Impossible, Improbable, Impeccable
A Chapter in which our fair heroine,
meets an Old Friend, Is Introduced to the Goblins, Discovers More Magic,
Shrieks, Screeches, and-or JumpsOn Several Occasions.
It's only forever…
Not long at all!
The lost and the lonely…
With a strangled gasp, Christine opened her eyes and flew up in the bed. Then, with wild eyes, she looked left—right—all around herself, her chest heaving
She had been hoping that it had all been simply a very, very bad dream—the tapestry-hung walls, the willow-like golden candelabras and their seeming hundreds of flickering candles, the enormous canopied bed, and heavily curtained windows. But no: there were the four posts of the bed—carved into the shapes of exotic, preening birds—and there were the five alcoves that led out of the shadowy bedchamber. There was the huge carpet of dense sable-fur that covered the floor around and beneath the bed. There was the gorgeous domed ceiling with its swirling, seashell-like pattern.
It wasn't a dream.
Even though it was fantastical, even though it was improbable, even though it was simply and inescapably impossible…she, Christine Daae, had wished herself away to the Goblin King and his Labyrinth. And he had come for her, and brought her to his realm, because that was what the Goblin King was sworn to do: steal away from the world those who were unwanted. Or rather…those who didn't want the world.
She was here, within the Labyrinth that she had only imagined before—in the castle of the master of shadows, tricks, and unpredictability, the Goblin King himself. She hadn't truly believed that he could be real, before. Part of her had wanted to believe; but most of her knew that such a thing was never to be. Magic, goblins, and sorcerer-kings were a thing of fairy tales, not reality. A crystal-wielding enchanter could no more exist in the world of bustling, noisy Paris than a fish could exist in the clouds.
Yet here she was.
She'd wished herself away.
It was real. It wasn't a bad dream. It was real.
Carefully, as if she thought that the very slightest movement of her body would somehow set off warning bells throughout the Goblin King's abode—
For where else could she be?
—Christine eased the thick, warm coverlets of the bed away from herself, turning a bit, so that she was facing the edge of the bed, and the room beyond. Biting her chapped lower lip, she considered everything for a moment. Then she timidly eased her slender legs off the mattress, stretching them towards the fur-carpeted floor.
She underestimated just how lofty the bed was, and her feet met nothing but empty, cold air. Having been about to set her feet on the floor and stand up—as she had done every other day of her life, when everything around her had been relatively normal—she promptly lost her sense of equilibrium, and, with the aid of the slippery satin sheets—
Well, she promptly fell off the bed.
She hit the floor with a tiny, startled yelp—but fortunately, the fur rug was thick and soft, and her landing wasn't quite painful. Still, the shock of the impact to her backside was a bit rough, and so she sat precisely where she was for a moment: unmoving, her long white gown billowed around her and quite dwarfing her small frame within its voluminous length.
Of course, sitting on the floor provided her a whole new view of the room, and she took the opportunity to once again survey her surroundings.
Everything here looked exactly as it had in the stylized, medieval etching-like illustrations of her Labyrinth book: the walls and floors were composed of stone, and all the tapestries were rich and dark, hanging so perfectly swathed that a poet might have declared them sheer genius. The taper candles had slowly burnt down, and now there was globs of white wax dripping down onto the candelabras' arms—though there was no trace of wax on the immaculate golden-tan stone of the floor. It was all very lovely and ambient, from the bed itself to the exquisite patterns that whirled over the molding in the walls and ceiling. There was darkness here—but it was a beautiful, desirable kind of darkness, sumptuous and opulent as only a king could afford.
The Goblin King.
Christine's eyes widened, and she slowly stood up, turning to once again survey the five alcoves that stood like sentinels around the room.
Which of these doors would lead her out of the chamber? Which of the shadows would prove to hold some other living being—where had he chosen to conceal himself? She wasn't stupid; she remembered that she had fainted, upon having realized the identity of her captor, and she knew that the only way that she could have gotten back to the bed…was if he had carried her there himself, or commanded someone or something else to do so for him. And he wasn't here now; or if he was, she certainly couldn't see him.
