It was impossible, but it had happened all the same. She'd said the words and the goblins had taken Toby, and now a figure who could only be oner person stood before her, menacingly beautiful.
"You're him aren't you? You're the Goblin King!"
He just smiled and cocked his head, as if congratulating her for seeing the obvious.
"I want my brother back please if it's all the same to you," Sarah said, her voice shaking.
"What's said is said," he answered solemnly, folding his arms in front of his chest.
"But -" she cut the words off as they were on her tongue. She couldn't lie to this person. She had meant it. She hadn't believed it would happen and she was sorry for it now and wished she could take it back, but he was right. What was said, was said. She fell to her knees before him, just collapsed where she stood. "Where is he?" she asked, her eyes seeing only his boots.
"You know very well where he is," he answered, tugging at one of his gloves absently, pushing the leather more firmly into the wells of his fingers.
"Your castle?" Sarah asked, checking to make sure, and even though she couldn't stand her eyes flicked up to look at his face.
The Goblin King nodded.
"Then I expect he'll finally be properly taken care of," she said weakly, sniffling and rubbing at her eyes, hoping to prevent tears from falling.
"What do you mean by that Sarah?"
"Apart from you, your goblins, and me, since you took Toby there isn't anybody else in this house," she said, staring fixedly at his boots once more. Taking a deep breath, Sarah lifted her face to look the frightening figure in the face. "Alright I meant it," she said. "I wanted Toby gone. I did. Now that he's gone I miss him and regret wishing him away, but not from this house. Just away from me. I want to be with my brother."
"Oh Sarah," he said, going down on one knee in front of her and reaching out to cradle her cheek in his hand.
"What will become of Toby where he is?" she asked, frightened of the answer even as she knew that she had to ask about it. "As long as he's safe and cared for... even if I don't know how I'm going to explain him disappearing to Dad and Karen."
"You won't have to," he promised her. "I can make it so that they will forget that they ever had Toby."
"But what will become of him?" Sarah asked again.
"He could become a goblin," he said, and his tone was speculative. "The goblins are rarely unhappy, so you needn't worry about that if such were to come to pass. On the other hand, he could simply become a changeling, one of the fae, and be raised by a family of elves or some such similar. They value children highly, so he would be well cared for."
Sarah nodded, not removing her face from his reassuring touch. "And me?" she asked. "You said that they would forget, Dad and Karen. Am I doomed to be the only one to remember him?"
"You could come away with me as well," he offered softly. "Your little story wasn't exactly far from the truth," he admitted, and it was a somewhat rueful admission.
Sarah shook her head, the smallest of smiles on her lips even as the tears she had held back finally slipped onto her cheeks. "I don't deserve the goodness of the fae realm," she said. "I'm too old to be an innocent child," she noticed the look in his eye then, "and I'm too young to be a stolen bride."
"Run the Labyrinth then," he offered. "If you reach my castle in the thirteen hours, then I say that you are worthy. Will you accept this?"
Sarah bit her lip, but nodded. She would run the Labyrinth to reach her brother, to reach him, to reach a new home somewhere other than this place.