Continuing Tales

Most Prized Possession

A Labyrinth Story
by Jester3

Part 5 of 42

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Most Prized Possession

When Sarah came to she was lying on her side. The first thing she realized was that Jareth was no longer holding her. Next, she realized that her surroundings smelled musty and she was laying in something prickly. Her eyes snapped open and she struggled to get up. It was a dank dim place, lit only by scarce candlelight. She glanced around and found herself in a small cell complete with rusty bars to keep her in. The filthy floor was covered in straw, which was not pleasant on her bare feet.

To her relief she discovered that she was at least alone in the cell, but she still had no idea where she was. She noticed a tiny slit window high in the stone of the wall. If she stood on her tip-toes she could just barely see out. I looked to be the goblin city. She concluded that she had to be somewhere in the bowels of the castle, the dungeons, no doubt.

How fitting.

She certainly wasn't expecting her time here to be a party, in fact she was fairly certain that Jareth planned on making the next year of her life as miserable as possible. Considering the alternatives, being alone in a dungeon cell wasn't the worst thing that could happen to her.

She could have woken up in Jareth's bed. She shook her head banishing the thought as quickly as it came, but with it other possibilities occurred to her. What was to stop the Goblin king from dragging her into his bed, if he so chose, even if just to demonstrate his power over her. She knew he was a rat, but would he sink that low? In truth she knew almost nothing about him, perhaps that was what intimidated her most...that as her adversary he remained a mystery. Though it was intimidating, she couldn't deny that it held a certain amount of allure as well.

From day one Jareth had both excited and terrified her. Although she'd never admit it to his face, he did seem to embody all that she found enticing, physically at least...but he was so cold. Terrifyingly manipulative and confident, and she assumed that he was most likely possessive as well.

There was no doubt in her mind that Jareth harbored much resentment towards her for besting his labyrinth. In fact, she was pretty sure this whole situation was some plot of revenge that he had concocted. She supposed she couldn't really expect otherwise from him, but it didn't exactly please her that she would be stuck in this drafty rat-trap for a year just because the almighty Goblin King was a sore loser.

Sarah dusted herself off and as she did she was reminded that she was wearing what she normally wore to bed. She felt a chill seep into her bones, as the dungeon was drafty and damp. She rubbed her arms with her hands as she hugged herself for warmth. She stepped close to the bars, peering out to see the rest of the dungeon. She noticed many other cells, but they were all empty. The place was lit by sconces on the walls except for the corner to the left of her cell.

And that's when she saw him.

Jareth stood in the corner just on the other side of the bars on the edge of her cell. He was leaning against the wall with one foot propped up against the wall behind him. His arms were crossed over his chest and a predatory smile graced his lips as he watched her startled reaction from the shadows. She had nearly jumped out of her skin when she noticed him.

She covered her mouth as she caught her breath, "You really shouldn't sneak up on people like nearly gave me a heart attack." He merely smiled as he pushed off the wall and strode up to the bars. Sarah dropped her eyes to the filthy floor as she thought that he must be just bursting with joy to see her locked in this tiny cell, freezing, and barely clothed.

Jareth grasped the bar with one hand as he rested his chin on a cross bar. He looked down at her and asked, "So what do you think of your new home?" Sarah felt the urge to cry again but why give the pompous ass the satisfaction? She finally shrugged and replied, "I guess this is about what I had expected...still...I suppose it could be much worse."

Jareth smiled, seemly satisfied with her answer, "I'm glad you think so. But I assure you...these accommodations are only temporary."

Sarah scowled, "Is that a good thing or a bad thing?"

Jareth smirked as he overtly let his eyes wander over her body, "I'm not sure, but you'll be able to make up your own mind soon enough." With that he turned away from her to leave.

With a surge of anger Sarah spat, "Well try not to make it too long, It's damn freezing down here."

Jareth stopped at her caustic remark just long enough to glance over his shoulder at her and reply, "Yes, so I've noticed."

Before Sarah could fire another comment back, Jareth simply walked away. And with a snap of his fingers a blanket appeared about a very shaken and angry girl's shoulders.

