once upon a pixel

“As the ship crossed ocean after ocean, they found a new activity to engage in. They kept on reading and practicing magic and swordfighting, but during the afternoons, they would often sit on the warm deck, fishing. Wonderland held many ridiculously colorful fish, and they made it a game to fish for the funniest looking-one. Comparing their catches usually ended with them bickering about which fish was the most amazing one, but it was something they both enjoyed doing - even when Belle always seemed to end up with the winning fish.” - from Heart of the Ship - art by the wonderful qtarts 

Donghae looks up and up, craning his neck up to see at top of the bricks and mortars that fence the Palace off from the outside world. Have the walls of the Palace always been that high? Or had the months Donghae spent in here made him shrink into himself, he wonders.

When Donghae first glimpse at the palace in simpler times, he saw the confine of the walls caging the inner sanctum of the Royal Family and had thought almost wistfully who were they trying to keep out but now he knows that now was the wrong question to ask.

It should really have been: who were they trying to keep in?

Once upon a time Donghae had looked upon this place behind a pixel screen and printed page of textbooks and like all eyes that lay upon it he was drawn to its grandeur and beauty. Like some fantastical tale he read in his childhood, he dreamt of a benevolent king, a beautiful and generous queen, and a handsome prince waiting to find his one true love.

That romantic notion died along the day Hyukjae had offered him everything he could ever dream of in return shackled him to a loveless marriage of three years. When the main gate of the Palace closed behind him on the eve of his wedding and with Hyukjae and his future in front of him, Donghae said goodbye to his freedom and his halcyon days.

His only reprieve is that he isn’t alone, that Hyukjae too shares his fate. They’re both prisoner behind these walls.