Ink stared out of the window, pressing his hand against the freezing glass. Frost had built up behind the transparent material; the crystals blinding the prince’s gaze. He adjusted his position on the window sill, backing his bony hand against the oak frame and kicking his legs up so they rested near his chest.
That day would be the day he’d meet someone who would change his life. The artist just failed to realize that. His palms became dampened with perspirant anxiety, and tugging at the cream cravat that laid tucked beneath his silky amber blazer did not help him calm his nerves.
Soon his little panic attack came to a halt. Three knocks on the door made Ink suck in a sharp breath, he turned to face the door of his room. They were nice wooden doors, painted with a reagle white and rimmed with a golden trim. Biting down on his tongue, Ink began to compose himself. He stood from his rather cold seat and adjusted his posture. His expression was a sad attempt at a stern and cold poker face. Deep inside, he was filled with emotions, fake emotions, but nonetheless they existed. He felt mixed emotions of anxiety and excitement. The strange mix of the paints he’d had were perfect to form a genuine reaction. Though, his older brother had tried to explain how he had to act proper and cold around his new servant. The prince ignored his older brother’s warning.
Ink just couldn’t contain himself, though he couldn’t feel his own emotions, he could have his own wishes and desires. One of which was to have a real friend, and he saw this new servant as an opportunity for just that. After straightening up, he said,
“Come in!” The door clicked open and in walked a skeleton. He had dark black bones, while another oddity was the glitches that spread out, spritzing about, all over his body. As for the servant’s attire, he wore a black tailcoat over a cream colored blouse he had tucked into his worn pants. He bowed, one hand held at a 90 degree angle in front of his nonexistent stomach and the other behind his back. Ink formally introduced himself.
“Prince Ink of The United Kingdom.” The servant smiled, shoving his red rimmed glasses back on his nose.
“Error.” He responded, his voice glitching. Ink’s eyelights formed into stars, and a smile snapped onto his face. Once again, he just couldn’t contain himself and with great energy, exclaimed,
“You look so amazing ! What happened to your bones? Why does your voice sound like that!?” Error nervously smiled and shrugged. Something was off in his behavior and Ink immediately recognized it. Though, saying Ink had no idea how normal emotions worked, he couldn’t pin down what was wrong.
“I have Pixelation Syndrome, my lord.” Ink placed his hands on his hips and studied Error’s mannerisms closely while continuing to talk.
“Well, that’s a shame.” Ink responded, forgetting about how his brothers had taught him to sympathize with others. Ink did become distracted easily after all.
“Also, you don’t have to call me that. I would rather be friends than master and servant!” In the manner Ink said that, he sounded like a child. It was naive of him to propose such an idea; after all the king’s, his eldest brother’s, punishments for speaking out of turn and without address were severe. Nightmare seemed bent on inspiring negativity at any moment possible. Something as minor as speaking without address could be “rewarded” with quite the beating.
“Understood.” Error noted, his behavior still appearing odd. Ink quickly noticed how the servant gazed in awe at his master’s room. Of course, this confused Ink. He’d never been outside the castle and thought everyone lived in the same luxury he did, or possibly he thought this way because he’d turned a blind eye all his life. Curiosity getting the best of him, he questioned,
“What is so interesting?” Error flinched, and stared at Ink. He fumbled with his words until he managed to form a few sentences.
“Everything is so open and decorated with such expensive gems and materials. The palace is amazing.” The prince snickered, placing one hand on his hip.
“You think my room is intriguing? You clearly have not seen the study! It’s where I draw, and where my br- Prince Dream goes to relax away from everyone. I should show you it when he is not lingering around there. He would panic if he saw me being all friendly… for some reason.” Error nervously chuckled and let his arms hang down by his sides. For a split moment, silence crept into the room. Both socially awkward young adults just stared at one another. Error was amused by Ink’s constantly changing eyelights, while Ink was fascinated with Error’s glitchy appearance. If they didn’t have things to do, they’d have stared at each other all day. Error coughed, bringing his hand to his pocket and pulling out a sheet of paper.
“A-Alright.” He stuttered, gazing at the page. Ink attempted to look over at the sheet with little success. The servant continued, “First order of business is to get the new defense mechanisms and statistics from The Captain of The Royal Guard then deliver them to Prince Dream. From there we dine for lunch, visit the king, and finally check with the Head Doctor about the competing energy from the two eldest brothers.” Error’s voice pitched with confusion at that last task while Ink simply sighed.
“Of course, they want me to talk with the doctor because they can never come to a compromise other than shove it on to the younger brother!” Error looked to the side, unsure of how to express empathy to such an important person. His expression quite drab, Ink mumbled,
“Well, we had best be off.” Ink didn’t enjoy running around the castle all day. He’d much rather create artistic works or play with his brothers like the good old days. That particular day, he’d wanted nothing more than to learn more about his odd servant.
They walked into the halls, Ink leading the way. Due to the common vacancy of the fifth floor, the sound of their shoes clicking against the marble floor was quite audible. That noise being the only sound between them was uncomfortable for the two, they both were curious about one another but unable to ask. After a while, they had walked all the way down to the first floor, walking down more discreet corridors and less fancy halls. The ceilings became lowered to a usual height of about eight feet, and fewer windows were placed.
Soon enough, they’d arrived at the office of the captain. Ink didn’t usually visit the guardsman, after all, Dream clearly had taken a liking to the rather attractive soldier. It did not cross Ink’s mind that his brother was romantically attracted to the soldier. After all, it was more than just illegal for a man to love a man, it was considered a disgrace and morally wrong.
Ink let out a breath, and allowed his servant to knock on the door. Error knocked three times as he had on Ink’s door just minutes before.
“Come in.” A deep voice yelled from behind the dark wooden door. Error opened the door, cringing at the creaking sound it made as it opened. As for the room, light from the window penetrated through the curtains and lit the room. A large wooden desk sat in the middle of the room, shrouded with papers and large files. The guardsman, Cross, stood polishing a very expensive looking plate of armor. He spun around to look at the two, his expression changing from a grin to more of a disappointed smile.
“Aw, where’s Dreamy?” Cross questioned, walking over to the pair. Cross was above the rule of speaking in and out of turn for one, he was quite wealthy and held an important position, and two he was childhood friends with the princes. Ink clicked his tongue while Error took a mental note of the soldier’s behavior.
“Nightmare wanted me to get the schematics. Don’t ask me why. Also, Dream is in the study.” Cross snapped his fingers and flicked the collar of his silky red shirt, seeming rather disappointed before swapping his attention to Error. The servant gulped. Ink was just over four feet tall while Error barely hit five feet, and in front of him was a six foot giant who had a massive sword clutched in his gloved hand.
“Would you look at that. Ink has a servant; hope Nightmare doesn’t kill this one.” Both of the skeletons went pale. Error had an internal panic attack while Ink held back a belched up splotch of ink. Cross laughed, humored by the younger skeletons’ reactions.
“I am just joking. Nightmare would never kill someone… on their first day.” He nearly inaudibly mumbled those last few words. The two shorties exchanged worried looks then looked back at the taller guardsman.
“Oh, yes, papers. Let me get those.” Error was practically shaking out of fear. He was terrified both by the soldier and with whatever his fate held. Cross returned with a few papers that he handed to Error who avoided touch as much as he could. Ink took note of that behavior as well. Something was off about Error, and he was determined to get to the bottom of it.
With his eyelights shaped into stars, the prince shouted out,
“Thanks Cross!” The soldier gave Ink a friendly salute and returned to his work.