Continuing Tales

Most Prized Possession

A Labyrinth Story
by Jester3

Part 9 of 42

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Most Prized Possession

Sarah was tossed from slumber as someone shook her shoulder. The girl buried herself further under the warm blankets and murmured, "Don't wanna go to class Kayla...lemme sleep another half hour." Jareth smiled at her reluctance to get out of bed as he lowered his mouth to her ear and drawled, "I'm not Kayla, and I'm afraid it's not a class that awaits you."

Sarah's eyes snapped open. She knew that voice. Startled, she sat up and flattened herself against the headboard, carefully clutching the blankets to her chest to shield herself from his predatory gaze. She had a look of pure shock and fear on her face, as she was harshly jolted out of dreams and back into reality.

Jareth smirked playfully and settled on the edge of her bed. Sarah stared at him wide eyed as she stammered, "Wha...what are you doing here?" His gaze traveled over the length of the blanket curiously, before returning to her face as he replied, "I've come to wake you. There is much to be done."

Sarah took a deep breath, so this was how things were to be. Sarah regarded him as she quipped, "Well I guess you wouldn't be you, if you knocked before barging into my room."

Jareth nonchalantly replied, "You'd best get used to it Sarah. I'm being lenient, as it is your first day. From now on it will be you who will report to me first thing in the morning."

Sarah crossed her arms over her chest and retorted incredulously, "Oh really?"

Jareth's eyes settled on hers as he replied sternly, "Yes...really. Next time a few of my goblins will see to it that you are out of bed at the appropriate time. You should be grateful that I've decided to fetch you this morning, as goblins are not very discreet nor merciful when it comes to getting one out of bed."

Jareth grinned sadistically as he gripped the blankets and yanked them off of her and sneered, "Now get dressed and meet me in my chambers."

Sarah swallowed anxiously as his eyes skimmed over the thin chemise. His mouth curved into the slightest hint of a devilish smile as he disappeared in a flourish of glitter.

Sarah let out a deep shaky breath before got out of bed and paid the water closet a much needed visit.

She had just come back into her room when there was an insistent knock at her door. Sarah shook her head and mumbled, "What now?" as she padded over to the door. She opened the heavy wooden door to see Crag and another goblin standing outside. The other goblin had an armful of folded garments and Crag was carrying a basket with some bread and fruit and what looked like a wineskin. The other goblin didn't so much as wait for Sarah to invite them in, as he rushed past her and tossed the clothes on her bed with a huff of exhaustion.

Crag simply nodded, "Morning Sarah, we brought you some more clothes...oh and here's some breakfast for ya." Sarah smiled politely and replied, "Thanks Crag." She quickly noticed that there were several outfits that they had brought her, from a simple yet elegant dress, to more blouses and skirts, to what looked like a coarse jumper with a white apron and a kerchief.

Crag set the basket of food on her bureau as he replied, "I'd hurry and get dressed if I were you...King's been rather impatient this morning."

Sarah considered his comment and muttered under her breath, "So I've noticed..." She then looked at the goblin and asked, "Do you have any idea what he has in store for me today."

Crag smiled as the other goblin was unsuccessfully stifling his raucous laughter. Finally Crag taunted in his nasal toned voice "I might have an idea...but I'm not supposed to tell ya."

Sarah demanded in a disappointed tone, "Why not?"

Crag gave the other goblin a sharp look as he stammered, "King's orders...but if I were you, I'd plan on getting dirty."

Sarah sighed heavily as the two goblins burst into maniacal laughter just before they disappeared down the hall. Sarah decided against taking a bath if she was going to be getting filthy. Instead, she quickly freshened up using the pitcher and basin and dressed in the simple coarse tan jumper with the apron before she smoothed her hair back under the kerchief.

When she was fully dressed she knocked on Jareth's door, although she was temped to just storm in, as he had done to her. Strangely, the door simply opened of its own accord and she peered into the room. His bedchamber was immense and it was rather dimly lit, and to her relief Jareth was nowhere to be found. Perhaps he had just left her a note with some instructions.

The first thing she noticed was the huge four-poster bed. It was carved out of a very dark rich wood. The bed was a virtual sea of black and wine colored satin linens and throw pillows. The headboard was a magnificent work of art in itself. There were three-dimensional carvings that seamed to reach out from the very wood...figures depicting various goblin-like creatures.

There was a gaping black marble fireplace and carved into the very stone of the floor was a large basin of a bath and it was teeming with steaming water. Sarah also noticed the great balcony. The heavy maroon velvet drapes were pulled back, slightly rustling in the morning breeze, so Sarah could see the labyrinth extending out for miles.

Sarah let her eyes take in the splendor of his extravagant chamber. She noticed a giant gilded mirror that extended from the floor to the ceiling was positioned across from the magnificent bed. She scoffed at the sight. It didn't surprise her that he would be vain, considering the giant ego he toted around with him. Sarah took a step closer to the bed and without really thinking about it she let her fingertips drift over the silky fabric.