It appeared that she was very much alone.
Christine shivered suddenly, feeling very lost and very frightened.
For all she knew, she and the Goblin King were the only living creatures in the place, and if she had recalled the story correctly, the only place in the Labyrinth that looked like…this…was the Goblin King's sinisterly magnificent abode—
The Castle Beyond the Goblin City.
"No…" she murmured to herself, out loud.
The sound of her own voice startled her at first, seeming loud and sudden in the looming silence of the expansive bedchamber.
But, then again, it was nice to hear something. The absolute quiet was more than heavy—it was oppressive, and almost suffocating, and she was entirely unused to anything but the loud and continual blurring of noise that existed in the opera house.
No…if she was indeed within the castle beyond the Labyrinth, then she was most assuredly not alone. Even if the Goblin King was not there himself, there would be goblins…somewhere. She shuddered at the thought of that. Some of the goblins in the fairy tale had been comical, and some had been almost kind. But there were others that were nasty, stupid, and malicious—and she didn't at all wish to run across their sort.
She eyed the five alcoves again.
One of them—perhaps more than one—contained a door, and that door just might lead her out of the room. Or perhaps there were no doors. One never knew with the castle of the Goblin King. She remembered that much from the book.
So, leaving the room immediately was not such a grand idea.
Curiosity overwhelmed her despair—for Christine was still a very young girl, and the unknown and the mysterious held great interest for her—and she crossed the room, to the veritable wall of curtains that hung there. They were dark purple velvet, with crisscrossing lavender embroidery at their hem: each cross of the latticework studded with either a pale topaz gemstone, or a gleaming white pearl.
Putting up one hand—then both—Christine pushed the heavy curtains aside. Again, light flooded into the room through the many-paned windows.
But it wasn't a normal kind of light.
It was a pale orange light.
What she saw beyond the window was bizarre, yet breathtaking. Immediately below her perch, she could see nothing but a huge stretch of breathtakingly flawless gardens: the castle grounds, as she guessed. On either side of her window unfolded wing upon wing, roof upon roof, tower upon tower of the immense castle, going on until she could see no further. The gardens were enclosed by a spike-rimmed wall—No one scales in, and no one climbs out, she thought, morosely—and beyond that wall?
Beyond the wall lay the seemingly boundless Labyrinth itself.
It was just as twisted, just as intricate and spectacular, just as excruciatingly bewildering and just as incalculably majestic as the book had ever described it to be—yet it was unbelievably even more so, and certainly more so than she had ever been able to imagine. The sight of it nearly made her feel faint.
Above the Labyrinth was the dome of the sky, and it was—as the book had said—a peculiar, tawny shade of tangerine. It wasn't blue, like the sky in her world. It was orange, and the colour of it was reflected marvelously on the walls of the castle, and the Labyrinth itself. Everything seemed to be covered in a thick coating of sparkling dust: even the ebony panes of her windows shimmered prettily.
But the panes suddenly reminded her of prison bars.
And she remembered, at once, what the Goblin King was sworn to do, when he was called by the foolish mortals: his power invoked by their words.
Phantom Prince, Goblin King,
Wherever you may be,
Take this awful life of mine
Far away from me!
"I shall take what you have offered," said the Goblin King.
"And henceforth, sweet foolish child,
it shall no longer be your own—
But mine, and my own,
In my Castle beyond the Goblin City."
She had wished that he would come and take her.
Her wish had come true.
Obligingly, he had come to her, and had stolen her away from her world, and from the life that she had so reviled. And now she was his possession—for the Goblin King owned what he was given, and would not break with it for eternity.
What have I done…?
Meg…Mme. Giry…her life at the opera house…her world…she had just wished for all that to be taken away, and now she would be given a lifetime—an eternity!—of imprisonment within the Goblin King's castle. She belonged to him. She had wished herself away to him, and now he would keep her. He kept all of his winnings.
Christine's stomach lurched, and her eyes burned with tears. She turned away from the window, suddenly unable to bear the sight of the beautiful but now condemning sight of the Labyrinth. It was no longer a glory to behold—but a prison, and a prison that she had wished upon herself. Clutching one hand to her churning stomach, she leaned against the window: staring hard at the floor as her vision blurred.
