Indigo let out a mirthless chuckle. “I don’t doubt that you’re allowed to do whatever you wish either, you don’t need to remind me of that as well.” They tilted their head as they stared downward. Strange how she was much more afraid of their mistress and her husband more than the prince before them. “I’m just suggesting that you choose to be less of a terrible person. Besides, I think I’m allowed to mess up and not look where I’m going when I’ve been on my feet, working for… how long has it been? Twenty-five hours in all? Sounds about right.”
He lifted his chin. "If you can't use your eyes, you don't need them." he replied, still glaring down at them, that low threat still in his voice. "I'm sure your owners would let me. I'll pay them for the slight loss in service quality. If you aren't using them anyways, it shouldn't affect your abilities, now should it?" he actually sounded serious now.
Huh. Maybe this wasn’t anger or defiance. Maybe this was self-sabotage. Indigo really did not care what happened to her, though if he was going to rip her eyes out she would at least fight back. They were resigned to whatever happened to her, but that didn’t mean they had to like it.
“Actually, that might motivate them to replace me faster. Perfect. I owe you one for a worthless life on the streets, Your Highness.” Here she met the prince’s eyes, cracking a joyless smile. “But seriously, I use my eyes quite often. This is only one occasion. Maybe you could, I don’t know, calm down a bit? Ah, but who am I kidding? I know you don’t exactly have the best track record of calming down, Your Highness.”
He took a deep breath, still glaring. "I am a prince, and you would do well to remember your place." he said, frowning down at her. "Or I'll make you remember it." he really was on the verge of hitting them. He didn't like resorting to physical violence, but he was so very tempted right now that he was starting to see red.
Her smile dropped. “Yes, you’ve reiterated the fact that your a prince twice now, I don’t need you to tell me again. Just take it as an indication that I honestly don’t care and make do on your threat. I don’t mind.”
And perhaps this wasn’t just self-sabotage. They literally asked the prince to hurt them. Damn, have I finally snapped? Is this what it looks like? She took a moment to prepare herself for any physical pain, their gaze dropping to the floor again.
Before Riven could do anything, or give any orders to someone else, one of his older brothers melted from the crowd, stepping forward and placing a hand on his younger brother's shoulder. "Riven, dear, do explain why you're causing a scene." he asked, a dangerous smile playing around his lips as he looked at the other prince.
Riven frowned. "She bumped into me." he replied, well aware that he sounded like a petulant child. "And this isn't the first time they've disrespected me."
The elder prince tipped his head as he looked at Indigo, then at Riven again. "I see. And you believe a fitting punishment is removing the eyes?"
Riven crossed his arms. "Yes. They obviously don't need them in the first place."
His older brother sighed faintly. "They don't belong to you, brother dear, and it is not your place to punish them for missteps." the older prince was saying all the right words, but yet…he didn't seem friendly, nor kind. Not at all. He looked from Riven to Indigo. "Where is the owner?"
The moment they caught sight of the other prince, Indigo became a stiff, emotionless robot again. They were quiet, looking around to spot her mistress when she caught both Olympia and Zephyr making their way towards them, from opposite directions. She saw Lee’s curly hair poking out from behind Zephyr’s shoulder. Indigo blinked with surprise and a little bit of fear, then pointed to her left. “She’s coming this way, Your Highness.”
Olympia came first, her eyes bright with confusion and annoyance. She quickly bowed to the princes and said, “What is this? I’ve been waiting for a good five minutes now and you haven’t returned with my husband, and instead I see you like this? Just what is going on?” The Fae woman looked from Indigo to the princes, placing a hand on her hip.
Zephyr and Lee then approached, the former also confused and the latter very, very afraid.
The prince hummed faintly, examining Zephyr, Olympia, and Lee. "Ah. You would be the owners?" He asked, examining Indigo for a moment, and then his brother. "Your slave bumped into my brother, and he is quite put out about it." Somehow, the prince managed to sound both condescending and helpful, all at one time. "He would like to gouge out their eyes, as he considers this fitting retribution for being bumped into. I don't believe that is a fitting punishment, especially when it has already caused such a scene." He gestured slightly to all the fae that kept glancing over at them, whispering to each other.
