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Gregor The Overlander : Return to the Underland

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It had been almost an entire year since Gregor had seen the magnificent stone city of Regalia. Since he had held a sword in his scarred hands. Since he had stared into Luxa’s violet eyes. It had been torture for Gregor to stay away from the Underland for so long. Often Gregor would think of what his life would be like down there, if he were to stay there. Gregor resented school in Virginia. Many of the kids there would make fun of his scars when they could see them, but most of the time they just stared at Gregor…Like he was a freak.

P.E. class came and this was the class he hated the most. His coach would yell at him to change out of his long sleeve shirt and pants and into gym clothes. But of course Gregor just ignored him and got a referral for defiance….again. Gregor was sent up to the guidance counselor to talk about behavior.

As Gregor arrived he saw one kid run out of the counselor’s office with tears coming out of his eyes and then Gregor knew he would be in for a treat. Gregor waited in a chair outside of her office until the counselor, Ms. Rutland, called him inside.

“Hello I am Ms. Rutland and you must be….” said Ms. Rutland.

“Gregor” he replied.

“So it looks like we are here to talk about your defiance” said Ms. Rutland. ”The referral says you refuse to change out of your clothes and that you ignore the coach. Why?”

Gregor only rolled up his sleeves to show Ms. Rutland to answer.

“Boy you look like you fell through a wood chipper!” exclaimed the counselor, seeing Gregor’s scars for the first time. But Gregor only tightened his jaw in response. He hated it when people joked about his scars. It reminded him about the horrors of the battles he fought in and the people that have died around him. But in those dark times there was a light around him. Luxa, his girlfriend. Though she had not always been his girlfriend, at one point around the time they first met, Gregor almost resented her. He had thought she was stuck up and snobby. But now she was usually the only thing on his mind now. ”So are you going to tell me or are you going to ignore me like coach?” He rolled his eyes at stared at something that caught his attention. It was almost unnoticed but you could just make it out. A picture of the counselor and her son baking in a kitchen but what Gregor saw in the corner, on the floor was a crawler. He remembered that they were called cockroaches in the Overland. He was beginning to start to call them as the Underlanders would.

He quickly pushed that thought out of his head and focused on his conversation with Ms. Rutland. The faster they finished this “chat” the faster he could leave and pick up Boots from pre-school. “So are you going to tell me how you got those scars or are you going to ignore me like you ignored coach?” she asked, interrupting his train of thought”

“I’d prefer to not say though I would enjoy wrapping this thing up so I can pick up my little sister from pre-school though” Gregor casually mentioned, almost bored. Just as he finished his sentence the bell signaling the end of school had rung. He raised his eyebrows at Ms. Rutland and stood up to leave.

“We’ll finish this talk tomorrow” she called after him. Gregor was relieved to be done with school for the day. He was walking down the hall when someone purposely bumped into Gregor.

“Hey watch where you walking chump!” the guy yelled but Gregor paid no attention to him and kept walking at an even pace. But the guy, who turned out to be the school bully Jack Morgan, couldn’t let Gregor be and half jogged and half walked to catch up and laid his hand on his shoulder, and Gregor shouldered forward even though he knew Jack would just persist. Now Jack ran in front of him and pushed him toward his followers. Gregor was starting to get worried... for Jack. He had been out of combat for so long that he had almost lost control of his rager side. Gregor had always tried to stay out of fights, even before he knew he was a rager. Intent on staying out of more trouble Gregor had to keep on walking but that was when he lost it. Jack, or as he would prefer, Captain Morgan had punched Gregor in the face. Hard. He stumbled a bit before falling into some of the lockers. Then it all happened at once and without a thought. He had caught Jack’s foot as he went to kick him, then in a sweeping motion took out Jack’s other leg with his foot. Captain Morgan fell to the cement floor with a thud. Gregor looked at Jack’s friends who had stood there, baffled, staring at their friend on the ground. They then looked back up to Gregor and ran at him. Gregor sprinted down the hall, jumped and cleared a set of stairs. He easily outdistanced his pursuers and took the time to glance up at the clock.

“Crap!” he thought. He was already 10 minutes late and it took another 15 to run to the pre-school.

When he arrived there he found Boots was sobbing and wailing because he wasn’t there to pick her up. Boots turned and saw him come to a jogging stop. She ran over at hit him in the leg yelling “You late, you late!” He scooped her up and planted a kiss on her forehead to hush her.

“Shh Boots, I’m sorry I was late, it’s alright I’m here now shh.” He said, stroking her curls. The adult who, with no luck, was trying to calm her down came over.

“You need to come sooner next time, she kept on crying about how you returned to the underworld or something like that.” She said, exhausted.

“I apologize for the inconvenience, I’ll be here on time tomorrow” he replied. With that he bid farewell to the lady and walked home with Boots. “Hopefully I won’t have to stay after school for detention” he thought to himself. He knew that Jack would spin any number of lies to make it seem like he started the fight. Gregor was still angry though, but didn’t know why. He was over the fight he had with Jack. Still couldn’t figure it out. Then he found himself thinking of the stone knight in the museum in New York. It had always helped calm down and get through tough times. His anger subsided and he continued down the sidewalk and onto the dirt road that led to his uncle’s farm.

