Trouble's coming (and I still don't know when) - dextonhuk (2024)

Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Chapter Text

Grian knew something weird was about to happen. He could feel it every time he moved, every time he breathed, every time he blinked. The tension was weird, but it made him slightly excited too. Normally, all of this meant there was going to be a change in their surroundings, a simple change that would make their lives easier, perhaps give them some new things to work with and to experiment with.

Grian could only hope the things they gave them this time were more enjoyable than the last time.

Silently, Grian watched from the shopping district, waiting for the other hermits to feel it too. Except, where he could see their excitement in their every move last time, this time there was nothing. They still behaved like they normally would, went on with their day like there wasn’t a life changing thing waiting for them.

It was weird.

It made him nervous. Maybe this wasn’t a good thing after all. Maybe he should just keep to himself for a while, until the feeling was gone. And that’s when he realized that feeling no longer made him excited, and it was only an unsettling doom dawning over him.

And that’s exactly what he did. He slowly started to remove himself from the people around him, declining invitations more often until his days were entirely spent alone, either in his library or in his storage room, sorting out his chests and writing down ideas and trying to find out why the feeling wouldn’t just leave.

Mumbo seemed to notice the way Grian retracted himself from the group, and he came to scout out what was happening.

Mumbo landed in front of the giant mansion Grian had built, cautiously walking through the entrance.

“Hello?” he called out. There was no response, so he continued down the long hall that ended up in a big storage room. Grian was sitting on the floor, a bunch of papers spread around him, busy writing on another piece of paper. He seemed too distracted by what he was writing to notice the intruder.

Mumbo curiously picked up one of the papers as he got closer.

“Hey, what are you doing?” he asked, trying to decipher the words. It seemed like a bunch of random words that didn’t make sense together.

Grian flinched at Mumbo’s voice, snapping his gaze up. “Mumbo! Didn’t hear you come in!”

“Yeah, I noticed,” Mumbo muttered, putting the paper down again.

Grian swiftly got up from the ground, the pull on his face indicating he had sat there way longer than he should’ve. With skilled precision he stepped over the papers, making his way over to his friend, and basically ushering him back out the way he came in.

“What are you doing here?” he then asked as they walked out of the mansion. Grian squinted his eyes against the harsh sunlight, it was pretty blinding after spending a few days in the low, artificial light of his storage room. Grian led him up the stairs to the top part of the mansion, Mumbo really just followed him because it was the first time he had seen Grian outside after the one time he had been pondering in the shopping district.

“No one had seen you in a while, I was just checking if you were okay,” Mumbo replied. Grian stopped walking, turning around on the narrow steps to look at Mumbo, a flash of guilt and panic in his eyes, before he masked it all with a well practiced smile.

“Yeah, all good, I was just thinking of some ideas for the mansion,” Grian said, turning back around and continuing his way up the stairs. Mumbo didn’t quite understand why they were walking, as they both had elytras, but he didn’t bring it up.

“Alright, worked it out then?” Mumbo asked. Grian nodded as he pushed open the gigantic doors. Mumbo hadn’t yet seen the interior of the mansion, nor the diamond chandelier hanging from the ceiling.

“Oh my word, Grian, this is beautiful!” Mumbo exclaimed. Grian didn’t respond to that. Instead he kept on walking to the left, pushing open another set of doors.

“Yep, got it all figured out.”

There was a certain tone to his voice Mumbo couldn’t quite decipher, as much as he couldn’t decipher the words on the paper, nor the confusing way Grian moved. It seemed more frantic, almost glitchy, and it was visible in every move he made.

“So, what were you writing about?” Mumbo asked. He followed Grian into a giant library. There were bookshelves lined all the way up to the ceiling, split by three separate landings to make it easier to reach the books. Even with those landings, there were ladders in place to be able to reach the top shelves.

Mumbo was impressed, if not by the architecture, then by the incredible amount of books Grian had.

“Nothing important. Hey, I need a favor,” Grian derailed that question. He walked up the stairs to the second landing, pulling out random books with calculated precision that made Mumbo wonder if he knew exactly which books were stored where.

“What favor?”

Grian didn’t stop moving once, “Right, so, could you maybe look after my farms for a while? I’m kind of busy, have to do some things. If you could just make sure they don’t break and don’t overload, that would be great. Also, could you feed Professor Beak? He’s in the basem*nt, in the storage room, he just needs some seeds.”

Grian continued to ramble about things, asking for things Mumbo barely understood.

“Grian, mate, what are you talking about?” Mumbo interrupted him. Grian stopped talking, but he continued grabbing random books off the shelves, pushing them into an endless stream of shulkers he had brought.

“Don’t worry about it, really, just have some things to do,” Grian nervously told him.

“Grian, you said that before and it did not go too well,” Mumbo reminded him. Now Grian stopped moving, if only for a split second. His hand hovered in front of one of the books, fingers ghosting over the spine. He quickly shook his head and continued though.

“I know, I know, I know,” Grian waved it off, “I’ll be back soon, I promise.”

Mumbo didn’t miss the uncertainty in his voice.

“Can you at least tell me where you’re going?” Mumbo gave up.

“Wish I could. Really, don’t worry about it.” Grian climbed upon one of the chairs standing on the landing, using it to jump over the railing. His elytra assisted him to the other side of the landing, just keeping him in the air enough to land on the edge, and he jumped over the fence in a single motion.

“Catch!” he called out as he threw a book across to him.

Mumbo clumsily caught it. He curiously read the title, it was something about a myth Grian had told him about long ago, on one of his first days on the server. Grian had made his way back by the time Mumbo put the books down. He took the book out of his fingers, throwing it into the shulker haphazardly, then picking up the three shulkers he had filled.

“so, will you?” Grian asked, finally coming to a halt.

Mumbo sighed in defeat, knowing there was no way to change his mind. “I’ll take care of it.”

“Thanks,” Grian sincerely smiled, like a weight was lifted off his shoulders.

“I’m gonna need you to explain what’s going on when you’re back though,” Mumbo pressed, and Grian only nodded before he led Mumbo back out of the mansion again.

“Will do,” Grian nodded.

Mumbo wasn’t convinced.

And Grian knew.

He knew from the moment he heard Mumbo call out for him he needed a way to convince him by giving him some empty promises. The feeling in his body had multiplied tenfold by the time Mumbo had come by, it slowly built up over the days. He had tried figuring out what it meant, and why he was the only one feeling it, and maybe somewhere halfway through he was slowly losing his mind.

He had tried writing down everything he knew, but when Mumbo had come in, he knew it was a lost cause. So, he decided, it was better to bury himself somewhere, out of reach of everyone, to wait out the feeling. To wait until he was sure it wouldn’t hurt anyone he knew.

For Mumbo’s -and everyone else’s- sake, he was going to work on a project a bit further away.

So he had filled up his shulkers with the necessary things, and the ones he had left were filled with books that could possibly tell him what was happening, and he went on his way.

That way was only a small distance. In reality, he decided hiding out in his old hobbit base, in a secret room where he could easily get his things if he needed, was the best move. He had moved into the railway he had made to message Mumbo, and carved out a space large enough for all his things.

He sat there for days, slowly losing his mind with the amount of information he read, and the amount of information that got him absolutely nowhere.

One day, the feeling in his bones made him feel like he was going to implode any second. He wrapped his arms around himself, trying to keep his bones together, struggling to breathe through both the pain and the panic. His eyes were squeezed shut, as he desperately dug his fingernails in whatever piece of his shaking body he could manage.

Oh, this was bad.

Suddenly the feeling left, and all that was left was a hollow feeling in his chest. He couldn’t seem to open his eyes as he desperately gasped for air.

Then, there was a voice. One he didn’t recognise.

“What the f*ck.”

Chapter 2: Chapter 2


Grian finds himself in an unfamiliar place with a person he doesn't know and no way out of there.


Chapter 2 :D
No beta, so my apologies for any mistakes lmao
a longer chapter this time :))

Chapter Text

Grian didn't quite know what he expected.

He had seen a lot of things in his life, he had lived with the Watchers after all, and by now nothing seemed to be out of the question when the beings started messing with people.

When he realized this feeling could be nothing but trouble, he had prepared for anything. He could be back in the In-Between, where the Watchers were hiding, or thrown back into Evo, maybe they’d give him his wings back, or anything like that.

What he didn’t expect, however, was opening his eyes, and finding himself on his back in a patch of grass. The sky above was clouded, the clouds so dark Grian was surprised it wasn’t actually raining. From the corners of his eyes he could see walls rising up, netherrack on the top, which was set on fire.

He sat up -a little too fast maybe- to get a better look at the walls, because building with netherrack was a bold choice, especially when it was actually set on fire. He frowned when he saw where he actually was. The walls were.. something… and the ground was even worse. There were holes everywhere, probably caused by creepers, and the trees had been only chopped down halfway, the leaves hanging sadly. None of the walls matched, all of them a mismatch of different types of wood and stones, and there was one single gate outside of the small court.

Through the gate, the only thing he could really see was a highway-like road through a large field of grass.

If there was anything though, he couldn’t see it past the figure in the middle of the gate.

Two different coloured eyes frowned back at him, one green, one red. Despite the shiny sword he was holding, and the netherite chestplate, and the golden crown atop his head, he didn’t look intimidating at all. There was a lot of jewelry hanging from his ears and horns, and around his fingers. Half his face was white, the other half black, but both sides had heavy scarring underneath his eyes, almost like tear tracks etched into his skin. His hair was split in the same way, though the strands overlapped and became a bit of a mess.

His chestplate, which was the only armor was actually wearing, covered part of a dirty, damaged suit.

“Who are you?” he slowly asked.

“I’m Grian,” Grian replied, just as hesitantly, “where am I?”

The guy leaned back a bit, so he could look past the walls, and checked both sides of the ‘highway’ before carefully taking a few steps his way.

“You don’t know?” he asked.

“Not really,” Grian shrugged.

“Dream didn’t invite you?”

Grian frowned. He had never heard of Dream before, but he really didn’t like the sound of that name. Reminded him of someone else.


“I have no idea who Dream is,” Grian admitted as he got to his feet. He felt a bit dizzy, he blamed it on teleporting between servers.

At that, the guy took a step back again, gripping his sword a bit tighter. Grian only spared it a glance, then wrote it off because, well he was a stranger in their server, and then decided he should look around and see if he could get away from this server.

Like, don’t get him wrong, being on a new server was exciting, and he kind of wanted to explore, but he didn’t belong here. He belonged on Hermitcraft, and he couldn’t stay away from them too long -mostly for his own sanity- and he just knew The Watchers would get upset if he stayed here for too long, even though he was probably here because of them.

It was safe to say the Watchers didn’t like him much.

“Do you know where the server portal is?” Grian asked.

Every server has a server portal by default, and it can’t be deleted, only moved. It could be deactivated, both by gods and server admins, from both sides of the portal. This rarely happened though, as it endangers everyone in the server, but there were some people willing enough.

Now it was the stranger’s turn to be confused.

“Like a nether portal?” he asked.

“No, like the portal to different servers,” Grian said.

“Uhm, I don’t think-” the guy muttered, “No, I don’t think there is one.”


That was bad. Really bad, actually.

It could either mean two things. One, this guy just had a bad memory and didn’t actually remember there being one, which seemed highly unlikely as the server portal is a pretty important thing.

Or two, the admin had moved the portal so far away no one had ever encountered it.

Technically, there was a third option, that being the portal was destroyed, but that could also just be part of option two.

“Right,” Grian muttered, playing with the sleeves of his sweater as he thought. There had to be a way out of here, right? Somehow?

“Uhm, I don’t want to alarm you, but we should really get out of here,” the guy then said, eyes darting around the place. He started walking backwards, and Grian decided to just follow him, as he knew what he was talking about. Despite the warning, Grian was a bit alarmed, because well, wouldn’t you be alarmed when someone tells you to not be alarmed?

And so he stepped out of the small, broken court onto the highway. On one side it led further than Grian could see, while on the other side it ended halfway on the grass. He expected them to follow the road, but instead the guy -whose name he still didn’t know- stepped onto the grass.

Grian didn’t question it.

“So, what’s your name?” Grian asked as they walked over broken land and around deep holes in the landscape. There were no buildings, though he could see some in the distance, but that hadn’t spared it from being plagued by creepers apparently.


The surroundings changed as they walked into the living world, and now they were on a small path consisting of gravel and stone, cakes lined to the sides. It quickly turned into black, and soon they were next to a nether portal.

“Do you guys not care about filling in creeper holes?” Grian confusedly asked, looking at the holes and gaps in the paths around him.

Ranboo shrugged, “Creeper holes don’t matter much when your entire country is a giant crater.”

Ranboo led him over a wooden bridge -if it could really be called a bridge, as it was just the same path but over the water- into a building.

“This doesn’t seem blown up to me,” Grian said, wondering what he meant by country and crater.

Ranboo chuckled sadly, “well, it’s been rebuilt. I think it was blown up twice? Maybe three times, I can’t remember. This is the community center, by the way, but it doesn’t get used much.”

“It was blown up?” a different voice then spoke up. Grian looked away from the broken windows to the movement on the other side of the building. A tall guy walked in, wearing full netherite, a netherite pickaxe slung over his shoulder. His emerald eyes were sparkling as he smiled at them.

“Foolish! What are you doing here?” Ranboo asked. Grian glanced between the two, feeling incredibly small.

“Working on something over there,” Foolish vaguely gestured towards the direction he came from, “but who’s this?”

“I’m Grian,” Grian answered before Ranboo could.

“He was at spawn,” Ranboo added.

Foolish nodded like that was all he needed to know. “Where are you going?”

“L’manburg,” Ranboo answered.

And so, the three of them set off to what Ranboo had called L’manburg, whatever that was. Ranboo talked about some vague things that Grian couldn’t really wrap his mind about, something about making burgers in paradise with some guy called Wilbur and a fight with some other guy called Quackity.

Foolish apparently knew exactly what he was talking about, but he seemed about as confused.

“Isn’t Wilbur dead?”

“He hasn’t been for like two months,” Ranboo filled him in. Grian knew better than to ask about it, despite the many questions he had.

Dead? They could actually die here? And Wilbur was dead? But now he was not dead anymore?

Really, none of that made sense to him.

Foolish replied something, but Grian was no longer focussed. His eyes were trained on the giant crater they were walking up to. The path stopped halfway there, probably ruined in the events that went down here to cause it. The crater was gigantic, and apparently it had been there for a while as there were plants growing in it. In the sky was an enormous grid made from obsidian, vines hanging down from the sturdy structure and the droppers attached to it.

This wasn’t an accident.

“Wow,” was all Grian could say, falling behind slightly as both Foolish and Ranboo continued towards the edge. Ranboo looked back.

“Yeah, the creeper holes aren’t that bad anymore,” he said, a sad smile plastered on his face. Foolish, on the other hand, still had that bright grin on his face, like he was completely unfazed by whatever had happened.

“What happened?” Grian asked. He caught up with them at the edge of the crater, looking down onto giant mushrooms and water on the bottom of the crater that went all the way to bedrock.

There were some ruins of what used to be buildings standing on the very edges of the hole, and Grian could only imagine how many people had lost their lives and buildings here.

“They dropped TNT from the grids,” Ranboo said, pointing out the redstone machines handing on the grids that Grian had already spotted, “and they let loose some withers. We tried defending it, but there was no chance.”

“Why? That seems cruel,” Grian muttered.

Ranboo anxiously twisted the rings lining his fingers, “It’s a long story.”

“I have time,” Grian said. He had nowhere to go after all, and there was nothing he could do here before he found the server portal, so he had more than enough time to listen.

“Oh boy.”

Grian wasn’t quite ready for the amount of information he was getting thrown at him when Ranboo started talking. Once the words started flowing, he didn’t seem to stop talking anymore.

Grian listened to him talk about the start of L’manburg, the first war and the first time it got exploded, the elections, Pogtopia, the festival, the death of JSchlatt, the time Wilbur blew up the country, Tubbo’s presidency, Tommy’s exile, and the assassination attempt on Technoblade.

The first time Ranboo had mentioned Technoblade, Grian had interrupted him. He only knew one person called Technoblade, and not because he had actually met the guy. He had read more than enough books about gods to know about Technoblade, the feared warrior that was associated with the blood god. He didn’t quite expect for him to hide out in a place like this, and especially not after Ranboo told him he lives far away from everyone, living in semi-retirement.

Another name he didn’t expect to hear today was Philza.

Philza had been a famous name in the In-Between, for all the wrong reasons. The man had lived with the Watchers -Grian couldn’t remember if that was by choice or because he was forced-, making his way up the ranks, until he suddenly left one day to live back on the servers, back in the real worlds. They had tried hunting him down when they figured out he got married to the Goddess of Death -or Lady Death, as people called her-, but he was under protection of one of the most powerful gods in existence, so they didn’t get far.

Philza had returned to the Watchers once, when Grian lived there too, and the two had stuck together for a few months as mortals in an immortal world. One day, Philza disappeared, leaving behind only the letters he had recieved -Grian still didn’t know how he got letters in a world that didn’t exist, but his best guess was Lady Death- and a single note for Grian. ‘My family needs me, please keep these letters safe. ~Philza’ it had said, and ever since Grian had kept the letters in his own room. It didn’t matter, as neither of them were in the In-Between anymore, and the letters weren’t within reach, so they were basically lost now.

But apparently the emergency that forced Philza to leave was his son blowing up a country.

That was definitely not something he expected to hear.

“-Tommy returned to L’manburg, and Dream got mad. Techno was also mad that they had rebuilt the country and Tubbo was president again, and he was still mad about the hog hunt, so together with Philza, they blew it up.”

Grian looked back at the crater from where he sat down on the grass. Knowing the history of the crater didn’t make the sinking feeling in his stomach any better, and if that wasn’t enough, knowing Philza, of all people, was involved was even worse.

“What happened after that?” Grian asked, almost not daring to ask it.

“Dream had a battle with Tommy and Tubbo, then Punz showed up with everyone else, and we put Dream in prison,” Ranboo continued, frowning slightly as he thought about it.

“I hope things got peaceful then,” Grian sighed, taking a bite of the bread Ranboo had given him.

“Not really,” Ranboo said, “There was this evil egg brainwashing people, and they organised a banquet for something-”

Foolish interrupted them, “we don’t need to talk about that.”

It was silent for a moment, both Ranboo and Grian looking over to Foolish, who had been mostly silent throughout all of this. Ranboo then nodded and continued talking.

“Then Tommy got killed in prison because he went to visit Dream, but he got revived. Then he went back with Ghostbur, but the warden, Sam, found out and then Ghostbur got killed to revive Wilbur, so that happened.”

Grian’s mind was spinning. How did something like that even happen? Did they make deals with Lady Death? That was impossible right?

“Anyway, Technoblade broke Dream out of prison not too long ago, and now we’re here,” Ranboo concluded his story.

“What?” Grian exclaimed, “Dream is out of prison?”

“Yeah, he broke me out too,” Ranboo nodded.

“Dream is out of prison? And you guys aren’t like, hiding?”

Foolish shrugged, “I don’t actually know the guy, never met him.”

Ranboo stayed suspiciously quiet, softly tapping his nails against his chestplate. Grian seemed to be the only person really bothered by this.

He had quickly gathered, right after Ranboo had said ‘Tommy’s first death’, that there was a limited life system here. He didn’t know which cruel admin would ever do that, but apparently that sick person was Dream.

Now if he remembered anything from traveling between servers, it was that the life system switched too, which would mean he only had three lives here, too.

Grian couldn’t defend himself, he never had to, and there was a serial killer and manipulator that had just gotten out of prison.

He was doomed.

Foolish pulled him out of his spiraling thoughts by getting up. “I’m going home, it’s getting dark.”

The sun was setting over the crater, lighting it up in yellow and orange tones. If it hadn’t been an act of terrorism, Grian would’ve considered it pretty.

“Yeah, I should head back too,” Ranboo agreed.

“Grian, you got a place to stay?” Foolish then asked, “you probably shouldn’t stay here.”

“No, I’ll just stay in the community center,” Grian suggested. It was a community center, surely he could stay safe there? Right?

Foolish wasn’t convinced, “you can stay with me!”

“Are you sure?”

“Oh yes, there’s more than enough space,” Foolish insisted.

“Okay, yeah,” Grian then agreed. They split ways with Ranboo, who walked back the way they came, while Foolish and Grian stepped through the nether portal.

Grian wasn’t excited for the nether, if it looked anything like the overworld.

He was right, as the nether was just a bunch of broken up bridges and at some point it was just single blocks he needed to jump over, and at that point he really wished these people had built a proper nether hub.

Man, he already missed Tango.

Chapter 3: Chapter 3


Foolish's summerhome is basically a tribute to a destructive god, and Grian meets Dream.

Chapter Text

Hermitcraft was known for its amazing builds. Anyone who had been to one of the open servers of past seasons would tell you about the incredible buildings and mind-boggling technology they had seen.

Giant structures with amazing architecture and incredible redstone contraptions to finish it all off; it was a sight to behold.

And that’s what Grian loved so much about Hermitcraft.

He had been amazed at the things popping up when he first joined, and he had been so excited to build his own things. Giant builds had become the norm, and despite their enormous size, they felt like home.

A build could never be too big to feel like home.

That’s exactly how Grian felt as he stepped through the nether portal to Foolish’s base. He could only see the building the portal had been built in, but the scale was already so much larger than any of the other buildings he had seen in his short time on this server, and it was nice.

The Egyptian style was nice and the patterned floor and markings on the walls were incredible.

Foolish didn’t pause for him to check it out too long, grumbling something as he walked towards the giant cactus towers just outside the entrance. Grian curiously followed him, and he was delighted to see more structures beyond the cacti blocking his view, or he thought there were, he could see more colors and sandstone in the distance.

“BadBoyHalo is such a bitch,” Foolish groaned, taking down the cacti one by one. Grian was too busy staring at a giant, floating, pyramid in the distance. It was to the side of the portal building, the only building not obstructed by the cactus, and it was big.

The tip was barely visible from here, but Grian could see the glint of gold blocks. The edges were decorated with quartz and emerald blocks, which looked amazing.

“That looks amazing,” Grian pointed out. He looked back at Foolish, who grinned brightly at his comment.

“Wait ‘till you see the statue,” he grinned, moving along. Grian followed him, but only for a short period of time, because soon the cactus was out of the way, and he could see the giant statue rising above everything else.

Oh no.

The statue of a god hovered slightly above the ground. Grian had seen this depiction of the god more than enough to recognise it without a problem. If the bright green cloak didn’t give it away, then the double halo would, or the giant, flaming, purple sword in his right hand.


Or, as Grian knew him better, the God of Destruction.

He had seen the destruction he caused to servers first-hand, and sometimes the pictures still haunted him.

The In-Between was a weird place, if you could really call it a place. Unlike the realm of the gods, the In-Between had no information. There were no books about it anywhere, no one talked about it, it was simply like it didn’t exist.

And that was because it didn’t.

The In-Between wasn’t a real place. It wasn’t a server, it wasn’t a realm, it was nothing. And this was the perfect condition for a place like the In-Between. The Watchers, who operated outside of the gods' knowledge, could get away with everything they did there, because not even the gods knew they existed, and if they did, they couldn’t reach it.

That was until there was a slip up, and suddenly the gods knew exactly where to find it and how to get there.

Unsurprisingly, they were not kind.

DreamXD was sent to the In-Between, but not in the way mortals knew him. He was sent without the disguise, without the features that made him look more human, without any barriers. He was as relentless as he was terrifying.

The In-Between had been completely wiped out within a matter of seconds. Towers easily knocked over like they were made out of sand, walls crumbled without any resistance, buildings wiped out, and Watchers killed without any mercy.

Just as sudden as he had appeared, he was gone, leaving the remaining Watchers behind in the rubble and destruction. Remaining Watchers, and Grian.

That was both the first and last time Grian had ever encountered a god, and he’d like to keep it that way.

“DreamXD,” Grian muttered, just loud enough for Foolish to hear. The man seemed to be excited when Grain said it, almost bouncing as he answered.

“Yes! You know him?”

Grian swallowed, then decided to lie, “I read about him.”

He shouldn’t tell anyone he had actually met DreamXD, that would raise questions he couldn’t give the answer to.

Grian pushed the fact that it was a statue of a relentless god out of his mind, and tried to focus on the build itself.

“It’s beautiful,” he commented, truly impressed. Foolish was practically buzzing as he continued walking. Grian followed him, only taking his eyes off the statue to see where he was walking. Foolish led him through a gateway to another, smaller, pyramid, a sphinx statue right in front of it. There was a drawing on the floor, but Grian was too close to it to see what it actually was.

Foolish didn’t slow down as he walked up the stairs, Grian struggled to keep up. The stairs in front of his mansion were never really used, he had an elytra to fly up, and his legs were really not made for the amount of steps he needed to take.

Eventually they went inside the pyramid, which was pretty much empty, aside from a beacon in the middle and some murals and paintings on the floor.

“Is this enough space?” Foolish asked.

Grian chuckled, “Yeah, I think so.”

“Cool, let me get you a bed,” Foolish nodded, and then left again.

Grian took the time to catch his breath, and when he could breathe normally again he looked around a bit. The pyramid reminded him of Cub’s pyramid, though it was way smaller, and there was way less ancient debris lining the walls, but still.

The lack of an interior did make it feel a bit empty, but Grian didn’t really mind. He liked the space, and it would probably be difficult to make an interior to a pyramid.

It still made him feel a bit better. Big builds would always feel like home.

Foolish returned a bit later, carrying in a mattress like it didn’t weigh anything. He dropped it on the floor, along with a single pillow.

“Do you need anything else?” Foolish then asked, clapping his hands together to dust them off.

“No, this is fine, thanks,” Grian told him.

“Okay. If you need me I’ll be at the snake statue,” Foolish told him, and with that he was off again. Grian sighed as he started to drag the mattress towards the beacon, so he was out of sight from the entrance.

It took him a good five minutes to get it in the place he wanted it to be, and his arms were so tired. He really needed to exercise more. With a sigh he sat down on the mattress, letting himself backwards to stare at the middle point of the pyramid.

He was asleep a few minutes later.


“Good morning,” was the first thing he heard when Grian walked onto the main square of Foolish’s ‘summer home’.

Foolish was sitting on top of the giant snake statue. He wasn’t wearing his armor this time, showing off both his incredible muscles and the almost impressive amount of scars. Most notable was the scar on his neck, wrapping all the way around, looking big enough that it would probably have cut through vital parts.

“Good morning,” Grian said in return, tearing his eyes away from the scars. Staring was rude.

“I got you some things,” Foolish said, “it’s in that chest.”

Grian looked over to the chest Foolish pointed at, which was standing slightly apart from the stack of chests on the square. He curiously opened it, being met with a full set of netherite armor, along with a diamond sword and two diamond pickaxes. All of it was enchanted.

“Oh wow,” Grian muttered, eyes going wide, “I can’t take that.”

Foolish jumped down from his spot on the statue, “You’ll need it.”

That didn’t make him feel secure at all. It did make him feel awfully aware of the difference between the Hermits and the people here though. The Hermits were genuinely trying to be good people despite their weird past, and anything they did was for the benefit of someone else. They were his friends, and they would be no matter how much of his awful past he told them.

So far, Ranboo and Foolish had been nice to him, but in a different way. They had been nice to him, just to keep him safe, to make sure he wouldn’t die anytime soon, casually steering him away from places he couldn’t stay too long and handing him things that would make his chances of survival higher. Almost like they were preventing future things from happening.

It was weird.

“So, breakfast? I only have steak, but I could find some bread if you want,” Foolish quickly changed the subject so Grian had no chance to decline the gift any longer.

“Steak is fine,” Grian said. Foolish set out to get some more steak, and Grian picked up the heavy armor. He put it away in his inventory for now, he’d put it on when he really needed it.

Foolish returned and they ate their breakfast in silence, Foolish back on top of his statue, Grian sitting on one of the chests. He wished he could say he was comfortable with the sun slightly warming up his skin, but the giant statue on his left glooming over everything made him feel odd.

He looked up at it. It was a perfect copy of the drawing in the books, though there were so many details that made him wonder if Foolish had actually met the god. Even if he met the god, it was probably only in his disguised form, which would make sense.

Foolish noticed the scorn on his face, “Don’t like DreamXD?”

“He seems a bit scary,” Grian said, deciding a little bit of truth couldn’t hurt.

“He’s not too bad actually,” Foolish said.

Grian looked up at him, “you met him?”

“Oh yeah! He asked me to build the statue!” Foolish said, looking up at his creation. Grian frowned, wondering when the god of destruction suddenly decided he cared for material things, especially in a server like this where most things were destroyed.

“He asked you?”

“Well, sort of, I was already building it, but you know, he promised me I’d get something if I built it in two weeks, so I did!” Foolish happily explained.

Ah, of course the god of destruction didn’t care about material things, he cared about mortal toys. He liked messing around with people, to let them play his little game, before he would go on and destroy anything they had. Grian felt sorry for Foolish, he really did, but he also didn’t have the heart to tell him he shouldn’t do it. That would raise more questions.

“I think he’d like you,” Foolish then added.

“Yeah-” Grian trailed off, staring up at the giant statue again. He wasn’t so sure DreamXD would be happy if he knew Grian was still walking around.

When he looked back at Foolish, the man was tugging his armor in place.

“I’ll let you know when he’s here,” Foolish continued before hopping down, the sound of his boots landing on sandstone echoing around the place, “I should get to work now, though.”

“Do you mind if I walk with you?” Grian asked, figuring he was going back to the place he and Ranboo ran into him.

And so, the two set off towards the main area again, through the nether, which was still a mess. If it wasn’t for Foolish paying enough attention, Grian would’ve fallen into lava multiple times.

They made it back to the community center though, where they split paths for the day -Foolish had told him he could stay over at his place as long as he wanted.

Grian decided he should probably go mining, go find some diamonds to buy blocks and stuff later. He had no way out of here, so maybe he could just build a little house, set up camp and find some information. Maybe, if he was here for longer than he planned, he could help rebuild some of the broken paths and fill in some creeper holes, make the place vibrant again as he was sure it once was.

So he set off, turning right while Foolish went straight on, and made his way down the path in the hope he’d find a place where he could actually mine something.

He had barely left the building when there was a rustling of leaves, and then an arrow was coming straight for him. It just scraped his elbow, not doing any real damage, but the axe that was swung in his direction the moment someone stepped out in front of him was about to much more damage. Grian threw himself to the ground, narrowly escaping the sharp blade.

Apparently that was a wrong move, a second later there was a boot pressing down on his chest, an axe held to his throat. He was too busy freaking out over a weapon touching his skin anytime he breathed that he didn’t pay attention to the bright green hoodie underneath netherite armor, or a smiley face carved into a mask.

Grian didn’t move. He didn’t attempt to push the boot away, he didn’t try moving the axe, he didn’t even try maneuvering himself out of this situation. He just laid there, hoping the dull ache of hitting the ground would disappear somewhere soon.

“Oh, this is interesting,” the person pinning him to the ground said, a grin clearly audible despite it being hidden. “An intruder.”

“What?” was all Grian could muster.

“Tell me who you are and why you’re here,” the guy said, no longer grinning.

“I’m Grian, I don’t know how I got here, please don’t kill me,” Grian stammered.

“I won’t hesitate to take all your lives if you don’t tell me how you got here,” the guy threatened. That’s when Grian remembered he actually had limited lives, and there was more at stake here than just the things in his inventory.

He was actually being threatened, and it meant something.

“I really don’t know,” Grian tried again, though he knew it wasn’t a satisfying answer. He couldn’t think of a better answer though, more concerned with the axe.

