Continuing Tales

Please Come Home

A Labyrinth Story
by Ying-Fa-dono

Part 16 of 20

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Please Come Home

Sarah was completely trapped. Through the bars of the swinging cage, she looked around the caravan. There was a bed in one corner next to a few shelves that were full of strange things like plants and parts of animals in jars. Other than her cage, there were half plucked turkeys and dead snakes hanging from hooks on the ceiling of the caravan.

Sarah curled up in her cage. She wasn't used to this new body and she didn't like it. Moving with four paws was very hard for someone who had spent their whole life on two legs. Her eyes and ears seemed to be sharper than usual, which would have been exciting if she could have seen more than pickled rat guts and heard more than Limstella humming tunelessly in Sarah's own voice.

Before long, the caravan came to an abrupt halt. Sarah's cage swung forward and she was tossed painfully into the wall. She heard Limstella hop lightly out of the driver's seat and walk away. They must have reached the Shadow Temple. Sarah's insides writhed in misery. The Goblin King lay dying in that Temple and if Limstella found him, she'd trick him using her face and he'd be trapped in a false love forever. He'd think he'd be with Sarah, but all there would really be is Limstella.

I can't tell what's worse, Sarah thought. The Goblin King living a false existence for all eternity, or for him to die. Oh, I don't think I can bear it if he died. If he dies, it's my fault. It was me saying those words that did it to him. I was the one who made him sick. It's my fault. My fault! I can't stand it. I can't live with it. If he died then I'd . . . I'd be a MURDERER!

Sarah let out a scream of misery that came out as a piercing cat's shriek. She was so close to her goal. She was so close to him. She was only a few feet away and yet they were miles apart at the same time. She couldn't get out of this cage and she couldn't get herself back to her original form. She was completely stuck. Her friends were gone, the Goblin King was dying, she'd lost contact with Rin when she lost the pouch, and there was nobody else who could help her.

She'd failed. She'd come so far and tried so hard and she failed. The clock had struck thirteen. It was all over.

It's hopeless, Sarah thought, miserably. I can't do anything right, can I? It's impossible.

"Sometimes, the impossible is more possible than it seems."

Sarah raised her head and gave a meow of surprise. You!


Limstella walked up the steps leading up to the doors of the Shadow Temple. She felt rather uncomfortable. The human girl was smaller than she was and it was difficult to maneuver her tiny body around. Nevertheless, Limstella walked onward. She reached the doors and opened them.

Inside was the Hall of Remorse, a room filled with stone replicas of all the Fae that had passed away in this Temple. She looked around at the statues. None of them looked like Jareth, but that wasn't saying much. He could be on death's door, for all she knew. Suddenly, the stone faces all turned to face her.

"Why have you entered this place? What is your purpose here?"

"An unnecessary death is about to take place here," said Limstella. "I wish to have the life of Jareth the Goblin King and Lord of the Labyrinth spared."

"Jareth the Goblin King and Lord of the Labyrinth is here," announced the voice of the Temple's spirits. "Enter, but tread cautiously. The peace of the Shadow Temple must not be disturbed."

Two more doors at the end of the Hall of Remorse opened, leading to the rest of the Temple. Limstella groaned when she saw what was in front of here. There were endless doors and passages and several many ways to go.

Just what I need, Limstella grumbled. Another chance to get lost. Oh well. I won't get anywhere if I just stand here. A shame Ena didn't come too. I could use her help.

And so the Fae Witch, masquerading as Sarah, began her wanderings through the Shadow Temple.


Sarah stared in utter amazement at the Wise Man. He looked just as he had when Sarah had first met him in the labyrinth. Short and wrinkled, long beard and mustache, pale eyes, tattered clothes, long fingers, and his talking hat.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa," said the Hat. "You sure got yourself into a pickle there, didn't cha?"

The Hat used its beak and pecked at the lock on Sarah's cage. The door swung forward and she leapt out joyfully. Sarah landed painlessly on her four paws and hurried over to her clothes, which Limstella had thrown carelessly onto the floor.

"If you'll stay still, my dear," said the Wise Man. "I shall undo that dreadful spell upon you." The Wise Man pointed one of his long fingers at Sarah. At once, her clothes flew around her securely in a kind of cocoon. She felt herself begin to grow. Her paws turning back into hands and feet, her fur shrinking back into her and becoming bear skin, her cat's fangs returned to human teeth and her cat ears, whiskers, and tail all vanished.

Sarah looked down at herself, clothed and completely returned to normal. "That was incredible," she said. "Thank you so much. How on earth did you find me here?"

"Eh?" said the Wise Man. "Oh, yes, um. Little Labyrinth told me where to go."

"Labyrinth? Oh, you mean Rin."

"Oh, yes, um. You see, young lady, she was most frightened when she lost contact with you and I came to see what had become of you on her behalf."

Sarah stared. "But, I thought Rin only talked to the Goblin King."

