Hey y'all! Sorry if I have been unfaithful to my stories. I've been super busy with my college papers and guess what, I joined the Navy and I'm headin' out on active duty in May so I'm excited. My older sister hates though, says that she's losing a nanny...and she's the one who's graduating in May as well. Anyway, I've also signed up on Deviant Art, so if you want to find me and my drawin's, just look up my pen-name in the search engine and couple of my drawings should pop up. Well, here's chapter four. Enjoy!
Chapter Four: Spirits and Shakespeare?
Once I landed on the forest floor, I let the two goblins slid off my shoulders and I watched them as they started jumping up and down with excitement.
"Lady jump so high! We went whoosh and flew across the trees and—and—!"
"Went through trees, and went around the tree—and—and—!"
I placed a hand on each of their tiny heads. "Whoa, slow down the motor mouths there." I began looking around the area where we landed. Knarly trees were clustered together to make a dense forest. Boulders and dried leaves coated the pathways, making the scene look almost peaceful as a small wind breezed by me, kicking some of the leaves up into their own dance. "Now, we've got to figure out where the castle is?"
"Why do that?" Ricki asked.
"I've been taught that if you have a primary objective and you're lost, just follow the straight and narrow path until you have reached your destination." I looked back down to the confused faces. Honestly I thought it was too cute the way they had their heads cocked to the sides. I kneeled down to their level and pointed to where the castle lay in the distance, the opening of the trees was just too perfect. "Find the castle, find your way towards the castle."
"Ohhhh," They nodded simultaneously. Didn't know if they understood but I was taking it. Getting back up, I dusted off my pants and gestured towards the path.
"Shall we begin?"
They smiled as they went ahead of me and I was following behind them. We traveled through the path for about twenty minutes. They were always ahead of me, pointing out the things for me to look at with the same fascination they were showing. Pretty soon, we came up across another wall. This time, this wall had several indentions, like someone tried to take it down with a wrecking ball. The wall was the same as before, no place to grip to climb.
"Now what?" I questioned, scratching the back of my head.
I heard a small squeak and I turned to see a flurry of leaves but no Ricki. "Ricki?" I heard another squeak and I saw that Ticki was also taken. I kept looking around but I found nothing. I was completely alone in the thickest part of the Goblin Kingdom forest and I face-palmed myself for my sheer stupidity. This was the part in the movie where Ludo mysteriously vanished and I couldn't believe that I forgotten that one tidbit of the movie.
I heard a twig snap and out of reflex, I kicked my leg back, feeling a pressure on my foot and a grunt corresponding with impact. I turned and got into a bear stance (opened hands brought to shoulder level with fingers spread and almost curled to make nails noticeable like claws), and ready myself.
Imagine my shock to find that there was someone behind me. I couldn't make out the face because of the hood covering the majority of his face and body but I did notice that he was tall—maybe about the same height as Sloane—and that he had really menacing looking sword out and was pointing right at me.
I tried the next thing to deal with a psycho with a sword: talking. "Hey, buddy. Do ya mind puttin' down the sword before you poke an eye out or somethin'? I mean, can't we talk this over as to why you are pointin' that thing at me?"
Imagine my reaction to his calm answer. "No point in talking, human. In order for us to gain power," he raised the sword above his head, "you must be eliminated." He brought down the sword to cut me down but I jumped out of the way, my body tumbling before getting back up.
"Uhh, no thanks, I'd rather not get eliminated by a shady goon who has the cowardice of a mouse." I snapped back as I tried to tackle him. Big mistake on my part. I completely missed him as he was gone in a flash and kept out of my line of sight. I kept looking until I felt this pain whip across my cheek and soon another in my back before everything went black.
Reinhold watched as the dark-haired human went sailing into the vine-covered wall from his back-hand and was knocked unconscious, her tiny body slumping to the ground, dark bangs covering her eyes as her head fell forward.
Clenching the sword in his hand, he made his way towards the human. "I never would have imagined such fire from such a tiny thing." He contemplated as he thought back on her last words. Truly, she held no sign of fear or cowardice towards him. Not even when she tried to talk him out of killing her. He thought that she must have saved fighting for a last resort. He himself had no qualms with that method and personal loathed bloodshed, but being bond by royalty, he had to follow orders from the court to the T. In this case it was by the order of his only-living blood sister who was power-hungry, to slay the 'filthy human' that stood in the way of gaining more power to their family name.