“Who whitelisted you?”

Wait, wait, wait, he was talking to the admin?

He was talking to Dream.

The admin, who, coincidentally, also was the guy that was responsible for everything bad that had happened, and who had recently escaped prison. That Dream.

“I’m not sure,” Grian muttered.

The axe was removed from his neck, and for just a moment he thought Dream might go easy on him.

He thought wrong.

Next thing he knew the axe came down with an impressive speed, and there was nowhere for him to go.

Grian was slain by Dream

Chapter 4: Chapter 4


Two old friends are reunited.


Did someone say Philza lore :D
Also excuse the messed up timeline
Just to be clear: the hermitcraft server is set in season 7, the dream smp is set after Dream escaped prison. I tried to make the time gaps as consistent as possible, but it's a bit hard to do

also a tiny bit of Etho lore?? Ooohh

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

Philza Minecraft had been taken into the care of the Watchers against his will. They had taken him from his world without warning, telling him he had died and that he was safe with them. He was forced to live and abide by their rules, and Philza simply complied.

He wasn’t the only mortal they had taken in, there were stories of more players that had been there but had disappeared or been deported. By the time he lived there, there was only one other mortal person. They were forced to share a room, even though the place they lived in was big enough to get either of them three rooms.

His name was Etho, a scientist taken from the Mindcrack server, also against his will.

Etho had never been keen on the Watchers, unlike Philza. He never bothered explaining why exactly he despised them so much, saying it was better if he didn’t know. Philza had asked him about it, but gave up after a while, Etho wasn’t letting anything go.

He had never quite fully understood the place he was in. He had quickly figured out it wasn’t in a server, and the Watchers had told him that this wasn’t a different realm they lived in, like the gods did. Figuring out where he was was not that high on his priority list though, he was enjoying his time here. He had access to blocks he couldn’t have in the world he used to live in, and despite the Watchers avoiding him as much as possible, he was in good company. He liked it, even though he missed his old world.

Only when Etho disappeared after attacking one of the Watchers it became clear these weren’t good people -if you could actually call them people.

The Watchers messed with people, breaking up their worlds beyond repair and breaking the server rules and laws. They were responsible for glitches and bugs, the reason sometimes the world seemed broken, the reason grass would float, the reason servers had to be deleted and broken down.

And they took people from their worlds against their will.

Suddenly, Philza completely understood why Etho had hated the Watchers.

From that moment on, Philza had made it his mission to get out of this place, but not the way Etho did it. He wasn’t a violent person, and despite the Watchers taking him, he couldn’t fight the people that had kept him safe for all those years.

And he got out. He did. Without attacking anyone, but simply with a lot of reading and a bunch of hypotheticals that somehow seemed to work.

He had escaped to a different server, where he had met Technoblade. They had started the antarctic empire together, and things were good.

Philza was having a good time there.

That was until he died. He wasn't sure how it happened, but he died, and he should’ve been dead for real this time, unlike the time where the Watchers interfered, but now someone else interfered. Someone who wasn’t supposed to interfere.

Lady Death herself.

She had saved him, and Philza spent some time in her realm. They got along, and some time later -Philza wasn’t sure how long, time worked differently in her realm- they got married.

Philza married the goddess of death.

The Watchers were furious.

Technically, Philza was still part of the Watchers, and he had just committed the worst crime he possibly could. Marrying a goddess.

They came after him the moment Philza settled down on a new world to take care of his two kids, destroying everything in their path, making everything bug out and forcing him to die again. This time, however, he had Lady Death on his side, who easily kept him alive. She warned the Watchers not to mess with him, as he was part of the gods now, and the Watchers did not listen.

Philza did not quite understand the magnitude of his actions at that point.

He only found out what he had caused when Lady Death told him the god of destruction had let his wrath loose over the Watchers’ place. She told him the Watchers wouldn’t stop, so the gods had to interfere, and they had figured out how to find the Watchers because of Philza’s near death that Lady Death had stopped.

He had never felt more guilty.

So he reluctantly returned to the Watchers. They wouldn’t let him in at first, so he had lied that he got a divorce and wanted to return to them, help them rebuild their land. They bought it, or Philza thought they did, but somewhere deep in his mind he knew they didn’t, and had only taken him back because they needed all the help they could get.

That’s when he met the latest person they had stolen from a server, an energetic guy called Xelqua. They stuck together as they rebuilt the In-Between. Philza hoped he could protect him from the wrath of the Watchers for as long as possible.

While he was there, Lady Death had set up a way he could still receive the letters his son, Wilbur, sent him. They started out innocent, simply updating him of what he was up to and what stupid situations Tommy got himself into, that sort of things. The letters started to come in less frequently, until they suddenly stopped.

A few weeks later he got a new letter, from Lady Death this time, informing him that Wilbur was not doing good and he should probably go check on him.

He said goodbye to Xelqua, asking him if he could keep the letters safe, and then set out for the Dream SMP, where Wilbur was living.

He never intended to be there any longer than necessary, but when he actually got there, he realized the situation was so much worse than Wilbur had described, and he had no choice but to stay.

He just hoped Xelqua could stay safe from the Watchers, even if he did escape.

Now he was on the Dream SMP, and even if things had calmed down, he couldn’t go back to the In-Between. He didn’t have the power anymore, and the Watchers probably wouldn’t let him back in anyway.

The Dream SMP wasn’t all that bad though.

Maybe he was just saying that because he had the protection of both Lady Death and Technoblade, the warrior chosen by the blood god. No one messed with him, and he was simply living his best life in the snowy tundra.

It had been well over a year since he last heard from the Watchers, which was exactly why he felt slightly nervous when that familiar feeling of change fell over him. It had only been a few minutes, but it had him on edge in an instant.

That feeling could be nothing but trouble.

Technoblade sighed, nudging Phil slightly as he walked past, “Ranboo will be fine, stop looking like that.”

“It’s not Ranboo,” Philza muttered.

This got Techno’s attention. “Then what is it?”

“The Watchers are up to something,” Philza informed him. Over time, Technoblade was the only person he had told about the Watchers. He knew it was safe to tell him, he was already involved with the gods, the Watchers couldn’t do anything to him. No one else could know though, it would be the end of them and this server, and he didn’t want that blamed on him.

They didn’t have to wait for confirmation for long, as there was a sound of a communicator starting up. It hadn’t done that in a while, and it pretty much confirmed something was going on.

G∷╎ᔑリ joined the game

“What’s that say?” Techno asked.

Philza tried to remember the symbols from when he had learned the language in the In-Between. He hadn’t used it in years, so it was a bit rusty, but he could make out the letters.

“Grian,” he translated.

“Should I know who that is?”

“I have no clue,” Philza shrugged.

Techno huffed, “I’m not getting involved in this one.”

He took his sword that was balanced against a wall, and stepped outside. Philza was left to wonder who Grian was, and why he had come in right when the Watchers were up to something. He should probably go check it out.

He decided against it, there was probably a reason he was here, better not get involved.



That was all he felt as he stumbled out of the nether portal. He had woken up in the pyramid, his head hurting so bad it felt like his skull was being split open. Everything was spinning and his eyes were too blurry to really see where he was going.

He got lost in the nether for longer than he intended, but eventually he found the way back to the community center. He peeked through the windows to see if Dream was still around, but he couldn’t see anything at all, so he just hoped Dream was gone.

He was wrong.

Before he could even reach his things he felt his feet getting kicked from underneath him. The landing onto the hard wood of the prime path was everything but soft, and the boot placed on his chest wasn’t making it better.

“Where are you from,” Dream pushed, placing the axe back in the position it was before.

“I’m from Hermitcraft,” Grian told him, words slurring together, “I don’t know how I got here.”

The axe was removed again, and Grian could only brace for the impact. He screwed his eyes shut, waiting for the blade to land. But it never came.

Instead, there were more footsteps, then the sound of metal hitting metal, and then the boot was gone.

“Technoblade?” Dream asked, almost offended.

“Dream,” Technoblade said in return, purely an acknowledgement. Before Grian could open his eyes he was hauled to his feet, a hand grabbed the back of his sweater and dragged him away.

Grian panicked. He tried to get enough grip to use his feet, but the guy holding him didn’t let up and everything he had one foot down he was simply pulled along. He struggled as much as he could, grabbing at the hand holding him, trying to get free, but nothing seemed to work.

He got dragged up the stairs of the community center, and there he was let go, but not after a small shove. Suddenly, there was more grip than he needed and he stumbled forwards, once, twice, then his legs gave up and all he had to catch him was the wall. He placed his hands against it, just avoiding smashing his face into the brick wall.

He turned as quickly as he could, using the wall for stability - everything was still spinning.

There were two blurry figures standing on the other side of the room, quietly discussing something. He could only make out colors, like the white and green hat one of them was wearing, and the bright red from the cloak the other was wearing, but no details.

They looked familiar though.

One of them looked his way, pausing all movements.


That voice was familiar. He knew it. He- he couldn’t remember. If only the head ache would just calm down, and it would definitely help if he could see properly.

Wait.. Xelqua?

They had called him Xelqua?

“Philza?” Grian muttered. There was only one person who could possibly be here and know his actual name. It had to be.

One of the people walked closer, and Grian could actually see who he was talking to now.

He felt like crying.

“Oh it’s so good to see you,” Grian said, relieved. The last few days were stressful, and actually seeing someone he knew was the biggest relief.

“Wish I could say the same, mate,” Philza sighed, eyes trained on the part of Grian’s face that had been hit with an axe, a worried look on his face. For a moment he looked back, Grian followed his line of sight, only to realize the other person had left again.

Philza turned to look outside, then turned back to Grian. “You shouldn’t be here.”

Grian huffed, “I know, didn’t have much of a choice.”

“They’re mad at you?” Philza asked, though it sounded a bit more like an accusation than a question. It was an easy one to make, Watchers did generally not enjoy when someone left their circle, and especially not the mortals they so selfishly took and would spread the word about them. From the moment Grian had escaped, he had pushed the boundaries of what he could tell people about them. The answer was not much, he had only told Mumbo he got taken from his world and not even twenty minutes later Xisuma reported some problems.

Yeah, the Watchers did not really like that he was going around telling people about them.

Not that he had actually ever said their names, he didn’t want to bring anyone in danger because he couldn’t keep his mouth shut, but just the small things were already too much.

“They are,” Grian agreed.

“You didn’t kill any of them, right?”

“Of course not,” Grian replied.

Philza nodded, then pulled a golden apple out of the satchel that had been hidden underneath his black poncho. Grian gladly took it, having to eat half of it before his vision got less blurry.

“Thanks,” Grian muttered, taking another bite.

“We should go,” Philza determined, stretching out a hand to help Grian back to his feet. Grian took a few seconds to find his balance, because as much as his vision had cleared, and the headache had become significantly better, the dizziness had not gone.

“Are you sure it’s safe?” Grian asked when Phil walked towards the stairs.

“Yeah, you’re with me now, Dream can’t do anything,” Philza assured him. Grian wasn’t exactly sure how that worked, but he just took his word and followed him down the stairs. There was another person standing in one of the doorways, looking out to the place where Dream had just killed Grian, not paying attention to the people coming down the stairs.

“Do we have more potions at home?” Philza asked, and for a moment Grian thought he was asking him. Then the guy in the doorway spoke up.

“Could make some.”

Philza glanced over to Grian. “We'll go to Niki.”

The guy in the doorway turned around now, putting his sword away, barely acknowledging Grian. Instead, he looked to Phil. “If you know the way.”

Grian followed Philza and the other person to Niki’s place, wherever that may be. They walked a lot slower than Ranboo and Foolish had done, mostly because Phil was slightly limping. Still, the slower pace did not make Grian walk any more stable. He stumbled his way through, tripping over his own feet more than once, and almost falling down every flight of stairs they encountered -really, who put that many stairs in this path?

It got to the point Phil’s friend -for lack of a better name- had to grab him to stop him from falling.

Eventually they ended up on another pair of stairs leading down into the ground. The stairs opened up in a giant underground base, with bridges and a bunch of rooms. It was impressive.

But then again, this place wasn’t Hermitcraft, and anything that wasn’t just cobblestone towers or wooden huts were pretty impressive.

“Niki?” Phil called out as they walked over one of the bridges. Grian clutched onto the railings, peering over the edge down to the bottom of the room, which seemed to be just stone. A hand on his shoulder pulled him away from the edge, probably for his own safety.

“Philza?” a soft voice called in return. They came up to a place where the bridge wasn’t finished yet, and the space was still being dug out. All the way on the bottom, standing on the exposed stone was a woman, her pink hair held up in space buns, cobblestone dust smeared on her face in multiple places. She smiled up at her visitors, putting down her pickaxe.

“Hello! One second, I’ll be right there!” she said. It didn’t take long for her to get up the stairs to them.

“Hi Phil, hello Techno,” she smiled brightly, which was the first time Grian heard the name of the person he had simply referred to as ‘Phil’s friend’. He should’ve known it was Technoblade, considering Philza had talked about him when he was back in the in-Between, and Ranboo had said they lived together.

He didn’t quite understand how someone associated with the gods could be friends with someone associated with the Watchers. Then he remembered Phil was married to the goddess of death, and all confusion was lifted.

Maybe having a friend who understood everything was exactly what they both needed.

Grian turned his attention back to the person greeting them. Niki smiled at him, though there was a slight flash of sadness in her eyes.

“Hi, welcome, my name’s Niki.”

“I’m Grian, nice to meet you,” Grian smiled in return. From the corner of the eye he could see Phil frowning, but he didn’t ask anything. Grian could guess what it was about.

“You’re probably here for some potions, right?” Niki guessed, to which Philza agreed. She took another look at the damage on Grian’s face, a lot more obvious this time, before nodding. “I’ll just go get some, be right back.”

She left to get potions, leaving the three alone again. Phil took that as his time to ask the question Grian knew was coming.

“When did you change your name?”

Grian glanced over to Techno, who didn’t seem interested in this conversation in the slightest, before answering. “A few weeks after I escaped. I thought they couldn’t track me down that easily.”

“Did it work?” Philza then asked, raising an eyebrow.

Grian shrugged, “for a while. Once they found out it didn’t work much anymore. It has other benefits though.”

“Like knowing who saved you from inevitable death,” Philza said, jokingly, “I was wondering how you knew it was me if you couldn’t see.”

“You’re the only person that could possibly know it,” Grian nodded. Philza chuckled, but didn’t respond. Grian turned to follow his view, finding Niki was walking back towards them. She handed over some potions to Grian.

“It’s all I have,” she said, “just make sure it stays clean, and it should be fine.”

“Thank you,” Grian told her, though he wasn’t quite sure how he was going to keep it clean. Philza thanked Niki too, telling her something about a meeting Grian didn’t get, and then they were on their way back out. Grian drank one of the weird-tasting potions on his way towards the stairs.

He just hoped the potions would work soon.


Philza Minecraft, accidental destroyer of worlds because he fell in love with the goddess of death.

Chapter 5: Chapter 5


Two people related to gods in the worst way possible find a statue to praise the person they hate


(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Grian learned in the worst way that potions did not work as quickly as golden apples. They were slow, and they tasted badly, and he was really not having a good time.

“Where are you staying?” Philza asked as they walked back to the main nether portal.

“Foolish’s pyramid,” Grian answered, slowing down slightly to make sure he didn’t miss a step and fell down into lava. Techno looked over at him, frowning slightly, then turned to Philza.

“Should I know who Foolish is?”

Philza only shrugged, ignoring that question in favor of talking to Grian. “Alright, we’re going there then.”

So they turned around and Grian led them to Foolish’s ‘summer home’. Grian had wondered what his actual base would be like if this was just his summer home, but he hadn’t asked, and Foolish hadn’t actually said anything about another base, except for the thing he was working on just beyond the community center.

For a moment he wondered if that other base -if there even was one- would have a giant statue of a god too, and which god that would be.

Now he thought about it, something about this was weird.

Phil knew exactly what DreamXD had done, why would he come to a server where he was? And why would the warrior of the blood god? It didn’t make any sense.

“How long has DreamXD been on this server?” Grian asked. He figured that maybe he had come here for the first time after they had come here, it was the only logical explanation.

Phil abruptly stopped walking, while Techno just slowed down. Grian turned to see what was going on, and he only found them staring at him in confusion.

“Did you just say DreamXD?” Techno asked for clarification, “don’t you mean Dream?”

Now Grian was the one that was confused, “No, I mean DreamXD. God of Destruction?”

“On this server?”

“If I have to believe Foolish, he’s on this server, yes,” Grian said.

That seemed to calm Techno down, and he started walking again. Philza took that as his que to start moving too, and Grian followed them as he had done before.

“I’m not believing anyone who’s called ‘Foolish’,” Techno grumbled.

“Well, he built a whole statue, so,” Grian shrugged. Techno didn’t slow down this time, he just stepped into the portal Grian pointed out to them. It didn’t take them too long to figure out what Grian was talking about, as Techno didn’t seem to care for anything else that was around and just went in search of the statue Grian had mentioned.

Obviously it wasn’t hard to find.

Philza followed him, coming to stand next to him as they stared up at the giant statue. Grian refused to look at it any longer than needed and just continued to the plaza. He opened the chest that Foolish had put his armor in earlier -which Dream was in possession of now- and dumped the remaining potions in.

As he closed the chest, he looked over to Phil and Techno. Or well, in their general direction, as he was too far away to see them clearly, his vision still hadn’t returned like it was before.

“This is just made from pictures,” Philza said, though he didn’t sound too sure about it.

“I thought so too,” Grian nodded, “but there’s too many details that aren’t in the books.”

“Probably a lucky guess,” Techno shrugged it off. He sounded as calm as he had before, though he had now pulled out his axe.

Grian wanted to tell them about what Foolish said about the god giving him things, but Techno was already backing away, so it was probably better not to say anything about it now. He’d come back to it later, if he would see them again, that is.

Philza looked away from the statue, and after saying something to Techno that Grian couldn’t hear, he walked in his direction.

“How are you feeling?” Phil asked, leaning against the chests that were only slightly taller than he was. It was weird seeing Philza without the large, black wings he used to have in the In-Between. When Philza came back he had told Grian about his life without the wings and that he hated it, and that the wings were the only good thing about the In-Between. Grian understood what he meant the moment he lost his, and he quickly replaced them with an elytra, even though it wasn’t quite the same.

Grian guessed elytras weren’t a thing on this server, as no one seemed to have one. He knew Phil would get one the moment he could.

Without his wings, Philza seemed a whole lot smaller, but also a lot more friendly. But that might just be because he had gotten a bit older, and wasn’t living with the Watchers anymore.

“I’ll probably feel better if I take a nap,” Grian answered, which was not really an answer. Apparently it was enough for Phil, who simply nodded.

“When did you leave the Watchers?” Phil then asked. Grian was taken back by the ease of which he spoke their name. Never before had he dared to talk about them, knowing what they could do, but apparently Phil didn’t mind.

“Can we talk about-” Grian started, pausing for a moment to find a good word, “them?”

He wasn’t going to say their name.

Phil shrugged, “If you talk to me or Techno, yes. We already know everything, and Techno is under protection of a god, so we’ll be fine.”

Grian wasn’t completely convinced, but he could vaguely talk about them for now, just to see if really nothing would happen.

“I left a few weeks after you did.”

“Where to?”

“Hermitcraft. Joined as season 6 started, we’re currently in season 7,” Grian explained, knowing Philza would understand the concepts of seasons in servers.

Philza hummed in recognition, “That’s Xisuma’s server, right?”


Xisuma had taken him in without question, letting him recover from the emotional rollercoaster that was escaping the In-Between, and when Grian was fine enough to go out on his own, Xisuma had gathered all hermits together to try and convince them taking him in to their server was a good plan. Of course, not everyone was as stoked about it, especially because Grian couldn’t tell them where he came from.

Letting a stranger on their server was difficult, letting a stranger with an unidentifiable past on their server was impossible.

But still, Xisuma had tried for three days to convince them, and on the fourth day he finally got everyone to agree under terms and conditions.

Those conditions were long forgotten the longer Grian stayed though, and even though it took almost the whole season for Doc and Ren to warm up to him, everyone else simply acted like he belonged there.

And now he did.

Xisuma hadn’t questioned anything after he didn’t get concrete answers the first time, and Grian was forever grateful for that.

“He’s a great admin,” Phil said, almost sounding like an approving dad.

“He is,” Grian agreed, “I heard Dream isn’t.”

Philza let out a soft laugh, “he isn’t. I don’t know why I let Wilbur and Tommy go here.”

“Wilbur and Tommy are your sons, right?” Grian asked, faintly remembering the names. Phil had told him about his family when they were in the In-Between, though he always referred to them as his sons, and rarely by name.

“Yeah,” Philza muttered.

“How are they?”

It was silent for a moment, Phil staring up at the DreamXD statue for a while.

“I guess they’re okay,” was the only thing he had to say about it. It was a stark contrast to what Ranboo had told him, about both of them dying and being resurrected.

Phil quickly changed the subject again, “do you need anything? There’s not much on this server, but I’ll see what I can get you.”

“I just need to get to the server portal, to be honest,” Grian shrugged. From there he would be able to contact Xisuma, and he could simply get back to Hermitcraft.

“Oh,” Philza said, “the portal is broken.”

Grian’s stomach dropped, “what?”

“It’s gone. Dream said he broke it in the early days. I never believed him, so I went to check it out and it’s actually broken. Seeing that thing,” Philza paused to point up at the giant statue, “makes it a lot easier to understand.”

DreamXD had broken the portal.

Of course he had.

“So he’s actually on this server?” Grian asked.

“Probably, Dream wouldn’t be able to break it on his own,” Philza shrugged.

Grian sighed in defeat. There was nothing he could do now. He would be stuck here in this server until the end of time, or until the server closed down.

Philza cleared his throat, “right, I should go. If you need anything just come by.” He handed over a piece of paper with coordinates scribbled on it, and with that he was off, following Technoblade into the portal.

Grian was left by himself, once again, and all he could do now was sit and wait. His head was still hurting too much to properly think about a way out, and there was a slow fatigue setting in limbs from moving around too fast after respawning.

He sat down on the warm stone beneath him, leaning back against the chest. The sun was warming up his skin, on the edge of burning it, and maybe he should move to the shade somewhere, but he couldn’t find the energy. Now he was actually sitting down it was a lot harder to ignore the tiredness.

The warmth of the sun made him feel drowsy. It wouldn’t hurt to close his eyes for a few seconds right?

“Oh sh*t, what happened to you?” a voice got him out of his drowsiness. He opened his eyes to find Foolish staring at him, or well, he assumed it was Foolish, his vision still didn’t cooperate. Maybe he should wear his glasses again, though they hadn’t been needed in the time he was on Hermitcraft. Not that he had them here, so he couldn’t wear them right now.

“What?” Grian muttered. Okay, maybe sitting in the sun when he was already not feeling great wasn’t the best plan he had ever had. He felt a bit lost. When Foolish gestured up to his face Grian realized what he was talking about. “Oh, that. Ran into Dream.”

Foolish frowned as he got his communicator out, tapping some things. He only hummed before putting it away. “Right, you should get out of the sun.”

He helped Grian to his feet and led him into the snake statue, where it was considerably cooler. Still warm, they were in the middle of a desert after all, but at least the sun was no longer burning his skin.

“No offense, but I don’t know why you’re living in a desert,” Grian sighed. Foolish chuckled as he handed over a bottle of water, which Grian gladly took.

“There’s no one around, and there’s like five people who know where this is,” Foolish shrugged, “and I don’t like winter, so this is the best honestly.”

Grian only hummed as he took a few sips of the water -which was definitely not cold, at all. If anything it was closer to being warm than to being cold. Grian wrote it off as being in the desert.

“Makes sense.”

“If you don’t like the sand though, there’s a small house on a savanna hill that you can use,” Foolish then offered.

“Would you mind if I stay a little longer?”

Foolish grinned, “not at all.”


filler chapters wooo
okay maybe i didnt know how to connect this to the next part but shhh

Chapter 6: Chapter 6


Grian builds a house and makes an unexpected friend


(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Grian was properly back on his feet the next day. The headache was gone, and most of his vision had returned, but considering it hadn’t been great since he escaped the Watchers, this was the best it would get.

Now he could actually do things, he decided that he didn’t want to bother Foolish too much longer, and set out to find supplies to build his own house. He had taken an iron pickaxe after Foolish had said to take any tools he could find, and set out to go mining. This time, he stuck to the surrounding area of Foolish’s summer home, just so he wouldn’t have the problem of running into Dream again.

The mining trip was slow and painful. He didn’t have any armor, only a few torches, and his pickaxe was really not great. Any time he had gathered some coal, he had to use it to make new torches, and he used most of his iron that he found on new armor and new tools. At some point his iron pickaxe broke before he could gather enough iron for a new one, and he had to continue with a stone pickaxe for a bit.

Oh how he missed his enchanted netherite tools.

He came out of the mines with more than enough resources for the house he had in mind, along with some diamonds and a bunch of iron and copper. He would call it pretty successful for the things he was working with.

Now he needed a place to build.

He had a place in mind, or well, he had a preferred place that should exist somewhere, he just hadn’t seen it. He hadn’t seen much of this server at all, actually.

He needed a place that wasn’t too far away from the main part of the server, that would keep him in touch with any changes that happened in case he could benefit from that. On the other hand, being too close to the main part of the server would make his house an easy target for Dream, and that would be a bad scenario.

Maybe Foolish had the right idea by living in the desert.

That made him think, why not join Foolish? Not in the desert of course, but Foolish said something about a savannah not too far away, why not live there?

Yeah, that sounded good.

It was pretty far from the main part, but at least he was close to Foolish that would surely warn him if he heard something. And if he really needed to be somewhere, he could just build a nether portal, as Foolish had done.

Savannah it was.

It wasn’t hard to find the Savannah, it was literally right behind the statue. He wandered around for a bit, searching for a spot where he wouldn’t have to change the terrain too much, as he wouldn’t have the time to put together the best tools.

Eventually he found a nice spot, and he put down some chests so he could have at least some sort of management going on.

The start of a chest monster.

Scar would be proud of him. He missed Scar.

With a sigh he started putting down the foundations of his house. It wasn’t anything big, he didn’t have the time for that, nor the need for it. He would be here for just a few more weeks, until he figured out a way to leave. Just a few weeks. No mega bases here, no giant storage systems. Maybe there would be enough time for a super smelter, but just a small one.

Once he got to building, his mind got that comfortable haze. The one that would keep him from doing other things and everything he did was purely for building. He tuned out everything else, and all he could think about were the stones in his hands and the walls he was constructing.

He didn’t think he could ever get tired of building something.

The way all his ideas got to life, the way there were always details to add, more blocks to place, more textures to experiment with, just for something to look the best he could ever imagine. He could lose himself in constructing giant buildings or putting together cozy interiors. He loved it so much.

There was just something so magnificent about getting to watch your creations once they were done.

The walls were constructed within a few hours, and the skeleton for the roof was up. All he needed to do was wait for the trees to grow so he could gather enough wood to actually build the roof and the interior. It would probably take a while, especially with the two saplings he had planted, one birch, one oak.

That was going to take forever.

Grian sighed as he put all the unnecessary stuff he was carrying around into the growing chest monster next to the half-finished build. He would just have to ask Foolish if he had any saplings. Planting more would definitely speed up the process, but he simply didn’t have more, and he was absolutely not using acacia wood in his build today.

“Foolish?” Grian called out as he walked onto Foolish’s property, steadily ignoring the growing feeling of anxiety he got from seeing the giant statue. No need to think about DreamXD now.

He found Foolish down in the village next to the giant pyramid, putting together a path with a complicated pattern.

“Oh, hi!” Foolish said when he noticed Grian.

“Hey, do you have any saplings I could borrow?” Grian asked.

“Probably not, but you could check those chests,” Foolish said, gesturing over to some chests that were stacked up next to a cow pen that looked way too overcrowded. “There’s a bunch of trees near the community center though.”

“Alright, I’ll check, thanks,” Grian said.

As expected, the chests did not have any saplings. Grian didn’t know why he expected a guy living in a desert to have any saplings around.

And so he made his way back into the nether so he could find any more saplings. Right before he stepped through the portal, he pulled on his armor. He had taken it off when he was building, as it restricted his movement a bit, and it just felt too tight and heavy after years of not wearing it. He hated the way it felt, but he also hated the way he felt when he just respawned the day before, so he was willing to sacrifice some of his comfortability.

The nether walk was uneventful. He didn’t fall down anywhere, he didn’t see anyone, even the piglins left him alone (though the hoglins looked at him suspiciously).

He wished the search for saplings back in the overworld was as uneventful. He was constantly on edge anytime he saw any movements, and he never felt like he could safely search through any chests that were standing around. Eventually he found the only way to get saplings while also being able to see his surroundings was by chopping down the trees around and then replanting them.

But no matter how much he was trying to avoid people, it wouldn’t be as easy as just not going out.

“Who the f*ck are you?” a voice startled Grian while he was chopping down a spruce tree. He whirled around and was met with a tall, skinny guy. He was wearing a mismatch of armor types, missing the legs, and there were bandages carelessly slapped across multiple parts of his skin, including one over his nose bridge. Grian was more interested in the sword in his hands however, the one that was currently halfway raised in his direction.

Not again.

“Oh, uhm, I’m Grian.”

Grian slowly stepped back, the guy didn’t move with him, which he was grateful for.

“Grian? That’s a stupid name,” the guy huffed, “who the f*ck is called Grian?”

Well, from all the things Grian was expecting from this place, he did not see ‘kid criticizes his name’ coming.

“Uh, me,” Grian said.

“That’s stupid. You’re stupid. Your sweater is stupid, what are you even trying? Are you copying Wilbur? That’s a bitch move,” the guy continued, and Grian was completely caught off guard.

“I’m-I’m not, I don’t know who Wilbur is,” Grian said, hoping it would get him out of trouble. Although this kid did not seem very interested in actually fighting him as much as simply insulting him.

“What the f*ck is wrong with you man?”


“You showed up out of nowhere and now you’re saying you don’t know Wilbur? Grian- Grain? Grain, you’re f*cking weird,” the kid sighed, putting away the sword now.

“It’s Grian-”

“Groin, that’s what I said,” he nodded.



Grian gave up trying to argue, it wasn’t worth it, “fine, but who’s Wilbur?”

The kid raised his eyebrows, then started a whole essay about Wilbur and what he had done, and then it clicked for Grian. He knew Wilbur, of course he remembered what Ranboo had told him, and the name was familiar because Philza had said it too, but he hadn’t quite made the connection that the person he was talking to now was Tommy.

“You’re Phil’s son?” Grian interrupted his essay.

“Don’t interrupt me, bitch! Anyway, he then- wait, you know Phil?” Tommy asked, finally stopping his rambling. There was a flicker of emotion on his face which was too fast for Grian to really see what it was.

“I do,” Grian confirmed, “we’re friends.”

“You’re lying,” Tommy stated, face dropping into something a lot more hostile.

“No, I’m not. We met before you were born,” Grian said.

Tommy frowned at him, then picked up his previous fake-confidence again. “He never talked about some Groin bitch, I would remember such a stupid name.”

Grian laughed at that, though he couldn’t exactly say anything else. He couldn’t simply say he didn’t always go by the name Grian. So instead he just picked up all the saplings from the ground around him, replanting a few of them.

“What are you even doing?” Tommy asked.

“I need wood,” Grian replied, “so I’m getting some saplings.”

“You’re so weird.”

