by Lord Dragon Claw
Disclaimer: Rumiko Takahashi owns "Ranma 1/2" and the Jim Henson Company owns "Labyrinth".
Chapter One: Thirteen Hours
Jareth was once a human child, stolen away by the previous Goblin King. The book entitled Labyrinth recounted Jareth's mother's attempt to rescue him from the Goblin City. It was a fairly accurate book, up until the ending. The book said that she succeeded, whereas in reality she failed. The Goblin King turned Jareth into a goblin, and made him his heir. Jareth learned powerful magic and became the next Goblin King.
Years later, Jareth was found in the center of the Impossibility Room, scrying into the future, seeing if his endeavor to ensnare a British girl named Sarah and her little brother Toby into being his Queen and heir respectfully. Such a scry was difficult to do, was very taxing, and could only be done at certain points in the Lunar Year. The worst part was, any being who scryed into the future would never be able to do it again. Such was the nature of magic.
Coming out of a trance, Jareth opened his eyes. He had watched what would've happened had he stolen Toby away and guided Sarah into navigating the Labyrinth. He would have lost many of his allies, and he would have lost the loyalty of the cowardly treasure collector, Hoggle. On top of that, he would've managed to net neither Sarah nor Toby.
Jareth decided against capturing Toby. Sure, with some training the boy would've become a powerful mage, but maybe a slightly older boy might fit the bill. Rather than checking every single house in England, Jareth decided to randomly check a few residences in a different island nation: Japan. The third house he checked yielded results. The best candidate to be turned into a goblin was currently five years old and living in the Juuban ward of Tokyo. The small boy and his tub-o-lard of a father were preparing to leave on a training trip. Perfect set-up.
What's this? thought Jareth. This boy is a powerful chaos magnet, more powerful than any other child. He shall make a wonderful heir. Following the laws of magic, especially chaos magic, the next chaos nexus he will reach will be... He cocked his head as additional images were displayed in a crystal sphere as he made various calculations in his head. Finally, he found the next strongest chaos magnet near the boy. A book? Ah yes. The Neko-Ken Training Manual. One of my predecessor's greatest pranks on the humans of Earth. He checked the fat man's past. When his father finds the manual, he will undoubtedly train his son in it, if his past actions are any indication. The Neko-Ken's madness will be detrimental to the boy... Ah. Idea!
He exited the Impossibility room via an upside-down doorway and quickly headed to his throne room. As always, several of the goblins were drunk, others were partying, others still were playing dice games, and the last group was having an all-out brawl in the center while the goblins from the other three groups made bets. A vein bulged on Jareth's head. He summoned his cane to his hand and started beating some discipline into the disgusting creatures. When he was done, they all looked punch drunk.
Jareth went to one of the sneakier goblins, who had been cheating in the dice games. The little guy wore simple robes, and was named Hrekkin. He had managed to avoid most of the blows aimed at him, and was one of the few still conscious. Jareth brought him to an adjacent audience chamber, where he set the little goblin down on a table.
"Hrekkin," Jareth began. "I have a job for you to do. There is a Neko-Ken Training Manual on Earth that I want you to switch with this book." Jareth swirled one of his crystal spheres and it turned into a book.
"What's in it for me?" asked the small and sneaky goblin.
"Do this for me," the Goblin King began, in a singsong voice that quickly became threatening. "and I won't dunk you head first into the Bog of Eternal Stench!" Hrekkin was very frightened. "Also, I'll give you a gold bar as big as you are if you manage to not be seen by any humans on Earth. Agreed?" The little goblin grinned eagerly.
"Agreed," Hrekkin said as he gingerly took the book.
Jareth showed the small goblin which Neko-Ken Training Manual he was to replace, and where it was, then sent him on his way through the Shade Nexusgate. Jareth knew that Hrekkin's fear would compel him to complete the task and his greed would cause him to remain hidden.
Now to visit Hoggle, the half-dwarf. Having him as the boy's guide will likely be most beneficial.
Saotome Genma believed he had finally discovered the means to his early retirement. He found a training manual on an ultimate technique and was gathering enough cats to put Ranma, who was six, through the training. He had also managed to steal enough fish sausages to wrap the boy in. Which he had just finished doing so.
"Daddy, this technique sounds scary to learn!"
"If I've told you once I've told you a thousand times, 'A martial artist must suffer for his art'! Now get in there!"
Ranma screamed out in fear as Genma quickly covered the pit with a manhole cover he managed to steal from the local city. Genma went to initiate the next step in the training. Hisses and yowls and screams of pain rose up from the pit.
