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        Chapter 4
Born Again My Guardian

       What is she doing? Kenichi reached out as he fell to one knee. Kana! Help me!

 

       His hand sank as his vision slowly faded from his eyes. The mysterious force refused to allow him to breathe. Until it finally did. 

 

       “Ahh. Ahh. Ahh.” I can breathe. What was that!? I didn’t feel anything around my neck. 

 

       Catching his breath, he scowled up at his supposed partner.

 

       “What the hell was that!?”

 

       “I’m. I’m sorry.”

 

       “You’re sorry!?

 

       Kenichi stood as he continued to glare until his vision of her face cleared. 

 

       Why does she look like she saw a ghost? “Why ar–”

 

       Kana finally came to her senses as she erased the look of terror for one of shame. 

 

       “Sorry. I froze.”

 

       “You didn’t just freeze. You looked terrified of me. That’s not the reaction you show to someone.” Kenichi didn’t want to pester her but something wasn’t right. 

 

       “I’m sorry.” her hands grasped at each other as she lowered her head.

 

       “Seeing you like that triggered a memory from my past that, I guess, I haven’t gotten over. Please, that's all I want to say”.

 

       Kenichi’s mind left the outside world as her words triggered his own memory of watching his mother’s life being taken from him. 

 

       Kana’s mood took a new turn as she looked at him with concerned curiosity breaking through his memory.

 

       “More importantly, what happened to you? One minute you were just staring at me and the next you were choking?”

 

       “I’m not sure.” Kenichi rubbed his neck trying to remember the sensation. “It felt as if my entire throat closed up.”

 

       “Strange thing is it didn’t happen to just you.”

 

       Her words sent Kenichi’s gaze around the auditorium as he saw roughly half of the other students recovering their composure. 

 

       “The same thing must have happened to them,” Kenichi remarked turning back to his partner. 

 

       “Now that I have your attention.” A thunderous voice boomed back towards the podium.

 

       Everyone’s gaze was now set on a well-dressed gentleman standing on the stage beside two equally shocked Osamu couples. The suit that he wore was tailored to emphasize the grotesquely oversized muscles that clung to his frame.

 

       “Thousands of years ago, after the end of the Dark Years, the Gods shared with mankind the ability to use a small portion of the same divine energy they wielded. Every living person to a small degree can harness this energy to manipulate, bend and sometimes even break the twelve Laws of the Natural Universe. As civilians, you have only used this gift to improve the quality of your life. You, as a normal society use it to power this city. It’s used in medical devices, to create city buildings, your homes, and schools.”

 

       “What half of you experienced was a small portion of Shakti in its weaponized form called Kundalini. Divine energy mixed with an elemental affinity that each individual in this world possesses. Though everyone in the known world has the ability to use Shakti. Only Guardians are able to use shakti in its weaponized form.”

 

       “That. That was Shakti?” Kenichi absently asked himself.  What a crazy power. He could have killed half of us here without even coming into contact with us. But how though? Is it some weird force-like power able to choke someone without even touching them? Outside of medical devices, I’ve never heard of shakti even being able to affect someone other than the user. 

 

       The towering man walked closer to the edge of the stage. His size and presence grew with each step. “I am vice-principle Anari Shagar.”  

 

       His gaze searched the crowd as if looking for someone. “Guardians, what each and every one of you will strive to be, are the sword and shield of this nation. It is you that will protect your people from the threats within this land. Mystical beasts, demons, monsters, and other unknown evils threaten the land, it is our responsibility to erase them from this world.”

 

       “Psst… Hey Kenichi, we're about to be so badass man!” 

 

       Kenichi heard Akito doing his best to whisper over the distance but failing. “Ya.” Kenichi’s mind was busy processing all the information he was forced to absorb today to give any other response. I never knew they had this high of a responsibility.     

 

       “Quiet you two! I-I-I mean h-he is still talking.” Kana’s embarrassment rose at the unwelcomed attention her area was getting from others staring at the two talking.

    

       Anari’s hands reached into his pockets pulling out two small crystals in each hand. “These threats pushed society to create the Neo Genos Crystal. 

 

       “Oh, that’s so pretty!” Kana’s eyes grew with fascination at the mysterious crystals.

 

       “Who’s talking now?” Akito couldn’t help but take a quick jab at the girl soon to take his best friend away forever. Eehh, she’s glaring at me! Whoah, scary. 

