Continuing Tales

A Forfeit of Dreams

A Labyrinth Story
by KL Morgan

Part 5 of 15

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A Forfeit of Dreams

They let her cry it out -- the few weak tears she could manage, that is. Mostly she just sat there, head buried in her knees, hugged tightly to her chest. Her hair had fallen forward, hiding her expression from them with a veil of dark strands. She made no sound.

After a few minutes of this, Chaucer lumbered back onto his feet. "That's enough," he said, firm but not unkind. "Moping about won't help you any. It's time we got on our way."

Sarah turned her head toward him, eyes tired and red. "We?" she asked softly.

"We," he repeated, firm. "A... private dispute between the two of you is one thing. Using the Labyrinth to completely ensnare a young girl is something else entirely. I'm a firm believer in the philosophy that to take no course of action is a course of action," he added, rather pompously. "So, I will do all in my power to help you solve the Labyrinth a second time." He beamed. "I'm coming with you."

"Whether she wants you or not," Hoggle muttered nastily under his breath. Chaucer ignored him.

"Thank you," she said softly, with a small smile. "I am... beholden to you, for your assistance." Chaucer grumbled, avoiding her gaze, but his bat-ears twitched with happiness. Sarah turned her gaze onto Hoggle, who was still looking sullenly at the ground. "And you, my old friend," she asked, "will you help me, too?"

"'Course," he growled. "Y'didn't think I'd let Jareth get away with something like this, did you? Huh. Not that easily." He grumbled, absentmindedly digging his shoe into the cobblestone. "Bastard's had me clippin' weeds for the past years... I'll show him."

Sarah gave a watery giggle, and her smile grew stronger, warmer. "Thank you," she spoke softly. "Both of you. I'm not sure what I would have done, if..." Her lip trembled, and she ducked her head.

"Now, now," Chaucer said firmly, stepping forward. "No more of that, eh? Up on your feet, young lady." Sarah complied, smearing the tears from her cheeks with her palms. "Now. We'll have no more crying, it makes me tetchy." He shook an admonishing finger at her. "Let's see how good your memory is. Do you remember what I said to you, upon showing you the, er, landscape by which we came here?"

"You said those red and blue guards didn't like you, and would never let you find them when you wanted to go back to the Castle."

Hoggle gave a smothered guffaw, and Chaucer shot him a glare. "Hmph. Well, yes. Very good. But before that."

"I..." Sarah's voice trailed away, and she shook her head. "I don't quite remember."

"I mentioned how easy it was for me to traverse the Labyrinth, eh?" He grinned at her, broken yellow tusks filling his mouth. "How I'd learned all of its tricks and passages, after --"

"After reading all of those records!" Sarah finished in wonderment. "Are you saying you know how to solve the Labyrinth?"

"That's exactly what I'm saying," Chaucer said, insufferably pleased with himself. "Down to the last secret passage and trick doorway. I'll get you through it in the time it would take... well," he amended, "Jareth on a bad day. Which is a lot faster than you would have ever managed on your own, my dear."

"That won't stop Jareth from plunkin' down surprises wherever we go," Hoggle interjected warningly. "We'll still hafta stay on the lookout for any of his little jokes."

"Well," Chaucer said airily, "If we all refrain from accepting questionable fruits from the aforementioned party, we should do fine."

Hoggle's hands balled into fists. "You little..." he growled through bared teeth.

"Wait!" Sarah stretched her outspread hands toward them. "Let's not fight -- please. It's so very important -- now more than ever -- that I reach the center of the Labyrinth in time. We can't waste our advantage by bickering."

"Alright, then," Hoggle grumbled. "Let's have old scab-face show us where to go, eh?"

Chaucer opened his mouth, expression outraged, but snapped it shut when Sarah shook an admonishing finger in his face, also shooting a warning glare at Hoggle. Chaucer gave an injured "hmph," then sniffed, turning on his heel to one of the briar-lined passages. Sarah and Hoggle obediently followed.

Chaucer strode forward without any signs of hesitation, confidently navigating the twisted pathways. It was almost as if he could see through the thick, green hedges. If she stepped a little closer to him, Sarah could hear Chaucer muttering under his breath as they went, counting the openings they passed, saying things like, "and now we should come up on the -- ah, there it is!" and triumphantly continuing on his way.   