"Let's see..." Genma was reading the next set of directions. "'Recite the following incantation.' Right. 'I wish the goblins would take you away right now!'"
Immediately the boy's screams were silenced. Genma glanced at the next direction.
"'After the trainee stops screaming, wait thirteen hours for results.' Hmm... that's more than enough time to steal... er, borrow a bite to eat."
Of course, Genma didn't read the next page at all. It read "Side effects include insomnia, insanity, an obsession with crystal spheres, change of hair color, and a general change of behavior. All effects of the Goblins' Fist training are irreversible. If the trainee does not learn the Goblins' Fist, the trainee will die. Trainer assumes all responsibility for his or her own stupidity."
Had Genma read that last line, he wouldn't have considered teaching Ranma the Goblins' Fist at all. He didn't like responsibility of any sort. Too bad for him!
Ranma found himself hurtled into the pit of starving cats. They began to savage his body trying to get at the fish products, but then the cats started backing off. He was lifted by a number of small hands, which had quickly removed the fish products from his body and thrown them to the felines. He felt the sensation of movement, and the darkness was suddenly replaced by a mid-morning light. He was suddenly dropped before his eyes were able to adjust, and he could hear snickering and whispering as whatever had carried him quietly and quickly snuck away.
Ranma observed his surroundings. It seemed as though the land he was in was parched, but not quite a desert. There was a withered tree next to him on the small hill he found himself. A good four kilometers off, he saw a wall. Beyond the wall was a maze of some sort, and in the center of the maze was a city and a castle.
"That is the Labyrinth," said a voice behind Ranma, startling him.
Ranma turned around to face the person or thing that had somehow gotten behind him without him noticing. The being was a tall man, with his white hair in a punk-rocker style, and weird eyebrows that were black, white, and light blue in coloring. The man's eyes were brown, and his physical appearance was that of a British athlete. The man wore black and dark-purple leather, as well as a black cape. In one of his hands he was holding a trio of crystal spheres and twirling them around one another.
"Who are you?" asked Ranma.
"I am Jareth," responded the man. "I am the Goblin King."
"You don't look like a goblin."
Jareth laughed. "I am a human who was turned into a goblin. It will be from me that you shall learn the Goblins' Fist. That is, if you pass my test." He gestured to the tree, upon which was a clock with the numbers one through thirteen on it. "You have thirteen hours in which to solve the Labyrinth. Succeed, and you shall learn the Goblins' Fist. Fail, and I shall feed your bones to my subjects. Good luck, Ranma." With that, he disappeared as did the clock.
"How did he know my name?" thought Ranma out loud. He began running at a moderate pace towards the outer wall of the Labyrinth.
Just outside the wall, Ranma saw one of the ugliest things he had ever seen. It was taller than he was, but not by much. Its head was huge. So was its nose. Its skin was all wrinkly but it didn't look old. It was wearing some rather simple clothing, and had a number of jewels and trinkets hanging from its belt. It was currently urinating into a small pool of water... well, it didn't smell like water.
Ranma waited for the strange creature to finish. Is this a goblin?
Once the creature did, it turned around, spared a glance at Ranma, then went and picked up a bug sprayer. It began to spray the fairies near the Labyrinth's wall, counting as it did so. "Fif... tee six!"
"Excuse me..." Ranma began.
"Fif... tee... seven! Fifty... eight! Fif... tee nine. And... sixty!"
"Hey ugly! At least acknowledge me!"
The creature shook his head and turned around. "My name's not Ugly, it's Hoggle. Ugly was the name of my mother." Hoggle turned around as Ranma facefaulted. "Six... tee one."
"Why are you doing that!?"
"Because the little pests breed just as fast as I can spray them. Sixty... two!"
"What's wrong with them?" Ranma asked as he picked up the sixty-first fairy. He suddenly dropped it. "GAH!"
Hoggle turned to look at Ranma.
"The stupid thing bit me!"
"Well, what did you expect?"
Ranma looked up at Hoggle, then started walking up to him, taking great care to stamp the fairy that bit him into the dust.
King Jareth was right, thought Hoggle. This kid is prime goblin material!
"I thought as much."
"..." Ranma simply raised an eyebrow. "Well, see ya!" He then leapt towards the top of the wall, and immediately smacked into an invisible barrier.
"Can't get in that way. You'd have to use the door. Six... tee three!"
Ranma rubbed his head. "So where is it?"
"Where is what?"
"What door? Sixty... four!"
"The door to the Labyrinth!"
"What about it?"
A vein bulged on Ranma's head. "Talking to you is pointless!"
