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PostPosted: Wed Apr 4, '12, 1:52 am
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So You Wanted to Be a Guardian?

Anna, the newest Motavian Guardian, was exhilarating with the news of her acceptance as a member of the special operations service, for she had almost no hopes of being chosen to take part of the government agency. She celebrated it for a few days. Of course, the cold blonde's celebration was nothing exciting to an external observer. She didn't go out; she didn't comment with anybody else. She didn't even scream like crazy, like an extroverted teenager would do. But she was happy and that was all that mattered. After all, the news concerned her, and only her, so there was no point of randomly annoying the strangers on the street just to tell them things they didn't want to know. People usually hold themselves in a higher regard than they should.

She had just got what she considered the job of her dreams. Now she would be able to do all that she always wished to do, but was unable because of the restrictions the military career and the hunter job had. After two or three days, all the excitation waned down and Anna was brought back to her senses again. She hadn't received any further instruction about her new job. She didn't know what to do and she didn't have anything to do, nowhere to go, and no one to ask about her upcoming tasks. She had to stay seated on her throne, inside her inn room, waiting for something, or someone. Or death, if nothing else ever came. With that, came the first perception that maybe being a guardian was not as perfect as she thought it would be since she was not in a position of controlling her destiny.

As the days passed and no news from the government came, the guardian girl started to feel depressed. Would it have been just a joke? Would it have been a lie? It was very believable that the government had sent a fake letter to the person who dared to contact the Commander O'Conner and directly plead him a position in the special operations team just to buy time to investigate that person. Why would Anna, who had all the opportunities for a bright future at the military, want to be specifically part of the secret service? It was, at least suspicious; especially considering she willingly quit the military. The immediate conclusion any sane person would come down to was that she had veiled interests in joining the guardians. Probably something illegal. Maybe she had been co-opted by crime lords to act as a double agent. It was not far-fetched to believe that she had fallen in love with a rogue and had defected to their side. They had seen that before, and it was not rare. They say no evil man is ever alone, and it is very common for the great criminals to have not only one foolish girl in love with him, but several at the same time. It had to be something like that: the government had fooled Anna while they bought time to investigate who she was and to discover her hideous plot.

Of course, it meant they didn't know her. She would be the least person to fall in love with a man and do whatever he asked her to do. Becoming a criminal was out of question. Anna acknowledged she had done things that were not only wrong, but also considered criminal, but they all came from her desire to bring justice to other criminals. Nevertheless, that was the point; they didn't know her. They didn't demand trustworthy recommendations for allowing someone to become a guardian on a whim. And, despite her thinking she was the most honest and the fairest person in the world, with her introversion and usual coldness, no one would trust Anna to walk one's dog out, mind being an all-powerful guardian. And her mysterious ways only worked against her, giving reasons for the others to infer those absurdities based on her behavior.

Down in her spirits, and down in her money reserves too, Anna gradually accepted the notion that she had been the target of a bad joke, or a deliberate move to make her stay away from the government. It meant that she had to return to her previous job as a hunter, or to call quits definitely and retire her slashers. Unwillingly, Anna chose the first option, as fighting was the only thing she was apt to do. After a short period living in the land of dreaming where Anna didn't resemble the cold and boring woman she was, the blonde teenager was back to her solitary life as a hunter. At least there were more and more biomonsters to be hunted down each passing day, so she would easily solve her monetary problem.

However, there were so many hunters that Anna didn't find any job as a common hunter. Instead, there was some kind of problem with Zema's teleport station, so Anna was hired to transport some medicine to Kueri, crossing the biomonster-infested wilderness. Using her stealthy skills, the blonde hunter managed to avoid the biomonsters on her away and arrive at her destination in a comely time. After some days doing that, Anna had already earned money enough for a month, so she opted to take a break, as she didn't yearn for more money than it was needed. As usual, however, her plans never came to fruition, and that was the main reason why she didn't care to spend much time planning her future. When she arrived at the inn, there was a mysterious man seated on the couch of the main hall. As she entered, the landowner, who often ignored Anna, came straight to her and inquired her about the man.

"By Mother Brain! Finally you arrived!"

"What?" Anna was startled by the landowner's uncommon reaction and she didn't have time to rationalize over what was going on.

"That man…" He pointed at the man on the couch. "He arrived shortly after you left early in the morning and has been waiting for you since."

"Why?" The golden-haired hunter looked confused, and her voice was of a disgruntled person.

"He won't tell me. He says it is secret." The man's countenance showed clear displeasure with the situation. "Do you know this man?"

Anna stared at the man and shook her head. "I've never seen his ugly face before."

