The Underlanders' reserve melted like butter in a skillet. They all laughed, and the stiffness went out of their bodies. Gregor found himself laughing, too. His mom said Boots never knew a stranger, which meant she thought everybody in the world was her friend.Gregor sometimes wished he could be more like that. He had a couple of good friends, but he avoided becoming part of any one clique at school. It all came down to who you ate lunch with. He could've sat with the guys he ran track with. Or the band kids. But instead he liked being with Angelina, who was always in some school play, and Larry, who just... well, mostly he just drew stuff. Some people who didn't really know him thought Gregor was stuck-up, but he was mostly just private. He had more trouble opening up to people after his dad left. But even before that, he'd never been as friendly as Boots.A young woman who looked about fifteen stepped forward and held out her arms. "I am called Dulcet. May I take you, Boots? You would care for a bath?" Boots looked at Gregor for confirmation."It's okay. Bath-time. You want a bath, Boots?" he asked."Ye-es!" cried Boots happily. "Bath!" She reached out for Dulcet, who took her from Gregor's arms."Meet you Mareth and Perdita," said Dulcet, indicating the man and woman next to her. They were both tall and muscular and, although they didn't carry weapons, Gregor had a feeling they were guards."Hey," he said.Mareth and Perdita both gave him formal, but friendly, nods.Dulcet wrinkled her nose and poked Boots gently in the tummy. "You have need of a clean catch cloth," she said.Gregor could guess what a catch cloth was. "Oh, yeah, her diaper needs to be changed." It had been a while. "She's going to get a rash.""I poop!" said Boots without apology, and tugged on her diaper."I will attend to it," said Dulcet with an amused smile, and Gregor couldn't help thinking how much nicer she was than Luxa. "You will follow to the waters, Gregor the Overlander?""Yes, thank you, I will follow to the waters," said Gregor. He was struck by how formal he sounded and he didn't want the Underlanders to think he was making fun of them. The roaches had been so easy to insult. "I mean, yeah, thanks."Dulcet nodded and waited for him to fall in step beside her. Mareth and Perdita followed a few steps behind. "They're guards, all right," thought Gregor.The group left the entrance room and walked down a spacious hallway. They passed dozens of arched doorways that opened into large chambers, staircases, and halls. Gregor quickly realized he'd need a map to navigate the place. He could ask directions, but that wouldn't be too smart if he was trying to escape. They could call him their guest, but it didn't change the fact that he and Boots were prisoners. Guests could leave if they wanted to. Prisoners had to escape. And that was exactly what he intended to do.But how? Even if he could find his way back to the platform, no one would let him down, and he couldn't jump two hundred feet to the ground. "But there must be other ways to enter the palace," he thought. "There must be -- ""I have never met an Overlander before," said Dulcet, interrupting his train of thought. "It is only because of the baby I meet you now.""Because of Boots?" said Gregor."I take care of the young ones for many," said Dulcet. "I would not usually meet so important a person as an Overlander," she said shyly."Well, that's too bad, Dulcet," said Gregor, "because you're the nicest person I've met here yet."Dulcet blushed, and boy, when these people blushed, they really blushed! Her skin turned pink as ripe watermelon. Not just her face, either; she colored to the tips of her fingers.
You are alive, you are dry, from this I surmise you have fallen through the fifth gateway, the mouth of which I know to be in New York City.""It's in my laundry room!" Gregor blurted out. "Right in our apartment building!" Somehow the fact that his laundry room connected to this strange place made him feel invaded."Your laundry room, yes," said Vikus thoughtfully. "Well, your fall coincided most favorably with the currents.""The currents? You mean that misty stuff?" asked Gregor."Yes, they allowed you to arrive here in one piece. Timing is all," said Vikus."What happens if the timing is off?" asked Gregor, but he already knew the answer."Then we have a body to bury instead of a guest," said Vikus quietly. "That, in truth, is the most common outcome. A living Overlander like yourself, plus your sister, well, this is most singular."It took a good twenty minutes to reach the palace, and Gregor's arms began to tremble from carrying Boots. Somehow he didn't want to put her down. It didn't seem safe with all the torches around.As they approached the magnificent structure, Gregor noticed there was nothing carved on it. The sides were as smooth as glass, and the lowest window opened two hundred feet above the ground. Something was off, but he couldn't quite place it. Something was missing. "There's no door," he said aloud."No," said Vikus. "Doors are for those who lack enemies. Even the most accomplished climber cannot find a foothold here."Gregor ran his hand along the polished stone wall. There wasn't a crack, not even the tiniest nick in the surface. "So, how do you get inside?""We usually fly, but if one's bat cannot accommodate ..." Vikus gestured above his head. Gregor craned his neck back and saw that a platform was being rapidly lowered from a large, rectangular window. It caught on the ropes that supported it about a foot from the ground, and Vikus stepped aboard.Gregor climbed on with Boots. His recent fall to the Underland had only reinforced how much he disliked heights. The platform immediately rose, and he grabbed hold of the side rope to steady himself. Vikus stood calmly with his hands folded before him, but then Vikus wasn't holding a wiggly two-year-old, and he'd probably ridden this thing a million times.The ascent was rapid and even. The platform leveled off at the window before a small, stone staircase.Gregor carried Boots inside a large room with vaulted ceilings. A group of three Underlanders, all with the same translucent skin and violet eyes, waited to greet them."Good late day," said Vikus, nodding to the Underlanders. "Meet you Gregor and Boots the Overlanders, brother and sister, who have most recently fallen among us. Please bathe them and then proceed to the High Hall." Without a backward glance, Vikus strode out of the room.Gregor and the Underlanders stared awkwardly at one another. None of them had Luxa's arrogance or Vikus's easy commanding presence. "They're just regular people," he thought. "I bet they feel as weird as I do.""Nice to meet you," he said, shifting Boots over to his other hip. "Say 'Hi,' Boots.""Hi!" said Boots, waving at the Underlanders and looking completely delighted. "Hi! Hi, you!"