"Not if you ask the right questions... Six... tee... five and six in the same shot!!" Hoggle jumped three feet in the air, clearly excited about his triumph.
"Okay... How do I get into the Labyrinth?"
"See? That wasn't so hard. You get in through there." Hoggle pointed to a gate that wasn't there earlier. As he pointed at it, the two doors opened outwards.
They both stepped through the gate. Ranma took a look around, and it seemed like the two opposing directions from the gate went on forever.
Ranma took a moment to think of which question he was going to ask. "Which of the two paths end, have openings, or turn? They seem to go on forever."
Hoggle raised an eyebrow. "Both of them do. And you aren't going to get very far; you take too many things for granted. So, which way will you go? Left or right?"
"Which way would you go?"
"Me? I wouldn't go either way."
"... Never mind. Thanks for nothing Hobble." Ranma began to head to the right.
"IT'S 'HOGGLE'! And don't say I didn't try to warn you!" Hoggle stormed out of the Labyrinth, closing the gate behind him.
A short time later, Ranma was extremely frustrated.
"He said that they both had turns or openings! But there's nothing but forever no matter which way I go! ARGH!"
Ranma sat down. He then heard a voice next to his head.
Ranma looked and saw a worm wearing a scarf looking right back at him.
"Did you just say 'hello'?"
"No, I said 'allo', but that's close enough."
"Okay... do you know how to get to the castle?"
"Sure! You go right through that opening across from you! Although, from there I'm unsure. I'm just a worm, after all."
Ranma was confused. "What opening? There's nothing but a wall there!"
"Of course there is! Just try walking through it!"
"Go on, then. You can't trust your eyes in this place; nothing is what it seems to be, so you can't take anything for granted!"
"Like the fairies outside?"
Ranma got up and walked straight to the wall, and found that it was only an optical illusion. "Hey, thanks!" Ranma turned left.
"Don't go that way. NEVER go that way!"
"Oh, okay." Ranma headed in the opposite direction.
"Poor kid," muttered the worm. "Can't even tell when he's being lied to."
"Hey Boss, the boy finally made it out of the Corridor of Insanity!" said one of the taller goblins. "Mirk the worm just told me!"
"In less than an hour," mused Jareth. "Impressive."
"Hear that Smaer? You owe me lunch!" said a small goblin.
"BLOODY FIGS!" cursed Smaer, a much larger goblin.
"Let's see if he makes it to the Liars' Doors," suggested Jareth. He pulled out one of his crystal spheres to be used as a scrying sphere.
"Twelve pieces on the left door!"
"I'll bet my chicken on the right!"
"Put me down for seven pieces on the right!"
A goblin bookie was keeping track of the bets.
"I bet he takes more than half an hour to make a guess when he gets there!"
"I'll take that bet! Loser buys dinner!"
"Smaer, with your luck..."
"Don't even think of finishing that sentence!"
"Too late, he already jinxed it."
"Watch your mouth!" yelled an elderly goblin, before smacking Smaer in the head with a cane.
"What the..." said Ranma, as he stared at a pair of doors with a shield in front of each, and a goblin head sticking out of the top and the bottom. "That was a dead-end just a moment ago!"
"No, that's the dead-end behind you!" retorted one of the goblins.
"The stupid thing keeps changing!" Ranma wished he could punch through walls already.
"Well, there's only two ways to go now."
"One of the doors leads to the castle..."
"... and the other leads to..."
The other three then said "Dun dun duuuunnn!"
"... certain doom!"
"So which is which?"
"You can't ask us," said one of the bottom goblins. "We don't know!"
"But they do!" said the other bottom goblin.
"Okay, I'll ask them."
"No good. You're allowed to ask only one of us!"
"One of us tells the truth and the other always lies. He be the liar."
"What a lie! I be the one who tells the truth!"
They soon got into a shouting match.
"URUSAI!" shouted Ranma. They shut up. Ranma pointed at one of the bottom goblins. "You! Which of the top ones is the liar, or do they both lie?"
"Uh... what are we supposed to do in this situation?"
"I don't know!" exclaimed the other bottom goblin. "I guess you'd just better tell him!"
"Okay... they both lie."
The top two both muttered the word "traitor."
"I'm better off just picking a door at random," mused Ranma.
"Wow, he solved it already!"
"Elf fodder! I owe Smaer dinner!"
"OH YEAH! I'M NOT A BAD LUCK MAGNET!" In his celebration, Smaer tripped over another goblin and went out the window.
CRACK! One of the goblins looked outside. "I don't think his neck is supposed to bend like that..."
"I guess I no longer owe him dinner!"
"That jerk! He died before buying me lunch!"
