The left branch came to a dead-end but offered up five more pieces of iron ore. Retracing my steps, I returned to the pool and enjoyed the cooler, freshness that the damp air provided. After that, I headed down the right branch. I barely set one torch down on this side, when I heard the creaking, which preceded the tightening of a bow. With nowhere to go, and no sight of the skeleton archer in the darkness ahead, I couldn't dodge its first arrow. It struck my hip, lodging into the bone, and blinding me with pain.

The skeleton hobbled out of the shadows as it readied another shot. I didn't have a lot of options, so I thought on my feet. Working through the pain, I managed to place two blocks of cobblestone to hide behind, breaking the skeleton's line of sight. The next arrow thunked harmlessly against the stones, but that didn't deter the monster. Leaning against the new column for support, I could hear it shambling closer. I grabbed my sword and readied to swing. The minute that pale head poked out around the corner, I swung. The skeleton flew back out of sight and immediately tried to peek around again. I swung once more, and just like the last time, the skeleton flew back out of sight. As it peeked around a third time without its bow readied, I almost felt bad. Then my side screamed at me as I swung and I took advantage of the monster's lack of planning ahead.

After my fourth swing, the skeleton crumbled into dust, dropping an arrow and two bones. Careful to avoid aggravating the arrow sticking out of me, I picked up the items.

You could've at least dropped the bow too.

I leaned back against my hastily constructed pillar and marveled at the ingenuity. I hadn't really thought of what I was doing, I just did it. The skeleton had trapped me out in the open and I put a wall between us without thinking. It saved my life. I needed to remember that strategy, and try to come up with similar solutions. The monsters weren't very smart, and it seemed that I could use that to my advantage.

After catching my breath, I carried on into the cave as it resumed its downward spiral. I wanted more iron. The air down this branch of the tunnel remained damp and echoed with the cascading water flowing beside me. The floor and walls were damp and my torchlight reflected off of the surfaces in a thousand different spots. I might have found it beautiful, if not for the fact that each flash made me think that I'd run into another monster. With the arrow in my hip, my progress was slower. Each step down a block hurt as the stupid pointy stick wiggled within me. A patch of red stained my shirt and paints, but the bleeding stopped. Didn't stop the pain though. It still throbbed with each pulse of my heart. I tried to ignore it.

Finally, the cave leveled off into a round chamber. The stream beside me collected in the basin of this chamber, where it soaked into the stones. Across the way, I could see the dark mouth of a tunnel leading away from here. From that darkness, emerged the dark, hollow face of the creepy green monster. Its empty eyes locked onto me as it marched around the room with the intent to blow me away. I readied my sword and prepared myself to run after hitting it, when an arrow shot of the darkness, impacting my chest. The shock and pain of the blow sent me staggering to the side.

Why is there always a skeleton?

Admittedly, there weren't a whole lot of options when it came to monsters, which I felt I should be thankful for. However, they were all bad in their own way and the skeletons always managed to surprise me from the shadows with their stupid bows.

The green monster's body began to flash as it approached. With a groan, I swung my sword. It connected with the monster's front and sent it flying a few blocks. I stumbled away and erected another pillar of cobblestone to shelter behind. My breaths were shallow as pain coursed through me. It made it hard to focus on the sides of the pillar where I knew a face would poke out eventually. Which monster would show itself first? Most likely the green one first, though from the clanking, it sounded like the skeleton was rushing to get an angle on me. As my grip tightened on the sword handle, I tried to steady my breathing. I couldn't take both of the monsters, not in my current state. The problem was, one was a walking bomb and the other could hit me from across the room.

Maybe I can use that to my advantage!

I knew the monsters weren't the brightest, and the archer would focus solely on me, even if something got between us. If I could get the creeper between me and the archer, the skeleton would shoot it. Then the creeper would get mad at the archer, and blow them both up. I wouldn't even have to swing my sword, but I would have to dodge some arrows. I glanced down at the two sticking out of me. It felt like the skeletons here thought that I was their walking pincushion, and I did not appreciate it.

I didn't really like this plan, but I also didn't really have time to come up with a new one. With a deep breath, I steeled myself for what needed to be done and ignored the sharp pains that erupted as I stepped out of cover. The creeper continued to follow me as the archer drew back its bow. I skirted around the room, keeping the creeper between me and the pale marksman who took its time lining up the shot. I was running out of room to get away from the creeper. Its body started flashing as a hiss echoed across the chamber. My back bumped into the stone walls and I closed my eyes, refusing to look into the empty sockets of either of the monsters. The hissing stopped when the bow twanged of its shot.

My eyes snapped open and found the creeper right in front of me. However, it had lost interest in me. It turned and faced its old teammate, practically poking me in the eye with the arrow that stuck out of the back of its head. The monster marched back across the room with understandable frustration. Knowing what was coming, I retreated back to my pillar and waited for the inevitable explosion.

The cavern shook from the blast causing bits of rock and dirt to trickle down from the ceiling. Where the monsters had once stood had become a small crater with a few bones lying in it. I collected the bones and placed another torch at the entrance to this new section cave, which revealed it to be another dead end. However, parts of the wall were flecked with bits of tan mineral. I let out a sigh of relief. I couldn't take any more monsters at the moment. I needed to get out of the cave, but first, I'd be collecting that iron.

At a tedious and painfully slow pace, I mined the iron ore from the rock wall until I had fourteen pieces in totaled. With that, I began the long ascent out of the cave. My body ached, but I had succeeded.

After this, I'm never coming down here again!