They walked a long way the next day, the terrain not as rocky. It rather humid by the water, and Sarah was glad they could stop occasionally and take a dip in the river if they needed to.
Sarah was still to embarrassed to talk to Jareth much. He kept giving her a look like her knew exactly what she had been dreaming of, but chose not to say. This made Sarah follow behind a few steps further, afraid he would ask.
Mid afternoon Jareth stopped her.
"We must cross the river. When we leave the valley we want to be on the other side."
They stripped down and packed everything in their packs, carrying them overhead.
Jareth had found a shallow part so it only came up to their waist. When the reached the other side, they redressed and sat down to rest.
"I honestly thought this would be a lot harder than it has been." Sarah said, relaxing.
Jareth gave her one of his trademark Goblin King smirks. "This is the easiest part, Sarah. The trek is really meant to tire us out more than anything. It's The last bit, the trip through the Labyrinth, that will be the true test." He said. "The trip through the wastes will be no picnic. We will need to fill our packs with food to sustain us through it. Today, though, before we start thinking of that, I would like to show you something just an hour or two into the forest from here."
This piqued Sarah's interest. "What?"
Jareth grinned. "You will see. Let us go."
Jareth led her through the lush green forest, pointing out brightly colored birds and small animals. As they got closer to where Jareth was taking her she saw something else.
Fairies. They buzzed around them, chattering and giggling. Sarah was wary because she had been bit by one, but these seemed friendly enough.
Jareth found this odd. Usually the little creatures were if not openly hostile, at least were wary of approaching humans. They however had no qualms at approaching Sarah.
Sarah started hearing a constant crashing sound that got louder and louder, as they got closer she figured out it was the sound of a waterfall. Jareth was taking her to a waterfall.
"Come, Sarah, come and look." Jareth beckoned, parting some big fronds in their way of the place he wanted to show her.
He held the curtain of foliage open and she stepped through..gasping at the sight.
It was a waterfall. It was huge. The droplets of water glittering in the light, an apparently constant rainbow hovering over the falls and pool below. The pool below was filled with tiny, darting rainbow colored fish, and the flowers and plants were also all brightly colored. The fairies flew this way and that, looking like small lights flitting above it all, like living stars.
It was magical.
"This is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. What is this place?" Sarah asked as she walked to the waters edge and looked up to watch the water crash down.
He came to stand beside her. "The Rainbow Falls. If helps to feed the river. Which is called Tranquility River. There is a very special reason besides its beauty I wanted you to see it. Let us sit a while and eat...If we are lucky we will see something else too."
"What more can there be? This is like out of a fairytale already." She exclaimed as she turned around swinging her arms wide. "I can hardly believe I'm seeing this!" She twirled and laughed.
Jareth watched her, smiling. He knew his Sarah would fall in love with this place.
He put that little thought out of his mind. "Sit, with me." He told her. "Please."
She stopped dancing around and came back to where he was, smiling from ear to ear. "Oh alright. I can't help it, this place makes me...I don't know how to describe it."
"It fills you with peace." He said. "Yes, it does that for everyone."
They sat, ate, and watched the water fall and bubble, as the fish swam and the birds and fairies swirled around in the air.
"This must be the favorite spot in all the underground." Sarah observed.
"Very few come here." Jareth answered. "It is a special place and not many can even find it. I have permission."
A crashing sound through the forest startles Sarah and she grabbed Jareth's arm. "What was that?" After the snake and the man eating flowers, she was jumpy.
He patted her hand. "Just wait, you will see. We will have guests momentarily. Though it's more apt to say we would be their guests."
The rustling and footsteps became louder from across the pool. Sarah held her breath.
Then the forest seemed to part reverently and..
Sarah's eyes about popped out of her head. There were two real live unicorns not 100 feet from her.
"Oh my God. They are real." She said, staring at the mythical beings.
"Shh." Jareth said.
The unicorns, obviously parent and child, walked delicately to the water and drank. Paying them no mind.
Just then the smaller one spotted them and reared back against the larger one, startled. He nickered and neighed.
The larger one raised her head and stared at them with wise, yet curious glittering purple eyes, not making a move either way. She moved so she was between the little one and them. Facing them fully, unafraid and expectant.
Jareth stood slowly. He had piece of fruit in his hand and placed it in his palm, holding it straight out.
He spoke a language Sarah had never heard. She watched, enraptured by what was happening.