“For getting saplings?” Grian asked. Weirdly enough, talking to Tommy was entertaining, despite him getting insulted every three seconds.

“For building with wood. Wood is for puss*es, big men build with cobblestone,” Tommy said. Grian raised an eyebrow.

“So your house is just cobblestone?” he asked. He knew this server wasn’t anything like Hermitcraft, and that Foolish’s summer home was an exception to whatever the people would normally build here, but a house made of only cobblestone? That was worse than he even imagined.

“Yes.” Tommy grinned, “and it’s perfect. The best house ever. No one can build a better house. No one. It’s the best.”

“Is it though?” Grian asked, unable to keep a smile off his face.

Tommy gasped, “Yes! What? You don’t believe me? Because you suck, fight me bitch.”

Grian collected the last bits of wood that had fallen onto the ground, along with the sticks and saplings, putting them away in his inventory. It wasn’t much, but he had some things to grow now, so he could always get more if needed.

“I was just asking, I haven’t seen it,” Grian said, also putting his axe into his inventory. Tommy hadn’t attacked him before, surely he could afford to put his axe away?

Turned out, it was safe to put it away.

“You haven’t seen the great Tommy Danger Kraken Innit’s house?”

“No, I just got here,” Grian said.

And that is how Grian got roped into a small tour through the server as they walked over to Tommy’s house. Or well, if you could really call it a house.

See, the thing is, Grian could excuse cobblestone houses. The block wasn’t terrible, and mixed with any other block it could look really great, look at Bdubs’ houses, they were made with cobblestone, and they were fantastic.

However, Grian absolutely drew the line at dirt.

At first, he thought they were looking at the tower that rose up beyond the black and yellow walls that had been put up (weird choice if you asked Grian, but well, who was he to judge-, but no, it wasn’t that. They climbed over the walls, and again Grian was wondering who had made the design choices, because why would you make a wall without entrance, and Tommy promptly ignored the tower and took a left turn.

There were two doors in the side of a mountain that had seen better days. Blocks that were broken before were replaced with a random other block, including a piece of netherrack and some jungle planks, but it was mostly just dirt. Just dirt.

Tommy lived in a dirt cave.

“Here it is! The best house you will ever see!” Tommy announced, gesturing to the two doors.

“Tommy, this is a dirt hut,” Grian dead-panned.

“No it’s not!”

Tommy opened the doors, and somehow, the inside was worse. It almost seemed broken up. The cobblestone floor had a giant hole in it, and Grian could see the remains of some redstone contraption, along with multiple signs being strewn around. Against the back wall were a bunch of chests, which undoubtedly held a variety of things in the most unorganized way possible. Next to the chests was a small opening, almost like a doorway, but Grian couldn’t see what was behind it.

Mostly because he got distracted by the spider that was kept in a glass cage in the corner.


“Shut up, Groin,” Tommy interrupted, easily stepping over the giant hole. Grian peered down, finding the hole was ending in some wood planks at the bottom. It was a long drop, but not long enough to kill you. Still long enough to do some serious damage.

“This seems dangerous,” Grian said as he looked up to where Tommy was looking through the chests. Tommy looked back at him, then down at the hole, then went back to search.

“Oh that, that’s uh- not important,” Tommy waved it off.

“You should cover it up, you could fall down,” Grian suggested, ready to take some of the cobblestone he still had in his inventory.

“No!” Tommy exclaimed, “Uh, I mean- I won’t fall, I’m a big man, big men don’t fall.”

Grian looked down again, trying to see if there was a safe way down. Now that he looked better he found that one side of the walls was only made of planks, and it was probably used to pillar up from the bottom.

“You’ve already fallen down,” Grian asked, more of a statement than a question.

“The f*ck? No, no, I don’t fall, I never fall,” Tommy defended himself. He closed the chests, got back to his feet, and started ushering him out of the room. Grian peered past him to read the sign. ‘Did you miss me?’

“What is down there?”

Tommy closed the door behind him when they were both outside, “Nothing! Just a little joke thing, that, yeah, joke.”

And just like that, all that fake-confidence disappeared.

“Okay, okay, I believe you,” Grian said, taking a small step back to give him some more space. “Just, make sure you don’t actually fall down.”

“Why do you care,” Tommy then huffed, “You don’t f*cking know me.”

Grian frowned, “No, I don’t, but that doesn’t mean I want you to get hurt.”

“Yeah, right.”

“I mean it. Look, I like jokes, I like doing pranks, but I always make sure people don’t get hurt. They’re jokes, they’re meant to be fun,” Grian told him, “Now that didn’t seem fun. So was it a joke?”

Tommy huffed again, “I don’t want to talk about it.”

Grian wasn’t satisfied. He knew what was happening here, it was so blatantly obvious what was going on. He just needed a name, one single name to confirm all his suspicions, but he couldn’t pressure Tommy into doing so, could he? That would just be unfair.

For now he just had to put it aside. He would ask about it later, but right now he couldn't.

Grian tried to keep his rising anger out of his voice, “Okay, that’s fine. Hey, I need to finish my house, and there’s a lack of cobblestone, wanna help?”

Tommy perked up at that, “Hell yeah! Let’s build a cobblestone tower!”

Grian was already scared of the monstrosity that his house would become. But hey, at least Tommy seemed excited for it, so he was willing to deal with monstrosities.

The two walked through the nearest portal, which was the main portal, and Grian led them to Foolish’s nether portal. Right before Tommy walked through, after asking where on earth they were going, he remembered Foolish had said only a few people had ever been to his base.

Was he allowed to take Tommy there? He should’ve asked.

Wait. It wasn’t too late to ask.

“One second, I need to ask something,” Grian told Tommy as he pulled him communicator out. He quickly typed out a message to Foolish in the hope the builder wasn’t too busy.

Hey, would you mind if I took Tommy to your base? I haven’t set up a nether portal to my place yet, and yours is the closest.

Yeahhhh tommyyyy get him in!!!!!!!!

Well, that was easy.

“Oh, am I not supposed to be here?” Tommy asked when he realized Grian was texting someone. Grian smiled at him as he put away his communicator.

“Just had to make sure, but you’re all good,” Grian said, stepping inside the portal.

Tommy followed him through, “Good ‘cause nothing can stop the big man Tommy, so- what the f*ck.”

Grian grinned as he watched Tommy’s face light up in bewilderment as he took in the sight.

“Did you build this?” Tommy asked. He was walking again, off to the giant pyramid to the left of the portal, and Grian struggled to keep up.

“Oh no, he did,” Grian answered, pointing over to Foolish, who was still working on the path.

Tommy slowed down a bit, “who?”


“Oh. I’ve met him,” Tommy then said, picking up the same attitude he had when he first met Grian, and marched over on the path. Grian could only follow.

“Foolish!” Tommy called out, causing the other man to look up now.

“Tommy!” Foolish matched his energy, clapping his hands together a few times to get the dust off. “Are you here to mug me again?”

“I’m just gonna take the gold,” Tommy grinned back.

“Oh please don’t! That took me so long to get!”

Grian didn’t really catch the rest of their conversation. He suddenly felt like he couldn’t breathe, and the weight pressing on his chest felt all too familiar. There were no words to really describe the feeling he was feeling, but it was too familiar to be comfortable. It was the same feeling he used to feel when there was going to be world changes, like the time the nether got changed in season 7, and it was the feeling he felt in Evo anytime they stepped through one of the portals the Watchers had made, or the thing he felt right before he got sent to the DreamSMP.

It was the feeling he had before DreamXD came to destroy their place.

It was now the feeling he associated with change, whether that was good or bad.

Right now, it was probably bad, considering Foolish and Tommy continued their conversation like nothing was happening. It meant that Grian was the only one to feel it.

He looked over to the giant, looming statue, whose wings casted a dark shadow over the place as the sun started to set. The purple of the sword seemed slightly more vibrant than it was before, and the halos crossing in front of his face were brighter than Grian could remember.

Was he imagining things?

It was probably because he was slightly freaking out.

Grian snapped out of it when he heard a yell from Tommy, who had finally noticed the DreamXD statue as well.

“You’re a primer?” Tommy exclaimed.

“A what?” Grian asked, even though Tommy wasn’t talking to him.

Foolish had pretty much the same answer though, “Uh, I just believe in DreamXD.”

“Yo that’s so cool!” Tommy was practically vibrating as he ran over the path to examine it closer. Foolish followed him, leaving Grian to stand there on his own.

That’s when Grian realized there was a lot he didn’t know about this server yet. He had heard so many things already, and experienced more than anyone should in their first three days on the server, but he still felt absolutely clueless. What was a primer? Who was messing with Tommy? Where was everyone? Why was everything so… abandoned?

Nothing made sense, despite Ranboo’s explanations.

Maybe he should go talk to Phil more. He probably had answers to the questions Grian couldn’t ask anyone else. Phil had been here longer, he had experienced all the big events Ranboo had talked about, he knew what Grian had been through. Phil was his best bet.

That would come tomorrow though, as he had a house to finish first. And some cobblestone towers to build.

For now, he would just stay with Foolish and Tommy and listen to what they had to say. Maybe they would have some answers, despite Grian not asking anything.

All of this was really just a mess.


Okay so I started writing this like a week ago and then I watched foolish's latest lore(?) stream where he and sam nook built the tree and I just thought it was really funny how perfectly I made the lack of saplings in foolish's summer home

anyway tommy is here now :D
My document where im writing this in is currently on 100 pages and thats only all these chapters, and some end stuff... this is gonna be so long help

Chapter 7: Chapter 7


Tommy learns about Hermitcraft, and Grian refused to deal with a nightmare and g


(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

“Don’t you think it looks a bit-” Grian trailed off. He had managed to drag Tommy away from Foolish before he could go on about church prime and before Foolish would talk to him about DreamXD. Really, nothing good could happen if you combined Foolish’s weird obsession with DreamXD with Tommy’s innocent religious beliefs.

But also, Grian couldn’t stand to be around the statue any longer, and he wasn’t going to leave Tommy behind with Foolish.

He had dragged Tommy back to his place, where the first order of action was setting up his own nether portal so they wouldn’t have to pass the statue and Foolish again, and they were now both doing their own thing.

Grian was waiting for his trees to grow as he had used all the wood already, and Tommy was constructing a cobblestone tower right next to the house. When Grian asked why he had to put it there, Tommy had answered ‘where else? People have to see it’, and he couldn’t exactly argue with it because Tommy had already begun towering up.

“It looks perfect, Groin!” Tommy beamed.

“I think we have different definitions for perfect,” Grian sighed. It was a simple tower. Just straight up, no decorations, only cobblestone. Just a cobblestone tower.

“Shouldn’t we decorate it a bit?” Grian suggested.

“Why? It’s a cobblestone tower!” Tommy asked, but unlike Grian, when Tommy said the words they sure didn’t sound as condescending.

At least Tommy was proud of his creation.

“We could give it a roof? Maybe some different blocks at the bottom so it has a bit of a foundation,” Grian said, “Maybe some windows?”

It was weirdly silent for a moment, and when Grian looked over to see if Tommy was actually still there, he found him just looking up at the tower.

“Maybe it needs a roof,” Tommy then agreed, “I’ll go get some.”

Grian watched in horror as Tommy started chopping down the acacia trees around them. Really, a cobblestone tower with an acacia roof had to be a crime or something.

He wasn’t going to stop him though.

Instead he just continued working on his own build. The sun was fully setting now, and he wanted to finish it before it would be too dark to see clearly. So he started chopping down the trees he had planted himself -which was not acacia- and then climbed up on the scaffolding Foolish had given him. The roof was put together fairly quickly. It was a simple roof he had built multiple times before, and he could basically build it with his eyes closed by now. Still, it required some concentration, both to make sure it would be even and straight on both sides, but also to make sure he didn’t fall to the ground. That would just be unfortunate. Especially when he had just recovered from the respawn he had gone through.

That bit of concentration meant he wasn’t really paying attention to what Tommy was doing.

So it was a bit of a surprise when he climbed down the scaffolding when he was done, and found Tommy just sitting on the grass watching him.

“How do you build like that?” Tommy asked when he figured Grian was finally paying attention to him again.

“Like what?” Grian asked, confused. He joined Tommy on the grass, looking up at his build. It wasn’t exactly what he wanted, but it still looked great. He would change some things when he had time later.

“Like-” Tommy started, then gestured something vague in the direction of the house, “that.”

“Uhm, practice?” Grian said.

“No, I mean, how can you build a roof and not get bored. I got bored from just watching you build for five minutes,” Tommy sighed.

Grian laughed, “oh, well, I like building. It’s fun. But not everyone likes the same things, you know? My friend Mumbo, he loves doing redstone, but I can barely put together a sugarcane farm.”

“What kind of name is Mumbo?” Tommy laughed, and Grian couldn’t help but chuckle.

“It gets better, his full name is Mumbo Jumbo,” Grian said.

“Mumbo Jumbo? That sounds stupid.”

“He’s great though! He has a really cool moustache.”

“He has a moustache?” Tommy exclaimed.

“And a suit-”

“And a suit? Man he must be important.”

“He ran for mayor, I was his campaign manager,” Grian grinned. The memories of those few weeks were great, he had so much fun. Even if they didn’t end up winning.

“Did he win?” Tommy asked, curious.

“Oh no, he had exactly zero votes. He didn’t even vote for himself,” Grian laughed. After all, maybe putting someone up for mayor who doesn’t even know they are running for mayor wasn’t the best idea.

It was funny though.

“So who won then?” Tommy asked.

“Scar won, he made some great roads in the shopping district. He also replaced all mycelium with grass, which was the start of the great turf war,” Grian said, smiling as he recalled the start of the ‘war’.

Something flickered on Tommy’s face, “War?”

“Yeah, it was great!”

“War isn’t great,” Tommy muttered.

Grian realized his mistake too late.

“Oh, right, uhm, it wasn’t really a war? It was like-” Grian quickly covered, trying to find the words, “it was all fun and games, you know? We weren’t actually mad at each other, and we settled it with some minigames.”

Tommy turned to look at him, confusion written all over his face.

Grian sighed, “It’s all fine, no one got hurt.”

“Okay, yeah,” Tommy muttered, “I uh- I should probably go home.”

Tommy was on his feet before Grian could really register what he said.

“Bye Groin,” Tommy said, and with that he was off and through the portal.

That was weird.


Nightmares weren’t unknown for Grian.

His first few months on Hermitcraft had been bad. He got haunted by terrible nightmares about the Watchers every single night, images of them killing him, images of him killing them, images of DreamXD coming back to do more damage, endless, dark hallways, giant, empty clearing stretching out as far as he could see. The nightmares weren’t fun.

At some point he had started to pray for them to stop, even though he resented the existence of the gods that watched over them.

Mumbo had found him crying in the corner of his room once, when the nightmares seemed to bleed into the days, and he was so sleep deprived that he couldn’t tell the difference between dreams and reality anymore.

For the next three months there was someone in the room where he slept. At first it was just Mumbo, but later Scar and Xisuma took turns, and sometimes even Cleo would turn up.

They got better over time. He still had the nightmares, of course, but they weren’t daily anymore, nor did they disrupt any of his daily life. By the end of season 6, he couldn’t even remember the feeling of waking up in the middle of a nightmare, as he hadn’t had one in so long.

Then season 7 started, and the small time frame between the seasons where he wasn’t on one of those servers was enough to mess with his mind. The nightmares flared up again, and Grian had spent the first few days in Mumbo’s house.

But it got better.

He hadn’t had any nightmares in weeks now, and he was feeling better than ever.

But perhaps changing worlds again, and going to sleep with that terrifying feeling of change tugging at his heart were great conditions for his mind to start the nightmares up again.

Grian was still trembling when he made his way through the nether. The nightmare was bad, he had been chased by DreamXD through the destroyed world of the Watchers. Except DreamXD didn’t destroy it, but Xelqua did, and he killed all the Watchers, and he was going to pay for his crimes.

He didn’t exactly know where he was going, but he needed to get as far away from that statue as he possibly could. He was planning on just going through the main portal, the one that actually had a building around it, but he got lost halfway.

Well wasn’t that just great?

Being lost was generally not a good things, especially not if you were in a server you didn’t really know, but getting lost in the nether was worse. GPS systems didn’t work in the Nether -no matter how much Doc and Mumbo had tried to get it to work-, and unless you had enough supplies to build a new portal, you would be stuck there for a while.

Now the thing wasn’t that Grian had nowhere to go. The Nether had been ruined and broken apart, filled up with different blocks that weren’t supposed to be there, and there were multiple portals just set up around him. If he really needed a way out, he could simply go through one of the many portals.

He just didn’t know where they would lead to.

Grian decided walking into a random nether portal was a great way to get him killed, so he ignored all of and went to search for his way back to places he recognized.

It took him at least half an hour before he gave in, the nightmare that was the reason he ended up in this situation long forgotten.

He still hadn’t found any portals he knew, and he had wandered off so far that there was only one portal he could still see. For a moment he could only stare at it, nerves flaring up as he thought about anything that could possibly be on the other side.

He stepped through eventually, stumbling out into the snow.

The cold wind was a strong contrast to the almost unbearable heat of the Nether, and for a moment he let himself cool down. The temperature change would probably not be good for his health, especially not when he was still wearing the same, scraped jumper he had worn when he got here. He should fix it when he got back home, if he would even get back there anytime soon.

Slowly the cold went from pleasant to finding a way underneath his bulky armor and through the thick wool of his sweater, and he was cooling down too much to be comfortable. The wind stung on his face and his hands.

He understood why Foolish lived in the desert now.

To keep himself slightly warm, he started walking. There was nothing around that seemed civilized, but there were holes, caused by creeper explosions, to his left, so there was probably something over there. It lead to some hills, with a big forest behind it.

Grian wanted to walk the other way for a moment, because who would build something in the middle of a giant forest, but then he saw smoke rising up above the treetops.

At least there was something there to warm him.

That was if there weren’t people there that were going to kill him.

He walked over, trying to find a path through the dense forest, barely avoiding the branches scraping his face. It seemed to never end, he couldn’t even see the other side of the forest, or if anything was on the other side. Now he thought about it, he couldn’t even see where he came from. What direction did he come from again?

Oh no.

He spun around again, and yeah, he was definitely lost.

Stuck in a frozen forest, what a great way to die.


To say Grian jumped was an understatement. He scrambled for anything to protect himself as he turned around, but all he could get was a piece of cobblestone.

It wasn’t needed, because the person that found him was Techno.

“Oh, it’s you, hi, you scared me,” Grian breathed out in relief.

“What are you doing here?” Techno asked, only sparing the rock he was holding a single glance.

“Uh-” Grian muttered, looking around again to find where ‘here’ exactly was, “I’m lost, to be honest, just ended up here.”

Techno hummed, unimpressed, “come on.”

He started walking, and Grian simply followed him. By now his fingers started hurting from the cold, and he had come to the conclusion that his shoes were definitely not water resistant, which meant his socks were completely soaked in icy water.

He hated the snow.

Techno seemed to know where he was going, and soon the trees cleared up and they made way for an open field with two houses in it. The houses were connected by a little bridge, and protected by fences going all around it. On top of the hill, just inside the fences, was a half-built dirt house, and there was a glimpse of stone bricks in the wall, though Grian couldn’t quite see it from this angle.

Techno didn’t slow down for him to observe, silently stepping between the gaps in the fence. INstead he opened the door to the house on the right side of the bridge, peered inside, and when he found no one, he walked down the stairs on the other side of the bridge. Grian could only follow. As they walked, Techno took out a potion and drank half of it. Grian didn’t quite understand potions, but he knew that half the potion would only give him enough of the effect to last for a small amount of time.

“Here, take this,” Techno said, handing him the remainder of the potion. Grian held it up to the light for a second, trying to figure out what potion it was (fire-resistance and instant health were awfully close in color), determining it was a fire resistance potion.

That was not ominous at all.

“What? Am I gonna have to jump in some lava?” Grian joked, though he was still very confused. Techno didn’t explain anything, if anything, he hadn’t really said anything at all after their initial meeting.

“Yes,” Techno answered, leading him over to a lava pool just beyond the house, “just jump in the middle, you’ll be fine.”

Techno didn’t wait for Grian to drink it, or to even answer him, and he jumped into the pool, quickly disappearing in the red liquid.

Okay then.

Ideally, Grian would’ve turned around, searched for the Nether portal, and gone back home before he had the chance to let himself get dragged into something he wasn’t supposed to be in.

Ideally, he wouldn’t have even gotten lost before, and he would just deal with that nightmare in a sensible way that wasn’t just running off.

Ideally, he would’ve simply thought about everything he did twice.

But nothing Grian did was ideal, so without second thoughts he chugged the remaining potion and followed Techno into the lava. He was expecting a burn, but all the lava did was warm up his frozen fingers.

Only for a moment though, as the lava quickly ended and suddenly Grian was falling, and a second later he landed in a small pool of water. He wasn’t quite prepared for the impact, and if it wasn’t for Techno catching the back of his chestplate, he would’ve been on the ground.

He didn’t say anything as he started down the narrow tunnel, torch in hand. It was terribly dark, and Grian could barely see Techno in front of him.

“Where does this go?” Grian nervously asked, hoping Techno would tell him something.

“You’ll see,” Techno shortly replied.

They walked in silence a little further, and Grian was growing more nervous with every step they took. The feeling from yesterday was still there, and it got even worse in the time he walked here. Techno being vague, or not talking to him at all, was not working.

“So, do you just not talk to anyone?” Grian asked before he could really help himself.

This time Techno did answer, “I do. Just not with people like you.”

“People like me?” Grian echoed, confused.

Techno stopped walking, and Grian just caught himself in time to prevent himself from walking into him. Techno turned back to look at him, “you know, Watchers.”

Well wasn’t that just confusing. Philza was a Watcher, and when Philza was back in the In-Between he had told Grian about their adventures together, and even Ranboo had said the two stuck together. If Techno didn’t talk to Watchers, why was he with Philza then?

“Philza is a Watcher,” Grian said. It still felt weird to be able to say their name out loud.

Techno started walking again, “Philza is married to the Goddess of Death, I don’t need to worry about the Watchers having any power over him.”

“They don’t have power over me.”

“Uh huh,” Techno hummed, unimpressed, “How’d you get here then?”


“Alright, if you don’t talk to ‘people like me’, then why are you taking me wherever we’re going?” Grian asked.

“Because Phil asked me to,” Techno said. The tunnel opened up into a room with stairs. As Grian followed Techno through, he could see the redstone compartments, indicating there was a ‘secret’ door here.

Who needed a secret door in a secret room at the end of a secret tunnel where you could only get if you knew in which lava pool to jump?

Grian didn’t question it.

He simply followed Techno up the stairs. There were people talking in the direction they were walking, Grian vaguely recognised them.

Soon he ended up in an impressively decorated room, with in the center a table made out of end portal blocks. Philza and Niki were sitting on two of the six chairs, all of them had stasis chambers behind them.

“Woah, how did you get these in here?” Grian curiously asked, letting his hands linger on the rare blocks.

Grian had always been fascinated by end portals. They were unmoving structures giving him access to a completely different world. Before he was taken by the Watchers he had spent days trying to find a way to move them, and after he got taken he had spent even more days going through the portals to fill the never ending desire to see the void.

During his time in the In-Between, he had asked if he had access to the blocks that made up the portals. The Watchers hadn’t reacted kindly, and he had never asked again. Maybe it wasn’t in his powers, or maybe the Watchers in general didn’t have access to them, but the mysterious blocks were definitely not moveable by anyone other than gods.

“They were here,” Philza answered, “In an old sort of structure.”

Grian looked up in confusion, wondering why Philza didn’t just say ‘stronghold’ or how they really got here. Then he remembered Niki was here. Phil only sent a warning look back.

“It’s a cool table,” Grian decided to say to that, hoping his first comment hadn’t already caused too much suspicion. He looked away from the table, admiring the rest of the interior. It was nice, it looked like something that would be made in Hermitcraft, probably by Bdubs.

"Take a seat," Philza said, gesturing over to the empty chairs. Two of them had signs with names on them, the other one had a simple blank sign on it. Grian guessed the two seats with the signs were reserved for someone else, so he sat down on the 'empty' chair.

"What is this place?" Grian curiously asked.

Techno grinned.

“Grian, welcome to the Syndicate.”


oooooh syndicate time :D

Chapter 8: Chapter 8


Grian meets up with an old friend. sort of.


aaah this was one of the first things I wrote when I started this story
I'm so excited to finally post it
things are happening now :D

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

When Grian had figured out he was on a different server than Hermitcraft, there was a clear plan in his head. There were three simple steps.

Step one, locate the server portal. It shouldn’t have been hard, most of the time it was in the center of the server, close to spawn, and if it wasn’t, someone would be able to tell him where to go. The portal on Hermitcraft had been hidden away, but everyone knew where it was. They had hidden it as a safety measure set by Xisuma, just to make sure that if every other measure failed, any unwanted person coming through wouldn’t just be able to march through everything.

Step two, get into the main server hub. The main server hub was a giant server with all the server portals. Anytime a new server was made, the portal appeared there. It was easy to travel between the servers and the hub, as it should be. Really, the only thing Grian would’ve had to do was go through the server portal, and find the Hermitcraft portal.

And step three, use the universal communicators to contact Xisuma. He couldn’t just walk through the server, the security of their server was too hard to get through that easily, even if he was whitelisted. He also couldn’t contact Xisuma from here, as there was a difficulty with whitelisted servers, and again, Xisuma had everything on the server protected, so unless he gave explicit permission from people from the DreamSMP to contact him, there was no way Grian could talk to him. He had tried.

Three simple steps.

See how none of those steps involved the server portal being broken by the god of destruction, Dream murdering him or him becoming a spy?

Yeah, he was really not prepared for any of that, but somehow it all still happened.

Grian had officially become a spy.

Techno and Phil hadn’t actually called it a spy, but Grian knew exactly what was happening.

He was new, no one knew him, no one knew he was with Techno or Philza. It was an easy solution to a problem Grian didn’t understand. But according to Phil, all he had to do was find any places people lived, and figure out if it was a country or not, and report back to them.

There was only one problem with that, and that was that it didn’t merge with Grian’s own plans.

Because he had a new plan, which involved locking himself away in a library in the hope he would find some information about how to change servers without a server portal. So that’s what he did.

His days were spent digging through Phil’s old books (there was no library Grian knew of, just boxes with books hidden underneath Phil’s floorboards), and when he wasn’t reading, he was either eating, or asleep. Sometimes he would come back to Foolish, just to talk to someone, as Phil wasn’t home most of the time, and Techno still didn’t want to talk to him.

Anytime he went back to Foolish, there were new components added to his area; the path had been finished, and he had started the entrance to the giant pyramid, and the hanging gardens were no longer just empty halls.

Somehow their conversation always ended up on the topic of gods, and specifically DreamXD.

Foolish could talk for hours, and Grian was happy to listen to figure out the way DreamXD behaved when he was here. Apparently DreamXD wasn’t some destructive god when he came down to the DreamSMP, and the worst thing he did was smite people, and he just simply messed with them here. Foolish told him about the time they gambled for chorus fruit and shulker boxes, and the time they had a competition for an elytra, or the time Foolish could get a bunch of player heads.

Any time Foolish said that he was excited for DreamXD to come back, Grian felt a little worse.

He wanted to tell Foolish that DreamXD had no good intentions, and that none of this would end well, but he couldn’t. He couldn’t tell him because it would raise too many questions he couldn’t answer. Not that Foolish would believe him if he said it anyway, he was too pulled in by the god’s promises.

Grian didn’t quite understand why though, because he noticed the hesitation and skepticism when he asked what Foolish had actually gotten in return. He had never gotten a straight answer, except for ‘a shulker box’ and some other silly little things that did not seem like nearly enough reward for a giant statue.

He didn’t push it any further, there wouldn’t be an answer.

The plan he had was put on pause though. For the one reason he had feared, and that was that returning feeling. The one he felt when he moved, breathed, blinked, or just did anything. It was the second time he felt it since he got to the DreamSMP, the first one being the time he brought Tommy to Foolish’s place.

This time it was worse.

His fingers were tingling and he was struggling to grab onto things, and he just felt so on edge that every single sound seemed like the end of the world. Something was horribly wrong, and there was nothing Grian could do to distract himself from it. He just sat down on his bed, legs pulled up to his chest, waiting for something to happen.

A single ‘ding’ was enough to shake Grian from his confused state, his attention being drawn to his communicator. In the weeks he was here, he hadn’t received any messages. Not in the general chat, and not from anyone else.

He carefully picked up his communicator, almost dropping it twice, and opened the message he got. He wasn’t too surprised to see it was Foolish.


Grian should’ve known better.

He should’ve thought about it multiple times. He should’ve thought ‘hey, this feeling isn’t good, maybe I shouldn’t go’. He should’ve just stayed in place and asked what was happening.

On the other hand, he knew that feeling could be nothing good, and he wouldn’t put it past the Watchers to hurt innocent bystanders in order to get their revenge on him.

So he went.

He got up from the bed and basically ran out of his house, just barely taking enough time to strap on his armor again. He ran to Foolish’s base, his mind racing with all the possible ways he was going to find Foolish dead in any of the pyramids.

He was too late.

Not with finding Foolish, no not at all, no, he was too late to realize what he was walking into.

Because the moment he set foot onto the sandstone Foolish had put down, there was an arrow coming straight for him. He saw it flying towards him, aimed straight between his eyes, and all he could do to avoid it was to drop himself onto the ground. He immediately scrambled to get up again, just in time as the second arrow hit exactly where he was just laying.

“Don’t try to run, Xelqua,” a dark voice said in a language Grian hadn’t heard in forever. Galactic was old, and mostly unknown by mortals, so the Watchers used it. Grian was forced to learn it, and it was the way he communicated with the Watchers.

To hear it spoken right here was terrifying.

Grian was shaken out of his fear by the sound of another arrow hurtling towards him. He just managed to outstep it, though it just scraped his armor which made it change direction.

“Stop,” Grian simply yelled back, despite not really knowing who he was talking to.

“You should’ve been destroyed the first time,” was what came next, and Grian’s blood ran cold.

Of course. He should’ve known. He should’ve left the moment Foolish had said a word about DreamXD, but he didn’t, and here he was.

“Please, this isn’t needed,” Grian tried, the galactic words leaving his mouth faster than his brain could really register.

“We both know it is.”

“No, no, it’s not. I’ve escaped, I promise,” Grian pleaded. He couldn’t see DreamXD from here, nor could he see Foolish despite knowing he was there. He might as well just be talking to the air.

“Prove it,” DreamXD said, and Grian took that as his cue to walk further. Now the statue wasn’t obstructing his view anymore, he could see DreamXD, hovering a few feet above the ground, almost a perfect copy of how he was depicted in the books. It was a totally different sight from the last time he saw the god, when he wasn’t using his ‘human’ disguise to destroy his home.

Still, seeing him set off every alarm in his head.

“See, no wings,” Grian said, trying to keep his voice steady, holding up his hands to show he wasn’t holding any weapons or was using any magic. He slowly turned around to show DreamXD the Watcher wings really weren’t there. He turned back, waving one of his empty hands in front of his face, “no mask. I escaped three years ago, haven’t been back since.”

DreamXD slowly descended, landing on the sandstone without a sound, moving over. “We had a deal.”


Of course Grian remembered that deal. He had made it in a foolish attempt to save himself, and the remaining Watchers had not been kind with their punishment, calling it a mortal mistake. It was stupid then, but Grian didn’t think he would ever feel the consequences of it.

Suddenly pieces fell into place.

