There seems to have been a glitch the last time I posted and I'm pretty sure it's cleared up by now, but make sure you read the chapter before this, 'Five', before reading this one.

Enjoy! :D

Chapter XIX

Corners of the World

««««« … »»»»»

"No—No, that can't be right," Jesse stammered, confused.

He closed the book and opened it again, convinced his eyes were deceiving him. This was… clearly some kind of mistake, right? Was he losing his mind? Had that Witherstorm actually made him forget a member of the Order? No… no, there was no way.

"What?" wondered Axel.

Olivia wandered over, looking over Jesse's shoulder at the book in his hands.

Five? That—

"Five?" questioned Lukas, putting his book down and sounding just as baffled as Jesse was. "That—doesn't make any sense. What does it say next?"

"It… doesn't say anything," Jesse answered, turning the page over. "The next pages are ripped out."

"What are you guys talkin' about?" asked Axel.

"There were five members of the Order of the Stone?" Olivia asked in leu of an answer to his question. "The stories never mentioned anything about this."

Lukas tried to reason it out. "Well there has to be some kind of mistake. Right—they wouldn't just…"

He trailed off, but they all knew what he was thinking. Either the first edition of this book had an egregious typo… or the rest of the Order knew something that they didn't want the world to know. Regardless, something here was not right. He didn't want to believe it, but… there was no other explanation for this.

The severity of his thoughts settled in when he spoke them. "It's like… they erased the guy." But why? "There must be a reason he's never been mentioned."
That had to be it, right? Surely they had a really good reason. Otherwise…

"They cut him out of the story…" Olivia mused.

Axel looked conflicted and murmured, "Why would they do this?"

A long moment of silence fell on them until it was finally broken by Lukas. "This is so… crazy."

Jesse decided to pull himself together. Whatever the case was, it didn't matter now.

"Look," Jesse spoke, and Lukas met his eyes. "The Order might not be what we thought they were, but Petra is still out there. That monster is still out there."

Lukas nodded. "Jesse's right. We need to focus on what we came here to do."

"Right," affirmed Jesse.

Lukas picked up the tattered book from the pedestal and then they went their separate ways, in search of what would hopefully lead them to a means to an end.

Jesse wandered. Near the back of the room, Jesse found a spiral stairway leading up a shaft of sorts. He followed it all the way up, leaving his friends to search the lower story.

There he found the path split off, with each of the four walls sporting a large arch door, and each door adorned with the corresponding mineral blocks of each member. Diamond, redstone, emerald, and iron. Just four. Four walls, four doors… four members.

It… didn't make sense.

This fifth member, he was like… a ghost.

Wait—emerald blocks.

Emerald blocks… Emerald—duh.

He could have smacked himself.

Jesse recalled the emerald blocks that had been above the track they'd used to get here, and it suddenly hit him like a ton of bricks. The question to 'why would the Order make such an insane minecart track' was answered. They wouldn't. But Magnus would.

Jesse made a mental reminder to use a track with something besides emerald above it next time and moved along.

He found himself wandering into what he presumed was the corridor into Gabriel's quarters. He wasn't even sure what he was looking for, whether it be some guidance or at least assurance that he was on the right path, but nonetheless he walked on. Inside, the room looked like it hadn't seen a dusting in ages, but it still very much looked the way he thought the chambers of Gabriel the Warrior would.

The room had much less of a homey atmosphere than that of the strange little library downstairs, swords and other weapons instead of posters hanging from the gray stone walls. There were some armor stands made up to be training dummies similar to Jesse's, but to be honest, it kinda looked more like a small armory than a room. Without much in the way of light save for a few wall lamps, the only thing that stood out to him that gave even a little personality to the room was a small desk middle of the far wall. Instead of warm, it looked… well, kinda cold. Aside from training, there was no way Gabriel spent much time here.

The thought of it made Jesse kinda sad.

He wondered if any of them spent much time here, at least back before they evidently abandoned the place.

Jesse made his way back down the stairs where his friends were. First he spotted Lukas who was sitting, poring over the remaining pages of the tattered book. Reuben sat down upright next to him.

"Find anything interesting in that book?" Jesse asked, approaching him.

"The only thing I've found so far was that the amulet was used to track the positions of the members of the Order," Lukas replied, meeting his eyes.

"And... does it mention how?"

Lukas looked dubiously down at the book in his hands. "It's… less technical and... well, more historical."

"And does it… 'historically' say anything else about the 'fifth member'?"

"Nnnno," Lukas answered. "It seems like all of the references to… whoever they were have been very intentionally omitted."