"Quiet!" commanded Jareth. "He's going to pick a door."
"I choose... LEFT!"
Many goblins could be heard celebrating or cursing as the bookie distributed the winnings.
He's learning, it seems, thought Jareth. He's using chaos in the form of random chance to try and make it through. If he chose right, he'd have gone down one of the Shafts of Hands and from there into an oubliette. Hopefully he remembers to continue to do so.
"What now, Boss? Seems as though he's in the clear for the moment."
"Send a Lancer into the area - a blue one - I want to see what he has in terms of combat skill. Oh, and contact the dwarf - it looks as though the boy isn't going to end up in the oubliette."
After randomly choosing a door, Ranma felt something pull at him. He felt stronger for it too. Little did Ranma know that it was his personal chaos nexus beginning to awaken in response to being in the Labyrinth.
Currently, Ranma was passing through a garden-like area with a maze of hedges rather than stone walls. Suddenly, something rounded the corner ahead of him. It was a goblin riding some sort of strange creature. The goblin was wearing blue armor and had a lance. Ranma dropped into a ready stance as the goblin lowered its lance so that it was parallel to the ground. All at once the creature charged, its speed surprising the young martial artist. However, Ranma was able to dodge the initial charge and jumped at the goblin's head. The goblin quickly let go of the back of its mount's head and caught Ranma's fist, and immediately tossed the boy aside into a more open part of the garden. As Ranma attempted to get back up, the goblin spun its mount around and hit Ranma in the ribs with the flat of his lance, knocking Ranma over several hedges. Getting up, Ranma realized something.
"Wait a minute..." He tried jumping over the hedges to get back to the Lancer, but he hit the invisible barrier again. "What the...?"
He didn't have time to contemplate as the Lancer had found him again and was charging him. Ranma jumped over the attack and snap-kicked the goblin's head, right in the visor of its helmet. Ranma landed behind it and turned around. Ranma was surprised when the goblin was unfazed by the attack. It turned its mount again and raised its lance into the air. The Lancer then tried to beat Ranma over the head with the flat of the lance as it slowly advanced. Ranma was hard-pressed to dodge. Then Ranma had an idea.
"Saotome School of Anything Goes Final Technique!" The goblin paused its attack and let its mount's head go again, in preparation for an attack. Ranma ran up to it and then quickly turned around and sped off while yelling "Run Away!"
The goblin facefaulted while its mount sweatdropped.
Back at the castle, Jareth also sweatdropped while many of the other goblins laughed at Ranma's "final technique".
"Well, he's fairly good for a six-year-old boy," mused the Goblin King. "He seems to also know when to employ that 'technique'."
"Hey Boss, he's making great time! He's still got nine hours and eight minutes left!"
Ranma was still in the garden part of the Labyrinth but he was definitely lost. Suddenly, Ranma saw a familiar face coming out of a giant vase.
"Hogwart! What're you doing here?"
"It's Hoggle! And I was waiting in an oubliette in case you screwed up at the Liars' Doors and ended up inside of it!"
"What's an oubliette?"
"It's a place where you put people to forget about them. The Labyrinth's full of them."
"Ah, well... I fought this guy in blue armor with a lance, but I had to run away and now I'm lost."
"You fought a Blue Lancer?"
"The Lancers are elite warriors, but the blue ones are the least skilled. Anyway, you said you were lost?"
"Well, I happen to know a shortcut out of the whole Labyrinth!"
"Nuh-uh! I've gone too far to give up now!"
"Well, too bad! If you don't want my help, I'll just go elsewhere!"
Ranma suddenly had an idea. Using the pick pocketing skills his father taught him (using a lead pipe as negative reinforcement), he stole the jewels and trinkets off of Hoggle's belt.
"HEY! Those are MINE! Give them back!" Ranma was running around the area as Hoggle chased him. "Those are MY rightful property! It's not fair!"
"Well, too bad! If you want these back, you'll guide me to the castle!"
End Chapter One.
Next Chapter: Talking hats, yetis, foxes, and rocks.
This idea came to me after I watched Jim Henson's "Labyrinth". And the stupid idea wouldn't leave me alone!
Anyway, as the movie leaves so many things unexplained, and not all of the Labyrinth was shown in the movie, I can make up whatever I want to and give all sorts of explanations and whatnot.
Yup. No Neko-Ken for Ranma. As hilarious as it is, I have other plans.
Thank-you's go out to MagusNecromancer and FlyGod for prereading this.
I'm updating this today (October 31, 2007) rather than tomorrow simply because I won't be able to have access to the internet again until Monday. So this is my first update for November. That's right, I said FIRST!