Grian hadn’t actively been trying to figure out why the DreamSMP was the server he was sent to, he just guessed it was one of the active servers with a limited life system, but now it made sense.

His deal with DreamXD, the God of Destruction.

The deal had been easy. DreamXD would let him live, but if they would ever cross paths again, he wouldn’t be spared.


And the Watchers knew how stupidly easy that was, and to get rid of him they had sent him to the place he operated.

“I know, I didn’t forget,” Grian scrambled, desperately trying to buy himself time to come up with a way to get out of this.

A hand grabbed his chin, forcing his head up so he had no other choice than to look at DreamXD and the faceless void that was beyond the hood of his cloak. “Why should I not do it, Xelqua?”

At that moment Grian knew he had won.

A sly grin spread on his face, “You made that deal with Xelqua. If you crossed paths with Xelqua again, you would end him. I’m not Xelqua anymore, I’m Grian.”

“That’s not how this works,” Dream threatened, tightening his hold on Grian’s face.

“You can’t kill an innocent mortal, and that’s exactly what I am,” Grian pushed, not even trying to get away from DreamXD’s hold. The god sighed, letting him go.

“Such a shame.”

Without another word, DreamXD turned to face Foolish, who had just been watching their interaction from the sidelines with wide eyes. Grian wasn’t done with this though, “I won’t get in your way, I promise.”

Just to ensure his safety here.

DreamXD laughed, “Such empty promises. You know better, Xelqua.”

Grian didn’t respond to that, there was nothing to say. He knew he couldn’t keep that promise, and he knew even better that DreamXD would try anything to make him break that promise.

After taking a few deep breaths he made his way over to where Foolish was standing. He noticed the glances Foolish sent him as he talked with DreamXD, but neither of them said anything about what had just happened. Grian knew he would get questions later, but for now he was just content to listen, trying to focus on the story DreamXD was telling -which was not true, something about gods and where he came from - and the questions Foolish was asking. It kept the panic at bay a little longer.

He responded some things when either of them asked, but he mostly kept out of the conversation. He didn’t know what he could or couldn’t say, he needed to keep DreamXD on his good side for now.

Grian thought he heard something, so he looked back towards the portal, finding someone he didn’t quite recognize. The guy looked like a demon, dressed in full black with red details. He was smiling as he walked towards them, which Grian thought was odd, considering there was a god with them.

DreamXD groaned when he spotted the demon too, “why is he here?”

“Who?” Foolish asked, turning around, also complaining when he saw him. “At least Grian is here to save us from him.”

DreamXD laughed, a low and dark sound, and Grian knew he was in trouble. He just knew it.

“What are you doing here, BadBoyHalo?” DreamXD asked, not responding to what Foolish just said. The devil, apparently called BadBoyHalo, came up with some weird excuse Grian didn’t pay attention to.

He just stood to the side as he watched DreamXD basically bully the poor guy.

Then, a different language than English sounded. His gaze snapped up to DreamXD, but he had no face, so there was no way to tell if it was him talking. It couldn’t be anyone else though. He recognized the words he was saying, and without thinking a second time, he threw himself at BadBoyHalo, knocking both of them off their feet. A second later there was a lightning strike in the exact spot BadBoyHalo had been standing.

“What was that for?” Grian asked, scrambling back to his feet, disregarding Bad.

DreamXD let himself drop back down to the ground, landing with a soft thud. He didn’t say anything, but he simply repeated the same thing, summoning another lightning strike. Grian simply stepped aside, knowing exactly how his powers worked, but the electricity striking down a few centimeters away from him still set off his nerves.

But DreamXD didn’t stop. He kept repeating it, over and over again, speeding up every time Grian managed to dodge them. He tried to keep them away from Bad and Foolish, but Foolish was dumb enough to step in. That’s when DreamXD paused.

Grian knew better.

“Foolish, move,” he ordered, but Foolish didn’t.

“How did you know where it was going to hit?” Foolish asked.

That’s when DreamXD started the spell again, but there was a slight difference. The name was changed from ‘Xelqua’ to ‘Foolish’.

“Foolish, move!” Grian practically yelled, hoping to get the point across.

Foolish still didn’t listen. Grian charged for him, pushing him out of the way with all the power he had.


He felt the electricity coarse through him, a burning pain spreading through every single part of his body. Things crackled all around him, his ears buzzing, stars appearing in his vision.

He wished he could say it was the worst thing he ever experienced, or that it was the first time he experienced it.

That didn’t make it hurt any less though, and it probably should’ve been his death. But he somehow survived.

He lay paralyzed on the ground for a while, feeling the energy still pull on his muscles from time to time. He groaned in pain, but he didn’t have much time to revel in it as DreamXD appeared in his vision.

“Don’t test me, Xelqua,” he said, returning to the Galactic both of them spoke.

“Don’t attack my friends,” Grian said, voice strained with long pauses between words.

“Don’t let them give me a reason to,” DreamXD warned. He grabbed the front of Grian’s chestplate, easily lifting him back on his feet. Grian stumbled backwards, his legs not ready to take his weight yet, and soon the snake statue was his only support. He watched as DreamXD said something to Foolish, unable to defend him or anyone right now.

Then he was gone.

There was a moment where Foolish and Bad just stared at him. They both looked very concerned, but neither made a move to actually reach out to him. So instead, Grian took out the trident he had found and used it as a prop to get himself upright.

His ears were buzzing, drowning out whatever Foolish was saying to him, and he felt like he couldn’t breathe. The electricity made his skin tingle, making him feel like he was a few feet off the ground. He wasn’t quite sure if the static that fell over his view was from the lightning or the panic taking over.

“Grian?” then softly filtered through, making Grian look up at Foolish.

“Huh what?” Grian asked, dazed.

“What just happened?” BadBoyHalo cut in, seeming more excited than confused. Grian blinked a few times, something crackling anytime he did so. His mind didn’t work well enough to come up with an answer.

“Nothing,” he just muttered. Carefully he took a step forward in the hope his muscles would come back to life. It wasn’t his muscles that made him move after that, it was purely the adrenaline of surviving this.

“Where are you going?” Foolish then asked. The happy, goofy tone that usually lined his voice was nowhere to be found now.

“Home,” Grian only responded, fully aware that his house was in a completely different direction. He needed help, in the potion type of way because he wasn’t sure how long the adrenaline would help him out, and he hadn’t put together his own brewing setup yet.

He knew where he could get that, but he wasn’t able to tell that to Foolish. The moment Foolish realized he was operating with Philza and Techno there would be problems.

Neither of them responded to that.

Grian made his way over to the portal, painfully aware of the stares on his back. It was slow and painful, and the Nether was even worse.

Halfway through he decided the portal to the tundra was too far away for him to make, so he took a left and walked onto the bridge to Niki’s portal that he only remembered because of the grass and flowers.

He didn’t really think that through, he forgot about the long staircase leading down.

The lightning had messed with his perception of depth, making it very very hard to walk down the stairs. He couldn’t see where he needed to place his feet on the plain white steps. The risk of falling was too high, and it would definitely be his death, so he carefully sat down.

Panic started to catch up to him, he felt it nagging his brain, so he really, really needed distraction, now. He couldn’t afford to panic now, not when he was this close to dying.

He grabbed his trident again -which he had put down because he was sitting down - and started bashing it against the metal handrails, as hard as he could. The sound of metal against metal echoed through the hallways so loudly it hurt his ears. He just hoped Niki was here and would come check out where the sound was coming from.

It wasn’t Niki that came to see what was going on.

It was Technoblade.

He raised an eyebrow, “What are you doing?”

Grian dropped the trident, letting it clatter down the stairs, his fingers unable to hold onto it any longer. “I need help.”

“I can see that,” Techno muttered, “Niki’s downstairs.”

“I got hit by lightning, I can’t see the stairs, I don’t want to fall and die,” Grian explained. Techno only rolled his eyes, easily scooping him off the stairs and carrying him to the small medical room.

“Stay here.”

Grian didn’t have much of a choice, so he did as he was told as Techno left the room again. Niki burst into the room a little later, immediately rushing over to check on him.

“What the hell happened?” she asked, looking at the burn marks on his sweater.

“Lightning,” Grian replied.

Techno came in a bit later, carrying in Grian’s trident. He propped it up against the wall, leaning against the same wall right next to it. Grian guessed it was to make sure he wouldn’t say anything stupid when he couldn’t think straight.

“Lightning? It’s a clear day today?” Niki questioned. She opened some drawers to take out whatever she needed to get Grian the help he needed.

“I uh-” Grian muttered, but he couldn’t come up with an excuse. He dragged a shaking hand over his face, which was a terrible idea as he felt the damage of Dream’s axe under his fingertips. Instinctively, he checked for blood, even though he knew there wouldn’t be any. He was right, as there was no blood, but he did find purple lines all over his hands like veins.

For a moment he panicked. Purple wasn’t good. It was never good. The In-Between was mainly black and purple, and Grian’s blood in the In-Between had been purple, and bleeding Watchers were purple. For just a second he was back there, back with the Watchers, where DreamXD was actively destroying his home.

“Grian?” Niki brought him back to the present.

“Huh? Sorry,” Grian quickly said. He couldn’t take his eyes away from the purple marks on his hands. Carefully, he pushed up his sleeves, finding the marks continuing all over his arms.

“They’re just lightning marks,” Techno said, almost like he could read Grian’s mind. It should’ve been reassuring, but knowing that Techno knew exactly what he was thinking was a terrible feeling.

“Yeah, they should fade away,” Niki agreed, “It’s gonna take a while, but they’ll be gone.”

“Right,” Grian muttered, “I was just messing with a lightning rod.”

It was a weak excuse, but it worked.

Niki didn’t ask anything, she just gave him some more potions to drink, and Grian obliged. The potions tasted terrible, and he felt like they weren’t doing anything, but if it would work in the long term, he was happy to down them.

It was a bit weird to sit in this room. Niki was silently working, while Techno was only squinting at him from the corner of the room.

If it was Hermitcraft, this would have been nice. If it were Scar and Mumbo, Grian wouldn’t have had any problems with this. He knew Mumbo would’ve said something stupid when it was silent, just for the sake of lifting the silence, and Scar would’ve teased him for that for the rest of time, and they would laugh about it.

RIght now though, Grian really didn’t want to be in this room.

Techno wanted nothing to do with him, he had made that clear enough, but on the other hand, Grian was apparently a good asset. That being no one knew him, and it would be easy to get in and out of places Techno couldn’t go unnoticed himself.

Niki was nice, really nice, but she also was extremely suspicious of Grian. He knew that, she knew he knew, that sort of thing. Grian knew his story wasn’t adding up, and that it was incredibly weird that Grian would go to Philza and Techno of all people, even after hearing everything they did.

He wasn’t comfortable, and not only because he just got absolutely destroyed by an angry god that didn’t like him.

None of this felt right.

Maybe it was the panic still tugging at his brain talking though.

“Okay, I don’t think there’s anything else I can do right now,” Niki eventually said.

Grian got up from the chair he was on, wobbling slightly. Techno handed over the trident, which Grian gladly took. “Thanks.”

“Please be careful with the lightning rod,” Niki said, nothing but genuine concern in her voice.

“I will,” Grian assured her. He should probably place a lightning rod on his house now, in case Niki ever came by.

Grian made his way back to the Nether portal. It was a bit easier to walk now, he could actually see the stairs again.

“Grian, wait,” a voice called out. Grian stopped walking, waiting in confusion for the person calling out for him. He didn’t really expect either of the two to follow him, but from the two he didn’t expect the one to follow him would be Technoblade.

“What happened to you not talking to me?” Grian asked, a grin spreading on his face.

“We both know lightning rods don’t do this,” Techno simply replied once they were actually in the Nether.

“I don’t have a lightning rod,” Grian confirmed.

“And those aren’t meant to show up that quick, what happened?” Techno asked, gesturing to Grian’s hands.

“Turns out DreamXD is actually here,” Grian said with a sigh. Techno didn’t respond, so Grian took that as his time to ask a question. “Where’s Phil?”

“Home, he wasn’t feeling well,” was the answer Techno gave, “he said you would probably do the same.”

“Well, that was the plan, but then DreamXD showed up,” Grian shrugged. It was slightly comforting to know that Phil, who had been away from the Watchers longer than he had been, still felt it when the gods or Watchers were up to something. Grian wondered if the feeling was still lingering now, and if he had felt it when Grian got thrown into this server without warning. Would Phil have had the same warning he had? Had he felt bad for weeks?

He’d ask later.

Right now he needed to lay down and have a breakdown.

“I’ll come by to fill you two in tomorrow,” Grian said as they reached the portal to his house. Techno only nodded, and Grian stepped through the portal.

Once inside his house, which was only a few steps away from the portal, he blocked off the door. He placed things in front of it, making sure the door couldn’t open. If anyone really wanted to come in, this wasn’t going to actually stop them, but it would buy him enough time to get himself together when necessary.

He shoved all things in his living room against the walls, giving him enough space to just lie down on the cold floor. It took him the rest of the day to gather his thoughts, to wrap his head around all that had happened.

He opened his eyes once, bringing up his hands in front of his face to see if the lightning marks had become worse. They definitely had. A bright purple, impossible to miss, wrapping around his fingers, a stark contrast to the dark red of his sweater. It looked terrible.

They reminded him of the color his hands would glow when he used the inventory from the In-Between.

With a sigh, he closed his eyes again, dropping his arms to the ground.

For now, having to deal with DreamXD being around and not being too tolerable of him was more than enough. He would deal with the marks later.

And if Grian fell asleep on the floor later that night, no one had to know.


warning signs? We don't do that here

Chapter 9: Chapter 9


Grian is bored and he sets out to meet some more people


it's been a while huh
So uh, I stopped writing this for a while because I wasn't sure if I wanted to keep writing about Techno, and then I never got back to it. He'll still be in this, though not as much as he was in previous chapters.

sorry for the late chapter but i hope you enjoy :)

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

One thing Grian noticed since he came to the DreamSMP: the days were so incredibly slow.

Maybe it was because he didn’t talk to many people, or maybe it was because he didn’t have many things to do, but things just didn’t seem to move. Anytime he would look at the clock, it would tell him it was exactly five minutes later than the last time he looked.

It was boring.

The books he was reading in Phil’s library were boring, the walk through the Nether, although dangerous, was getting boring, his repetitive days just got really, really boring.

He missed the chaos of Hermitcraft.

The good chaos. The ‘I was just building my base and suddenly I’m involved in a turf war that can only be settled with minigames’ kind of chaos, not the ‘God suddenly shows up and electrocutes me’ kind of chaos.

It had only been two weeks, but it was two weeks too long. He missed his friends, and he missed the careless nature of the server, and he simply missed being on the Hermitcraft server.

He missed people to talk to.

Ever since the DreamXD incident, which happened about three days ago -Or was it four? He couldn’t remember, the days blurred together at some point- the only people he had talked to were Philza and Technoblade.

Techno still refused to actually talk to him though, so besides the few words Techno had said to him in annoyance, the only person he had an actual conversation with was Phil. Now he didn’t mind Phil, not at all, as he was the only person who understood his situation, it was just very exhausting to only talk about the Watchers all the time. He understood, but it was still tiring.

Grian had been trying to avoid Foolish, not ready to answer any of his questions yet. Foolish hadn’t come looking for him.

Tommy hadn’t come around again as far as Grian was aware. Granted, he wasn’t home most of the time, but still.

And there was no one else he knew.

He had tried sending messages to Mumbo, or Xisuma, or just any of the Hermits, hoping that any of them had managed to bypass the limitations Xisuma had set, but any message was followed by a ‘failed to send’. After multiple days of trying and multiple days of getting no response, Grian decided he would simply send messages like he would ever get a response. He typed out his entire days, all his activities, all the people he had met -which was really not as many as Grian had expected to meet. Aside from seeing someone walk in distance, he hadn’t actually seen someone outside of Phil and Techno the past few days- and how badly he wanted to go home.

None of the messages were ever received.

Grian sighed as he got up, stretching his arms above his head. He had been sitting on his small couch for who knows how long, and he decided he needed some fresh air.

He strapped his armor back on, taking out his fully enchanted bow and sword, along with his slightly less good tools in case he found something interesting on his trip, and set out. He wandered through Foolish’s area, his fingers titling slightly as he walked past the giant statue. The injuries had given him more grief than he wanted, his muscles still twitched at times, and he could still somewhat hear the crackling.

It didn’t stop him from hearing heavy boots landing on sandstone though.

Grian turned around, thinking he’d find Foolish.

Instead he found a creeper hybrid marching over to him, wearing full netherite, trident in hand, looking ready to impale him. Grian slowly took some steps back, holding up his hands.

“Oh, hi, uh, I don’t think we’ve met-”

“Who the f*ck are you?”

Before Grian could answer, there was laughter, and then more heavy boots landing on sandstone. Foolish came in view from behind the snake statue, pulling his shark hood back over his head. Besides the netherite boots, he wasn’t wearing any of the heavy armor he usually wore, reminding Grian of the excessive amount of scars the man had collected.

“Sam, Sam, relax!”

The guy, apparently called Sam, pointed his trident in Grian’s direction, not taking his eyes off him.

“I uh- I was just passing through, really,” Grian quickly said.

“Did Dream send you?” Sam asked, ignoring Foolish.

“What? No, no,” Grian scrambled, “Dream doesn’t like me.”

Foolish looked between them for a second, then placed a hand on Sam’s shoulder, pulling him back slightly. Grian wasn’t sure if Sam simply let him get moved, or if Foolish was much stronger than he looked.

“This is Grian,” Foolish said, “He’s from- uh- where are you from again?”

“Hermitcraft,” Grain answered without thinking, “I’m not here to ruin anything.”

Apparently that was enough for Sam, as the anger on his face made way for confusion. He lowered his trident, now using it as a prop as he stared at Grian. “You’re the guy that started the wars?”

“uhh,” Grian stammered. Yes, that is indeed who he was. It is also a very bad reputation to have in a server like this. Aside from that, he couldn’t remember ever telling anyone -aside from maybe Tommy- what he got up to in Hermitcraft. “See that’s a harmful stereotype.”

“Are you or are you not that guy?” Sam asked again.

“I am, but- But!” Grian repeated when Sam pointed his trident at him again, “Those were just pranks, they’re not actual wars! No one got hurt, I’m not starting another war here, please.”

“Why would I believe that?”

“Because I just want to go home! I just want to leave so I can build my base on Hermitcraft and bother my friends, I promise.”

Was telling this random guy his life plans a good idea? Probably not. But at least he had heard about him before, which no one else here aside from Philza had done, so it was fine, right?

“One of those friends being Doc?” Sam asked.

“Yes! Doc, you know Doc?”

Grian shot a look at Foolish, hoping he would step in again because having a trident pointed at his face was really not great. Foolish was only looking on as they talked, probably not having a clue what either of them were talking about.

“Yes, he said he didn’t like you. Why should I not just lock you up right now?” Sam asked, seemingly getting more angry by the second.

“Uhhh,” Grian started, but Foolish was quicker.

“Didn’t you let your last prisoner escape?” Foolish asked, pushing Sam trident aside with a single finger. Grian was sure Sam wasn’t resisting now. “Let’s not put another guy in there.”

“Why not?” Sam asked, this time directed at Foolish.

“He’s harmless! He’s been here for a while and he’s done nothing wrong!” Foolish said, gesturing in the direction of Grian’s face. Grian wanted to be offended at the first comment, but that wouldn’t do him any favors right now.

“He’s started wars, Foolish!”

“Not here!”

Sam glanced between them for a moment, then rolled his eyes and took some steps back, “Fine. If he commits war crimes, you’re to blame.”

With that he left, walking inside the building Foolish was finishing.

Grian let out a breath, “thanks.”

Foolish waved it off, “Don’t mind him, he’s the Warden of the prison, it’s his job.”

“Right,” Grian slowly said, “anyway, I was just passing by, I wanted to look around the server for a bit.”

Foolish looked back at the building Sam just walked in, “Okay. You think you’ll be back in time for dinner?”

Grian smiled slightly, “I think so.”

“Great, see you then!” Foolish followed Sam back inside, leaving Grian to stand alone in the middle of the plaza. Why had he agreed to this?

That dinner would be terrible. If Sam was there, he would have to talk about all the crimes he had committed, and if Sam wasn’t there he would have to talk about the entire DreamXD spectacle. He was doomed either way.

But, he would be doomed later, right now he wanted to get out of here. He continued his path to the portal, then through the Nether, and into the community house. Again, there was no one around. Everything seemed suspiciously empty, it probably wouldn’t be long before the tumbleweeds started rolling.

Grian decided to just walk in a direction. It was slightly familiar, and only when he saw the giant museum did he remember this was the way to Tommy’s house. He walked into the museum, he was curious to see what was in there.

What was in there was a person.

The person looked up at Grian’s footsteps, making it possible for Grian to see a sparkly crown and dark sunglasses.

“Oh, hello!” they said, voice deep. Grian hated how aware he was of the fact that they were not wearing any armor.

“Hello,” Grian hesitantly said.

“Welcome! Feel free to look around, I’m just changing out the maps,” they said, lifting up the papers they were holding. Grian curiously walked around. The van in the middle of the room caught his eye; there was a flaming hot dog on it. A voice in the back of his, which suspiciously sounded like the Ranboo he met on his first day here, reminded him about the van they started their country in. He couldn’t quite remember what happened to it next. He also didn’t understand the dark room in the corner, all the chests were empty, he didn’t even recognise all the names on the chests. Who was Fundy?

The room next to it felt even smaller, the gray walls filled with texts and notes, a single button in the middle of it. There was a chair, though it looked like no one had ever sat on it. Grian curiously read the scribbles on the wall, finding it was either a poem or a song. His best guess was an anthem, considering it was mostly about L’Manburg.

The wall in the middle of the museum had to be what L’manburg’s walls consisted of. Grian sincerely hoped they actually fortified those walls, because this wasn’t going to protect anything. It would be easy to get over or through, or even under. No wonder it got blown up.

The giant egg encased in glass caught Grian’s attention. It could’ve been a thing the Watchers had done, a mind-controlling egg sounded like it would be their fault. He doubted they would actually interfere in this server though.

Eventually Grian came to watch the maps. ONe of them he recognised as Foolish’s summer home, the giant pyramid was hard to miss after all. It was quite updated, as it didn’t have the giant DreamXD statue. Maybe that was better.

Another of the maps was the current state of L’Manburg, or well, the giant hole where it used to be. The other three maps seemed like they were L’Manburg before it got blown up multiple times. It looked nice, Grian wished he could’ve seen it before it all got blown up.

“Hey, can I ask a question?” Grian asked after a while of looking around.

“Yes of course!” the person who was changing the maps answered, climbing down the scaffolding to talk to him.

“Was L’Manburg as nice as it looked?” Grian curiously asked. Of course, Ranboo had told him about the issues within the country, but he couldn’t imagine such a nice town would be terrible to live in.

“Oh, uhm. I guess? From what I’ve seen it was very pretty. I’m not sure if actually living there was as peaceful as it seemed from the outside though,” was the answer he received. Grian glanced over at him, frowning slightly. He tried to figure out from Ranboo’s stories who this could be. It had to be someone who was around when L’Manburg got started, but apparently they weren’t in L’Manburg. It couldn’t be Dream, and he doubted Sapnap or George would start a museum and actually keep up with it. That didn’t leave many options.

“You’re king Eret?” Grian stated, not quite sure.

Eret laughed, “Yeah, I am. I don’t think we met before.”

“We haven’t,” Grian agreed, “I’m Grian.”

Eret shook his hand, “Nice to meet you Grian. What brings you to the DreamSMP?”

“Just on a bit of a vacation,” Grian lied. He could see the skepticism on Eret’s face, but neither of them said anything about it. Grian knew no one was allowed on this server without an invite, and he couldn’t just simply leave, so there was no possible way for this to be a vacation, but well, he needed an excuse.

“I hope you’re enjoying your stay,” Eret then said, “sounds like you kept up with the history?”

“I’ve heard some things, I’m still trying to learn more,” Grian nodded.

Eret hummed as they looked back at the maps, “If you want to know more about L’Manburg I could give you names of people who could tell you more.”

“That would be great, actually,” Grian smiled. He wasn’t sure when learning about L’Manburg became a priority in his trip, but it sounded like a good way to waste time before dinner.

“You could ask Wilbur, though I’m not quite sure where he is. I think you heard about him dying?” Eret started, only continuing his spiel when Grian nodded, “Right. He probably wouldn’t have given you a real broad view of the country though, he was the leader after all.”

Grian agreed with that. From what he heard from Ranboo, Wilbur had lost the plot a bit, so hearing from him what L’Manburg was like would probably not give him an actual view of it.

“You could ask Tommy, but he will probably not tell you much different than Wilbur would. They’re brothers, so they stuck together most of the time. He lives over here though, if you want to try,” Eret pointed at the place Tommy’s house was located. Grian didn’t want to talk to Tommy, not because he didn’t like Tommy, but mostly because Tommy probably didn’t want to talk to him.

He still wasn’t quite sure what he had said that made Tommy so upset.

“You could try Fundy, but I haven’t seen him in forever. I wouldn’t be able to tell you where he lives,” Eret continued. Eventually they pointed at a giant building on a snowy shore a little bit from the prison.

“That’s Tubbo’s house. He might give you the best answers. Haven’t seen him in a while, but he should still live there.”

Grian tried to figure out a way to get there according to the maps. With some help from Eret he got a pretty good sense of direction, and after some thanks he was on his way.

Grian had heard of Tubbo, obviously. Ranboo had told him about how Tubbo used to be president, and how he led the hog hunt on Technoblade. None of that connected to the early L’Manburg stuff though, but Grian could always just go ask. Worst case scenario he wouldn’t get the answers and he would simply leave.

The path towards the prison was mostly empty. Grian paused for a bit to look at the buildings. Tommy’s house was still the same as the last time he saw it, as was the tower outside of it. The McPuffy’s down the street was a nice stop for him to get a snack in -there were no waiters, or any personnel, or any place to pay anything so he just took a burger from the fridge. It was slightly cold.

The Innit Hotel was one the better looking builds on the server. Grian took some time to look at the details of it -even if that meant ignoring the giant billboard outside that had words on it Xisuma would have banned - before moving over to the Bee N Boo, which had an unusual but nice color palette. It was also unfinished, like most buildings.

Eventually Grian ended up at a campsite, the fire long gone out and the tents barely standing up anymore. In the distance he could see a giant mansion rise up, overshadowing every other bit of the tiny town. The only path there was a water tunnel. Grian only knew how it worked because Etho had once told him about it, but that tiny bit of knowledge was enough to see that this one was definitely not working. So Grian climbed on top of it via the stairs that had already been built there, and decided to just walk over top of it to the other side.

Grian jumped down the tunnel when he was at the end, landing on the cold snow. His outfit was not made for these kind of conditions.

“Hello?” he called out. No reaction.

Grian continued through a hole in one of the walls into the small town, towards the giant mansion.

It didn’t take long for someone to walk outside. Someone Grian actually knew.

“Ranboo? What are you doing here?” Grian asked, confused. He hadn’t seen Ranboo since the first day he was here, even though he was supposed to live in Phil’s backyard. He didn’t expect him to turn up here. But well, what did Grian know?

“I live here! Sort of. What brings you here?” Ranboo excitedly explained.

“I’m looking for Tubbo,” Grian answered.

Ranboo smiled, “oh come on in, I’ll give you a tour, he should be around here somewhere.”

“Do you live here?” Grian asked as he followed him into the big hall.

“Yeah, something like that-” Ranboo answered slowly, closing the door behind them.

The inside of the house looked empty. There were some giant staircases leading up, and there was a pretty chandelier hanging from the ceiling, but that was pretty much it. It didn’t look like the house was really used or lived in.

“This place is cool,” Grian said, “did you build this?”

“No, Foolish built it for us,” Ranboo informed him.

“Of course he did.”

Ranboo was about to say something else when suddenly there was a crash of a door hitting the wall. Heavy footsteps echoed through the empty halls, getting louder with every passing second. Grian glanced over at Ranboo, who looked like a dear in headlights.

“Oops, gotta go!”

With that, Ranboo disappeared inside one of the rooms, closing the door behind him, leaving Grian by himself. Not much later someone else appeared in his vision.

A short guy was coming towards him. Grian couldn’t see his eyes, they were covered by his dark brown bangs. There were brun marks covering half of his face and neck, disappearing into the dark brown coat with a fluffy lining. Most notably, however, was the giant axe swung over his shoulder that he was holding with both hands, ready to strike.

“Get the f*ck out,” was the first thing he said.

Grian cautiously put a few steps backwards, “woah, sorry! I was here with Ranboo, I thought it would be okay.”

The death grip on the axe handle did not ease, “Ranboo’s dead bossman. Get out now or I’ll f*cking make you.”

“Ranboo’s- No, no he was just-” Grian stammered.

He didn’t get much time to explain himself, as next thing he knew there was a sharp axe smashing against his armor. Despite the armor stopping his skin from splitting, it did not stop the heavy blow. Grian was thrown sideways, slamming against an undecorated wall. He heard the axe coming more than he saw it, he ducked out of the way as much as he could. It was not quite enough, the blade still came down on his shoulder, knocking him to the floor.

“Why are you here?” the guy then asked.

“I’m looking for Tubbo,” Grian groaned.


“Eret said you’d have answers about L’Manburg,” Grian explained, keeping as still as he possibly could, eyes trained on the shiny surface of the axe.

“Eret?” for a moment that seemed to break through, but then he tightened his grip on the axe again, “why would I tell you?”

“I don’t know?”

The guy stared at him for a bit, seemingly debating between letting him go or swinging his axe at him once again, judging by the way he kept lifting the axe slightly. Only when there was a voice calling through the hallways did he make up his mind.


The guy sighed, “You’re the guy Tommy was talking about, right?”

“Maybe? I don’t know what he talked about.”

“He said you started a war with the president,” the guy clarified.

“I guess I did,” Grian breathed out.

“Papa!” echoed through the hallways again, followed by footsteps. A small piglin child walked up to the guy, tugging at his coat sleeve. “Papa come play!”

The guy sent one more glance at Grian before lowering his axe to crouch down. “I’ll come play in a second, yeah? How about you go to your room, and pick out your favorite toy, and then I’ll get you a snack. Deal?”

The kid nodded happily and then scattered again. The guy got up again, watching as the kid ran into a different room.

“Cute kid,” Grian told him. He was still on the floor, half propped up against a wall. His shoulder was throbbing, and he was sure he broke a rib or two.

Tubbo glared down at him, then lifted his axe again. “Don’t take this too personally.”

Next thing Grian knew the axe was coming straight for him. There was nothing he could do but close his eyes and wait for the eventual impact.

What a terrible way to lose a second life.

Grian was slain by Tubbo_


tubbo gets his murderous arc because he really deserves it
only one more cannon life to go

Chapter 10: Chapter 10


Waking up from death will never be a good experience, and waking up a second time after death is not any easier


(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

When Grian woke up next, he felt way too light to be in the real world. The oddly warm ground was the only indication he was not actually floating.

He opened his eyes, and he was met with more darkness. Except it wasn’t the pitch black he saw when his eyes were closed, no, this was the familiar dark of the void he had looked at so often, wishing he could be anywhere but there.

Grian shot up in confusion. Any lightness he had felt was immediately crushed by the sight of dark towers and incredibly high walls. The black and purple was way too familiar, and the void was bringing back way too many memories, and the weight on his back had been gone too long for it to feel natural now.

The InBetween.

He was back in the Watchers’ realm. The place he had escaped all those years ago, the place he swore he would never go back to, the place he had spent the worst years of his life in.

