Hello, readers! :)

After a friend started telling me all the characteristics of goblins, this story popped into my head and wrote itself!

Be warned this story is about as sweet as some leftover Halloween candy, so be warned! I will not be held responsible for any ruined teeth or actions you may commit while under the influence of sugar! :) It also contains lots of hugging! :)

I hope you enjoy the story. (Also see how many fairytale cliches you can pick out!)

...

Once upon a time in a faraway land…

He walked through the crowded streets of the castle, smiling at the atmosphere of the crowded and bustling market as he saw her telling a story to a group of children. Her name was Laurel, and she was the princess of this town.

Today she was dressed in a simple sundress, with two children on her lap and four more sitting at her feet as she read the ending of a fairy tale from a book.

With a pang of sadness, he remembered why she was on the square today of all days, and why she was here.

He walked over towards the group, listening to the end of the fairytale as the children read it with her "And they lived happily ever after." He sighed softly, if only that were true.

As the children cheered for the happy ending, Laurel stood and noticed him. The smile she gave him melted his heart as her eyes found his, and she walked over to him.

One of the kids noticed the fondness between the two and tugged on the hem of her dress "Laurel if you are a princess and you like him… is he your Prince Charming?"

He blushed and shook his head "No, not yet. I'm just a friend."

The child, a young girl of about six, looked up at him "Princesses don't have human friends, they have animal and fairy friends. You have to be the Prince."

Before he could respond she turned back to Laurel "Are you two gonna kiss? That's what princes and princesses do."

Noticing their red faces, the children turned away "We won't look!"

He closed his eyes in frustration, attempting to keep himself calm because this was awkward and embarrassing. "Okay we've kissed" He announced after a moment,

"No, you didn't!" The girl smiled "I can see you in the fountain!"

He groaned and looked at Laurel, who was still all smiles for him, and he raised an eyebrow "You aren't seriously considering this are you?"

She giggled and kissed him on the forehead "It's for the kids, think of it as visual storytelling."

He blushed and kissed her forehead in return, and the children turned around, apparently satisfied with that.

"Okay, my prince and I need to talk now, so we'll be on our way." She smiled grabbing his hand and pulling him away as the children rushed off to play another game.

….

Once they had found an alleyway, he grabbed her shoulders "Is it true?"

She sighed and gave a tiny nod "It is… I'm sorry, but it's for my own protection."

"Your parents locking you up in a tower every night isn't protection!" He growled, slamming his fist on the wall. "It's something an evil stepmother would do, not your parents."

"Try to understand Isaac, I'm a young and attractive woman, and my parents are afraid that if they don't know where I am every night someone is going to take advantage of me."

Isaac sighed, "What about us?"

She took his hands softly "I know I'm busy, and I know that the only time we really get to see each other is in the evenings, and I'm sorry. I can never say it enough, but what if something goes wrong?"

"I wouldn't let it" He growled, "Laurel, we've been friends for all long as we've been alive… it can't end like this, because of fear."

Tears traveled down her lovely face as she shuddered "It has too."

She pressed her face into his shirt, letting it dry her tears, as her arms wrapped around him. He felt her entire body press against his as she savored his scent, his warmth, the way he made her feel that had existed ever since they were kids. His arms slid under hers, his fingers resting just below her neck as they drew circles on her back. His head nestled into her shoulder as his cheek rubbed her hair, fitting perfectly, almost as if they were made to be holding each other.

Their hands traveled down backs and up sides, holding on for dear life as they whispered sweet nothings to one another. This was the last time they would see each other as two equal beings, once the nights were taken away all they would have was simple hellos and courteous nods amid the turmoil of Royal life. She was Princess and he was a simple workman in the castle, doing some odd jobs to keep the gold flowing… they couldn't have a public friendship because knowing the ambitious politicians she worked with they'd turn it into some form of a scandal, and she'd never have him be subject to that.

The nights were different, she could sneak out and mingle in the town, becoming one of the people she ruled over. The cover of darkness made them both equal partners, allowing them to cultivate their friendship away from prying eyes.

And it was moments like this, when they could simply hug and forget about all the stress of the world, these little moments made it all worth it. Because for the first time, she felt safe and secure.

They pulled apart after a long while, both of them exchanging silent words as their eyes mapped each other's faces finally capturing one another's eyes again.

Her hand reached out to entwine with his as she squeezed it gently "I'm sorry…"

He squeezed back "I know"

Then she broke away and walked back towards the palace, and towards the newly built tower that would serve as her bedroom… for quite a long while.

….

Two days later, he was fit to explode.

The only contact he had with her was a three-second shared glance in the hallways of the palace, as she walked towards some royal lunch or something.

It didn't help, because he still hurt.