"Right," said Jesse, unsurprised. He hadn't had very high hopes for anything more. "Well, just let me know if you find anything."

"Will do."

When Jesse found his other friends, Olivia's sights seemed to be fixated on nothing in particular while Axel seemed to be staring at something of zero importance. Despite what Jesse would have expected, Lukas was the only one doing anything useful while Axel and Olivia seemed content to sit on the sidelines. Not like he expected them to be gung ho about any of this—Jesse himself certainly wasn't—but he definitely didn't expect Lukas to be the one taking initiative while they didn't. He wasn't exactly disappointed, just somewhat surprised.

"Guys?" Jesse wondered, raising an eyebrow. "What are you doing?"

Olivia jumped. "Oh. I was just… thinking."

Axel looked at him. "I was just… thinking too."

"Okay…" Jesse muttered. "Could you maybe put that thought into helping us figure out a way to find the Order?"

"Why are you getting on our case?" Axel grumbled. "Lukas is just over there reading."

They looked at Lukas and Jesse furrowed his brow at Axel in bemusement, hoping he would catch the 'Are you kidding me?' without Jesse needing to say it.

"Okay, I see your point." Olivia looked pensive. "All right, what can we do?"

Jesse just crossed his arms and suggested, "You could read, like Lukas."

Axel looked aloof as he muttered, "I can't tell if you lost me at 'read', or 'Lukas'."

"You could explore," Jesse suggested.

Olivia seemed to get slightly nervous at this, while Axel looked like just the thought of walking anymore was killing him. Fair enough. They were all weary and slightly on edge at their new surroundings. Perhaps a little… incentive was in order.

"Come to think of it…" Jesse said in his best most tantalizing tone, "when I was upstairs, I found the quarters of the Order."

Axel and Olivia perked and then Jesse assumed a curious tone. "I wonder what Magnus and Ellegaard kept in their rooms…"

Axel and Olivia beamed, glanced at each other, and were off before Jesse could say 'jeepers creepers'.

Well, he thought, That's one way to get a donkey moving.

« … »

Olivia walked through piston and red banner lined walls into the would be living quarters of her hero.

She was somewhat nervous to be separating from the group like this, but she supposed it wasn't all that different from searching the woods for Reuben. In fact, it was probably safer. Probably. Ellegaard wouldn't have put traps everywhere, would she? Magnus probably would, but he wouldn't have boobytrapped Ellegaard's room. Unless he would have. Suddenly she wasn't so confident.

What really gave her pause however was the impossibility of this task. Once she'd gotten to thinking about it, it started to feel so hopeless that she wondered why they were even bothering. Other than the obscure hint that an old trinket—albeit a very pretty one—was somehow supposed to be their compass to the other members of the Order, they had nothing to go off of. Gabriel hadn't told them where in the temple to look, let alone where to find the temple. It was only thanks to Ivor of all people that they were even able to find the place. What were they supposed to do now?

In the short time it took to walk through the hall, she suddenly felt miserable. As soon as she walked in, however, her apprehension dissipated.

Ellegaard's quarters looked like a once extravagant gallery of technological artworks. The walls and floor were littered with both successes and failures but seemingly nothing was left unfinished, a testament to her hero's unwavering determination to face any challenge thrown her way and never, never give up. Another display of her boundless confidence, a small makeshift throne was built at the back of the room. Olivia could only imagine her sitting there, contemplating a solution and never once questioning whether or not her dilemma was impossible to solve, absolutely certain of her abilities.

Olivia steeled herself.

Jesse was right, Olivia decided. She couldn't let herself wallow in despair. She had to keep trying. She couldn't give up. Ellegaard wouldn't give up.

With that, Olivia took off. As she made her way back down into the library, she drew the inquisitive eye of Lukas. She still wasn't sure if that look was meant to be curious or judgmental. She tried not to think about it, but tried to look more casual as she rushed around in search of clues.

She found another small corridor she hadn't seen before. It led to a room with a different pair of staircases presumably going to the same place. She followed them up and was immediately blown away. She turned around and around, baffled by the sight.

She smiled big, only one word escaping her. "Woooow…"

This… this was it. It had to be.

« … »

That cookie was eating him alive.

Axel couldn't even enjoy the marvels of the messy rogue's cave. He couldn't gaze upon the many green banners in all their glory as they were haphazardly and carelessly scattered about, because of that cookie. He couldn't enjoy the mountain of TNT with a redstone lamp and torch placed dangerously in the middle just taunting the TNT to explode, with a simple potted bluet as the cherry on top… because of that cookie. He couldn't thoroughly appreciate the seemingly misplaced bed in the middle of all of it... all because of that cookie. It was haunting him.