How was he here?

He couldn’t help the frustrated scream that came out of his mouth next.

“Get up.”

Grian snapped his gaze up. In the time he was here, he had found the small differences in the Watchers’ voices. Sure, they all looked the same, and as far as he was aware none of them had an actual name, but there was a difference, and he could tell them apart.

The dark figure standing in front of him was the Watcher that had watched over him all that time. The one that kept him in place when necessary, the one who gave him instructions, the one that punished him.

Grian knew better than to disobey, so he got to his feet, trying to find his balance all over again now he had his wings back. They were heavy, shifting his point of gravity. The first time he got here, he had been overjoyed by the idea of being able to fly freely. Later he realized they were nice, but they made him feel incredibly mortal in this world of immortal beings.

Now more than ever he wanted to take a knife to them and cut them off right then and there.

“Tell me who you are,” the Watcher ordered when Grian found his footing.

The language came faster to him than he’d like. “My name is Xelqua.”

“Good. Now get out of my sight.”

Xelqua could only nod before he started walking. He hated how he still knew this place like the back of his hand. Before he knew it he was back in the room he used to stay in. It hadn’t changed a bit, the walls were still covered in towels and blankets he had put up in an attempt to get rid of the black colors around him, and the carpet still had purple stains on it from where he tried to patch himself up after one of his punishments, and the books were still on his desk from when he was trying to find a way out of there.

Nothing had changed at all.

It was like they always expected him back here.

Xelqua wanted to cry. He wanted to yell at the Watchers until his throat was sore, and he wanted to scream until his lungs gave out, and he wanted to cry until every muscle in his body hurt.

But he couldn’t do any of that. The Watchers would put him back in his place faster than he could open his mouth, so for now he put that unbridled rage somewhere he wouldn’t feel it again, and started tearing down all the blankets and towels. The black walls started to feel more suffocating with every piece of fabric he removed, but he needed it.

The Watchers keeping it up was a harsh reminder that Xelqua could never really escape. He would never be free from their cruel grip. He could never put Xelqua to rest.

Xelqua would forever be stuck in this place.

Once all the blankets were torn off the walls and on a pile on his bed, he started taking buckets of water out of his now endless inventory. He poured them on the floor, hoping it would get the dark purple stains out the carpet.

About twenty minutes later -in real time, not Watcher time- the entire room looked the way it did when Xelqua first got here. All books were deleted, the blankets were gone, he had even emptied out his entire wardrobe.

It was like a stock photo now.

A terrifying stock photo, but a stock photo nonetheless.

Most important was that it wasn’t his room anymore. No one could tell him he belonged here, because it was an empty room. There were no indications he had ever been here, had ever lived here, had ever slept here, had ever bled here, had ever died here. It was no longer his.

He didn’t belong here.

Unfortunately, leaving this room would get him punished because he had no orders to do so, so all he could do was sit on the floor and wait.

He waited, and waited, and waited. It felt like an eternity, but eventually the door opened.

The being in the doorway looked the same as every other Watcher did. Long black robes that faded into smoke at the bottom, with long, wide sleeves that hid sharp claw-like hands, a dark purple mask covering the top half of their face, leaving their terrifying mouth and teeth bare for everyone to see.

Grian would be scared to see them, Xelqua knew better than to react to it.

“You are expected on the court in two minutes.”

“I will be there,” Xelqua responded, more out of necessity than willingness.

The Watcher left again, leaving Xelqua alone to make his way to the center of the world; a giant court with a dead tree in the middle of it. It was called ‘the court’ as it was the place punishments would take place, but also the only place the Watcher would talk to Xelqua. Outside of the court or his bedroom, they all ignored Xelqua like he simply didn’t exist. Not that he was allowed to be in other places for longer than 5 minutes, but still.

Xelqua got up from the floor, stretched out his wings that he hadn’t used in forever, and grabbed the last things from his desk that he needed to take in case he would never get back here -which he sincerely hoped.

Without looking back he walked out of the room, progressing into a run halfway down the hallway. The hallway turned to the left, but Xelqua ignored it. Instead, he sped up and jumped through the opening in the wall that served as a window. He spread his wings, tilting them back to reduce his speed, and then landed on the rough stone bricks of the court. It was almost like he had never left.

Almost, because he still slightly stumbled on the landing.

There were multiple Watchers waiting for him. There were four on the court, but he knew there would be Watchers in the towers and on the court walls watching them.

“Xelqua, are you aware of why we brought you back here?” one of them asked.

“I am not,” Xelqua answered, “please enlighten me.”

If the Watchers didn’t appreciate his sarcastic tone, they didn’t let it show. In fact, Xelqua didn’t think he knew what any expression or emotion looked like on their face.

“We sent you to the DreamSMP as a punishment. You are actively trying to leave it, we will not allow that,” one of the other Watchers said.

“I just want to go home,” Xelqua tiredly said.

“This is your home, Xelqua.”

Xelqua shook his head, “this has never been my home. I want to go back to Hermitcraft.”

One of the Watchers stepped forward. They grabbed Xelqua’s chin in one hand, long, sharp nails digging into his skin, not quite breaking the skin. When they spoke it was slow and deep, “This is where you belong. Understood?”

Xelqua wanted to argue, but he didn’t want to make them any more angry than they already were. “Understood,” he replied.


With that, the Watcher let go, taking steps back to fall back into line.

“We’re going to return you to the DreamSMP. If we have to watch you trying to escape again, punishments will be in order,” one of the Watchers said.

“Isn’t this punishment enough?” Xelqua asked, desperate.

“You can never be punished enough.”

Before Xelqua could reply, he was sent away. The floor disappeared beneath him, and no matter how hard he tried to get himself upright, or tried to fly, there was nothing he could do against the tumbling through the void.

He didn’t realize he closed his eyes, but when he opened them he was back in his house on the DreamSMP. Pain started to settle in his neck, when he reached his fingers up, he remembered Tubbo had just killed him. Of course it would hurt. He was in a mortal world now, injuries would hurt.

Somehow, his neck wasn’t the thing that hurt most. His back ached uncomfortably, the muscles sore and tired. Only when he sat up did he notice the heavy weight. With wide eyes he reached back, fingers touching feathers before they touched skin.

Oh no.

Xelqua scrambled out of his bed, slipping on the cold floor a bit as he hurried towards the bathroom. He came to a halt when he caught his own reflection in the mirror.

His wings were still there.

No, no, no, it couldn’t be.

Yet they were actually there. Bright and purple and big.


“Grian? Are you in here?” a voice suddenly called from outside his house. It was Foolish. Grian sprinted back to his bedroom, desperately searching for the biggest sweater he owned. He knew it wouldn’t matter; nothing would be able to hide wings like that. It was impossible.

“Yeah, uhm, give me a minute!” Grian called back, tugging the sweater over his head. He tugged it over his wings the best he could, but not only did it look awful, it also felt like he couldn’t move without injuring the muscles in his back.

“Are you okay?”

“Yep, all good!” Grian called back. He tried keeping the panic out of his voice. He struggled with the sweater for another minute or two before deciding this was just how he needed to live now.

He had no other choice.

“Foolish?” Grian asked, hoping the man had left.

“Yeah?” Foolish replied.


“Uhm, I need you to promise me something,” Grian tried.

“Oh. Okay, sure, I’m great at keeping promises!”

“I need you to promise you won’t ask any questions,” Grian told him. He didn’t know if Foolish would really keep that promise, he barely knew him after all, but he liked to believe.

“I can do that.” Foolish said.

Grian nodded to himself, took in a deep breath, and then opened the door. Foolish wasn’t looking at him, but he was looking at something in the distance. At the sound of the door opening he looked over, confusion immediately settling on his face.

“Are those wings?”

“You wouldn’t ask,” Grian reminded him, moving back inside, leaving the door open for Foolish to follow him. He opened some chests in search of his diamonds. He made some new armor, as well as some new tools. Tubbo probably had the things he was wearing before he died, and he was not going back there anytime soon. They weren’t enchanted, he didn’t have the setup or the experience to do that now, he’d do that later.

Foolish’s stare was burning on his back the whole time.

“I want to ask,” Foolish said after a while.


“Are they real?” Foolish asked, despite Grian telling him not to. Grian sighed, he wasn’t going to get out of this, especially not with Foolish.

“Yes,” Grian then answered.

“Oh my god, that’s so cool! Can you fly?”

Honestly, if Foolish wasn’t as tall as he was, and if he didn’t have a stupid amount of scars that no kid could have, someone might just confuse him for a child in a candy store. Grian turned around, confused at the excited twinkle in his eyes.

“Uh, I think so,” Grian said, “I haven’t tried.”

“What? Why not? How long have you had them?” Foolish asked, words almost coming out too fast for Grian to understand.

“They were gone for a while, I haven’t had them in years,” Grian slowly answered. He wasn’t sure how much he could get away with before he had to stop answering questions.

“You can choose if you have them?”

“No, I wish,” Grian sighed, struggling to get his chestplate on. He was really not used to having his wings back.

“Wait! Did DreamXD give them to you?”

Grian stopped his movements. He forgot about DreamXD.

He was so f*cked.

The deal he had made with DreamXD was easy; if he ever saw Xelqua again, Xelqua would die. Grian had been able to avoid it by simply arguing that he was no longer with the Watchers, and that he was not Xelqua anymore. There was nothing that had connected him to the Watchers in any way.

Now there was the proof of their existence and his connection to them permanently stuck to his back.

“He did not,” Grian said, voice more stable than he felt.

“We should test them out,” Foolish said.

“We should not. Anyway, you said something about dinner?” Grian tried to redirect the topic. It worked, as Foolish quickly followed along and started rambling about some engagement dinner going on in a different place, and that he was allowed to take someone. Grian didn’t quite listen, too busy with making holes on the back of his chestplate.

“It’s in 20 minutes, so we actually have to go now,” Foolish announced. Grian tugged his armor in place now it actually fit.

“Okay, let’s go,” Grian nodded.

They left his house not much later, only after Grian was sure he would be comfortable for a while, and they started walking. Grian simply followed Foolish, not knowing where they were going, while Foolish excitedly talked about his latest project.

They ended up in a place called “Kinoko Kingdom”.

“Oh this is quite pretty,” Grian said as the mushrooms came into view.

“I mean, not to boast, but-” Foolish grinned.

“No, stop, you didn’t build this too.”

“And I didn’t even get paid for it,” Foolish sighed.

“What did you not build on this server?” Grian exclaimed. Even for him, someone from Hermitcraft where big builds were the standard, this was incredible. The man had built two entire kingdoms and a mansion. He was wild.

“Everything around spawn,” Foolish answered, “Except for Doozers HQ, that’s mine.”

“You are out of your mind.”

It didn’t take long for them to get noticed, and soon someone was walking up to them.

“Oh look who it is!” they happily exclaimed. To say the person caught Grian’s eye was an understatement. The guy had steampunk goggles with purple glasses sitting on top of his head, angled slightly awkwardly to make way for the many colorful hair clips to keep his brown hair out of his eyes. The sleeves of his hoodie were pushed up so he had enough space for multiple, colored watches, which -as far as Grian could tell- had all different times on them. Maybe most noticeable were his eyes, which were a shiny gold.

He looked incredible.

“Welcome, welcome! Come on, dinner is about to start!”

Before he knew it, Grian was sitting at a long table with some unfamiliar people, eating the best dinner he had had in a while.

And if anybody asked, the mushrooms definitely didn’t remind him of the mycelium resistance, and he definitely wasn’t thinking about the last time he had dinner with his friends, and he definitely didn’t miss Hermitcraft.

Definitely not.


I just wanted Grian to have his wings back
I promise they have a purpose lmao

anyway, more Watchers yay

Chapter 11: Chapter 11


Niki is angry, Phil is angry, and Grian decides to build some redstone farms to feel better, or worse.


oops, it's been a while
so fun fact, i have been writing this story, except not the good parts, so i might have enough material for an etho spin-off even though I'm still not sure if he's actually going to be a character in this lmao

we'll see how it goes

also I'm not sure about the grammar in this one, sorry for the mistakes if there are any :)

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

With dinner over, and everyone fed and happy, Karl decided they needed a fire, so that’s where they were. It was small - only because Foolish had complained they would set the trees on fire - but it was nice and cozy.

Grian tried his best to keep his wings away from the fire; he wasn’t sure if they were actually flammable, but he couldn’t imagine feathers were made for extreme heat. It felt a bit clumsy trying to move them, he wasn’t used to actually feeling them or using the muscles for them, having to use them now felt unfamiliar.

In the In-Between, Grian never had to worry about the muscles or feeling sore. Pain didn’t exist, his muscles couldn’t get tired, his wounds would never sting, he could be torn apart limb by limb and he wouldn’t feel any of it. Most of the time it was nice, he could push on like nothing was wrong. But sometimes, the Watchers would punish him, and he would only find out how badly he was hurt when he got lightheaded from the amount of blood he was losing, and when his fingers were trembling from the amount of effort it took to raise his arms.

In Hermitcraft pain hadn’t been a big issue either. Not only were they less likely to get badly hurt there, but if they did get injured, there were enough resources to patch them up quickly, and enough people around that were willing to help out. In worst case scenarios, when the pain was really bad, they would use the very unethical way of respawning, simply because it was easier than having to deal with fixing themselves up. Respawning, although slightly uncomfortable, was easier than waiting for a broken leg to heal, or a concussion to fade.

The pain he had endured on the Dream SMP was already worse than anything he had felt in a long time. Evo had been the last time he actually had to suffer through his pain, and the early days of the In-Between - before the Watchers had fully taken their hold on him - were pretty rough as well, even if the Watchers did go easy on him then.

The pain he felt just before coming here was terrible, and the after effects of Dream literally splitting his skull open were even worse. Sometimes he’d still feel the pain flare up, coming in harsh headaches and blurry vision. The respawn had done enough to heal most of the damage, especially the brain damage -for which Grian was very, very grateful-, though the psychological damage would always remain. If his nightmares weren’t about DreamXD destroying every place he had ever lived, then it was Dream haunting him with a very shiny axe.

Getting hit by lightning should’ve been more painful. Yes, it hurt a lot, and he definitely needed a few days to recover from that, but it wasn’t as painful as he thought it would be. Obviously, adrenaline had saved him a bit, making him tune out the pain until he got to Niki.

Thinking of that, he should repay Niki for her help some day.

And then there was the respawn he had just gone through. Axes slicing your throat wasn’t fun. Breathing was still hard, and simply turning his head hurt so much. Though, he hadn’t had much time to think about that pain, because of the wings. Not only were they annoying, they hurt his muscles and back, messing with his balance, and simply wearing him out. He was exhausted, and needed three days of rest from all of this, but he knew he couldn’t. At least not right now, when he was at an engagement dinner with people he should really get to know.

He simply did not have the energy to do that though.

So he just sat and listened. Karl and Foolish were doing enough talking for all of them, Tina and Hannah were half keeping up with them, half just talking amongst themselves, Skeppy and BadBoyHalo had been messing with each other all evening, barely acknowledging anyone else, and Sapnap watched over all of it, hand on the handle of his sword most of the time, the only person to wear full netherite.

Grian was curious why Sapnap was the only one to actually be wary in this place, but he wasn’t going to ask.

Grian wasn’t paying much attention, but he perked up when he heard Niki’s name in conversation.

“Sap, did you invite Niki?” Karl asked.

“I did, she couldn’t come,” Sapnap confirmed.

“Oh, but she’s coming this way now,” Karl said, gesturing over to the direction behind Sapnap. Grian looked, indeed finding Niki walking in their direction. She didn’t look happy at all. Grian hadn’t seen her much, but he knew the look of anger well enough.

It seemed to simply disappear when she got close enough though, making way for a sweet smile.

“Hey Niki!” Karl happily said.

“Hey! I thought I’d come by and bring you a gift,” she smiled, handing over a picnic basket, red fabric poking over the edges, little flowers painted on the side. Karl took it, folding over the napkins on the top for a moment, then folding them back before placing the basket beside him.

“Thank you! Do you wanna join us?” Karl asked, gesturing to the empty spaces around the fire.

“Oh no, sorry, I really don’t have time. Do you mind if I take Grian, it’s a bit of an emergency,” Niki apologized, sending a pointed look at Grian, which had him wondering if he had done anything wrong.

“Now?” Grian asked, confused.

“Yes, if that’s okay,” Niki said, more aimed at Karl than at Grian, like he didn’t have a choice.

“Of course! emergency first,” Karl simply said.

“Great,” Niki smiled, then fully turned to Grian.

Grian scrambled up from his place. He almost toppled over again, Foolish and Niki reacting just quick enough to keep him upright. For now, he ignored that, turning to Karl.

“Thank you so much for the dinner, it was really good,” he said, hoping no one would be too mad at him for leaving.

“Of course! It was nice to meet you Grian, feel free to come by sometime!” Karl smiled back at him.

“I will!” Grian promised before he got dragged off by Niki, who shouted a ‘Congrats on the engagement!’ before they were out of earshot.

Only then did the anger return on Niki’s face. She didn’t say anything, she simply led Grian all the way to her underground base. Grian struggled on the stairs a bit, having to grip the railing with both hands as he walked down, unstable.

If it wasn’t for the railing, he would’ve simply fallen over at the sight he found at the bottom of the stairs.

The first time Grian had seen Philza in the Dream SMP, he had been slightly confused by the lack of his wings. They had met in the In-Between, where Philza always had giant, black wings. They had seemed almost natural, he had used them with so much ease, maneuvering in ways Grian could only aspire to do. In the paset few weeks, Phil hadn’t had his wings. Grian guessed it was because they weren’t in the In-Between anymore, he didn’t have his either.

Seeing them now was a slap in the face.

Philza was standing in the middle of the walkway, leaning on a walking cane to make up for the weird distribution of weight on his back. One of his wings still looked as majestic as Grian remembered. Long black feathers, glinting in the light, stretching out longer than was beneficial. Big and strong, like it should be.

The other was merely a ghost of what it once was. It was only the frame, one long bone on the top, holding on to the few long feathers it had. Nothing but a skeleton remained, and even then the bones weren’t exactly positioned the way they should.

Damaged beyond repair.

“Phil-” Grian stammered.

“No. Shut it- I don’t want to hear it,” Philza cut him off. Phil’s endless patience had finally come to an end. Grian guessed it was only fair he was the one to receive that anger, he was to blame for this after all.

Of course the Watchers wouldn’t only go after Grian. They would take Philza too, knowing fully well what the consequences would be. They knew Phil had to stop being tolerable, and this was the only way to achieve it. They needed Phil to stop helping him, to cast him out, to leave him to struggle on his own.

If it meant getting their revenge on Phil too, it was a win-win.

“You’re going to tell me exactly what happened, in detail, and then you’re going to stop all of this,” Phil said, jabbing a finger in his direction, using only one hand to support himself.

“You know I can’t stop them,” Grian tried, but Phil only stared at him waiting for an explanation.

Grian cast a glance at Niki, who looked about as mad as Phil seemed. As she met Grian’s gaze, that anger only seemed to get worse. “Don’t ask me to leave, I think I deserve to know what is happening here.”

“Niki-” Phil started, but Niki cut him off.

“No, stop treating me like an outcast. I’m the one that has to fix you up all the time, I deserve to know where these injuries come from. I know Wilbur is your son, but that doesn’t mean you can treat me like he used to do,” Niki told him, voice venomous.

Phil sighed, clearly not ready to deal with this right now, and then gestured for Grian to start talking.

“Tubbo killed me, and I woke up in-” Grian started, pausing only to think of a different description to keep Niki out of this as much as possible. He knew it was unfair, but unlike Phil and Techno, the Watchers could actually get to Niki. It was for her own safety, “-their realm.”

Phil raised an eyebrow, not saying anything.

“They said this was punishment for something, and that if I tried to leave this server they would punish me even more.” Grian tried to explain. He knew Phil would understand what he meant.

“Are the wings the punishment?” Phil asked, seemingly not that impressed by this entire story. The effects of having to deal with them for most of your life, probably.

“I got sent here as a punishment, the wings are punishment for trying to leave,” Grian clarified.

Phil seemed to think about that for a while.

“Tell me what’s worse than this, Grian,” Phil then said, his wings spreading slightly to get the point across. Grian tried to think of something, but his mind was blank.

“I don’t know,” he answered.

Philza took a shaky step forward, “I do know. It’s death, Grian. Infinite death loops, never ending torture, that’s what’s worse than this.”

“Lady Death wouldn’t let you go through that,” Grian pointed out.

“No, she wouldn’t let me go through that. But she won’t hesitate to put you through that. I’m not letting you do that to yourself. I think it’s time to stop this,” Phil said.

Grian’s stomach sank to his shoes.

“No, please, I can’t stay here,” Grian practically begged.

“You have no choice. You’re here until the end of your life now. I’m sorry, I can’t help you anymore,” Phil said.

Grian knew there was no point arguing. Phil was right. He shouldn’t try and escape anymore. There was nothing good that could come from that. If they didn’t throw Grian into a deathloop, they would come for everything else. Phil, Niki, Techno, Foolish, Karl, Ranboo, Tubbo, Tommy, Eret. And if it wasn’t the DreamSMP members, it would be the Hermitcraft members. Mumbo, Scar, Xisuma- He couldn’t do that. He couldn’t bring all of them in danger because he was selfish.

He was stuck here until he lost all of his lives.

“Okay,” Grian finally gave in.

Philza nodded once, then turned towards the stairs on the left of him. Grian could only assume he was going to look for Techno.

“Wait, Phil,” Grian called out before he could get anywhere. Phil paused, waiting for what he had to say. “I managed to get your letters back.”

Phil turned around now, confusion etched onto his face. Grian dug the letters he had taken from the In-Between out of his inventory. He had promised Phil to take care of them until he returned, and he never had, but Grian had always kept the letters. He found them when he cleared out his room, neatly folded between stacks of clothes, exactly where he had hidden them.

It was only fair to return them now.

“I wasn’t sure if either of us were ever going back there, so I took them with me,” Grian said, if only to fill the silence.

Phil took them from his hands, thumbing through them to check if they were all still there. He did that three times, then they disappeared somewhere beneath his poncho. “Thank you.”

“It’s the least I could do,” Grain said, “I’m sorry for the wings. If I knew they would do this, I wouldn’t have tried to- you know.”

“I would’ve done the same,” Philza then replied, “I don’t blame you. I blame them, they’re the ones that did this, you are just an innocent pawn.”

“I guess we both are,” Grian agreed.

It was silent for a few seconds, Grian finally meeting Phil’s gaze. He expected anger, or disappointment, but there was nothing other than quiet understanding.

They were both innocent bystanders in a game much bigger than them.

And Grian had never felt so understood while feeling so incredibly lost at the same time.

The next few days were quiet. Grian spent most of them trying to sleep, but only catching some rest in short intervals. He couldn’t get comfortable, the wings forcing him to sleep on his stomach, and when he did sleep, he was haunted by nightmares.

But he managed to get enough sleep for the exhaustion to wear off. He still didn’t go anywhere, the last time he went out he got killed, so staying inside, in the safety of his own home seemed like his best bet.

Foolish came by once, bringing him leftovers of Karl and Sapnap’s dinner, and to just keep him company for a bit. He didn’t bring up the DreamXD thing again, Grian wasn’t sure if that was because he knew better, or if he forgot about it. He hoped it was the second one.

Now it was another day of being on his own.

So he set out. The potions he got from Niki were running out, so he would have to go find his own brewing stand. A trip to the Nether wasn’t the ideal situation, but at least it gave him something to do.

Surprisingly, he got back without problems. He didn’t encounter a single person, and they had set up a small -and very efficient- blaze rod farm, so it was quite easy to get the materials he needed. He had stared at the farm for a bit, trying to figure out how it worked. It reminded him of the times he would stare at Mumbo’s creations, or when Doc was showing him around his latest contraption, or that time when Zed had built an elevator in his base. Redstone and farms weren’t his strong suit, and he would never understand how they worked, but staring at them until they made less sense than they did before cleared his mind a bit. Reminded him of good people.

Good people were on his mind when he returned home. He created a brewing stand as he thought about Stress and her potion shop, and he decided to start working on a simple melon and pumpkin farm as he thought of Mumbo. The sheep farm was dedicated to Zed, though it didn’t feel silly enough to really do him justice, and the chest monster he created as he worked was a strong reminder of Scar (he would not clean it up for that exact reason).

It wouldn’t be enough to bring his friends back to him, or for him to go back to his friends, but it was something. He didn’t have many resources yet, but when he did he would build something grand in their honor.

But for now he stuck to his small farms and contraptions, hoping he could see his friends again someday.


angry philza woooo
also niki deserves to get angry so here it is :D

Chapter 12: Chapter 12


Grian tries to relax, some people won't give him rest


This one is a bit shorter, sorry about that!
anyway, i hope you still enjoy :))

Chapter Text

Grian wished he could see Mumbo again.

If not for just the sake of it being Mumbo, then for the sake of getting his redstone to work. Really, this was a nightmare. His melon farm had broken, he really didn’t know that was even possible, and he didn’t know what was wrong with it. He had checked everything twice, and it all seemed fine. But it obviously wasn’t fine, because it didn’t work.

Mumbo would probably look at it once, spot the problem, and then upgrade the farm so it was twice as efficient.

But Grian wasn’t Mumbo, so he was left wondering what was wrong.

He was about to give up when he heard voices. They weren’t talking loudly, Grian could barely hear them, but they were there nonetheless.

“Hello?” Grian called out, looking for the source of the sound. There was the rustling of leaves, sounding from a different direction than where the voices just came from. Slowly he drew his sword, painfully aware that he wasn’t wearing his armor right now - he had taken it off to crawl in the small space between the roof and the pistons of his farm.

“Foolish, is that you?” Grian called out again, hoping this was all just some prank, and he wasn’t going to get murdered today. He could feel the feathers of his wings ruffle, and he took some tentative steps back, towards his house.

Apparently that was the right move, as an arrow landed before his feet.

A second arrow lodged in the wall behind him, just barely missing his knee.

Oh sh*t.

More arrows came, if Grian didn’t run they all would’ve hit him.

“Now!” someone shouted, and two figures jumped out from behind some bushes. The arrows stopped, but it was hard to miss the swords and heavy armor. Grian was at a disadvantage, his armor was inside his house, and he didn’t know how to fight with these wings. They were dragging him down, making him slow, plus they would be easy targets.


His wings.

Without a second thought, he spread his wings wide, then beat them down, propelling himself into the air. His muscles screamed in agony, his body weight almost too heavy for them to bear. To save himself some more pain, he crash landed onto the roof of his house, rolling until his shoes got traction and he could get himself back upright.

“What?” one of the figures exclaimed, more frustrated than amazed.

Grian looked down over the edge, only now being able to really see who was attacking him. Tommy and Tubbo were glaring up at him. Tubbo held his axe in one hand, the other was used to keep his bangs out of his eyes so he could look up. Tommy had switched his sword out for a loaded crossbow, which was a whole lot less scary now Grian could see exactly when Tommy would fire.

“If you’re here to fight, can I at least get some armor?” Grian asked.

“We’re not here to fight, we’re here to kill you,” Tommy said, raising the crossbow. Grian closely followed his moves, ducking out of the way when the arrow released.

“I’m on my last life,” Grian told them.

“We know, that’s why,” Tubbo nodded.

“I haven’t hurt either of you, why would you want to kill me?” Grian asked, desperately trying to buy himself some more time.

“Because you said you start wars. If we kill the person that starts the wars, then there’s no war,” Tommy explained. It sounded logical, eliminating the source. There was only one thing that was not logical, and that was that Grian had not started a war here, and he was definitely not planning on it.

“I didn’t start a war!”

“You told me you did, with the mayor,” Tommy said, finger on the trigger of his re-loaded crossbow.

“No, no, that wasn’t a war! It was- it was more of a friendly resistance!” Grian tried, even though it was pretty much a war. Of course a war on Hermitcraft was about as harmless as Scar's cat, but he had seen the aftermath of the war on the DreamSMP. The giant crater was a scary sight.

“Sounds like a war,” Tubbo said.

“No I promise it wasn’t! It was just a joke! Really, we settled it with minigames,” Grian scrambled.

“So there was no war?” Tubbo cautiously asked.

“Nope, no wars, just fun,” Grian said, for now ignoring the fact that there was in fact a civil war that he started once. They didn’t need to know that. “I promise. You can ask Scar.”

Tommy lowered his crossbow now, “so you won’t start a war here?”

“No, no, I just want to-” Grian caught himself before he could finish that sentence. He wasn’t sure if he could even say it, but if the Watchers only thought he was trying to leave, he would be in big trouble. “I just want to live in peace.”

“By growing wings?” Tubbo asked, now using his axe as more of a prop.

Grian glanced back at the purple wings stuck to his back, “uh, yeah, something like that. Can I come down without getting murdered now?”

Tubbo and Tommy exchanged a glance, after which Tubbo put his axe back in his inventory. Tommy put away his crossbow, and he had put away the sword a bit ago to aim better. “If you want to.”

For a second Grian wanted to just jump down, let his wings do the work, but he knew it would hurt. So instead, he just climbed down, putting his feet on ledges and gripping onto the windowsills and drainpipes.

“You can fly down, bossman,” Tubbo pointed out when Grian was halfway.

“I’d rather not,” Grian mumbled in return, jumping the last bit, landing safely on two feet. He folded his wings back behind him, making them as small as he possibly could.

“Where did you get those?” Tommy curiously asked. Tubbo didn’t seem too interested in it, instead wandering over to the farms Grian had set up.

“Uh, I grew them,” Grian hesitated. Really, he should come up with a better backstory or why he suddenly had them now. He would make something up.

“They look like Phil’s wings,” Tommy then pointed out, “just less broken.”

“You’ve seen Phil’s wings?” Grian asked, confused.

Tommy nodded, “he had them when he first got here. He said mom gave them to him.”

“Were they already damaged when you saw them?” Grian curiously asked. He glanced over at Tubbo for a second, he was circling the melon farm, looking like it was the most interesting thing ever.

“No,” Tommy answered, “they got damaged when he had to protect Wilbur from the TNT.”

“Oh, wow,” Grian stammered, “I didn’t know that.”

“Yeah, they disappeared a bit later, apparently mom didn’t want to-” Tommy got cut off by Tubbo.

“Hey Grian!” he called out, “your farm isn’t working!”

Grian looked over again, “Yeah I know, I’m trying to fix it.”

“Oh no,” Tommy groaned as he started to walk over. Grian followed, chuckling.

“I don’t know why it’s not working,” Grian stated, “I don’t understand anything about redstone.”

Tubbo crouched down so he could peer into the mess of redstone wiring. It didn’t take long for him to come up with an answer. “You’re missing a comparator here for the rails.”

Grian crouched down too, and yes, Tubbo was right. In his search for the mistake he had made, he had only looked at the actual redstone, not the collection system, which was just a hopper minecart coming to drop off everything it had picked up. Apparently the minecart never rode, it was stuck because there was no comparator.

“Oh I’m so dumb,” Grian laughed, “I think I have one around somewhere.”

Tommy was grumbling to himself when Grian stood straight again, “what do you need that much melon for anyway? They suck!”

“To trade,” Grian simply answered before going through his chest monster to look for a comparator he was sure he had crafted once.

“Who’s going to trade melons? No one wants melons,” Tommy went on, “the only good farms are the ones that give you diamonds.”

“Those don’t exist,” Grian replied, moving to the last chest.

“See, all farms suck.”

“Are you trading with villagers?” Tubbo asked, genuinely interested.