Sarah had suspected Chaucer was exaggerating his knowledge of the Labyrinth. After all, most of his "experience" was simply what he had read in books, and she of all people knew that never added up to much. But it seemed she had underestimated his fascination with the complex weavings of the Labyrinth - his utter and absolute curiosity about how it worked, how it lived... For it did live - she could feel it. It wasn't truly alive, but it was sentient - like the ancient, looming trees she had once visited with her father in California. She remembered resting her cheek against rough bark, palms to the sides pressed against an enormous trunk. The tree was completely still and silent beneath her fingertips. And yet... there had been the certainty that if only she could concentrate, shut out every other thought every other sound around her, she would have been able to feel it breathing.

It was the same with the Labyrinth.

"Hoggle," she asked quietly as they both trailed obediently behind the muttering Librarian, "do you really think I'll make it, this time?"

Hoggle took a moment to respond. "Don't see why not," he spoke gruffly. "Y'did it before, didn't you?"

"Yeah." Sarah watched as Chaucer rounded a corner. "But... this is different."

"It is?"

"Last time, Ja- the Goblin King. He wanted to keep Toby. This time, he wants me."

Hoggle gave a small sigh. "It'll be fine, Sarah," he said firmly. "We'll get you home."

You're not sure, are you? You don't think I'll solve the Labyrinth in time! But she bit back the words, blinked back the tears that made her vision swim. She would succeed. She had to.

Chaucer called back to them to hurry up, and they both picked up the pace.

The three of them stepped, together, into a small plaza -- a break in the angled, leafy corridors they had been attempting to unravel for what seemed like forever. The plaza was paved with smooth, tan tiles, and it was filled with fountains. Tiers of shallow basins constantly overflowed with sparkling water, falling in a shining waterfall to the level just below them, ending in a stone well that held a shining, rippling pool. The plaza was empty of any life; the sound of their feet shuffling along the tiles was accompanied only by the sound of rushing water.

"S'too quiet," Hoggle grumbled as they hesitantly made their way through. "Just the place for - for an ambush, or somethin'."

"Don't be ridiculous," snorted Chaucer. "How could Jareth possibly know where we are?"

"Well," Sarah supplied hesitantly, " he does have magic..."

"And an army of goblins."

"And he disappears and re-appears wherever he likes."

"And it's his Labyrinth!"

"All right, all right, you have made your point," Chaucer snarled. "Now would you two please be quiet while I figure out where we are going?!"

Sarah sighed, seating herself at the edge of one of the fountains. "I wonder how long it's been since I started out. I'd love to know how much time we have left."

"It is not a matter," Chaucer spoke stridently, as he paced up and down the plaza, brow furrowed in concentration, "of how much time we have left, but a matter of how we use the time before us." He stopped a moment, craning his wobbly neck to squint up at the sky, muttering to himself. Then he went back to pacing.

"What 'zactly is it y'lookin' for?" Hoggle asked, curiosity getting the better of him.   

"I told you," Chaucer said, exasperated. "I know every secret there is to know about this place. And here, in this plaza, there's some sort of shortcut to the forest. I know it, I just know it!" His frown grew even deeper. "Now, if only I could remember where... and it does not help to have you two goggling at me like that!" he snapped.

Sarah stood up. "C'mon, Hoggle," she said softly. "Let's have a look around while Chaucer explores, hmm?" Hoggle muttered, but eventually followed, leaving Chaucer to muse by himself.

They wandered deeper into the collection of fountains, idly examining their surroundings. Each fountain seemed identical to the other -- in fact, the two lost each other a few times in that stone wilderness. Never for too long, however, and together they ventured further and further into the thicket of silent stone and trickling water.

To their amazement, Hoggle and Sarah discovered something new in what appeared to be the heart of the plaza. It was nothing special, really, just another fountain -- but this one was slightly different from the others. It was a wide, shallow pool with no ornament. The water was as smooth as glass and as clear -- they could easily see to the bottom.

"Don't you touch it," Hoggle growled as Sarah's hand stretched out hesitantly. "Likely enough it'll turn you t'stone, or somethin' nasty like that. Yeech."

"Don't be silly, Hoggle," Sarah spoke with slight exasperation. "Why would Ja- why would the Labyrinth have something like that?"

"Because," Hoggle spoke sulkily, "it's a damn unfriendly place, and don't you forget it!"

Sarah sighed and pulled her hand away. "I know. Believe me, I know, but... but the Labyrinth is more about tricks and riddles. Not turning innocent bystanders to stone just because they're thirsty. There," recklessly plunging her hand into the water, too quick for Hoggle to even protest. She swished it around experimentally. "Doesn't seem to be any harm in it," she said cheerfully.