Axel pulled out the cookie, glaring down at it.

Stupid cookie.

"Stop looking at me like that," Axel said to it. It didn't seem to listen.

Maybe he could leave it in a chest somewhere and pretend they found it.

No, that wouldn't work. Then he'd still be lying and it would still eat him down in size until he became as short and stubby as Reuben.

What could he do? He felt like he needed to come out with it somehow—he knew if he did he would feel better—but if they found out… Olivia would probably never speak to him again, Reuben would—well, probably wouldn't do anything, and if Jesse found out…

Oh boy, if Jesse found out… he'd kill him.

« … »

Jesse had seen Olivia, but he noticed that Axel hadn't come out of the emerald arched room for a while now. He didn't know if it was because he was caught in a trap or if he'd just gotten distracted, but Jesse decided to check on him anyway.

Sure enough, Jesse found Axel inside staring down at something in his hand. When Jesse got close enough to see what it was, he blinked in surprise.

"Axel?" he asked. "Is that—a cookie?"

Axel looked back and exclaimed, "No!" He hid the cookie from view, then after the shocked look on his face fell, he sighed. "Yes…"

Jesse blinked. "I thought you only had four?"

Axel wilted, pulling the cookie out again. "I… lied."

Jesse… wasn't really as surprised as he was confused, and he found himself muttering more as a statement than a question, "Why."

"The truth is…" said Axel, sounding nervous, "I got five so that I could give one to Petra, and… I didn't want… him to have hers."
Jesse just raised a nonchalant brow and said, "Oh."

Well, that made enough sense.

"You're not gonna tell anyone, are you?"

Yeah right! Jesse wasn't looking to start another argument to cause more like it really mattered anyway. All that drama was so eight hours ago.

"Of course not," Jesse said flatly. "Not my business who you give your cookies to."

Axel looked relieved and even smiled. "Phew… thanks Jesse. And… sorry for losing my cool back there. I just got mad."

Jesse shrugged. "It's cool Axel. You should be apologizing to Lukas though."

Axel's nervousness returned, this time paired with an equal measure of dread. Finally he murmured, "Do I have to?"


Axel smiled again. "Thanks Jesse." Then Axel looked back down to his cookie. "I'm really worried about her."

Jesse nodded. "Me too, buddy."

"Jesse!" Jesse heard a call from behind him. Axel put away his cookie.

He turned around to see an excited Olivia run into the room followed by a curious Lukas.

"Jesse," she repeated, "Jesse, I found something!"

« … »

Where Olivia led them to blew him away. The first thing Jesse noticed was that most of the walls and ceiling seemed to have suffered some serious damage, as they were mostly… well, not there, allowing the morning sun shine through and illuminate everything. If he didn't know better, he'd think the Witherstorm had ripped a massive chunk out of the building. That wasn't exactly spectacular other than simply being a bit strange. What was spectacular was the thing displayed across the one remaining wall. It was a huge map, seven blocks wide with two columns of five lights each along either side.

"Wooow…" Jesse muttered.

"I know," said Olivia. "That's what I said too."

"What happened to the walls?" Axel wondered.

"More like, what happened to this whole place?" corrected Jesse.

He stared over what looked to be a pedestal of sorts with an arch going over the top, but this one didn't hold anything.

"Look!" Olivia exclaimed, pointing at something. "There seems to be some kind of mechanism over here, but…" she rubbed her arm anxiously. "I didn't want to touch it."

Jesse glanced at the mechanism, a table with four levers—one empty block separating the two pairs—and a light Jesse presumed was there to tell if it was working.

Jesse walked up to it and started flicking them. Each one seemed to mess with the lights to the sides of the map in one way or another, but each lever would turn some on and others off.

Great. A puzzle, Jesse internally complained. What is this, some kind of game? Why would they make this a puzzle?!

Each of his friends took up a position at one of the levers without being asked and started curiously flicking at them. Together they tried all kinds of different methods—all up, all down, flicking them all at the same time—but nothing worked.

Ugh… stupid puzzles.

"We have to be missing something…" Jesse tried to reason. If he was honest though, he had no idea if that was true, and if it was, what the something was.

Maybe… it only works at certain times of day? Ohhh, let's hope not.

Reuben oinked, looking kind of left out, and sniffed at the spacer block between the levers.

Hmm… missing… something…

Something clicked.

