A Caves & Cliffs Story
It started out like any other day. They usually do, the days that change your life. Throughout the years, when Cam looked back at this time, they would try to remember if there were warning signs. Any clues that hinted at the events that were about to unfold. But there was nothing out of the ordinary.
The sun rose, just like it always did. Cam got out of bed, grabbed a loaf of bread, and went outside to eat breakfast by the water. As they settled down into the sand, Cam let the calm of the lapping waves wash over them. Cam preferred their own company to that of others, but even the most solitary creature can feel lonely at times. But when they looked out over the water, that feeling almost went away.
Cam finished the last of the bread and stood up. Right before they turned to walk back to their cottage, something caught their eye. Cam squinted at the horizon. Violent bubbles were erupting, and it looked like something was moving beneath the surface. Curiosity got the best of Cam, so they jumped into their boat set sail for the suspicious spot. As they got closer, an uneasy feeling started to creep in under Cam’s skin. A little preparation couldn’t have hurt. There wasn’t much in Cam’s inventory, just some tools, a bucket, and a few stacks of dirt blocks they had been meaning to clean out for ages.
It was too late to turn back now. The water was getting choppier, waves crashing into the side of the little boat. Suddenly, the boat stopped moving forward and started to shake violently instead. Cam flew into one side, and then the other before the entire boat sank straight down. Cam swam away from the bubble column, looking around for a patch of land but they were too far out.
As Cam bobbed on the waves, filling their lungs with air, they considered their options. The boat had sunk, and it was too far to swim all the way back to shore. Cam dove down since they were already out here, might as well continue the investigation.
As soon as Cam was under water again, the source of the skirmish revealed itself. A school of elder guardians were circling a herd of drowned that slowly marched towards the beach where Cam resided. The underwater army hadn’t noticed Cam yet, but it was only a matter of time. Especially if they were going to try to stop the mobs from reaching their destination. There were so many of them, Cam had never tried to take on a battle of this size before. They liked their peaceful, solitary life by the beach. But if they were going to keep it that way, this herd had to be dealt with.
Cam took a deep breath, filling their lungs with water and entire body with regret since they had forgotten to resurface first. Once their head was safely in the fresh air, they coughed out the water and tried to replace it with courage and oxygen. It was now or never. Cam dove back down and came face to face with a drowned. Unsheathing their sword, Cam whacked at the drowned, who was joined by its friends. Cam spun around and around in the water, jabbing blindly in the hopes that the sword would connect with any of the enemies.
It wasn’t the most effective technique, especially when the elder guardians caught up. Cam started to lose hope as they felt their health draining. They closed their eyes and prepared themselves for the inevitable when they heard a strange sound.
Cam opened their eyes to see that an army of colorful creatures had surrounded the hostile mobs. Yellow, brown, and pink axolotls were fighting them off, giving Cam an opening to escape. As they swam to the surface, they realized that for once their pockets full of dirt would work to their advantage. Cam quickly built an improvised island in the middle of the ocean and lay down on their belly so they could watch the underwater battle.
Cam had never seen anything like it, the creatures were cute on outside but fierce on the inside. The axolotls showed no mercy, defeating the elder guardians before they took on the drowned. Cam spied a blue axolotl that seemed to be losing a fight. It was barely moving and the drowned was closing in. Was Cam brave enough to jump in and save it? Just as they drew a deep breath, the axolotl sprang back to life and defeated the drowned! It was the last of the herd, and Cam jumped up and down with joy on their little island.
A trident floated up to the surface. Cam grabbed it and planted it on their island, marking this space as a protected area. Now that the battle was over, Cam dove into the water to thank their new friends. Some of the axolotls swam off, probably to seek out a new battle, but a few stayed behind.
The axolotls swam around Cam, who tried to think of a way to thank them. These creatures had saved their life and their home. Feeling at a loss, Cam got out their bucket and grabbed some tropical fish. They offered them to the axolotls, who happily accepted. When they finished, Cam tried to catch another batch but accidentally caught an axolotl in the bucket instead. It chirped happily in Cam’s inventory, and their heart melted at the sight of the most adorable thing they had every laid their eyes on. Bolstered by their new friendship, Cam finally felt strong enough to make it home. They grabbed a tropical fish for their new pal and headed for the beach.
When Cam got out of the water, they discovered that several of the axolotls had followed! Cam emptied their bucket into the water and threw in the tropical fish to the playful axolotls who seemed to have made themselves at home. The next day, Cam started to rebuild their home so that it not only connected to the beach, but also the underground cave system below it. There was a lake down there that was the perfect playground for these happy creatures and with a little engineering, Cam managed to create a watery path so the axolotls could come and go as they pleased.
From that day forward, anytime Cam needed a friend they knew that all they had to do was dive into the water instead of just watching it from afar.
- Sofia Dankis