Continuing Tales

Most Prized Possession

A Labyrinth Story
by Jester3

Part 7 of 42

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Most Prized Possession

Jareth snapped his fingers and a small goblin rushed into the room. The tiny creature bowed low at the King's feet as he ordered, "Crag, escort Sarah to her room." The little goblin puffed his chest out with importance before he bowed again and replied, "Right away, your majesty." Sarah got up as the goblin gestured for her to follow him. Once they had left, Jareth went to see about clothes for Sarah and the dinner that would be prepared.

As Sarah followed Crag out into the great hall she began to breathe easier. Just facing the Goblin King again was difficult enough, having to speak with him and answer to him was exhausting. The whole situation made her extremely nervous and kept her on edge. He just exuded the sort of casual confidence that left her feeling weak and exposed.

What arrogance to make her kiss his boots, and how pathetic was she, that she had actually done it? Her face flushed for a moment as the adrenaline rush from her encounter with him finally started to subside.

He absolutely infuriated her, but strangely enough he fascinated her as well. She felt a sort of nervous excitement whenever he was near, leaving her insides in knots. Every time she looked at him she couldn't help but be moved by how strangely beautiful he was, which was so distracting when he made her so angry that she had to keep her defenses up.

God those eyes, she thought to herself...

She shivered, wondering how on earth she was going to survive through dinner.

So far, nothing completely horrendous had befallen her, aside from the humiliation of having to kiss his boots, but no harm had actually come to her, which made her even more wary.

He was planning to take his revenge on her, of that she was certain, she just didn't know exactly when the nightmare that would be his wrath, would begin.

Sarah followed Crag up what seemed like an endless winding staircase. She wasn't sure if he was allowed to talk to her or not, but since Jareth was nowhere in sight she thought she might as well try. "So your name is Crag?"

He glanced sideways at her, "Yeah...that's right." She smiled sweetly, "I'm Sarah."

He nodded his head and squawked, "I know who y'are lady. You're the girly who solved the labyrinth and beat 'is Majesty..." He suddenly looked about as if he expected to be reprimanded before he quietly added, "But we're not 'sposed to talk about that." Sarah nodded in understanding as he added in a whisper, "None of us 'sposed to talk about it. Makes King Jareth frightfully mad."

Sarah looked down at the small goblin as she replied, "I bet it does. Tell me is the King in a bad mood often?"

Crag lead her along a dimly lit corridor as he replied, "Yessir, the King's been on a short fuse for a long time now. Hmmm, 'bout since you won 'is game, but ah, he's been a 'lil better since you came back..."

Crag suddenly stopped as if he'd said too much. Motioning to the door in front of them he remarked, "Ahh 'ere we are. Dis is your room girly..."

Sarah opened the door and peeked in. The room was lit by several wall sconces, and there was a candlestick that was left burning on the lone dresser.

The room was small and austere, having only the barest necessities. There was an unadorned bed on a very plain wooden frame, and a single dresser also made of wood. There was a small wood burning fireplace and a simple dressing screen, and next to it was a small vanity. In one corner of the room there was an ancient looking claw-footed tub that had already been filled with steaming water. Behind it was a wooden stand that held a bowl and pitcher next to a small door, which Sarah guessed had to be the water closet. The room was so unpretentious that she was surprised that Jareth would even have such a room in his castle.

What she found the most intriguing was the large ornately carved door on the other side of the room that seemed terribly out of place in comparison to the modest style of the rest of the room. Sarah quickly walked over to it and asked Crag, "What's in here?"

Crag quickly replied, "His majesty's private chamber."

The blood completely drained from Sarah's face as she nervously inquired, "What?! What does he need a door to my room for?!?"

Sarah plopped herself on the bed, feeling as though she was about to have a panic attack. Crag nervously explained, "Well, you are to be his majesty's personal you need to be nearby."

Sarah held up her hand, "Nevermind...I don't want to know any more."

Crag clamped his beak-like mouth shut and headed out to the hall as he mumbled, "I leave you 'ere, I'll come for you when it's eatin' time."

Sarah flopped back on the bed and called, "Thanks Crag..." After he was gone she added in a whisper, "...for leading me to my doom." The mattress of her bed was crude, seemingly stuffed with feathers, but it was comfortable at least, and although the plumbing left much to be desired, things could have been a lot worse. As modest as the room was, it retained a cozy quality. Maybe staying here wouldn't be so terrible. At the very least she was getting out of her midterms.

Then she reminded herself that Jareth's bedroom was connected to hers by means of a single door, which appeared to have no lock on her side.

Great, just great.

She paced nervously for a while, stopping every time she thought she heard something. Eventually she wore herself out and decided stressing over it wasn't going to help any, so she resolved that she would just have take up the matter with Jareth and find out exactly what he expected of her.

Sarah eyed the tub, thinking that nothing would be better than a nice hot bath, and the water in the tub did look pretty hot. Sarah was torn between her desire to feel the hot cleansing water against her skin and her fear of Jareth storming in. While she would be absolutely horrified if he the aforementioned Goblin King did make an unexpected appearance, she was drawn by the promise of the hot water alleviating her sore limbs.

In the end, her need to feel clean and rejuvenated won out over her fear. She dragged the dressing screen between the door to Jareth's room and her bathtub...just in case. A few moments later Sarah had discarded her clothing on the floor and was washing herself with a form of liquid soap that she had found in a small glass bottle by the tub. As she lathered the stuff on her skin she realized that it smelled like fruit...peaches actually. She shook her head and fumed, the arrogant bastard certainly did enjoy his petty torments.

