Authors Note.

Okay, my first EVER fanfiction. Please review, you can flame if you want. I don't mind. I need those to improve my writing anyway xP

Reviews are definitely needed (I know, I'm asking for 'em again), I don't get much feedback from family and friends so reviews are absolutely AWESOME XD

Person who hasnt signed in: OKay thanks for the review. Yes your right.. I fixed those parts up. They weren't actually hearing him (no spoilers for those who haven't read it) they were hearing animals.. Yeah should of added that in ;)

Enjoy :)

"Get back here Latika!" Latika's father, the King, yelled running after his speeding rebelious daughter. Sprinting down the stairs she jumped over the railing holding her dress, landing almost silently as the door opened. Her eldest brother, Aaron, stood at the to top of the stairs struggling to retain laughed as his father tripped down the stairs in a great hurry.

"Hi, Lance. Jane is in her room." she said quickly with a sweet smile before darting off, her golden brown hair streaked with blonde from days in the sun was flying behind having come loose of its pins, she rounded a corner just as her dad reached the door panting.

The King was in his late 30's and had pure black hair. His face showed the signs of his age with smile wrinkles around his eyes and cheeks, he wore the standaerd Royal Dress and carried his broad sword on his back everywhere, he was rarely seen without it. The King was begining to show signs of a lazy and well fed, comfortable life, meaning his was becoming unfit in his relaxed castle life.

The second-year apprentice stood to attention at the site of his King, "Good Morning King Fredrick. May -" the King held up his hand to silence him.

"Yes you may see Jane." Fredrick said standing tall having caught his breath.

"No sir. I was going to ask what you were doing chasing Latika?" Lance said confusion was obvious in his expression. "Shouldn't she be... you know." He gestured with his hands.

Why do the Knights in training have to be so air headed? he thought before answering: "Yes, well I was trying to get her to attend her lessons. I wish she could be well manered and attending her lessons like her 'perfect' sister Princess Mary-Jane, who I must say attracts you young lot like.. like.." he trailed off, unable to think of a simily. Shrugging he continued "Unfortunately, Latika is extremly rebelious, even more than her brothers were!" Fredrick said with a sigh.

Looking at Lance he saw the apprentice staring awe-struck. Following his gaze the King saw Jane, walking gracefully down the stairs. Her long black slightly curled hair falling to her waist, blue eyes alight with warmth, her light pink riding dress fit her shape perfectly and her skin pale. Overall Jane was stunning, and no young man could refrain from staring at her fragile figure.

"Good afternoon Lance. Have you brought a message from Sir Armadan?" She said with a slight curtsey. A smile touched her almost red lips. Sir Armadan was their battle master and often sent his apprentices to relay messages to the King.

Stumbling slightly he bowed, "No your highness. I came to take you riding as requested." He replied.

"Stop it you two. Youse' have known each other long enough, no need to be formal here." The King said with a sigh, knowing it was all an act. Lance and Jane had been friends since they were 5 years of age and only acted this way when in his presence. They both relaxed greatly and hugged.

"Time for me to go riding father." Jane said. "I will see you in half past an hour at the latest. See-you." She stood on her tip-toes and kissed him lightly on the cheek.

"Be careful! I will be with Vikda." he called, Lance turned around confused. "Sir Armadan." he sighed, Jane had grown up all too fast for his liking. Their mother passed in child birth and he had risen the girls all by himself. They were his treasures and to see them, well Jane all grown up and acting like her mother, Michelle, brought tears to his eyes.

Meanwhile, Latika had stole into her room and changed into some tights, knee-high soft leather boots, a woollen shirt and a mid-thigh length belted leather jerkin she had hidden away in her wardrobe. You see her father has forbidden her of wearing such things, except when riding and had removed all of such clothing from her wardrobe. Walking over to the fire place she pulled the curtain back to reveal a home made copy of a rangers cloak, she hadn't been able to convince her clothing makers to make a proper one for her. Putting it on she walked silently to the bedroom door, opening it quietly she checked to find it clear. Sneaking out she jogged to the end of the hall checking for her father or any of his informants once again she found the way clear. She charged arcoss the intersection to the window, opening it she slid out and droped silently to the ground. Closing it behind her, she straightened the flowers trying to cover her passing and headed out into the gardens.