(Gonna be pretty busy for the next couple days, just a heads up)
Indigo only needed to hear Olympia’s exasperated sigh to understand how much anger she was suppressing. She glared daggers at them, saying, “I see. I would tell you that it won’t happen again and that I asked forgiveness, but truthfully I’ve been considering discontinuing my ownership of them. Do what you will, but if it’s going to be removing the eyes, then it will be more difficult to get rid of- I mean, find a replacement for her. Do it in a discreet environment, at least.”
The elder prince let out a faint laugh, shaking his head. "We will not be removing any eyes. As bloodthirsty as my younger brother considers himself to be, our father would not approve of him removing eyes for such a thing." he replied, eyes sliding from Olympia to Indigo to Riven, who glared at his older brother, feeling suddenly powerless and mocked. The elder prince studied all three of them for a moment longer, eyes lingering on Indigo for a long moment. "And, too, Riven, you have caused such a scene. Father will not be pleased with this."
Indigo stood silent, staring down at the floor. It would be pointless to speak up now, of course. They only moved their lips to wet them.
Olympia looked warily around at the onlookers, then back at the elder prince. “Well then, what do you suggest, Your Highness? Something must be done.” The missus looked like she wanted to say more, but decided to hold her tongue.
The prince tapped his chin faintly as he considered what to do. His mouth twisted. "Ah, of course. Madam, sir, would you be quite averse to giving your slave to my brother? It shall teach him to tolerate these mistakes. You would, of course, be recompensed for it." He smirked faintly, eyes flickering from his brother, to Indigo, to Olympia. Riven's eyes widened faintly, and he glared at his older brother.
Indigo’s head snapped up at these words, her mouth becoming slightly agape. Of all the punishments they could’ve chosen, this was the one?
Raising an eyebrow, Olympia looked between her and Prince Riven, then back to this brother. After a moment of thought she said, “I don’t mind it. The idea of using a slave to teach someone a lesson is rather strange to me, but if it means I don’t have to deal with the little wretch ever again, well, I suppose I can’t refuse.”
“I know my wife has been… getting rather tired of her slave, yes…” Zephyr spoke up. It was now easy to tell he had been drinking, with his lazy, amused smile, the slow speech, and swaying posture. “Funny… funny how this is all… playing out, hm?”
Olympia rolled her eyes. “Sober up before I hear another word from your mouth, husband.”
He nodded, giggling a little. “Yes ma’am.”
Meanwhile, Indigo stood like a statue, her mouth still slightly open. Though it looked as if they were ignoring the conversation, inside they were trying to not to lose their mind. Memories of her and Riven’s previous encounters flashed through her mind, and she resisted the urge to cringe. No. No no no. This was not part of the plan. Or at least, the plan to have her eyes ripped out and live the rest of her life on the streets. They couldn’t decide which was the worst alternative.
Hearing Zephyr speak, she turned to meet Lee’s eyes peeking out from behind Zephyr. They looked more fearful than usual, since Zephyr was scarier when drunk. Lee and Indigo shared that fearful glance, then her graze traveled back to the floor.
"Good! Then it's settled." The older prince clapped his hands, a cruel smile tugging at his mouth. "Riven dear, you've been needing a personal slave for a while now. Here's two problems solved."
Riven's lip curled in a sneer. "Yes, how wonderful." His voice was icy. "A perfect solution, dear brother." His eyes landed on Indigo, and he sighed. "Very well. Come along then. I suppose I'll have to teach you where my quarters are." Dislike, if not outright hate, curdled in his eyes as he looked down his nose at her.
