Disclaimer: I don't own it. But if I did I would probably still write fan fiction for it. Just because.

Luxa Sept 15, 2007

Luxa waited at the top of the hill while Gregor ran down to the barn to get her a hat. If they were going exploring she would definitely need something more than a bit of sunscreen.

"Hey can I talk to you?" Gregor felt his stomach clench. He knew that voice, and that tone. Lizzie knew.

He turned, the guilt evident on his face. She jumped down from the barn loft where she had been reading, "Uh... can it wait?" He continued searching for the large floppy hat in a pile of old clothes that they used for odd jobs.

"Not really. I know you're all excited to go mack up with Luxa but-"

"That's not how it is, Liz and you know it!" He turned to her, angrily.

She didn't back down, "Oh so you think that covering up her skin and hair would make her a different person? Gregor- do you think we're idiots?"

"No. I knew you would know. But... I can't explain it."

"Try" Her voice was steely.

He turned back to the pile, but she grabbed his arm and spun him back around.

"Try, Gregor. Or I'm telling Mom."

He huffed. Maybe all of this would be easier if the rest of the family knew. But then again... maybe his mom would have a complete melt down and force Luxa out. She had built a fantasy life here where there was no war, no death and above all else- No Underland.

"Okay, geez." He paused trying to figure out exactly what to say, "Look, she showed up at my apartment. I don't know why yet. There's something wrong, though and she feels like she can't go back."

"So is she just not a queen anymore? You know as well as I that there's no way she would give everything up without a fight."

"I. don't. know. Every time we try to talk we get interrupted, or she shuts down. There's something she's not telling me, and I'm going to respect that. I wish you would learn to do the same." He reached down into the pile and finally snagged the hat, turning to the door.

Luxa was standing right there.

"How long have you been there?" Lizzie asked bashfully.

"Long enough," Luxa sighed, "I am sorry for the deception, but there are men following us and we thought it best that the fewer people privy to my identity the better."

"What men? What are you talking about?" Lizzie's voice sounded much younger than she was.

"I do not really understand all of it myself. A few months ago Overland men and women came to Regalia to film a... doc-umenta-ry." She stumbled over the strange word, "We did not allow them to leave, and it eventually turned into a mutiny. Many things happened in such a short amount of time, but what I need you to know is that I have not given up on Regalia. I will return, but only when Nerissa sends word that it is safe. Until that time it is not only my life that is in peril, but all of Regalia's." They both stared at her.

"Why didn't you go to the Fount" Gregor asked, feeling the weight of all of his questions compel him to ask.

Luxa looked uncomfortable, "I would not have been safe there either. I am sorry to be a burden to you and your family."

"What the hell are you talking about? Burden?" Gregor walked over to her and looked her square in the eyes. It was strange to be talking to Luxa and to see brown instead of purple, but there were no contacts that could mask the fire that was held within, "Luxa- without you I would have been dead seven years ago. So you can stay as long as you need to."

She smiled as he plopped the floppy hat on her head. They left the barn, but not before Gregor glanced back and mouthed to Lizzie 'we'll talk later'.

He was going to have to think of a way to break it to his mom. Luxa's disguise was unraveling faster than he had expected.

Sylvia March 19, 2007

Sylvia was bored. The queen hadn't been by all day, and the kind doctor that she now knew was named 'Howard' (of all things) didn't have any new news for her. On top of it all Holmes was still unconscious, and she was itching to talk to him.

If they were going to ever get back home, she needed him.

She had slept fitfully all night, dreaming of jellyfish that drifted out of the carvings in the walls, and Luxa ordering them to drag her into the dungeon. She didn't even know if this place had a dungeon, but she was pretty sure she didn't want to find out. She hadn't seen any soldiers today, and hoped that she wasn't going to be arrested as soon as she was strong enough to get out of bed.

She was worried that her stupid comment to Luxa had ruined whatever chance they had of finding out about the civilization. What had she been thinking? Of course a detailed expose would not have seemed appealing to the people who had been hidden away for hundreds of years. And there she had been, blabbing her plans to the queen of the whole place.

