Slenderman and I went back inside. When we got there, we came across a rather impressive scene: All of our soldiers lined up in groups, standing tall and proud and ready for action.
And do you know what the very best part was?
They were all eating pancakes.
Yay for Odd Thomas.
I grinned, and took some from the large platter that Haruhi carried. I munched happily, and Slenderman did the same, lowering his face carefully so no one saw it change. When he looked back up, he picked up several pancakes and ate quickly. The soldiers grinned, helping themselves to more pancakes as well.
Eventually, we heard a sound that will never stop haunting my dreams and nightmares: A massive explosion.
I ran right back outside, and saw a sight I will never forget for as long as I live: An unending ocean of moving green evil.
And from them came a horrific "Sssss….."
Thousands of them.
"Everyone, get out and scatter! Ditch the pancakes, get your asses in gear NOW!" Slenderman yelled, grabbing me and throwing me onto his shoulders. He carried me out of there as fast as he could, leaping onto the mountain top. In some other appendages he carried a handful of our ranged fighters. Sylvaris was shooting all the way. He was ready to destroy them all. I knew that all of us were mad now, as we watched with dread as Creepers exploded in brilliant flashes of light, killing everyone who had not gotten away fast enough.
And there was a lot of people we had not managed to save.
I spared a single thought for Haruhi, but even that was lost as Slenderman set down the troops only to promptly jump back down, going for more. I was still slung across his narrow shoulders like I was buckets of milk and he was some freakishly talented farm girl. Trusting him not to drop me, I raised my Needler high and took aim, blasting at all the Creepers we were going to land close to. I cleared the way enough for Slendy to land, and he snatched up the handful of survivors he could reach. He carried them all into their respective positions, before he leapt with me onto the roof with me. "This is going to be a really hard fight, my love. We aren't prepared enough…."
I nodded, looking down at the moving ocean. This really was going to be hard.
Explosions started to rock the base of the building we were poised on top of, almost sending us both falling from it. Deciding it wasn't bright to stand so close to the edge, Slenderman and I backed up a few feet, looking at each other with obvious fear in our eyes.
"There are so many creepers….." I whispered numbly. "Are we going to make it?"
Slenderman nodded, holding his guns. "We are. Now, let's get you to a hiding place. I'm needed down below."
I trembled, and he hugged me tightly. Next thing I knew, we were standing on a cliff a few hundred meters away. He pulled out a pair of shears, and carefully cleared away some of the foliage from the back of the tree we faced. There, I saw a small hidyhole only three blocks deep and just tall enough for me to lie down in. I closed my eyes tightly, and I let him pick me up and slide me feet first into the dark depths. When he saw how scared I was, he reached in and broke a few blocks in a straight line by my shoulder. He pulled out a single block of glowstone, and placed it deep in the hole. The glow it cast was very dim from its location in the hole, but it was enough to see the drops of water rolling down his face that wasn't a face.
Without a single word, Slenderman replaced the foliage and disappeared. I could barely make out anything through the leaves, but I could definitely hear explosions pick up in frequency. Trying to remind myself that he was incredibly strong and fast, I curled up more in my hole, trying to get any of the comfort I could from the warm light cast by the glowstone.
I was crying only a few minutes after Slenderman had left me here. He could be hurt, he could be killed….Legolas could be dead right now….Odd Thomas could resort to his own heroic tactics and charge into the ocean of green and gunpowder, and be blown to bits….Spriggs and his Mongoose could be sent sky high with any one of the unending amount of explosions that reached my ears.
And, oh god, Haruhi could be hurt….
She could be killed.
I couldn't let that happen!
Knowing it was stupid, I broke through the leaves and climbed out of the hole. I turned right and left, trying to find a way down off the cliff. No way showed itself.
Feeling a bit hopeless, I got to my feet and stared all around me. There had to be a way for me to not be useless in this!
I was about to give up on my search when I hold a malevolent "Sssss…."
It was coming from right behind me.
I didn't even wait to turn around.
I ran forward and swan dove right off the cliff.
Do not ask me how I knew there was a lake right below it. Do not ask me how I remembered that there was a very small and deep lake near to the base. Do not ask me how I knew that that lake was here.
Because I won't be able to answer you.
All I knew was that I was safe.
I fell hundreds of feet, getting ready to die.
Praying to all the gods of Minecraft that existed, I crashed into the water, and felt my fingers poke at the sandy floor. Preparing for the agony of them being broken along with my arms—and probably even skull—I did not expect for the block of sand below me to turn into a little, shattered block just from the strength of my hitting it.
