Labyrinth Fan Fiction ❯ Dark Crystals ❯ Beneathe the surface ( Chapter 5 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Chapter Five: Beneath the Surface

Branches crunched beneath boot and running shoe clad feet. The Goblin King and the girl had to step over several boulders and fallen tree limbs, with sometimes with no tree in sight.

Chantal wondered why the Labyrinth was always cluttered with broken tree branches everywhere and other debris that had fallen off the walls and from who knows what. Strange plants grew in cracks along the walls, Lichen, as she knew now what they were called; or as weeds along the ground in several corridors.

Stephanie knew about certain things and rules in the Labyrinth, due to her knowledge based on the book and movie she acquired, but she now had the expert next to her; if he was willing to answer her questions. She managed to ask the ruler about the decaying state of his realm and if it was due to the new sovereign.

"They are not ruler yet." He almost snapped. "But no, the Labyrinth is ever changing. Always. It continues to shift, becoming more challenging for the one who traverses within it. That is why there is debris; it shifts so much, elements, trees and plants barely have the chance to adapt quickly enough to the change." He replied without slowing his pace.

"Not all of my realm is like this or in this form of state. Sections of the Labyrinth are still, er, "new" looking as you might put it. The goblins have the money and the manpower to rebuilt their homes, I do not see why they haven't already. The City and the villages outside the Labyrinth do not get impeded with the change. I do at least, help the inhabitants from losing their homes, like any king should." he finished and was now silent.

At this point, he didn't seem all that cruel. Even though he was annoyed by the goblins, punished and threatened them, he actually watched over them. Chantal thought what he had said about the Labyrinth mirroring its travelers.

'The worn, weary sections of it almost reflected…' she glanced at the Goblin King, seeing only his jaw line from where she walked. She took a few quick steps to catch up to him. Jareth had a sorrowful almost lonely, weary look on his, actually, handsome features. The mixed emotion flashed there for a moment before it was gone as he turned to her.

"I – I see," she stammered to his last statement before he could read her thoughts, that she had deciphered that the large puzzle also reflected the ruler of the realm. She wondered if he knew this.

She knew he couldn't really read thoughts, it was silly and of course he knew such things. He seems wise enough that he should know trivial things around his Labyrinth, there shouldn't be any reason for him not to.

"It also reflects the inhabitants in my realm as well and not only the travelers. I am not sure how exactly, it is one of those things that take a lot of pondering and certain theories. Perhaps the Wiseman knows; if he stays awake long enough to tell the answer. You would think I'd know the same answer. I only understand or remember a small concept of it." He scratched the back of his head with an almost embarrassed grin.

"I think I'm getting old." He added with a short laugh.

Chantal laughed. "Everybody get's old, sooner or later," Chantal teased, trying to lighten the mood. She scratched Serek's head as he tightened his tail around her neck.

Jareth smirked.

The two continued down corridors, slowly making their way to the shortcut. Only twice did they have to go down into the Oubliettes. Chantal followed Jareth who told her that in order to continue, most of the times travelers did need to enter the oubliettes.

"Not all the time, someone might figure it out; this is just between you and me." he winked as he helped her pass over a small crevice where in the past, the Cleaners have alrealy went through the certain corridor.

The corridors became sharper and thinner, a few odd times, only one person can pass through. Luckily torches were lighted or rather the Goblin King lit them, for it would have been pitch black in the tunnels, conserving Chantal's flashlight batteries. Chantal wondered how Stephanie ever managed to find her way out in the dark without the help of any light source.

Perhaps an hour or so passed during the travelling in the second oubliette before Jareth found a ladder. Reaching the top, he pushed upon something heavy, the texture of marble like stone. The stone moved aside and the fresh air drifted down, although it smelt like copper as though lightning had stuck the ground a few feet away.

Jareth was glancing around at the new rurroundings as Chantal climbed out of the stone floor.

The sky was a murky purple; color smeared with pink and blue. It was still day and the sun hadn't set but wasn't seen other than an odd shade upon the sky. From where they could see, the castle wan't too far away; they could make out the towers with turrets and the massive dark walls. The tips of roofs from several houses within the Goblin City could be seen peeking over the great City gates.

Only a matter of time. He nodded to himself. He hoped that they would near his castle quickly and yet, he actually dreaded it.

Jareth hoped 'that girl' was all right. He concluded that she was within the castle; either in hiding or captive, for he had felt a shimmer of her presence. He listened to their footsteps, to the light echo upon the stone floor, it sounded eerily strange this time than usual and because of it, he couldn't shake his feeling of dread. The green of the hedges looked almost like a sick grey in the strange light, he frowned upon it all.