Though he didn't expect her to notice him behind her with a sword raised, ready to strike her down where she stood, and he certainly didn't expect her to land a painful blow on him. He was definitely going to have a boot-shaped bruise on his stomach tomorrow. Looking down at the human, he steeled his emotions as he raised the sword, the point lined up towards her chest, where he knew the heart laid. "You fought with a warrior's spirit and fire. Had you been born Fae, I would have considered you a possible comrade and rival." He pulled back the sword, "But for now, I grant you a swift death."
Just as he was ready to run his sword through, a shield encircled the human, encasing her in a translucent green light.
That light began to grow and intensify. It grew so bright, Reinhold had to draw back and shield his eyes with his free hand. All too quickly, the light was gone, the remnants clinging to the girl like an aura. After drawing down his hand, he saw that the light again receded from the girl's body to the necklace.
What he saw next left him speechless. Using the wall as a brace, the girl stood up. Keeping her head bowed, she got into a different stance, one for attacking. This time he almost didn't see her move until she had a tomahawk that was ready slash across his stature.
He raised his sword to block the blow, the clashing metal ringing out from impact. Pushing back with the blade, he forced her back, watching as she used that energy to jump back about twenty feet from him. It was when she stood up straight that he noticed that she was….different.
She seemed to stand up taller, broader, and handle herself like a warrior ready to fight to the death, especially the defensive way she was holding that tomahawk. However it was her eyes that give her a completely different look. Instead of the dark brown that he saw earlier, it was the piercing gold color that was staring back at him. In fact… those eyes… they were wolf eyes. A trait that he knew no ordinary human held.
That and the voice she spoke with, "You place another hand on Julianna, and I will formally send you on a one-way trip to the Spirit World." He could hear another voice overlapping her's; thick-accented, deep, and masculine. It was without a doubt that whoever was in Julianna's body now, it was defiantly a male with supernatural powers.
He smirked at the obvious challenged, not exactly caring of the sudden change in the human. "Well, there lies the problem. I have my orders to eliminate Julianna. Do I least have the courtesy to know the name of the one who stands in my way? " He brandished the sword just a little to catch the light on the blade.
"I was known among my people as The-Silver-Wolf-Who-Dances-With-Ghosts." He answered, flicking his/her wrist to make the tomahawk go in a complete circle. "But the white men called me Silver Wolf, so that's you may call me. That is if you live long enough afterwards to say it."
"Oh, I assure you that I will live long enough. As for myself, I am Reinhold and I let you take that name," He raised the sword, "With you back to the afterlife!" And brought it down, and again Silver Wolf blocked it with the tomahawk.
The fight between the two went on for about a good three minutes, each attacking and reciprocating with their blocks. Grunts, war cries, and ringing metal filled the air like a battle-raged symphony playing to the scene of two warriors fighting for the right to live.
Just as they were both about to attack each other, an invisible force came between, forcing both to stop mid-way through their attacks. Actually the force was so great, they were literally frozen in their positions—Silver Wolf ready to swing his weapon from the side and Reinhold bringing his sword from the top—save for their faces for breathing.
"Well, I can say that this has gone long enough." A playful voice rang, followed by a small orb that zoomed out of the forest and around the two, stopping to get a glimpse at the two. Soon the orb stopped a few feet from the frozen duo and began to take shape, giving way to a person with a brown shirt under a purple toga, gold belt to tie the middle and blue slacks with brown boots. What struck out the most about this person was the long white hair and elfin ears. All in all, he could have been mistaken for medieval jester with the playful smirk he had on his face. "I thought you would have learned by now to not miss with Sloane's heart," he directed towards Reinhold, "Unless, you really want to be beaten within an inch of your life."
"And I thought you would have given up these childish pranks after the Elizabethan era, Goodfellow. Now release me!" Reinhold snarled, tugging at the invisible bonds that were encasing his body.
With a wave of his hand, Goodfellow unfroze Reinhold. "Ah, the good ole' sixteenth century. Back when witchery and the fae folk were the answers to everything, from sudden cures to good comedy, to sudden deaths. But we're getting off track a bit," he waived his hand in the air but still kept the barrier between the two. "I suggest you put away your sword Reinhold, unless you want me to turn it into something that will bite you back."
Still keeping the deep frown, Reinhold sheathed his sword. "You know I can't disobey an order from the head of my council. I have to destroy her or—"
"Or be destroyed, I know, I know." Goodfellow interjected. "It's one of the many reasons I don't like your sister to begin with. But you do realize that I can't allow any harm to come to my godson, and that includes his intended. You're just lucky that I caught you and not Jareth or Sloane."
"So what do you intend to do to me? I can't go back and report that I failed to eliminate her." He gestured towards Silver Wolf/Julianna.