"All the same," Hoggle said, "We ought'nt to go poking our nose in where it isn't wanted."

"Hoggle, don't be such a grouch," Sarah said lightly, sitting on the stone ledge surrounding the pool. "It's just a..." Her voice trailed off, and she leaned closer to the surface, expression intent. "Wishing well. Hoggle, it's a wishing well!"

"What're you goin' on about?" he asked testily, moving in for a closer look.

"No, look!" she said excitedly, eyes still fixed on the tiled bottom of the pool. "There's all kinds of coins down there! Check it out!" In a swift scooping motion, she ran her hand through the water, bringing up a handful of sparkling treasure. Gold glinted from between her fingers, as well as silver, copper, and baser metals. There were round coins and square ones, coins with ornamental holes in their center or serrated edges, decorated with the silhouettes of exotic faces or cryptic writing.

"Look at them all," Sarah breathed, jingling them about in her hand. "And there's hundreds more. I wonder where they all came from."

Hoggle shrugged. "From people like you, who can't seem to make their way through the Labyrinth without explorin' and meddlin'," he said bluntly. "That's easy enough to see."

"Still." Sarah examined the coins in her hand thoughtfully, tracing over them with her fingers. "Don't you ever wonder about the kind of people who found the Labyrinth? I mean, it's just a story in my world. I just sort of fell into it. It makes me curious - to think how others might have found out."

"No use wonderin' about things you'll never know."

"Hoggle, that's exactly the kind of talk that makes me want to -- jeez!" Exasperated, she flung the coins back into the fountain and stood, furiously brushing off her jeans. "Let's see if Chaucer is of any more help. Chaucer!" she called over the soft sound of falling water, craning her neck to peer between the other fountains. "Chaucer, have you found anything yet?"

"No, not quite yet," Chaucer called back, disappointment clear in his voice. "Perhaps I was mistaken," he went on regretfully. "I was so sure there was a shortcut of some kind around here... something that will take us directly to the forest! I know it is here!"

"Maybe Ja- maybe someone moved it," Sarah said. "To another place? A different plaza? The Labyrinth does have a way of shifting like that."

"The first phase of it does, you silly girl!" Chaucer's voice was still slightly muffled by the rows of fountains between them. "But not this one! It is simply infuriating..."

Sighing with impatience, Sarah turned back to where Hoggle sat by the fountain. Idly, she jumped onto the low stone ledge, stretching out her arms to keep her balance as she walked along the narrow ridge. Suddenly, she froze.

"Hoggle," she said quietly, eyes intent on the depths of the pool, "do you remember the first time we came to this phase of the Labyrinth? It was after you led me out of the oubliette."

"Right," Hoggle grumped, not turning around. "After the Cleaners had chased us out from underground," and he shuddered with the memory.

"We met someone right away - do you remember? An old wise man."

"Hmph. That's what you thought he was. I knew he was just an old coot with a bird for brains."

"And I gave him my ring for some advice, do you remember?" She lowered her arms without taking her gaze from the water. "Hoggle, either come over here and tell me my eyes are playing tricks on me, or that I'm looking at that ring right now."

Hoggle shuffled over obediently, peering into the pool. "Could be," he grunted. "But maybe not. I never paid that much attention."

"No, it is my ring!" Sarah said, excitement rising. Her face took on a look of determination. "I'm going in to get it."

"You're gonna do what?! Sarah," he pleaded helplessly, unable to do anything as she stepped into the water. "Sarah, please! It might be dangerous!"

"Nonsense!" she said cheerfully. "Who ever got hurt by a little water? Besides, it's my ring, and I want it back. It was worthless advice, anyway," she joked, throwing a mischievous look over her shoulder.

"Sarah, please!" Hoggle bleated, his face creased with worry. She laughed at his consternation, sloshing though the clear, rippling water. It came up to her knees, and so she walked slowly and carefully towards the pool's center, where the ring glinted in the sunlight.

Chaucer rounded one of the other fountains, his face like a storm cloud. "Stupid worthless texts," he grumbled to himself. "Should've known they'd be too outdated, too old, too cryptic to be of any help... Or it's my fault - an old demon hardly worth his salt, can't even remember where a simple shortcut is --"

"I've got it!" Sarah shouted as she fished the simple band out of the water and held it aloft, face triumphant.

"Then get out of there!" Hoggle bellowed. "Right now!"

Unexpectedly, Sarah's eyes flashed with panic. "Hoggle, I don't think -"

"I was certain it was right around here!" Chaucer erupted, oblivious to the others.

