"Okay, okay, I'm ON!"
My Xbox live partner finally joined the party, giggling slightly at the barrage of texts I'd just sent her. I chuckled. "Well, I spent enough time porting this map onto my Xbox One--you are GOING to see this."
"I'm excited," Exastris admitted, accepting the game invite I sent her. A moment later, her icon appeared on my map, along with the words Exastris joined Darkfire Ranger. And she was, like, halfway across the map. "Whoa. Did you make these mountains? They're very square! Like big block cliffs!"
"No, they just spawned like that," I told her. "Let's see--oh, I know where you are. Jump off the side with the water on it. You should survive..."
"Well, it took ME a few tried to get it right," I laughed. "I'll come over to meet you. Look for a railway."
I heard the echo of a splash through Exastris' mike. "I made it! Oh, hey, I found the railway."
"Cool. I'll be there in...twenty seconds."
"Is that a GIANT TREE?" Exastris demanded incredulously.
"One I built, yeah. The inside is hollow," I replied proudly. "It's a literal tree house...but I gotta be careful with fire whenever I'm in there." I whooshed past the house with no sign of her avatar. "Where did you go?"
"Nowhere," she protested. "I'm on the bridge next to the railway!"
"On the bri--oh, you mean over by Nemesis's house," I suddenly realized, spinning the rail car around. "I thought he and I destroyed that."
"Your brother has a house here?"
"Two. We built this map together," I explained. "He has a fort here and another on the other side of the map. He's not as dedicated to the craft as I am, though. I mean, I have a tree house, a castle, a pirate ship--"
"You have a pirate ship?"
"--the Enterprise from Star Trek, a secure vault, and railways crossing this whole place," I finished.
"I demand to see the pirate ship," Exastris informed me. "And the vault. You've been talking that up for a while. Oh, hey, I see you."
"Hi there." My avatar punched her in greeting.
"Sorry-not-sorry. Here's your cart. Follow me!"
I led the way to my castle. Via the tree house, of course. Exastris loved that, and insisted on exploring it all the way to the top. I couldn't really argue that--I was proud of my creation, and it did have an excellent view up there.
Once we got closer to the castle, the Enterprise became visible. Well, I say became visible--it kinda blotted out the sun for a few moments. It looked most impressive, if I do say so myself. We rumbled into the railway shed, hopped out, and headed into the castle, taking a brief moment to change our spawn points (Exastris didn't see the point, but I foresaw death and insisted on it).
"Okay, so...where is this vault?"
I pointed. "In the well."
"In the--you're kidding."
"Nope." I dove in. Sinking to the bottom, I opened the door in the side of the well's wall and walked into the passage. Exastris followed me.
"Okay, go to," I said generously. "Although, I don't exactly remember how I set this up, so--"
Exastris brushed past me and headed down the hall--a little too fast. A delayed trapdoor hissed open underneath her at the intersection. She had just enough time to pause and look down before she vanished into the hole. The hole, which led to a pit of fire. FWOOSH. A moment later, a notification popped up on my screen: Exastris went up in flames.
"RANGER!!!" Exastris yelled, then burst out laughing.
I was laughing so hard I couldn't breath. "The moment...of...dawning...realization..." I choked out.
"Yeah, that was a Wiley Coyote moment there," she admitted. "Oh, look! Gravity! Now, how do you get past that?"
"Walk slowly," I advised, still giggling. "It slides shut after a moment. Then, you can walk over it."
She took my advice. "Oh, hey, there's a button here. Should I push it?"
I took a look. It was a benign button--it powered a section of wall that would slide back and allow access to a disarming lever. "Sure, why not."
Exastris pushed it. The wall hissed open. Startled, she took a step back, tripped the trapdoor, and fell through again. FWOOSH. I fell off the couch laughing.
"DAMMIT RANGER!" Exastris respawned. "Okay, that was kinda my fault."
"Maybe you should go a different route?" I suggested when I stopped laughing. "You realize there's multiple paths at that intersection--"
"You realize you could just tell me how to get through?" she suggested, a little sarcastically.
"Where would be the fun in that?" I reasoned. "Also, I only know how disarm it by actually going in there and doing it with you, and I'm pretty sure you'd get me killed."
She laughed. "Okay, true. Still, I'm not sure if I trust you." She navigated the trapdoor, ignored the button, and turned right. I heard a faint click.
"Oh, now I remember what was down there!" I snapped my fingers.
BOOM. Multiple boxes of TNT, hidden in the walls and the floor, exploded. Exastris died instantly.
"A booby trap," I said innocently.
"Ooh. Sneaky," she complimented me.
I reset the map and invited her back in. "Thanks. I try. Want to go again?"
"You're insane," she told me.
"Thought so!" I said triumphantly.
Exastris went down the left tunnel this time, disregarding the button. Needless to say, the booby-traps didn't disengage. BOOM.
"Are we having strugs?" I asked innocently, using our shorthand for struggle to mock her a little.
She giggled. "Oh, shut up. Just show me how!"
I reset the map and led the way. After dodging the trapdoor, I pushed the button. The wall shot back, and I quickly hit the hidden lever before it shut again. "Okay, that disables the left side booby traps. The right side is still live, so DON'T go that way."
"Got it." Exastris followed me.
I rounded the corner. "Okay, go stand by the vault door." Once she was in position, I hit another button. Nothing happened.
"Um..." Exastris started.
"It's a delayed release," I said.
Click. The door released. Exastris shot inside--and almost fell off the narrow bridge into the fire below. A long ways below. "Wow, this is crazy! What are the walls made of?"
"Hardest material in the game," I said proudly. "Obsidian. I can set off all the TNT around here and still never breach the vault."
Exastris slowly (and carefully) walked across the bridge to the chest at the end--right in the middle of the vault, over the fire pit. "This is super cool. What's in here?"
"Oh, an extra map, gold, diamonds, some enchanted weapons, stuff like that," I explained.
"This is a booby-trapped vault at the bottom of a well over a pit of fire surrounded by TNT," I summed it up. "Yeah, crazy pretty well covers it. And you haven't even seen the pirate ship yet."
"How do you even build a pirate ship in Minecraft? You know what, nevermind. LEAD THE WAY," Exastris ordered loudly and almost blew herself up on the way out.