Sometimes he hated that she was a princess, loved by all and needed by many, and it seemed like she was just being pressured to be a queen someday… and everything was about her growing up.

At times like this, he just wanted her all to himself, he wanted to hug her and hold her and tell her to forget her responsibilities and focus on him because this separation was slowly killing him.

Some of his friends who had worked on the Princess's tower had slipped him the plans under the table, and he had studied them like a man possessed before coming to one conclusion.

If that place was meant to protect her from the unsavory men in the world, it worked.

The bloody thing was a fortress in itself.

It was basically one massive stairwell with a room at the top for her, not only ensuring that said unsavory man would be too tired to make advances on her once he got to the top but that they probably wouldn't try to even break in on account of the sheer number of stairs. The only door was locked from the inside and only Laurel had the key, and the grounds around the tower were littered with magical rune spells that would make anyone think twice about approaching it.

However, the map said nothing about where the runes were placed or any other ways to get in, so he was stuck.

But he was going to brave the struggles… he needed to hug and hold her again… no matter what. In order to do that, however, he was going to need help… and he knew exactly who to turn to. He didn't want to get their help, but he didn't have a choice.

…..

So he trekked out of the castle and walked deep into the swamps and woodlands that were about a half day's march away.

He carried a sword at his hip, with one hand resting uneasily on the hilt of the blade as the mud squealed like a living thing under his boots. His eyes pierced the slight fog over the bubbling swamp, as he searched for movement. There was a small chance that the movement was either a dangerous monster, or the beings he was looking for, and he didn't want to be caught unawares.

As his hand shoved a cluster of vines aside, he advanced deeper into the murky embrace of the forest.

Then a pair of small eyes opened, watching the human from inside a log. A green clawed hand gripped the wood softly, as the yellow eyes blinked. The creature scampered out of the log and further up into the trees, never letting the human leave its sight.

It grabbed a tree branch and pulled itself up, just above the human, before leaping down onto him.

…..

Isaac leapt into the air as the creature scrambled around his neck and back. His shoulders jerked as the creature leapt off of him and onto the wet ground.

The creature was a goblin, a small green creature that looked like a tiny green elf, clad in trousers and wearing a wide grin as it bounced lightly "Hi! Did you see? I jumped on you!"

Isaac smiled softly at the creature "I saw Jabun, I saw… and I felt it"

"Why you here?" Jabun asked, bouncing around for a second before losing interest in the answer "Never mind, I will let you see Boss!"

Shutting his mouth, Isaac allowed himself to be led by the hyperactive goblin as it ran through the swamp… heading towards the goblin Boss.

….

It had been a quiet day on the road for Isaac as he walked through the paths towards a village that had needed his help with repairing their grain mill. The job sounded easy and it paid well, so a quick walk to a village was well worth it.

Then he had heard screams and barks from off the path and he had rushed over to help, finding that a strange sight greeted him.

Three goblins were being menaced by a large wolf, the small creatures had their backs against a tree and were quivering in fear. He had leapt between them and had scratched the wolf with his sword, causing it to retreat and find easier prey to hunt.

He knew that most goblins were stealthy little thieves, and although they were not the smartest creatures in the world, they could accomplish much when they worked together. The goblin trio conversed a few times in a rapid language that he assumed sounded like English before they turned to him.

"Human you used your sword, and chased the wolf away, and saved us, and you are a hero!" They clapped loudly, bouncing around.

"I just did the right thing… anyone would have done the same." He responded, a bit flustered with all the attention.

"Still human, you get a big reward from our boss! Come with us!"

He had followed and had met the Goblin Boss, who had allowed him to request help from the Goblin forces whenever he needed it.

A goblin named Jabun had become a good guide on goblin culture, as well as a good friend. He helped them make repairs around their huts when he could and tried to visit often, but he never asked for them help. This behavior made him akin to a God for the goblins, so they loved having him around.

He snapped out of his remembrance as Jabun waved his arms "We here! You see the boss now!"

He walked through the final thicket of trees and entered a clear area, populated by thousands of knee high goblins.

They scampered around the area, climbing trees, arguing, chattering quickly, and racing one another around the clearing.

Isaac had learned that very soon every goblin in the area would soon lose interest in their present activity and switch to another one as if nothing had happened because they were dimwitted and easily distracted… very much like children.

The challenge was keeping their attention focused for a prolonged period of time, which was almost impossible under present circumstances, until the goblin Boss, seated on a tiny throne made of rocks and leather waved a staff in the air.

The Goblins instantly stopped and turned to face the Boss as he looked Isaac in the eyes "Issac! What do we owe the pleasure of you coming?"

He bowed respectfully then straightened "I need help from your tribe. A woman is stuck in a tower, and I need to set her free." He kept his words slow and small, knowing from experience that it would help the goblins understand his request.

