Stalked

When Steve finds his enchanted diamond sword missing, who could it be but Herobrine? Steve sets off on a journey to vanquish this enemy and get back the sword he was missing. But when Steve meets this new gamer, is Herobrine the one who is actually responsible for the danger he finds himself in? Full of danger, action, fight scenes, romance, betrayal, and excitement, Stalked tells the thrilling tale of Steve's greatest adventure yet.

(For the Gaming Fan Fiction Contest)

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9. Dinner

The first thing that crossed Steve's mind to say was, quite stupidly, "A redhead named Ginger?"

Ginger's eyes narrowed. "Ginger," she spat. "A rather foul name for red-haired people like myself," she said, the acerbity in her voice wasn't directed to him, directly. "My parents thought it would be funny. 'Look, Honey! Our daughter has red hair! Let's name her Ginger!'," she mimicked.

Steve blushed. "Sorry, Ginger, I didn't mean it like that, I just..."

"Yeah, whatever." She disappeared into the cave. "If you're hungry, I have food here in the kitchen," she called back to him. 

Steve's stomach got the better of him, and he followed.

The kitchen was a brightly lit section of the cave, with a medium table, a double chest (for food and charcoal, Steve guessed) and a furnace. 

Ginger stepped close to the furnace and pulled out a small plate of ham. She set it on the table, along with a nice-looking plate of beef and a chicken. "Which do you prefer?" she asked.

Steve chose the chicken, and Ginger picked up the ham, put it in the chest, and sat down in front of the beef. They ate in silence. Finally, Steve spoke up. "This chicken is really good, Ginger. Thank you." 

Ginger smiled. "It's wild chicken. When you let animals stay free and hunt them down rather than raising them on a farm or even letting them wander the town, the meat is tender and flavorful."

"Wild, huh? Well, our local animal farmer, Dan, lets our animals wander the town, so they aren't cooped up and miserable. Instead of a butcher, for meals, we just kill an animal, take it to the various cooks around town, and they'll cook it for you for a portion of the meal. I myself am one of those cooks, as a side job."

"Mm? And what's your main job?" she asked.

Steve had to think about this for a second. "I guess you could call me the hero. I go off on quests, fighting monsters, protecting the town from Herobrine's minions. When there's nothing to be killed, I just do odd jobs- fixing, farming, building, improving, the occasional babysitting, cooking, killing the animals for those who those who have too weak stomachs to do it themselves, reading to the villagers as only one or two of them can read themselves, things like that. What do you do, Ginger?"

"I live on my own. I don't really trust being in a village, so I live alone. I kill all my own meat, I drink and bathe from a nearby waterfall, and move caves a lot. This is my favorite so far, but soon enough I'll get tired of it and move away." She looked wistfully at Steve. "I never knew village life. What's it like?"

Steve stopped. "Well, when you live in a village, you know just about everyone. You know everyone and everyone knows you. There's not many villagers, so there's no crime. I am a judge for them usually, and if they have an issue we work it out. And there's never a lack of food. We don't have a monetary system, but we do some light trading occasionally. Every couple of weeks, we just head to the town hall and dump all of our exports there- like Kate will leave the books she writes, Dan leaves some livestock, the Smith family leaves apples, whatever they specialize in, that's what they leave. Then I split it up so everyone gets a portion, depending on how big their families are. That way, everyone gets some of everything."

Ginger looked wistful. "You really like it there? In the village?"

"Oh, yeah. It's really cool. Everyone is like a huge family."

"And there isn't fighting? No killing?"

"No, not since before everyone except Eva can remember. Eva is the oldest person in the village. She's seen it all, so she saw times when her family was killed in a mine explosion. But that was years ago. Everyone from that time is dead."

"Not Eva."

"Well, no, not Eva, but everyone else."

"Violence. It's not a joke."

Steve wondered what Ginger wasn't telling him, why she had something against violence. What tragic background she was holding. But he didn't say anything that might make her feel bad, the last thing he wanted was to make this girl his enemy. She could easily take Steve in a fight, no issue, and Steve needed to kill Herobrine.

"No. It's not. The only time I kill is when I need to eat, or protect my town."

She was silent.

"So are you tired? It's late. You should get to bed." 

Steve reluctantly stood up and walked into the spare bedroom, marked with a sign, leaving Ginger on her own, sitting at the kitchen table.

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