Hiding behind the tree's, moving with the shadows almost silently to cross between them. She reached a large tree, its trunk wide, its branch's broad and its leaves thick. She leapt into it with a slight russtle all the while unaware she was being watched. Assuming no one was around she droped the quiver and recurve bow to the ground and with a slight rustle she dropped to the ground aswell picking them up and slinging them across her back.

Wow, she's almost as good as me. Thought Shayd as he watched the princess walk almost silently blending with her surroundings heading deeper into the more ruggard part of the castle gardens. Dropping to the ground he followed her, he had nothing else to do while his master talked to the King, Sir Armadan and Ranger Will.

Shayd had been apprenticed to Ranger Alex for almost a year now and so much had happened, yet so little of it was as interesting as the adventures of other Rangers. Yes, they had a few groups of bandits to get rid of, but thats nothing compared to saving all of Araluan and Skandia from an envading Temujia army which Halt and Will managed to acomplish when Will was only an apprentice and much more.

Will was now the head of the Ranger Corps, Crowley has finally retired along with Halt. Gilan was now assinged to Redmount feif and Alex had been assinged to Seacliff feif. Cassandra and Horace have been retired from their duties as King and Queen for some time now. Prince Fredrick and his wife have taken over their duties. Michelle had died in child birth to Latika, just as she had predicted. You see, Michelle was special. She was in that 1% of unexplainable magic. She was sidekick as they say, and when Shayd had arrived at the Castle gates abandoned she had taken him in as her own and named him Shayd (obviously). There had been a few others to arrive abandoned after him and the Castle ward for once in many years had children in it. Michelle had said that one day he would protect the Kings dearest treasure from harm and become the Golden Princesses soulmate. Michelle also made many other predictions, the Golden Princess was also in another of her even more important tellings.

Latika swerved her was through the garden avoiding the gardeners, servants and sentries. Soon they came to the end and a small door, garded by two guards. She jumped into a tall tree next to the closest garden wall, the tree's branched grew over the wall, letting her climb over and out without being spotted. Shayd however not knowing this trick was spotted by the gaurds as he cut across open ground while following.

"Aye! You. Show yourself!" Said one of the gaurds. Swearing queitly Shayd walked over. "What are you doing sneak-" He stopped seeing the bow, arrows, double-knife scabbard and the moalted cloak marking him as a Ranger. Rumor was that they were specialist in the black magic, he didn't want to be on the wrong side of a ranger, no matter how young. "Ah, excuse my rudness please. I didn't know." He stopped once again seeing the ranger smiling. That was strange. He thought.

"Ah, don't worry about it. May I please go out. I want to get some practice in." Shayd said nodding in direction of his weapons.

"Yes Ranger sir." Said the guard. He stepped aside and shoved his comrad out of the way to let him pass. Shayd dashed through the opening puting his cowl up he let his eyes wander up to the tree.

Latika was still there, she had been watching silently. The Ranger seemed familiar but she didn't know any Rangers except for Will and a few of the retired, none as young as him. She waited until he was out of site before she dropped from the tree. Unfortunately, a branch had followed her and snapped as it landed. She froze her eyes searching for any movement. Seeing none she moved off through the maze of streets heading towards a small forest that had been aloud to grow about 11km from the castle and town.

Shayd seeing her movements headed in the same direction hiding in doorways and shadows of the buildings. They reached open ground and he moved on a path parallel to her's apparently she was unawre of his own movements. They soon reached the forest and Shayd jumped back into the trees where he felt most secure, swinging between them silently. As he followed he noticed that her cowl was down and she had a ring of gold placed on her head, held secure by clips. He frowned at this small detail. Why would she be wearing that? It did not occur to him that she might be the Princess. He marvelled at her hair, when hit by sunshine it seemed to glow with a golden light, her hair also seemed extremly familar but he just couldn't connect it.

