I was pushed into my dark and gloomy cell. It had been another horrible day of serving drinks – goblin blood or ‘glood’ as they called it, to be precise – and dancing my legs off to impress the goblin clan. So nothing new in two months had happened today except for the fact that now I had company: my friend Olaf and his new friend Miguel.
I saw Olaf and Miguel being pushed into the cells. They looked very exhausted.
“How was your first day, boys?” I asked them.
“Really tough,” panted Olaf. “I thought I was going to pass out and lose my voice. And if I couldn’t be able to sing or tell jokes, I was worried that might throw me in the middle of the fire. Even my personal flurry wouldn’t help me.”
Then I turned to Miguel. “And what about you, Miguel?”
“Well, it could have been much worse,” he told me.
“Really?” I never thought I would ever hear anyone say something like that in a horrible place like this. “How so?”
“Well, I found about ten diamonds today,” said Miguel. “The goblins haven’t killed me yet. And it’s better than being stuck in this cell all day.”
“Hmm,” said Olaf, putting his stick arm on his chin. “He’s right. It is better than being trapped in here all day.”
“I suppose so,” I said. “So, Miguel, tell me about Spain.” And I listened with interest as he told me about how different it was to Arendelle. How it had delicious wine, unique dancing called Flamenco and lovely warm temperature.
“Oh, wow!” I cried. “I would love to visit Spain one day.”
“If it’s so lovely, Miguel, why did you leave?” asked Olaf.
Then Miguel told us about how he and his friend Tulio accidentally stowed away on Cortez’s ship and how they escape and land in South America. And how they found the lost city of gold: El Dorado and tried to take the gold to buy Spain.
“Take the gold?” Olaf cried.
I began to suspect something. “Is there something you’re not telling us?” I asked him.
Miguel sighed, looking very uncomfortable. “The truth, guys, is that me and Tulio are con artists.”
Olaf gasped as much as I did. We couldn’t believe our ears. “You’re a criminal?”
“Well, we do have our Wanted posters,” chuckled Miguel.
Olaf and I frowned at him.
“Look, we were orphans when we were very little,” Miguel told us. “I was left in care of my older sister and she was a real pain in the neck, so I bumped into Tulio and ran off with him. We tried to find ourselves some jobs, but no one would take us on. And then it was either the con artist business or we starve and die. I don’t expect you guys to understand living in a castle and all that.”
I couldn’t believe he just said. I didn’t want to listen to him anymore. I angrily turned around facing the gloomy dripping wall with my arms crossed. Olaf joined me.
“I’m sorry,” apologized Miguel. “I didn’t know mean it like that. I didn’t know what I was thinking of. But if it makes you guys feel any better,” he went on, “when Cortez was about to attack the city, we gave up the gold and crashed the boat into pillars of the secret entrance so the people of El Dorado would be safe from danger.”
Those deeds did seem to make me think that he was good in him. So I dropped my arms and turned around to face him, only to find him sleeping on a rock. Soon Olaf was sleeping, so I decided to nod off, too.
CLANG! That loud noise woke us all up. We saw goblins at the door.
“All right, get up!” shouted one of the goblins. Then one grabbed me, one grabbed Miguel and one kicked poor Olaf from the back.
After an hour of serving drinks and watching Miguel digging for diamonds and Olaf in front of a goblin audience, it was time for me to dance for the day. After ten minutes, I had enough already. It was a pity the goblins didn’t. I stopped to rest my legs.
“Come on, don’t stop!” shouted one goblin.
“Try something new!” cried another.
“Yeah, you’ve been doing the same dances everyday for the last two months!” shouted a third goblin. “We’re bored!”
I used all the dancing skills I learned when I lived at in and outside the palace. I didn’t know any more than that. Besides, I tried to do more of the Halling dance, but my legs gave in completely and I crashed to the ground.
The goblins moaned.
“Well, you guys said you wanted something different,” I told them. “So how about no dancing for a change?”
The goblins just looked at each and laughed evilly.
“You know something?” said one. “You’re right. We have been making you dance too much.”
I felt so relieved.
“And for all of your hard work,” said a second one, “we have a present for you.”
I hoped it was a key to get me out of the chains, but all I got was one of the green monsters got in front of me and he licked his lips. I knew where this was going and where he was going, so I tried to crawl backwards, but more goblins stopped me by grabbing my arms. The kissing goblin got closer and closer to me and his lips were about to touch mine when –
We heard guitar playing. It was a very different guitar sound. The goblins and I saw Miguel playing on a guitar. I don’t know what he was doing, but whatever he was doing it for, it moved the goblins away from me.
The goblins gathered around Miguel and found his guitar playing really interesting. This must be how Spaniards play their guitars. I liked it.
“STOP THE NOISE!”
Miguel stopped playing. Then we all turned to find the Goblin Captain looking really angry with us.
“What’s all this?” he demanded. “Lieutenant?”
