Labyrinth Fan Fiction ❯ Dark Crystals ❯ And hardships unnumbered ( Chapter 3 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Chapter Three: And Hardships Unnumbered

Jareth seem to know which direction to go, moving easily throughout the Labyrinth. His long legs making him move quickly. A few times he had to slow down for Chantal to catch up.

He stopped suddenly, causing the girl to bump into him.

"Hmm, it has changed," he said.

“What has changed?” Chantal asked him, trying to look around him to see what he might be seeing.

"The Labyrinth has changed." he replied, scanning the area. "We are further away from the shortcut.”

“That’s not good. What are we to do now?” Chantal asked him.

"We continue towards the castle as planned," he replied as he concentrated in choosing a direction. "This way," he said after a moment as he started off again.

“And who is to say it’s not going to keep changing every time we try and get close to it?” Chantal asked and she started to follow.

"Perhaps you are right, but we do not have any other way really," he said trailing off.

“Then let’s go and hope the Labyrinth is acting normally in its changes, and not being manipulated to hinder us,” Chantal said as she came up beside the Goblin King. Serek sat on her shoulder, quiet as always, playing with her necklace.

The Goblin King nodded and continued silently down the corridor. It was silent as time elapsed, except for the constant sound of their footsteps on the stone ground.

Chantal followed Jareth, lost in thought. She wondered what had happened here and who was powerful enough to take to take over the whole of the Underground. From what she had seen so far, this was no amateur with a little bit of power. She looked up at the sky and shook her head. Definitely not, especially if the person could control a storm like that.

"We are getting near now. After the next turn, we will be on the path leading to the shortcut and it will not be long before we shall reach the castle." Jareth said, his deep voice penetrating the silence.

Chantal looked up ahead of her, but said nothing.

Jareth turned the corner and vanished from sight, his long coat brushing slightly upon the stone wall. Chantal snapped out of her thoughts as Jareth vanished. She quickened her pace and rounded the corner to try and catch up, not wanting to be left behind.

The Goblin King had stopped in his tracks and shifted his weight to one side.

Chantal came up behind him and stopped. “What is it?”

Jareth said nothing and crossed his arms over his chest as he closed his eyes, another not pleased expression on his handsome features.

Chantal was tempted to ask again, but she knew this was not a good time to bug him. She really wanted to know what was going on, but she would just have to wait to find out.

His hand gestured for her to look ahead, his features not changing.

Chantal looked around Jareth and up ahead, and sighed. “A dead end. This is starting to get really annoying.”

"Indeed. Especially if the way we came through is gone as well." Jareth said, opening his eyes without turning back and glanced over his shoulder to look at Chantal.

“So what are we to do now?” the girl asked as she kicked the ground, standing beside Jareth.

Now that they were boxed in, he took a few steps forward and glanced at Chantal as he passed her.

"How are you with puzzles?" The Goblin King asked.

“It all depends on the puzzle I guess,” She replied as she looked around her.

He nodded. "It would seem that in order to continue, we have a puzzle to solve."

“What is it with this place and puzzles?” Chantal said with a groan. Jareth who had no reply, only shrugged.

"I believe it challenges the traveler,” he said after a few a moment.

“Slow them down you mean,” she said as she rolled her eyes. ”Well let’s figure out what this puzzle is and how to solve it so we can be on our way.”

“Distractions really,” said the fair-haired man who proceeded to unfold his arms, replying to her comment. “Or a way to find solving abilities you’ve never had before.” He walked away from the girl and stood a few feet away and opposite of her, nearly about to fold his arms again in contemplation but stopped himself and stared at the ground before him.

“Behold our puzzle,” he said mirthlessly.

On the stone floor, inches from Jareth’s feet were spaces or rather square shaped stones. The blocks were placed in an odd version of a checkerboard, they didn’t stick up from the ground instead they were built in the stone floor itself. There were thirteen spaces, each perfectly squared compared to the rest of the stone brick network making the corridor floors. Twelve of them had a symbol carved upon them, which were on the darker stones, almost a deep brown sandy color. The thirteenth was situated in the center of the board, centered directly in the middle of the floor of the boxed room. Vines were etched around a window like crystal; it was flat and shone slightly with the flashes of lightning that continued to dangerously appear.

Jareth started to pace in front of the edge of the so-called board. The crystal was opaque yet it was clear, so much in fact, that Jareth could not see what was on the other side, when he lightly leaned over to inspect. His eyes narrowed in thought as he returned to the symbols, his eyes looked over each deeply carved markings. Beneath each symbol were even more strange carvings, they looked less then symbols, those that formed words. They were not English however.

“What does the symbols and the markings mean?” Chantal asked the Goblin King.

“I can’t really quite say. I am trying to figure it out but it is all jumbled, I don’t quite understand the scripture, but it is in the ancient tongue of this realm, I can read it and speak it, but it does not make any sense to me. However, the symbols I do understand, but they are not in order. I believe that is our goal: arrange the order of the riddle in order to solve this puzzle and perhaps it will lead us to our exit.” the Goblin King folded one arm over his chest, leaning the other one on it, holding his chin in thought as his eyes glanced over the board.

‘How,’ he thought, ‘does one solve the problem at hand. How to place it in order?’

“First we’ll try the symbols and see where it leads us to.” he mused. “Once we solve that portion, perhaps the scripture will make more sense.”

At closer inspection, grooves along the squares were shown wider and deeper which was a slight difference compared to the rest of the stones. Jareth bent down to closer inspect the board, he had an elbow propped up on his leg again holding his chin in thought, while the other rested on the other leg. He tilted his head to one side and with one hand gently pushed on a square in front of him, the one nearest to his foot.

Jareth raised an eyebrow as the square caved in the board barely an inch and replaced itself when he removed his hand. He nodded. His eyes ran over the symbols again and he instructed Chantal to step onto one of the stones as he figured out the order of the next phrase. She moved to the next square as he instructed; as she left the stones that she had stepped on, they would return back in place with a soft click.

"Hmm," Jareth mused as he crossed his arm over his chest after the fourth word.

"What?" Chantal asked, stopping upon the fifth square.

"Something is not right. I would have thought that the squares would stay in place after stepping on them for less confusion, or to show that we are at least, doing this right." His dark eyebrows furrowed in thought. "I am sure that the crystal at the center has some other means than a way out."

He made his way towards the center square. Stepping over a darker colored one, he then placed his feet on opposite corners belonging to the center stone, so that he was not standing on top of the crystal. He then slightly hunched over and tapped the crystal like sphere with a gloveless finger. It was solid, like one of his usual crystals. He wondered if it could be broken like a mere pane of glass, if there were no other means of escaping this wretched puzzle. He eventually stood straight after squinting through the glass again, only to see nothing more than a few minutes ago.

"Unless..." he said his thoughts aloud, stepping onto the center and placing a foot on opposite sides of the sphere. A light click was heard as the stone around the sphere slowly caved in along with the sphere, just as the others did before. He nodded as though the click had answered his questions. He then gestured for Chantal to step onto the first symbol he had told her previously. The same click was heard as before and he then stepped off. The stone clicked and returned to its previous state.

"Hmm, I see." He muttered and stepped onto the center square again. "I believe that if I remain on this one while you continue to finish the puzzle, it might open our doorway."

The Goblin King continued to direct Chantal to the proper stones as she went to the next ones, the stones she stepped on remained caved into the floor. He nodded satisfied that things were going well, that is, until Chantal stepped on the wrong stone.