Jareth walked slowly around the pool, approaching and talking to the creatures. The large mare took a step towards him. Finally he was close enough that she could sniff the fruit in his hand, taking it gently from his hand and chewing. She then stepped to him and he could pet her long face. All the while speaking to her with reverence and respect. She nuzzled his hand.
Sarah could not believe she was seeing what she was seeing.
"Sarah, bring that bunch of berries and come. This is Uhrulu. She is Queen of the Unicorn Herds. This is her son. Bahala. "
Sarah got the berries and went to where they were gathered but made sure to go slow like Jareth had done. He was talking in that language and she was nickering back to him. It sounded like they were conversing.
Jareth turned and took her free hand, pulling her face to face with the unicorn. She held out her hand and the large beast stepped aside, bumping the smaller one to take the fruit, which he did.
Jareth gestured to her while talking, and the unicorn nodded it's head, all the while Sarah was gingerly petting the young one, who had taken a liking to her.
"I had no idea unicorns could be queens too." Sarah said.
There was an odd sensation in Sarah's mind, a strange prickly feeling. Not unpleasant, but unsettling. Like something pressing softly on her forehead and entering her brain.
We can and are, child of the above. A soft voice drifted through her mind
"Did you hear that?" Sarah asked Jareth.
"I was hoping you would be able to hear her, Sarah. She communicates by sending thoughts to your mind. The Unicorns rule this valley. They are allies of The Goblin Kingdom. Though there are too few. Maybe a few hundred."
The baby was openly nudging and nuzzling her now. She was totally entranced but the beautiful creatures.
Bahala likes you. So do I. You are welcome here anytime Sarah, Champion of The Labyrinth and favorite of the The Goblin King. He is a friend to us. You are now a friend to us as well.
Sarah bowed low to the mare. "Thank you. You know above you are a myth. No one knows you really exist."
As it should be. They slaughtered many of us when we were all one world. For trophies and folk remedies that were useless. You must be quite extraordinary to conquer the great maze, and win the favor of a king such as this one.
Sarah reached out and stroked her soft nose. "Thank you."
We are honored to meet you, Champion, but we must go.
The mare bowed her head towards Jareth, and turned, leading her son away. The young colt gave her one last nuzzle and trotted behind his mother.
"How did they know we were here?" Sarah turned to Jareth, who looked as relaxed and at peace as she had ever seen him.
"This is their sacred pool. Uhrulu sensed us." Jareth said. "We should go and get back to our journey."
Sarah and Jareth collected their things and hiked back to the river chatting about the unicorns and the waterfalls. When they got there they continued their trip down river. Both feeling happy and at peace.
They found a place and set up camp, built a fire and laid out their beds. Jareth showed Sarah how to clean the fish, which she found disgusting but helped anyway, since Jareth had been doing so much.
After they ate they talked a little more. Jareth told her stories of the underground and she interrupted him constantly to ask questions, then of course they argued and bickered about that, but each smiling the whole time.
Sarah crawled into her bed smiling. She realized as weird as it was, they seemed to have fallen into a pattern of domesticity that she found oddly comfortable.
She drifted to sleep, happy.
Come here baby, come on Scar.
What's wrong? What do you see..
Sarah jerked awake. Just as Scar was lunging at her in her dream. "What the...?"
"Sarah." Came Jareth's quiet voice.
She sat up and looked towards Jareth's voice.
That is when she heard a deep growl...then when she saw the source terror swept through her making her freeze.
A Huge..thing..something like a wolf, but bigger. so much bigger...was on the other side of the fire from Jareth, who was standing in front of her, sword in hand.
"Stand, but stand slowly. Stay behind me." He said over his shoulder.
She did as he said looking around him to see the large beast.
It looked to a cross between a wolf and bear, hairy, malice in its dark eyes, saliva dripping from its huge fangs. Claws extended out at least 6 inches.
Jareth was backing up and bumped into her. She stepped back from him. "Sarah, please do what I tell you exactly." He spoke low, not turning his head from the beast. "Keep backing up. Once you are out of the light of the fire, I want you to run. There is a tree about 30 feet back that is larger than the others. Climb as high as you can and stay there no matter what you see or hear."
"But what about you?" Sarah pleaded. "I won't be able to.."
"Sarah! Do as I say if you want to live! If something happens to me, go to the falls. Uhrulu will give you sanctuary." Jareth commanded.