With a piercing shriek, Sarah seemed to stumble - and her body sank quickly beneath the water's shallow surface with barely a ripple.

Both Hoggle and Chaucer rushed quickly to the fountain's rim, desperately searching the pool for any sign of the girl. But she was gone. Where she had stood, a small round portal had opened on the fountain's tiled floor. The water in the pool rushed down it into a dark, swirling tunnel.

"Well," Chaucer said feebly. "Looks like I was right, after all."


She was tumbling, turning, twisting, lost in an oblivion of dark water. She couldn't see, couldn't breathe -- though thankfully she'd had the presence of mind to hold her breath as she went under. She could only feel, helpless to the wild currents that bore her swiftly along. Where they were taking her, she had no idea.

Suddenly, it stopped. She was still in the water, but it was still -- she was floating. Cautiously, still holding her breath, even though her lungs felt about to burst, she opened her eyes. Her eyes stung slightly with the water, but her vision was clear enough to know she was in a lake. Vegetation writhed all around her in long, dark strands, caressing her skin with the movement of the water. She could spy the sharp, fluid movements of fish in the shadows. Above her, the sunlight glimmered on the water's surface tantalizingly, inherent with the promise of safety.

Gamely she kicked off toward the surface, straining her arms to push through the water. Remembering snatches of advice, she quickly shed her shoes to make her task easier. Muscles aching and lungs on fire, she swam desperately upward.

There was something moving in the shadows. Something other than the fish she had spotted earlier. It was bigger, and its movement was less quick and darting, almost sinuous. As it came closer, moving further into the thin, watery light, she could see it was a person, the arms and legs clearly obvious. Her first thought was that Hoggle, or even Chaucer, has followed her foolish footsteps into the fountain and were now drifting below her. But she quickly discarded that notion - neither had the kind of flowing grace in their movements that this creature possessed.

It neared her with amazing speed, cutting through the water with hardly any effort, as far she could see. And now she could see other, similar shapes emerging from the shadows, following the first with the same uncanny speed. The first one broke free of the darkness completely, swimming into the shifting, watery light. It was then that Sarah caught sight of a pale, bloodless face, huge liquid eyes, and a floating cloud of hair cascading around white limbs, and her heart thudded painfully in her chest.


Sarah redoubled her efforts to reach the surface, but with a sinking feeling that it was a lost cause. The naiads belonged to the water, and moved through their native element as easily as Sarah would have walked on the land. Their fierce eyes followed her pitiful attempts to get away with something like amusement. A quick glance upward, and Sarah knew she was nowhere near reaching the surface.

In a flash, Sarah remembered Jareth's warning as she had entered the Labyrinth. She could break the Labyrinth's spell, like before. She could end the game, just like before. All she needed to do was speak a few simple words... reject the illusion...

You have no power --

Sarah squeezed her eyes tight and shook her head, a physical rejection of the very thought. No. I can't. That way, he wins -- I lose everything: Brian, my freedom -- everything.

The burning pain in her lungs grew with every passing second, and her arms moved far too sluggishly though the cold, resisting waters of the lake. As she kept one eye on the nearing naiads, every legend she knew about them running through her head, a little voice inside her asked: Is it worse than dying?

No! Sarah shouted internally. I won't die. The Labyrinth doesn't hurt people, it only scares them!

But what about the roses? The burning roses, whose thorns had nearly torn away her flesh... what if the rules had changed?

What if there were no more rules?

Did Jareth mean to kill her?!

Involuntarily, Sarah screamed, a moment of pure panic. The air rushed out of her mouth in huge bubbles, rising past her towards the glimmering surface. Cold, smooth hands grasped her ankles, and Sarah thrashed about wildly. More hands held her arms, her shoulders, and a terrible deadness was creeping at her limbs. She had lost.

No, no, no! Sarah wailed silently. It isn't supposed to end like this! It can't!   

And then, feeling like a small, helpless child: I don't want to die.

There was a terrible stillness inside her; the yawning emptiness of defeat.

You have no power over --

Cold, terribly cold lips touched hers, and Sarah's eyes flew open in shock. It was one of the naiads -- firmly holding onto her captive's shoulders and bending her face forward. With the utmost gentleness, she touched her mouth to Sarah's, her white lips meeting Sarah's blue ones. With that kiss, an incredibly delicious feeling spread through Sarah's body -- warmth. Fingers and toes tingled as blood began to flow freely throughout her limbs. And best of all, the intoxicating relief of air.

