Now the end you have all been waiting for! Before you read this conclusion of Part 2, I just want to say thank you to everyone who has read this and/or reviewed! I am pleased that you have enjoyed it, and I pray that you have been blessed because of it! Thank you, and for now Part II!
Jareth freezes, eyes wide in shock. "What…what did you say?"
"Need I be clearer? Denounce your Savior, or I'll run my blade through her heart."
"Don't you dare listen to him!" I cry, causing my captor to glare at me.
"One more word out of you," Lionel growls, "and I will kill you, regardless of his answer."
"Fine, kill me," I challenge him, "but it won't do you any good. I know where I'm going."
"Why should that matter to me?" the villain snaps.
"Because you can't threaten me with death. Christ has overcome it through His sacrifice on the cross. You kill me now, and my soul will go straight to Him. Even if you were to kill me and Jareth, the populace would see us as martyrs, not victims. They won't bow down to you because they are loyal to their King!"
Seething with cold fury, Lionel pulls his rapier back tightly like an arrow.
Despite my brave words, I stare at the sharp point and feel my blood run cold. He's…really going to kill me. I can't do anything about it.
Letting out a decisive roar, my executor thrusts the blade towards its target...
No, silly me… I smile inside. Why should I be afraid? Lord, if this is Your plan…I give You the glory.
Closing my eyes, I exhale slowly. I guess this is it.
A second yell interrupts us and I feel Lionel being violently yanked away. Snapping my eyes open, I realize Jareth has pulled the aristocrat off of me and the two are now locked in a merciless brawl. Lionel, like a wild animal, head-butts Jareth in the stomach, running him against a wall. The Goblin King lets out a gasp of pain, prompting me into action. Without a second thought, I jump to my feet. Even as I cautiously near the struggling men, I fail to find an opening. Tense, I wait, ready to spring.
"How dare you coerce me in such a way!" Jareth says through gritted teeth as he endures a vicious blow to the abdomen. He swiftly grabs the fist flying towards his face, halting the punch. Taking advantage of Lionel's momentum, he spins the nobleman away from him. As his foe loses his balance, Jareth snakes his arms underneath Lionel's own before locking his fingers behind the aristocrat's neck. The stronger of the two, my spiritual kin shoves the villain to his knees.
"Lionel, just LISTEN to me!" He shouts at his aggressive enemy. His face pained, Jareth's voice drops to an agonized whisper, "I don't wish to fight you. How the Lord knows I don't want to do you harm!"
Lionel emits a sickening chuckle which turns into a snarl, "Then release me so that, in your stead, I am not deprived of that pleasure!"
"No," Jareth replies sharply, "I'm not going to let you go until you acknowledge what I am saying."
Instead of complying, Lionel attempts to break free; Jareth tightens his lock in response.
"Think back," the Goblin King prompts firmly, "to when we first met! Where did we meet?"
"In the village," comes the reluctant growl.
"You were surrounded by a group of ruffians. They were mad at you because you pulled a prank on them and insulted their leader. They, in turn, wanted to teach you a lesson, regardless of your royal birth. Pity, for I would have joined them!" Sliding out of the lock, he spins around to land a punch.
His plan is foiled when Jareth grabs him by the arms, twisting them behind the nobleman's back.
"But you know that's not what took place!" Jareth hisses in his ear. "Remember!"
I watch as the flash of rage in Lionel's eyes dims ever so slightly. "I…I saved you."
"Yes," Jareth replies, encouraged. "You ran up to the leader and you tackled him!" A ghost of a smile lingers about his lips. "That was the greatest event I'd ever witnessed. Together, you and I fought off those dogs. We were victorious! Afterward, we made a pact. Do you recall that?"
"…I do," Lionel confesses, the haze beginning to lift from his stormy face. "We promised we would always protect one another, that…we would remain brothers, loyal no matter what."
"Yes, that's it! And our time in the Labyrinth—the laughter we had, the tears we shed, the suffering we endured!"
"How…how could I have forgotten?"
"Because you have been blinded by one who seeks to enslave and destroy," Jareth replies bitterly. Feeling the tension in Lionel's body dissipate, he releases the aristocrat.
Lionel falls forward, catching himself before he hits the stone floor. Eyes quivering, his countenance displays a sea of emotions: rage, uncertainty, fear, and doubt. "Wretched man that I am!" He sobs with grief. Turning back, he sees Jareth has lowered himself to the same level.
"My friend," the Goblin King inquires quietly, "is all of this really worth it? All of this violence, all of this anger… Is this how you envisioned your reign to be?"
Stunned to silence, the man averts his gaze.
"Look at me." Jareth orders softly.
Almost fearful, Lionel turns to face him.
Father, I pray quickly, may he see You instead of Jareth.
"Lionel," the Goblin King declares in solemn honesty, "if you continue down this path, you will never find happiness. You will never be content. You will never be satisfied. The only one you will bring to ruin is yourself. I don't want to see that happen to you!"
A thick silence weighs down upon us as Lionel considers Jareth's words. The sea of emotions begins to calm until there is only one: humble desperation.
"I…don't know…what I should do," he confesses. "How can I find peace?"
