His labyrinth was dying. Jareth didn’t have to look at it to know that the magic was steadily crumbling away.
It took a few minutes for the little troll to arrive, and when he did it was with much muttering and cursing.
“Whadya want me for, Jareth?”
The Goblin King smirked and leaned back in his chair. Much as it irked him, the creature’s petulance was sort of endearing.
“Your report on the Land of Stench, Prince Hogwart. Have you noticed anything strange?” Jareth purposefully left his question vague. He wanted to know how apparent the damage was, especially to such a little nitwit of a troll.
Hoggle shifted his weight and avoided looking Jareth in the eyes.
“Er, well, nothing unusual per se. Bog’s doin’ what it does, ya know. What with the stench and all. Smells just as bad as ever—”
Hoggle would’ve kept rambling if Jareth didn’t raise his hand and stop him.
“You’re avoiding my question.”
The statement was enough to lock Hoggle in place. So the small creature did know something after all. He feared Jareth’s wrath, and rightfully so, but it wasn’t needed in this instance. The Goblin King told him as much.
After some hesitance, the troll answered him.
“The magic’s been gettin’ weak, Jareth. Not only what I been seein’, but I can feel it also.”
Hoggle shrunk in on himself as though he still expected to be reprimanded for daring to imply that the king’s magic was weak. Much as he wanted to lash out, Jareth held himself back. He had summoned the troll to him for a reason.
“Do you remember Sarah, Hogin?”
Used to the king’s purposeful butchering of his name, Hoggle was thrown off for an entirely different reason. Jareth could see that much, and he used the silence to press his advantage.
“More importantly, do you remember the child she wished I would take? That was the purpose of her visit, after all. She wanted him back.”
Hoggle nodded after a pause.
“Yeah, I remember ‘im. Wouldn’t stop cryin’, that one. Why, what’s he got to do with the magic?”
Jareth smiled, but there was no warmth to it. His pointed incisors showed, and it made him look like the King of Goblins that he was.
“Pay him a visit for me. We've got some catching up to do.”