The lieutenant dragged Miguel to the Captain. “This prisoner has ditched work, stolen a guitar and has been playing it, distracting the workers from work.”
The Captain frowned at Miguel who gulped. “That, slave, music was very… interesting!”
What? I couldn’t believe what I heard. I’ve been here in this mine for two months but this guy becomes popular on his second day. After the applause died down, Miguel came closer to me.
“I heard that Anna here needed to help with a new dance,” he said. “And this dance where I come from is called ‘Flamenco’.”
I pushed Miguel’s arm away as he tried to help me get up, as I could do that myself. Then he whispered the rules of the dance into my ear.
“Let this ‘Flam-ing’ dance begin!” ordered the Captain.
“Flamenco,” said Miguel.
“Whatever,” he said. “I don’t speak Portuguese.”
Miguel resumed his guitar playing.
I put my hands on my hips, like Miguel told me to do, and then I stamped my right foot. Then I turned around, slowly raising my left hand in the air. Then I did a quick spin around and tapped my feet. I still felt quite exhausted from two months of dancing, but this new one made me forget that and I was actually enjoying it. It also made me forget how mad I was at Miguel for actually making me do this.
Then we stopped and got a goblin mine’s worth of applause.
That night, we were pushed back into our cells.
“That was great music, Miguel,” said Olaf. “I wish you still had that guitar so you could teach me how to play it, but my stick arms wouldn’t be able to hold the heavy thing.”
“Well, I made a guitar once,” said Miguel. “If we get out of this, I can make one for you so you could play one.”
As pleasant as that conversation went, I just couldn’t join them. I sat in my corner.
“What’s up, Anna?” Olaf asked me, as he came to me.
“Oh, nothing, Olaf,” I said as calm as I could. “I’ve just done too much serving drinks and dancing.”
I frowned at Miguel, who frowned at me back.
“Well, you’re welcome for saving your life,” Miguel said to him
“What do you mean, saving my life?” I snapped, trying to stand up, but my legs were too tired.
“If it weren’t for me,” said Miguel, “they would have killed you for running out of… well, dances. Look at you, you can’t even stand up.”
“Well, I think I was doing just fine until you showed – ”
Then Olaf screamed. Miguel and I turned around to see the gates opening and a goblin in a dress carrying a tray with two pots.
“Your water for the day,” said the goblin maid.
Well, this was new. I’ve never been offered water before. The water in the pot was still a little dirty, but it was better than licking the dirty damp rocks that I had to lick on to survive in this cell.
Miguel guzzled his water, too. “Thanks, Miss – ”
“Beata,” said the goblin maid.
Then children laughter and Olaf’s screaming could be heard. I got up to see two young goblins trying to chase Olaf with daggers!
“Abram! Heddy! Knock it off!” shouted Beata.
“We only just wanted to put this dagger on him,” said Abram. He quickly put the dagger onto Olaf’s chest.
“You see, Aunt Beata,” said Heddy. “He looks like a goblin’s built him now.”
But Olaf still didn’t like his new dagger on him.
“Take it off him and pat him up,” Beata ordered. Then she turned to face Miguel and me. “I’m sorry about that. My nephew and niece are mischievous rascals.”
“What do you want?” I asked.
“I want your help,” replied Beata.
“With what?” Miguel asked.
“A peace between goblin and human,” replied Beata.
Miguel and I couldn’t help but laugh hysterically at what she just said.
“You think kidnapping a princess will secure a peace?” I said.
“No, no,” said Beata. “Now, just hear me out…”
The next day, I was serving the drinks. I went to the group where they were supervising or rather tormenting Miguel while he was digging for the diamonds. Then he stopped and turned around.
“What are you doing?” yelled one.
“Get back to work!” ordered another.
“You have no right and no power to order me,” said Miguel. “Here or anywhere, really.”
“Oh, yeah?” said one. “And why’s that?”
“Because I am Miguel, a mighty and powerful god!” Miguel declared.
The goblins went from speechless to roaring laughter.
I shook my head. I knew to never trust a goblin, but Miguel had to listen to what Beata said to us last night. She didn’t even tell us what good it would do.
“What?” asked Miguel. “I was worshipped in the city of El Dorado as a god.”
The goblins went silent as the Goblin Captain walked in. “Well, well, well,” he said. “A god and a princess? That’s something you don’t see every day.”
“I know someone who wants to see you,” went on the Captain.
“Who, the Goblin Queen?” asked Miguel.
“Someone much more powerful,” said the Captain. “The Grand Witch known as Thora.” Then he turned to his soldiers. “We leave for Mount Romskari now! Get them ready!”
Soon Olaf was thrown into a big metal wagon and Miguel had chain shackles on his arms and legs.
So did I. “I hope you’re proud of yourself,” I said to him.
“Would you rather just sit here for another two months?” he snapped at me. “Besides, if we fight this witch, maybe the goblins will let us go.”
“And what if they don’t whether we do it or we don’t?”
The wagon pulling us immediately started to pull us away before Miguel even had time to think about what I just said.