“Planning on it. Any villages nearby?” Grian asked. Finally he found the comparator, handing it over to Tubbo.

“There’s some villagers in the mansion,” Tubbo answered, carefully putting the redstone component in its place, “I think Phil also has some, but I’ve never seen them.”

“They’re in Techno’s basem*nt,” Tommy filled in.

“How do you know that?” Tubbo asked, confused.

“Not important,” Tommy waved it off, “but I can ask Techno if we can use them.”

“I thought you said farms were stupid,” Grian grinned.

“They are,” Tommy said, crossing his arms, “what are you gonna do with emeralds anyways?”

“Oh, I have buildings to make, and it’s easier to trade the right blocks than to get them myself,” Grian answered, the plans for the building he had in mind already appearing in front of his eyes. It wasn’t going to be as big as his mansion, or even as the tower he built last season, but it would be his tribute to Hermitcraft, to home.

But that would be later, right now he was going to plan things out. He needed more things, and since he was the only person on this server that was actually concerned with gathering materials to build good looking things - aside from Foolish of course -, he would have to build his own farms.

“I think I need an iron farm,” Grian said, “Is there one on this server?”

He saw the nervous glance Tommy and Tubbo shared, and he instantly knew this wasn’t going to be good news.

“Dream doesn’t want us to build farms,” Tubbo said.

Grian sighed, “of course he doesn’t.”

“Sorry bossman,” Tubbo shrugged.

“Okay, I can work with that. Uhm, do you have any shulkers? I need some storage space,” Grian asked next, and only when the words had left his mouth did he remember he had not seen a single shulkerbox in this server. He knew Foolish had one, the man had explained DreamXD had given one to him, or Ranboo and then to him, he wasn’t sure. Anyway, he hadn’t seen anyone use a shulker.

“What the f*ck are shulkers?” Tommy asked, eyebrows furrowed.

“Never mind,” Grian waved it off. He wasn’t going to start about the end, it wouldn’t go well. “I guess it’s time for some good old resource gathering then.”

Tommy and Tubbo were happy to help out, it gave them something to do, so with their help -and the help of Tubbo's villagers-, half of the resources were gathered before sunset. It was enough for Grian to start the foundations. Most of the materials he needed next would come from farms anyway, so he had to find a different, normal way of getting them.

Tomorrow he would start building, hoping to convince the Watchers he wanted to stay here -or at least convince them he wasn’t trying to leave. Because he wasn’t trying to leave, not currently anyway. The Watchers wouldn't let him make a plan, so he would just have to wait until he figured something out that the Watchers wouldn't notice.

“Are you guys staying over?” Grian asked, turning to the two teenagers that were sitting at his kitchen table, shoveling food into their mouths.

“Oh no, I need to get back to- I need to get home,” Tubbo said, cutting himself off.

“I’m gonna go home too,” Tommy answered.


They left not much later, when all food was eaten and it was dark outside. Grian pointed out the way through the nether, and then locked himself inside his house. He turned on a lantern, placed it on his small desk, and got to work designing his new building.

He didn’t remember when he fell asleep, but he remembered when he woke up, hunched over his desk, arms folded underneath his head. The sun shone through the windows, he hadn’t closed the curtains last night, blinding him for the minute it took him to fully wake up.

He sat up, stretching out as much as he could, wings spread wide. His back was sore from the uncomfortable position he had slept in. He would just have to push through that today.

The drawings he had started were slightly crumpled, but easy enough to smooth out. Grian wasn’t sure what his tired brain had come up with, but it looked somewhat alright. The roof could be somewhat improved, but he was happy enough with the foundations.

So het set out to work.

Grian had forgotten how much he missed building. Sure, he had built the small house he had hidden in for the past month or so, and he had helped Foolish with some things, but actually building his own gigantic project was a completely different experience. There was something so therapeutic about getting lost in blocks and colors and textures, working on dizzying heights with little protection, although Grian guessed his wings would help him immensely if he did fall.

Back on Hermitcraft, this building would’ve taken Grian at least 3 days, considering his friends came by to bother him more often than not, and if they weren’t bothering him, Grian would go bother them. He would also take frequent breaks on Hermitcraft, just to keep his sanity intact and to observe his building from a distance. His friends weren’t here, no one was bothering him, and he was sure that if he took a single break, he wouldn’t get going again.

So for now he would just build until he couldn’t anymore.

Chapter 13


Grian finishes his build, gets a visit of some old friends, has a Syndicate meeting, and then goes to discover Las Nevadas


Firstly, sorry that this has taken a while! I got a job, and it's taken all my energy lol. Anyway, it's here now, and I'm very excited about the next few chapters :D

Secondly, there is a lot happening in this chapter
Like, a lot. Aka, Grian doesn't want to cope with his feelings so he just keeps doing dumb things lol

Enjoy :D

Chapter Text

It took him almost a week.

Or well, somewhere around that.

Between not being able to get all his resources when he wanted to, trying to find ways to get those resources without getting anyone’s unwanted attention, and having to use so many scaffolding blocks, it took a while. On Hermitcraft, he would’ve just used his elytra and an unholy amount of rockets to get himself back up to where he needed to be, but he didn’t have an elytra here. He did have his wings, but he was not willing to use those.

Purely out of spite, that was.

And because using them hurt all muscles he had.

So he struggled through building a giant base that he would build halfway through Hermitcraft, while he had the resources he would have at the very start of it. Some people would call it stupid, others would call it ambitious.

Grian liked to call it therapy.

Surely Mumbo and Xisuma would have words about that if they ever found out.

But it had been a week of building, and Grian had more than enough time to think. The only people that came by were Foolish, Tommy and Tubbo, and none of them stayed long. Most of the time Foolish would come by, and they would eat some dinner as Foolish rambled about things. Tommy would always, without fail, insult anything Grian made, only to stare at it for an abnormally long time and ask random questions about it, seeming more interested than he wanted to be. Tubbo had made himself busy by tending to the redstone in and around the building. He had made some more silly things that Grian had given permission for, so now Grian had automatic lights in his house, and some automatic smelter systems.

If Grian hadn’t paid as much attention as he did, he would’ve had a TNT cannon in front of his house for ‘defense’.

Tubbo reminded him a bit of Doc.

Not in the mad scientist way, but more in the ‘I’m using redstone in the worst ways possible’ kind of way.

Eventually, the two of them would always leave before dinner, leaving Grian on his own to finish the build.

And now it was actually finished. The exterior was completely done, even the back -see? Therapy!- and parts of the interior. It had no actual furniture or details yet, but the walls and floors were in place, he had the layout, all doors were in, and his storage room was already up. Or well, he had shoved everything he owned into his storage room. It wasn’t actually organized though. Building was not enough therapy for him to fix that.

With the building done, and nothing else to do, Grian found himself lying on the floor of the main room. It was a big empty space that was supposed to be some sort of ballroom. The ceiling was high and curved, white beams making sure it didn’t collapse in on itself, with some big pillars reaching up to support it. The back wall of the room was more windows than walls, reaching up until the roof started curving, basting the room in a golden glow of the sunset. The tiles beneath him were cold, and he didn’t mind; the savannah was quite warm.

As he stared up at the white ceiling he wondered if he should paint something on there, like in those old churches. Maybe he could paint out all of his favorite memories of Hermitcraft, and if anyone would ask, he would make up some story like it was ancient history.

For a moment Grian wondered if he could paint the Watchers on there.

He decided that painting it all black would defeat the entire purpose of having the windows to brighten up the place. He’d put in some purple.

Kind of weird, wasn’t it? He wanted to paint something people could remember him by, and one of his first ideas was the Watchers. He guessed it made sense, they were a big part of his past and the person he was now. Still, it made him slightly uneasy.

Grian sighed, closing his eyes.

It wasn’t hard to imagine the Watchers’ realm. Big, black towers, giant walls, nothing but the void surrounding it. The never ending hum of the void had purely become background noise after a long time there. Grian had never been sure how time worked in the Watchers’ realm. He never had any indication of how long he had been gone between EVO and Hermitcraft, because he knew none of the Hermits before he joined, and he hadn’t seen any of the EVO members since he got taken away. There was no day or nighttime in the In-Between, all days blended together, even if he had a standard routine. It could’ve been days, it could’ve been months, could’ve been years. He didn’t know.

The Watchers themselves were harder to imagine. They were just black smoke and a purple mask covering the top half of their face. Looking at them for a long time made Grian’s head spin.

Grian opened his eyes again. For a moment the ceiling flickered with the dark gray colors of the void, and the walls were black and purple. It was back to normal a second later, though the humming in the background didn’t leave. It was almost like it was whispering, and Grian really wondered if he was losing his mind. A flash of black got his attention, he let his head drop to one side to follow it.

He was sitting up a heartbeat later.

In the corner of the room was a Watcher. Smoke willowed around the bottom of his cloak, slowly snaking over the floor and creeping up the walls. He was a stark contrast against the white walls and the low light coming in.

He also wasn’t supposed to be there.

Grian could only stare at the creature in his building.

“Hello, Xelqua.”

Grian scrambled backwards until his back hit the glass. His brain was malfunctioning, trying to find words in either of the languages he spoke, as well as trying to comprehend why he was seeing a Watcher in his house.

“You’re not real-” he eventually stammered in Galactic.

“I am not,” the Watcher agreed, “Yet here I am, and you are talking to me.”

The humming grew slightly louder, and the longer Grian stared at the Watcher, the more he started feeling that familiar tug of anxiety.

“Why are you here?” Grian asked. All the previous times he had seen the Watchers, it was in the In-Between, where they were supposed to be. They had never shown up in one of his worlds before. Not on Hermitcraft, and not even on Evo, even if they did make changes to the world.

A Watcher being in his home was the single most terrifying thing Grian had ever witnessed.

“We are always here, Xelqua,” the Watcher replied. Maybe it was just a figment of his imagination, but Grian swore he could see a grin on the Watcher’s face.Sharp teeth, white and terrifying.

“No, you’re not- You’re not real- You don’t-” Grian stammered, trying to back up further. Tears were slowly starting to form in his eyes, sobs threatening to tear through his chest.

“We are always watching.”

Shadows flickered on the walls as more Watchers appeared. They were there for only a few seconds, but it were enough of them to make the room feel incredibly small.

“Please, I didn’t do anything wrong-” Grian pleaded.

“It’s only a matter of time.”

“No, no- I’m not- I promise I’m not- Please-”

“Okay,” the echo-y voice of the Watcher sounded, “I’ll leave you be. For now. But remember Xelqua. We are always Watching.”

The next time Grian blinked, the Watcher was gone. All that remained was little trails of smoke finding a path over the white floor. He could only sit and stare, shaking and crying, waiting for something to happen.

Nothing happened.

The Watcher never returned, the smoke was long gone, and even though Grian still felt terrible, there was no longer that awful feeling he felt anytime the Watchers did anything. The sun had set, leaving him to sit in the dark.

Anytime he blinked, he imagined bright purple eyes on the walls.

It took him a while to get going again. He was still shaking by the time he got up from the floor. He didn’t think he would be able to do anything if he stayed here. He wasn’t going to be able to sleep anytime soon, and he knew for a fact that if he tried to build anything, he would just keep looking over his shoulder to see if the Watcher had returned.

We are always watching.

Grian grabbed a jacket out of his ‘storage room’ and walked out of the house. He didn’t look back once, it would only make him feel worse, and headed straight for the nether portal.

It wasn’t long before he was trekking through the snow. He remembered the first time he made this journey, more accidental than anything, after he had the nightmares of DreamXD. That time he had been lost. This time he was walking with a purpose.

Phil would know about this. Phil would know what to do next. And if Phil wasn’t home, Techno would be willing to let him in, if only to keep Phil happy.

The forest in front of the cabins has only seemed to grow denser. Grian would be confused, especially because it wasn’t this dense last week, and trees don’t grow this fast, but stranger things have happened on this server, so he didn’t dare be confused.

Grian was about to walk up the stairs to the entrance of the houses when the door to Techno’s side of the cabin opened.

“Oh, you’re alive,” Techno said, unimpressed.

“I am,” Grian agreed, even though he had one more life the last time he saw Techno, “Why wouldn’t I be?”

“You never responded to your comm,” Techno said, closing the door behind him as he headed out of the cabin. Then he took out a fire resistance potion and handed it over to Grian, “We’re having a syndicate meeting.”

“Oh, alright,” Grian said. Not what he was planning on, but it would be a good distraction.

He followed Techno down the lava pool, and through the very narrow hallways. Nothing was said this time, only their footsteps sounded.

Like last time, Niki and Philza were already at the table. Grian didn’t pay much attention to them, distracted by the end portal table. He knew what it would feel like if he touched it, though he wasn’t sure if the static buzzing would make him feel any good right now.

He couldn’t help but press his hand against it anyway.

“You alright?” Phil asked. Grian wished he was shaking from walking through the snow for a while, but he knew it wasn’t.

“Mhm,” Grian hummed in return, “Nightmares.”

He glanced to the corner of the room, expecting a Watcher to flash into view, but nothing happened. Grian retrieved his hand, the gentle static disappearing. He met Philza’s worried glance, giving him a tired smile. Phil nodded in return and then started talking.

“What’s the plan?” he asked.

“Right, I was thinking about L’Manburg and their leaders after Wilbur died, and I came to the conclusion I have no clue what all of them are up to. Anyone have any ideas?” Techno asked.

“Haven’t seen any of them in forever,” Niki replied, “Only Jack, but he’s not doing much.”

“I don’t know,” Philza said.

“Who?” Grian asked before he could stop himself. He really should just stay out of this as much as he could, but well, it was too late now. Techno took out a notebook, flipping through it until he found the right page and handed it over to Grian.

The page was full of names, some of them Grian knew, some of them he didn’t. Some names were crossed out.

“Any of those people sound familiar?” Techno asked.

“Uhm, Tubbo and Tommy came by my house recently,” Grian cautiously said.

“To do what?”

“Well, they came to kill me first, so that’s something,” Grian shrugged, “but they’ve been helping me gather resources. Tubbo fixes my redstone, and Tommy is well- Tommy? They always leave before dinner though.”

“Do you know where they go?” Niki asked.

“Tubbo lives in a small town close to the prison. Foolish built him and Ranboo a mansion there,” Grian said, trying to remember as much as he possibly could, “I’m not sure what Tommy is up to. I think he said something about a burger van? With Wilbur?”

“Snowchester?” Niki asked, directed at Techno.

“Sounds like it,” Techno nodded, “Grian, do you mean a hotdog van?”

“No, I'm pretty sure it was hamburgers. He said something about some guy too, that Wilbur wanted to fight him?” Grian guessed. He should’ve paid more attention.

“Wilbur wants to fight everyone,” Phil sighed, “any other names on there you know?”

Grian looked down at the list again. “I met Karl and Sapnap for their wedding dinner. Skeppy was there, BadBoyHalo too. Awesamdude was over at Foolish’s place once when I still lived there. Eret is running the museum. Don’t know anyone else.”

“Karl and Sapnap are getting married?” Phil asked.

“Yes,” Niki confirmed.

“How do you know?” Techno asked.

“They’re my neighbors,” Niki clarified, “They live in the mushrooms? Kinoko Kingdom.”

“Kingdom,” Techno slowly repeated.

“I think it’s just them, George and Tina,” Niki said, “No real threat.”

Techno nodded. “Can I get the list back?”

Grian moved it across the table again. Techno took out a pen, crossing out names and putting circles around some of them. He would ask about some names, and Phil and Niki would say they didn’t know where they were. Grian could only sit and watch.

“Alright, that leaves only a few people that we don’t know about. I’m mostly concerned about Quackity and Fundy,” Techno eventually said.

“Fundy is harmless,” Phil replied.

“Maybe,” Techno agreed, “but Quackity disappearing off the face of the earth is concerning.”

That’s when Grian remembered he had heard of Quackity before. He couldn’t remember if it was the guy Tommy was talking about when he talked about the burger van, but he did remember Foolish talking about him.

“I think Foolish is friends with him.”

And that’s how Grian found himself walking on a broad, concrete road with Foolish by his side. It had only taken one question about new places he hadn’t seen before and Foolish was telling him about a country he was a part of. Grian wasn’t sure how you could be part of a country without living there, but who was he to judge.

He did feel slightly bad for using Foolish like this though.

“Did you build this- uh- Las Nevda?” Grian asked.

“Las Nevadas,” Foolish corrected him, “I built some of it, not all though.”

“And what’s the road for?”

The road looked so out of place compared to everything around them. It was like it had just been spawned in at some point, cutting through the landscape and through already existing paths and roads.

“For the tourists,” Foolish answered like it was the easiest thing in the world.


Foolish continued talking about some interior work he did for the hotel, and how proud he was of the pool table. Grian wasn’t paying much attention; the giant cobblestone construction on top of the mountain distracted him.

“What’s that?” Grian asked, cutting Foolish off midway through his sentence.

“what? Oh that, it’s a cookie outpost,” Foolish grinned. Grian looked up again. There was a big tower on the highest point of the mountain and it connected to a smaller tower with a bridge with stairs. It was made fully out of different types of stone and andesite, big walls surrounding the space underneath it.

Grian didn’t know much about cookie outposts, or military bases, but he knew the difference when he saw it.

“Foolish, that’s a military outpost,” Grian said.

“No, no, Tubbo said it was a cookie outpost. They have cookies!”

Of course it was Tubbo.

“Okay, yeah, cookie outpost,” Grian muttered. Foolish didn’t slow as he walked over the bridge and into a tunnel that was blocked off with obsidian. A hole had been made in the middle, giving them a way through. Again, Grian wouldn’t question this; it was really not the weirdest thing on this server.

“Here we go,” Foolish grinned.

Grian was not quite prepared for what came next.

Las Nevadas, much like the road that led there, looked like it was just spawned in. The area around it was only hills and mountains, while Las Nevadas itself was a desert. It had high buildings, big fountains, great signs, and it just looked mesmerizing. It was an actual city. It was so unlike the rest of the server that Grian wondered how it even existed. How had this been constructed in the midst of all the chaos and destruction that he had seen before.

And that’s when Grian pieced together that every grand building that was standing on this server was made by Foolish.


“Welcome to Las Nevadas,” Foolish grinned, spreading his arms wide as he walked past the sign.

“Las Nevadas,” Grian repeated in awe.

They walked up to a big fountain, partly obstructing the view of the building behind it. Although it wasn’t the biggest building in the place, it was the most impressive. There were so many details and Grian wholeheartedly believed it could have been a Hermitcraft building.

“This is amazing,” Grian said.

“Sure is,” Foolish agreed, “come, you should meet Quackity.”

“Is it just you and Quackity here?” Grian asked as Foolish led him over to the high, pointy building to their right. A sign told him it was ‘The Needle’.

“No, it’s me, Quackity, Sam- you met Sam right?- Fundy, Purpled and this weird guy called Slime,” Foolish summed up. Grian recognised all the names from Techno’s list, but he had only ever met Sam. It was good to know he was in the right place though.

Foolish pressed the button for the elevator as he talked. “Or wait- actually- it used to be all of us, and then Purpled betrayed us, and Sam let Dream escape, and Fundy kind of disappeared, but me and Quackity are still here!”

The doors slid open, but instead of them going in, two people came out. One of them was wearing a suit and a beanie, failing to cover his messy black hair. There was a scar running over the right side of his face, starting at his lip and crossing over his eye. It was clear he couldn’t see out of that one. As he smiled, Grian could see two gold teeth where the weapon had hacked through the original teeth.

“Grian! It is so nice to finally meet you!” the guy started, “Foolish told me so much about you!”

Grian cautiously shook his hand, “Nice to meet you-”

“Quackity!” the man filled in.

Something felt off. This guy was too enthusiastic for this occasion.

Grian wrote it off as being the owner of a place like this. Getting people in was probably nicer if they thought you were nice.

“I’m Quackity, and this is my business partner, Slime,” the man said, gesturing to the person beside him.

If something was off about Quackity, something was straight up wrong about Slime. His skin was seeped through with actual slime in places, and despite the person moving and talking, he didn’t seem like he was actually living. There was no light behind his eyes. It was like an actual slime in human form, but not like Jevin was. This was very, very different. This looked like a slime trying to be a person, not a person that was part slime.

Slime looked at him for a bit, not actually saying anything.

Grian held out his hand, “Hello Slime, nice to meet you.”

He wasn’t expecting much, to be honest. He came here with zero expectations, and he had already been pleasantly surprised by the city. Or country, he wasn’t sure. Meeting Quackity was a whole lot more peaceful than he thought, the stories of Ranboo and Techno hadn’t done him much good, even though the guy seemed a bit shady.

And even with zero expectations about a guy he had never heard of before, he wasn’t quite prepared for the words that came next.

“Welcome Xelqua from Evolutions SMP!”

Chapter 14: Chapter 14


Grian gets a tour of Las Nevadas and has a chat with Quackity


(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Grian felt like he was just punched in the throat.

Not only did this guy know his actual name, but he knew exactly where he was from. Not Hermitcraft, not the Watchers, but Evo. This guy knew Evo.

And now they all knew.

Grian avoided looking at both Quackity and Foolish, instead keeping his eyes on Slime.

Slime knew. How could he possibly know? He had never told anyone here. Had anyone else figured it out? Maybe Slime had talked to DreamXD? It could be possible. That was probably it.

Grian cleared his throat, “Uhm, thank you.”

From the corner of his eye he could see Quackity grinning.

“So what are you guys here for?” Quackity asked, moving past them onto the street.

“Grian wanted to see Las Nevadas!” Foolish said, and really, why had Grian agreed to this? He should’ve just stayed at home.

But there were Watchers at his house, so probably not the best idea.

We are always watching.

Grian shook off the thought, instead listening to what Quackity was saying.

“Of course! I’ll give you a personal tour!”

Grian did not like the mischievous grin on his face. He still followed him as he started walking towards the other buildings.

Quickly, Grian realized that Las Nevadas was pretty empty. Not building wise, but people wise. THe buildings were big and - he had to admit - incredible, but there were no people walking around. The burger tent, despite being opened, was empty. There was no one behind the counter, no one in the kitchen, no customers, and even the fish tank was empty. The little indoor garden was empty and the flowers and plants were starting to wilt from the lack of care and the weird climate they were in. It was a desert, or well, there was a bunch of sand, but it was also pretty cold and windy. Grian was glad he was wearing his jumper and armor.

Quackity showed him around the hotel and the swimming pool, for which it was far too cold, and both of them were suspiciously void of people. Foolish seemed very excited to talk about his interior choices for the hotel though.

“Then this is the casino,” Quackity smiled, gesturing to the big, center building. The doors were closed, and the little pile of sand gathering in front of the left door indicated it hadn’t been opened in a while. “We’re planning the grand opening, so stick around for that.”

Grian was very tempted to ask ‘who is coming?’, but that seemed like a great way to make enemies really fast, so he didn’t.

“I’ll probably have some time,” Grian said instead, staring up at the giant building. Quackity didn’t slow down, following the road towards the harbor. If you could really call it a harbor.

There was one cruise ship in the water, though it didn’t look like there was much furniture on it.

“That’s Fundy’s ship,” Foolish filled him in.

“Is Fundy here?” Grian asked, curious.

“Oh, we don’t really know where he is,” Foolish quietly responded, “he put the ship in the harbor and then just left.”

Grian hummed before following Quackity again. Interesting.

The strip club was just as deserted as the other buildings had been, and that was the last building Quackity showed him.

“Hey Foolish, I left you something on the top floor of the hotel, you should go look,” Quackity said as they walked towards the Needle again. Foolish frowned slightly, looking a bit concerned.

“Alright. Anything important?”

“Of course, why else would I leave it there?” Quackity said, “you trust me, right? Foolish?”

That seemed to be enough for Foolish to agree, “I do. I’ll go check it out.”

And Grian knew this couldn’t end well. There was absolutely a reason Quackity would send Foolish away. Foolish, the only person here to defend Grian if needed.

That feeling only got worse as he stood in the elevator, Slime to one side, Quackity to the other.

“So, Xelqua, was it?” Quackity asked as the doors closed.

“Grian,” Grian corrected him.

Quackity hummed something non-committal. He moved slightly, curiously eyeing the purple wings that Grian was keeping close to his back.

Grian was so focussed on keeping an eye on Quackity, that he never noticed Slime reaching out to touch the feathers.

Grian flinched, pulling the wings in even more.

“Why do you have wings? You’re human,” Slime pointed out. Grian backed up slightly.

“Yeah, I uh- I just have them,” Grian stammered. He still did not have an explanation for them. There would probably never be a good explanation.

“You didn’t have them when you got here,” Slime said.

Grian decided the best way to answer this question was to simply avoid it, “Sorry, have we met before?”

“I have met everyone, Xelqua from Evolutions.”

“So it is Xelqua?” Quackity asked.

“No, it’s Grian.”

“I don’t like it when people lie to me, Xelqua,” Quackity sighed, taking a small step closer to force Grian back further.

“And I don’t like being called Xelqua. It’s Grian,” Grian tried to defend himself. The smile was now gone from Quackity’s face, and there was only hostility.

This was bad.

The doors of the elevator opened, and Quackity stepped out without a word. Grian knew that if he wanted a chance of getting out of this safely, he needed to follow too. Slime stayed back in the elevator, waving at Grian when he looked back. He had no time to dwell on it, Quackity wasn’t slowing down, so he followed. They walked through the glass doors, through the building, and back out the glass doors on the other side. Quackity leaned his forearms on the glass railing, overlooking the rest of Las Nevadas.

Grian came to stand next to him, keeping his distance from the edge.

“What do you think?” Quackity asked, moving one hand to gesture to the country below them.

“It’s pretty,” Grian answered honestly.

“Pretty-” Quackity repeated like it was the weirdest choice of words he had heard, “You’re the only person that has come here without being impressed. Why is that?”

Grian blinked a few times, “I’m used to big buildings and many details.”

“From Evolutions?”

Grian didn’t think when he swiftly answered “No”. That left him to scramble for a different answer. He didn’t want to give Quackity any more information than necessary.

He couldn’t think of something to tell him though.

“The server I’m from has a bunch of great builders,” Grian said, trying to get out of it.

He wasn’t sure if Quackity didn’t care, or if he just gave up, but he didn’t ask about it any further.

In the distance Grian could see the hotel. The yellow windows made it easy to look inside, where Foolish was slowly climbing the stairs. He wondered if there was actually something upstairs.

Death, probably, his brain unhelpfully answered.

“You’re an interesting person, Grian,” Quackity said next.

“Am I?”

Quackity grinned again, gold teeth glinting in the sunlight, “You are. You’re not from here, you go by a different name than Slime knows, you have incredible wings, if I can say, and no one here knows who you are.”

“That makes me interesting?” Grian asked, confused.

“A bit. What makes you more interesting is the way everyone seems to fall for your little act,” Quackity said. Grian felt the air escape his lungs. sh*t. Did Quackity know about the Watchers? How would he know? Did he really talk to DreamXD? Did Philza tell him? Philza wouldn’t tell on him like that, right? Philza wouldn’t endanger all of them that easily.

“Act?” Grian asked, desperately trying to hear his own thoughts over the heartbeat thumping in his ears.

“Yeah. Everyone seems to think you’re a very nice guy,” Quackity said. He moved one of his arms off the railing, turning to face Grian.

“I’m- I’m not sure what you mean-” Grian said.

“Funny, because I talked to Sam a few days ago. And Sam- you’ve met Sam, right? Sam told me that you are from a place called Hermitcraft. And uh- from the stories he told me, you seem like you’re quite a lot of trouble, Grian.”

The surety Quackity spoke with was intimidating. It seems like every word was perfectly planned out, and everything he said was tailored to get inside Grian’s head. There was nothing friendly about this, Quackity was trying to knock him down before he had even gotten the chance to get up.

And it worked.

Grian’s heart sank at the mention of Sam. Of course the information came from Sam. He should’ve known something was up when Foolish mentioned Sam lived here, or had lived here.

The bad part about it was that Sam’s only source of information was Doc, and as much as Grian liked Doc, he knew the early events made Grian look like a terrible person in Doc’s eyes. Sam himself had said it, he was the one that started the wars.

But Sam had believed him when Grian had said he didn’t want trouble. Quackity wouldn’t be easy to convince.

“Wars aren’t wars on Hermitcraft-” Grian tried, but Quackity didn’t even pretend that he heard that.

“Now, Sam isn’t the only person I’ve talked to, Grian,” he continued, bringing his free hand up to point at the hotel, where Foolish was now standing on top of the roof. “I have given Foolish one very simple task. All he had to do was figure out where you went. And he told me- you are friends with Techno and Philza.”

Grian looked over at Foolish, feeling betrayed, “Techno doesn’t-”

“And you know what the thing is, Grian? I don’t believe your good guy act for a second. You know why?” Quackity cut him off, “Because I would’ve done the exact same thing.”

Quackity took a step closer to Grian. “Getting the new guy to finish the dirty jobs, use your anonymity. It’s smart, and if I had gotten to you before Techno had, I would’ve taken advantage of that too.”

Grian instinctively took a step back as Quackity took a step closer.

“But I know Techno. And I know Philza. And I heard the stories about you. Grian, you’re not the kind of guy to just come over, only to look around, especially not with the anarchists backing your every move. You’re not here to spend money, or spread the word about this wonderful country. You’re here, because you’re a mole. A spy. An unknown insider, who thinks he can get away with everything because he has no history,” Quackity went on, forcing Grian another few steps back.

“But everyone has history, Grian. And your history consists of starting wars against authorities, and Techno’s history consists of fighting governments, and Philza’s history consists of protecting the people around him. And I Grian-” Quackity pointed a finger at Grian’s chest, “Have a long history of getting f*cked over by them and their ‘accomplices’.”

“I am tired of it. I am done with people thinking I can be messed with. And you were just the last straw-”

Grian noticed the gap in the bannister too late.

One moment he was trying to get out of Quackity’s reach, and the next there was nothing but air below him. Only the hand that held the front of his sweater kept him up, along with the tips of his shoes trying to find grip on the ledge of the building.

Grian looked up at Quackity, finding nothing but rage and sad*stic amusem*nt. Nothing like the fake friendliness from before, or even the curious hostility from the elevator ride.

There was nothing he could do. Quackity would end him right here and now.

“You know who else I have talked to, Grian?” Quackity asked, actually waiting for an answer this time.

“No-” Grian stammered.

“Tubbo. My wonderful, wonderful burger chef. And do you know what he told me? He told me that you aren’t actually able to use those wings of yours. Are you ready to actually try that theory?” Quackity asked, giving Grian a little shake.

“No, no- please-”

“Listen very closely, okay? I don’t care if you live or die. But if you somehow manage to use those wings of yours, just know that the next time you set food in this country, you will never get to f*cking use them again. Have a nice fall, Xelqua.”

Next thing he knew, Grian was falling.

The world around him dissolved to blurs and cold air, whistling past him as the smiling face of Quackity seemed to get smaller and smaller.

This was the end.

He would die here, and no one would ever see him again. Not on the DreamSMP, not on Hermitcraft, and probably not even the Watchers.

Not that anyone on this server cared. Most didn’t even know him, and the people that did barely knew his name. Philza would know, he would be sad. At least he hoped. Maybe he wouldn’t be. He wouldn’t be surprised if he wasn’t.

But Grian was sad. Not because he was going to die, but because he would die and his friends wouldn’t know. They would forever wonder what happened to him, and where he went, never getting the confirmation that he wouldn’t return.

He never had a chance to say goodbye.

No. He couldn’t go like this? He couldn’t die by the hands of someone who hated him. He couldn’t die by falling off of a building if he had a solution to break his fall stuck to his back. He couldn’t die and give the Watchers the satisfaction they wanted. He couldn’t die without seeing his friends one more time.