At one dead end stood a wooden door, placed neatly in the center of a hedge wall. He opened it and glanced both ways before motioning Chantal over. A small flight of steps, which consisted of four stone steps, led their way to a lush forest. They made their way down the steps, one stone had wobbled under their weight. Light dust swirled at their feet when they stepped onto the path; dead branches lay scattered along with dead leaves.

The Goblin King's boots crunched noisily. He had wished moments before for something other than the constant rumbles of the clouds, to break the silence, he supposed this would have to do.

The sound of thunder had begun to be deafening. Once Chantal had actually jumped because it was so loud and so close. Jareth sensed the nervousness in Chantal and he turned around, making sure she was all right before continuing.

As the Goblin King and the girl made their way through the Labyrinth, he went into deep thought. He was greatly curious of who started all of this. He wanted to guess before actually meeting up with the person responsible for this takeover.

Although he was king, parts of the realm were divided equally, he made sure of that. Of course he could handle the whole Underground on his own but he was certain it would have created more enemies, besides, he was taught better than that to be greedy with power. If anyone had trouble or qualms against him, he would find out a solution. He did have enemies, what king didn't? His realm wasn't always peaceful, although some enemies were not all his, naturally. Battles and conflicts he had his share.

His thoughts went back and forth through possibilities and past encounters and soon he developped a headache. The only way to truly find out is at the final confrontation. He wanted to get it over with, before things became worse.

Jareth turned his attention to the twenty-one year old and offered a nod of reassurance and concentrated on finding the shortcut.

They walked silently for another thirty minutes, encountering a few mishaps with choosing the right path. It seemed that someone was helping them on their way only to trap them in another dead end; distorting his senses, if not rearranging the vast maze.At the center of the Labyrinth, within the castle walls, the throne room stood silent. It was peculiar to hear it so deathly quiet, normally it would be full of goblins, ornate with horns or helmet; racketing around the place, lounging over the steps of the throne, upon the ledges of the room, some chasing and teasing chickens or having some jejune squabble; all causing the Goblin King to have headaches.

The chamber was deserted and seemed darker. As Jareth had said, something might have truly frightened the goblins, more than he had managed to do.

A scaly goblin dared a peek, the helmet he wore seemed to big for him and covered his yellow eyes; from behind the ram horned decorated throne from which he hid. He was trembling so much that if he had ornaments hanging from his helmet they would have created a racket. His small gnarled hands gripped the finely crafted wood, hidden by a wine colored drape. He watched wide-eyed at the figure that stood near the center of the room, next to the pit which was normally filled with goblins.

The figure's delicate thin fingers brushed against the large crystal that was on a stand of the blackest wood. The goblin could see that this figure was clearly female due to the long dark colored dress she wore as the figure moved around the stand; the sound of her high heeled sandals was like nails trailing down on a blackboard.

The orb she watched intensily, did not glow, but images could be faintly seen by the terrified goblin, places in the Labyrinth flashed within the crystal; he blinked when he reconized the King.

"Won't be long now," the figure said, her voice resonated with every breath she took.

The goblin shrunk back behind the thone. He did not want to stay in the throne room any longer. He glanced to his left where one of the exits from the stone chamber was situated; with a flight of stairs, a glowing torch illuminating the passage that turned a corner; this led to the room full of stairs. He wondered if he should chance it.They finally entered another stone section of the maze where they travelled silently for the better part of an hour. No one said anything for fear of creating more tension of the situation.

Jareth suddenly stopped and looked around. Chantal nearly ran into him for she wasn't really paying attention to where she was going, she was too deep in thought, half wishing this was done already and that she was at home, and half wondering where Stephanie was. She had no idea what was causing all this tension in the Underground but it was starting to unnerve her. Chantal Stopped beside Jareth and looked up.

There was a fork in the path.

"Which way?" She asked.

"We are close," he said. "I'm surprised we actually made it here."

Chantal looked at him confused, but jareth didn't say anymore. He started down the left path, leaving Chantal to wonder and to follow behind him. They walked for a few minutes when they came to a part of the maze that looked like a dead end. The end of the corridor was more of a round room, with an odd sundial in the center.

"It's a dead end," Chantal commented.

"Things are not always as they seem," Jareth only replied as he approached the sundial.

"A sundial? How is that going to help us?"

"Patience. See that wall over there? Yes that one, go move the vine off it," He instructed her.

Chantal approached the vine covered wall and easily moved the vines aside, but there was nothing behind the wall. She turned to watch Jareth curiously as he examined the sundial. For a moment she though Jareth was starting to go crazy.

"Where is it? Why did I have to make this thing so tricky?" He grumbled as he ran his hands along the bottom edge of the sundial.

"What are you doing?" She dared to ask.

"Looking for the... Ah ha!"


Chantal raised and eyebrow as Jareth tilted the top of the sundial. She leaned forward to take a peak. The inside was hollowed out enough to rest a clear crystal.