Indigo couldn’t curse out loud, so she did it silently instead. They looked back to see Lee peek out more from behind Zephyr and mouth, Good luck. Offering him a You too and a small smile that was really more of a grimace, they then turned to Riven and nodded. She met his eyes only for a moment, their gaze looking rather dead. Resignation began to settle in once more.
Riven grimaced, turning on his heel and leading them along, out of the party and down the hall. "So." He said slowly, frowning. "You're mine, now." Distaste hung in his voice, thick in each word. "How horrendous." He really had not wanted a personal slave, much less Indigo, of all people.
“Indeed,” was Indigo’s only reply. At least they could agree on something. It’s not like they would miss Olympia or Zephyr, but Prince Riven wasn’t much better. In fact, nothing really felt different about this. Only the environment and her enslaver had changed. Of course, that brought along its own changes, for better or worse, but they had yet to see that happen. Everything still felt strangely the same. As if she had been listening to a song, but then it switched to a different singer, but the melody and instruments were still the same.
They followed the prince, stiffly putting one foot in front of the other.
Riven led her into his rooms. There was first a sitting room, which was messy, but extravagant, with a plush forest green couch and two matching chairs, pulled near a fireplace with a low coffee table and soft rugs. There was a bookshelf pushed next to one wall, books and papers stacked haphazardly on and around it. A long, low window let in light, and was cracked open to let in the night air. "This is the sitting room." He said, gesturing vaguely. A few paintings hung on the walls as well, and there was, too, a desk, a chair pulled half away. Books were near it, and papers were all over the surface. A half empty bottle with the cork in it sat on the desk, a wine glass on the coffee table.
Indigo scanned the room, their eyes lingering on the various books scattered about. They nodded to indicate they understood, and continued to follow him.
Though he seemed repulsed by Indigo’s being here, it seemed his older brother was right. He did need a personal slave, or to at least to practice cleanliness more often. If Olympia found her own sitting room in this state, Indigo could expect a good chunk of her time being beaten and screamed at. They felt some semblance of fear creeping in even now, wanting to immediately get the room in a presentable state before something happened.
Riven opened another door. "My bedroom." he said, waving a hand vaguely. This room was even worse. The large bed lay with the headboard against one wall, the covers twisted and messy and thrown haphazardly all over the bed. Clothes lay on the floor and draped over the back of the chair in the room, a spare chiton hanging from the top of the bookshelf in this room. Another window was cracked in this room, a soft breeze making the shimmery curtains flutter, the papers nearby rustling faintly with each soft breath of wind. A few more paintings hunt on the walls, along with a mirror.
Her anxiety increased along with the room’s messiness. Indigo nearly opened her mouth to say something, but decided against it and nodded again. She looked at floor so she didn’t have to focus on the source of their anxiety or impulsively start cleaning something.
"And through there is the bathroom." He pointed to another door. "You've got, uh, a small room off of mine. That door over there. I haven't been in it in years, so it's probably musty." He was polite, though cold.
They looked up to see where Riven was pointing and tilted their head in the direction of the door. Holding her arms closer to her body, she lifted her foot and hesitated before taking a step. “I… I can look inside, right?” She asked softly, hesitantly.
He shrugged. "I don't care. Do whatever." He raked his hands through his hair. He hated sharing his space like this; there was a difference between a lover and…Indigo. Indigo was an annoyance. At best. He hated that they were here, but there was nothing he could do about it.
(Well suck it up, buttercup)
Indigo made their way to the door, glancing back at Riven once before going inside and shutting the door behind her.
The room was similar to the one she had in the Thistlewell Estate, except with room for only one person and showing signs of age and abandonment. A cot stood to the side, and they spotted a hole in the floor in one corner, presumably the toilet. The only light came in through a small window on the wall to Indigo’s right.
Forcing what anxiety she had left from her mind, they slowly walked around the room, occasionally leaning down a feeling the floor with her hand. Somewhere around the bed, they felt loose tiles. Smiling to herself in satisfaction, they turned and opened the door to exit. They would have to investigate the loose tiles later.