Continuing Tales

The Debt

A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 5 of 24

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The Debt

All the King's Horses...

Morning came quickly, much quicker then she would have expected. Metta was tapping at her door and she allowed her to come in.

"Good morning Lady Sarah." She balanced a silver tray that Sarah expected to once again hold peaches. But to her surprise there were no peaches but a waffle covered with strawberries a glass of milk, bacon and scrambled eggs. Metta smiled as Sarah's face lit up. "You are in a fine mood this morning."

"I ate last night and you just brought me something that made me very happy." Metta set the tray on the table and Sarah reached eagerly for it.

"His highness hoped that you would enjoy this food." Metta said with a smile. Sarah stopped the fork full of food from reaching her mouth. "I've noticed that he is trying very hard to please you, Lady Sarah." Metta was beaming as if this was the most wonderful thing.

Sarah let the fork she held fall back to the tray. "Tell me Metta, how long have you served the Goblin King?"

"7 years now."

"How did you come into his service?"

"My family and I were driven from our home by a terrible fire. His Highness was kind to offer us a place to stay. We served him as thanks. He has been very kind to us." So the Goblin King had been truthful with her.

"But yet you fear him?"

"Who doesn't? He is the King and he should be feared."

"So it's been seven years now and he must have decided that you would work for him permanently."

"No, we are free to leave at anytime but why go into the cold cruel underground when you can live in a castle, and eat good food?"

"He lets others leave if they wish, yet he won't yield to my wishes."

"His Highness is very fond of you Lady Sarah."

"If he's fond of me then he should let me go home."

"After you are finished with breakfast, His Highness wishes to show you something. He thought of something that would put you at ease."

"yeah whatever. I'll be ready in a little while."

"His highness asks that you do not wear a dress Lady Sarah. He had me bring these clothes for you. There are shoes here beside the bed that should accompany the clothing." She placed a small package on the edge of the bed before bowing and leaving the room.

Sarah glanced at the package and then went back to her meal. Finally curiosity got the better of her and she carefully opened the package. It had been wrapped in brown paper with some sort of twine.

"No, no way!" she said as she held up one of the articles of clothing.

Nearly and hour later Metta led her to Jareth's throne room. Despite having the castle rebuilt, the throne room looked nearly identical. Goblins were running about everywhere. Two were chasing a chicken around the room. She didn't see Jareth sitting in his throne as she expected. She watched one Goblin chase the chicken and it ran right into the back of a black boot. Jareth's boot. He was standing at a window looking out over his Kingdom.

"Incompetent little-" he started but saw Sarah standing in the room.

"Ah, you've decided to wear the clothing I had sent to you."

"Could you possibly be any more conceited? What is the purpose of dressing to look like you?" The Goblin King flicked back his wild blond mane and took in her appearance. She wore a white blouse carefully tucked into skin tight tan pants that were tucked into knee high black boots. She felt uncomfortable as his mismatched eyes roamed over her like an animal looking at its prey. He broke his careful examination of her and pulled at his black gloves.

"I suppose I should have been cruel as you still expect me to be. I should have let you ride in a dress."

She opened her mouth to say something but he was walking away down a hall. She quickly followed. The sound of the noisy goblins died down as they moved further from the throne room and all that could be heard was the sound their boots clicking the cold stone floors. Sarah was tempted to ask all the questions that were flashing through her mind but she didn't as they turned a corner and walked outside. It was a beautiful day. Warm and comfortable with a slight breeze.

"Where are we going?" She finally asked. They had started walking down a path and she felt a little fear at being led away from the castle alone with him through a section of woods.

"You'll see." A short walk later the woods opened to a large meadow. There was a stone building and a smell that she recognized from aboveground. Jareth strode into the building and was instantly greeted by tall young man. The young man acknowledged Sarah a moment later with a nod and she felt herself blush. He was very handsome and he appeared to be human. He disappeared for a moment and then came back with something that made Sarah nearly squeal with delight. Walking slowly behind him was a beautiful bay horse. The horse had been saddled in an English saddle and the man tied her in cross ties before again disappearing. She expected to see another horse be brought out, but the man never returned.

Jareth turned to watch the surprise and joy consume Sarah's features. "Well don't just stand there." She cautiously walked forward and let her hand touch the horse's neck. The fur was soft like velvet. "There are some trails surrounding the stable that I'm sure you will enjoy. It's just spring around these parts and the flowers are blooming."

Sarah glanced down at her attire and suddenly realized what the outfit had been for. She was going riding. Jareth pulled down the stirrups and untied the horse, tossing the reins over the animal's neck. Sarah could only watch. He did everything with that mocking arrogance, she noticed. He turned to her and offered her a leg up which she took and she swung herself onto the horse's back. Jareth gave her an amused but cocky look as she settled herself.

"You knew I liked to ride didn't you?" She couldn't keep the joy out of her voice. This was a great gift even if it was from the Goblin King.

"Well you did work at a stable for 2 years just to ride these creatures. And you needed to get out of the castle and get some fresh air." She was suddenly touched by this strange concern it was uncharacteristic of him. "Besides, I have a Kingdom to run and I'm not going to be bothered with what to do with you while I have urgent matters to attend." He stood with his hands on his hips, that smug look ever present.

Nothing was ever nice about him or generous. She should have known that much. "I take it that you aren't riding with me." She failed to keep, was that disappointment in her voice?

"Very astute of you, Sarah." And with that he left the stable without looking back.

"Bastard." She cursed. She turned her attention the horse beneath her that pawed at the cobblestone floor "Ok ok, let's go for a ride. I feel bad. I don't even know your name."

"She doesn't have one." Sarah looked up to see the man who had brought the horse out.

"Doesn't have a name? But everyone has a name."

"The King doesn't name his horses, well 'cept for his favorite." The man was leaning against a stall wall eating an apple. He was tall and very handsome with dark hair and blue eyes. "Feel free to name, her if you like. She is yours now."


"Aye. The King arrived at the stable early this morning to pick her out for you. One of the finest in the stable. Arabian mare, 15 years old. Pure blood Arab too."

Sarah reached down to pat the mare's neck. Soft as velvet. "I think I'll call her Velvet."

"Suits her." The mare whinnied as if she agreed. Sarah and the man both laughed.

'I'm Sarah." She announced politely.

"Aye I know who ye are. Only girl to beat the King at his own Game."

'Everyone seems to know."

"Aye. The King defeated. That be big news indeed. I'm Riley, head stable master." He said tipping his hat to her.

"Nice to meet you." The mare pawed the ground again and with a laugh Sarah bid Riley goodbye. She gave the mare a little kick and a cluck with her tongue. She trotted Velvet to an old stone wall and they galloped across a field green and covered with wild flowers. She laughed as the wind whipped through her hair, oblivious to everything else around her, even to the white owl who sat perched in a tree along the field.

The Debt

A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 5 of 24

<< Previous     Home     Next >>