The velvety wings brushed past his cheek, and he caught his first sight of Regalia. "Wow!" he said, stopping in his tracks.Gregor didn't know what he'd expected. Maybe stone houses, maybe caves -- something primitive. But there was nothing primitive about the magnificent city that spread before him.They stood on the edge of a valley filled with the most beautiful buildings he'd ever seen. New York was known for its architecture, the elegant brownstones, the towering skyscrapers, the grand museums. But compared with Regalia, it looked unplanned, like a place where someone had lined up a bunch of oddly shaped boxes in rows.The buildings here were all a lovely misty gray, which gave them a dreamlike quality. They seemed to rise directly out of the rock as if they had been grown, not made by human hands. Maybe they weren't as tall as the skyscrapers Gregor knew by name, but they towered high above his head, some at least thirty stories and finished in artful peaks and turrets. Thousands of torches were placed strategically so that a soft, dusky light illuminated the entire city.And the carvings ... Gregor had seen cherubs and gargoyles on buildings before, but the walls of Regalia crawled with life. People and cockroaches and fish and creatures Gregor had no name for fought and feasted and danced on every conceivable inch of space."Do just people live here, or roaches and bats, too?" asked Gregor."This is a city of humans. The others have their own cities, or perhaps 'lands' might be a more accurate word," said Vikus. "The majority of our people live here, although some dwell in the suburbs, if their work so dictates. There stands our palace," said Vikus, directing Gregor's eye to a huge, circular fortress at the far edge of the valley. "There we are headed."The lights shining from the city's many windows gave it a festive look, and Gregor felt his heart lightening a little. New York City glittered all night long, too. Maybe this place wasn't so foreign after all."It's really great," he said. He would have loved to explore it, if he didn't need to get home so badly."Yes," said Vikus, as his eyes took in the city fondly. "My people have much love of stone. Had we time, I think we might create a land of rare beauty.""I think maybe you already have," said Gregor. "I mean, it's way more beautiful than anything in the Overland."Vikus seemed pleased. "Come, the palace has the fairest view of the city. You will have time to admire before we dine."As Gregor followed him down the road, Boots tilted back her head, turning it from side to side. "What'dyou lose, Boots?""Moon?" said Boots. Usually you couldn't see the stars from where they lived, but the moon was visible on clear nights. "Moon?"Gregor looked up into the inky black sky and then realized that, of course, there was no sky. They were in some kind of gigantic underground cavern. "No moon, little girl. No moon tonight," he said."Cow jump moon," she said matter-of-factly."Mm-hm," agreed Gregor. If roaches talked, and bats played ball games, then probably there was a cow jumping a moon somewhere, too. He sighed as he pictured the tattered nursery rhyme book in the box by Boots's crib at home.People stared openly at them from the windows as they passed. Vikus acknowledged a few, nodding or calling out a name, and they'd raise their hands in greeting back.Boots noticed and began to wave. "Hi!" she called. "Hi!" and while none of the adults answered her, Gregor saw a few little kids wave back."You hold great fascination for them," said Vikus, indicating the people in the windows. "We do not get many visits from the Overland.""How did you know I was from New York?" asked Gregor."There are but five known gateways to the Underland," said Vikus. "Two lead to the Dead Land, but you would never have survived those. Two gateways open into the Waterway, but your clothing is quite dry.
I'm not sure what the issues were with these other people. Every time I have been there the staff has been friendly and more than happy to explain a dish if you ask (politely). They have been attentive and even filling my glass before I asked. As for the food, it is the best in town short of having an Asian relative cooking it personally for you. Each time I have had to ask for a take-home box because the portions are LARGE.
Very clean and nice people
Nice older place. Staff is wonderful which really adds to the experience. My daughter had the Pork Fried Rice, very good nice taste and not dry. I had the Pork egg foo young, paties were nice size for a lunch portion and tasted wonderful.The sauce was somewhat bland I wish I had ordered it on the side like I usually do. I also had the Wanton soup, very good ( see photo). The area around Eastland was the place to go when I was in high school. It has been on the decline for years but this place is a little gem in the area. I will be back.
Worst place ever don't come here the food is all the food is here the food is disgusting the customer service is horrible they're inconsiderate. I was told I had to pay 10 extra dollars in order to get crab legs because they don't serve them during the week only on Fridays and Saturdays which means I have to pay $10 only paying $10 to eat at the buffet just to get crab legs
Great war su guy, Everything is wonderful here Yin Yue great art all over dining area.From Rev. Frank M Glover
After reading some of the reviews I was a little leary of eating here. The food was fresh, waitress was nice and asked if we wanted refills on our drinks. It states as you walk in the door 1 free refill on drinks but it has been mentioned in many reviews I've read that they were not offered.
The food was very well prepared with generous portions. The waitstaff was attentive as well. As very nice dinning experience.