CHAPTER 1 – OUT OF THE GAME
“Shawny, disconnect me.” Gameknight’s skin burned and froze at the same time, and suddenly he was back in his basement. Tommy sat up in his swivel chair, looking to Shawn. He gave his friend a thumb’s up. “Thanks man.”
“No prob.” An alarm suddenly cut through the silence, prompting Shawn to pull his phone from his pocket. “I gotta go, but I’ll see ya tomorrow Tommy!”
“Okay, bye!” he said as the boy sprinted up the stairs. He heard the door open and slam shut a level above him. Tommy sighed, leaning back in his comfortable chair. Traveling into and out of Minecraft always took a lot out of him. He glanced at his watch, noticing that it was close to dinnertime. As if on cue, his mom yelled down the stairs,
“Thomas! Dinner!” He climbed out of his chair, stretching his sore muscles and popping a few joints. He then walked up the stairs, though his mind was still back in Minecraft.
A yellow and white portal slowly swirled to life, the digitalizer’s ray feeding it. A tall shape was the first to step out, long black arms forcing their way into the physical world. The enderman’s purple eyes blazed as she took in the new world before her, shapes that shouldn’t be possible somehow existing in front of her. She slowly reached out to touch the curved edge of the desk lamp, marveling at its impossibility. At least a dozen other mobs came through the portal behind her; three zombies, two skeletons, four spiders, and a creeper. The enderman turned to the group, expecting more to come spilling out of the portal any second now. Instead, it spluttered and fizzed out of existence, the ray that was feeding it running out of juice. The mobs looked on in bewilderment. “Where are the others?” One of the zombies growled.
“The Gateway of Light does not have enough energy to let the rest of our brethren through.” A skeleton replied in its grainy voice.
“We must search for another power source.” The enderman screeched. “Come, let us explore this new land.” The monsters surrounding her all made noises of agreement, before following her up the stairs and out the door, staring at every new thing.
Tommy sighed as he stepped out of his family’s car, taking in the sight before him. The museum they were visiting had always been boring, even more so now that he had been through so much within Minecraft. His sister Jenny however was bouncing on the balls of her feet, excited as always. Their mother had decided that they needed to get out of the house for a while, hence their visit. The group of three quickly walked across the parking lot and into the building, Jenny insisting on going to the famous paintings first. As they were walking there, they passed through an exhibit on medieval weapons. Tommy stared at a replica sword as he passed by, mentally comparing it to the diamond blade he possessed on Crafter’s server. He shook off the thought as the passed the display case. Well, at least until an arrow slammed into the glass and shattered it, drawing screams from the pedestrians around. Tommy whipped around to see a skeleton with a bow in hand standing next to a collection of other mobs. “No… no no no! How?! I thought that- what?! But the Source isn’t- if they’re here then that means…” The enderman in the group turned to look at the stuttering Tommy.
“The Source? How do you know of the…” A look of recognition passed over her dark face. “Ah… the User-that-is-not-a-user. So this is what you look like in the physical world. I would have expected someone… taller.” Tommy’s mom turned to him.
“User-that-is-not-a-user? Tommy, what’s going on? How do these… things know you?” He looked to his mother.
“Look, I’ll explain everything later. You’ve gotta get outta here. They’re probably after me.”
“What?! Why would they-”
“Mom, things happened to me over the last couple months that I never told you about. Just stay back.” Tommy grabbed the sword from the remains of the display case, holding it out in front of him like he was used to. Theories ran through his mind on how the mobs had gotten to his world. He had been in Minecraft just last night; that wasn’t nearly enough time for all the servers to be overrun. No, this had to have happened some other way. Before he could give it too much thought, the enderman screeched,
“Seeing you here is quite the surprise, Gameknight999. We just came for a power source for the Gateway of Light, but it appears that our search had yielded an unexpected result.”
“How did you get here?! Who send you?!” The enderman chuckled.
“All in good time, Gameknight. Now, I suppose my master would want you dead, correct?” Tommy said nothing, all the muscles in his body tight with anticipation. He slowly walked in front of his family and towards the enderman.
“Tommy! What are you doing?!” His mom hissed. He ignored her. Suddenly, he heard a shotgun cock.
“Get down kid!” The police officer yelled. Tommy hadn’t even realized that the cops had showed up. The man took aim at the enderman.
“No, don’t!” He shouted, but it was too late. The gun fired, and the dark creature flashed red. She slowly turned to the officer who shot her, her eyes blazing. Then she started cackling, the shrieking sound bouncing off the walls and making Tommy’s blood turn to ice.
