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His Champion's Journey

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Jorwyn could not watch his brother, but he could keep an eye on the human girl when he found out they had separated. He had his goblins watching and reporting in at regular intervals. The rules were a little murky being as there had never been a Labyrinth champion before. His temporary position as Goblin regent gave him the power to do so.

"My Lord my Lord!" A goblin screeched as it reported in.

"What is it?" Jorwyn asked the dirty little creature.

"The girl...she is in the Fairy Field."

This was puzzling. "Why would they be interested in a human girl? Ah well, I suppose I'd better go see."

When he arrived, he did not see Sarah at first. Technically this was the one area The Goblin King, and especially a temporary regent, had no control over. The Fairies governed themselves. Once they left the field however, that was a different story.

Then he heard singing. Human singing. "I, I will be King..and you..you will be my queen...nothing will keep us together...but we will be heroes..forever and ever..."

"Damn it." He strode out onto the grass, through hordes of complaining fairies.

He found her within the circle completely oblivious to anything but the dance.

"Fairy ring. Of course." He stepped into the fray and dragged her out of the circle and pulled her with him all the way back to the stone pathway of the maze.

"What did you do that for? I was having fun!" She looked up at him blankly.

"Woman, stop it." He said, holding her struggling body in place. She was still beguiled.

He shook her as hard as he felt he could without damaging her. Finally he conjured a large cup of cold water and dumped it over her.

She sputtered and blinked. Then wrenched away from him and sat down. "What happened? Why did you do that?" She asked him, looking up. "What are you doing here?"

He crouched. "You were lured into a fairy ring. Humans are susceptible to it though the fairies are usually hostile to humans here. They were inexplicably trying to claim you. Good thing I have goblins spying on you."

"But you aren't supposed to help me I thought? Thank you by the way..I don't remember much..the fairies..dancing..was I singing Bowie?"

Jorwyn frowned."I have no idea what "Bowie" is, but yes to all the rest. I can only assume that since I was explicitly told I cannot help Jareth and was told nothing of the sort about you that this is not a problem, as you are not together at the moment. Now you need to be on your way. Do NOT follow any more fairies."

Then he was gone.

Sarah turned a saw the fairies gesturing for her to rejoin them. She shook her head and went the other way.
_

Jareth collapsed against a tree, exhausted. So far he had fought his way through a horde of hostile trolls throwing rocks, and outrun the fieries. Without his amulet the creatures of his Labyrinth weren't recognizing him as their king, and were treating him like a particularly hateful runner.

Maybe he should be a little less heavy handed with his subjects. They were turning on him.

The days of little sleep and no decent food were catching up to him. He hoped Sarah was faring better.

"Off I go." He mumbled, standing up. He heard growls and snorts coming from the path ahead.

"Wondeful." He said, drawing his dagger out of his belt. The giant boars.

He trod carefully, he was light on his feet but there were things out here in the forest with better hearing than even him.

"Whooooo." Came from above in the trees.

"Thank you my friends. There is little you can do." He told the owls that dwelled there. They at least, recognized him.

His owl magic was separate from his born magic or the Labyrinth's magic. They would always know him and be able to communicate with him wherever he went in any world.

Then an idea struck him. Of course! He wasn't forbidden from that here! There was no way to separate him from that part of himself in his own home! It may have not worked before but when he stepped into the forest, the home of his owl kin, his owl parliament, the brood which gifted his family with the magic...it was worth a shot.

He stopped, closed his eyes and concentrated. It was a little slow in coming without the boost of the other magic, but after a few minutes he felt the familiar tingling, his body reshaping itself to it's owl form.

Now I can travel easier through here, at least, he mused.

His owl brothers joined him as he flew.

Brothers, go look for the girl and lead her to the edge of the forest. I will meet you there.

Two of the owls broke off from the group, swooping through the trees, look for the human whose picture Jareth planted in their minds.

Jareth kept flying, making for the forest border as fast as he could.
_

Sarah had reached the forest as well but from the other side. She was hoping to avoid the fire gang this time, Jareth had told her they weren't as easily dealt with for adults as they were for children, that to those of age they could be downright dangerous. There would be no Hoggle to throw her a rope this time.

She ran as fast as she could, she knew time was ticking. They had set out at dawn, and it was afternoon she could see by the sun. So they had been in the maze for at least 7-8 hours, maybe longer. The time in the fairy field had thrown her off.

She was hot and sweaty, dirty and tired. Her stomach was growling and she had scratched herself up falling into a hedge of thorny brambles.