To her surprise, Jareth suddenly materialized right behind her, his warm breath fell on her neck as he purred, "I see you've made yourself at home." Sarah jumped and she pulled her hand back as though she had been burned. She whirled to face him and her eyes flashed angrily as she snapped, "Must you sneak up on me all the time? This place is creepy enough without you stalking about like that."

Jareth smiled in seeming satisfaction as he drew back away from her and took in her appearance. She was dressed for hard work. Apparently Crag had let his plans slip, at least partially. He pursed his lips and began, "I'm glad that you finally decided to show up...There are some pressing matters I need you to take care of." Sarah couldn't help but feel uneasy as her eyes drifted back to the steaming bathing basin. Her mind frantically noted, "This had better not involve him and that bath!!!!"

Jareth noticed that her attention was focused on his bathtub and he remarked, "Ah so you've noticed the bath. Nice isn't it? There are heated rocks beneath that always keep the water hot and the water is constantly replenished by a magic font."

Sarah shook her head as if to clear it, and forced herself to look at him, "Great...whatever. Would you mind explaining what I'm supposed to do?"

Jareth smiled and replied, "Ah yes...Well it seems I have a chore for you. It's rather simple really...just a bit of manual labor." Sarah, secretly relieved that he hadn't mentioned anything about bathing, wondered what he might possibly ask of her instead. Sarcastically she remarked, "Let me want me to sweep out all the chimneys in the castle, or no want me to dredge the bog of eternal stench perhaps?"

Jareth chuckled and replied, "No, as entertaining as it might be to watch you do such chores, what I have in mind isn't quite so tedious."

Sarah crossed her arms and replied, "Why don't you enlighten me then."

Jareth replied, "Very well, you will tidy up the throne room."

Sarah remembered with horror at how messy that place was with all the goblins and live chickens running around. The word pig-sty came to mind. She shrugged and said in a voice that dripped with disdain, "Oh, is that all?"

Jareth gestured for her to follow and soon she found herself standing in the entrance to the great throne room. She scanned the room with obvious displeasure.

This place wasn't a was much, much worse. It was definitely far more trashed than she had remembered, and she found herself gaping, "What the hell happened in here?"

Jareth crossed his arms also surveying the room with distaste as he replied, "I'm afraid the Goblins were reveling in here all night." Sarah looked on in horror to see a few goblins still passed out by an empty ale barrel. There were empty pewter casks and flagons littering the floor. Ale had been spilled just about everywhere, and chicken feathers seemed to coat just about everything.

Jareth shot her an irritated look as he remarked, "They tend to get a little carried away when it comes to their night-time celebrations."

Sarah's brow shot up in surprise as she replied, "You're not kidding. This place is...TRASHED! It looks like a frat house after finals."

She followed him into the room as he glanced about in disgust. He sighed deeply and paused to swat an apple core off the seat of his throne as he said in a voice that was a little too cool and measured, "I can no longer allow this to become a regular occurrence."

Sarah continued to gawk in surprise, as she muttered absently, "No, not unless you plan on starting up an underground chapter of alcoholics anonymous."

Jareth shot her a stern look as he indicated a pile of cleaning supplies in the corner, "Leave the goblins to me. I shall deal with them accordingly. Just do whatever you can to make this place resemble a functional throne room again. Now if you'll excuse me, there are few goblins that must be drop kicked into the bog."

Sarah watched as he disappeared, leaving glitter raining down on the floor. Sarah sighed and eyed the glitter as she reached for the broom and sighed, "Thanks for adding to the mess Jareth."

Sarah had swept half of the floor when she remembered the inebriated goblins passed out by the ale barrels. She set the broom down and approached the pile of empty ale kegs. She shook one goblin and hissed, "Hey you'd better wake up and get out of here before Jareth comes back." At the mere mention of his name the first goblin groaned and climbed to his feet, seemingly in a hurry to make himself scarce. Sarah managed to pull the other two to their feet.

They seemed rather disoriented and as one of them tried to speak he pitched forward and puked on the floor right in front of her. Upon seeing what he had done, the goblin immediately cowered as though he expected Sarah to punish him. Sarah gave a deep sigh before she helped the goblin back up, "You ok?" The goblin looked a bit green as he weakly replied, "I'll be fine...ugh too much ale."

Sarah nodded, "Yeah no kidding, maybe you should cool it next time...and drink a little water before you pass out." The goblin gave her a surprised but weak toothy grin as though her mercy and good advice were a rare find. She couldn't help it, she was after all, a college student, and she had done her fair share of over indulging on occasion. She asked the other goblin to point her to the kitchen as she grabbed an empty bucket.

A few hours later Jareth was seated in his study. He gazed into a crystal and was pleasantly surprised that his throne room was looking cleaner than it ever had before. He couldn't help but smile as he watched the young girl on all fours, scrubbing the floor with a brush as he whispered, "Well done Sarah."

Most Prized Possession

A Labyrinth Story
by Jester3

Part 9 of 42

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