"Interesting," before she could say anything more, Jareth pointed a the wall she had just uncovered.

"Watch it."

Jareth rested his hand on the crystal, as he did so it started to glow, and the wall behind Chantal started to shimmer. Suddenly there was a full length mirror hanging on the wall in front of her.

Chantal could only stare at her reflection in the mirror with wide eyes. Serek tilted his head at his own reflection from Chantal's shoulder. She impulsively reached her hand out and touched the surface, it rippled like water to her touch.

Meanwhile behind her Jareth had closed the top of the sundial and approached her from behind.

"So we just go through there and we are at the castle?"

Jareth let out a short laugh. "Not quite, I can't make my shortcuts that easy now can I?"

Chantal let out a groan, but nodded.

"After you," Jareth insisted, motioning for her to go first. He smiled at her mischievously.

Chantal gave him a quick glare, but stepped through the mirror. It felt like stepping into water, she instinctively closed her eyes and held her breath. For a few moments it felt like she was walking through water, a pressure almost holding her back, she had to force her way forward. The next minute she found herself standing on solid ground again.

She opened her eyes and found herself in a small room with no windows or doors, just four identical mirrors on each wall. The room was neatly lit from an unknown light source.

On her shoulder Serek shook himself as to rid himself of water. Chantal shivered, then realized she wasn't wet from passing through the mirror. What a strange feeling that had been, and it was not done yet by the look of the mirrors in the room.

A moment later Jareth stepped out of the mirror, he looked up at Chantal and grinned.

"Well that was different," Chantal commented to the Goblin King.

Jareth nodded. "And we have more to pass through."

"I sort of figured that with there being mirrors on the wall and all and no other exit to this room," Chantal said as she rolled her eyes.

The Goblin King ignored her sarcasm as he took a quick look around the room. He then pointed to the mirror to the right of them. "That one!"

Chantal walked up to it and closed her eyes once again as she stepped through. Again she felt like she was walking through water, but easier. It was so odd that she couldn't resist a peak. She opened her eyes for a moment, but all she saw was darkness. A shiver ran down her spine, making her suddenly cold all over. Her heart skipped a beat and she started to panic. She closed her eyes tightly, forced herself to breathe and take another step forward. Her heart was still beating fast when a few seconds later she stepped out of the mirror onto the floor of the next room. Chantal gasped as she took a few steps forward and fell to her knees. Serek on her began to chirp as he rubbed his soft little head on her cheek reassuringly.

"Between?" She muttered to herself.


Chantal looked over her shoulder at Jareth, her heart was starting to calm down now. "Well not quite. In a series of books I have read there is this place called 'between'. It's when the person travels from one place to another almost like teleporting, but takes time just like the mirrors. It's dark and cold, and if not done right you can be lost within it forever. When we passed through the mirror it reminded me of that." Story or not, it was frightening.

Jareth raised an eyebrow. "You did not seem to have a problem the first time."

"Because I had my eyes closed."

Jareth started to laugh. "Then continue to do that."

Chantal only nodded, a little embarrassed that she had been frightened by darkness. She wasn't normally afraid of the dark. Perhaps it was just because she didn't expect it to be so dark, she told herself. Serek still clung tightly to Chantal's neck, providing her with a solid presence.

"Are you ready?" Jareth asked, with a hint of concern in his voice.

"Yeah, I just have to keep my eyes closed and I should be fine. Let's go!" Chantal got to her feet and looked around the room. This room was just like the first, but with three mirrors instead of four.

Jareth pointed to the mirror across from them. Chantal stepped up to it and took a deep breath. She then closed her eyes and stepped through the mirror again. Serek clung tightly to her, comforting and encouraging.

Again she felt as if she where passing through water, her clothes and hair moved around, semi floating. Her steps were slow and heavy, and she felt what seemed to be a current gently pushing her forwards. She knew though that if she opened her eyes that there would be nothing but darkness. There was nothing out there, and no light would reveal anything. She forced herself to stay calm and to keep moving. A moment later she stepped out of the mirror and onto solid normal ground. Jareth appeared seconds after. He nodded at Chantal, glad to see she did not freak out again.

They were yet again in a square room with three mirrors. One to the left and right of the mirror they had exited. Jareth pointed to the mirror to their right and Chantal once again closed her eyes as she stepped through.

She exited into another room. This one looked more like a hall with mirrors along both walls. Chantal had stepped out of the center mirror along the one wall. There where three mirrors in front of her and three behind her. Jareth stepped out of the mirror and looked around. He suddenly looked very confused.

Chantal's eyes grew wide and pleading. "Please don't tell me you got us lost."

"This doesn't seem right."

"How so? I thought you designed this shortcut."

