Bizz started moving, and again I started daydreaming about Regalia.
Wait... How was I daydreaming in a dream?
And on that point, how did I have control over what I did and thought? How could I even THINK in a dream?
And how was this dream progressing so slowly? It typically only put me in the really important parts!
Too much to think about...
Then an idea popped into my head. What if this... WASN'T a dream?
"Don't be ridiculous!" I whispered to myself. "This is a dream, and you know it!"
The cockroaches suddenly came to a stop.
I looked up. And did a double-take. And another double-take.
Where were the intricate stone buildings? The lanterns? The… the Underlanders?
"Bizz, I think you've got this wrong. I thought you said you were taking me to Regalia."
"No, Overlander, No," He replied.
"Off, Overlander, off."
"Oh, um, okay…"
I tenderly slid off Bizz's back.
"Where are we, Bizz?" I asked as I looked around me. No answer. "Bizz?" I pivoted on my feet. The cockroaches… were gone.
I waited for what felt like hours. It was dark, but not as dark as it says in Gregor the Overlander. Maybe there was a lantern nearby, but not in plain sight. I could see I was in a cave, but I couldnt find my way out. There was only one exit, and it led into a maze. So, I sat leaning towards the wall, seriously wanting to believe it was a dream, but starting to doubt that theory- a LOT...
I heard something from the entrance.
I scrambled up. "Bizz?" I called. "Is that you?"
It was probably NOT the smartest idea to do that.
I heard a cackle. It was low and raspy, like... Like a male witch's, I guess.
I immediately reached for the flashlight I had clipped on my backpack, which was originally a monument to Gregor, very greatful I had it.
I was right to be worried about how big the rats were.
"Well, what have we here?" asked the first rat, walking into my flashlight beam.
"An Overlander, no doubt," replied the second, revealing itself also. "And a young one, at that!"
The first rat chomped down on my long, brown hair that matched his fur perfectly. One thought went through my head: Luxa was right about long hair in the Underland.
"Let me go!" I yelled.
"Ooh, not afraid to talk, eh?" said the grey rat, the second one, looking into my ice blue eyes. "Just like Gregor, this one. Feisty. Typically, all we get from little girls like you are squeals and screams."
"L... LITTLE girls?!" I said through gritted teeth. "No one. Calls. Me. LITTLE!"
I jabbed my elbow into the brown rat's eye, and he let go. I put my backpack in front of me as the grey rat lunged at me, and he flew backwards.
I felt a sting on my arm, and it quickly grew into a sharp pain. I looked down, and my arm was bleeding.
Oh, my god, I thought. This is real. This isn't a dream.
I'm actually in the Underland.
I heard more scampering, and pivoted in a full circle around me. More rats. Lots more.
I backed up against the wall, the sensation of being called 'little' over.
"Hm," said a black rat in the front of the crowd- should I say, army- "Just like the prophecy. Strong, then weak. Like the comet… Halley."
I flinched. They knew more than I expected.
"It'll be nice not to let that prophecy come to fruition!"
I pinched my eyes closed, bracing for impact, knowing full well that the first thing they'd do was attack me.
I opened my eyes slowly. A single rat was standing in front of me, blocking off the attacks from the others.
"Don't worry, comet girl," he said between blocks, "I've got you covered!" He blocked another attack. "You're too valuable to lose."
I caught a glimpse of his face. Two... Scars. Meeting in the middle. And the voice. That way of speaking. I should have known.
"No dip!" he replied. He probably learned that from Gregor.
All the people… from my favorite books… were… REAL.
I don't know why, but I blushed when I thought about him.
It was just me being star-struck… wasn't it?
Never mind. I don't wanna hear your answer.
Anyway, Ripred had just totally destroyed all the rats thanks to his mad rager skills.
He was waving his hand- er, paw- in front of my face. "Comet girl, snap out of it! The Underland is not a safe place to daydream!"
I blushed. "Sorry."
Ripred cocked his head, then did a rat-like smirk. "Thinking about our young Warrior, huh?"
It was my turn to cock my head, then I remembered: the Warrior was Gregor. I blushed profusely. "Whaaaat?"
"You said his name."
Ripred turned around, and got into classic rat position. "Get on, comet girl."
"It wont be long before more rats show up to replace the dead ones, and unless you want to fight them on your own, I'd suggest getting on."
"Um, yeah, okay," I replied. Brilliant answer, I'm a genius, I know. Hey, with the day I was having, I was lucky to know rat= bad- excluding Ripred- and Underlander= good.
I slowly climbed on Ripred, being careful to avoid his tail. I somersaulted over it once when it twitched near me. Ripred gave me an odd look while I got on.
He shook his head, and took off just as another rat face peeped out of the shadows, followed by a body, followed by an army more.
He sprinted out of the cave and into the maze as the rats started chasing us.
I tucked my head into his fur. I don't want to see any more blood today.
A little while later, we slowed down. I peeked out of the endless grey fur.
"Are they…," I ask, "gone?"
"Yes, comet girl, the rats are gone. We lost them a while ago."
"So, I was wondering," Ripred asked as we picked up speed again, "How did you know about the Underland? And I was also curious as to what your name was."
"Oh, I'm Halley. Like the comet. My brother's Galileo, and my sister's Fate. All astronomy names. You can thank my astronomer parents for that. And I knew about the Underland from books. The series is a NY times bestseller."
"What?!" He yelled, suddenly stopping. "Who else knows about the Underland?"
"Lots of people. It's almost famous. Especially now, since Suzanne Collins just had a movie made based on another one of her books. But everyone thinks its fiction." I paused for a moment. "You didn't know about it?"
"Not one b…" he trailed off. "Rats."
Sure enough, a rat snout appeared out of the tunnels mouth.
"Hang on, Halley!" yelled Ripred, taking off.
We ran around so many turns, I lost track of where we were. I didn't know how Ripred kept track of it all.
I knew we lost the rats by then.
Then Ripred crashed into something, and I went flying backwards off of him.
My back. I landed hard, and my back cracked big-time.
I sat up, and my hand came off bloody. Great. I felt really dizzy.
I saw Ripred. He was hurt and passed out, but nothing he couldn't recover from.
Me, on the other hand…
I was already seeing black spots.
Then I saw a light. A warm light, like… a torch.
"Help…," I croaked. "Help!"
The light turned in our direction, and I saw white hair. Underlanders. Two went over to Ripred, and one came over to me.
I only just realized I was lying on the floor again.
"What happened?" asked a girl's voice. Funny, she looked like a boy…
Then I realized who it was. I recognized the gold band on her head.
"Luxa…" I mumbled.
A tan boy walked out behind her. I recognized him, too. There were no tan Underlanders.
He was Gregor.
I mumbled a bunch of unintelligible stuff. Even I didn't know what I was saying.
Then I blacked out.