Goodfellow thought on it for a while, his chin resting between the bridge of his forefinger and thumb. "I suggest you lay low for now, stay under your sister's sight and wait until Julianna is done with the Labyrinth trial, that way you can say that you couldn't find her on time."
Reinhold let the idea mull around in his mind and decided that there wasn't much he could do at this point anyways. "All right, I don't like it but what choice do I have at this point. However, it's my head that she's going to come after if she hears anything about this, and if she does, it's your head that I'll be coming after." And with that, Reinhold transformed into a black hawk and took off into the distance over the tree tops.
Goodfellow watched as Reinhold flew off and turned to the frozen human. Waving hand over the front of his/her mouth, he said, "Here's the deal. I unfreeze you and you don't try to attack me. I'm not a threat to your precious ward, I just want to help. Deal?"
Silver Wolf blew a bang that got into his/her face. "Deal."
Dispelling the enchantment, Wolf landed on the ground and stood up, this time in a more relaxed position. "Thank you. I am curious though; why do you want to help Julianna? From what I've seen so far, this labyrinth is riddled with traps and for all I know, you could be one of the traps."
"Hmmm, too true, too true. I could easily send you back to the beginning of the Labyrinth and let you work your way back again," he said playfully. "But I feel that helping you would make this game a lot more interesting."
Silver Wolf mulled on what he just said, still not buying what he said. "And what if this is another trick and you are helping this so called 'Goblin King' and his son to keep Julianna away from her cousin?"
"I'm not going to repeat myself for your skepticism." Goodfellow answered slightly annoyed. "Fun as it maybe to help my dear cousin and nephew, I see the bigger picture here and in a way, I am helping them by keep your ward alive and well. I've seen what happens to a Fae when he loses his chosen heart. Believe me, it's not a pretty sight."
An eyebrow rose on Silver Wolf's face. "Who or what are you? I've heard of many things from the spirit world but I've never heard of your kind."
"Oh, where are my manners?" He did an elegant leap into the air, floating as if it was as simple as breathing. "I have gone by many names throughout my existence in human life, but I am He who is called Robin Goodfellow, loyal court jester of Lord Oberon and Lady Tatiana, High Monarchy of the Seelie Court." He descended to the ground, the playful smile still on his face, "But I do go by Puck as well. I've earned that title from an English playwright. Always did love his plays, albeit most of them were about madness, rage and death."
A sweatdrop appeared on Silver Wolf's head. "I think I call you Puck. Much simpler." The tomahawk that was in his hand dissipated into the air. "What do you plan on doing with us, then?"
"How about we start with including your ward into the plan? I'm sure that she wouldn't want to wake up in a sudden random place."
Silver Wolf nodded his head and took his place on the ground, sitting with legs crossed and arms hanging over the knees. Letting his/her breathe slow down, Silver Wolf closed his/her eyes and went into a meditation state.
That's what I heard ringing through my head before I opened my eyes slowly as I felt the soreness radiate through my body. I definitely was going to be in pain tomorrow. "All right, I'm up, I'm up," I groaned as I rolled onto my side, cradling my head in the palm of my free hand. "Anybody catch the number on the bus that ran me over?" I asked, not expecting anybody to answer.
"I see your sense of humor is still there."
My eyes shot opened as I heard the voice. I noticed that everything around me was pitch-black and I looked towards the deep voice who answered. Boy, to say that I was surprised would have been an understatement.
There in front of me was wolf sitting on its haunches, white was the primary color of its soft-looking fur, the black color painting on the paws like socks and the stripe that ran from the tip of the muzzle to the end of the tail, leaving the bushy appendage, for the most part, black and underneath it was shaded white. What struck out the most was the pair of golden eyes staring back at me, like they were looking right into my soul.
I blinked a few times to make sure this was actually happening. "Okay, hearing voices out of nowhere and seeing a wolf with mismatched fur. I must have hit my head hard this time."
This time, I did see the wolf talk. No really, I saw the mouth move with the words coming out, "No, you did not hit your head and for further clarification, you're not seeing things. And I hear I thought you kept an open mind to anything, Julianna."
"Hey, I do keep an open mind." I snapped back, and I caught myself as I thought out loud, "Wait a minute, how do you know my name?"
