs up before heading off.

    It’s so nice to see my fellow residents care for one another, especially in a time like this. Perhaps love is the greatest gift from the gods of them all. It binds us together. It gives us a reason to keep pushing forward. No force is powerful enough to destroy us, because we have the strongest weapon living within our hearts. That will never be stripped from us, no matter how hard fear tries to divide us. And it has tried with all its might.

    It’s tough to fight fear alone. That’s why we need each other – a lesson that I, myself, continue to learn. I kept them in the dark. I kept my own interests distant from them. People were hurt because of it. I won’t make that mistake again, because in the end, we are stronger together than we could ever be individually. We are not the result of a failed experiment. We are the strongest force of nature that exists. Love always wins.

    As I wanted this entry to be dedicated to the finale, it is the next post which will be the "post-season" update featuring the world tour, world download, etc. I'll be working to get those materials together, which will comprise the next update! For now, I truly hope you have enjoyed the season, and the journal so far. It's no secret that an insane amount of work has gone into it, and fairly soonTM, I'll be releasing a downloadable rendition of the Quintropolis Journal in the form of a PDF collection to ensure my work on this project is never lost.

    These first three seasons collectively complete the journal's full Age of Ender saga, which will be fully displayed through the Milestone Mountain project in the future.

    Signing off,
    Legends of Quintropolis Season 3: Age of Ender
    Posted in: Survival Mode
  • 0

    posted a message on Minecraft 1.20 Update Opinion Thread
    Quote from TheMasterCaver»

    I think one of the issues people have with recent updates is the fact that many of their features were supposed to have been / were expected to be released in 1.17; the second reply to the 1.17 update opinion thread mentions archaeology so Mojang had already mentioned it at that point, and another item, bundles, are apparently still only an experimental feature.

    This seems fairly accurate from my own observations, but what I find most interesting is the psychology at play regarding expectations. If Mojang never announced archaeology, or even the deep dark cities, I believe both inclusions would have been far more unanimously welcomed as "big" updates. It's more so the fact that both features are treated like leftovers from the feast that proved too difficult to consume in one dinner; so while the leftovers are still plenty good, they'll always be compared (perhaps secondarily) to the main event (that, in this case, being 1.17/1.18).

    That said, 1.20 feels very much like leftovers, or perhaps adding some additional sprinkles on an otherwise already decent cake... alright, I'm done with the food analogies.

    Posted in: Recent Updates and Snapshots
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