I don't understand, Sarah thought numbly. Naiads are supposed to drown people... aren't they?

Things are not always what they seem, here. Someone whispered in her memory. So, you can't take anything for granted.

 Lightly, the naiads released their hold on Sarah. Their expressions were unnervingly blank, but their eyes kept a close watch on her as she attempted to resume her escape from the water. Feeling coltish and distinctly clumsy next to their concise movements, Sarah gamely struggled onward, battling the water that reduced her strength so easily. She didn't feel the need to breathe, anymore -- even the water seemed to lose some of its biting chill. 

The naiads themselves stayed close by, sometimes gently guiding her when her determination faltered, but mainly just following close by and letting her strive on her own. Like adults keeping watch on an unruly, stubborn child, Sarah thought wryly. I can deal with that.

She kept sneaking quick glances at them from the corner of her eye. They were truly amazing. Their long, sleek white bodies sliced through the water, dappled with the shifting sunlight that filtered unevenly though the deep waters. Their hair trailed behind them in rippling waves, clouding in a mass or twisting into snake-like strands, depending on their movement -- like a jellyfish's multitude of feelers. And their eyes were breathtaking: huge and dark in their white faces, never blinking, silently intent. 

Unexpectedly, her feet soon began to scrape along the lake's soft bottom, twisting in watery undergrowth. The naiads fell back, watching her for a moment and then diving back into the shadowy depths. Sarah's head broke the surface and she gasped with relief.  Her hands twisted around the slippery weeds, using them as leverage to pull herself out of the water. Choking and spluttering, Sarah heaved herself up onto the bank of the lake.

For a few blessed moments, she just lay there, the water running out of her soaked clothes. She breathed in great gasps, letting the sweet air fill her lungs, reveling in the feeling of oxygen filling her lungs. But then she began to shiver, goosebumps rising on her wet skin when a soft breeze wandered through the trees surrounding her. She struggled to sit upright, using one hand to push the hair that was plastered along her face and neck out of her eyes. Her clothes were absolutely soaked through, even stained here and there with green from the underwater grasses. Blinking to clear her vision, she saw that she was in the middle of a clearing. The lake -- a pool, really, not big enough to be a true lake -- stood roughly in the center. All around her was a dark, heavy forest. It was ominously silent; she heard no birdsong or animals scampering in the undergrowth.

She had no idea where she was, she'd been separated from her friends, and she was an absolute mess.

Great, she thought to herself, just great. Now all that's needed is for Jareth to show up and sneer, and my day will be complete.

She froze. She had seen something out of the corner of her eye -- something that glittered, something of color and light in this place of darkness. With a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach, she turned her head toward it.

His Majesty sat, resplendent in black and silver-grey, on a rock out-cropping that hung over the lake's serene surface. One leg dangled carelessly over the edge, the other was drawn comfortably to his chest as he leaned against a boulder. His white-blonde hair was shot delicately with silver, and his black boots were embroidered with it. His graceful hands were sheathed in black.

He was impeccable and beautiful, and for that alone Sarah was willing to hate him.

But Jareth wasn't looking at Sarah. He was relaxed against the stone wall of the rock behind him, eyes closed. Countenance peculiarly serene, he sat completely still -- as if waiting.

As Sarah watched, a naiad rose up from the shadows of the lake, breaking the surface in a glittering fall of sunlight upon scattered droplets. Muscles taunt under smooth skin, the creature easily scaled up the rock on the lake's edge, hands gripping the crevices. Her skin gleamed, pale and perfect, as she moved confidently towards Jareth. Slick hands reached for him, and he never flinched or opened his eyes, even as she guided his head to face hers. As she kissed him, his own hand traced lightly across her wrist, and then tilted her chin upwards towards his mouth.

Sarah flushed and looked away. She felt strangely uncomfortable, seeing that - as if she had intruded upon some intimate moment. That was all.

I'm not... jealous, she seethed inwardly. Don't be stupid. Angrily she climbed to her feet, acutely away of how close her wet clothes clung to her body. She peeled her shirt away from shivering skin, letting it hang a bit more loosely. Her jeans, completely sodden, hung heavily on her hips, but there wasn't anything she could do about that. And, Sarah realized with rising dismay, her shoes were lost. She was half-tempted to ask one of the naiads to retrieve them for her, but the creatures seemed far too... magnificent, for such a mundane task.

A quick over her shoulder, and she watched as the naiad slipped silently off the rock and disappeared into the lake in a swirl of hair and sunlight. Jareth has still not opened his eyes, and seemed to be content in sunning himself on the rock.