The wolf shook his fur before he rest his head on the paws. "I have watched over you ever since you were born." Before I opened my mouth to talk, he interrupted. "And yes, I know everything about you. Born on March 25, 1997 to Joseph and Miranda Tala, you are the second-eldest of four children, three girls and one boy. Since you were born on a ranch, you didn't grow exactly normal. You learned all the traits from the animals around you: climbing and flexibility from cats, running and stamina from horses, and enhanced sensory from dogs. You didn't like anything girly while growing up since you take after your father more than your mother and you still don't like anything girly. Your usual outfit is a pair of dark blue jeans with a t-shirt and the bear and wolf claw necklace your grandfather gave you when you were three years old. Your favorite color is purple, favorite food is pizza, favorite hobbies are working, reading and writing, and you sleep with a purple stuffed teddy bear your parents gave you on your fifth Christmas and its name is Indigo."
By now, my mouth was hanging open and my mind was blank. "Okay, so you do know me." I squeaked out. "I have a question though. Why?"
The wolf's head perked up little and shook his head. "I cannot explain my full reason as to why I am here, not yet at least. It's not my place to tell you. All I can say is that, I'm your guardian ghost and whenever you need me, I'll be right there with you, like I was before."
My head just clicked as he said that last bit. "That energy that was with me on the wall, it was you wasn't it?"
He nodded his head. "Yes, it was me. I merged my spirit energy with yours and that's what gave you that extra power on the jump."
I nodded in understandment, scratching my head at the situation that was going on right now. "So now that's been somewhat explained, now what do we do?"
"Now you need to wake up." He sat up and walked towards me, his muzzle leaning towards me and I didn't know why, but I leaned my forehead to touch his and then there was light.
I felt my eyes open and I found that I was back in the Labyrinth, sitting in Indian-style on the ground. Slowly getting to my feet and standing, I felt this sudden bolt of pain on my cheek. I hissed in pain as my hand felt my now-throbbing cheek, "Oww, I'm defiantly gettin' that guy's number and give him a good thrashin'."
It wasn't until I heard a chuckle coming from in front of me that I decided to look. I think I'm getting used to weird things popping right in front of me or somethin' because I'm was looking a guy with white hair, pointed ears and was donned in a medieval outfit with a playful smirk on his face…Yep defiantly getting use to it. "I can see why Sloane practically lost his heart to you. You are indeed a very interesting human."
I just blinked owlishly at him before getting the question right. "And you're suppose to be….?"
He only held up three fingers, the playful smirk still on his face. "I'll give you three guesses."
I mulled over an idea in my head and spoke the one thing that was at the top of my head.
"Either I mistake your shape and making quite,
Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite
Call'd Robin Goodfellow: are not you he
That frights the maidens of the villagery;
Skim milk, and sometimes labour in the quern
And bootless make the breathless housewife churn;
And sometime make the drink to bear no barm;
Mislead night-wanderers, laughing at their harm?
Those that Hobgoblin call you and sweet Puck,
You do their work, and they shall have good luck:
Are not you he?"
He knew what I was saying and replied back with a glimmer in his eyes.
"Thou speak'st aright;
I am that merry wanderer of the night.
I jest to Oberon and make him smile
When I a fat and bean-fed horse beguile,
Neighing in likeness of a filly foal:
And sometime lurk I in a gossip's bowl,
In very likeness of a roasted crab,
And when she drinks, against her lips I bob
And on her wither'd dewlap pour the ale.
The wisest aunt, telling the saddest tale,
Sometime for three-foot stool mistaketh me;
Then slip I from her bum, down topples she,
And 'tailor' cries, and falls into a cough;
And then the whole quire hold their hips and laugh,
And waxen in their mirth and neeze and swear
A merrier hour was never wasted there."
We both laughed for a moment before we talked again. "You know, you're rare sight indeed." He told me, "Not many can recite a Shakespearian play word by word, let alone a 17-year old."
I felt an eyebrow rise on my forehead, letting the 17-year old comment slide. I have always been confused for an older girl, so by now I'm used to it. "I'm 15 and I read a lot. It just so happens that Shakespeare is one of my favorites." I corrected him, shrugging my shoulders a bit. "Though it means a lot to me that you said that Mr. Goodfellow."
"Oh, please drop the formalities. They make me feel mortally old." He waved off good-naturedly. "You can call me Uncle Puck or Robin, seeing as we're practically family now."
I felt my head snap up at the family comment. "Whoa! Back up. What do you mean by family? Last time I checked, I was still human (maybe…) and single."
Robin just shook his head, the smile changing from jokingly to kind. "Maybe I should have said that we're going to be family. Not exactly my place to tell you why, but just know that fate couldn't match anyone more perfect for my nephew."
I felt the gears turning in my head as I questioned him. "Your nephew wouldn't happen to the Goblin Prince, would he? Ya know, tall with mismatched eyes, spikey black hair and wearing steampunk fashion, because if he is, then I'm questioning fate all together."
