Here Be Monsters! An Adventure Involving Magic, Trolls, and Other Creatures; The Ratbridge Chronicles Volume 1 Chapter 5
By Alan Snow
Here Be Monsters!
It's so dark that Arthur can't see a thing. He's safe from Snatcher—but is he in worse trouble now?
Light enters the room, and Arthur can see a smiling boxtroll. He's seen them before, underground, and they tend to be shy, friendly critters (if a little kleptomaniac).
This boxtroll continues to smile, and leads him to another room, where he sees an old man, two more boxtrolls, and a little guy with a cabbage tied to the top of his head.
Introductions are made: the old man is Willbury Nibble, a retired lawyer; the boxtroll who'd found Arthur is named Fish; the other two boxtrolls are Shoe and Egg; and the cabbagehead is Titus.
Arthur has heard of but never met a cabbagehead; according to Grandfather, they live underground where they worship cabbages. They're also pretty shy.
Willbury explains that he lives with these underlings (the term for underground critters like boxtrolls and cabbageheads) because they're friends.
The boxtrolls use his house (which is actually an abandoned pet shop) as a staging area for their obsession with mechanical items, which they use to maintain the waterworks of the Underworld. And Titus is researching human gardening techniques to bring home with him.
Willbury then asks Arthur what his situation is, and if he can help.
Arthur explains that he's lived underground since he was a baby. He was abandoned there, and Grandfather found him and raised him. Arthur has never been clear on why they have to live underground, but apparently Grandfather will tell him someday.
Then Arthur tells Willbury about Snatcher stealing his wings and blocking his route home.
When Willbury hears about the doll-communicator, he suggests that Arthur contact Grandfather because he's probably worried.
So they get in touch, and Grandfather's relieved to hear from Arthur. For his part, Willbury introduces himself to Grandfather and says he'll take care of Arthur until they can find a way to get him home.
Titus brings buns for everyone to dip into a giant bucket of hot cocoa. Arthur fills them in on the rest of his story, and then Willbury finds Arthur a place to sleep.