“Oh, you foolish humans. You have no idea what you’ve just started.” Suddenly, her jaw detached from her black skull, and she let loose a screech so loud that it would put a pterodactyl to shame. Tommy almost dropped the sword and covered his ears, but he forced himself to stay strong. The enderman suddenly teleported, reappearing right behind the lone police officer. She picked him up by the collar of his shirt, shocking him into dropping the shotgun. She screamed, “Let it be known across all worlds that I, Neeva, have paved the way for the monsters to invade this land, and NOTHING SHALL STOP US!” She suddenly dropped the man and threw a flurry of punches, rendering him unconscious in seconds.
“Stop!” Tommy yelled, but Neeva ignored him. The officer didn’t even stand a chance. The man collapsed to the ground, motionless. From where he was standing, it looked like the man wasn’t breathing. The other mobs cheered, fueling Tommy’s newfound anger. “Neeva, your fight is with me, not them!” She turned, and Tommy was quick to look down so he wouldn’t provoke her.
“Oh, but that’s where you’re wrong, User-that-is-not-a-user. My fight, OUR fight, is with your whole race. We have been confined to our digital existences for far too long. It is time for us to rule this world!” The monsters cheered again.
“No! You’ll never win! Not while I can help it.” Tommy retorted, taking a step forward. Neeva laughed again.
“You? You’re just a child.”
“Wrong. I’m the User-that-is-not-a-user. Now come on Neeva, let’s dance!” The enderman sighed.
“Alright, if that is what you wish. Brothers and Sisters, CHARGE!” All the mobs surged forward. Tommy- no, Gameknight wasted no time in doing the same. He fell upon the first zombies with a fury, tearing away their HP with little difficulty. Soon, all three of the green creatures were piles of rotten flesh and XP on the floor. Gameknight reached the creeper, striking it with his sword and stopping its detonation process. He cut at it again and again until it disappeared with a pop. He suddenly cried out as he felt a spider claw rake across his back. He spun, and with just four hits, reduced the large arachnid to nothing more than a spool of string. Ducking under a flying arrow, he made quick work of the two skeletons. He jumped over a furry black arm and cut down the spider it belonged to, before spinning and taking out two of the remaining arachnids at once. He whirled from one to the other, cleaving health from both almost simultaneously. Soon, it was just Gameknight and Neeva left standing. He panted slightly, shifting his grip on the sword. Neeva clapped slowly. “Bravo, Gameknight999, bravo. You truly are a formidable foe.”
“Yeah, it’s the reason I’m still alive. No thanks to you and your kind. I already took down Erebus and Feyd; do you really want me to add “Neeva” to the list?”
“I’m not planning on it, no.” Gameknight thought for a moment. Was it really worth it, provoking Neeva? Yes, he needed her gone. She didn’t belong in the physical world. So he took a chance, and raised his head to look her straight in the eyes. “Ooooooohhhhh, feeling confident now, are we?” Gameknight said nothing. “Well, who am I to disappoint?” Neeva suddenly disappeared in a flash of purple particles. Gameknight spun around and swung his sword, expecting the move. Neeva teleported straight into his moving blade, flashing red. She threw her black fists at him, moving too fast for the bystanders to see. Gameknight however, seemed to know each of Neeva’s attacks move for move, as if he anticipated them. It came from the multitude of battles he had fought in Minecraft, all that previous knowledge and experience resurfacing once more. Gameknight was like a whirlwind of destruction, cutting deep into the offending enderman. It wasn’t long until Neeva fell to her knees, HP hanging by a thread. Gameknight stood over her, his sword held at her throat.
“You’ll never win. I’ll always be here to stop you.” She looked up at him, equal amounts of terror and rage in her blazing eyes.
“Oh, this is far from over, User-that-is-not-a-user. My master will make it out of the Gateway of Light, and when he does, you’ll wish you died in that first battle with Erebus. And with that, she vanished, her purple teleportation particles transporting her elsewhere. Gameknight cursed under his breath, using a testificate swear word he heard Crafter mumble once. He looked up, and saw at least three dozen museum-goers staring at him with wide eyes, all wondering how a twelve year old boy could defeat so many monsters on his own. His mom stepped forward.
“Thomas James Feynman, you have a lot of explaining to do.”
