Courageous Cave Crawling
A Caves & Cliffs Story
Dee listened to her friends talk about the adventure they had just gotten back from. It sounded like it had been one for the ages. They had fought off pillagers, witches, even an evoker – and still made it back in one piece. With loot to spare! As the brave group described a daring escape from a pack of spiders, Dee smiled enthusiastically in case anyone saw them quietly slip away. Dee loved their friends, but sometimes it was all too much. Dee always received an invite for their friends’ expeditions, but they always declined. The unknown was just a little too scary for Dee’s taste, but it was difficult to deny how fun it all sounded when the group returned. So when that familiar overwhelming feeling started to creep in, Dee would make an excuse and retreat to their quiet cave. Dee could hear them planning their next adventure, which would require a lot of different colored dyes and would probably be as splashy as it was daring.
The quiet cave was a discovery that Dee had made a few years ago. Thanks to its cleverly hidden entrance, nobody else knew about the small but cozy cavern that Dee had since decorated with a bookcase, some candles, and a chest filled with cake. But when Dee settled with a brand new book, they noticed something. There was an opening in the corner. That had most definitely not been there the day before. Had someone been here? Nothing else seemed to have been disturbed, so who could have found it? Dee peered into the opening, and finally, curiosity won over fear. Dee dove down before they had a chance to talk themselves out of it.
Tumbling down a steep incline, Dee wondered if this was a good idea. They were not a big fan of surprises, the unknown, or suspicious stew. But something inside Dee told them that this was something worth exploring, and for the second time in their life Dee listened to that little voice. The first time led to the discovery of a distaste for the aforementioned stew and so it had been ignored ever since.
Suddenly, Dee came to a halt. Slowly they opened one eye at a time and then quickly gasped. This cave looked like nothing they had ever seen before! Sharp spikes jutted out from the ground, but they also hung from the ceiling. At a first glance, it looked like Dee had landed in front of a vicious monster, baring its teeth. But as they approached the stalagmites, they realized there was nothing to fear. They reached out and carefully touched it, confirming that it was nothing more sinister than a rock formation.
Dee wandered around, growing more confident with each step in the new area. It looked untouched. Had anybody else seen this place? Where had it come from? It felt new, like it had sprung up overnight. But how could that be possible? Maybe caves grew in the same manner as trees, sprouting roots to keep them in place. Was it just a matter of time? Or was something else at play here? As Dee pondered the possibilities, they forgot to mind their steps.
Dee had wandered right into an aquifer. They started to sink, caught off guard once again. But right when they started to swim back up to the surface, a glimmer caught their eye. Coming up for air, Dee took a deep breath – both for courageous and practical reasons. They dove back down, following the promising bright orange glitter of a copper ore vein. Pickaxe in hand, Dee got to work. This was the largest ore vein they had every laid eyes on and not a single copper ore would go to waste.
As Dee approached the end of the vein, the little voice spoke up again. “Keep digging!” Emboldened by the large amount of copper in their inventory, Dee did as they were told. It didn’t take long before the pickaxe hit the last stone block, allowing Dee to tumble out to the other side.
Drawing another deep breath, Dee focused on breathing before they took in their new surroundings. The first thing they noticed was the sound of splashing water. Dee stood up, finally taking in the sight of yet another new cave. This was just as foreign as the last one, but instead of stalagmites, hanging roots swung from above. Dee padded on the soft moss that covered the cave floor, taking in the beautiful azealia trees that towered over them.
There was that sound again! Dee looked around, and let out a small laugh when they laid eyes on a pair of axolotls swimming in a pool of water, lit up by a group of glow squid that lingered near the bottom. Dee was glad for a familiar sight – their friend Cam had introduced the entire group to their new axolotl friends a few weeks ago. Dee felt a twinge of doubt in the pit of their stomach as they tried to remember if axolotls were predators or not. A tropical fish swam by, and Dee had their answer.
Dee looked around, realizing that the only way out of the cave was to swim out unless they wanted to try to climb up and go back the way they came in. That would be the safer route, and would take Dee back to the safety of their cozy cave. But when they looked out over the water, they could see that a large flower biome wasn’t far away. Dee could gather different colored flowers so their friends could craft the dyes they needed for their next excursion! And maybe, just maybe, Dee would join this time.
As Dee tried to make up their mind, a sinister sound was growing louder and louder. Slowly, they turned.
The creeper looked deep into Dee’s eyes. Creepers were not an uncommon sight, but this was the first time that Dee had come face to terrifying face. Without thinking, they dove into the water and swam for safety. From deep below the surface, they heard the explosion behind them. The axolotls swam up next to them, but Dee only felt encouraged to keep going. It was if they had left all their fear behind them, and like the creeper, it too was blown to smithereens.
Dee emerged from the water and took their time picking a lovely bunch of tulips, sunflowers, and blue orchids. The sun was setting as they strolled back to the base, and they quickly found their friends sitting around a campfire.
“Dee! Where have you been all day?” Lee asked. “We looked everywhere for you!”
Setting the flowers down, Dee took a seat by the campfire.
“Where do I even begin?” Dee said as their friends grew closer, admiring the flowers and listening intently. Dee hesitated for a moment, but when they looked into the attentive eyes that looked back, they realized that once they started telling the story, there would be no stopping them.
- Written By
- Sofia Dankis