He couldn’t.

And so Grian decided to live. If not for himself, then just to spite everyone who was cheering for his downfall.

He didn’t think a second time before spreading his wings. The wind catching them slowed his fall enough to give him time to turn around, swooping low over the ground.

The pain was terrible, but at least he lived.

With a few beats of his wonderful wings, he propelled himself into the air. For a moment he debated flying back onto the Needle, to throw Quackity off, or to take to the hotel to confront Foolish, but all of those thoughts were overruled by the terrible aching of his back and muscles.

So he left. He took to the skies, letting the wind do most of the work for him until he eventually had to land because he was hurting too much to actually fly.

He didn’t know where he was, or how to get home, but at least he was alive.

He was alive.


Grian murder attempt on first meeting counter: 3
At least he lives this time :D

Chapter 15: Chapter 15


Grian gets a visit from his friends, who are (rightly) a bit worried, and some friends who make him worry.


Whew it's been a while huh?
I'm blaming the DreamSMP for actually ending.

That being said, this chapter is uhhh- something? Not sure how to feel about to be honest, but I'm getting back into this story, so that's good :)

I hope you enjoy reading anyway :))

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

Grian could feel himself crumbling. He had kept himself together fairly well, considering the circ*mstances. Getting thrown off a building and surviving shouldn’t be the thing that he would be struggling with. But well, something, something straws and camels.

The anger he had felt when he crash-landed in the middle of nowhere was gone now, and only frustration of his helplessness remained. When had he become a person that was being destroyed by everyone? This wasn’t how things were supposed to go.

He hoped his own house would calm him down a bit.

It didn’t.

Grian stood in the dry grass, staring up at the giant building he had made, an ugly cobblestone tower sticking out above it from when Tommy had visited. He didn’t want to take it down -let’s be honest, Tommy would kill him- even if it didn’t fit in with the rest of the build. It should’ve been nice to get to the comfort of his own home, but the last time he was here, his house was infiltrated by a Watcher.

He didn’t want to go inside.

With a sigh he turned around, walking towards the portal. Halfway there he paused. What was he doing? He wasn’t scared of the Watchers. He wasn't. He wouldn't let them rule his decisions anymore.

A few seconds later he was inside his house, striding down the hallway to the ballroom. He swung open the doors, and only in the middle of the room he came to a halt, spreading his arms wide, his wings following the movement.

“Come on, show yourselves, huh? I dare you,” Grian challenged. Was it stupid? Probably. Was he going to regret this? Most likely. Did he care? No.

He had just survived a situation he shouldn’t have walked away from, and he did it with a newfound resentment for the Watchers- and most other people, to be honest.

Nothing happened. No low humming of the void, no black smoke, no Watchers in his room. Just him yelling at the air around him.

“That’s what I thought.”

Despite the Watchers not coming back, Grian didn’t feel good about being in his house anymore. He also didn’t feel good outside his house though, so there was not much choice.

To combat his ever growing paranoia, Grian decided he should stick to the smaller rooms in his house. If the walls were close enough to touch when he reached out, there possibly couldn’t be something there, right? So he kept to the small spaces that were never really meant to be actual rooms, or the storage room. The chests brought him a weird sense of comfort.

As he waited out his days, hoping to feel less jittery, he continued sending messages to his friends. He typed out what was going on, what he had done in the past few days, what his next plans were, things like that.

It didn’t really work as intended. The intention was to feel less alone, feel like he was actually talking to someone, but all it did was make him feel lonely. The messages never sent, there was never a response. A harsh reminder that he wasn’t at home.

Grian ended up throwing his communicator inside a random chest, ready to never be seen again. It didn’t matter anyway. No one here would ever message him, the only message he ever received from someone were messages in the general chat from people he didn’t know. Techno messaged him once, only to ask him to show up to a syndicate meeting.

If anyone really needed him, they knew where he lived. And if they didn’t, then Grian didn’t really want them around anyway.

It was almost four days before anyone came to look for him.

Grian was hidden away in his storage room once again, sifting through the books he had taken from Philza, when there was a bell ringing through the empty halls of his building. He snapped his gaze up, looking at the closed door of the room before he realized he had rigged up a bell to the door handle. He had long locked all doors to the outside, all of them connected to a bell with some strings. Every door made a different sound, letting him know exactly where someone was.

This one was just the front door.

Grian was in action a moment later. He got to his feet, tightened the straps on his armor with one hand, plucking the crossbow off the wall with the other.

Without thinking he ran out of the room, heading for the staircase on the backside of the house. The bell rang again, still the one at the front door. He ran up the stairs, two steps at a time, darting into the hallway on his right and out of the door at the end of it.

Right now he was very glad for his past self building a balcony, as it gave him a perfect view of the front of the house.

Grian loaded his crossbow, pressing himself back against the wall as much as he could. The bell of the front door rang once more.

With his crossbow properly loaded, Grian carefully stepped out, peering down over the edge to see who was there.

It was Philza and Technoblade.

“Surely he has to be home?” he heard Philza say.

Just as he said it, Techno noticed the movement and looked up at Grian. “He is.”

Grian never lowered his crossbow.

Philza looked up too now, “Oh, hi Grian!” He lifted one hand off his cane in a partial wave.

“Why are you here?” Grian asked. Faintly, he remembered when he first met Sam, and how the man had threatened him from the very start, and how Dream had treated him when they first met. It felt very wrong to do the same thing here, especially because he had already met Philza before, and he knew he could trust him.

On the other hand, after his encounter with Quackity, he wasn’t sure who to trust anymore.

“Just came to see if you were alright,” Phil said, seemingly not at all intimidated by Grian.

“I’m fine.”

Techno glanced at the door again, “Did you rig this up to a bell?”

“Yes,” Grian answered, “All the doors are.”

He didn’t seem too impressed. "I'm beginning to think he doesn’t want us here.”

“Look, we just wanted to know how your trip was,” Phil said, “Heard you went to see Quackity.”

“He’s in Las Nevadas,” Grian answered.

“Can you just let us in?” Phil tried.

“No. Go see for yourself, just follow the highway from spawn,” Grian told them.

“Is it a country?”


“And he’s the- what, leader?” Techno asked.

“Yes, he-” Grian abruptly stopped talking.

He had kept the door beside him open as an escape route, but it also let him hear the sounds from inside.

There was another bell going off.

Techno and Phil had both taken a few steps away from the door so they could properly look at Grian, so it wasn’t them, and Grian knew that this was the bell from the door in the ballroom.

“He?” Phil prompted, but Grian was already gone. He wasn’t thinking straight, but somewhere in the back of his mind he remembered that he didn’t have a good place to see that door if he went back inside. So, the only solution was the roof.

Grian turned, then put one foot on one of the decorative chairs, then stepped up onto the railing of the balcony, and vaulted up into the air. With one big swoop of his wings he was up on the roof, too panicked to care about the pain in his shoulders. He was running before his shoes even touched the scaled roof.

He slowed down at the edge, then jumped down on the roof below; the roof of the ballroom.

A person was moving along the side of the building, circling back along the left side, where the windows of the ballroom extended. They were in the shadows, but Grian could make out the faint pink color of their hair.


She moved back to the front of the house, Grian followed her over the roof until she met back up with Phil and Techno.

“The lights are off, I don’t think he’s here,” Niki reported. Techno simply gestured up to the roof, where Grian was now crouching on the edge, his crossbow still aimed in their general direction.


“It’s just us,” Niki smiled, “Don’t worry.”

“Who have you seen in the last 4 days?” Grian then asked. He slightly shifted one of his legs, just to hear the soft ‘click’ of his sword hitting the armor that protected his thigh. If it would really come to it, he would never be able to win a 1V3, and definitely not against Technoblade, but at least it gave him some sort of protection.

None of them answered at first, they just glanced at each other for a bit.

Eventually Niki spoke up, “I’ve seen Jack. Of course Phil and Techno, and also Karl and Sapnap. They told me something interesting about Quackity.”

Grian didn’t care much about what Sapnap and Karl had to say about Quackity. He was busy wondering who Jack was, and if Sapnap and Karl had any connections to Quackity in any way. He couldn’t think of any that quickly, but then again, he also hadn’t known about the connections between Quackity and Tubbo, or Quackity and Sam.

“Tommy came by,” Phil shrugged, “but just Techno and Niki aside from him.”

Techno didn’t respond, he just squinted up at the roof like he was trying to figure out what this was about by just looking.

“Should we watch out for someone?” Niki asked, bringing up a hand to shield her face from the sun.

“Yes- No-” Grian stammered. He was still working out who was connected to what. “Do any of these people know about Quackity?”

“They know Quackity, yes,” Phil answered, “Everyone knows Quackity, he’s a well-known person.”

Techno was still quietly staring at him, not saying a word.

“I can explain the situation with Sapnap, Karl and Quackity, if you want to let us in?” Niki tried.

“Can they go talk to Quackity right now?” Grian asked.

Then Techno seemed to finally catch on to what Grian was trying to avoid here. He glanced back in the direction of the desert that wasn’t too far away; if the weather was good and the light was just right, you could make out the tips of the wings of the DreamXD statue. “Is Foolish part of Las Nevadas?”

Grian hesitated, “yes-”

“I see. None of us talk to Quackity, or have talked to him in months. Tommy won’t talk to Quackity, Jack is- I don’t even know where Jack is, but it’s definitely not Las Nevadas, and if Karl even remembers who Quackity is, he won’t go talk to him. We’re not going to get you killed,” Techno summed up.

Niki caught on too now, “Oh! Yeah, Jack is too busy with fighting Tommy over the hotel to care about Quackity. Karl and Sapnap really won’t talk to Quackity, I promise.”

Grian slowly lowered his crossbow now, which earned him an encouraging smile from Niki.

“Alright,” he slowly said, “okay, yeah.”

He didn’t fully trust them, but he knew that if he just stuck to the topic of Las Nevadas, they wouldn’t have anything to tell. There was just the case of them knowing where his house was, but Foolish knew that too, so it was too late for that already.

And, if he had to trust anyone in this place, it had to be Philza.

“Sorry- yeah, give me a minute.”

Grian stood up straight, then dropped back down onto the balcony he was on before. With one last glance at the trio in front of his door he went back inside, back down the stairs and towards the front door. It took him a bit to untie the string attached to the handle, but eventually he managed to open the door.

Grian closed the door behind them as they filed in, putting the string back in place. Then, after testing the bell would still work, he led them to the ballroom. It wasn’t the only empty space in the house, but it was the room that was easiest to get to, and it wouldn’t give them an idea of the rest of the layout of the place.

“This is beautiful, Grian!” Niki smiled, curiously eyeing the details on the ceiling. He hadn’t had the chance to put the painting up there yet, or well- he had refused to ever come back in this room, so that’s probably the bigger reason why it wasn’t done.

Grian made his way over to the windows, just to check if there was anyone watching them. When he couldn’t spot anyone he turned back to his guests who were in the middle of the room.

Phil’s wings seemed even darker in the light colors of the room. It reminded him a bit of the stark contrast of the Watcher in this very room. The reality wasn’t far off-

“I should get you chairs, wait-”

“We can stand,” Philza said, “Just tell us what happened in- what was it?”

“Las Nevadas,” Grian reminded him.

“Yes, Las Nevadas.”

Grian started telling them about the place; how to get there, who were supposed to live there, the buildings, the ‘cookie outpost’ nearby. He just explained what was going on there, without really telling them what happened.

“Who’s Slime?” Techno asked when he was done talking.

“Quackity called him his ‘business partner’, but I don’t think he’s actually human at all,” Grian tried to explain.

“In what way? Because you’re not-” Techno started, but Grian didn’t want to hear the rest of that sentence.

“Don’t- I’m human, always have been. But he’s- Slime is actually just slime, I think. He actually is made of slime, and he knew things he shouldn’t have known. I’m telling you there is something very weird about him,” Grian filled them in.

“Like what?”

Grian hesitated again, trying to find the words that would leave Niki out of this as much as possible. It’s not that he didn’t trust Niki, he would just feel terrible if Niki got affected by all of this because he couldn’t keep his mouth shut.

“He knew my name, and where I was from,” Grian answered.

“Foolish probably told him,” Techno shrugged.

“No, no- He knew my name. He knew which server I was on before I even came to Hermitcraft.”

Philza raised an eyebrow, “Do you think he’s-” He didn’t need to finish that sentence.

“He can’t be,” Grian answered, though he wasn’t that sure of that, “He was actual slime, surely he can’t be.”

That’s what he hoped, actually. The moment the Watchers would get their hands on actual, living slime, then every world in existence was doomed.

“Okay,” Techno interrupted, “I need you to give me a rundown of what you did there.”

It was almost instinctive to answer “Why?”.

“Because you’ve locked yourself in your house after you came back. What did he say?” Techno gestured around him, probably indicating the strings wired throughout the building.

“Oh, right. He gave me a tour through the city, then took me up to the Needle, and then threw me off the building,” Grian quickly summed up, hoping to get away with just that.

“Did he hurt you?” Niki swiftly asked.

“No, but he tried,” Grian replied, “He knows I’m with you, and he didn’t want me to get any information to you, so he tried to kill me.”

Techno snorted, “Throwing a man with wings off a building is the stupidest idea I’ve heard.”

“He really didn’t seem to care about if I lived or died, he just wanted me to leave,” Grian pointed out, simply ignoring the fact that he could still not really fly that well.


“Why what?” Grian asked.

“Why did he want you to leave?”

Oh, right.

“He knows I’m with you guys. He said something about being tired of getting walked over by you and your ‘associates’, and that if I ever set foot in Las Nevadas ever again, he would kill me,” Grian slowly explained, trying to recall the exact words as much as he could.

“So he didn’t want to kill you yet?” Philza asked.

Grian shook his head, “No, he said if I didn’t die then, he would kill me later.”

“Fair enough, I guess,” Phil nodded, and honestly, if Grian hadn’t gone through actual hell the past few weeks, that would’ve been a very weird thing to hear. Who answered ‘fair enough’ to being told someone is going to kill your friend?

“Alright,” Techno sighed, “At least we know where Quackity and Fundy are now.”

“Well, no, Fundy hasn’t been in Las Nevadas for months,” Grian told him.

“Then he won’t come back for us, probably. We can maybe ask Wilbur where he went, if Wilbur will ever show up again,” Techno said, “This will work for now though. A country with Quackity as a leader.”

“Funny how he keeps trying,” Niki laughed, though there was something sour in her voice.

“He’s an idiot,” Techno said, “of course he keeps trying.”

“So what are you gonna do now?” Philza then asked, “You don’t seem to be leaving anytime soon.”

Grian shrugged, “I think it’ll be safer if I stay in here for a while.”

Techno snorted, “Man, you need friends.”

“I have friends,” Grian almost snapped at him.

“Who? Us?”

“No,” Grian crossed his arms, “I have friends- at home.”

“They don’t count, they’re not here,” Techno pointed out.

“I’ll see them soon-” Grian cut off the rest of his sentence when he heard a low humming in the background. The humming of the void. He looked over to the ceiling, where the sound seemed to be coming from, finding his ceiling plastered with bright purple eyes. He never put them there.

Grian took one deep breath against the rising panic, then clenched his jaw to stop himself from saying anything stupid.

Phil frowned up at the ceiling too, obviously being able to see what tipped Grian off, while Techno and Niki just frowned at him.

“They’re not here, but they’re still my friends,” Grian settled with eventually. The humming of the void didn’t stop.

Grian looked over to Phil, who was still silently staring at the ceiling. He didn’t seem too bothered, aside from the white-knuckle grip on his cane, he mostly just seemed to take it in, let the Watchers know that he no longer cared about them.

“Are we missing something?” Niki eventually asked, she too caught on to what Philza was looking at, but she couldn’t see the eyes, and she couldn’t hear the hum.

Philza looked back at Grian, switching to Galactic, “They’re angry.

They’re always angry,” Grian agreed.

Are they always on your ceiling?

No, that’s new. One of them showed up here though, multiple of them, actually,” Grian shrugged. He really should be more afraid about the Watchers tracking his every move, listening to his every word, but he wasn’t. Not when Philza and Techno and Niki were here. It wasn’t that they made him feel better, but he knew that when they were here, the Watchers couldn’t actually do much.

Philza looked at Grian now, “They showed up here?

They’re always around, you know that.

I haven’t seen them on this server before,” Phil then said. Grian blinked back at him, quiet. When the Watchers had told him ‘We are always watching’, he just assumed they were everywhere, in fact, he knew they were everywhere. They monitored everything, they watched everything. They had to have been here before.

Huh,” was all Grian said to that, casting his gaze back up to the ceiling, where the purple eyes seemed to be emitting light.

What did you say to set them off?” Phil asked.

They don’t want me to go back to where I came from,” Grian reminded him, “it makes them really angry.

That’s when Techno spoke up, although not quite in the language Grian expected.

Well, guess you’re stuck with us. Don’t make them any more angry, and don’t bring them down on us.” His galactic was choppy and pronounced weirdly, obviously learned and not taught, but Grian understood him either way. Techno gave Grian a look that he couldn’t decipher, then turned back to Niki, switching to English, “Let’s go Niki, before these fools do something we all regret.”

Niki hesitated to follow Techno into the hallway. She paused for a moment then looked over to Grian, “I’m not sure what’s going on, but- And I know that Techno isn’t really a big fan of anyone, but just know that- I’m your friend. Philza is too. If- If you ever need help, we’re here, okay?”

And Grian knew she meant it. Niki would always mean everything she said.

But he also couldn’t really get past the circ*mstances of all of this. Would Grian still have been friends with her if he hadn’t joined the Syndicate out of desperation? Would he still have been friends with them if Philza and Techno hadn’t saved him from Dream’s wrath? Would they still have been friends if Niki knew the full context of why he was here? Why he was the man that he was? Why he knew Philza?

Could they really be friends if there was no way to tell her everything?

But Grian couldn’t bring himself to be that mean.

So he just smiled, even if he knew it didn’t seem sincere, “Thank you.”

Niki hesitated for a moment longer before nodding and following Techno into the hallway. Grian could hear her demanding answers from Techno as they left.

The humming of the void got quieter, though Grian knew better than to think they were leaving.

“They’re both right,” Philza said, “We’re your friends, we will help.”

“But?” Grian guessed.

“I can’t bring my family in danger when you inevitably piss them off,” Philza continued, gesturing up to the ceiling, meaning the Watchers.

“I know,” Grian agreed, “But you can’t blame me for trying to get my family back.”

The humming took a louder, dangerous turn, smoke now starting to trail at their feet.

While Grian felt his self-control crumbling, Phil didn’t seem bothered in the slightest. Calm and collected as always. “I can’t. Here, have those. Take care of yourself.”

Grian took the food Philza handed him, then watched him leave in silence. He waited for the front door to close, until nothing else but the never ending humming of the void was left.


Friends* :)

*Terms and conditions apply

Chapter 16: Chapter 16


Grian takes after Techno's words and goes to talk to some friends.


(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

After Philza had left, Grian had stared at his ceiling for a long, long time. The eyes simply stared back at him, though the mist had disappeared after a bit, and the humming continued in a softer tone, now just an annoying buzz in the back of his mind.

He stared at the eyes, and then stared a bit longer, and then even longer. At some point he sat down on the cold floor, taking bites of the not-quite-cold food Phil had given him.

The eyes didn’t blink, they didn’t move, they didn’t change. The only reason anyone (if they could even see it) would know they’re not paintings, is because the light they emitted seemed to be pulsing a bit. Like someone was messing with the light switch.

Eventually Grian gave up.

He got up, stretched out his wings along with his legs, and then moved over to the front door to get the strings back in place. He went past every door in his house, tugging at the strings to make sure everything was working correctly.

Only when he had checked everything twice did he return to his storage room. He didn’t take his armor off yet, nor did he put away his weapons, but he settled down in the space where he had thrown down pillows, getting comfortable. Or at least, as comfortable as he could possibly get.

As he sat there, chewing on his food, he mulled over what Techno had said.

‘You need friends.’

He wondered if Techno had been right. As far as friends went, Grian didn’t really have anyone here.

Sure, there were the hermits, but they weren’t even on this server, and there was no way to contact them anytime soon, so he couldn’t rely on them to help him.

And then there was the case of the DreamSMP members. Grian thought he had friends here, but that was before they had well, somewhat assisted in an assassination attempt against him. He thought of Foolish watching everything happen from a different building, and Tubbo basically telling Quackity his weaknesses. Tommy hadn’t been by in weeks, and Grian didn’t really know anyone else that didn’t want him dead, aside from the Syndicate.

But the Syndicate was an entirely different story. Grian trusted them, at least, in the sense that they weren’t going to kill him anytime soon. He wouldn’t exactly say they were actual friends.

It was basically forced at this point, with him being the only unknown person on the server -or what was left of that anonymity- and them running an organization that was hated by everyone. Techno barely tolerated him as it was, and Grian wondered if after today, Techno would even want to look in his direction. It was clear Niki didn’t enjoy the secrets he had brought to light, and her exclusion from them. But Grian also noticed that Niki knew very well that when things came down to it, more people in her corner would benefit her greatly. So yes, Niki said they were friends, but it wasn’t as much friendship as necessary companionship.

And then there was Philza; the only person Grian could fully trust.

He knew Philza wouldn’t let anything happen to him, not with their shared history of the Watchers. Philza knew like no one else what the Watchers could do to him, and while Phil himself had nothing to worry about when it really came to it, Grian had, and Phil was aware of that. So Phil stuck by him, helping him out, offering him all the protection he could, which somehow included Technoblade’s steady presence.

But Grian knew that wouldn’t be forever.

Because, as he had said himself, Philza wouldn’t let Grian bring his family in danger.

Both of them knew it was only a matter of time before that would happen.

Grian was a ticking time bomb on this server, and when it exploded, he would bring down everything and everyone.

And so Grian wondered if he should have more friends. It would be hard, finding people to talk to without running into Dream or Quackity or anyone affiliated with them.

Maybe he should start with talking to the people he had considered friends before.

If he had thought about that just a bit longer he would realize that it was a bad idea, but he hadn’t been in a good state of mind in days, and well, he was already on his way, so there was no stopping now.

He walked over before he would lose his nerve, trying to focus on the soft breeze ruffling the feathers of his wings instead of the roaring in his ears. The DreamXD statue didn’t make him feel any better.

His hands were shaking now, and there was this weird feeling in his stomach and tugging at his bones, pressing down on his chest. Something in the back of his mind was telling him he shouldn’t be doing this, but he just pushed it aside as nerves.

Barging onto the main square felt oddly familiar, but he still double checked if he had all his weapons on him, tapping his fingers against the hilt of his sword, the handle of his axe, sliding them over the edge of his chestplate to check if it was secured in place, up to where he had his bow and quiver of arrows strapped around his shoulder. Everything was still there, so he continued over to the big pyramid, where Foolish’s voice was bouncing off the walls.

Only when he walked inside did he remember that that feeling in his stomach was there for a reason. It had become pretty standard now, with the Watchers constantly showing up and interacting with him, but once, that feeling had meant the Watchers were up to something, that something big and substantial was about to happen, something this world wasn’t made for.

He had written it off like it was nothing.

And now he was staring at DreamXD.

Foolish had stopped talking at the sound of Grian’s footsteps, and DreamXD seemed as impassive as ever.

“Oh, hello Xelqua,”

There was no chance to really say anything, because the Galactic words that were said next were awfully familiar, and Grian had to move to avoid being hit by lightning once again.

“Woah, woah, not inside!” Foolish exclaimed.

Both Grian and DreamXD ignored him.

What are those?” DreamXD asked, switching to Galactic, effectively shutting Foolish out of the conversation.

DreamXD! Hello, uhm, what are you talking about?” Grian tried, slowly taking steps back towards the exit.

“Don’t play dumb with me.”

“Oh, you mean these-” Grian flared out his wings, “just a uh- souvenir?”

Wrong words. Definitely the wrong words.

DreamXD dropped down from his effortless hovering, seemingly gliding over the floor to reach Grian, grabbing hold of one of the wings. “Souvenir,” he slowly repeated, amusem*nt clear in his voice.

“I mean-” Grian started, but DreamXD tugged on one of the feathers, and Grian wisely shut up.

“You went back,” DreamXD said, more of a statement than a question.


“They forced me, I didn’t want to-” Grian stammered.

DreamXD changed his grasp on Grian’s wing, grabbing onto the end, stretching it out as far as it could go. “But you went back. They took you back, and gave you your wings back. So they think you’re still one of them, do they not?”

Grian had to stop himself from lashing out with the wing DreamXD was still holding, “They can think what they want. I’m not one of them.”

“Are you not?” DreamXD challenged.

“I have never been,” Grian answered.

“You talk like one, you look like one, you lived with them. I think-” DreamXD continued, moving both his hands onto Grian’s face, pressing his thumbs where the edges of the Watchers’ mask would be. Grian wanted to throw up.

He clamped his mouth shut, not trusting himself enough to say anything that would help him. Any word on his tongue felt like fire, and he would be the only one that got burned if he talked.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, there was Foolish.

“What’s this, are you about to kiss? Am I interrupting?”

“Something like that,” DreamXD said, removing his hands from Grian’s face.

“Oh, should I leave?” Foolish asked.

“No, you can stay.”

“Don’t drag him into this,” Grian warned. DreamXD ignored that warning, but he did switch back to Galactic.

“Do you remember our deal, Xelqua?”

“I’m not Xelqua,” Grian told him again.

You sure do look like him.”

“But I’m not-”

DreamXD took a step back, “Well, if you don’t remember the deal, then surely you must remember what you said to get out of it last time, right?”

Grian tried to think of what he could have possibly said, but all he really remembered from the last time he met DreamXD was lightning and arrows.

Remind me,” Grian said.

“You told me that you were just ‘an innocent mortal’,” DreamXD told him, “And, I know you were right about saying I couldn’t kill innocent mortals. But I’m not so sure you are as mortal as you think.”

I die like everyone else,” Grian said, “I’m sure you know about Dream killing me, or Tubbo?”

“Sure, but that’s only two lives, right? Everyone has those. See, I think, that there is simply no getting rid of you, because your little ‘friends’ will do anything to keep you with them,” DreamXD said.

Grian couldn’t say anything. DreamXD was right.

He hadn’t thought about it, but there was no way the Watchers would simply let him die. They had gone through too much trouble to simply let Grian die. Moving servers wasn’t easy, moving someone into a server that no one could enter or exit was even harder. Dragging someone around different ‘realms’ -again, the Watcher’s weren’t really in a realm, they didn’t exist after all- was probably even more difficult. They wouldn’t have done that if they wanted him to die anyway.

On the other hand, if they didn’t want him to die, then why did they send him to a server where DreamXD was, or where they had limited lives. If they had really wanted him alive, they would’ve just taken him back into their realm, or sent him somewhere with more lives.

Grian could say something, because DreamXD was wrong.

The Watchers simply wanted Grian dead.

“If they wanted me alive, they wouldn’t have sent me here, they would’ve taken me in,” Grian argued.

“Hm, I don’t think they want you dead. They want you hurt.”

“How would you know?”

“I don’t. Only one way to find out,” DreamXD said, and Grian was sure that if he had a face, the god would be grinning right now. He switched back to English. “Let’s hope I’m right, huh? See you around, Xelqua.

There was a second of static crackling, and then everything suddenly went black.

Grian fell out of the world.


Aaand that's the third life. Or is it?

Chapter 17: Chapter 17


Grian is dead. Sort of.


(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text


There was a familiar voice calling out, his voice ringing through what sounded like a hallway. Grian opened his eyes, finding he was in a small room. The walls around him were just plain stone, as was the floor, but he was sitting on a bed, shulkers filled with books crammed into the tiny space. There was no exit, not an obvious one anyway; one of the walls was clear of shulkers, making it awfully obvious which one he needed to break through to get out.


He knew this.

Grian pressed his hands to where his armor would be, searching for his weapons, but he found nothing. No armor, no weapons.

Then he moved to the shulkerboxes, digging out a pickaxe to break through the stone wall. He stumbled out into a tunnel; one he also knew.

“Grian? Are you here?” that same familiar voice called out.

And Grian ran.

He ran towards the sound, through the tunnel, running alongside the train tracks that were on the ground, until he found the person he was looking for. There he stood, the one person Grian had been missing for so long now, in the dim light of what Grian had once called his starter home. His suit was as pristine as ever, and his mustache was neatly kept up, slightly curling up at the ends. Jet black hair was styled back with an unnecessary amount of hair gel, keeping it away from those dark brown eyes that stared at him.

Mumbo Jumbo.

“Mumbo-” Grian said, voice trailing off into a laugh. Relief washed over him, almost threatening to drop him to his knees.

Mumbo only stared at him, a mix of confusion and worry etched onto his face.

“Grian? What- What happened to you?”

For a moment Grian was confused, wondering what he was talking about, until he suddenly remembered there were wings stuck to his back. Not only that, but the scars in the DreamSMP were permanent, meaning they were still on his body now. The place where Dream had split his skull open upon first meeting, the place where Tubbo had chopped his head off, the vein like marks where the lightning had made a path through his body, and of course, the wings.

“Oh, that-” Grian stammered, “It’s nothing. It’s okay now-”

Mumbo hesitantly closed some of the distance between them, reaching a hand out to the back of his neck, thumb ghosting over the long scar that wrapped around his throat.

Grian hated the way he flinched at his touch.

“What have you- Where have you been?” Mumbo asked, moving his other hand to the scar running over his forehead.

The dim lights on the walls flickered. A subtle thing, one that Mumbo didn’t react to, making Grian wonder if Mumbo could even see it. Then the buzzing started again, the low humming of the void.

“I-” Grian stammered, “I can’t tell you-”

Mumbo frowned at him. “What do you mean?”

That feeling of incoming change slammed into him.

He was out of time.

Grian grabbed onto the sides of Mumbo’s jacket with shaking hands. “I’ll- I’ll be back.”


“I promise I’m coming back,” Grian told him.

“No, no, you’re not leaving. I’m not letting you leave again.”

“I’m sorry- I’m so sorry.”

Grian didn’t want to go, he didn’t want to see the Watchers again, he didn’t want to be forced through different servers again. He wanted to be here. He wanted to be with Mumbo, he wanted to be on Hermitcraft, he wanted-

Mumbo pulled him into a hug, arms awkwardly wrapped around his shoulders so as not to touch his wings.

“I’m sorry-” Grian mumbled again.

He could tell Mumbo was saying something to him, feeling the words vibrate in his chest, but Grian couldn’t hear him anymore.

Next time Grian blinked, he was surrounded by the void, black towers rising up around him, Watchers all around him.

He didn’t have the energy to be mad at them.

“Your punishment has not been fulfilled, Xelqua,” one of the Watchers told him.


“Don’t disappoint us again.”


Before he knew it he was on the floor, breathing heavily against the impact of switching servers once again. When he opened his eyes, he found he was still in Foolish’s pyramid, both Foolish and DreamXD looking down at him.

“You’re alive!” Foolish exclaimed.

Grian groaned in reply, trying to sit up. DreamXD hauled him to his feet without problem.

“I told you you wouldn’t die,” DreamXD said, sounding way too pleased with himself. Grian pulled free from his grip, taking some stumbling steps backwards, away from him.

“You’re sick.”

“And you’re immortal,” DreamXD replied, “Guess we have something in common after all.”

“I am nothing like you,” Grian spat out, head spinning, legs trembling.

“I agree. I’m a god, and you are nothing but a pest I can’t get rid of,” DreamXD nodded.