What have I done?
There was no taking it back.
Before she could think upon this any more, however—something abruptly interrupted her. A door slammed, from somewhere within the shadowy alcoves, and she jumped, startled. She looked up, her eyes wide and fearful, and looked into the recesses of the room. Footsteps—succinct and measured, clipping sharply against the stone floor—came nearer and nearer, yet she saw no one. Her heart in her throat, she managed to stammer, tremulously—
She was not given an answer immediately, though the footsteps seemed to draw nearer, at first—then they faded away—and returned again.
Mustering all the remaining shreds of her courage, Christine pushed herself away from the wall, and took one, then two tentative steps into the centre of the room. With quavering hands, she smoothed her straggling curls away from her face, and called again: this time with greater steadiness of tone—
"Who's there? Who are you?"
The door in the far right alcove creaked open, and Christine fell back a step, her bravura dissipating somewhat in trepidation towards whomever or whatever might reveal itself behind that door. But she saw only darkness for a moment—then, as her eyes focused on that darkness, she made out the murkiest outline of a tall, slender, but most definitely feminine figure, which stood just beyond the reach of the candlelight.
She heard a loud, unhappy sigh.
"Ah, cherie…" said a strangely familiar, peculiarly accented voice: alto-toned, and husky, reminiscent of smoke and silver. Christine's eyes began to widen, her face paling once more, as the voice of her mysterious visitor continued, "What has he done?"
Then the figure moved into the light—
And Christine's mouth mad a perfect, wide O.
"Mme. Giry!" she burst out.
The ballet mistress—who was garbed in a very unusual, antiquated gown of black velvet, which almost seemed as if it would have fit into the times of Queen Elizabeth and the Bard himself—stepped fully into the room, and sent her former pupil and charge a severely disapproving look.
"Christine!" she admonished. "Shrieking is highly unladylike, child, as is gaping openmouthed like a fish. Where are your manners?"
Self-effaced, Christine immediately snapped her mouth shut.
Mme. Giry then halted a few paces into the room, and rested her slender alabaster hands atop the rounded head of her cane: seeming as if she was completely at ease in her Elizabethan gown, as if she walked around in goblin- and magic-riddled castles every day of her life. And…somehow…the ballet mistress looked…
Christine gasped anew, as she caught sight of the most noticeable change.
"Mme. Giry!" she breathed. "You have—"
The black-garbed woman reached up, and gently touched the fingertips of one elegant hand to the delicately pointed tip of her right ear. A cool, almost smirk-like smile curved her dark red lips then, and she replied—
"Pointed ears? Yes—I am an elf, Christine Daae."
Christine could only stare, for a moment.
"I…I think that I need to sit down…" she muttered, and did so, reaching behind herself to slowly find the edge of the bed's high mattress and pull herself up onto it.
Mme. Giry watched as the pale-faced girl situated herself on the bed: taking full note of her widened eyes and very, very shocked and disbelieving expression. It was a lot to take in all at once… she reflected.
After all, it wasn't every day that one learned that there was a world of magic beyond the world of the mundane, and that there really were such creatures as goblins and elves in the world, that ballet mistresses and mother figures could conceal magical secret identities, and that…yes…even powerful, mask-wearing sorcerer-kings existed. She allowed Christine a moment to recover, and then she spoke.
"I imagine that you are very much in need of some explanations now, aren't you, Christine Daae…?"
A pause, and she smiled again: that cool, almost smirk.
"Then I shall tell you the tale. It begins with the Goblin King…"
By the time that Mme. Giry had completed her tale and Christine had exhausted all of the questions that she herself could possibly think to ask, the orange sky had darkened into a fiery shade of umber, and the light of the candles seemed to have grown brighter, in the face of the greater shadows.
Mme. Giry, at length, stood up from the wing-backed armchair that she had seated herself in, for the duration of the tale; her heavy velvet skirts falling perfectly into place around her, she crossed to the window and pushed the curtains further aside—gazing serenely out over the Labyrinth.