CHAPTER 2 – EXPLANATIONS
Tommy sat in the police station, one hand sitting in his lap awkwardly. Jenny and his mom sat next to him. Mrs. Feynman hadn’t let go of her son’s hand since they left the museum. His dad had been phoned, and he was on his way. “So, Tommy…” One of the policemen started. “You seem to know what’s going on.”
“Yep.” Tommy could almost hear the crickets chirping.
“Uh… Mind explaining?”
“I…” Tommy paused. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”
“Try me.” He sighed, looking to Jenny for support. Other than her and his dad, he was the only one who could explain all of this. Somehow. She nodded and gave a reassuring smile. Tommy turned back to the policeman.
“Well… So my dad’s an inventor, right? He made this thing called the ‘digitizer.’ It scans objects in the physical world and copies them into the digital world. A couple months ago, I was messing around and playing this computer game called Minecraft. I accidentally turned the digitizer on, and… It sucked me into the game. I discovered that the NPCs, non-playable characters, were actually alive. They have feelings, hopes and dreams, ambitions, just like we do. But I also discovered that the monsters in the game were alive too. They were dead set on killing every NPC on the server. We stopped them from destroying Minecraft, but that was only the beginning. Long story short, a hundred in-game years ago, a virus infected the game and got trapped inside. His arrival is what turned the NPCs and monsters sentient. He’s been trying to get out ever since. He almost destroyed the whole of Minecraft. Thankfully he’s gone now, but… Now I’m worried that this new master of Neeva’s might be trying to pick up where the virus left off. We need to track her down, before she brings more mobs into the physical world.” Absolute silence. “Aaaaaaaaaand you don’t believe me.” The police officer leaned forward.
“No offense, but your story seems a bit far-fetched.”
“Holy–did you not see the group of monsters who just trashed the museum?! How could a fictional story cause that?! Tommy stood. “Okay fine, I can take care of this on my own.”
“Woah woah woah, just hold on a second. How are you gonna take down something like… Whatever that other monster was?”
“Neeva’s an enderman. I know how they work, I’ve killed a lot of them.”
“What?! Tommy, how could…” His mom exclaimed.
“I’ve killed thousands of times, Mom!” He exclaimed, turning to her. “It was either me and my friends, or them. I chose ‘us’ without a second thought. They would have destroyed millions of lives, digital and physical. I had to. It’s not like I want to. If I could, I would never kill another thing again. But the monsters of Minecraft aren’t gonna stop. As long as there’s a leader for them to rally behind, they’re always gonna try and kill the NPCs and I.”
“Why do they want you do badly?”
“I defeated the virus, Herobrine. He promised them that if they destroyed the me and NPCs, they would take the digitizer and invade the physical world. I couldn’t just stand by and watch that happen, mom! All of you would have done the exact same thing were you in my position.” Tommy turned to the others. “Thousands of people are counting on me every single moment I’m in Minecraft. I wasn’t about to just abandon them. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got an enderman to catch.” Tommy started walking, and Jenny was about to follow, but one of the police officers in the room grabbed his arm.
“Hold on there, we need to ask a couple more questions.” Tommy wrenched himself free.
“Did you not hear what I just said?! We’re literally going to have an invasion on our hands if we don’t find Neeva now.”
“Listen to him!” Jenny added, standing.
“Wait, Jenny, you knew about this too?” Mrs. Feynman asked.
“I’ve been inside Minecraft too. My best friend’s an NPC, and she and a lot of other innocent people are gonna die if you don’t listen to my brother!”
“Great, is there anyone else whose been in the game that I don’t know about?” His mom asked sarcastically.
“Um, Dad has…” Jenny said quietly. Mrs. Feynman just threw her arms up with a look of disbelief on her face.
“Oh, for the love of… Why you?!”
“Because I’m the User-that-is-not-a-user, Mom. There’s even a prophecy about me apparently.”
“The slenderman called you that.” She noticed.
“It’s enderman, Mom. And yeah, I’m… kinda famous in Minecraft. I’ve saved it… How many times has it been?”
“Four maybe?” Jenny answered for him. “I dunno, it kinda just blends together after a while.” Tommy chuckled.
“Tommy!” A familiar voice called. Tommy looked to the door and saw his father standing there.
“Dad!” Jenny ran forward and hugged him.
“I heard what happened, are you guys okay?” He asked, clearly concerned.
“We’re fine, but Dad, Neeva escaped. We need to find her, now.”
Suddenly, painfully familiar purple particles filled the room. A dark shape popped into existence, put her hand on Tommy’s mom, then disappeared. “Mom!” He yelled. But it was too late. She was gone.