She slowed to a limp, breathing heavy, then stopped and bent over, hands on her knees. "Give me one break here. Just one?"

Looking up her mouth watered. Apples. Big red apples right in front of her dangling off a tree full of them. "They are safe right? We ate them before. They aren't peaches. She plucked one from the tree. "Well..Jareth didn't tell me to not eat anything. I know about the peaches...so..." She bit into it. Perfect. She ate the apple as quickly as she could, the juice running down her chin. When she was done she threw the core to the side and took off again.

As she was running, she started to feel weird. Dizzy. "Shit!" Was the last word before she pitched over into the soft moss, asleep.

She was walking, again in the hedge maze. She was looking for Jareth, but he remained elusive.

"Hello precious." She heard from behind. She turned to face him.

"Oh Jareth! There you are! I've been looking for you everywhere!"

She ran to him and hugged him tight. He stood stiff, not returning the embrace.

She stepped back and looked at him.

He was dressed in fine clothes, his gray breeches and purple jacket, his cape billowing behind him. His royal markings in place, as well as his necklace.

She smiled up at him, thrilled their ordeal was over."Oh you must have made it! I'm so glad! Now take me to the castle won't you?"

He sneered at her, looking down his nose.

"Now, why in the world would I ever do that?" He said haughtily.

"So we can save Toby. Then we can be together. I love you, and I want to stay with you." She answered, confused.

He laughed. "You love me? What a fool you are, Sarah. How did you ever get it into your pretty little head that you were good enough for me? A human? You are a simpleton to think that."

She felt her stomach drop and she backed away from him "But..but we, you said, in the forest, by the river, and we.."

He strode up to her and ran a finger down her cheek.

"My poor little girl. You think because I used your body I would want to have you here? With me? You will be dead before long. Why would I waste my time? I said what you wanted to hear. It got me what I wanted. You opened your legs to me so easily. Like all the little human girls before"

His mouth twisted into a malicious grin. " A few kind words, some soft touches, and you spread yourself open to me like a buffet. S uch a silly stupid girl. How easy it was to manipulate you. You amuse me with your mortal mind. Such a precious thing, like a vacant little doll. A precious little toy."

Sarah's heart broke into a million pieces. She fell to her knees. "Please, Toby.."

Jareth rolled his eyes as he clasped his hands behind his back and began to circle her.

"Toby Toby Toby. That is all I hear from you. I will take Toby. He will make a good little slave. I will break him down, and mold him into my perfect little servant. Or..maybe I will sell him. I prefer females, but many of my kind love little human boys to play with. He would make a good gift for someone. They would enjoy a teenage human boy very much. So fresh and sweet."

He stopped circling and crouched down, taking her chin in a gloved hand and tilting her face up to look at him, tears running unchecked down her face.

He leered at her, enjoying her pain. "Like you were in the forest by the river."

He waved a hand and the ground fell out from under her. She screamed until she hit bottom.

She looked up, his face the only thing she could see in the darkness. "You know what an Oubliette is right? A place where you put people to forget about them. It's only forever, dear Sarah, not long at all."

He slammed the opening shut.

Sarah cried and screamed in the dark, listening to his laughter get farther and farther away, little things poking at her she couldn't see.

"Stop it! Stop it!"

"Stop it!" Sarah sat up suddenly. Her heart racing.

She looked around and found she was lying in a pile of moss and leaves.

"Oh thank goodness." She felt her heart and breathing slowing to normal.

She also found wasn't alone. Two owls were there, poking at her with their beaks.

"What! That's not nice." She said. shooing them away.

They were hopping and hooting at her, flapping their wings like mad.

She got up, rubbing her hip where she landed. She was going to have a bruise. "Damn Labyrinth and it's freaky drugged fruit."

The owls were flying around her now, and Sarah thought their behavior was odd. As she watched the would take off in one direction then come back hooting and flapping.

There were almost..gesturing to her.

One got close enough to grab a piece of her hair and pull her, jerking her forward. "Hey! Quit that. What is it with the owls around here? Wait..owls. Owls! Did Jareth send you?" She asked, causing them to hoot and squawk even more vigorously.

Sarah smiled at their antics. She took their frantic gestures as a yes. "Alright, lead the way."

As they took off, she followed after them. They hooted and went to the next tree, turning and watching. She walked towards them and they did it again.

They did this a few times, leading her somewhere.

"I'm coming!" She told them, when they got impatient and came back to pull at her hair and clothes. "You aren't taking me to more fairies are you?" She joked.