As the ballet mistress did not speak, Christine again felt the need to fill in the curious silence with words. So she fiddled with the elaborate bed-coverlet for a moment: her nimble fingers moving in quick, anxious movements over the raised embroidery on the blanket. Then she spoke, in a low and apprehensive voice.
"Why did you come to find me, Mme. Giry?"
The older woman turned around immediately, when she had heard those words, and now her elegant face was lined with care: her eyes shadowed by worry. Returning to her former pupil's side, she placed a gentle, motherly hand on Christine's pale cheekbone. Her silky alto voice was compassionate as she said—
"Oh, Christine—poor, precious child! I am as much a part of the magical world as the Goblin King or any of his subjects might be! And though no one of your world knows it, I come here often. For I knew him: the Goblin King…I knew him as well as anyone could, I think…when he was much younger. Over time, I have returned here, every so often, to look in on him—and I have kept watch over his doings, ever since he first set his eye upon you, because I knew what was bound to happen."
She paused; Christine shivered.
"…And now he has brought you here—what sort of harsh, remorseless sort of soul would I prove myself to have, if I did not come to find you? I know the Goblin King, Christine Daae…and I know what befalls his prisoners: those he takes from their unwanted worlds. I would not forgive myself if I did not come to your aid now."
Wild hope fluttered in Christine's chest, then: beating against her insides with frenzied and desperate energy. Eyes alight with incredulous joy, she stood up from the bed, and reached her hands out to the black-garbed she-elf.
"Then—then you can help me? You know how I can escape?"
But Mme. Giry shook her head, hazel eyes darkening once more.
"Alas…no, I cannot, Christine," she replied, in as sad and regretful a tone as Christine had ever heard her use. "For the rules of the magic in this world are unbreakable—the Goblin King keeps what he takes, if it is willingly given. And you did wish yourself to be here, did you not?"
"I wish that the goblins would come and take me away…right now…"
Yes, those had been her very words.
Christine shuddered then, and suppressed the urge to put her face in her hands and weep: sob, wail, for all the world to hear. Yet even as the scalding tears once more burned her eyes—remorseful tears of her own guilt, hopeless tears of her impossible predicament—she did not cry, and instead faced the ballet mistress with admirable calm.
"Then…it is hopeless. I shall remain here, forever."
But then a faint glint appeared in Mme. Giry's eyes, and she held up one hand: the jet beading on the cuff of her sleeve sparkling brilliantly in the candlelight.
"Ah, but perhaps it is not hopeless, young Christine!" was her reply. "For, as you will soon learn…nothing is what it seems to be, in this Labyrinth. You have your wits; use them, child. Use them, and find a way to play the Goblin King's game. Many have failed at it, and have thus become ensnared here—and now they are doomed to serve his will forever. But…if you defeat him at his own game…you will command him."
Christine felt her brow furrow, in fear and confusion.
"But…Mme. Giry…" she protested, breathlessly. "He is a sorcerer! He has great powers, and commands the Labyrinth's magic—at a word from him, night may alter into day, and chasms appear where doors once stood! I cannot possibly hope to play him in any way—it is impossible! I have invoked his power…and the book said…"
Mme. Giry pursed her lips, and shook her head, suddenly, as if flippantly brushing off the rules of the Labyrinth. She even gave a bit of a scoff.
"…The book?" she questioned. "Fie on the book, Christine Daae! It tells the story of the Labyrinth and its master—but it does not govern it! The Goblin King will not be governed! But if you can defeat him, his powers are yours."
"How?" Christine implored, plaintively. "How am I to defeat him? It cannot be! I don't even know—"
Mme. Giry stepped forward then, and caught the young woman's wildly gesticulating hands in her own. Then, she put her own hand beneath Christine's chin, and tipped her face up, so that the two of them could look one another in the eye. A warm, vaguely reassuring smile now sat upon her dark red lips.