Robin laughed at my comment. "Yes, that would be Sloane, my nephew as well as my godson and please don't question fate. It'll just leave behind a nasty headache."
I gripped my bangs from their roots as I blew a breath out. "That's great. Just great. I'm supposedly paired up by the universe to a pretty boy with an overconfidence issue that threw magic at me and sicked over-grown cats on me as well. Oh and to top it all off, he supposedly has known me ever since I was a kid, but I have no earthly idea who he is." I remarked sarcastically. A stray thought ran through my head and I turned my head back to Robin. "You wouldn't happen to know anything about that, would you?"
He just shrugged his shoulders. "Like I told you before, it's not my place to tell you, but we getting off topic here." He landed smoothly on the ground before continuing. "I'm in charge of over-seeing your safety and seeing as your current problem is gone, how about I give you a small leeway towards the center?"
The offer sounded good. Maybe a little too good for my suspicion. "Why does that sound almost too good to be true and why would want to help me? Isn't this like cheating a bit?"
"It is," Robin answered impishly, "But let's just say that I like to throw a knot into the spindle's work. Plus I just like giving my cousin trouble."
This time, I shook my head. I didn't sense any bad vibes from him, so I figured that he can't mean any harm. "All right, I'll take your deal; just don't send me to the beginning to the labyrinth. I really don't wanna hurt ya."
Robin stretched his hands upwards, cracking his fingers as he got ready. "I have no doubt that you would." He gathered the magic in his hands into a light blue orb. "One fast ticket, coming up!" And with that he threw the orb towards my feet and I felt myself being teleported again as the wind whipped around me and the light blinded my eyes.
Robin Goodfellow a.k.a Puck watched as Julianna disappeared into the magic and winds, letting the breeze carry the small particles of sparkles towards their destination over the tree tops. He waited for a second, and then another before he addressed to the hidden figure in the tree line. "You can come out Sloane. She's gone."
And indeed, Sloane walked out of the dense forest and towards Robin. "You can always tell when I was close by, Uncle. Ever since I was small, you always had some way to sidestep me whenever I would try to surprise you."
"Well seeing as I was your mentor on Fae magic, I know ever trick you were going to pull and still able to stay at least 3 steps ahead of you." Robin laughed.
Sloane nodded, scratching his head in contemplation. "You do realize that father is going to have your head if he finds out that you helped Julianna cheat a bit."
"I wouldn't call it cheating." Robin replied. "It's more like giving her an extra boost." He turned towards Sloane, arms crossed and the teasing tone in his voice replaced by seriousness. "What I want to know is why were the Bastalins sent after her? I thought your father got rid of them after they made a snack out of a few stray goblins and almost killed another runner a few years back."
"He did." Sloane answered solemnly. "Mother made sure that they were gone as well, but somehow, they were re-conjured and now they are loose in the labyrinth." He blew out a small puff, lifting the bangs from his eyes briefly. "I'm currently in charge of who brought them back and I have a couple of suspects, but right now my primary concern is that Julianna gets through the Labyrinth safely." Sloane turned to make his way towards the trees before Robin stopped him.
"Just out of curiosity, what would you do if Julianna does succeed in getting through the Labyrinth in time? I know you're trying to avoid the same mistakes your father made with you mother, but wouldn't that put a damper on your plans?"
Sloane still had his back turned, his whole body tensed but Robin heard the conviction in his voice. "Then I revise my plans. Whatever happens to her, at least now she will know that I will be there for her. I was lucky enough to have met my croígeallta when I was young, Uncle. Very few Faes get that chance and I'm not going to let her slip through my fingers, not when she's so close." And with that, he shape-shifted into a barn owl and followed the magical trail that was left behind from Julianna's teleportation.
Robin watched all this from the forest floor, letting out a sigh as he recollected his thoughts. "I sure hope you know what you're doing, my boy. You are too much like your father in that aspect, over-possessive and over-protective towards your soul mate." He cupped his chin between his forefinger and thumb in thought. "Well, it's going to make for some great entertainment to see how Julianna responds to him."
A small dusting of magic started to circle around him from the bottom-up, making his body almost disappear as the dust sped up. "Maybe I should bring some popcorn. This is going to be very interesting to say the least." Was the last comment Robin made before completely disappearing.
Well, another wrap for another chapter. I hope y'all enjoyed reading this as much as I finally got to write it. I have decided to use the same method of spirit unity as the Shaman King show. I couldn't help it, the show was so cool and this chapter was screaming for me to write this way. If y'all are wonderin' on what Julianna and Sloane actually look like, please check out my deviant art gallery. I hope that it lives up to y'all's expectations.
Please read and review.