"Through God's Son, Jesus," comes the tender reply. "It's that simple. Please, open your heart and allow Him in. You will not regret it, I promise you."
The noble looks to his childhood friend, searching his face for any deceit. "You…speak truth," he realizes. "Peace has eluded me for so long that I believed it impossible to obtain, and yet, you are sincere." Suddenly, he gives a sharp intake of surprise.
"You sense Him, don't you?" Jareth asks. "Christ died on the cross not only to set us free from sin and Death, but to also set us free from ourselves. He loves you so much, Lionel, that He chose to suffer the worst death imaginable so that you could find that peace you're looking for."
"I…I hear Him. He says, 'Come.'"
"Yes," my spiritual kin says with a smile, "that's Jesus. You can do it—I believe in you."
Lionel releases a shaky breath, causing his entire frame to tremble. Slowly, he straightens up, bows his head, and begins to pray to the Father for the very first time.
The Holy Spirit spread throughout the land as a spiritual fire. It blazed forth, tearing apart the stubborn shadows which hugged the eastern corner. Surging through the darkness, it flooded the land with light, dissolving the sorrow and the hate, wiping away every demonic influence from the face of that world…
It is now that I stand near Lionel and Jareth, surveying the scene below from a curtained window. The courtyard is filled from creatures from both sides, curious whispers buzzing about them. In minutes, both Lionel and Jareth would make an appearance in the balcony overlooking the crowd to explain the mysterious gathering.
I turn attention back to the men in my company, surprised to find Lionel wringing his hands as he paces over the carpeted floor. If I didn't know any better, I'd say he was nervous!
Jareth lays a hand on the aristocrat's shoulder, interrupting his rhythmic steps. "Be still," he reassures his friend, "God will give you the words to reach their hearts."
Lionel sighs, attempting to relieve himself of the tension which has seized him. "Right," he agrees quickly. Dropping his hands to his sides, he closes his eyes and inhales deeply.
I look out the window again, aware that Jareth peers over me; some of the people are beginning to get restless. If they don't come out soon, there's going to be chaos.
"It is almost time," Jareth whispers, answering my thought. He glances over at Lionel. "Are you ready?"
"Almost," the nobleman replies firmly. Crossing the room with purpose, he bows low to us before getting down on one knee. "My King, Christine," he addresses us humbly, "I sincerely ask for your pardon. I hurt you, I persecuted you for your faith, and I tried to kill you—and all on my lust for power and control. I realize that I was wrong, that I was blinded by hate, and that I opposed the very One Who could set me free. I wish for you to understand," his voice breaks, "that I am sorry with all of my heart."
His frame trembling with guilt, he looks up at me. "My lady," he implores, his eyes pained, "I fear what I put you through was inexcusable, but…will you forgive me for my atrocious conduct toward you?"
Feeling my eyes swim with tears, I swallow the lump forming in my throat. Nodding, I reply, "Yes, by God's grace, I do!"
At my answer, he struggles to keep his relief in check. Tentatively, he raises his eyes from me to Jareth, who has become strangely silent. "My Lord?" he inquires carefully.
I glance at my companion, surprised to find him deep in thought.
The Goblin King's cold eyes rest upon the individual at his mercy, the same one responsible for so much death and devastation. The intensity of his countenance softens as he exhales with decision. "I would not be a godly king if I was not a forgiving one. Lionel Farron, I forgive you for the crimes committed against the Crown, against my kingdom, and against my guest."
What I see wash over Lionel's face is almost indescribable. The heavy shadow of his past is lifted, leaving nothing but pure joy in its place. "Thank you, my King!"
"My only condition is that you and the others help repair the damage done to the Underground."
"As you have commanded it, so it shall be," Lionel replies with a relieved smile.
"Rise, my dear brother."
The nobleman stands, his face lit with an inner joy. He steps forward, embracing his king with renewed brotherly affection. "Now it is time."
The two separate and Lionel faces the empty balcony. With courage as his strength and conviction as his guide, he steps out into the sunlight to face the subjects below. Jareth follows behind him for support, standing off to the side.
I linger in the shadows, concealed by the velvet curtains. Father,I pray, as You inhabit the praises of Your people, may You speak through Lionel and touch the hearts of Your children!
A hush falls on the crowd as they spot the two leaders high above them.
Lionel takes a deep breath before calling out in a clear voice, "Goblins and faeries, lend me your ears! Please, listen to have I need to say to you. Jareth and I have indeed come to a truce; our standing before you is proof of that. Not many of you are aware of this, but he and I grew up as close companions, as trusted friends. Unfortunately, when Jareth chose to serve God, I turned my back on him and our bond. I became angry, deceived into believing this God would tear the Underground apart. Instead, as I discovered, He is not a God of chaos, but rather One of order, restoring that which is broken and healing that which is diseased.
"My fellow nobility, I ask that you would forgive me for misleading all of you! While the deaths of loved ones cannot be compensated, they can be honored. While the past cannot be changed, the future can be altered. I ask that you would join with me to rebuild the Underground! Tear down the strongholds of hate and bitterness which hold you captive and, instead, build your lives on the everlasting foundation that is Jesus Christ!