"Well, you know the rules. No trouble, no people who disturbs the other customers, no drugs, no lovers, no prostitution…"

Anna pushed the landowner and started walking towards the mysterious man, interrupting his sermon. She mumbled harshly. "Enough of you blah blah blah!" The landowner was taken aback by her last statement and opened his mouth to protest, but resigned to just shaking his head. He had no reasons for doubting Anna, as she had always been a good customer. The creepy newcomer, who had stayed the whole day waiting for the girl, was surely something to worry about. But Anna deserved some trust, she had never caused any problems before.

As Anna approached the man waiting for her, he, who had been watching the whole discussion, stood up. When she was near enough, he, feeling assured that she was the person he was looking for, asked as a formality. "Ms. Zirski?"

"Yes?" Anna answered, feeling uneasy for the unusual situation.

"It is for you." The man handed a data pad to her. "Farewell."

"Thanks…" Still surprised, Anna tried to say something else to the man that had started leaving the inn, but no words came to her mouth, so she settled to just examining the data pad the man had given her. While she was still deciding what to do, her landowner came to her, in an angry tone.

"What does that mean?"

"I don't know, I just don't know." Anna shrugged and turned to leave to her room.

"Well, you know, don't bring any…"

Anna left the man talking to himself. She was curious about the letter, but she wouldn't do until she was alone, in the safety of her room. It is not that she suspected it to be something serious or shameful, but she was not the kind of person who liked to share her privacy openly with the others. If the messenger didn't trust the letter to the landowner, it was clear that no one else was supposed to read it. The blonde hunter ran to her room and locked the door, but she was not that anxious to read it. Whatever it was, it could wait for some minutes. In her mind, it was more important to take a shower to get rid the dirty and part of the weariness she felt after a day avoiding biomonsters, so she left the letter waiting and only after she was feeling clean, she sat on her bed to read the letter.

As the first words formed into the electronic letter, Anna realized it was something serious. They advised her to destroy the data pad after reading the message, to make sure no one would read it afterwards. Besides, it also advised her not to tell anyone about the contents of the letter, not even its deliverer. Then, the letter proceeded to order her to be by Zema's lakeshore on the following day, at noon, in the snack bar. The letter continued threatening her if he failed to show up at the appointed place and hour or if she leaked the confidential information. It also instructed her to arrive unarmed and not to attract undesired attention.

The letter didn't make any sense to the girl; expect that, at the end, it was signed as an official letter from the Motavian Guardians Special Corps. Anna couldn't believe her eyes: they had not forgotten her. After more warnings to destroy the letter, Anna turned it off and laid on her bed, in a meditative mood. She was happy that finally a letter came, but it left more doubts than certainties. She was a guardian, yeah, but she didn't even know what a guardian was supposed to do. No one has ever instructed her on her job; no one has asked her anything; no one has answered any of her questions. Yet, according to what she had studied previously about the guardians, she had just been assigned a mission, as, according to the books, it was exactly their procedure in assigning missions. So, to be a guardian, was everything and nothing at the same time. Everything because no one has ever seen her, at least not officially; even so she had already been trusted to a secret mission. Nothing because she had received no training, no guidelines, no examples, no rules, nothing that instructed her in her new occupation. Nothing that distinguished her from a common civilian, unaware of the existence of such a special operations group inside the government ranks. It was as if she had earned a badge and that was all. Anyone could be a guardian. Maybe that was why she was accepted.

Not wanting to dwell on the significance or the insignificance of being a guardian, Anna took advantage of her tiredness and, after eating some snacks she had left around her room, she let her mind drowse off and soon she was sleeping. Her night was disturbed by the same old recurring nightmares, but they didn't even make the hardened girl awake, so used she was with those barbaric images she had seen with her own eyes in the past being reproduced by her self-destructive mind. The only way to vanquish her greatest enemy meant destroying herself, so she learned how to live with it.

The day had not dawned yet, but Anna was already awake. The usually self-controlled girl was feeling a bit anxious for her first mission as a guardian. It was not the job that made her uneasy, but all the secrets surrounding it. She expected some secrecy involving her job, as the guardians were like a secret service agency, but that was too much even for a secret service. However, she would not profit from getting overtly anxious for nothing, so she tried to prepare herself for the task ahead. After getting dressed and having her breakfast, the blonde guardian read again the message on the data pad, to be certain that she had not missed any important information. When she was sure enough of what she was supposed to do, she destroyed the data pad and left her room.

The way to Zema's lake was a pleasant one. The touristic resort had fully tree-lined streets and small parks in each road intersection, providing beautiful sceneries for the tourists. Anna liked to walk through its streets when she had nothing better to do, but it was so rare for her to take a stroll just to relax that it always felt like it was the first time she was visiting that part of the city. Her destination, the lake, was the main attraction of the city resort, so Anna expected the place to be crowded in a hot and sunny day. It only raised more doubts in the young blonde's mind. What was she expected to do in the appointed place? Would anyone come to give her instructions? How would the right person identify her as the guardian? Why should she come unarmed to perform a mission?