Feeling confused, I got upright and swam up for air. I looked to my right. I saw Buffy and Drizzt Do'Urden teaming up together, taking down several zombies and massive spiders. I looked to my left. I saw Spriggs and Legolas zooming everywhere, Legolas' arrows shooting and taking down everything that moved with seemingly no effort. I looked ahead of me, and saw with delight a large group of creepers being exploded at once by a pipe bomb—as well as a huge host of creepers. I looked behind me, and saw with a wide grin my love tearing many enemies to pieces with one group of his arms while annihilating even more with the other appendages. In a circle around him several dozen blocks wide, there seemed to be countless parts of enemies left behind. Rotten flesh, spider threads, bones, and gun powder numbered in what had to be hundreds.
Feeling like we actually stood a shot, I climbed out of the lake and looked around. I didn't see anyone that really needed my help. Biting my lip, I decided my best hope was to get to higher ground and see if I could find somewhere to go.
Trying my hardest to be a ninja, I snuck towards a tree, keeping low to the ground so I could blend into the surroundings easier. Or maybe I just looked like a moving and oddly colored tree stump….
However, it didn't really matter, for no one paid me any mind. I kept my distance from massive groups of creepers, making sure I didn't get close enough to any of the enemies to trigger any of them. Finally, I came to a tree. Blinking, I wondered about how I was getting up there. If I broke some dirt and nerd poled, wouldn't someone notice the stack of dirt blocks behind a tree?
Knowing it probably was the best shot I had at getting an aerial view of my surroundings, I decided it was worth the risk and got several blocks of dirt. I placed one, hopped up onto it, jumped into the air while placing the next one below me, and so on and so forth until I got into the tree.
Leaning as far out as I dared, I broke as many of the dirt blocks as I could, hoping then it wouldn't seem obvious that someone had used them to get up here. I looked around at everything, biting my lip. I found groups of soldiers fighting and screaming, blood and explosions and running. So much running and so much fear….
And all of this was happening because of me. I couldn't let this happen because of me. I wanted it to end. I wanted them to stop fighting. I wanted Slenderman to be safe. I wanted Drizzt to be safe. I wanted Odd Thomas to be back in Pico Mundo with Stormy Llewellyn, back where he belonged. I wanted Haruhi to go back and fall in love with the people that were right for her. I didn't want this to happen to any of them….
I was crying now. I was such a wimp! I couldn't do anything right….
"But you can, my love. But you can."
I turned around, and who did I see there behind me but Herobrine?
He smiled at me. "Don't cry, sweetheart. I'm here for you now and I never intend to leave you."
I raised my Needler and took aim right at his heart.
This time, I didn't hold back. This time, I didn't hold back at all and I fired at him. He flew back, definitely hurt but why didn't he die why didn't he die why didn't he die why didn't he just die!
I used every bullet in the Needler on him.
He still moved. He still smiled. He still laughed at me, like this was the absolute best joke he had ever heard and he could not get over how uproarious he found it. He laughed at me like he had won. He laughed at me like I was doomed. He laughed at me like he felt sorry for me.
He laughed at me as the Needler needles pricked him and made him resemble a constantly exploding purple porcupine of pure purpleness. He laughed at me and he laughed at me.
I wanted to kill him. I wanted to kill him and I wanted to kill him right now.
I raised my sword high, and leapt at him, swinging my sword at his neck and screaming my war cry: "I can swing my sword, sword because I am the lord, lord! Lord of DIAMOND SWORDS!"
His head flew off cleanly and fell of the tree, plopping onto the floor below. There was no blood, only a black mist that poured out of the spot where I had severed his head.
He was dead.
Herobrine was dead.
He was freaking dead.
And I had killed him.
Feeling sick to my stomach, I jumped down off the tree and threw up right where I landed. I collapsed to my side, curling up in a ball. It didn't take me long for me to hear that fatal "Sss…."
But for the life of me I couldn't find the energy to climb to my feet and get out of there before I died.
For the life of me I couldn't find the will to stand. For the life of me I couldn't get up and get out of there before it was too late, too late, too late….
Too late for me to live ever again….
But for the love of Minecraftia I leapt to my feet and stabbed the creeper right in the heart, turning it into nothing more than a small pile of gunpowder at my feet.
I stared down at it, and looked everywhere. Everywhere that I could see, the fight was still going on and people were still so close to death.
But I couldn't manage to care. Feeling weak, I dug up more dirt blocks and managed to get myself right back in my hideyhole with the single block of glowstone for comfort.
I was still there when Slenderman came to get me a long time later, telling me that we had won.
And that Herobrine never joined the fight, for some reason.
I smiled dimly, and let him pull me out of there. One day, maybe, I'll tell him everything that happened that day….