Grian glared at him, waiting until words formed in his brain. Nothing came. Frustration and nausea were a confusing mess in his body, not leaving him enough room to properly breathe, let alone think.

DreamXD didn’t seem too bothered about Grian ignoring him.

“Well,” DreamXD then sighed, “I have things to do, people to see, souls to eat, that type of thing. I’ll see you two around. Or not.”

With that, DreamXD left, disappearing into thin air, leaving Foolish and Grian on their own.

Grian stared at the space that the god was just in, trying to process what happened. DreamXD killed him, sending him back to Hermitcraft, where the Watchers took him away again. He had seen Mumbo. He had hugged Mumbo. And it was taken away from him again.

Anger sparked somewhere in his chest, an emotion he had gotten familiar with over the past month. That familiarity didn’t mean he liked it. Last time he had desperately tried to grasp onto that anger, to use it to destroy anything he saw, and hoping that ‘anything’ would include ‘Quackity’. It had sizzled out before he even got anywhere, aches and tiredness taking over.

Right now, he decided that anger was necessary for him to continue. He’d take it and let it simmer somewhere, let it boil until the time was right and it would get him somewhere. He would use that tiny spark of anger to push himself.

Grian had been bent and had been broken in this server, and today would mark the day where he started building himself up again.

He grabbed that anger with both hands, and he would shape it into a weapon, deadly enough to make immortal things mortal. He would make the world come crashing down, burning and screaming, even if it meant he would come down too. He would end this.

“One day I am going to kill him,” Grian said, “One day.”

As he started walking away, Foolish called out. “You can’t kill a god!”

Grian didn’t respond. Foolish was wrong though.

Anything could be killed if you tried hard enough.

“Techno?” Grian called out as he ran up the small steps that led up to the bridge connecting Philza and Techno’s houses. He rammed on the door, “Techno, open up.”

Grian had taken the portal at Foolish’s base, taken it straight to the snowy tundra Techno and Phil lived in. He wasn’t dressed for the frost, his feet going numb from the icy water that soaked through his shoes. He ignored it though, the anger inside him burning hot enough to drown it all out.

A door opened, Grian wasn’t surprised it was Philza’s. Seconds later he was dragged inside the house by Techno, the door slamming behind them.

“What have you done?” Phil asked before Grian could say anything.

“Why do you think this is my fault?” Grian snapped back, the anger really taking a hold of him right now.

“Because you’re the one who just defied the laws of this server. What did you do?” Phil asked again.

“I didn’t defy anything, the Watchers simply threw me back in,” Grian argued.

“Of course they did,” Philza sighed.

“How did you even die?” Techno then spoke up, “Did you just trip and fall down the stairs or something?”

“I ran into DreamXD. He thought the Watchers would simply bring me back to life,” Grian said, gesturing to himself, “I guess he was right.”



“Just- Just because he could?” Phil asked.

Grian sighed, “Yes. No. We made a deal once, not important, but I didn’t keep it up, so he killed me.”

It was silent for a second, both Techno and Phil just blankly staring at him.

“You made a deal with the God of Destruction?!”

“You really are an idiot.”

“I didn’t think I’d ever see him again, it’s not my fault!” Grian tried to defend himself.

“When did you even make this deal?” Phil exclaimed.

Grian glanced over to Techno, who really seemed like he wanted to be anywhere but here, then back to Phil. See, the thing is, talking about the Watchers was still something Grian didn’t really want to do. He had gotten over the fear of simply speaking their name, or vaguely explaining their actions, but telling someone what happened with DreamXD in the InBetween was a completely different step.

“You know when,” Grian said, knowing that Phil understood.

“And you didn’t think of telling me before?”

“Again, I really didn’t think this would happen. How was I supposed to know I would ever see DreamXD again?” Grian protested, “I’m not supposed to be here! He isn’t supposed to be here!”

“Did the Watchers know of your deal?”


Philza gestured something, shaking his head, but didn’t comment on it. Grian knew what he meant though. Being here wasn’t a coincidence.

Why they had sent him back was still a mystery though.

“Did Dream find you yet?” Techno then asked.

“Why would he?” Grian asked, confused.

Techno raised an eyebrow, “Because you’re breaking his rules? He’s not going to let it slide.”

Grian blinked back at him. He hadn’t thought about that.

Dream hadn’t been happy when he showed up, and the only reason -Grian assumed- that he hadn’t come after him yet was because he was under protection of Techno and Phil. That, or Dream simply didn’t know where to find him, which was the less likely option considering Dream was an admin.

“No, I haven’t seen him yet,” Grian answered.

“Then why are you here? Go home.”

“I need you to teach me how to fight,” Grian then said.

“What, to fight Dream? You’re not gonna win from Dream,” Techno told him.

“To defend myself from Dream.”

A lie. He wanted to fight a god. Not that Techno needed to know that.

“The best defense against Dream is to not antagonize him, and you failed at that. Spectacularly."

“Then I’ll learn the next best thing,” Grian nodded.

“You’re pathetic,” Techno sighed, leaving a moment of silence for Grian to back out of it. Grian never did. “Fine. Just don’t blame me when you still get murdered.”

Techno stalked out of the cabin after exchanging some glances with Philza that Grian couldn’t understand, simply trusting Grian to follow. He led them down the small stairs and underneath the bridge, where he opened a latch to climb down a ladder. Grian followed him into a giant cave. The walls had been decorated with fake clouds and a fake blue sky, while the ground was mostly coarse dirt. There were big gashes in the ground, seemingly endless, though he quickly realized it was an optical illusion as Techno simply walked over them.

Techno stopped walking in the middle of the room, waiting for Grian to catch up.

“What is this place?” Grian asked, curiously looking around.

“Phil’s side project,” Techno answered, “Drop your weapons.”

Grian took a step back, hand flying to the hilt of his sword, “what?”

“Drop your weapons. And your armor,” Techno said again.


“Your defense is not gonna be any good if you don’t have the basics down, and your heavy stuff isn’t going to help. Now drop them, we don’t have too much time,” Techno explained, somewhat impatiently.

Grian hesitantly dropped his sword, followed by his axe and his bow, “How many people know this place exists?”

“You, me and Philza,” Techno simply answered.

Grian decided that that could be the truth he believed in, so he started undoing the straps on his armor, carefully taking it off and placing it next to his weapons. The moment he dropped the plates that protected his thighs, he felt incredibly vulnerable. It probably didn’t help that Techno was wearing his full netherite armor and had all his weapons on him.

The first thing Techno had him do was run laps around the room, followed by some complicated footwork that Grian barely understood. He tripped multiple times, and every time he did Techno made sure to remind him that if Dream was here, he would’ve been dead.

Somehow that was exactly the motivation he needed.

Dying again sounded like a terrible thing.

With Techno’s constant reminders, the settling ache of being dragged around servers and realms, and the ghost of Mumbo’s arms around his shoulders, he pushed through the exercises he was given. He didn’t touch his weapons once the entire time, he was mostly running, sprinting, jumping and generally just constantly moving.

At some point Techno started throwing snowballs at him, and while at first he got hit by every single one, near the end, when his thighs started burning and his feet were blistering, he managed to dodge most of them.

That was until he got one square in the face, and Techno called it a day.

Grian collapsed onto the dirt beneath him, panting to the point his lungs hurt.

“Stay here, I’m getting you a bed,” Techno announced, disappearing up the ladder.

Grian never got to see Techno return, his eyes automatically closing the moment he got his breath back. When he woke up somewhere halfway through the night though, he found he was laying on a rough mattress, partly under a blanket that had seen better days. There was a plate covered with foil next to him on the small, makeshift nightstand.

He was three bites in before he gave up and went back to sleep.


Mumbo appearance! HE's here! and now hes gone!

Chapter 18: Chapter 18


Grian gets training from Techno, then goes home.


it's been a while huh
Sorry about that. truth is I lost all interest in the dream smp and its creators, so its kinda hard to write about them.

Also, I'm not sure what is currently going on with Dream, but I've not heard a lot of good things. Just know that this work is solely about the characters, and not the actual content creators, thanks :)

Anyway, I hope the wait between chapter will be a lot less, but I can't promise anything

have fun reading :)

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

The next few days consisted of just training. At first it was just more footwork until Techno was satisfied and started going through the more technical stuff of fighting. Grian only got to hold a weapon on the third day, and it was basically just a stick.

Any frustrations he had disappeared when Techno handed him a wooden sword. Not because it was an actual weapon, but because all the other work finally paid off.

At first, he was smacking dummies with pumpkin heads. Techno never seemed satisfied with anything Grian did, the same way Grian was never satisfied with anything he himself did. Grian thought he was making decent progress, even if it could always be better.

Apparently Techno didn’t feel the same way about that.

“This is going nowhere,” Techno sighed, waving Grian away from the dummy. Grian took a confused step back.

Techno took out a second wooden sword, spinning it in his hand as he walked to the center of the room. Once he stopped walking, he looked at Grian. “Ready?”


“I’m gonna fight you, and hope you fight back, or all of this is doomed.”

Before Grian had a chance to reply, Techno brought up his sword to swing at Grian. It hit him in the side, and while it was wood, and the blade wasn’t sharp enough to do any damage, there was still enough force to slam him aside. He managed to keep his footing, though he wasn’t fast enough to dodge the second swipe hitting him in the shoulder.

Techno didn’t slow, all Grian could do was bring his own sword up to block. Wrong move. Next thing he knew, his sword was halfway across the property, and a sword was coming straight for his legs.

Without thinking, Grian jumped, barely avoiding the wood. He took a hurried step back, avoiding another swing of the sword.

“There we go,” Techno said, though he still didn’t sound satisfied.

Grian acted purely on instincts when Techno swung again. He moved out of the way, stepping back again and again and again until he could pick up his own sword again. He swung back at Techno, but Techno only grinned, taking the opportunity of Grian having to look what he was doing to sweep him off his feet. Grian hit the ground, half a second later there was a sword rammed into the dirt right next to his head.

Techno looked down at him, “Dead.”

“I don’t think that was very fair,” Grian stated, taking Techno’s hand and letting himself get hauled to his feet. “You caught me off guard.”

“You think Dream is gonna allow you to get ready? At least I let you know I was going to fight you,” Techno said. He walked back to his previous spot. “Again.”

This time Grian was prepared.

He still lost.

And then he lost again, and again.

He did manage to get some hits in though. They weren’t very powerful, and he was still fighting Technoblade, but still. Hits were hits. He also didn’t lose too badly.

It wasn’t going amazingly, but there was progress.

And Techno saw that.

“Alright, I’m gonna put armor on that dummy, we’re moving on,” Techno said after a few more fights.

Grian, shaking out his hand from where Techno had just smacked it, looked up at those words. “We’re moving on?”

“We’re running out of time, and you’re not doing terribly, so yes, we’re moving on.”

“Running out of time?” Grian repeated, confused. There was nowhere he needed to be, no one he needed to see, he wasn’t sure what time he was on anymore. There was no time to run out.

Techno pulled an old set of iron armor out of a chest, “Dream came by this morning.”

Grian froze.

He was running out of time.

“He was here?”

“He was. Asked if I still knew where you were,” Techno confirmed.

“And you said no, right?” Grian asked.

Techno was awfully quiet for a moment, only fastening the straps of the armor, “I told him I last saw you in Las Nevadas.”

Grian wasn’t sure what to make of that. It wasn’t exactly a ‘no’, but he also hadn’t ratted him out. “Why?”

“Keeps him busy. Going to Las Nevadas will give him something to do, if he goes at all. Heard he and Quackity aren’t on good terms, so he’ll be busy there for a while,” Techno said, taking a step back to inspect his work.

“They’re not? They seem awfully similar to me,” Grian said.

Once Techno decided everything was properly in place, he walked around the dummy, “That’s what happens when you lock someone in prison. Come on, I’ll show you the weak spots in armor.”

Grian was forced back into work, letting Techno show him exactly what to hit and how to hit it.

Slowly, they worked through the exercises. Not only these, but a whole lot more. It took them another 3 days, but eventually Techno decided it was enough.


Over these days, Grian had grown a lot less paranoid. It was easy to do so, he was in a giant room where he could see the only entrance point. No one knew this existed, Techno and Phil both had assured him of that, and he was learning how to defend himself. So yes, he was getting less paranoid.

Which is exactly why he almost sliced Tommy’s arm off when the guy managed to sneak up on him. Tommy quickly retreated behind Techno, but Grian didn’t drop his weapon – which turned out to be his axe.

“What the f*ck!” Tommy exclaimed loudly.

Grian ignored him, instead turning to Techno, “Why is he here? You said no one would know of this place.”

“You need to fight someone who isn’t me. I’m not letting you fight Philza, so here’s Tommy,” Techno answered, “Put your armor on.”

Grian glanced at Tommy once, then put away his axe, “It’s only Tommy here?”

“You are the most paranoid man I have ever met,” Techno said, rolling his eyes.

“I don’t think you can blame me,” Grian said. Techno didn’t respond, he just nodded and retreated, Tommy trailing behind him, sputtering something about the upcoming fight.

The next few hours were spent fighting Tommy.

Grian hadn’t been prepared.

Sure, he had trained against Techno, and the general fighting knowledge and practice he had, but Tommy was a different story. Where Techno had been secure and precise, Tommy was nothing but brute force. None of the grace Techno fought with, all of the power.

Grian’s elbows ached from the first few hits he blocked with his sword, and he couldn’t find any space to attack with Tommy’s continuous blows.

He figured something out very quick though; that much energy couldn’t last forever. Tommy was slowing down quickly, and all Grian had to do was wait until Tommy lost so much speed there was space to attack.

Techno hadn’t let Grian get away with any of what he was doing now, simply because Techno knew what he was doing. All of Grian’s attempts at escaping were quickly torn down, and any attack had been blocked.

Tommy, however, did allow him to do that. Grian didn’t even really fight, he mostly just avoided Tommy’s attacks. Any space he found to hit was used, though they were few and far between. So it was Tommy who did most of the fighting, and Grian who stepped out of the way of his blade, blocked all his attempts and generally kept out of the way.

Then, when Tommy was forced to slow down, he got some attacks in. He didn't stop until Tommy did.

“Okay, okay, I give in,” Tommy panted, dropping his sword and raising his hands.

“Not bad,” Techno nodded, “take two, then we go again."

Grian retreated to where he had set up his things, keeping a careful eye on Tommy, who had collapsed onto the ground. Techno walked up to him, forcing his attention away from Tommy.

“I would almost say that was good,” Techno said.

Grian squinted at him, “almost.”

Techno shrugged, coming to stand next to him so both of them could see Tommy. HE was still on the ground. “I think you’re still being stupid.”


“You have something no one else on this server has,” Techno said, gesturing up at Grian’s wings before folding his arms over his chest, “Use them.”

“I won’t,” Grian stated. Having them was a nightmare. Not only were they getting in the way of everything, they also were a constant reminder that Grian wasn’t living his own life anymore. It was his body, but he had no say over what happened to it or where it was sent to. The wings were constantly there to remind him that the Watchers were in constant control of him. He refused to play their games, and so he refused to use the things they gave him.

But he knew Techno was right. He should be taking every advantage he could get, and those giant monstrosities were as big of an advantage he could possibly get. So while he didn’t really use them for his own convenience, he had been slowly building up the muscles that were required to use them by moving them over the past weeks.

If it was necessary, he would be able to use them now.

He just didn’t want to. Not if it would satisfy the Watchers.

“I know,” Techno then said. “Just know that Dream doesn’t care where you got those wings from, or who, he just wants you dead.”

Grian nodded. “Too bad he can’t kill me then.”

“He’ll still make your life a living hell,” Techno said, “once he finds out what keeps you here he’s going to abuse it.”

“How much faith do you have in me?” Grian asked.

“Not much.”

Grian nodded, smiling, “Still more than none.”

Tommy got up off the floor, picking up his weapon again and searching for Grian. “Ready?”

And Grian found himself smiling as he took his own axe in his hands again, “ready.”

Grian felt weary as he walked through the nether. Techno had officially rounded up their training, sending Grian home with a pat on the back and a ‘Don’t die’, despite the fact that Grian was incapable of actually dying. Philza had advised him not to use his own nether portal, in case Dream had trapped it, so he headed to Foolish’s portal.

It had been a week of non stop training, and somehow, he didn’t feel any more confident than he did before. If anything, he felt even less confident. There was no way he would ever defeat Dream in a fair fight.

Grian had to remind himself that his fight wasn’t with Dream. It was with DreamXD. Now Dream was an inconvenience, but he didn’t really have to fight him. In fact, he didn’t even have to see him if he didn’t want to, he could just run and hide forever until he found a way out. Dream was annoying, and very angry, but the person Grian should be focussing on.

He took a deep breath, carefully making sure he could reach the potions Techno had given him. Fire resist, strength, slow falling, healing-

Grian paused.

This felt familiar. Awfully familiar.


That’s what this was, basically.

Back in season 6, Grian had started a game called ‘Demise’, where the goal was to basically stay alive as long as possible. Any death was counted, and deaths could only be inflicted by traps. He had spent weeks living in paranoia, never walking straight through a door, never standing still for too long, never reading books off of lecterns, never taking things out of item frames, all in case someone had trapped them. He hadn’t won then, but he learned a lot of things.

And Grian smiled.

He could do another round of demise.

With some more gear and a proper plan, he could absolutely do another round of demise.

He jumped through the portal, confident that this one wouldn’t be trapped. He ran over the perfect paths Foolish had created, his footsteps echoing off the sandstone around him. Then he continued over the savannah until his own home came into view, where he stopped walking and just looked for a bit.

There was no movement inside, at least as far as he could see. The room behind the giant windows was empty, as it should be, and all lights were off, like he had left it. The ground around it seemed fine, messy, but not trapped; he just hadn’t had time to clean it up.

Carefully, he got closer, making sure to watch for pressure plates or tripwires. It was easy to hide things in the grass. Every once in a while he would look up at his house, checking if nothing changed.

Then he noticed something had changed. A small thing, sure, and barely visible from the outside, but he noticed.

The strings connected to the doors were moved.

When Grian had put them up initially, he had made sure to hang them all on hooks on the ceiling, keeping them out of sight and out of the way. The ones in the ballroom especially had been strung up along the windowsills and up to the ceiling. One of them was now hanging halfway in the air in the middle of the room.

Had that naturally happened? Had he not fastened them correctly?

No. No it couldn’t have. There was no way they could have failed so badly that it would hang like that. For it to hang directly in the middle of the room, all of his tightenings must have failed. All of them.

Someone had touched them.

Either it had been rewired, repurposed, or someone had yanked them loose. Whatever it was, Grian doubted that was the only one.

Without second thought he flared out his wings and shot himself up in the air, landing on the roof. Using the balcony door would just be stupidity now, so instead, he broke open the roof beneath his feet, dropping him down into the building. He crouched as he landed, hoping to muffle the sound, and then waited.


Slowly, he got up, moving through the hallway and downstairs. Indeed, many of the wires had been messed with, even the ones that connected to windows instead of doors.


Grian took out his bow as he got closer to the ballroom, just in case.

He was rewarded, as he found a person in a green hoodie standing in the middle of the ballroom, looking outside. Grian loaded his bow, keeping it aimed at him.

“Hello, Dream,” he said, tucking his wings in as much as he could.

Dream turned around, slightly quicker than Grian expected him to. The mask obstructed anything Grian might have been able to read on his face.

“Oh, you’re here.”

“So are you,” Grian replied.

“You can put down the bow, I’m not going to attack you,” Dream said.

“What did you do to the wires?” Grian asked, not putting his bow down.

Dream looked up at the wire running above his head, “Why would I have done anything to those? Maybe it was someone else. Who knows, you’ve disappeared for a while.”

Grian knew better than to let that scare him.

“Why are you here?”

“I just want to talk,” Dream said, the smile audible in his voice. He paused, but continued when Grian didn’t respond. “You know- There are some rules to this server that everyone keeps to. First, only whitelisted players, whitelisted by either me or BadBoyHalo, are allowed in. Secondly, No flying allowed. And, thirdly, everyone gets three lives, after that you’re sent to limbo. Easy right?”

Dream took a step towards Grian, gesturing something, “so tell me, Grian, how you managed to break all three of those.”

“Well, I kind of missed those rules, considering you killed me the first time we met,” Grian said, taking a step back.

“No, no,” Dream said, “I’m not asking ‘why’, I’m asking ‘how’. The server should automatically ban you when the rules get broken. You shouldn’t be here.”

“Then your server really sucks at doing its job.”

Dream fell quiet for a few seconds.

“I’m giving you two choices. Either you leave now and never come back, or I’m letting the people in this server get their hands on you. Your choice,” Dream said, pulling out his communicator.

“I would like to leave, but you sort of destroyed the world portal,” Grian pointed out.

Dream chuckled, “Well, seems like the second option then.”

He typed something on his communicator, glancing up at Grian once before typing more. Then he put it away. A sound coming from Grian’s own communicator let him know it was a message in the general chat.

“Good luck. I’m giving you an hour's head start. Goodbye, Grian. Let’s hope we never meet again.”

With that, Dream shouldered past him and through the hallway. Grian waited until he heard the front door close, then went after him to make sure he actually left.

Grian took out his communicator to read the message.

<Dream> Attention! Hereby, I open the bounty on Grian. Dead or alive. First person to get him to me will get 4 shulkerboxes and an elytra. Good luck.

And as Grian shoved the communicator into his pocket, he couldn’t help but grin.

Just another round of demise.

Let the game begin.


the real reason this was late was because i havent watched hermitcraft season 6, but have heard of demise, so i had like half a season of hermitcraft videos to watch oooops

Chapter 19: Chapter 19


Grian tries to prepare.


Hi hi happy new year!!!! (ignore the fact i'm 3 months late shhh)
Are we all enjoying season 10 of hermitcraft? I'm loving it so much it's just been so much fun.

Enjoy :)

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

One hour wasn’t really a lot of time.

That’s what Grian figured out as he was making preparations.

The first thing he did was disable the traps Dream had set for him. AS was the obvious thing to do, Dream had rigged up all Grian’s alarm systems to TNT. Well, not all of them, because that would give him less TNT to use underneath the storage system. All chests were also rigged up to explosives, set up to explode anytime he would open one of them.

Luckily, Grian was both experienced and paranoid, so he knew better than to open anything. All the TNT he was able to get out of this was a big bonus though. It saved him a lot of time preparing.

Still, there were other preparations to be made.

For one, he started cooking every bit of food he could find. Fish, meat, potatoes, whatever. If he was running, the last thing he wanted was running out of food.

While that was going, he made as many potions as he could. Any ingredients he could find, and any he could remember from the top of his head, he used. Some potions were impossible at this moment in time, for example water breathing or leaping, because he simply didn’t have time to get the ingredients, but there were enough he was able to make, and he even managed to find some ghast tears to make a regeneration potion.

Then he rounded up all the useful belongings he could find. From gunpowder and blaze rods to stacks of dirt and obsidian. Most things were stuffed in his enderchest, things that didn’t really need to be used anytime soon.

By the time he had everything he wanted, there was simply not enough space. The potions took up too much space, so much space in fact that he decided to start sewing loops onto his belt to hold them. Just little straps of leather, with a piece of string attached to the end of it that would wrap around a piece of stone. He would use buttons, but he didn’t actually have those, so it would have to do. If things came to it, he could just pull on the potion, and then the string would snap. It was the best solution he could come up with, knowing if he really needed the potions, there would be no time to stop and carefully open something. Quick and easy, that was the goal.

In the end he made enough belts to hold 12 potions. Enough for now. All other potions were in his enderchest.

And then, his communicator.

Confused, Grian looked at it. He wasn’t expecting any more messages.

<Unknown Sender> Hello?

<Unkown Sender> If this is Grian, let me know if you receive this.

Grian blinked at the messages.


See, Grain didn’t know much about servers. He’d been an admin once in his life, but even then he didn’t do it alone and it was for a small thing anyway. But there was one thing he knew about servers, more of a common knowledge thing, and that was that all players on the server were automatically synced with the communicator network. This meant that things as ‘unknown senders’ were non-existent.

So to see one now, in a closed off server that had no way of communicating with people outside of it, was not just weird, it was simply unheard of.

<Grian> Hello?

<Grian> I got your message, who is this?

It didn’t matter, as he was immediately met with ‘Failed to send’. Like it had done so often anytime he tried to send a message to any of the Hermits.

Grian sighed, shoving his communicator back in his pocket. That’s when he heard it. A noise.

The feathers on his wings puffed up in response, on edge. One hand rested on the hilt of his sword as he crouched low. A tapping noise came from the ballroom, like something was hitting the windows. Tap. Tap. Tap.

A crack. The tap had turned into a little cracking sound, and Grian knew that was his sign to get out. He slowly made his way towards the stairs, unsure of who was where and who could see him.



The hallways seemed way too long now. Grian tried to pick up the pace, but it was still so slow when he was crouched like this. That, and he had to peek around every corner just in case someone had already found a way in without him noticing. Dream had destroyed the bells after all.

His caution was quickly thrown out though.

The large glass walls of the ballroom gave in. Glass shards sprayed over the marble floor, filling up the silence that had taken over the building.

Grian was out of time.

He sprinted up the stairs and through the hallways. The footsteps that echoed through the house were no longer just his own. He could hear at least two more people running.

As he passed, he ripped his crossbow from the wall. This time, however, he didn’t go through the balcony door. Instead, he used the hole in the roof he had made earlier, using his wings to vault himself up and his arms to pull him through. As expected, the roof was empty.

There was someone on the balcony though, and they quickly spotted him.

“He’s on the roof!” they called out. Grian did not know who it was.

Not that he really had time to wonder about it. At this point he didn’t think he even wanted to know.

As he ran over the roof, he thought about his possibilities. Very few, was the conclusion he came to. He needed to get out, and the best way to escape quickly was the Nether. However, that would only work if no one saw him go into the portal, because portals meant he’d have to pause, if only for a second. So using his own portal was out of the question.

That left Foolish’s portal. Nothing else was close. Grian knew how to get there quickly, but he wasn’t sure he would be fast enough to pull the gap he needed. His wings would slow him down massively, no matter how close he could get them to his body.

He could use the wings, though his muscles weren’t strong enough to fly long distances, let alone keep him suspended up high for extended periods of time.

But he knew Foolish’s base. He had spent multiple days there, wandering around and exploring. He knew how to get around. That was probably his best bet.

He just had to hope his pursuers didn’t know their way around.

Footsteps behind him alerted him someone had followed him up to the roof. Grian sprinted towards the edge, jumped, and spread out his wings. His wings would never be the same as an elytra, but at this point they fulfilled the same purpose.

He angled himself forward, gaining momentum, and soared over the person standing guard outside on the ground. The speed he was going at was much faster than just running would, and Grian hoped it would be enough to keep a bit of distance.

By the time he touched the ground, he could barely hear shouts behind him. As fast as he could he sprinted to Foolish’s base. Heavy footsteps were closing in, arrows whizzed past him, close enough to hear it whistling. He pulled his wings in closer.

“Get him!”

“He’s going to Foolish!”

It didn’t take long for the ground beneath Grian’s feet to turn to sandstone. By now it felt familiar to run over this property. It was the second time this day.

Now the ground was solid, it was a lot clearer how close his chasers had gotten. Close enough to make an escape through a Nether portal impossible. So instead of going towards the portal, Grian took a sharp right and ran up the giant stairs leading up to the gate in front of the pyramid. He took the stairs two steps at a time at first, then started using his wings to drag him up 5 steps at a time.

“Hit his wings!”

Grian grimaced, pressing his wings close to his body the moment he reached the top of the stairs. He ran through the gate and onto the little square. There was a statue of a sphinx right in front of him, and though he couldn’t see them, he knew there were two more statues behind him. The giant pillars on either side of the small square seemed to loom over him, ready to topple over and trap him.

On either side of the sphinx statue there was a path, leading to either the bottom floor of the pyramid, or to some stairs that would end in a viewing balcony. This time, Grian didn’t choose the stairs. Instead, he darted inside the pyramid.

“He’s going inside! He’s trapped in there!” someone shouted behind him.

Grian ran in anyway. He took a few more steps, then jumped up. Wind blew away some loose sand when he flapped his wings as hard as he could, propelling him up in the air. Unfortunately, he didn’t quite clear the distance he wanted. He had to flap a few more times, and then he still had to climb over the banister of the viewing balcony. The muscles in his chest and back screamed in agony as he sprinted out of the building again.

He was just in time to see his hunters run inside.

Still, he couldn’t afford time to rest.

Grian jumped down the stairs, letting his wings catch him and carry him to the ground. From there, he ran over the square, sparing a glance at the statues beside the gate, and back down the stairs from before, again letting his wings do the work. Only then did he hear footsteps pattering down the stairs again.

He had gained at least 15 seconds.

As quick as he could, he sprinted to the Nether portal. The building doomed up in the distance, partly hidden behind stalks of bamboo. What else doomed up was a person, walking down the middle of the broad path.

Needless to say, it was Foolish.

“Grian? Wait, can we-” Foolish started, but Grian sprinted past him.

“No time!” Grian called back, out of breath.

“What? Why are you- oh. Hello-”

“Move!” someone yelled.

They were way too close for Grian’s liking. His legs and lungs were growing so tired, he couldn’t keep this pace up much longer.

Still, he made it to the portal first.

He went through, and when his mind had cleared enough to continue, he knew this was doomed.

In the distance, two people came running down the bridge. Heavy netherite boots crashed against the blackstone as they ran. When they saw him, they drew their swords.

“sh*t,” Grian cursed.

He abruptly stopped running, giving himself more time. The people up ahead charged straight for him, and behind him was the noise of people coming out of the portal. He was trapped. They closed in on him on either side, and all Grian could do was back up until he was pressed against the railing of the bridge.

“Well,” one of the guys said, closing in, “that was easy.” His gold chains sparkled in the dim light of the Nether, a stark contrast against the muted colors of his netherite armor.

“Was it?” Grian nervously asked.

Think, think. There had to be a way out of this right? This couldn’t simply be the end.

“Just a bit of running around, really,” the guy in the purple hoodie shrugged, “even with the advantage you managed to lose.”


Right. Advantage.

“I don’t think I really lost yet,” Grian said.

There was a flash of purple when one of them pulled a heavily enchanted sword, “Time to change that, then. Any last words?”

“Nope,” Grian smiled.

He slammed his wings outward, hitting one of them square in the face, and then used them to push himself up. At the same time, he reached for his belt and pulled his splash potion of poison free.

“Have fun!” He jumped up and backwards, throwing the potion down below him as hard as he could, shattering the glass right in the semi-circle of people that had gathered around him.

And then the ground disappeared beneath Grian’s feet, and he was plummeting towards the lava lake. In the time it took to fall, he pulled out his bow and arrow. He shot one arrow up in the sky. He watched it fly, up through the sky, then at the peak, and watched it crash down again.

Unfortunately he couldn’t see where it landed. He didn’t need to. The buzzing from his communicator was timed too perfectly to be an accident.

Purpled was shot by Grian.


Grian on the brink of death again, what's new.


Also, just wanted to say f*ck Wilbur Soot. His actions have been absolutely awful and disgusting. I know he was never really in this story, and he never will be, but seeing as he was a massive part of this server, I feel like I should make it very clear that anyone supporting or defending that man is not welcome here.

If you haven't done so yet, go subscribe to Shubble's youtube accounts and send her some support.

Okay that's all. Have a nice day :))

Unless you're Wilbur Soot. Then I hope you have a terrible day.

Trouble's coming (and I still don't know when) - dextonhuk (2024)
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