Finally reading Blackveil. Wondering when Britain is going to be finishing the bloody series.

Standard disclaimers apply. Note that this AU and not the least bit original at that.

She hated to admit it, she was much too proud, but she was quite lost in this altogether too big castle. Honestly, why couldn't they just use what was already there instead of constantly building something new all the damn time?

Karigan was muttering the thoughts aloud as she wandered down a dark, dusty hallway of Sacor Castle, sneezing every few steps when errant dust motes floated up and tickled her nose. She recognized that she was just trying push away her fear, but didn't care. She really was pissed she'd gotten herself lost!

"Stupid, bloody royalty… Always building unnecessarily for no good reason…" she grumbled kicking at what was likely a lump of fur.

"Actually, the abandoned halls make for very good hiding places," a voice behind her said, making her jump with a very dignified scream.

Turning around with a furiously beating heart, the speaker proved to be a young boy not much older than herself with hair the colour of rapeseed and almond eyes.

He looked as taken aback by her exclamation as she had been by him speaking, holding up his hand defensively and trying to smile through his nerves. The small, white dog behind him let out a bark when it was nearly stepped on.

"S-sorry," the boy stammered, blinking wide eyes. "I didn't know you'd be so shocked, I really didn't."

Karigan blinked, wondering if this boy and his dog weren't ghosts? (Oh, if she had only known how foreboding that thought had been….)

"Uh… Are you okay?" the boy asked, prompting Karigan to shake her head violently.

"Yes, I'm fine," she said, still looking warily at the boy, but couldn't help but reciprocate his smile when his face lit up.

"Oh, that's great. I'm Zachary and this is Sniffer," he pointed at the dog. "Pleasure to meet you." He bowed, hand over his heart, only to stick out his hand before she had a chance to return the gesture.

Zachary? She had the nagging feeling she should recognize the name, like she had heard it somewhere before and it had been important, but it just wouldn't come to her, so she gave up on it. "Karigan G'ladheon," she said instead, giving his hand a firm shake. "Could you help me get back?"

He looked surprised, as if that wasn't anything like the response he had expected, but recovered quickly and was soon grinning again. He was a real happy bunny, wasn't he? "Well, hey, how about we play for some time instead? It's rare I get a chance to play with someone my own age…" His eyes shone brightly with hope.

Karigan grinned, only too readily forgetting about her father and Sevano who were probably busy looking for her. "Sure! What do you want to play?"


A few hours later…

Colin was pacing the dark hallways looking for the young prince Zachary, knowing Rider Mapstone and several other Weapons were doing the same in other corridors. They all realized the boy sometimes needed his own space and privacy, especially what with his brother being who he was, and so they let him run off on occasion, although they made sure he was never gone for long.

But he had really managed to hide himself well this time.

Colin stopped suddenly when he heard the sound of something or someone running. He held his lantern aloft to peer into the darkness just as two short personalities came charging out of the dark with a white lump of fur darting behind them in a zigzag pattern.

They narrowly missed his legs, one of the two catching a hold of the other as it nearly fell over. The grabber turned out to be Zachary and the other a brown haired girl. The two grinned at each other, giggling.

"You okay, Kari?" Zachary asked.

"Fine, fine!" the girl responded, turning to look at Colin. She seemed taken aback when she saw the black uniform, but was overall composed.

"Hi, Colin," Zachary greeted, practically glowing with happiness in the dim light. "What are you doing here?"

"Looking for you, as a matter of fact," Colin answered, crossing his arms. He judged the situation and decided not to call him 'Highness'. "Your father is very worried about you and we should be heading back now, and I imagine the same goes for you, young lady."

Karigan blushed, realizing he was probably all too right.

On the way back to the main part of the castle, Zachary tapped Karigan's shoulder, getting her attention. "Are you staying in the city overnight?"

"Yes?"

"Promise me you'll be here tomorrow, then, at nine hours. If I'm not down by the gate, say Zachary wants to see you and I'll be down right away!"

Karigan grinned and nodded, promising herself to beg and plead her father to make sure she always came along to Sacor City.

So… I don't know, I like the thought of the two meeting as kids, although it is so unlikely I'm the only one and am not the first to have written it. If there is a general consensus that this AU is liked I may continue it as a series of one-shots with no actual plot.

Please review and tell me what you liked/disliked. ^_^