One of the owls screeched.

"Heh. Okay okay, no fairies. Alright. You take the lead. I suppose if Jareth trusts you, I should too."

She set off, letting herself be guided but the two very demanding owls.
_

Jareth knew exactly when he hit the border of the forest. He tried to stay fairly low, as to avoid too much of a fall, but when he was suddenly in his immortal form again, he dropped like a stone and hit the ground with undignified crash.

"Right now death doesn't sound all that terrible, I must say." He mumbled to himself as he looked around, finding himself trapped in a clump of bushes, and scratched up nicely. He went to push himself out of the brush, but found he had something wrapped around his wrist.

"What now?" Jareth said, exasperated. He tried to pull his arm out of the mess of leaves and branches and found he couldn't budge it. Something had wrapped itself around his arm and wasn't letting go. As he sat there trying to figure out what was going on, something grabbed a hold of his leg and he knew exactly what he had fallen into.

In the Labyrinth, the phenomenon of the hands were common and came in several forms, helping, harming, giving, taking, and lastly..holding, and The Goblin King had fell right into a nest of holding hands. "Let me go, you ingrates!" He complained as he struggled, they only held him tighter.

He really hoped his owl brothers would soon arrive.
_

Sarah followed the birds for what seemed like hours. They could move faster than her, so they were constantly coming back and urging her on.

She was never so glad to see the edge of a forest in her life.

"Okay guys. Now what?" They were acting a bit confused. They took off and left her there.

"Well..what do I do now?"

The cliff wall that was in front of her wasn't too bad, full of places for her to climb. She started up and was only a few feet off the ground when the owls returned buzzing her.

"Hey I'm climbing here!" She said to them as the flapped in her face and screeched.

She fell backwards onto her rear end.

"Damn it! I'm going to need an ice pack the size of a glacier by the time I get done. What the hell?"

The owls were beckoning her again.

She followed them, but stayed by the cliff wall.

As she walked she started hearing noises, then a voice..as she got closer she walked faster.

"Damn you awful things, let me go!" She heard. Jareth.

She rounded a clump of trees and found him, firmly stuck in a bush by one leg and one arm.

Before she could help it a laugh escaped at the ridiculous scene in front of her.

Jareth turned, relief then irritation crossing his face. "Would you help me! Chop them, hit them, burn them for all I care!"

She went to him to see what was going on. Several hand like branches had him trapped.

She took the dagger off his belt and tried sawing at them, but the marks healed as soon as she made even a shallow scratch.

Several owls had perched above to watch, hooting encouragement.

"Hold still!" Sarah said. Surprisingly, he did. "These things are creepy. Why is your Labyrinth so..handsy? I swear those helping hands tried to feel me up when I fell down that shaft years ago." She said as she pried at the weird, wooden fingers.

One creepy branch hand shot out to grab her and she fell back trying to avoid it, which she did.

"I do not know Sarah. Many of it's features were in place before I became king. We all add something new of our own but this was already a part of it."

"You must have had one pervy king before you. Well..pervier." She grinned at him.

He clenched his jaw and glared at her. "Can we get this off please? No more jokes! On the clock remember?""

"Alright, I know. Sorry. Now..if the king who added these was into hands, holding, grabbing and snatching..what would be something that would counteract them?" She wondered out loud.

"Touching, stroking, poking, tickling.." She mused out loud as she reached out and gently rubbed her fingers over the branches.

The bush shimmied, the leaves rustling. She tried it again and it shook and trembled once more.

"Sarah what are you doing?" Jareth asked, exasperated.

She reached into the bush and ran her fingers over the leaves and branches. It shuddered and shook like crazy, this loosened the hand that held Jareth's arm and he was able to free himself.

"How did you figure that out?" He said, impressed.

"You predecessor was a kinky guy." She answered. She kept stroking and tickling the weird plant until it let go completely and retreated into itself to protect itself from being tickled further.

The second it let go of Jareth he grabbed Sarah and darted away.

They looked at each other and started laughing.

"Only you would have a a perverted plant." Sarah said. "Let's go. Down this way is a good place to climb up."

He followed her.

They found the spot and pulled themselves up and over.

Looking out they could see the great junk pile, The Goblin City, and the spires of the great castle reaching up to the sky.

"We're almost there!" Sarah declared, pointing.

"And we are almost out of time." Jareth said sadly. "Look at the sun."

She turned towards the light and was disheartened.

The sun was almost touching the horizon. She looked at Jareth questioningly. "How much?"

He frowned. "Less than an hour."