When Gregor reached his house he hadn’t stepped fully inside before his mom starting yelling at him.

“Did you just think you couldn’t tell me and get away with it?!” His mom yelled. As always she never let him explain before he had a chance to get inside. “Did you think you could fight and that I wouldn’t find out?!” Man his mom was really steamed.

“Mom, I was going to tell you when I got inside” he said. Gregor then stepped inside in a dramatic fashion. ”I got in a fight today mom, and it wasn’t my fault”

“I’m sure it wasn’t but the counselor had said that as you were leaving that you hit Jack Morgan in the back of his head with a text book” his mom said, tapping her foot impatiently. “Explain…NOW”

“I was leaving school when Jack bumped into me and then ran in front of me. Then he pushed me but I swear I didn’t hit him. I tried to keep walking past him and that’s when he decked me in the face” he said, gesturing to his left cheek. “So when I was on the ground he tried to kick me and me…I…I….I lost control” he muttered, dropping his head.

“Gregor has boo-boo” Boots explained. Gregor almost forgot he was still holding on to her hand and let go.

“What do you mean you lost ‘control’?” His mom question, while examining his face.

“The rager side took over but I still saw what happened, I caught his foot and then I swept his other foot out from under him and he fell, hitting his head on the ground. But I know I did not hit him, I was defending myself. Then his friends chased me out of the school. That’s also why I was also late picking up Boots.” He elaborated. Gregor peeked his head out the door and spit a mixture of blood and saliva into the bushes beside his house to clear his mouth.” Mom you know I would never start a fight.” He said while walking to his room to rest.

“But were you going to tell me about your defiance referral?” She questioned. Gregor froze in his tracks and turned on his heels.

“Yes but-. “ He started but his mom cut him off.

“Grounded, two weeks, roaming privileges revoked. You are to go straight to school, pick up boots, then return home. No museum. Am I clear mister?” She chided.

“Yes mom.” He said sadly and briskly walked out of the living room and slamming his door. Sometimes he wished his mom could just lay off him and take a walk in his shoes for a day and see what it was like. Dealing with the fact he was treated like an outcast, constantly bullied (but that didn’t really bother him), and the heart brokenness. He missed Luxa. Badly. Lizzie missed Ripred. Boots missed Temp. He needed to get to the Underland soon or he would be driven insane.

Gregor laid on his bed thinking about all the “prophecies” he had “fulfilled”. Prophecy of the Gray, Prophecy of the Bane, he had found the cure to the plague, and the Prophecy of Time. Ripred had convinced him that everyone was attempting to make what was happening fulfill those prophecies. At times it stunned him at how things had fit into Sandwhiches’s prophecies. And that’s when he heard it. No….maybe his mind was playing tricks on him. But there it was again. So subtle but he knew it was intended for him to hear. If his mom had heard it, she would break down from the sheer memory of what happened last time she heard the noise. A mob of rats chased them out of their apartment to scare her into letting him go back to the Underland. Then she would cry when she found out he had gone back to the place where his life is always in danger.

It seemed as if the scratching had stopped. Maybe it never began. Gregor picked his though trail back up and remember his last day in Regalia. Luxa was their leader, she had bonded with Ripred. And they were talking about the cutters. How they were aggressively taking back land… Oh no. This meant only one thing. He knew deep down when he first fought the cutters and experienced their hatred for the warm bloods firsthand. They were going to start a war.

“That’s their problem now, now that I can’t be there to fight.” Gregor thought. And with that thought he pushed the train out of his head and fell asleep. As usual his dreams weren’t dreams, they were nightmares. He relived the moment he jumped into the void. A platoon of rats and King Gorger himself fell in following him. So did Luxa royal cousin, Henry who had betrayed them for the rats. Gregor found him falling and then managed to turn around to see the rats. They wailed all the way down. Against the background light he saw a bat-like creature that he came to realize was Ares. Gregor knew Ares would come for him. He bonded with Ares a few days later. But something frightening happened. Ares caught Henry instead of him. The last thing Gregor saw was Henry evilly laughing before he became a grease spot in the bottom of the void.

He woke up soaked in sweat and unable to speak. Right then and there Gregor began sobbing. It was the most terrifying thing he had ever seen. More terrifying than King Gorger. More terrifying than the sea serpents he had thought taken Boot’s and Luxa’s life. More terrifying than the Bane. He had seen his own bond save a traitor not only to him and Luxa but to all of Regalia. He missed Ares the most.

Through his sobbing he heard it again. Scratching. He knew what he had to do. He packed up some food and a few water bottles and wrote a note that his family would in the morning, explaining his disappearance and his sorrow in doing so. Strangely so, as soon as he stepped outside into the night he found that his echolocation skill had not been buried by time and he found that a large creature was preached in the apple tree next to his house….hanging upside down.

“Hello? Anybody out here?” Gregor called out, his voice ringing in the chill air. At first he got no reply then he heard an unfamiliar voice.

“I believe that you, Gregor the Overlander, already know the answer to that question.” The bat said, fluttering over to Gregor. “Greetings, I am Hermes, and I am here to ask for you to return to the Underland once again. We are in need of your services.”

Gregor only nodded then climbed onto Hermes back and they took off into the night sky, heading for The Big Apple.

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