“This doesn’t feel so bad anymore” you say cheerily walking in unison with Hoggle.
The stones below you were yellow now. The Labyrinth’s threatening image was melting away.With every step you felt more confident in actually beating the Goblin King now, you felt like Winner material
“Hmmf that’s what you think” Hoggle kept looking back just in case. Though your fears had subsided you still kept a wary eye on every stone that your feet passed over.
“We must be closer now” you said positively .
You looked at the warm sky with a sudden peaceful state washing over you.
“Hoggle, I know this sounds ridiculous but I- I think I can feel it; the castle’s presence getting closer to us, it feels… warm and …glowing…” you laughed at yourself “how crazy does that sound?”
He didn’t reply and you looked back, you hair whipped behind you “Hoggle?”
The path was empty Hoggle was nowhere to be seen.
The sense of peace you had vanished and you felt panic-stricken without your inside guide leading you through.
“Hoggle? Hoggle stop playing games -we don’t have time for this!” you in a high voice with your chest feeling tighter.
“Hello, Hogwash” Jareth leaned against a tree, one hand behind his back the other tossing a crystal in the air and catching it again.
Hoggle turned, confused how he’d just been with you one minute, and now he was in front of the Goblin King.
"O-oh!" Hoggle exclaimed, voice wavering. "Y-y’ Majesty!”
“You look very surprised to see me, Hogspew” Jareth tossed the ball once more and it vanished “did you really think you could insult the crown without consequences?”
“Insult the crown, y’ majesty?” Hoggle kept his trembling tell-tale hands behind his back.
“Don’t play the fool with me, you know very well how, helping the girl! Helping her to defeat me and that is treason, Hoffle, high treason and you know what that means-”
Hoggle fell to his knees , clutching the Goblin King’s leg pleadingly “Please no, not the Bog of Eternal Stench!”
Jareth kicked him off, disgusted, brushing away the traces of dirt on his breeches.
“Well it looks as if you’re in luck this time because I have other plans for you” he grinned wickedly making Hoggle’s heart drop.
“Wh-what?” though Hoggle had a bad feeling he knew exactly what. He knew there was a specific reason those of the Underground had been told to steer clear from the Runner the king had got himself mixed up with.
“I want you to abandon the girl in cold blood”
The Goblin King said it slowly and ominously with his chin raised in a regal expression.
Hoggle quickly surmised there was more to that then it seemed. He didn’t trust Jareth for a single second especially when you were so foolhardy to this rotten place, and everyone in it.
“No! I won’t do it, she won’t last five minutes in here!” he cried “What if she gets lost or, or-”
The Goblin King waved his hand impatiently “Precisely, Heffle, precisely, unless, of course, never seeing anyone again sounds more appealing?”
Hoggle hesitated, realising he was stuck. He could go against Jareth to help you win, but he knew the devious fae would stop at nothing to make sure you failed at the end. Whatever choice Hoggle made… you were doomed.
“she’s…just a sweet girl” Hoggle said in a defeated tone
“Oh? Why the concern?”
Hoggle crossed his arms “I won’t do nothing to harm her. She said that we was-”
“What?” The Goblin king interrupted with a sneer “ Companions…Friends?” He lowered his tone, emphasising the cruel word.
Jareth quirked an oddly shaped eyebrow at him -not showing the stab of pain that passed through his heart. He refused to be jealous of a repulsive dwarf who had already won your affections so easily.
Hoggle shook his head miserably.
It was no good arguing, the King, as always, was unyielding. Hoggle could see that. He groaned hopelessly with a pause “just promise me… you won’t hurt her?” he said in a quiet voice .
Jareth twitched at these words but then looked down at him sternly “I will do as I please” and tossed the crystal in his direction, replacing a forlorn Hoggle.
Hoggle can only look at the ground, hearing your footsteps coming closer.
“Oh thank god!” You cry with relief “You’re back!”, you drop to your knees give him a hug “for a minute there I thought you ditched me or something. Phew!” you laughed but Hoggle twists out of the quick embrace.
“hey, where are you going?” you sprint to catch up with him holding his arm “woah, woah, woah you’re not actually leaving me are you? We’ve come so far!”
The hurt look in your eyes made Hoggle curse himself for being such a coward. He cursed the king too, who he knew would be watching over them this very moment.
Hoggle looked uncomfortable “I said I’d take you as far as I could -now leave me alone”
“Hoggle!” You’re surprised by his sudden change in character “Is this because of the Goblin King again, you don’t have to be afrai-”
“I said I’m leaving!” he snaps
You cling to his arm, your fingers grasping the layers of cloth, securing your hold “Are you my friend or not!” you cry as tries he wriggled free
“No, no I’m not! Hoggle is Hoggle’s friend”
You release him, shocked “what’s come over you!” you splutter at him.
He looked apologetic for a split second, warning “even if y’ get to the centre, y’ll never get out again- turn around now! Just get out while y’ can! ”
You snatched his bag of jewels as an attempt to black mail him to stay, ignoring his headings. You were getting to the centre and would get out.
You raised the bag above your head far from his reach, “I’m not a thief, Hoggle but you can’t just strand me here!”
Hoggle jumped at them and tried to kick you a couple of times before giving up. He threw his hands up surrendering “Y’ keep them!” and ran off.
“Hoggle you coward!” you yell, shaking the bag at his retreating silhouette so that the contents jangled.
And to think you called him a friend! He was just out to save his own neck!
Rage bubbled in you. So this was how it was going to be- nobody was going to help you- they were too afraid of the bloody Goblin King- or were they just loyal to him?
