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Mob Squad: Never Say Nether – Chapter 31


Everything turned out just fine. Our parents on the pumpkin farm barely even noticed we’d been gone, the town is treating us notably better now that I provide their potions, and we helped Jarro build a little horse farm next door.

It’s nice, having all the horses and llamas right there, and it’s nice having Jarro for a neighbor. Chug is right—he’s a completely different person, now that he’s not stuck in the Hub with his mom. I guess staying in the same place with the same people all your life doesn’t exactly expand your mind and give you the opportunity to learn and grow. I don’t know if he’ll ever want to go to the Nether again, but he’s getting used to life beyond the wall. Most afternoons, if the weather is nice, he goes for a gallop across the prairie. I can tell Chug wants to go with him, but he still thinks it would hurt Thingy’s feelings.

Now Jarro grows fungi and raises horses and llamas and rents them out when folks want to go on a journey—the horses and llamas, not the fungi. So many people from town are venturing to the village to trade on Jarro’s horses that a trail is forming through the grass, a little brown dirt path snaking across the prairie, taking the citizens of Cornucopia out into the world for the first time.

Mal dug a nice-sized basement under my and Chug’s bedroom, and we set up the Nether portal down there. We always leave one block out unless we’re using it, because it turns out you can’t activate a Nether portal if even one obsidian block is missing. Our portal doesn’t come out where the one in the woodland mansion did—ours, luckily, spits us out in the middle of that nice warped forest. Whenever I need ingredients, Mal and Lenna and Chug are happy to go on a mini adventure and grab whatever I need. Well, Chug’s not happy, but he’d rather go with them than know that Mal and Lenna are there alone, without a lug in armor constantly jumping in between them and danger.

Lenna’s book is coming along beautifully, and Nan is Nan, so of course she acts like it’s no big deal and she already knew everything about the Nether, but we know full well she didn’t.

“Mm-hm, hoglins, yes, of course,” she said, looking at the picture. “Good eating.”

We don’t correct her, though. They are good eating.

So that’s how everything turned out. I stopped blowing things up and started supplying potions for the whole town. Mal has the market for weird ore cornered. Lenna’s an expert with a crossbow and is writing her second book on the Nether. Chug and Jarro are buddies now, and Jarro eats lunch at our house almost every day. His mom got so mad that she decided to give him the silent treatment, and it totally backfired. Jarro’s a lot happier, now that she’s silent.

Oh, and the next time Candor and Clarity had kittens, Jarro got the pick of the litter. Now he has his own cat to keep the creepers away, and he talks to her in a baby voice that the older version of Jarro would have ridiculed to pieces. Unfortunately, Chug named her before Jarro could, and now she’s stuck being called Meowy, but Jarro has definitely learned his lesson regarding naming rights.

And me?

I finally got those books on potions I wanted so much.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m not traumatized by the experience of being kidnapped right out of my bed. I’m a lot jumpier when I’m asleep now, which is not so great on stormy nights. We lock our doors, and I have elaborate traps set up around the house to deter anyone who might wish us harm—or try to steal our wares. There’s this interesting stuff called redstone that I’m experimenting with that might help with even more elaborate traps, but first I’ll need another book, which means we’ll need to go on another adventure.

It’s funny how nothing and everything can change. Maybe that’s what growing up is—you become a different person bit by bit, figuring out who you really are. And from the outside, maybe you look the same, except for your hairstyle or clothing, but on the inside, you’re a better, smarter, more creative, more confident version of yourself. And you still carry your fears around with you, but you learn to adapt and grow. And maybe the people you once hated become your friends. And maybe you realize who you want to be and work on becoming that instead.

We’re all works in process, as complex as a potion on a brewing stand.

But hopefully not as explosive.


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