The Boss stroked his chin with his free hand before responding "Hmm, I will need thinking time to think about this."

"Thinking time!?" Jabun yelled, puffing his small chest out to face the Boss. "Isaac no need thinking time to help us! He helps us quickly! We need to help him now!"

The Boss nodded "You right, thinking time is done, we will help you now!"

The goblins cheered and clamored, attempting to be the ones picked to help him out as the Boss pointed his staff at several.

Isaac smiled as the chosen goblins flocked to him… he'd gotten their help, but as for how long, he could manage a horde of unruly goblins… that was going to be much harder.

….

As the sky turned orange with evening light, Issac, and his twenty goblin followers walked towards the castle. The grounds were still filled with people as they made evening rounds and activities, mostly going to a tavern, but there was enough of a crowd left over to enable him to get close to the tower.

Goblins weren't the best with following complicated orders or plans, so he figured that he'd give them orders one step at a time to make it easy for them.

The only order they had now was to sneak to the tower and remain unseen, and even that simple order was made unnecessarily complicated.

The goblins climbed onto roofs and leapt across them, zigzagged through the shadows, and darted under cloaks and between legs on all fours, exposing themselves for a few quick seconds before returning to the shadows.

Issac kept walking, trying not to let his eyes betray the roaming goblins as they tested the limits of the words "remain unseen." Every noise and risky maneuver caused his heart to leap into his mouth, because if the goblins were found… there were going to be a lot of questions, questions he didn't want to answer.

By some miracle, they managed to walk across the plaza grounds with no one being the wiser, and he smiled as the orange sky turned black.

He watched the last of the guards walk away before turning to the goblins "Alright guys, you just need to go and scout the tower… go find me a way in!"

The twenty goblins nodded and scurried off, mischief in their eyes as they ran into the night.

….

As the time passed he did a bit of scouting himself, cursing as he realized that she had locked the door. An inspection of the stones outside the tower revealed that they were razor sharp to the touch, so climbing up was impossible.

After his fruitless search, he sat behind some nearby barrels and waited for the goblins to return.

It took much longer than a simple scouting mission should for the goblins to return, and when they did getting an answer out of them took much longer.

Isaac groaned as he interrogated them "So why did it take so long for you all to scout the tower?"

"Well, " A goblin female started "We started going around the castle, but we saw a firefly… and we chased it!"

"Why?" He asked

"It was pretty!" The female answer as if that solved everything "But we could not catch it."

"Then what?"

"We forget where we stopped, so we started over! Then we saw a cricket, and it was annoying so we chased it!"

"Annoying?" He asked.

"It was making cricket noises, we couldn't concentrate. But we didn't catch it either."

He placed his head in his hands "Let me guess, you started over"

"Yep! And we didn't find any entrance, but we found some runes!" The goblins stood up and ran to the front door of the tower "Look, look, look!"

Jabun smiled and stepped on an unassuming patch of grass, as a magical lighting rune exploded beneath his feet. The goblins giggled as Jabun stepped off, smoking but unharmed. "It is fun! You try!"

Isaac shook his head and took a step backward, and suddenly felt electricity charge up his body. He gritted his teeth as the pain traveled up to his brain, preventing him from stepping back for several seconds before he managed to tear himself away.

"That was fun!" Jabun grinned "Wasn't it?"

Isaac shook his head as smoke rose from his body as he struggled to get his brain back into gear "Listen, I need a way into that tower that doesn't involve setting off any of these magical traps!"

The goblins nodded "Okay! We'll try again!"

Then they scampered away.

….

He didn't know how much time had passed before the goblins returned, all smiles. Although he wasn't sure if they were smiling because they had done what he asked or because they had finally caught a bug.

Jabun grabbed his hand "We found something, come on come on come on!"

Isaac followed silently, as the goblins led him around the tower to the back. "Look!"

The goblin's hand pressed against the stones, apparently with no side effects, as he tugged on one of the sharp stones.

Then the wall pulled outwards to reveal a door was built inside of it. "Well, that certainly is unexpected… but what's a tower without a secret passage." He mused.

Jabun shook his head "It is not secret… we found it! Come on!"

Then the goblins rushed into the passage, and Isaac followed, closing the door behind them.

….

The sight that greeted him when he straightened himself, almost made him wish that he wasn't as desperate as he was to see her.

Stairs. At least one hundred stairs… all leading upwards towards a destination he assumed was her room.

Issac cursed, gently asking his heart if he truly wanted to hug and hold her and be with her. The answer was a yes.

He closed his eyes and began walking up the stairs.

….

About ten minutes later he was breathing heavily, sweat was pouring down his forehead, and his legs burned like they were on fire.

He'd been walking up the stairs for about twenty minutes, and the stairs only seemed to multiply, getting him nowhere.