 

       “These four crystals allow guardians to more efficiently use and access an exponentially higher amount of Shakti than the most advanced users of Shakti in the civilian world. The Law of Divine Oneness, The Law of Energy or Vibration, The Law of Action, The Law of Correspondence, The Law of Cause and Effect, The Law of Compensation, The Law of Attraction, The Law of Perpetual Transmutation of Energy, The Law of Relativity, The Law of Polarity, The Law of Rhythm, The Law of Gender. These Neo Genos Crystal amplifies our ability to manipulate these laws to a much higher degree than each of you, as an individual representing the entirety of the outside world, combined. Enabling Shakti barely able to just crush a tiny pebble the ability to destroy entire mountain ranges within seconds.”

 

       Wow, something so small can grant me God-like abilities. Kenichi's thoughts darkened. Why would a guardian kill my mother? What threat could she have posed to someone with such power?

 

       “The White and Orange crystals are called Shiva Cores. These crystals are altered specifically to fuse with the male genetic makeup. While the Green and Yellow ones are called Parvati Cores. They fuse to the Female genetic makeup.” 

 

       “Pst, pst. Hey, Kenichi are you getting all this?”

 

       “No. I understand a little about the Laws of the Universe, but I don’t know what that has to do with weaponizing Shakti.” Kenichi replied, looking in his partner’s direction. “Hey, Kana do you know what he’s talking about?”

 

       “No, not really.”  Kana shook her head. I have to fit in.

 

       Anari placed the crystals back in his pockets before turning around and slowly walking toward the middle of the stage. “You will each be given your corresponding crystal that will be fused to your heart before being absorbed throughout your body, modifying your DNA to that of the genetic code of a Guardian. When you enter your room tonight, you will find two crystals on the table. At 9 pm recite our school’s motto with the crystal pressed to your heart. You will be put in a coma-like state to allow the fusion process to take place. Someone will come to your room in the morning to assign you the training field that you will report to after a small examination to check the success of the fusion. There we will start your journey to become Guardians. I wish you all good luck..” Anari turned without another word and walked off the stage in the back.

 

       So at 9 pm tonight I’ll officially be a guardian. No. No that isn’t what he said. He said we will have the genetic makeup of a guardian. So then we will be learning how to manifest our power. After 9 pm tonight, I’ll be that much closer to becoming a seta guardian so I can achieve my goal. I don’t know who you were but I’m coming for you!

 

       “Ha Ha Ha, thank you for that speech. Even if you are thirty minutes early I might add. Torshiro gave a dirty stare at Anari for interrupting him in the middle of his speech.

 

       “Ugh, well anyway ladies and gents let’s not hold up progress. It’s time to send you to your rooms so you can shower and get ready for tomorrow, shall we?” 

 

       “R-r-right. Everyone if you look at your p-paper where the glyph is and run some Shakti through it, your building number and room number will appear. That w-w-will be the room you will share from this day forward. P-p-please, go there promptly. Thank you all for your time and patience today. Good n-night to you all.” 

 

       With a bow from both Osamu, they dismissed the students as they disappeared the same as the vice-principle. 

 

       Kana looked down at her paper and ran Shakti through it. So me and him will be in building three, room six. I can’t believe something like this isn’t known to the public. Forcing kids to stay in one room together. Don’t they know they are basically setting these kids up to have sex at a young age? Oh right... Must go hand in hand with the “promoting natural attraction” thing they were talking about. Yea I can see how living with someone for so long would make people develop feelings for each other along with not having anyone to tell them, no, to having sex as early as they want to deepen that connection to each other. This might cause a problem for me depending on what his thoughts are about the situation. Although, so long as I act indifferent to him as a potential girlfriend I shouldn’t have much of an issue.

 

       “Hey, Akito what room are you in?”

 

       “Not sure man. Mine and the others in my group don’t have any numbers. It just had a message that said to stay in the auditorium. Man don’t tell me I have to stay in here with these people.” He gestured to his group. 

 

       “Oh, maybe they have some sort of special place for people like you. Isn’t an Enchanter something different than a normal Guardian?”

 

       “Ya, I guess. Some of the people over there said one proper Enchanter could affect the entire flow of battle. How crazy is that?” Though Akito’s words were true they held with them a bit of sadness. “So, I guess this is goodbye for now? I don’t know when the next time I’ll get to see you, so I’ll say this now. You have been not only my best friend but you have been the best brother anyone could have asked for. I don’t know what’s gonna happen after today but get strong enough so we can reunite and show this world just how awesome we are, alright? Akito raises his clenched fist. “Until next time brother”

 

       Wanting to live up to the expectations his friend has for them and their future, a wide smile crosses Kenichi’s face. “Until next time brother” before he bumped his fist with Akito’s. Turning around to take the first steps in his future Kenichi headed out with Kana to find their new future.