And then on top of that was the whole team going missing. As much as she disliked most of them, they were still people and didn't deserve to die in a dark hole with nothing to show for it.

She shut her eyes and fell back into her pillows. There was too much to think about, and nothing she could do about any of it.

Luxa Sept 15, 2007

They walked up the steep hill, slipping briefly on the rocks near the top, and finally made it- clutching to one another for balance. Gregor pulled Luxa up the final length and spread his arms out wide, "What do you think?"

Luxa stared in awe of the beauty around her. Only moments ago she had been about to ask to turn around. She was wearing long sleeves, a large hat, sunglasses and pants and compared to her normal loose gowns she felt trapped and sweaty, especially with the sun beating down on her. Now, feeling as though she was flying with her feet on the ground, she was thankful that she had not.

It was as if she could see the whole Overland from up here. There were fields for miles and miles, dotted with trees. Gregor had explained that many of the farms around here only produced apples, and she could now see the patchwork that he described. There were fields of the brightest green to the deepest yellows. Some were bare, some overgrown but most held the large trees covered in nearly ripe apples.

"So...?" Gregor had a nasty habit of leaving his questions unfinished, although Luxa knew him well enough to finish them.

"I cannot even describe this. If the fields around Regalia had a view like this I should think that I would not mind visiting them."

Gregor laughed, "Yes you would." She smirked, he was right, of course. Her duties would always be a thorn in her side, even if she secretly had no idea what she would do if she didn't have them.

She suddenly felt very small. Her sadness must have shown on her face because Gregor asked, "What is it?"

She shook her head, trying to shake off the feeling, "I guess I'm just feeling a bit homesick."

"Luxa..."

"I don't want to talk about it. Let's talk about you." Gregor decided to drop it- she would tell him when she was ready.

"What do you want to know?" They made their way over to a patch of grass under a large tree.

"Well... you moved here. What was that like?"

He thought for a moment. "It's been good. Hard, well... harder than I expected. My Mom got a job here that paid really well so my dad didn't have to go back to work. He started homeschooling us and then some other people wanted in on the gig. So we had like... ten kids coming to our house everyday for school."

Gregor turned to Luxa and saw the confusion in her face, "In this country we're required to go to school till we're eighteen, but if a parent wants to they can stay home and teach the kids themselves. My dad did that... still does actually." Luxa nodded. There were so many strange words that she probably would never understand, but she was glad that Gregor was a patient tutor. She would be lost without him.

"So I stayed in homeschool till I was 16 and then I decided that I wanted to go to public school to run track. But it just wasn't the same. I had to wear different clothes and there were too many questions. So I stopped doing track. That's when I met Coach Ryan. He said that I should try kendo and I really liked it."

"Kendo... is the sword fighting."

"Yes, but it's not really with swords. We use... they're like large wooden sticks called shinai. And there are different rules. It's not just fighting... there's a lot of strategy involved."

"There is much strategy involved in our fights, Gregor, but we normally don't involve twelve years olds in battle meetings." He rolled his eyes, not knowing how to explain it.

"So tell me Luxa? How is being a queen?"

"It is... interesting. Very different than what I had expected."

"Harder?" She nodded.

"It is definitely not as boring as I thought it to be. I was always leaving Regalia in search of adventure, when in all honesty I should have been learning all that I could about how the city worked."

"Oh so our adventures were a waste of time?"

"No... I just feel that if I had listened to Vikus more, then maybe my first few years as a ruler would have gone smoother. Maybe... maybe I wouldn't be here now."

"Look" Gregor said, leaning in, "I don't know what happened, and maybe I'm not supposed to. But I do know that you're too good of a queen to be doubting yourself. You're doing what you have to do... and if that means taking a few months of vacation in the Overland- then so be it. Just enjoy it." He leaned back and finished, "Besides- you're gonna have a whole load of ass kicking and diplomatic takeover when you get back."

She laughed, but Gregor could see that the tension had not left her shoulders.