Sarah's heart dropped. "Jareth...I..." She grabbed his free hand and squeezed. He squeezed back. "I know. Now, go."
She backed up, Jareth shielding her. Once she crossed the line from light to dark, she turned and ran, the tree Jareth had told her about she practically slammed into, then swung up on the lowest branch and kept going until she maybe 20 feet off the ground.
She could not see anything but a faint light coming through the trees from the place Jareth was.
Then came a horrifying noise. She knew the beast had struck. The noises from the camp were awful, She could hear the sounds of sword being swung, and Jareth's exclamations and grunts as he was hit or fell several times. The thing growled and roared. Jareth must have got it a few times as it screeched and yelped in pain.
She put her hands over her ears, tears streaming down her face. "Oh God please don't die..please Jareth, I don't know what I would do if.." She prayed and sobbed.
It seemed like forever until it was finally quiet though it was no more than 20 minutes in reality. She waited as long as she dared, before climbing down and as softly as she could walk, making her way back to the camp.
As she stepped into the area, a sob escaped her.
Thier belongings were strewn everywhere, blood splattered all over. The fire was out, the battle having strewn the wood rocks, and crystals all over.
"Jareth?' She called. "Jareth where are you?" She wrapped her arms around her body, fearing the worst.
She heard a slight noise on the other side. but when she went to see, ran into something furry.
"Gah!" Sarah jumped away from it. In the dim light of early morning she could see it was whatever had attacked them. it looked dead. She touched it and her hand came back slick with blood.
"Ugh." She wiped her hand on her jeans. Moving past the hulk she made her way around the camp, towards the slight noise.
"Jareth?" She called again.
Her foot hit something and she fell over it. Turning to look her heart dropped.
Jareth, she had tripped over Jareth.
She scooted over to him. Listening she realized the noise she had been following was Jareth's labored breathing.
"Oh no. Oh please..." She begged. She turned him over and tears sprung to her eyes. The sun was rising so it had become bright enough to see he was badly injured.
Claw marks raked across his chest, and there was a deep wound in his shoulder. His arm looked at least strained if not broken. Blood was everywhere so it was hard to see what other wounds there might be.
"Jareth..." She whispered, terrified at his conditon.
He coughed while he tried to breathe, blood coming from his mouth. He forced himself to open his eyes just a little.
"You need.." He tried to speak but coughed again, more blood.
"Don't try to talk I'll be right back." She ran and found a tattered t-shirt on the ground, ripped it in two and went to the river and wet one half. She ran back to where he lay.
By the time she got back to Jareth he had dragged himself over to a rock and propped his torso up.
She tore the shirt into rags and wiped the blood from him. His face and chin, his chest. She removed his torn tunic to get access.
"You're going to okay, I promise." She keep telling him as she worked to wash him off and bind the wound on his arm so it would stop bleeding.
He watched her work, only hissing a little at the pain when she tightened the makeshift bandage on his arm.
Once there was nothing more she could do she sat there fidgeting.
"Sarah..you must go.." He struggled to speak without coughing.
"I'm not leaving you here!" She yelled. He cringed. "I'm sorry. What can I do?"
"Uhrulu...magic..only thing.." He started coughing again.
"But I don't want to.." He stopped her.
"If you do not...I will die." He said. His voice raspy, his eyes eyes full of pain as they bore into hers.
"I can't leave you alone." Sarah said, her voice sounding whiny even to herself, but she was worried and frightened beyond anything she had dealt with so far on this ordeal.
He used his good arm to pull her to him, looking into her eyes as if trying to get the point across. "You..have..no choice. Be fine." He wheezed out. He let her go and laid back, closing his eyes.
She stood up. Looking towards the direction they had come. it would take most of the day to get there and back.
She tried the best she could to gather their things, shoving them in the tattered packs. She found the water flask.
Bring them all she sat them close to Jareth. He turned his head to watch her.
"Alright. I will try. Please..just don't.." She couldn't even finish saying it. She took the flask and put it in his good hand. "Sip at it if you need to. I can drink water from the river when I get thirsty. Stay put and don't try to move."
He nodded once, then closed his eyes once more. She found her pillow unscathed if not a little dirty, and lifted his head to put it between him and the rock for cushioning, and laid the blanket over him gently.
"In case you get chilly. If you get hot you can push it off right?" She asked. He nodded again.
She swiftly found her shoes and put them on then took off running as fast as she could back towards the falls, heart racing with fear and adrenaline.