 

       “So that was your best friend?”

 

       “He’s more than a friend. We’re brothers. It’s because of him that I’m even here now. After I came to live with his family, he was there every day, trying to lift my spirits. I was mean to him when we first met. I was so emotionally lost that all I wanted to do was be by myself. To wallow in my grief and pain. But with him, he would never let me. He was always there, day after day, trying his best to show me that things can and would get better in the future. I love him like a brother. And right now he and his family are the only family I have left in this world.” 

 

       “Where are your biological parents at?”

 

       “They’re…They’re no longer in this world.” Kenichi looked at the darkening night as his thoughts drifted.

 

       So they’re dead. I see. I guess we have something in common with our past. Except he had someone by his side to help him through his pain. All I had was th–.

 

       “Looks like this is where we’ll be staying for the next few years.” 

 

       Finally, they arrived at a ridiculously enormous building, with one floor and only six rooms; at first glance, this fact definitely didn’t warrant its size.

 

       “Hmm oh, yea. Guess we need to go in and check it out. Come on.” 

 

       The two stepped into the room and the reaction they both had was underwhelming for sure. 

 

       “This. this is it? A little less extravagant than I thought it would be. I figured being a Guardian would come with some kind of lavish living.”

 

       “Ya, I know what you mean. This place looks just like an average home.”

 

       Kenichi walked around the apartment they now lived in. “Average kitchen, Average living room, average bath, and average bedroom.

 

       Just average.

 

       Outside the bunk beds in the bedroom, this place is nothing to write home about. I guess with training, all you need is the basics. Maybe once we graduate the living situation will get better.” 

 

       “Hmm, what’s this door lead to?” Kana reached out, to open a door, revealing something that an average home would never need. “Hey, Kenichi, look at this! Pretty cool huh?”

 

       Kenichi walked over to inspect the area of the house that Kana’s voice seemed impressed with.

 

       “What is it– Whoa!” Kenichi’s widened eyes took witness to the contents of the room. “This is like a fully equipped training dojo. Now, this isn’t average at all. Punching bags, grappling dummies, wing chu training dummies, archery targets, martial arts mats, weights, a pool, throwing targets, a gun range, sauna. I can’t even name it all! This is crazy! I guess this is where we are expected to train in our free time.” 

 

       Kenichi’s eyes landed on his partner inspecting a device on the far right wall. “Huh, Kana what are you doing over there?”

 

       “I don’t know. There is a biometric scanner here on this wall. I want to see what it does.” 

 

       Kana raises her hand and placed it on the scanner. Recognize. Kana Miyamoto. Team Three. 

 

       Must be a computer system integrated into the room. But what’s it for? As they stood, the wall beside kana slowly slide to the other side of the room revealing what was hiding behind it. 

 

       No. Not average at all. Kana couldn’t hide the smile of excitement she felt at seeing what she was sure not many could say they have. There has got to be every weapon type to ever exist on this wall. “Have you seen this many weapons before in one place? All kinds from every area, every period of time. This is really awesome, isn’t it?” Her hand gently touched the surfaces of each weapon as she walked along the mural of weapons. “Ax, mace, spears, daggers, sword, throwing knives, whips, guns, bo-staff, sickles, polearms, nunchaku, shields, and I don’t even know what these are. They don’t look like weapons I’ve heard of before. Hey, what do you think they are? …hmm. Kenichi? Kana turned to see what had silenced her new partner. “Hey, Kenichi where did you go?” Kana yelled out. 

 

       “I’m in the living room. Come here.”

 

       “Really? How could he walk off from something this cool?” Asking no one, as she reluctantly left to meet him back in the average. 

 

       “Hey, why did you walk away?” She stopped beside Kenichi, standing in the living room staring at the tv. It’s the married couple we saw earlier. 

 

       As we continue on this journey to becoming Guardians to protect our nation you will live here with your partner. All food, amenities, and training needs will be provided to you by the academy. Medical issues resulting from training will also be taken care of by the school, so feel free to train till your bodies give out. Chief Medical Officer Ayumi Sakurai will be by in the morning to ensure that the fusing of your cores was completed with no issues. Remember at 9 pm hold your corresponding cores to your chest and recite the academy motto. With the time before your transcendence please eat and shower beforehand. This is a very taxing process on the body and nutrition is very important, not only for the process but your recovery in lieu of training every day. And for the second part, you know what they say about cleanliness… I wish to extend one last welcome to this academy. Welcome our new Guardians.

