For the longest time, he lay perfectly still, face down on the floor.
"Goblin King," she said, her voice cracking despite her attempts to hold firm, "Are you alright?"
His breathing deepened, rasping as his shoulders shook. All signs of the wound had vanished; even the dried blood was gone, but he couldn't seem to lift his head, or wouldn't. She found herself kneeling beside him, one hand on his back.
He looked up. His eyes widened as they locked with hers. A strange, unrecognizable emotion burned there. Her stomach clenched; whether it was fear or something else, she didn't know. All she could do was let the feeling wash over her as she met his stare. His lips trembled.
"You," he spat, wrenching away, "I should have known."
The veil dropped over his eyes, hiding the shock she'd read moments before. Only rage remained as he rolled away.
"Should have known what?" she asked.
She felt the heat burning in her cheeks as she stood.
"I should have known you'd be the one responsible for this," he continued, "What do you want this time? Is there another brother you'd like to wish away? Or a sister perhaps?"
She recoiled, stunned.
"No, I didn't bring you here," she said, "I wouldn't---"
"No, of course you wouldn't. You'd never wish a sibling away, not Sarah the spoiled. And where is here?" he interrupted, "What is this place?"
She scrambled to collect her thoughts. Though she had to admit it was a futile effort. In the years since their last meeting, he hadn't aged, hadn't changed except for a few stern lines set deep in his forehead while he glared silently at the filth around him. He was still gorgeous, still ethereal, and utterly terrifying in his anger.
"It's a town called Silent Hill," she said, "Or it was anyway, but everything changed."
"What do you mean changed?" he asked sharply.
She shrugged, "One minute it was an ordinary, abandoned town. It was empty and rundown, but it was relatively safe as long as I didn't go into any of the buildings. Then, all of a sudden, everything just sort of decayed around me."
"That's no surprise," he said.
The words stung, and though she desperately wished she could ignore it, his voice reverberated coldly in her skull.
"I didn't ask for you help," she snapped, "I didn't call you here. If you're just going to insult me, you should leave. I'll be fine on my own."
Some of the anger faded from his face.
"You didn't call me here to save you?" he asked.
His voice rose as though the thought was unfathomable; she shook her head.
"If anything," she said, "You called me here to save you."
"I highly doubt that," he said.
He crossed his arms over his chest and glared. The list of things she had to accomplish by Monday was steadily growing longer. First finding the birth certificate, then finding the strange boy, and now, getting a spoiled king to settle down. All this or loose her job. Her head was beginning to throb.
"Think what you will," she said, "I have more important things to do than argue."
"Oh really?" he asked, a cold smile gracing his lips.
"Really," she said.
"What exactly would that be?" he asked, "I know you like to play the heroine, but surely you'd have better reasons than that to come to such a dreadful place."
She sighed. This wasn't going to be easy, she realized. He was going to be difficult until the end.
"If you must know," she said, "I'm trying to find a birth certificate for one of my charges. If I don't find it by Monday, we won't be able to finalize her adoption. She'll be without a home."
He frowned, tapping his index finger against his cheek.
"Can a piece of paper truly hold so much power?" he asked.
She nodded, "This one does. I don't know why, but it seems like everything and everyone is working against this kid. It doesn't make any sense."
He was silent, considering her words.
"There's more," she said, "There's a small boy lost somewhere in the town. I don't care what Jared says, he isn't safe. We have to find him before something else does."
"Jared?" he asked.
"He was leading me through the town," she said, "When you ambushed us, he took off."
Her eyes widened. He was out there all alone; so what if he was a rat? He didn't deserve to be eaten by a mutated dog.
"He's out there alone," she said, "We have to find him too. He was terrified."
"So you do want my help after all," he said.
"What?" she asked.
"You said we," he said.
"What, no," she said, "When I said 'we' I meant me."
"What's said is said," he said, a bit of the old smirk tugging at his lips.
"The royal we," she continued, instantly regretting it.
He raised an eyebrow.
"You're really enjoying this aren't you?" she asked.
"Before I woke here," he said, "my kingdom was in peril, quite possibly by the same curse that plagues this village. If it's all the same to you, I'd rather spend my time finding a way to reverse the effects."
In her mind, she saw a flash of the labyrinth, distorted and crumbling.
"The Labyrinth is in danger?" she asked.
He gave her a long Look.
"What happened?" she asked.
"I had hoped you would tell me," he said.
It was like talking to a wall or walking around in circles. No matter the conversation, it went nowhere.
"I told you," she said, "I have nothing to do with---"
"I know what you told me," he said, waving one hand dismissively, "However, the fact remains that all was well until you came to this accursed place. I was in my kingdom; you were in yours. The sun was shining; there was no fog. Then, you came here and both our worlds crumbled."
"It isn't my fault."
"If that is the case," he continued, "Then I must be the one to blame. Someway, somehow, sitting quietly on my throne made the world fall down around us all."
She threw up her hands in surrender.
"It's no use talking to you," she said, "You've already made up your mind that I'm the villain in all this."
"Truth hurts, little girl."