They reached a clearing and Shayd noticed some targets had been set up at different distances and all different shapes and sizes. He droped from his high perch to a branch below him with sufficient cover. Latika soon began her practicing, it was obvious she was new to the bow and arrows. Her posture wasn't correct, she didn't have an arm guard, she didn't draw far enough and she obviously wasn't using the right muscles. He watched as her arrow sagged and fell short of its target. Latika stomped and droped the bow to the side along with its quiver of arrows, rumbing her arm were the string had stung her. She drew her throwing knife and threw it at the nearest target with a swift flick of her wrist, it landed an inch above the bullseye.

Smiling to himself he took an arrow, reached full draw and shot all in one swift movement. Amazingly it struck smack bam in the middle. Latika was extremly surprised and a small scream escaped her. Jumping back from where she was about to pick up her arrow just incase the stranger was going to shoot at her. She waited and not feeling or seeing any more arrows she stepped away from the target. She recognized the arrow.

"Okay mystery Ranger, you can have that target for your practice." she anounnced. She started to aim for the Target beside the Rangers and another arrow landed smack bam in the middle of that one too. "Okay, you can have that one too, no more." Latika moved onto the next and threw her Saxe knife it hit an inch above where she had aimed. She frowned, Still need practice with that one.. wait whats that sound? Latika turned, she saw a bunch of arrows in the first target and more arrows flying into the next target, then a solider thump. Oh, he used his knife, must be out of arrows. She smiled and went to inspect his pattern. This seems to be a H and that is an i... It says Hi. "Hi." she said. "Well, seems I finally get to meet you." She gestured to the targets. "You've run out of arrows." THUD! She jumped and saw an arrow in the taget she had been leaning on, only centimetres from her head. Well, that was nice of him. She thought grimly.

"Now I'm out of arrows." She heard a familiar voice call. There was a small rustle and he dropped from his hiding place, removing his cowl. "Your pretty good with those knives... for a girl." he added on the end with a smile, just to annoy her.

Latika sighed and began to study the small Ranger infront of her. He was small, but quite muscular. He had amazing brown eyes and longish brown hair with a fringe he constantly flicked to the side out of his curious, warm eyes. She studied him a little further to find what she was looking for. A small scar on his left cheek bone. She smiled inwardly as she realised who it was. She was quite proud that he had become a Ranger, wait, a Ranger Apprentice she corrected herself. You see Shayd grew up with the princes and princesses with many of their privlages even after Michelle had died, his was practicually family and Latika was his best friend, even when she was a baby. And the scar was something she had done, when they were younger she had cut him with her Rapier during practice. He had snuck up on her and scared her, as a result he was cut and he still wore the mark.

Shayd on the other hand was staring at her green eyes. They were rimmed with a deep blue and flicked with hazel and they seemed even more familiar. He knew who it was but the memory was just out side his reach, floating past out of his grasp teasing him. Then he realised the importance of the gold circle on her head. She was Latika, Princess Latika. He smiled at her, "Long time since I've seen you." Shayd said.

"Agreed. I've missed you so much!" She walked forward and took him in bear hug having discarded her weapons.

"ood 'o 'ee 'uo 'oo." His voice muffled by her shoulder. She stepped back from the embrace. "So tell me everything since you left." They sat down and Shayd began his story.

"Well, I was 14 when your Dad moved to Seacliff Feif-"

"Wow, really? That far?" She was obviously surprised. They had just become even closer when her father had moved him away, along with all the other ward children, she had no idea why.

"Yes, really. That far. Anyway, I stayed there with the other wards as well. All the normal everyday things at the ward for two years-" he was interupted once again.

"Was there any other wards there?" She asked curious.

"I just said that!" Shayd said.

"Oh. Sorry."

"Now, on with the story. Then it was choosing day. The boys all went for Battle School and they all got in, they were certainly all big enough. I can assure you that. Julia got into Cooking." He stopped and waited for the name to sink in. He saw her draw breath and before she said anything he added "She might be being transfered to the castle."

"Julia, at the castle? That would be amazing! I miss her so much!" She said.

"So its not amazing that I'm here is it?" Shayd said smiling. "Ow." Latika had punched him in the arm.

"Of course it is silly. Now get on with it."

