A/N: All right…first of all I would like to thank ANYONE who has actually stuck with me for this work, for any of the others, this bloody long. I know I am taking forever, I am so sorry, really, I am. I know how frustrating it is, for both authors and readers and I am trying to get back into the groove of writing. It's proving a little bit on the hard side but that's probably because the last thing I wrote that I was happy with was, I believe, the second chapter of this story and we all know how short that was.
So folks, without delay I give you another chapter! Amazing, I know.

Chapter 3: The Things She Gets Herself into (Part 1)

Katarina took one final glance behind her to make sure Jareth had really left. Seeing nothing but expanse of slightly dead looking flat lands leading towards the far off border of his land, she gave a small sigh of relief. She'd never get anything accomplished with him breathing down her neck like he had been a few minutes ago. She sighed again, a small, quiet little noise with barely a noticeable movement of her shoulders and looked back towards the sprawling maze in front of her.

The first step is always the hardest they say and right now that was a bit of an understatement. You see the trouble with the whole wish thing is that the labyrinth is a living-thing, an entity of sorts. She tends to grow year after year, but the time limit never does. No matter how much larger (and admiringly intimidating thought Kat) the maze got, the runner always had 13 hours and only 13 hours in which to solve it. With that in mind, Kat took her first step down the sandy hill. But of course Kat being Kat, she overshot where her foot was going to land and instead took a tumbling shortcut which landed her head first into one of the scraggly trees at the bottom.

"Owies…"Kat muttered to herself. She was slightly dazed but besides a bump on the head she was no worse for wear.

She was ready to glare at the little tree scathingly but saw it had stopped her from rolling into a very icky looking, unkempt lily pond. At least she hoped it was a lily pond, there was really no telling what kind of stuff actually grew and lived in that disgusting looking water. At this realization, she gave the tree a nice little pat on the trunk to say thanks and began walking carefully over to the outer walls, not wanting to do something else stupid, like spraining an ankle before even getting INTO the Labyrinth.

"Hello Laby…" she spoke softly, running a black nailed hand along the contours of the area where the door generally tended to be located (though it did change every so often)

"Don't suppose you'd just let me in this time would you love?"

The doors stayed tightly sealed shut in answer, and to her right a series of symbolic pressured tiles formed in the wall. Kat knew this game very well and she smiled a secret smile to herself that even the watching Goblin King couldn't quite understand. She did however take a step back to study the 13 pictorial tiles as one big picture. As jumbled as they were she knew exactly what they represented and began to push them down in the correct order starting near the middle of the line and branching outward. Once the final symbol was back in place Kat took a large step back.

Each 5x5 inch tile slid from its place to form a line from top to bottom on the outer wall where once they had formed a horizontal one. The thirteen tiles, each one representing in picture form one of the thirteen months that make up an Underground year, formed a seam by connecting themselves with several, short thin lines between every two. Once the seam was complete, the stone gave a great groan and the wall opened inward to let her through.

"Thanks love. I promise I'll get Jareth to clean you up a bit." She smiled again at the huge maze and walked through. Waving to the Seeing Lichen, she didn't as much as flinch as the doors closed solidly behind her.

"Well then…which way, which way…" Looking right and left it did seem as though the two sides went on for forever and a day. The truth is that's all an illusion because the turns are enchanted to look as though they don't exist, but that makes it no less intimidating.

"Umm…" Her only other option was to go straight and looking at the supposed wall in front of her that seemed like an impossible choice. Kat knew better than anyone that things are pretty much NEVER what they seem to be but that didn't stop the wall from looking infallibly solid. She glared at the lichen that was now sniggering quietly at her, it wasn't fazed and simply sniggered louder, having seen the indecision from runners before a million times.

"Oh shut up…" she grumbled, aiming to walk through the wall (hopefully) with dignity and poise.

Closing her eyes may have been a mistake at that point.

Chapter Fin
possibly a little bit longer than the other chapter, I think. I will take this time to plug an awesome band called Ludo, who I have been listening to a lot lately. Yes they are named after THAT Ludo and I even got to meet them last night, so I'm in a good mood. You can probably partly thank our cable and internet being down for this chapter, you can thank the 

aforementioned band because listening to them has caused some inspiration.
And thank my beta reader! She catches stuff I never would have noticed!

Till next we meet, dearlings.
Aviarianna O' Lorien