"Child…" said the she-elf, in the tone that Christine had often heard her use when speaking to little Meg. "Nothing is as it seems here…and that is what you must remember. No matter what you are told by anyone here, you must believe that. Rules can be bent, here…reality may be twisted, without being broken. But you must learn to use your mind, and rely not on what you see, but what you feel. Trust your intuition—trust both your heart and your mind—for by themselves, they will only confuse you, and lead you astray. Do not allow him to trick you! Be cunning, and clever! Charm him, and perhaps you will find that all is not as impossible as it could have been."
"But what can I do, Mme. Giry…?" Christine implored, clinging to the she-elf's hands with a frantic, almost child-like desperation. "How can I face this alone? How can I…"
And here she inhaled sharply, her face growing ashen at her newest thought.
"How can I possibly face him? He is…"
"Man-like, if not of mankind," Mme. Giry stated, pragmatically. "He has his faults, as any masculine creature does. Find the loophole in his words, Christine—and he will have no choice but to do as you wish him to do."
From somewhere behind them came the delicate, silvery chiming of bells: a clock was ringing out the time. Eight bells. It was eight o'clock in the evening now.
Mme. Giry turned, and smiled wryly.
"Unfortunately, my dear girl…"
And she patted Christine on the cheekbone with a gentle hand.
"I must go now. I may only dare to stay so long in the Goblin King's realm—after a certain hour, I remain at the risk of my absence being noted in the Other World,"—referring to Paris and the Opera House, and everyone who lived within it—"Or my presence here being found distasteful to the King. I will take my leave of you."
Christine caught at her hand, hysterically, as she moved away.
"You are…leaving me here!"
Again, Mme. Giry winced slightly, and touched one elven ear. Then she sent the girl another one of her disapproving looks—which would have frozen Jacques Rousseau from head to foot, had it been aimed at him.
"Christine," she admonished, once more. "Squawking, child!"
Then, with greater warmth, she said—
"Do not worry so, my dear…the Goblin King merely keeps those whom he steals away…he doesn't eat them. In fact…"
Now her expression turned reflective.
"It is suppertime now. Doubtless, he will want to see you…"
Then she shrugged, frowning.
"I warned him to stay away from all of this…but it is too late now. We shall all have to simply wait and see where the dice fall. I will return soon, Christine—before dawn tomorrow, I give you my word. Do not fear. I am certain that it is very highly unlikely that the Goblin King will allow any harm to come to you while you are here. And you will not be left alone here for long, I'll wager. Keep a good hold on your nerves, and use your brain, child! I will look in here tomorrow."
With that, Mme. Giry snapped her fingers—
And disappeared into thin air.
Christine gasped and ran forward, staring at the empty space in the floor where her former ballet teacher and best friend's mother had just stood. This was no trick of the eyes, however: there was no concealed trapdoor in the stones of the floor. She really had disappeared. There was even a thin film of sparkling magic dust ringing the spot.
A pang went through Christine's head, then, and she moaned, falling back against the side of the bed again: covering her eyes with both hands.
This really was entirely too much…
Tap, tap, tap.
Christine dazedly raised her head, roused by the sudden noise.
Tap, tap, TAP.
There it was again.
A pause; then—
Tappity-tappity-tappity-tap. Tappity-tappity-tappity-tap. Tappity-tappity-tappity-tap—
All at once, the rhythmic little tattoo that was being beat out upon the bedchamber's door ceased. Then, suddenly, Christine heard the noises of what sounded like a rowdy scuffle between two small combatants. There were a few dull thuds, some rustling, and even several muffled exclamations—two of which caused her ears to burn bright red.
Finally, after a final "OUCH! Get your foot out o' me eye!" and a muttered "Sorry!", there was a much softer, much more discreet knock upon the door.
Christine carefully got to her feet, staring with apprehension at the closed portal.
Did she really want to answer…?
Yes, she did. She didn't like the idea of staying in the room forever.
"Um…come in?" she called, her voice wavering.
Before she had had time to properly curse her lack of bravery and her lamentable actress's skills, the door creaked open: revealing a glimpse of the torch-lit corridor that lay beyond her bedchamber-prison. Christine peered through the murky shadows, curious to see who it was that had finally come to interrupt her solitude—
And then there was an insistent tug on the skirt of her white gown.
Christine looked down.
She gasped, and screeched—quite forgetting Mme. Giry's earlier admonishment—and leapt, with cat-like alacrity, back to the safety of the enormous, tall bed. Without reaction, the two beady-eyed goblins looked first at her, and then to one another—then, as one, they shrugged, as if to say, 'Human girls—who knew?'
Well, things might have continued at this standoff.
But they didn't.
One of the goblins—a wrinkle-faced, mop-topped little creature that looked as if it was some demented sort of rag doll—turned to its companion, and spoke. Its voice was high-pitched, raspy, and almost comical: reminding her of the boys in the opera house, and how they would sometimes try to frighten the girls by making various mannequins and puppets speak to them. Only this was a real creature—not a doll.
"Jumpy wench, inn't she!"
His companion—a larger, duller-looking goblin with a horned-helmet and a face that resembled a miniature hippopotamus—merely nodded in agreement, a torpid look in its tiny, rounded orbs of eyes.
In spite of her fear and shock, Christine managed to be offended by that statement, and immediately she sat up among the voluminous cushions that littered the bed's top end. She looked down upon the goblins with an imperious and livid air.
"I am not a wench—I'm a lady! And I'll have you know that I'm not usually jumpy about anything—if you had people bursting into your bedchamber at every hour of the day, well—you would be startled too! Especially if they were goblins!"
Again, the diminutive creatures exchanged looks.
"…But we do have goblins bursting into our bedchambers all day long…" offered the dull goblin, attempting to be bright for once. "They're all over da place!"
His companion elbowed him sharply.
"That's because we live in the Goblin Castle, you idiot!" it snarled.
"…but she doesn't know dat…" rebutted the dull goblin.
Christine would have been perfectly content to remain in utter silence upon the massive bed, in hopes that the two bizarre creature would leave her alone again—but the smaller, smarter goblin apparently had other orders.
"Shut up!" it commanded the dull goblin after they had squabbled again for a moment. The dull goblin promptly obeyed, and his companion turned to Christine, who jumped back against the pillows again as it suddenly addressed her.
"By order of his Royal Majesty, the Phantom Prince and Goblin King, the high ruler of the Labyrinth and the sorcerer of the Goblin Castle," it informed her, authoritatively, "You are to attend supper with His Esteemed Greatness in the castle's banquet hall. Supper will be served at the hour of nine o'clock, and you are to be suitably attired—meaning that you're going to have to lose the nightgown, wench."
Christine's cheeks flamed red with anger, and she glared at the goblin.
"It is not a nightgown, and I am not a wench!" she hissed back. "That is the last time that I am going to tell you!"
The goblin shrugged, entirely indifferent to her displeasure.
"Shall his Majesty send ladies-in-waiting to attend you, or would you rather make yourself up?"
Christine hauled herself across the mattress, and slid to the ground, rising to stand at her full height—five foot, four inches, respectively—and tower imposingly over the goblins. Of course, they seemed quite unfazed.
"I shall attend my own wardrobe, thank you!" she replied, icily.
The lead goblin made a tsk-ing noise, but did not comment further on the matter.
"Suit yourself then," it told her. "But don't blame us if His Majesty makes matchsticks out of your bones when you don't come down to dinner on time, because of that stupid overgrown nightdress of yours…"
And the two creatures scampered off to the door.
Christine only just refrained from hurling one of her slippers at them; then the door swung shut, and she was alone again in the immense, echoing bedchamber. She turned, and looked around herself—one of the alcoves held the door that led out of the room, and she knew which one now.
But which alcove held the answer to her attire dilemma?
She couldn't possibly attend dinner with a King, dressed as she was—even if he was the King of the goblins, and even if he had abducted her away from her world and doubtless was now planning to hold her prisoner forever! No: the old, out-of-date costume gown that she had fancied to be so beautiful in the attic of the opera house seemed dull and wrinkled now. She would be mortified to appear before him in it.
…But which door?