"Okay, the others all went for the Diplomatic. There was alot of girls and they were all accepted so the originals from the Castle are being transfered back. Katherin will be arriving in a few days."

"Katherin?" She asked. Latika felt a spark of jealousy and pushed it aside. Why am I jealous? She is just a friend of his.. just a friend and... He's just a friend... a good friend... a really good, close friend. She sighed. Shayd stopped.

"You weren't listening were you..? To busy thinking." This time it was Shayd's turn to sigh.

"Sorry, tell me who Katherin is again." She picked up a near by stick and began drawing in a small patch of dirt.

"Katherin is the one with red curly hair and hazel eyes. She is short and really pretty." He stopped. Realising he had said a little bit too much. Its just so easy to talk to her, I end up saying too much.

"Seems you think highly of her. Well, I think I remember her. If not I look forward to meeting her." She felt the jealousy rise again, stronger this time. She pushed it aside again and tried to think nothing of it. She felt her skin prick and the hair on the back of her neck rise. She turned to Shayd and whsippered in his ear: "Someone is watching us."

He nodded slightly and they continued there conversation like nothing happened hoping the person would think nothing of them.

"Anyway," he continued his story. "I was almost sent to be a farm hand when message arrow landed between me and the Baron. I picked it up and handed it to the Baron. He pulled at the note and read it alowed. 'Shayd has the quality's to be a Ranger. He will be apprenticed to me. Ranger Alex.' Everybody was stunned, and I certainly was too."

"Wow, so thats how you were apprenticed... How strange."

"Well, it is strange. Alex has only been a fully fledged Ranger for 2 years. Anyway, I was told to go to his cabin at 8:30 the next morning and not to be late. When I arrived I noticed two targets set up. Much like the two I used. Alex did exactly what I did to you, writing Hi with the targets except I was leaning on the target the i was on and he did that one first. Alex attached me to the target with my cloak." He turned and saw Latika stiffling laughter. He took one look at her twisted facial expression and burst into laughter himself. Both suddenly stopping when they felt the hairs on their neck rise and their skin prickle. They made eye contact, coming to a desicion. "A year after we recieved a letter calling us to the castle." Shayd made a sight of looking at the sky. "Well, we should get going. Fred will be looking for you."

Latika laughed, "Dad doesn't like being called Fred very much anymore." The sensation of being watched got even stronger and Shayd heard a slight rustle in the tree nearest to them. Unfortunately, he didn't see the bird that had caused the sound.

"They are in the tree to the right, change direction. Laugh." Shayd whispered and they both made a show of laughing at a private joke and changing direction without thought.

"Race you." Latika called as she took off dodging between the tree's Shayd seconds behind her. He heard a branch snap and a slight curse. Shayd took the chance to look behind him and crashed straight into Latika. They tumbled and Shayd was on top of her (please don't take that the wrong way people). Latika looked into his eyes and he looked into her's and for a moment all was forgotten. She reached out and touched his cheek. As she slid her hand behind his neck she remembered the situation at the last moment and grabbed his hair with a devious smile. Latika pulled him to the side, his head followed along with the rest of his body. She jumped up and took off once again, Shayd close behind. "That's not nice." he called.

The follower sat in the tree and watched what transpired. Freddrick isn't going to like my report. They are still too close for his liking... I must stop him from sending him away again. But how? The stranger thought as he watched them dissapear. Once out of sight, the stranger went back to the clearing and let out a high pitched whistle. There was a pounding of hooves and a short, shaggy, barrel chested horse stopped next to him. "Good boy, Tug." He gathered Shayds arrows and placed them into a spare quiver he carried. He walked over and inspected Latika's recurve bow and found a small flower ingraved in the middle. "So that's where Alyss's present dissapeared to. If Latika knew how much trouble I got into for this..." He slung on his saddle and gathered the rest of the weapons and put them in their allocated places in saddle bags around his saddle.

His swung into the saddle and rode off to the castle. Freddrick is definetly not going to be please with my report. All hell is going to brake loose. The rider shook his head at the thought. "Why did it have to get worse?"

Okay, so thats the first chapter.. what do you think?

Review please, its needed.

Okay, I'm out for now.

Allyy Sprakzz (: