Xehanort, Crown Prince of Shaddon, had just, for the third time in four days, escaped from his "guardians." The silver-haired boy, no older than thirteen, leaned against the garden wall, not caring if the back of his clothes got dirty. It was more fun to sit here, and listen to the sounds of the people living life on the other side, than sitting in lessons anyway. It had been that way—hiding from his tutors all day in various places around the palace—since his mother, Ilile, died. After her death in childbirth, (The baby died soon after, leaving the Prince, Xehanort VI, an only child) her son had taken to avoiding his tutors to go sit at her grave and watch the clouds. Soon, it had turned into a game for him, finding a new place everyday to hide from his schooling.
Once the tutors figured out a spot, Xehan would stop using it, from anywhere between a month and a year, until they stopped looking for him there. But today, he had found a new hiding place almost by accident, a little gateway in the garden wall, through which he could hear the sounds of the city outside. It must have been an escape route once, he decided. What else could it be for, coming out of the wall so close to the bedrooms? Regardless, Xehan hid himself under the cover of the passage, watching the garden carefully for any sign of his teachers.
None came. Xehan sighed, then glanced at the huge wooden door at the end of the hall. It obviously hadn't been used in years—the lock was rusting away and looked like it would crumble at a touch.
Of course, he touched it. And it really did crumble away before his fingertips. Xehanort blinked. That hadn't been supposed to happen. He was, for a moment, torn between the urge to tell the guards and thereby reveal himself, and the urge to stay where he was. He took the third option. Xehan pushed the door open just a crack. His brain imploded, as one of the maids who had served his mother was fond of saying.
The sounds! The color! The people! Eyes widening by the second, the cloistered prince pushed the door open a little farther. No one seemed to notice. A little further still, bit by bit, until the door was all the way open and Xehanort, Crown Prince of Shaddon, stood blinking in the sunlight of the city of Marripi.
The blond glanced at his brunette partner in crime. "Is she ready?"
"She's been ready, we've been waiting on you, as usual."
The blond sighed. "Might as well give the signal, then." He waved a brownish, dirty flag into the air, then he and his friend vanished.
Xehanort had, somehow, wandered his way into what he assumed was the marketplace. The short stalls of merchants' wares were interesting to look at, from the blacksmith and the jeweler's stall with numerous pieces of glittering metal, to the plainly decorated stalls of the potters and woodcarvers, to the bright silks and cottons in a tailor's window. The young prince, who had only been out of the palace once I his life, on a visit to the Port of Ibza, stared in unmannered awe. He walked over to a baker's stall, and stood admiringly in front, the think smell of bread in his nose.
A girl with blue hair, who happened to be running by, tripped and fell right in front of the stall at his feet. The baker glanced down at her, as did Xehanort. Her muffled words came out with a strange accent, almost foreign in sound. The words themselves, to the boy of silver hair, were certainly like another language.
"KEYBLADE-FUCKING HELLS!!! HEY!!! YOU ASSHOLES!!! HELP ME DAMNIT!!" This seemed to be a regular occurrence, because no one moved to help her, though the shopkeeper watched interestedly. Xehan blinked. "DAMN YOU ALL TO THE DEPTHS OF THE MOON!!!" Seeing that no one else was willing to help the girl, Xehanort walked over and dropped to one knee next to her. He extended his hand, offering her help up. She gave him a look. "I broke my ankle."
"…Oh." Xehanort was at a loss for words—he didn't know anything about medicine, much less how to fix a broken ankle so it could be walked on again. "I'm sorry…" The girl blinked at him.
"What the hell are you sorry for? It's not like you pushed me over or something…" Xehanort glanced to the side.
"I couldn't help…"
"Hey! Stop!! Thieves!!" The voice of the baker shocked Xehan back to where he was. He looked up in time to see a pair of boys running off, arms full of bread. He glanced back to the side, at the girl. She was gone. Xehanort bolted up, looking for her, wondering how she'd gotten so far so fast on a broken ankle. He glanced back at the alley the thieves had taken off down—and was surprised to see the girl with the pair, stuffing baked goods into her shirt and pockets. The silver-haired prince tore after them.
Xehanort knew he was fast. It wasn't just fat old men he had to outrun at the palace- as often as not, the old tutors sent guards, lean and fit men in their late teens and twenties, to chase him instead. Xehan ran fast as only a child of mischief could run, long silver hair flowing out down the alley like a banner behind him. The trio ahead turned a corner. Xehan followed…
And nearly slammed into a wall. He spun to the left, muttering. The blond boy was looking at him interestedly. "Wow, he kept up." The brunette to the side shook his head.
"Only because you're so slow, Ven. Aqua and I could have outrun him." Aqua must have been the blue-haired girl, Xehanort decided. He couldn't see her from where he stood, glancing around the unkept alley. The blond boy, Ven, laughed.
"Oh, sure. And without my great plan you two would be starving. You'd never be able to steal enough to survive on your own."
"Actually, I think we would, seeing as you eat most of the food, you little glutton."
"Hey!" Xehan coughed. The two arguing boys looked at him. For the first time, Xehanort could clearly see their crystal blue eyes, so very different from his brown, the color he'd grown up around.
"You guys do know that stealing is illegal, right?" The brunette gave him a look.
"And who are you, to be so concerned about rules?"
A voice, the girl's voice, spoke from behind Xehanort. "Terra, you dolt. That's the prince." She dropped her voice slightly. "Don't be mad at him for not understanding because he's never been outside before."
And that was when Xehanort's ideals started to unravel.