After the Labyrinth, Sarah worked to improve her relationship with her father and stepmother and built a loving relationship with her little brother. Although she acted throughout high school and into college, she developed a love of art and found she had the ability to transfer her dreams to canvas. She won a scholarship to Cooper Union in the East Village, downtown Manhattan. The school had an interesting mix of architecture and engineering students, along with their fine arts program participants. She participated in every art show, winning several awards and developing an impressive portfolio while she earned her degree.
Upon her graduation, she painted for her own pleasure, but paid the bills through illustrating book covers, creating maps and some advertising work for those same books and their authors. Her experiences in the Labyrinth offered a good basis for much of her artwork.
She stayed in NYC, investing a good portion of her income with a financial investor and made a good enough return that she could afford to purchase a condo that was laughingly called a "fixer upper", but was actually in desperate need of improvement. The difference in price between what she had planned to spend versus what she bought left her with enough funds to renovate the space.
Finding a contractor through recommendations of friends, they redesigned the space, gutting it and starting over. She stayed in her studio apartment for the four months of renovations, watching the changes occur day by day. By the end, she had a beautiful home with new hardwood floors, a gas fireplace with hardwood surround, a wall of windows with a set of French doors leading to a balcony, a contemporary kitchen with granite countertops and new appliances. At the contractor's recommendation, she had recessed lighting installed throughout, added a wine refrigerator to the kitchen and a few other items increasing the resell value.
She moved in once the condo was livable, using her old bedroom set until she could purchase something new and adult. Her first night in her new albeit empty home was relatively quiet, but when she came home the next day after meeting with an author about a proposed book cover, she found her bath powder spilled in the bath room. She looked around, but saw nothing that could have caused it, so shrugged and cleaned it up. Another day, her trash can in the kitchen was knocked over and she looked at it with a raised eyebrow, shook her head and cleaned it up.
The following evening, she opened her sewing kit and took out a spool of nylon thread. Starting at one end of her bathroom and working her way out, she laid a diamond pattern starting a few inches above the floor and continuing up to the countertop. She grinned and headed to bed.
She awoke to a small thud followed by what sounded like cursing coming from her bathroom. She quickly and quietly got up from the bed, slipped on the robe at the foot of her bed and strode to the bathroom door. Flipping on the light, she crossed her arms across her chest, leaned on the bathroom door frame and tried not to laugh at the sight of the back side of a small goblin caught in the complex web of nylon thread, getting more entangled the more it tried to escape.
It finally froze as it realized the lights were on and looked over its shoulder, eyes widening as it caught sight of her.
"Um, hi Lady" it squeaked. "Oh boy, I'm in trouble, huh?"
"It depends, what are you up to?" she asked with a small smile at seeing fantasy come to life again. She hadn't seen anything from the Underground in nearly a decade.
It tried to duck its head and not meet her eyes. "Just lookin…"
She chuckled and it looked at her, eyes widening in surprise. "You're not mad at me, Lady?"
"Not particularly. Hold still and I'll cut you loose." She reached into the drawer and pulled out the scissors, quickly snipping through the tangle of thread she had spread throughout the bathroom. The nylon thread had been nearly invisible to see and worked well to trip and tangle whatever ventured into the room.
"There you go. I just wanted to see who was visiting me." She knelt down and helped untangle the threads from around the goblin's legs and torso. "My name is Sarah, what's yours?"
"Um…Squeeker, Lady. I'm Squeeker. I'm not in trouble?" He seemed stunned that she was smiling at him rather than drop-kicking him out of her home.
"I don't object to visitors, Squeeker. I would ask that you clean up after yourself though if you make a mess." She waited until it hesitantly nodded before adding "Are you hungry?"
Squeeker's eyes widened further. The Lady was offering to share food? That was unexpected. Was she going to poison him as punishment? But if not, food was food. "Umm…I'm always happy to eat, Lady" he gulped.
"Well, come on then, let's see what we have". She smiled and led the way to the kitchen. He trailed after wondering why she was being so nice. Few humans actually saw goblins and those that did were usually frightened. But she was the Lady, the champion of the Labyrinth, and she was being nice to him!
After looking through everything she had in the big cold box and then the Really cold box below it, Squeeker was in heaven. So much food! So many different things! He couldn't decide with so many options and the Lady just chuckled, took something out of the Really cold box, used what she called a "toaster" and soon presented him with waffles with syrup. He had never tasted anything so good.
"Waffles are Squeeker's new favorite food" he groaned in ecstasy.
"So do you live here or are you from the Underground" Sarah asked casually keeping a smile on her face.
He licked the last of the syrup from the plate. "Underground, Lady. I just wanted to see where the Champion lived." He suddenly widened his eyes again. "You…won't tell the Boss I was bad or got caught, will you Lady?"
"Doesn't the Boss know you're here, Squeeker?"
"Umm, I don't think so?"
Sarah chuckled. "No worries. You're welcome to stop by and say hello. But if I have other humans over, you'll need you to stay out of sight and out of trouble. Deal?"
"Deal!" Squeeker had permission to come here! He wiggled in excitement and pride.