It was several days later, although it felt like years with the two hobbits bothering us about substandard food and beer every five minutes, one dwarf criticizing architecture every eight minutes, one elf lamenting the loss of forest every twenty-five minutes, and one ranger glaring evilly at said hobbits, dwarf, and elf every forty-five minutes. Katy and I did our best to block all of this out, and with Aragornís help we managed to keep everyone alive.
Aragorn and I were currently leaning over the hood of a very old, mistreated bus. Papers were scattered all over said hood. Katy was behind us somewhere getting everyone else food and consoling the hobbits who were once again complaining about the substandard food they had been forced to eat since they arrived. ("Krispy Kremes are not substandard! Stop complaining or you wonít get anything!")
"So, this is where we are," I told Aragorn, pointing to a spot on one of the papers. I moved to point on the other side of the hood on another paper, "This is where weíre going."
The papers, when laid out in the proper order with the proper organization, created a large road map from Tennessee to Minnesota. It was a daunting task for two teenage girls and five men who had never seen these kinds of things before.
"How far did you say that was, again?" Aragorn asked. The written language in Middle-earth was very different than written English, which made reading quite impossible.
"Over eight hundred miles," I told him. Did they have miles in Middle-earth? I wondered and then expanded on my answer, "Itís a little farther than the distance from Rivendell to Gondor."
Aragorn looked up at the bus with a skeptical gaze, "Are you sure this will make it that far?"
I laughed, "I hope it will, cause itís all we could get for our money," I answered. Some old guy had been trying to sell this old bus, and had given it to us for $78.54. We figured the bus tickets to Minnesota from Tennessee would be considerably more than that, so we reluctantly bought it. In good will, he also filled up the tank with gas before giving it to us.
Katy ambled over to us and leaned heavily against the hood, "Are we almost ready to go? Merry and Pippin started a Krispy Kreme war and Iím going to maim them if I get hit by another doughnut."
"Yeah, weíre just about ready," I answered, starting to stack the papers up again, carefully in order with the part where we were on top, and the part where we were going on the bottom. I handed them to Aragornówe had named him navigator in light of our choices. I would be driving for the same reasons.
"Alright, everyone, on the bus!" Aragorn ordered. The hobbits, who had been about to throw two more doughnuts at each other, jumped at his voice, and then quickly dropped said doughnuts in favor of getting on the bus. I had told them the sooner we got home, the sooner they could have a Ďrealí meal.
Five minutes later we were bouncing down the road, occasionally getting up to ten miles per hour. I cringed as the steering wheel shook beneath my hands, and the bus jolted violently every time I changed gear. Aragorn sat in the seat behind me with the map, ready to tell me where and when to turn. Katy sat right behind him, looking over his shoulder to make sure he was reading it right. Legolas sat across from Aragorn, and Gimli was behind him. The two hobbits were behind Katy and Gimli, complaining that they were going to lose their lunch.
"It was bad enough going down," Pippin moaned, "I donít want to know what itíll be like coming back up!"
"If youíre going to be sick, do it out the window!" Katy retorted irritably.
"This beast sounds like itís going to die at any moment," Legolas commented, looking slightly worried.
I cringed as it made another harsh jump underneath me, "One: I already told you, the bus is not alive. Two: itíll be a miracle if we make it all the way home in this."