"I did, but this room was supposed to be a stone floor, not dirt." Jareth looked back through the mirror they had come, trying to figure out why this wasn't right.

Chantal looked down at her feet and kicked some of the loose dirt with her foot. "Oh!"

Jareth looked at the floor, then at each of the six mirrors. "It seems almost right, but there is two mirrors missing as well on each ends of the hall."

"Well if you think we took a wrong turn, we can always go back," Chantal said as she took step towards the mirror they exited a moment ago.

Jareth reached out and grabbed her before she could get close to the mirror.

"We cannot go back," He told her. Chantal gave him a confused look. "The mirrors only go one way, so stepping back won't lead you to where we came from."

"Well that makes things complicated."

"Well, can't have just anybody using this shortcut."

Chantal looked back at the mirror and sighed.

"So what now then?" she asked as she started to move the loose dirt under her feet. She looked at Jareth but he was looking at her feet. No, not her feet, but what was under them.

Jareth started to push some of the dirt aside to reveal a stone floor with a crystal shape imprinted in the stones. Jareth smiled, finally understanding, and pointed to the mirror across from them on the left. "That one"

Chantal looked at the floor again then at the mirror, before she could ask, Jareth explained.

"This room isn't finished, the dirt was used to fill in the cracks between the stones. The workers haven't co,e back yet to add the two other mirrors or to remove the dirt. I will have to get at them to finish this."

Chantal nodded. "But first we need to get to the castle."


Chantal grinned and stepped through the next mirror.

They exited into a triangular room with a mirror on each wall. Jareth pointed to the mirror to their left and entered it. They continued through the rooms without any more incidents. They passed through three rooms; first a rectangular room with four mirrors, then into a square room with three mirrors, then into another rectangular room with four mirrors.

When they exited into a circular room with three mirrors, Chantal stopped for a moment to take a deep breath. She then let out a sigh.

"How many more to go?" she asked.
"Not many," Jareth replied looking around the room for the next mirror.

"How many is not many?"

Jareth turned to look at her and grinned teasingly. Chantal glared back, hands on her hips, hoping this would encourage a more direct answer. Unfortunately it did not work.

"You are enjoying this too much," she told him accusingly. "I thought we had a kingdom to save."

"Indeed we do."

"Then why are we spending all this time in this 'shortcut'? I thought this would have gotten us to the castle faster."

"Oh, believe me, this is faster. After you!" Jareth said gesturing for Chantal to enter the next mirror.

Chantal rolled her eyes and walked past him to the mirror. "You are so weird."

Jareth laughed behind her as she stepped through the mirror.

On the other side they exited into another rectangular room with five mirrors. Jareth pointed to the one across from them and they walked into it. By now Chantal was getting used to the feeling of traveling through the mirrors. She still kept her eyes firmly shut as she passed through them, still not wishing to see the darkness around her.

They then entered into an 'L' shaped room, Chantal followed Jareth around the corner and to the next mirror.

On the other side was yet again another square room. Chantal stood in the middle of the small room and looked around. She was a little confused, for there were only two mirrors. One she has just exited and one in front of her. It seemed too simple.

Jareth appeared behind her and Chantal turned to face him.

"That one?" She asked unsure if it was really the next mirror they had to enter.

Jareth shook his head and pointed at the mirror they had just exited.

Chantal shook her head and laughed. "Go figure. 'The way forward is sometimes the way back.'" She stepped back through the mirror, leaving Jareth to follow her.

This time when she exited everything was dark, unlike the unnatural light in the other rooms. Though it was dark, it was not the darkness she had experienced when going through the mirrors.

'Had Jareth been mistaken?' Chantal thought. Serek let out a little chirp of encouragement. Chantal pulled off her backpack and reached inside to pull out her flashlight. She flipped the switch, turning it on and began to look around. She stood in a white corridor going to the left and right of her. In front of her was just a normal stone brick wall. She turned around to look behind her, but it was just a solid wall where she had exited a mirror a moment before. She touched the wall, it was solid under her hand. She stepped back and waited for Jareth.

A moment later the wall seemed to shimmer, and Jareth stepped out of the wall. Behind him the wall stopped shimmering and returned to normal.

"I take it we are in the castle now?" Chantal asked.

"Yes, in the 'basement'," Jareth replied.

"And castle basements tend to be mazes as well. So which way are we going?" she asked pointing her flashlight left then right down the corridor.
"Straight," he replied walking past her to the wall adjacent to them. The Goblin King placed one hand on a brink in the wall and pushed.

There was a low rumbling as a section of the wall moved back into an opening then slid slowly to the left. Chantal shone her light through the opening and they could see stone stairs leading upwards.

"Now that is a shortcut!"

Jareth laughed at the girl.

"I guess now we find out what has been going on up there." Chantal said gazing into the darkness.