A/N: I finally found a way around the whole age issue with Eries/Folken. Sort of. I've always liked this pairing, despite being an Eries/Allen fan as well. But is it so hard to think that maybe Allen Schezar wasn't the first love of her life, even though she gives up the crown for him? And what happens when the boy she had a crush on as a young girl suddenly resurfaces in her life, and she wonders how he could have changed so much? (Besides, you know, being obviously not DEAD.)

Just giving this a try - give me some feedback as to whether or not I'm totally out in left field!

Marlene just couldn't stop huffing. She didn't want to go to Fanelia, she didn't want to meet any stupid prince, she didn't want, she didn't want, she didn't want!

I stayed silent, her voice carried over anything I could have said anyway.

King Goau was friendly enough, and he even got a smile out of Millerna, who hid behind my mother's skirts more often than not.

"I have a boy her age, actually," he said to my father, and my father raised an eyebrow. Fanelia was too small of a country to marry two of his daughters into, but Goau meant nothing of the sort. "He's shy too," he said, clarifying his intentions.

But it was Queen Varie that I couldn't keep my eyes off of. She had that mark on her forehead, and her voice was almost…musical. She gave me a soft smile, and held out her hand, Marlene having been reprimanded not to stomp around so much, and Millerna still holding tight to my mother, and my father and King Goau deep in discussion, she saw that I stood apart.

"Come out to the gardens with me," she said in her tinkling tones. She smiled at me, and I looked to my mother, who nodded, and I took Varie's hand. My sister, in a rare burst of courage, ran after me.

"Wait for me!"

And Varie showed us through the doorway cut into the dense hedges. There were so many trees, so many hedges, so many plants in Fanelia. A far cry from my own oceans of Asturia.

We emerged into the gardens, stone benches in the form of half-circles littered the little alcove, and over by the edge of the trees, was a little boy Millerna's age, hanging on an older boy, who laughed and swung the little boy back and forth.

They couldn't've looked more different – the little boy looked like his parents, with dark hair and dark eyes. The older boy was fair, his hair a soft blue-green, and his eyes were a brighter shade of his brother's – more crimson than brown. They heard us, and the younger boy gave a yelp, and hid behind his brother. Until he saw his mother, then he ran towards her with a grin on his face.


Varie let go of my hand and bent down to scoop up her son. He giggled as she nestled her face in his neck, and whispered something in his ear. Then she set him down, and he turned to Millerna and I. Millerna was overcome with shyness again and took my hand and tried to hide behind me. But I was only eleven, and hadn't hit a growth spurt yet, and didn't provide much cover.

"Welcome to…Fanelia!" The little boy said proudly, and bowed once, his hair getting his face.

His brother walked over to us, and reached a hand down to ruffle his hair. "Aren't we the little diplomat?" And his brother covered his mouth with his hands and giggled.

"These are my sons, Van," she gestured to the little boy, who was trying very hard not to fidget, "and Folken," the older boy smiled at us, his face lighting up, and bowed at the waist once to my sister and myself.

"Very nice to meet you, Princess Eries, and Princess Millerna." He winked at Millerna, and she shrugged her head into her shoulders, but he was then rewarded with a tiny smile.

"Hey, wanna see my fort! My papa built me a fort in that tree!" Van pointed excitedly. Millerna, who was shy until someone mentioned a tree fort, let go of my hand and ran after the little boy, who had already reached the tree in question and was trying to explain the rope ladder to a well-versed tomboy of six.

Varie looked back towards the archway, puzzled. "Folken, could you watch them for a moment? I wonder what's keeping them." And she turned and walked back through the foliage to look for my parents.

He smiled at me.

"Are you going to marry my sister?"

This forwardness was met with only a light laugh and a shrug. "I don't know. Do you?"

"My Daddy says that Fanelia has lots of farmland, and that you and my sister are the same age."

A smile tugged at the corner of Folken's mouth. He turned and sat down on one of the benches, within earshot of my sister and his brother, who were now arguing what to call the tree fort, and she wanted to know why he got to be the dragonslayer instead of her.

I followed him and sat across from him, trying to be prim and proper and resist the urge to swing my legs by sitting back and letting them hang off the end. Instead I sat forward, and folded my hands in my lap.

"Well, I'm a Prince, and your sister is a Princess, so I suppose it would work out, don't you?"

I pondered this for a moment. "I'm a Princess too!"

"I think I'm a little old for you, don't you think?"

"How old are you?"

"Fifteen this summer."

Yep. Marlene's age. My father was definitely angling for a marriage here. I may have been only eleven, but I was no dummy.

And he was really nice, and Marlene was so whiny.

"Well that's only four years. There's seven between my mother and father."

He laughed. "Well I'm not getting married to anyone right now. First, I have to slay a dragon and become king! Then I can choose whatever Princess I want, and she can be the Queen of all of Fanelia."

"How big is Fanelia?"

He shrugged. "Smaller than Asturia. But bigger than you might think. There's a lot of mountains and forests that the wolf people live in – we don't want to drive them away, so we only have just the one city."

I pondered this. One city? Palas was large, to be sure, but it wasn't the only city in Asturia.

"Why do you let them live there? Aren't they dangerous?"

Folken let out a short laugh. "Hardly. I know some of them – they're friends of my parents'."

I was in awe of this. I did not know any beastpeople personally. Wolf or otherwise.

"What are they like?"

"Who? The wolf people?"

"Yeah. I've never met any."

"They're just like us, really. Just look a little different is all."

I nodded, taking this all in. Same as us, eh?

"Is there a wolf prince too?"

Folken continued to be amused by my questions. "Actually, I don't know. I know they have chiefs and stuff, but I don't think they have a prince."

"Are you their prince?"

"Well, I am the Prince of Fanelia, and they are Fanelian citizens, technically, sooo…yeah?"

I was delighted. "You're a Prince of Wolves!"

He smiled and leaned over to ruffle my hair like he had his brother's. "You are something else, Princess Eries."

"Just call me Eries."

"And you can call me Folken. We're all royalty here," he winked at me.

I slid back on the bench and smiled, my legs swinging on the stone bench.

He was so nice.