Somewhere out in the Adirondacks lay a secret underground city, and in those streets a race of humans; the Rhaso. My name is Roza, a seventeen year old girl who's training to become a guardian, who's supposed to protect the Rhaso at the cost of my own life. Without second thoughts, because it's "tradition". There's more to life than that, but by law I need to mindlessly obey. And if I didn't, it would be at the cost of my friend Asylum's life, 'cause this isn't my story. It's hers.

My breath clouded the window as I pushed aside the curtains that contained it. Winter was coming, I could feel it crawling in as it slowly creeped into the leaves, turning them into the yellow and orange hues that signaled their deaths were approaching. For the most part though the vegetation was winning the battle, staying green for the most part, but it was a battle they were sure to loose.

It was the fifth of September, the water was still warm for swimmers but you could feel the chill the moment the moon arose. In two days kids would be heading back to school, the summer officially at an end making room for winter's entrance.

The rain pattered against the window. I loved the sound of the drops, making their little footsteps audible against the roof of our bedroom. I didn't know why, but the soft noise comforted me, made everything feel calm when I knew there was a reason to be worried.

When there was a reason to feel as though everyone was hunting us down.

Pulling back the curtains, I glanced over at Asylum, who still lay asleep in her bed. Of course, I thought, after the past few days of almost being caught by our enemies, and not to mention almost being found by the school's Force. That's the last place we need to go back to is school. It was claimed to be the safest place for our kind, for the Rhaso. We found that it was apparently not safe enough.

I should back up a moment here. Yes, me and my best friend, she might as well be a sister to me, are Human, but there is a difference between us and the "regulars", as we like to call them. Hell, there's even a difference between me and her.

But it makes a difference, trust me. That's why I was chosen to become a Crystal Guardian and why she was chosen to be royalty. But this needs explaining as well.

We are a race of ancient Humans called Rhaso. Asylum is a full-breed, one of four main royalty breeds of our kind that can claim the throne of a King or Queen. She has a younger sister who is still back in the city, and an older brother who is just like me, a Crystal Guardian.

Now, why was I selected to become a guardian? It's because when you cut the skin of a full-breed, their blood runs gold. You cut my skin, the skin of a half-ling, it runs a light blue that is practically transparent. In that blood are the genetics of a great warrior, warriors that are needed if the Rhaso want to stay alive.

So, as you see, this wasn't even my choice. I had been forced into this scenario because my mother decided to fall in love with a Rhaso herself. Doesn't seem that bad, does it? Wrong. My mother's a Crystal, just like me.

Crystal's can't reproduce with other halflings. It's impossible, because our chromosomes don't match. You need an even amount of chromosomes to make a child, and just the opposite happens when two Crystals link up. You could call it a good thing, seeing as a Rhaso, depending on their rank in the political and social class, could have multiple Crystals guarding him or her once they venture out into the world from school. If two guardians fell in love and they mated, then at least they wouldn't have a baby to worry about.

They would just be transferred to another Rhaso.

Unfair? Story of a Crystal's life. Think about it, though. One falls in love with the other. Who would you protect? Your Rhaso, or your lover, your mate? Most of the time, people go with the lover because they grow so attached to them they react and protect them without a second thought. It's only natural, which is why they can't let it happen.

It's "tradition", as they say. "You must protect your Rhaso, that is why you exist. Nothing more. Nothing less." That is why we're put into classes the moment we can walk, so as to beat that saying into our heads. Nothing else matters. It's total crap, if you ask me, but unless you want to go out and live by yourself in the real world, away from everything you know, you follow that saying.

It's your duty.

But I will admit one thing, if I get assigned to Asylum, than that wouldn't matter. She's practically my sister, our bond is so close. I love her like family, she's the only real one I have. If I became her guardian, then that saying would mean life to me. If I got assigned to anyone else, on the other hand, then it just wouldn't be the same.

Glancing over to my bed on the other side of the room, I see my cat curled up and napping on my pillow. Ten in the morning, and everyone's still asleep! I thought, smirking to myself as I tip-toed over to my bed and sat down.

The cat lazily picked its head up and opened one of its bright green eyes to stare at me, acting as though I disturbed it from a dream of eating an ocean of shrimp. He loved the stuff, almost the only thing he would eat besides the normal, crunchy hard food and catnip. Oh God, the catnip!

"Don't look at me like that, Ninella!" I whispered, petting him between the ears. "I don't care about how many shrimp you dream up, your butt is lying on my pillow which is sitting on my bed, which I do have a right to use." He narrowed his eye, probably giving my the mental middle finger, then shook his short orange pelt out before laying back down.

My ears picked up a noise, a sigh, and my eyes shot up at Asylum. She yawned, stretched her arms out, than sat up, rubbing her eyes before looking up at me. Her platinum blond hair that usually hung in a nice crop around her chin, framing her face was now in a mess. Multiple cowlicks stuck up in every direction making a horrible case of bed-head. Her lavender eyes looked at me, eyelids still heavy from a long night of sleep and pale skin as white as ever.

"Morning, sleepyhead." I said, chuckling as she smirked and rolled her eyes. "Love the hair, by the way."

"Shut up, Roza!" Asylum replied, throwing her pillow at me. It bounced off my head and landed on Ninella, who hissed and pounced off the bed before glaring up at me then padding away.

"Frisky little thing, isn't he?" I stated. "Resembles his owner." Asylum stated.

"Hey! I'm not that bad!!" I replied, throwing the pillow back at her.

She laughed, placing the pillow back on the bed before standing up and stretching once more. "Hey, I know what I want to do today!"

"Oh really?" I questioned, raising an eyebrow. "And what is it that you want to do?"

"I want to go to the mall." she replied. I narrowed my eyes at her, that wasn't a great idea. "Hey!! Don't give me that look Roza! I know, it's not good to be out seeing that we have enemies and all, but I haven't been out in four weeks and these same four walls are getting to me! I need the sun, I need to see the regulars, even if they aren't the same kind as me and have no idea what's really out in the world..."

I sighed, then stood. "You're right." I stated. "Both of us need the sun once in a while, even if we came from an underground city. I'm just worried about, you know...and encounter." Asylum nodded, and smiled gleefully at the fact that I gave in at least once.

She's been nagging to get some fresh air away from the apartment. I can't blame her, really, it's just that I'm worried. I'm not a fully-trained Crystal yet, but I believe I can keep the both of us safe from harm, which is why we ran from Arrok and the academy, the school we were supposed to attend. It's supposed to be the safest place for us, from our enemies. Because there's more to it than just our old race. They're called the Valknor, a viscous race who despise the Rhaso.

They are the reason the Crystal Guardians had been established.

"Get dressed, we're going." I said. "Meet me out at the car."

The End

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