Jesse reached into his pocket and pulled out his lever, sticking it straight on the empty block.

"Oh… no…" Lukas muttered. "If that works, I'm gonna…"

Once Jesse saw the five levers lined up, something else clicked as a recent memory jumped to mind. The pattern Gabriel used to get into the obsidian chamber. Up, down, up, down, up.

Jesse flicked the two switches on the sides so they were going up, then motioned for Reuben to get the one in the middle. Reuben happily obliged.

All ten lights lit up and left the group awestruck.

Lukas broke the silence. "Wow."

"You can say that again," said Olivia.

The mechanism did something, and the lamp in front of them shot out a beam of light that hit the map. Curious, Jesse followed it. His friends followed behind him.

"Uhh… cool cool," Axel mumbled. "It works… I guess. But what's it's pointing at?"

Jesse thought for a moment as he stared at where the light landed, somewhere in the middle of a large body of water.

No… no that didn't make sense. Gabriel said the amulet would guide them, not a dumb puzzle.

Jesse pulled out the amulet, looked back at the mechanism behind them… then noticed that the beam of light went straight between the two arches on the pedestal.

Oh… OH! Jesse had a moment of realization.

"Oh," he said.

Jesse walked up to the pedestal and placed the amulet so that it mounted perfectly between the two arches, and the beam fell right on the center stone.

As three of the other stones lit up—one bright red, one bright green, and the other a light blue —the beam split in three, each matching the color of their stone. As cool as it was, Jesse found he didn't really have the energy to be excited about it.

"It's absolutely incredible!" exclaimed Olivia. "This technology… it's—impossible! How does it work?"

"This looks like some sort of tracking system…" Jesse observed, noticing the lights slowly shifting until they settled on three different, far apart locations. "This must be what Gabriel wanted us to find!" He pointed, suddenly rejuvenated. "It's the Order! It's showing where they are right now! And that means—"

Jesse got the feeling they all realized it at the same time, because right as Jesse spotted the blue light, they all simultaneously exclaimed, "Gabriel!"

"He's okay!" Jesse sighed in relief.

Oh, thank the Creator.

That meant all hope wasn't lost!

Jesse still couldn't help but notice that Gabriel's light was at the bottom of the map. He wasn't anywhere near them.

"We should go help him, right?" Axel asked. "He might have Petra with him!"

Olivia argued. "We don't know how far away he is, and there's no way we could get to him through the minecart network. He knows how to find us, but we'll just get lost if we try to find him. We'd be wasting time and traveling toward the Witherstorm."

She made a good point.

"Olivia's right, Axel," Jesse said, "Gabriel will be fine. We've got to find the Order of the Stone."

"But we don't know enough about how this thing works," Lukas argued. "Maybe the amulet only tracks them when they're on the surface. Or maybe it doesn't work when they're in the Nether."

Jesse frowned at him. "Uh… duh? So what? Who the Nether cares? I don't know how to put it to you, Lukas, at least we have the map!"

"Okay, okay," Lukas conceded. "I'm just saying, maybe—"

"He said Soren was missing," Jesse cut him off.

"So then…" said Axel, "who's left is Magnus."

"Or Ellegaard." said Olivia.

Jesse nodded. "Let's head out."

Lukas piped up again. "Guys, wait, I'm—"

"Lukas, I get it," Jesse said, "We don't know how it works, but we can't worry about—"

"I'm not going with you guys."

Jesse stopped.

"I have to stay here," Lukas continued. "Gabriel is coming, and someone needs to be here when he arrives. And I'm holding out hope that Petra's with him. She has to be."

"But we might need your help out there," Jesse tried to persuade him. "You should come with us!"
"Nah. You don't need me," Lukas insisted. The way he said it, like he believed his words absolutely, was somewhat saddening.

"This is where I should be," Lukas went on. "If there's even a small chance that… I have to stay." He met Jesse's eyes directly. "Go. Get help. I'm going to focus on monster-proofing this place before nightfall."

Jesse finally sighed and conceded. "Just… Stay safe okay?"

Lukas smiled. "Always."

He didn't doubt that, but still, Jesse wasn't about to leave Lukas alone. "I don't want you staying by yourself, though. One of us will stay here with you."

Jesse looked back at Axel and Olivia expectantly, wishful that one of them would just volunteer for a change and hopeful that there was no way they could possibly turn something this simple into an argument.

Axel nudged Olivia forward, volunteering her and saying with a smile, "Sounds like Olivia'll have you totally covered while me and Jesse are out finding Magnus."