She skirted across the room, from the door to the alcove that was closest on the left. Within it, there was yet another door—and before her fingertips had even had enough time to touch the winding engraved vines that wound around the doorknob, the vines moved, as if they were alive, and shrank back to reveal a plain brass handle, which turned on its own. Christine jumped, again—but only a little this time—and the door swung slowly open, revealing a dark space beyond.
Within another instant, candle flames burst into existence, as if ignited by invisible hands wielding invisible matchsticks. As the light steadily brightened, the interior of the new and unknown chamber was revealed—and Christine started.
A dressing room had just revealed itself to her.
What a dressing room it was, too!
Easily much larger than the bedchamber, the entire space of the chamber seemed to be filled with all sorts of fine ladies' clothing. She saw everything from crisp linen and satin undergarments, edged with gorgeous white lace, to skirts of every possibly fashion and material, to blouses and peculiar corset-like tops and tunics—cloaks, slender and somehow feminine breeches and coats—and hundreds of eye-dazzling gowns.
Every fine and costly material that could possibly exist was here, she was certain; along with a thousand other that she had never even imagined! A veritable rainbow of colours and shades assaulted her vision, nearly blinding her with radiance and variety; jewels and ribbons and lace and ruffles and baubles hung everywhere, in a glorious conglomeration of priceless beauty and art.
And clothing wasn't the only thing that she saw: lining the walls from the floor to just a little below her waist were rows and rows of shoes, in every possible design and detail, from the simplest laced boot to the daintiest slipper with a diamond-studded heel. Interspersed between the brackets of clothing were several shelved cabinets, with velvet-lined boxes that held enough jewelry to make a queen feel faint: jewels and precious metals shimmered so brightly that Christine could barely bring herself to look at them steadily. It was…all of it…so beautiful…
Moving as if in a dream, she quietly passed down the rows of finery: gazing at everything that went by her with wide and dreamy eyes. At the very far end of the room was a curving wall of windows, which were tall and many-paned, like the window in the bedchamber. These were much thinner, though, and had no curtains; and instead of opening onto a view of the Labyrinth, they looked down upon a beautiful garden that was full of sculpted boxwood shrubberies and holly trees, with fountains and statues of white stone placed artfully about.
In front of the windows was a large, rounded dais of white stone, upon which was stood a set of three huge mirrors. Each mirror was framed in silvery carved wood, and angled perfectly towards one another. Christine hesitated for one moment, wondering if she—a bedraggled ragamuffin who was both an outsider and prisoner in this strange, magical world—ought to set foot on what was surely the sanctuary of some princess.
But there wasn't anyone else in the castle—
Aside from the Goblin King, his goblins, and herself, of course.
If a princess had once possessed these rooms, these articles of fantastical attire…it had been some time ago. It wasn't every day that the Goblin King acquired new prisoners—almost no one believed in the magic of Saying the Words enough to actually say the fateful words, anymore, and so he couldn't possibly have many people…
Oh, heavens, thought the chorus girl, with an irritated scowl.
She gathered the voluminous skirts of her borrowed costume gown into both hands, and marched up the steps of the dais, approaching the three mirrors. The mirrors afforded her a flawless, multi-angled view of herself—and while she couldn't say that she was very pleased by the sight of her rumpled hair, the dark circles under her eyes, or the lamentable mass of wrinkles that had been a perfectly acceptable costume gown—
Well, the mirrors were rather lovely.
She could see her entire reflection within them, from head to foot.
Tipping her head to one side, she eyed the mirrors, and considered her reflection—and several other things. Foremost in her mind was the matter of her imminent meeting with the Goblin King, and her eventual bid for freedom…her mind was still reeling with shock, unable to believe what was before her very eyes, but unable to dismiss it, as well…and then her thoughts slowly turned to her current surroundings…
Scarcely had the image of herself dressed in one of the gowns—a gorgeous, scandalously low-cut dark crimson affair, studded with garnets and topazes, diamond and pearls—flashed through her mind when something very odd happened.