Fine, Sarah thought with a sudden rush of temper. I'll just leave, then. Careful to avoid stepping on any rocks or sticks, she quickly made her way to the edge of the clearing, for all intents and purposes discretely making her escape.

"Without saying goodbye?"

Sarah froze at the sound of that smooth, ironic voice. An involuntary rush of fear went through her, remembering...

("You're trying to tell me that he'll own my soul."

"No. But it will be very much like.")

She shuddered, an icy feeling of panic blossoming in her chest. No. She wouldn't allow that to happen.

Steeling herself, Sarah walked back into the clearing slowly. Jareth was still poised on his rock, eyes still shut beneath the graceful sweep of his eyebrows.

"That was the idea," she replied stonily.

"I'm hurt," Jareth spoke dryly. "Really." Casually opening his eyes, her turned his head in her direction. He blinked. "It's a bit nippy for a swim, I thought." A smiled tugged at the corner of his mouth. "But then you always were an impetuous child."

"I'm not a child, anymore," Sarah snapped.

Jareth's eyes traveled slowly over the length of her body. It wasn't exactly insulting, but it was obvious he wasn't missing a single detail. Sarah flushed again and hated herself for it, crossing her arms over her chest. "No," Jareth murmured, "I can see you're not."


"Oh, come on," Jareth chuckled, swinging his other leg over the edge of the rock in an easy movement. "You set yourself up for that one."

Sarah ignored that. "Is Brian okay?"

A flicker of annoyance passed over Jareth's face. "Oh, he's fine," the Goblin King drawled. "He stood up extremely well to both the rack and the dunking stool. We expect to graduate him to the iron maiden any day, now."

"That wasn't what I meant, and you know it."

"Oh, but it was what you were thinking, my dear. Don't try to hide it." He jumped lightly to the ground, taking a few steps closer. Sarah fought the urge to cringe away. Being this close to him, knowing what was at stake -- it terrified her.

"Your friend is fine," Jareth continued softly. "Do you really think I'd let any serious harm come to him? Honestly, Sarah," he chided.

"I almost came to harm," Sarah replied quietly. "I almost drowned."

Jareth went very still, then gave a careless shrug. "Yes, well. I told you the Labyrinth was different from your last visit, simply because you are different."

"How is this my fault?!" Sarah exploded.

Jareth turned his amused eyes to hers. "Last time you were with us," he said slowly, as if speaking to a very small child, "you were only, what, fifteen? You had no concept of your own mortality. You're older now, and you know that death is a reality. You can die. My Labyrinth has shifted, changed to incorporate this new knowledge." He raised his hands in a defensive gesture ate her glare. "I know what you're thinking, Sarah, but I really had nothing to do with it. It's simply the way things are. Besides, you're no good to me dead." He grinned, sharp teeth peeking from between his thin lips. "The dead don't dream." 

"You lied to me," Sarah said, voice low. "About the dreams."

"I? Lie to you?" Eyes mocking, his gaze never left her face. "You're immaturity is showing, my dear. I did no such thing."

"It's the same thing!" Sarah hissed. "Not telling the whole truth is exactly the same thing."

"Don't be an idiot." He drew himself upright, coldly furious. "We made a bargain. You were the one who plunged headlong into this venture without a second's thought. Do not blame me for your own mistakes. I have shown you nothing but kindness, allowing you to trespass within the domain you once destroyed! And do not think you can twist out of fulfilling our agreement with protestations of ignorance. This is my realm, and while you are in it you will keep your promises!"

Something in Sarah snapped. Since the beginning, she had been living in different degrees of fear. Ever since realizing the stuff of her nightmares for the last three years was, in fact, not mere fantasy, she had been jumping out of her skin and cowering at every shadow. The knowledge about the truth of her bargain with Jareth had nearly finished her off, filling her with a yawning dread as she realized she had sold herself into a kind of slavery. To Jareth, the creature who had stolen her brother, who now threatened the life of her friend. But staring at him now, self-righteous and smugly assured of his eventual victory, that changed. For the first time in what felt like a long time, she wasn't afraid. Sarah was angry.

And so, filled with the kind of confidence only searing fury can bestow, Sarah did the one thing she'd been longing to do since she was fifteen. She lunged forward, and Jareth actually took a step back, as he must have been certain she was going for his throat. But Sarah didn't even try to attack the Goblin King.

Instead, she kissed him.

A Forfeit of Dreams

A Labyrinth Story
by KL Morgan

Part 5 of 15

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