No, something had to be wrong and, as the time passed; Anna grew more and more suspicious. The fact that she arrived at the lakeshore more than two hours before the appointed hour didn't help either. With nothing better to do, she had plenty of time to build theories and conspiracies inside her mind. It didn't take long for her to start believing it was part of a plot to assassinate her. Maybe the vengeance for her last killings. Whoever had attacked her weeks before may have discovered her intentions, seized her correspondence and plotted her assassination, using the as an excuse the all-secretive ways of the guardians. That would explain why she had to appear unarmed. Yes, it was more believable than that commander O'Conner took pity on an unknown girl and decided to be generous, letting her join the guardians.

As a safety measure, Anna stayed away from the snack bar, just observing. She had decided to wait until the last minute to present herself. As she predicted, there were many people enjoying the sunny day at the lake. The people, coming and going, randomly staring at her made her go paranoid. Every moment she caught someone staring at her, she was startled. Most of the time they were just teenagers like her, giving the gorgeous blonde in a mini tube dress the eye. While she was obsessively trying to find someone suspicious at the crowd, she didn't notice a blonde shirtless young man, who had been whispering something to his dark-haired friend, walk towards her until he was very close. When she took notice of him, he was so near that he startled her.

"Hello." The boy greeted her, with a soft voice, which had some insinuating tones.

"Yes?" Anna was so anxious that her voice came out shaking.

"It's such a beautiful day." The man looked up, and then returned to Anna. "What are you doing here, alone?"

Anna answered harshly, for she realized the man was not who she was waiting for. "I'm working. Don't disturb me." Then, she turned her attention to the snack bar.

"Working, heh?" The boy smiled. "I didn't know they allowed it here." He paused and then reached the pocket of his shorts. "How much?"

"How much what?" Anna answered angrily, staring at the annoying boy again.

"Come on, you know what. Aren't you working?" The corner of the boy's lips twisted upward, in an ironic way.

The blonde guardian understood what the boy meant and, fast as lightning, she swung her left arm around the boy's right arm, locking it, while with her right feet she pulled both his legs, making him lose balance. While he was falling, she quickly grabbed his jaw and throat with her right hand, preventing him from falling on the ground. She stared at the boy's eyes, which were filled with fear.

"This is my job, do you understand? Leave me alone!" Anna barked at the boy and threw him on the ground, where he hit his back, making a loud thud.

The boy was paralyzed with fear. His friend, who was just watching the scene, had his mouth open, in shock. Anna ignored the boy and looked away from him. Slowly, she started leaving the spot where she was standing, knowing that she had just made a mistake by attracting unwanted attention. Besides, there was no need to hurt the boy. But she was a human, after all, and she was not able to keep that coolness forever. As she left the spot, the dark-haired boy walked towards his friend, who was still on the ground, somewhat stunned, and knelt beside him.

"What did that b...?" The dark-haired man yelled.

"Shut up!" The blond boy harshly interrupted him. "If she hears you, you will be like me in fifteen seconds."

"What did you do man?" The dark-haired man was shocked with the state his friend was left.

"Nothing, I just..." The blond boy looked at his friend and noticed he was not paying attention, as she was looking at the departing blonde.

"Look at those legs! The shake of her hips is hypnotizing me..."

"Fool!" The blond boy smacked the left temper of his friend, who immediately turned his attention to him.

"Why did you do that?" The dark-haired boy was indignant.

The blond boy pushed his friend. "Forget about this girl! Look what she had done to me!"

"But..." The dark-haired boy looked at her again. "She is so wonderful..."

The boys stayed arguing, but Anna didn't take further notice of them. She checked her wristwatch and noticed it was almost noon, so she walked to the snack bar and took a seat by one of the tables. The bar was crowded with people. She knew it would be useless to try to find the person she was supposed to meet, so she stayed there hoping that the person would be able to find her among the crowd.

Meanwhile, one of the waiters appeared to allow her to make her order. Anna didn't intend to order anything, but, as she predicted the waiters would be less than pleased if she occupied a table and didn't order anything, so she ordered a juice and waited, looking around to see if she noticed someone looking for her. The juice arrived after a few minutes, and when Anna was taking the first sip, she heard a mellow man's voice directed to her.

"Excuse me, girl, do you have a minute?"

"No! I'm working right now!" Anna answered harshly without taking her eyes from her glass of juice.

"I promise it won't take long." The person sat on the chair in front of her.

"Oh my God, it will be one of those days…" Anna rolled her eyes, making expressive gestures indicating she was much displeased with the man's impertinence.