The tub was quite deep so she reasoned that even if his royal highness decided to show up uninvited, she wouldn't really be all that exposed. She just made quite sure to keep the surface of the water covered with foam.

Meanwhile, in the throne room, Jareth gazed into a perfectly round, flawless crystal orb. As the image of Sarah reclining in her bath came into focus, a slow deliberate grin formed on the monarch's face. The lovely girl's skin was flushed from the heat of the water and her rich dark hair tumbled over her creamy shoulders.

He could scarcely contain his jubilation that he finally had Sarah in his grasp. At long last revenge would be his. The best part was that he had an entire year to toy with her, and his mind was just brimming with ways to humble and humiliate her. As the crystal vanished, he had already made up his mind that he would not wait a moment longer to start tormenting her. He rose from his throne and vanished.

As much as Sarah was enjoying her bath she was hesitant to linger for much longer in the water. She had no idea when Crag was planning to come back for her, and she wanted to be clothed when he arrived. And where the hell were the clothes Jareth said he would provide? Sarah brushed her hair away from her face and sunk down into the water, totally submerging herself.

When she resurfaced she smoothed her drenched hair back away from her face and blinked the water out of her eyes. That's when she heard the sound of something clinking against the stone floor. She looked over the rim of the tub to see a crystal roll out from under the bed. Her eyes widened in fear as the small round object stopped at the edge of the tub. It could mean only one thing. Jareth.

She frantically made an attempt to sink low in the water and cover herself as the Goblin King materialized in a dramatic shower of glitter. She gaped at him, horrified by his sudden and unwelcome appearance. She could tell by his casual stance and his satisfied smirk that he had purposefully chosen to appear at such an inopportune time. Sarah thought to herself, lotta good that dressing screen did...what the hell did he even bother giving me one for?

His eyes raked over her form as a slow sinister smile spread across his face. The fact that he had the gall to stand there gawking, while looking so smug, kindled an angry flame deep within her. Her fierce green eyes challenged his as she spat, "Do you mind?!? I'm taking a bath!"

His mocking grin did not fade as he countered, " you are." Sarah was overcome with debilitating nervousness at his intrusion, but she could not appear shaken. That's what the bastard wants.

Luckily she was a good actress, and she caustically replied, "So what, are you above knocking before you just barge in on someone?"

He chose to ignore her remark as he draped some clothing over her bed and drawled, "I was generous enough to personally bring you some suitable attire. You could at least pretend to be grateful."

Sarah watched with fury as he turned, letting his eyes stray back to the tub again. She sunk lower in the water with her arms crossed over her chest, trying to avoid his inquisitive gaze as she fired back, "Fine I'm grateful, now leave."

Jareth tilted his head to the side, admiring the furious and dripping wet girl that dared speak to him in such defiance. He strode closer, his boots sounding on the stone floor. As he reached the side of the tub he bent down resting a gloved hand against the rim as he leaned over her.

Sarah had never been more terrified in her life. His face hovered dangerously close to hers. She held her breath. She had no idea what he intended to do. His expression and posture oozed casual confidence as he softly replied, "I think you have much to learn Sarah. This is my castle, and as I am King, I will go where I please and do whatever I like. The sooner you accept this, the easier it will be for you."

His eyes lowered to her full pink lips, they had slightly parted in startled surprise. Sarah wracked her brain for some comeback, some cruel insult, but none came, and all she could do was dumbly stare up at him in surprise, praying that he wasn't about to do what she thought he might.

Very slowly, the Goblin King lowered his mouth, his lips only inches from hers. Sarah felt her breath catch in her throat as she stared up into his ethereally beautiful face. His haunting mismatched eyes locked with hers as he breathed, "For now you belong to me Sarah. You'd do well to remember that."

Sarah froze at the terrible realization that some traitorous part of her was longing for him to try and kiss her. It was a sickening feeling, her body at such odds with her head. How was he so adept at making her into such a tangled mess of emotions? Nervousness, anger, fear, and elation seemed to be twisting her guts, and the resulting effect left her weak and disoriented.

Jareth sensed her turmoil and then it happened. He moved his mouth ever so slowly so that his lips were poised right above hers just as his intense eyes locked with hers. To his amazement the girl did not turn away. He was so temped to grind his mouth into hers, but he was determined not to be too impulsive this time. Instead he slowly lowered his lips to hers, stopping so that there was only a hairs breadth between them.

Sarah felt his warm breath drift over her lips. Her mind reeled in panic just as her body begged for the contact. All good sense and reason ordered that she turn her head in defiance, but, unable to act, she remained frozen on the spot.

Sarah closed her eyes as she felt the slightest stirring of air, sure that his lips were about to press against hers. Just that brief moment of anticipation shook her to her core, a jolt of something so powerful that it had caused her heart to suddenly thunder in her ears. Frozen, she waited for it, waited until she truly wanted it.

But the sensation of his lips against hers never came.

It was only a hint, a whisper and a suggestion of a kiss, but with no actual physical contact. Nevertheless, it left Sarah shaken with the possibilities of what a real kiss from him could be. The feeling was torture. She was left in the limbo of disappointment and she hated herself for actually having hoped for it. How could she want to kiss someone whom she loathed so much?

And then as fast as it had happened, it was over. Jareth had suddenly pulled back, his smug smile pitching her back into a fury as he sensually taunted in a voice full of wicked promise, "I shall see you at dinner Sarah."

Before she could even look surprised, the Goblin King disappeared.

Most Prized Possession

A Labyrinth Story
by Jester3

Part 7 of 42

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