Well you weren’t afraid, he wouldn’t intimidate you.
Whenever you seemed to finally be getting somewhere the rug was pulled from underneath you.
Now what? You ran a hand through your hair, exhaling at the setting around you. You just needed to stay focused and rational. That would get you through.
“Oh dear me, lonely again?”
You whipped around, coming face to face with the man from your dreams, a gloating grin on his face that you wanted to wipe off so badly at this moment.
His outfit had changed, he looked less threatening now, poet’s shirt, boots, leather coat, and those pants. Your eyes flew up again, rapidly banishing every thought that came after that. You firmly reminded yourself that he’d technically stalked and kidnapped you and that those ideas were highly inappropriate. Is that a riding crop?
“Catching flies, Sweetest Thing?” he noticed your fleeting downward glance and your face burned.
You ignored him and the sickly pet name, choosing instead to look at the hedges so you couldn’t give him the satisfaction of rattling you.
“What do you want? Or have you just come to say your goodbyes already?” you tried to keep your voice steady, squaring your shoulders.
“What a quaint sense of humour! I do hope you won’t lose it when you come to live here,” he circled you predatory like, hands behind his back “entertainment is so few and far between”
“I’m sure you’ll manage somehow in my absence” you crossed your arms "is that all?"
He leaned back on the balls of feet airily “actually, I came to give you something”
“Well whatever it is you can keep it. I’ve had enough of your gifts, thanks” you say sternly determined not to lose track of where you were wandering while he was talking.
Jareth laughed condescendingly whisking his hand a few times until he conjured a bundle of dark, thick looking clothe -throwing it at you. "Here. you'll need it"
You just caught it, barely glancing at it. "I won’t take anything from you " you hissed.
“very wise, understandably,”
You unravel the bundle anyway, feeling his stare burn into you as you did.
In your outstretched fingertips, you held a thick cloak, seemingly made from long thick feathers of a midnight blue colour with gold trimming the edges. It was extremely heavy, the fur lining incredibly thick, a deep long hood. It was very him.
Though it was indeed the most beautiful and probably grandest thing you’d ever seen and held you pretended not to be interested with it in the slightest.
You ball it up ready to throw back at him.
“I have my jacket, thanks “
“Ah, yes I see you're already beginning to dress like me – good taste, naturally" the Goblin King gestured a hand at you.
He was referring to your brown leather jacket that looked vaguely like the one he was currently wearing and of course your white floaty blouse. You hadn’t even realised the similarities until he’d said it and drew your folded arms further across you.
"I was already wearing this" you pointed out, but you wanted to rip them right off you after he said that.
“Suit yourself" he folded his arms mimicking you “but those clothes will not serve you well- it gets cold outside” he lifted his eyebrows “or you could always come inside, where it’s warm” he had the audacity to wink at you.
“then I’ll get cold, I don’t need your help” you bit back
“Oh, is that so?” his eyes twinkled, deep voice sent a chill through your spine.
“Yes” you said sternly tucking your hair behind your ear in the rising gust of wind.
He blocks your footing so you are forced to stand before him. The Goblin King folds one of his arms across his chest, propping up the other so he can hold his chin and jaw in a thinking position.
“You intrigue me so” he says so softly you barely caught it.
You swallow hard forcing yourself to stare him down as if unconcerned but you manage to string together: “I’m really not that interesting” you say flatly, in an attempt to sway him into backing off but it only seemed to fuel him further.
“Strange” the Goblin King gave a flicker of a smile, still looking at you over his gloved hand with a gaze that didn’t waver “uninteresting people never have to say that”.
You had to get around him now, conceal yourself from under his sharp eyes.
Instead you were rooted to the spot, challenging him, daring him , almost, to do something.
What’s wrong with you! You screamed at yourself Move!
The Goblin King steps closer until your almost nose to chest- with the height difference- and you’re mesmerised, going against your instinctive reaction to run.
“Why are you trying so hard to run from me, Sloane?” he whispers
You pressed your mouth together not daring to speak and betray your calmness, or your sanity.
“Clearly you’re not afraid of me, not now, but there is so much defiance and hatred in those eyes of yours. It confuses me- I’ve only done what you asked me for, those late-night whispers of your heart’s desires I’ve only tried to fulfil.”
You stumble back at those words, closing your eyes as if in pain.
Every word you said, to what you thought was a dumb bird was him. He’d heard it all, this real-as-real man heard everything. Your face turned scarlet at the realisation.
“you’re delusional” you whisper.
He raises the end of the riding crop to tilt your chin to meet his gaze. “Tell that to your starry eyes, precious girl” he let the riding crop trail slowly down your cheek making them flush and shiver to the touch.
You flick the riding crop away, thinking about dumping the heavy cloak on the nearest hedge but he catches your wrist.
“Oh, and Miss Hazel?” his voice still dreamy and floaty as well as his tender gaze, he moves his hand down your wrist to graze your palm. You can feel your pulse rising which no-doubt means that he can too.
“don't even think about throwing it away,” the Goblin King says, catching your tell-tale look.
You gave him a blazing glare and tear your wrist away while he let his fingers trace it.
“See you soon” he mimes blowing you a kiss and your stomach flips.
You turn away sharply and walk on briskly. You look back for a second to see if he was following you but he’d gone, thank god. You tuck the bundled cloak under your arm. You’d look utterly moronic in it- like a ‘Sesame Street’ extra.
So here you were, all alone in this bloody place. It seemed like for every step forward you took two steps back.
You didn’t dare think about how many hours you had left, you just walked along the path hoping to get somewhere new.
You didn’t dare think about your fast pulse.