All at once, her white costume gown was gone; in its place, the dark crimson gown hung on her figure, its heavy velvet skirts shimmering with the last traces of glittering magic dust. Christine blinked, and then shrieked: startled again at the abrupt change. Even her hair had changed—no longer did it hang loose, in tousled curls about her shoulders and face. Instead, it had somehow been pulled back, and tamed into submission, so that her curls shone glossy and smooth in the candlelight, pinned back by a silver and garnet comb of some sort. Jewels of the same sort sparkled at her throat, wrists, fingers, and ears, and her eyes held a lustrous glow: their deep mahogany shade enhanced by gold-tinted kohl.
Then she looked down, and saw the extent of the gown's…extravagance. Instantly, the shade of her complexion changed from ivory-pale to furious scarlet, as she ripped her eyes away from her very much exposed décolletage and hastily moved to cover herself, even though there was no other living creature in the room.
Shock, slight fear, and outrage burning in her eyes, Christine cast about herself—but no! Of course, there was no one in the room! This castle was magic—even the mirrors were magic! She had only been thinking of what she would have looked like, wearing…this gown…and the magic had placed it on her!
If she so much as looked at anything in the entire room, then—
She would magically become dressed in it!
"Well," she said, with prim crispness of tone to the listening castle—and all of that magic that was contained within it, "If this is how you're trying to get me to hurry on my way to dinner with your King…you are to be sadly disappointed! I am not wearing this—affront to propriety!—to dinner, and that is that."
She could almost have sworn, then, that she had heard the very spirit of the castle's stones chuckling in response to her words. But she only rolled her eyes—she had expected as much—and went to seek out a much more proper form of banquet dress.
Originally, she had only thought to look around the dressing room, to explore a bit. Now, it appeared that everything within the place had a mind to dress her royally for dinner with the king, and nothing she could say or do would stop that. Her white costume gown had quite disappeared; and there was no getting it back, she assumed.
And as she certainly wasn't just about to go traipsing off into the goblin-riddled castle corridors, wearing nothing more than her simple chemise…well, all of this clothing obviously belonged to no one, and it was very keen on dressing her.
It seemed that she had no choice in the matter.
A/N: And it appears that Erik is up to his dirty little tricks already...oh, the delicious evilness of it all!
Here I bring a brand new chapter--all ten pages of it, if you cared to know--that is mostly filler-action, and not much E/C interaction. That is coming soon, as are some familiar yet strange new characters. It's mostly Labyrinth at the moment, and not much Phantom...but we'll be seeing more of a mix soon. I just wanted to give you a good, solid vision of what the Goblin King's beautiful Castle looks like. Because you'll be needing that later on.
AngelMusic: (smacks head on computer desk) I know, I know, my French is horrid beyond imagination...do forgive me...
xAngelxOfxMusicx: Definitely no mullets here, I promise you that. And as far as your vision of the Phantom Prince goes...yes...you pretty much have it. Oops! Did I say that out loud? Gosh darn it, I keep giving all of my secrets away. (sly smirk)
Mianne: Ah-haha, you figured out my evil secret! Yes, I did only add a bit on to the end of the chapter, but that's because I didn't like where I originally ended it. And I just had to get that "Such a pity..." line in there sometime. It's one of Jareth's staple quotes in the movie. I hope this chapter satisfies your hunger for more brand new chapter content? I'll be adding more soon, too...unless work-school-and-or-my-pseudo-LIFE prevent me from writing properly...
Miss Mary Lou: Well, I haven't written a sad ending yet, in all my other stories...but we'll see about it this time. I mean, we all know how the movie Labyrinth turned out for poor Jareth... (evil grin)We shall see, we shall see...
In the meantime, a big whopping thanks to all of my oh-so-completelyluverly readers and reviewers! (hugs you all) It makes my day to hear from you! Oh! And in the meantime...exciting news...I'm in a Phantom art contest, on phantom fans . net, the Phantom Thru the Ages contest. The aim was to put the Phantom characters into period costume (Present time, Medieval, Ancient Greek, 80's, etc.) and I was one of the artists who submitted artwork to the contest. Hop on by, and see the drawings! They're all quite spectacular! Mine were given under the user name Mme. le Fantome (my name on the board), and are titled "Punk-Goth!Erik" and "Love and Music are Forever".
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