Sarah had no idea how long she had been sleeping when the two goblin guards appeared at the door of her cell. The large ring of oversized keys clanked loudly and the rusty hinges of the door groaned, jolting the sleeping girl into awareness. The larger of the two goblins was dressed in full body armor and he none too gently prodded her with the blunt end of his spear as he announced, "On your feet there girly, his majesty wants a word with you."

Sarah groggily managed to climb to her hands and knees before she slowly got up and stretched. Her back and shoulders ached from sleeping on such an uncomfortable surface and her knees were sore from her previous fall in her dorm room. At least Jareth had provided her with a blanket so that she wouldn't freeze but she guessed that had only been so that she wouldn't die of pneumonia.

"Can't annoy someone when they are dead", she thought begrudgingly.

Once she was standing, the guards quickly grabbed her hands and tied her wrists together behind her back with crude rope. Sarah glanced over her shoulder at the short stocky goblins and demanded in an annoyed tone, "Is that really necessary?" The goblin just grunted irritably and gave her a hard shove, her cue to start walking.

The goblins led her down a dark and narrow stone passage and then dragged her up a huge spiraling stone staircase. Just when Sarah was sure she would collapse from exhaustion, they shoved her out into a wide hall with vast high ceilings. To her left she recognized the large ornately carved oak doors. She was fairly certain she was about to be brought into the throne room.

Her captors pushed her forward and one of them tapped on the door with the butt of his spear. The doors swung open and Sarah was forced inside. Sarah struggled slightly as the goblins grasped her upper arms tightly and forced her forward. Sarah's limp hair hung in her flushed face as the goblins brought her before their king.

Scores of goblins were running about, engaged in all sorts of disturbing displays of mischief. Directly in front of her in the middle of it all, sat Jareth on his throne, like the calm in the middle of a storm. As they neared him, the goblins tightened their grip, forcing her closer to the throne. Sarah twisted her shoulders violently and snapped, "I'm going, I'm going...Get your filthy little hands off me!" During the commotion Sarah had also managed to flash an angry glare at the Goblin King.

Jareth couldn't help but be amused by her show of defiance. So the hot-tempered side of her personality had prevailed over all these years. The goblins lost their grip on her but only for a moment as more goblin guards quickly rushed forth to help subdue her.

Many pairs of rough little hands forced her to her knees as she heard a goblin voice hiss, "On yer knees before his majesty, if yer know whats good for ya." Sarah continued to try and shrug them off but the sheer number of them overpowered her, and she was finally forced to kneel before Jareth.

Jareth rose, noticing that Sarah's face was flushed and she was breathing heavily as a result of her struggles. Her expression was fierce and he had to admit that she was rather beautiful when she was angry. As Jareth stood at his full height the goblins fell silent as he stated, "Leave us."

A burly goblin stammered in protest, "B...But your majesty..." Jareth grew irritated, and barked, "Out, all of you! Now!" Terrified goblins flew in all directions and in less than a second the room was empty. For a moment Jareth said nothing as he regarded the girl who was now kneeling before him.

Sarah was tempted to rise out of sheer disrespect, but her knees hurt, and her neck and shoulders were also sore, so she decided it was wiser to conserve her energy and stay put. She silently stared at his boots. They were by far much less intimidating than his face.

After a moment of silence she grew uneasy. Why wasn't he getting on with it? Then an idea struck Sarah. He enjoyed making her uncomfortable, and he was biding his time so he could watch her squirm. That would be just like him to draw out her uncomfortable misery for as long as possible before he would reveal whatever miserable plan he had in store for her.

The thought of such nerve infuriated her. Well she wouldn't give him the satisfaction of knowing that she was intimidated. Bravely, she glanced up at him. She would have loved nothing more than to smack that arrogant smirk right off his face. Finally, no longer able to endure his silence and scrutiny, she spat, "I realize that I beat you last time, but come on! Are the ropes really necessary?"

Most Prized Possession

A Labyrinth Story
by Jester3

Part 5 of 42

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