"My friends," he appeals to the goblins, "search your hearts and you will know what I say to be true. Do you not feel an emptiness, a troubling dissatisfaction within your souls? Please, I beseech you, to accept Christ into you hearts. Allow the blood of His sacrifice to cleanse you and free you from all the lies you have believed, from all of the malice you have felt, and from all the anger that has burned inside of you! Find peace in Him as I have!"
We watch in silent rapture as several individuals shed hostile goblin forms to reveal the glistening faes underneath. Rippling outward, the glorious transformation spreads throughout the entire courtyard.
Exhilarated by the spiritual revolution, Lionel concludes, "It is time that this war ended; it is time that we were reunited with our kin; and it is time that we began anew! From this day forth, we will be of many parts, but we will be of one mind, one Body. Let us serve King Jareth with everything we are, raising him up through our prayers and esteeming him through our loyalty. To God, the King of Kings, be the glory—now, and always!"
The crowd erupts with shouts and cheers, filling the courtyard with praises to the Most High God. Like great wave drawing back from the shore, they disperse in celebration and joy.
Feeling their work has been completed, Lionel and Jareth withdraw from the balcony.
"That was a beautiful speech," I praise Lionel as I come to meet them, "I am proud of you!"
"Thank you," he replies, grateful.
I feel a hand rest on my shoulder: Jareth stands behind me. "And I as well," he adds with an honest smile, "my brother in Christ."
"You are gracious, my King," Lionel answers humbly. "It will take a long time, but we will rebuild the Underground, and I would not desire to serve under any ruler other than His Majesty."
"You honor me, my friend," Jareth answers, "thank you."
Not surprised to find I'm grinning from ear to ear, I look to the Goblin King. "Now I believe it is safe for me to leave."
"Leave?" Lionel questions.
"Yeah," I explain self-consciously. "Believe it or not, Jareth brought me to give me a tour, but it seems I got another adventure!"
"Will you visit again?"
"Of course," I promise, "I have to see how you two are doing, don't I?"
"I am glad," he replies, almost sheepishly. "It seems you charmed me after all."
"God's pretty cool like that," I laugh. Turning to Jareth, I realize he has been waiting patiently. "I'm ready."
He bows respectfully. "I look forward to our next meeting."
Oh, to heck with formality! I hug him tightly, feeling his necklace cold against my face. His arms wrap around me in response.
"I'm going to miss you so much!" I cry, not surprised to feel tears spring to my eyes.
A gloved hand moves to cradle my head. "And I, you. Thank you for coming," he whispers. Releasing me, he takes me by the shoulders. "But fret not, love!" he grins, "I'll pop up when you least expect it!"
"Of that, I have no doubt," I answer with a smile. "Oh, and Jareth?"
"Yes?" he asks, straightening
"Since everything's changed here, don't you think the Underground needs a new name?"
"I have the perfect one."
"What is it?" Lionel inquires.
In a flash, I find I'm back in my room. I fall back on my bed, releasing a sigh. "Wow…what an adventure! Thank You, God!"
Rolling on my side, I check the time: 1:00 AM.
"What?!" I sit up, gaping in disbelief, "How does he do it? If I came back by the same time, then that means…"
"Honey, we're home!"
Just like clockwork.
"Hi, Mom!" I answer, coming to greet her.
"We saw the lights were on," she says. "I thought you'd be in bed by now."
"I was about to when I heard you guys come in," I reply truthfully.
After Dad mutters good night, Mom pulls me into the next room. "You're beaming and your outfit says 'action.' Did you have another visit from Jareth?"
"Yes, ma'am," I nod, ecstatic, "and it was amazing!"
"I can't wait to hear all about it!"
As I recount my latest adventure to my mom, I can't help but grin. Something tells me this won't be the last I see of the Goblin King.
Now for those of you who may be wondering…there is a Part 3 in the works. God just finished giving me the plot/outline, so all that's left is for me to write it. However, I want you to know that I spent a semester writing Parts 1 and 2. To my knowledge, Part 3 is going to be more detailed and more than 8 chapters. That being said, I truly do not know how long it will take me to write it. Even after the first draft, I know God will be revealing little tidbits and secrets in order to further develop characters and scenes. So, for now, I am giving myself the VERY tentative deadline of winter break. If God wants it done before then (or after then), He will let me know, believe me! So, for those of you who are interested in a third adventure, please be patient. I promise the wait will be worth it and YOU. WILL. LOVE. IT. While I sadly have no preview for you to go off of like last time, I can give an idea of what to expect…
Jareth will discover the goodness of frozen yogurt
Christine will visit a new realm, courtesy of Jareth
She will meet the Family
And be stalked
And fail to trap said stalker
Her own worries aside, there will be a terrible crime committed
A character will be framed
Our heroes will set forth to clear the name of the abovementioned
And will discover something greater is at work
And OCs will abound
And I will have to hold you in suspense until this third (and final) adventure has been completed and finished with God's approval.
Thank you, all, for your wonderful reviews and support. I am so happy that you have enjoyed this second adventure, and I pray you have drawn closer to our God as a result. Thank you so much, and God bless! :D