"Normally she does," said the Wise Man. "But she also speaks to me. I am, after all, the Goblin King's most trusted advisor, aren't I?"

Sarah gaped at the Wise Man, realization hitting her with enough force to knock over a cart horse. "It's you, isn't it? You're the Prophet of the Labyrinth!"

"Ding! Ding! Ding!" cried the Hat. "Give the girl a prize!"

"But," said Sarah. "Hoggle said . . ."

"What?" said the Wise Man. "Oh, yes, um. Your friend from before? Oh, he wouldn't know about my being the Prophet. His Majesty and Labyrinth are the only ones who know me as the Prophet, my dear. To everyone else, I am nothing more than a simple Wise Man. It is quite a straining thing, you know, being a Prophet. Everyone asks you for power and prophesy about every little thing. As a Wise Man, I can simply give out useful advice and everyone is happy."

"Ha!" said the Hat. "Useful? Who do you think you're foolin'? I hear the things you say to others and it's just a bunch of crap!"

"Will you please be quiet!" bellowed the Wise Man, glaring up at his Hat.

"Fine, fine," grumbled the Hat.

The Wise Man glared at his Hat for a little bit longer, then sighed and smiled at Sarah. "You must be swift, young woman. The Goblin King is in need of you. His life dwindles away quickly. If you are to save him, then you must go to the Shadow Temple and find him."

Sarah lowered her gaze. "I . . . I don't know if I can," she said, sadly. "I mean, do I have that right? I made him sick in the first place. What if I do go and see him? He'll probably be furious at me. He'd wonder how I got the gall to come to see him at a time like this."

"But you do not know how he will react," said the Wise Man. "I'll bet that he will be very, very pleased to see you."

"How can you know that?" Sarah asked, becoming tearful again.

"'But what no one knew,'" said the Wise Man. "'Was that the King of the Goblins had fallen in love with the girl, and he'd given her certain powers. So, one night, when she was tired from a day of housework and she was hurt by the harsh words of her stepmother, and she could no longer stand it . . .'"

Sarah stared at the Wise Man. "The story?" she said, in astonishment. "You know about it?"

The Wise Man smiled and reached into his tattered robe. From within it, he pulled out a small red book.

"The Labyrinth!" cried Sarah. "My book! But, how . . .?"

"It is also mine," said the Wise Man, simply. "I had His Majesty give you this book when you were a little child. I had him give it to you because you needed to have it. This is no ordinary bedtime story, young lady. This is a prophesy. My prophesy. This is the record of what I knew would happen between you and his Majesty when he came to whisk your infant brother away when you requested he do so."

"You knew?" Sarah asked in amazement. "You knew what would happen? Even when I met you the first time, you knew what my being there meant. Oh, why didn't you tell me! Why didn't you let me know what my words would do to him?"

"All I can do is see the future," said the Wise Man. "I have no power to change or alter it. In the prophesy, it was my duty to give you advice and accept your contribution, and so I did. Besides, I gave you the advice you needed."

"You did?"

"The way forward is sometimes the way back," said the Wise Man. "Don't you remember? This is what I meant when I gave you that advice. I wasn't talking about solving the labyrinth; I was talking about now, with the Goblin King's fate in your hands."

"I'm not sure I follow," Sarah admitted.

"You've tried moving forward after your adventure in the labyrinth, didn't you?" said the Wise Man. "You tried to grow and blend into your surroundings of the Aboveground, but you couldn't do it. You kept going back to your time in the Underground, where you felt truly happy and at home."

Sarah marveled at what he was saying. "You're right," she said. "I tried to forget about the labyrinth and move on, but I couldn't. I took a step back. I came back to this place and now I finally feel like I'm moving forward. I feel like I'm actually getting somewhere. I have a purpose now. To go forward, I had to go back."

"Well, well, then," said the Hat. "I guess it wasn't such crap after all."

"But, what do I do now?" Sarah asked. "Where do I go from here?"

The Wise Man closed his eyes thoughtfully. Both Sarah and the Hat stared at him intently. "I see," said the Wise Man, slowly. He let out a deep breath then looked back at Sarah. "Nothing."

"Nothing!" Sarah protested.

"I knew he had nothin'," said the Hat, dully.

"Fate is far too clouded in the situation, my dear," said the Wise Man. "Because you are too clouded. Your mind and heart are conflicting with each other. But he hasn't the time. If Limstella reached the Goblin King, then his life is over."

"What?" Sarah asked in horror.

"It took six words to break the heart of the Goblin King," said the Wise Man. "It only takes half that many to save him. But they must be meant. Limstella will not mean the words if she says them to him. If he hears false words, his already shattered heart will not be able to bear it."

Sarah stared at the Wise Man with tearing eyes. He smiled benignly at her and patted her hand in a grandfatherly way. "Search your heart, my dear. Do you have any affection for the Goblin King? Any at all?"