They sat there for a few minutes, smelling the crisp autumn breeze wafting through the nearly ripe apples.

"So... what happens now?" Luxa asked suddenly, breaking the silence.

Gregor looked over to where she leaned against the tree. He sat up again and moved into her eye line. It was only then that he realized she had tears running down her face.

"Hey... Hey, Luxa." He pulled her into a hug, not really knowing what to do, "Why so out of character, huh?" She just shrugged, trying desperately to stop crying.

"It's nothing. I am sorry." She choked out.

"Well it's obviously not 'nothing'. So stop trying to be brave and just tell me!"

She pulled back from him and got rid of the last of her tears. She pulled the sunglasses back over her eyes, and stared back out into the fields.

"I am just worried about everything, and happy to be here and confused because I should not be happy about abandoning Regalia and I just wish that they had never come down to find us!" Her words tumbled out of her so quickly that Gregor had a hard time keeping up.

Sylvia March 20, 2007

"I'm so glad you're alive!" She held tightly to Holmes' neck as he tried to pry away from her. "I won't be for long...if you don't... let go." She backed up blushing. She was still a bit shaky on her feet, but felt a lot better after the anti toxin had taken effect. Howard had allowed her to visit Holmes, but had said that she couldn't stay long. Something about rest and stress and excitement. Whatever- she was just thankful that Holmes had finally opened her eyes.

"Where are we?" He asked, looking around.

"We're in Regalia."

"Regalia?"

"Regalia."

"...Regalia..." Something seemed to click and he sat straight up, "Regalia!?"

"I know! Can you believe they're still alive!?" He shook his head in awe.

"How? I mean... this was supposed to be a lost civilization. There has been no indication that they existed before this.. and now... How many of them are here?"

"I have no idea, but they have an army and a queen and this is a hospital and there have been a ton of people walking past the door. They seem to be pretty well off."

"An army?" His voice seemed apprehensive, "This is so much more than I was expecting."

"Yeah... Rick is going to flip his stuffing when he gets here."

"What? My dad's not here?" There was a note of alarm in his voice.

"They're still looking." She lowered her voice, "The queen is not too happy about us being here."

"Well I should think not. We are a huge threat to their safety." He reached up and rubbed the scraggly stubble that had grown while he was asleep, "Has she said how she's going to handle this?"

Sylvia felt the nervousness bubbling in her stomach like acid, " She got angry with me when I explained what we were doing down here. She said that if we don't cooperate then we'll have to stay."

"Well... let's give them the benefit of the doubt. If they haven't killed us by now we should be okay. I mean- they could have just left us to the jellyfish."

She nodded, but still felt uneasy. "I know that you and I wouldn't talk about what's down here, but Rick..."

"Shhh!" He looked toward the door, "Let's speak of this when we're well and can go somewhere very private. Rick is Rick and when they find him we'll have to get some sense into his head."

Sylvia nodded, but couldn't shake the feeling that it wouldn't be that simple. The knot that had been growing in her stomach since she woke up constricted, threatening to implode. She just hoped that if... no, when they found the rest of the crew that a bit of diplomacy would be upheld.

A/N: Ugh. I hate school. I feel like Christmas break just started, but I've literally worked every week day since we got out ALL DAY so it doesn't feel like a holiday. I just have more hours at the preschool. Anyway- this week I do have a bit more time to myself so I hope to catch the writing bug soon.

My friend and I have set our send out date for our manuscripts for February 1, 2013 so we're gearing up for that. I'm still not done editing hers and I'm not finished with mine yet either. Ugh, so much to do!

Well anyway here is another chapter- it's not as long as I had planned, but at this point in my life I think that a whole butt load of short chapters is more manageable than a few really really long ones.

You guys let me know if you'd rather have long chapters. I'm already awful at updating and I'm kinda tired of apologizing, but I feel like you deserve it if you're still reading.

Dearest guest: I don't know who you are but I would love to do something nice for you! I wish you would log in so I would know who you are :D You have been such a kind encouragement these last few weeks!