Olivia turned to him with her arms crossed dubiously. "'Finding Magnus?'" she questioned. "You really think that's how it's going to go?" Olivia looked to Jesse before somehow managing to argue. "We need Ellegaard. She's the world's greatest engineer. She'll figure out a way to stop that thing."

"We're trying to DESTROY it," Axel somehow managed to argue back. "And when it comes to 'destruction', Magnus is the master. You're a smart person, Jesse. And obviously the SMART thing to do is to go get Magnus."

"I, heh, I think Axel meant 'Ellegaard' there, Jesse."

Oh no… Jesse braced himself. Here we go…

He never thought he would have to hear this argument… yet here they were. And so began the debate to end all debates.

"Uh, no, I don't think I did," Axel bounced back. "Pretty sure Axel meant 'Magnus.'"

"Jesse. The point is, you should be going to Ellegaard's. It's the clear choice to make."

Back and forth they went.

"You've got to come with me."

"You're my best friend, Jesse."

"It's you and me. Like always."

"Think about it, Jesse."

"This is more of a gut call."

From the petty, to the ridiculous.

"We need to make sure we get this right. We're not going to get a second shot at this."

"Whatever decision you make, I'll be cool with it," Axel finally said, but Jesse knew better.

"Really?" Olivia wondered, sounding excited.

"As long as it's me," Axel tacked on.

Olivia rolled her eyes. "Come on, Jesse. This is an easy call."

They were living through the end of the world… and Olivia and Axel were STILL arguing.

Jesse thought long and hard about what he should do, but it was harder than he thought. Both of them made good points, though most of them were riddled with bias. Still, he really wasn't sure who would be better. On top of that, there was no way to choose one without the other feeling personally hurt. That was just how Axel and Olivia were.

He decided that he couldn't just consider who he wanted to pick.

He needed to take a step back.

Maybe I'm looking at this the wrong—

"Uhhhh—Goggles." Axel said out of nowhere.

"What?" Olivia questioned incredulously.

Axel murmured in response, "I'm running out of things to say."

Oh thank goodness.

It was hopeless. Either way, Axel and Olivia would both be either distracted the whole time, or hurt that they didn't get to meet their hero.

Jesse was almost tempted to throw it in both their faces by taking Olivia and booking it to Magnus' place, but… well as fun as it sounded, he knew it wouldn't blow over well, and Jesse had never had the, 'if we can't all be happy, no one can' mentality.

Jesse again decided to intuitively defer to the third party here, and turned to Lukas. Lukas looked… almost nervous. Clearly something was on his mind, as he gazed anxiously up at the map.

Oh, Jesse thought in the moment he realized exactly what he should do.

"We're going for Magnus," Jesse announced, and got the exact response he expected on all counts.

"What?" Olivia whined, sounding incredibly disappointed.

Axel looked pleased and said, "Good call, Jesse."

Jesse looked to Lukas who didn't say anything, but gave Jesse a very grateful, and very relieved smile. Jesse had guessed correctly. Lukas did not want to be left alone with Axel.

"Get ready to roll, Axel," Jesse said.

Axel looked excited. "Yeah. Let's do this."

"Olivia," Jesse said, turning to her, "you stay here with Lukas and get the place ready for when Gabriel comes, okay?"

Olivia sighed. "Fine."

Jesse looked to Lukas and nodded. Lukas smiled… but his face fell when he looked away.

"Uh... guys?" Lukas muttered, sounding suddenly skittish. He pointed out beyond the open walls of the map room and out into the wilderness from where they'd come.

Into the hazy distance, Jesse gazed out. A now familiar feeling of dread seized him as the dark and formless figure of the Witherstorm just started to come into view above the horizon.

Like Jesse, Lukas shuddered. "Please hurry."

« … »

And the priest said to them, "Go in peace. The journey on which you go is under the eye of the Lord."

Judges 18:6

Author's Notes

I wish I had thought of this before so I could give you fair warning, but I decided to take a sort of vacation from this for a while since this is the end of the first episode. Posting twice a week has been really good for me, ^^ however because of it I haven't had time for some other important things, and some other more personal things. So I'm going to take the next few weeks to get the story ahead more figured out, as well as generally get my life more straightened out. XD

- Gabriel's Light —Why wasn't Gabriel on the map? He didn't go to the Nether. Fixed!

- Get Up Lazy Bones! — I always thought it was really dumb that while Jesse is trying to figure out what to do, they're all just standing there like fools. XD Fixed! Not really, they're still lame, they're just called out on it. :P