The goblins had watched him walk, their eyes burning with curiosity before Jabun tugged on his pant leg. "You are not moving anywhere Isaac."

Isaac turned to stare at him "What?"

"The stairs have enchantments on them, you can't move forward!" He smiled helpfully. "You only think you are, but you are just running in place!"

He paused, taking a deep breath. Laurel's family was strong in magic, so all these enchantments didn't surprise him. Thankfully he knew how to deal with most of them, but an enchantment that made you walk only forwards?

He racked his brain for a few moments before looking down at the twenty goblins "Any of you have an idea?"

Jabun nodded "It is easy! You walk backward!"

The goblins began to walk backward up the steps, and they began making progress.

He closed his eyes. "I hate this place so much!" Before walking backward himself…. Laurel was worth it at least.

…..

As he walked up the last few steps, tired, upset, and utterly confused about the purpose of the enchantments guarding this tower, he turned around to see Laurel asleep in her bed.

He closed his eyes as the goblins watched with interest, "What do you do now?" Jabun asked.

"I'm going to hug her, once I figure out how to wake her up…"

"That is easy!" A female goblin smiled "You are her prince, so kiss her awake!"

Isaac unsuccessfully fought off a blush as he shook his head "Why does everyone think I'm a prince?" Still, it was worth a try.

He walked over to her bedside, trying to figure out the social etiquette for waking up a girl, in the middle of the night, while he wasn't even supposed to be in the tower. So he reached down, brushed a strand of hair from her face, and lightly squeezed her shoulder.

"Laurel…" He whispered "It's me, Isaac… wake up."

She didn't wake up, and the female goblin smiled "Told you, you have to kiss!"

He shook her softly without hearing as much as a change in her breathing before he leaned down and kissed her forehead.

As he pulled back, her eyes opened and she smiled fondly "Isaac… is this a dream?"

He stepped away from her bed, leaving a respectable amount of distance between them as she tossed aside the covers and stood up before she hugged him tightly.

"Nope… it's real." She smiled, nuzzling his shoulder softly.

He hugged back as the goblins watched, puzzled over all this touching.

When they finally broke apart Jabun looked up at them. "We did all this so you could get a hug? Boring! Can we break in here again… that was more fun than this!"

Laurel chuckled at the goblins, "So this is your group of merry goblins?"

Isaac nodded, "Yes, without them I couldn't have gotten in here."

Jabun nodded "Isaac is a powerful man, he is a God to us!"

Her hands grabbed Jabun, lifting him up and looking him in the eyes "So Isaac is like a prince to you?"

At the twenty vigorous nods of the assembled goblins, Laurel put Jabun down and turned back to Isaac, a playful twinkle in her eye as her arms wrapped around him. "Well to these goblins, you are a prince… so you could be my Prince Charming if you want too."

"Laurel, I'm a builder… I fix things. I'm not a royal man and I don't even have any royal blood."

She rolled her beautiful eyes and took his hands "Haven't you read any fairytales? Princesses always marry shepherds, carpenters, and blacksmiths. You're desirable, and if I don't snatch you up now I won't get another chance."

He gulped softly and hugged her again, cursing as he realized that if he was crazy enough to break into a tower, brave enchantments, and manage a horde of goblins while being in little danger… she had him wrapped around her little finger, and she wasn't going to let him loose anytime soon.

As she pulled back to look him in the eyes, he smiled at her, before she spoke again "Or I could just tell my parents that you broke in here and then they'd build a bigger tower." She smiled coyly "You don't want that do you?"

He hugged her again "I was going to say yes, you didn't have to blackmail me."

Her soft laugh greeted him in response "I know, but it's fun!"

They stayed like that for a while, swaying and locked in their hug, an embrace that was different that previous ones, but it was a good different… a feeling swelled inside of them, something warm that filled up a part of them they didn't know they needed.

By the time they pulled away the goblins had left to presumably find something more fun to do, and Issac smiled. "I'll let you get back to sleep Laurel, but I'm glad I got to see you."

Laurel got back in bed, smiling as he tucked her in. "You're so good to me… a gentleman."

He squeezed her arm gently "I try my best." He smiled. "Goodnight my Princess"

Muffling a yawn, she smiled back. "Goodnight my Prince."

He left the tower without any trouble, only to face a bigger challenge.

How to round up twenty goblins without making a scene.

His eyes looked up to see that morning was almost upon him, and already the castle was starting to wake up.

Oh, this was going to be a long day indeed.

...

I hope you enjoyed this story!

It's a bit sweeter than normal, but then again fairytales always seem to be!

Please let me know if you want more of this series because I'm open to writing more fairytale type stories! And stories about hugs!^_^

Please leave a review, feel free to check out my other works (including my other hug story "Open Arms", and have a great day!