"Good. It is exactly about Him that I want to talk to you." The man calmly added, ignoring the blonde's hostile reaction.

"Huh?" The last remark confused Anna, who, for the first time, looked at the man who was talking to her. He had brown hair, green eyes, and a big smile on his face. He wore some unusual garments, consisting of a long plain brown robe with some embroidery. Before she could say anything, the man continued.

"Forgive me my impertinence, but I've observed what you had done to that boy a few minutes ago…"

A sarcastic Anna abruptly interrupted his discourse. "Your impertinence is forgiven, now you can leave." As she finished speaking, she turned to look at another side, ignoring the man.

"Heh," The man forced a laugh, and then resumed. "However, my lady, I didn't get to the point I was aiming at. Your reaction was not a godly reaction."

"Hey, who are you to criticize me?" The blonde guardian was furious. She stared at the man's eyes in a threatening way.

"Me? I'm no one…" The calmness in his voice only made Anna angrier. "However, it is not I who will judge you. The one who will do it disapproves your conduct."

"What?" Anna hit the table with her fist, producing a loud thud that attracted the attention of some customers nearby. "Do you have the faintest idea of what that crook had said to me?"

"It doesn't matter." The man answered nonchalantly, though in a confident way. His serenity got on Anna's nerves. "The truth is, no matter what he had done to you, you should not answer with violence, but with tolerance. You should show him the other cheek."

The furious guardian was left speechless. She was well acquainted with those words. The shock came from the fact that she had just met someone who knew those same teachings as well. It was the first person she met who believed in the same things as her. She was pathetically speechless, under the eyes of many strangers, trying to find a place to hide; wishing that it were just a bad nightmare.

But it wasn't. The man stood up and left a card. "If you need it, you will know where to find me."

Anna watched the strange man go away, feeling deep shame. Without looking, she knew many people from the other tables were observing her. Once again, she had failed in not attracting unwanted attention. In fact, the whole day had been a huge mess and she was feeling so ashamed that everything she wanted was to leave that place for good and return to her room, in order to cry. To the hell with that whole damned guardian affair; she was just a name, or a number. If they didn't even bother knowing who she was, most probably she did not deserve to be a guardian. It was no job of her dreams. Everything she wanted was to disappear from the lakeshores and never return. Anna was fighting very hard not to smash the juice glass on the floor and run away from that stupid place. She was on the verge of crying, when she felt something on her shoulder.

"Ms. Anna Zirski?"

Startled, Anna jumped on the chair. The man who touched her shoulder realized he had scared the girl and tried to reassure her. "Forgive me."

Anna turned her head to look at the man, who wore casual clothes and sunglasses. There was something on his countenance, though, that betrayed that he was not feeling comfortable in that outfit. Although Anna was still startled, she was sure that man was the one who, according to what she had read about the guardians' procedure, would give her the orders for the mission.

"Yes?"

"This man," The man showed Anna a picture. "He is a crime lord. You must go and arrest him. He is probably being protected by his minions, so take care." The man took away the picture.

"Is it all?" Anna was somewhat confused and somewhat baffled by the lack of further explanations.

"Oh, I almost forgot." The man commented nonchalantly. He handed a pair of handcuffs to Anna. "Use them to arrest the guy. See you later."

"But..."

Anna tried to argue, but the man had already turned his back on her and was walking away. It was useless to try to ask him something else, for he was clearly in a hurry to disappear from her sight. She knew they were all too secretive, but that was ridiculous. Anna was frustrated by the lack of importance she had as a guardian. Was it all? Would her career as a guardian be like that? Thrown into a mission without support, without help, without protection. Like being sent to a certain death. A disposable agent whose death was almost certain, and whose success would come as an unexpected bonus. Mind you, be sent to arrest a crime lord, unarmed. What did they think she was?

Tragic. There was no word more fit to describe the outcome of that morning than tragic. Everything had gone wrong for the poor blonde hunter, who tried so hard to change her ways and become a better person. Her dream job has suddenly become a nightmare, plagued with uncertainties and dangers. Moreover, the prelude to her mission was terrible; Anna lost her self-control and played the fool in front of everybody. In the end, she was humiliated, her wrong ways exposed in front of a bunch of strangers. She had been a complete failure in coping with the teachings of her own religion. She had sinned, she felt dirty, corrupted, unworthy of love and consideration. Maybe all those tragedies were what she earned for being such an evil woman. And the nightmare of being a guardian was a lesson for her: never wish for things that were not meant for her.

All that she had was the burden of an unwanted profession, the sorrow of her traumatic past, the shame for being the complete failure she was and the tears that insisted in flowing from her eyes down her cheeks. That was the might guardian Anna Zirski.
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