They started running.

The piles of junk were treacherous. There were sharp things all over, and junk people to avoid. They would try to lure the two as they passed, but Jareth steered Sarah away from them. "Come, come look at what we have!" They would say.

"Don't look. Remember what happened last time." Jareth told her.

"You knew about that?" Sarah replied, panting hard from the strenuous activity.

"Of course. I watched you the entire time. I didn't want anything to happen to you..well nothing fatal anyway."

"I'm touched." Sarah said sardonically.

It took a good 15 or 20 minutes to skirt around the junk.

There before them were the walls to the city.

They ran to the doors and pounded on them.

"Let me in you revolting little cretins!" Jareth bellowed at the goblins inside.

Sarah poked him. "Why don't we try asking nicely?"

"They do not respond well to nice. They like being yelled at and kicked. Well mostly." He gave her a sheepish smile.

They tried for a minute or two more but no one came. Sarah found if she stretched she could just fold her fingers over the top of the wall.

"Give me a boost." Sarah told Jareth who was still pounding on the door.

"Boost?" He stopped and asked.

"Hold your hands like this." She demonstrated, cupping her hands and entwining her fingers together. "I will push myself up and over."

Jareth did as she showed him to do. She stepped up into his hand and was again able to get her finger over the top of the rough wall. "Now push hard!"

"If you insist." He said and pushed up. Hard.

Sarah went flying over the wall, momentarily wondering how she ever got herself into this ludicrous situation. She unceremoniously landed in a hay cart, which also happened to be a place chickens were nesting, and unfortunately, sitting on eggs.

Eggs that were now smashed all over Sarah, who had chickens flapping around angrily in her face.

She got up and tried to not concern herself with slimy egg dripping down the side of her face, and ran to the doors.

Lifting the heavy lever out of it's cradle, she pushed the door open and waved her arm.

"Open!"

He darted inside stopped suddenly, looking Sarah up and down.

"Yeah, maybe not so hard next time." She said.

"Come on!" Jareth noted the time.

They ran through the small streets. Sarah got a sense of deja vu. Hadn't she been here before?

There was not a goblin to be seen, but chickens and a few cats were darting back and forth.

The two made it to the square and the cannon goblins shot off , narrowly missing them. They ducked to the side of a nearby building.

"Where is Ludo when you need him?" Jareth remarked.

He grabbed Sarah's hand and they made a mad dash across the square, dodging the cannon goblins.

Just as Jareth set his foot on the first stair to the castle, the clock started to chime.

He dragged Sarah along and took the steps two at a time as the final seconds ticked down.

When they practically fell through the doors, Sarah jerked away. "Go!" She yelled.

He did. He dashed across the throne room, past the goblins, his brother and Penelope with their mouths hanging open, to crash land into his throne.

Sarah behind him collapsed on the steps at his feet as the last chime sounded.

It was completely silent except for their labored breathing.

The council appeared in front of them. The Magistrate stepping forward.

"We hereby relinquish your crown to you, Jareth, King of The Goblins. You have passed. Champion, you are free to go. your brother is safe." The man announced with no fanfare at all.

He stepped over Sarah who had moved to a sitting position, gave her a dour face, and placed Jareth's amulet over his head.

"Now, go bathe. Both of you. You are filthy."

He turned and went back to the group of council members, whom all promptly disappeared.

A cheer rose up from the goblins, and they all came at the two at once, burying them with their tiny bodies to congratulate them.

Jorwyn and his wife watched quietly from the side, smiling at the crazy scene.

"You miscreants! Get off of me!" Jareth yelled, flailing to get up, kicking goblins left and right.

"Wheee!" "Whoopee!" "Yahoo!" They cried as they sailed across the room

He pulled Sarah up of the steps, who was beginning to see why he kicked them around.

Jorwyn strode forward, putting out his hand. "Congratulations, brother." He eyed Sarah. "What in the underground happened to you? Is that egg on your face?"

She snorted and laughed. "In more ways than one most likely. Long story. Let's just say Jareth has bad aim. Though I guess landing in the hay was better than landing on the ground."

Penelope hurried to Sarah and tugged her forward. "This will not do. Come with me Champion we need to get you cleaned up!"

She was pulling her away from Jareth who still had tight hold of her hand. His fingers slipped out of hers and they both paused, staring at each other. Not sure what to say.

With everyone around, Sarah didn't say anything. She just smiled and gave him a nod.

He returned the gesture.

Then she was gone with his brother's wife.

There was so much to say, and he didn't know quite where to start.