She closed her streaming eyes. As the tears slid down her cheeks, she thought long and hard about how she felt. She was battling inside herself, unable to come to a conclusion.

He took Toby. I asked him to. He made me run the labyrinth. And I loved every second of it. He's mean and cold. He's not a bad person; I just made him out that way. What would he want with me? But after everything he's done for me, I've seen it for myself. He cares for me. He . . . we aren't even from the same world. Haven't I already decided that this is my home? He . . . he . . . he . . . I . . . I can't bear it if he dies. I . . . I . . .

"Y-y-yes," sobbed Sarah, her shoulders shaking and her eyes streaming. "I d-d-d-do. I really, really do."

"Then that is all you need," said the Wise Man, kindly. "Now, listen to me now, my dear. The Shadow Temple should let you in when it sees that your intentions are good and your heart is pure. You must hurry to the Goblin King and tell him what you know you must tell him."

"O-okay," said Sarah, whipping her eyes. "But Limstella's already in there. She'll find him first."

"Limstella? Ha!" cried the Hat. "There's no way she'd be able to navigate through the Shadow Temple. That place is huge and everyone knows she can't find her way out of a potato sack."

"But then, how will I get there?" said Sarah. "What if I get lost?"

The Wise Man reached back into his cloak and pulled out his little contribution box. He turned it upside down and wriggled it around a bit. Out of it fell a small, shiny ring.

"My ring," Sarah realized. "The one I gave you last time."

"Oh, yes, um," said the Wise Man. "But now it is a piece of the labyrinth, since you gave it to me. Wear this, and you will be guided right to His Majesty's side."

Sarah took the ring. It used to fit on her right hand ring finger, but her hands had grown since then and now it was too tight. She slid it onto her pinky. It stayed, but it was very loose.

"While the box is out," said the Hat. "Please feel free to leave another contribution."

Sarah looked around for something to contribute. She looked down at her shirt and noticed that the buttons on it were had a pretty pearl sheen to it. She took the one at the very bottom of her blouse, plucked it off, and dropped it into the box.

"Mochas gracias," said the Hat.

"You're welcome," said Sarah. "But, tell me, what will happen if I'm too late? What if I meet Limstella? She'll kill me if she sees me in there."

The Wise Man didn't answer.

"Excuse me?" said Sarah. "Wise Man? Prophet?"

"Zzzzzzzz," snored the Wise Man.

"Um, I'm afraid that's your lot, little lady," said the Hat. "See ya!"

And just like that, the Wise Man and his Hat vanished from before her.

Sarah didn't waste any more time. She burst out of the caravan and gazed up at the massive building before her. The Shadow Temple loomed darkly over her, but she wasn't about to hesitate. There was no more room for hesitation.

Wendy gave up Neverland.

Sarah rushed passed the Heliopathic horses, who tossed their heads in alarm as she ran.

Alice gave up Wonderland. Dorothy gave up Oz.

She ran up the stairs leading up to the heavy doors, which she pushed open using all the power she possessed.

But I'm not giving up the Underground! I'm not giving him up! Please, Goblin King, wait for me! I'm coming, and when I get there . . . I'll tell you what it is I need to say.

Sarah rushed through the doors of the Temple and gasped at the sight of the beautiful and sorrowful looking statues that suddenly surrounded her. They all seemed so blissful but they scared her somehow. As the doors closed behind her, the stone faces turned to her.

"Why have you entered this place? What is your purpose here?"

"The Goblin King is here," said Sarah. "I've come to see him. I need to talk to him. Please, let me see him.

"Name yourself, stranger. Mind you answer correctly, those of the Shadow Temple do not allow for liars."

"My name is Sarah Williams," Sarah answered. "I am a human from the Aboveground."

"The Goblin King and Lord of the Labyrinth has commanded that he be undisturbed by anyone. His spell has forbidden unwanted visitors from reaching him. Only one may go to him, and they have already come in here."

"Please," Sarah begged. "I have to go to him, I just have to. I need to talk to him. He'll die if I don't."

There was suddenly a roar of sound and Sarah was surrounded by darkness. She felt like her entire body was being pressed in on. It was as if she was being squeezed out of a tube of toothpaste. The Temple was fighting against her, but she refused to submit.

"I don't care what you say," Sarah screamed into the dark and the terrible pressure. "I have to see him. I will see him. I must!"

Just as suddenly as it had started, it was gone. Light and relief from the pressure came back and Sarah let out a breath of relief.

"Your determination and will power have proved you worthy," said the voice. "For these reasons, you may enter this temple. But be warned, Sarah Williams of the Aboveground, tread cautiously. The peace of the Shadow Temple must not be disturbed."

Two doors at the end of the hall opened. Sarah sighed in happiness. "Thank you," she said to the room at large and she rushed through the doors.

Hang on, Goblin King, I'm coming for you. Don't die on me. I won't be a murderer. Hold on.

Please Come Home

A Labyrinth Story
by Ying-Fa-dono

Part 16 of 20

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