 

       An hour later, Kana sat in the tub reflecting to herself. 

 

       So I finally made it into the academy. After training tomorrow, I guess I’ll start to come up with a plan to accomplish what I was sent here to do. But where do I start? This academy is so big. I doubt I’ll be able to find what I need any time soon. Even still, while I’m here I might as well go along with the program and play Guardian.

###

       Earlier that day. 

 

       “Hi, Kana Miyamoto. Remember me?”

 

       “Dr. Ayumi. The Chief Medical Officer.”

 

       “Yep, that’s me. Now that you’re done with your test there were a few anomalies we found that I wanted to go over with you. Don’t worry, this won’t keep you from attending our school or anything. I just want to go over things that we found in our test. Now let me see. It says here that the muscle structure of your body is several times denser than your average human. Six times as much to be exact. Meaning you far surpass any of your peers both physically and speed-wise. Do you know what might be the cause of this?”

 

       Shit. I knew it would be difficult to play along at this school and not get discovered. But they can tell I’m different already by my muscles? This is bad. “Yes, I’m from a small farming village a ways from here. In order to make things easier for our people to farm what is needed to survive, we needed to get faster at the manual labor side of things. Our village is made up of people that have mixed blood.”

 

       Ayumi stared with a mix of intrigue and sorrow. “So you’re an Akasha?”

 

       “Yes.” Kana voiced barely audible.

 

       “What are you mixed with?”

 

       “I have Ogre blood. Ogres are looked down upon in my area by the other villages. So for them not to be ostracized our village took them in under the promise that they take a human mate to breed with, to provide the physical strength our village needed to survive the future. As time passed, the village slowly became home to nothing but Akasha. Which led us to being hated by the surrounding villages.”

 

       “But on your application you selected human. Why is that? I know in the past there used to be animosity towards certain races but I thought that time had come and gone.”

 

       Damn Lady, what else do you want to know? You can’t just leave it at that? Kana was in a hurry to end the conversation before she dug into her past any deeper.

 

       “Yes, it may be true that openly hating certain races is the way of the past. But some of the old ways are hard to erase completely. Especially in villages not as progressive as larger cities. The people who no longer openly hate us, give their hatred off with their eyes, gossip, or how they interact with us. I figured when I left the village I would try and create a new life here at this academy. I wanted to leave all the hate, stares, and whispers in my past. I selected human because, at least physically, I pass for a normal human. And I wanted a new life here. So I didn’t want to take a chance of being looked down on by my peers. I wanted to leave the identity of Akasha behind. Please; all I want is a new life away from any prejudice. Can you not out my secret that I have ogre blood? Please.” Kana’s eyes pleaded with her doctor for compassion as her glassed eyes did their best to retain her tears.

 

       I see. So even now some people are looked down on simply because of how they were born. I don’t see why after all these years, we as a people, that’s supposed to be united in this region can look down on and treat someone any less than what they would want to be treated. 

 

       Ayumi reset her face to one of compassion and understanding. Standing and walking around her desk in front of Kana.

 

       “I’ll tell you what. I’ll keep it on the official record that you’re human. And that the anomalies we found are just that. A weird anomaly. It’s not like I haven’t seen weirder things as a medical professional. But, in return, I want you to see me once every three months, so I can monitor your progress. It’s not every day that we get someone special like you here. This way, we benefit from learning what an Akasha Guardian can accomplish, not only on the battlefield but also how the effects of turning into a Guardian affects your body here in the medical field as well. So with that out the way, Do you have any questions for me?

###

       Kana slowly stepped out of the tub grabbing her towel. Staring at her reflection in the mirror as she stood naked in front of it. The water dripped from her body as she continued to process all the events of the day.

 

       “She told me that I was a main and that I needed to take care of my partner. That I should treat his life even more importantly than my own.” 

 

       She threw the towel into the hamper as she slid her panties on. “I never would have thought I would have been partnered with a guy. But how can I protect him when I couldn’t even protect what was most important to me before I came here?”

 

       Kana slid her tank top over her head as she shook unneeded thoughts out of her head. No! Kana you’re letting your mind drift where it doesn’t need to be. You’re here for one reason and one reason only. To find what they need. Then and only then can you protect what’s truly important to you. Kana gazed at her fist as she readied her mind mentally for the coming years. 

 

       “Ahh, that bath felt great. If there is one thing that I can’t live without, it’s a hot steaming bath.” It’s almost 9 pm. Guess I’ll go find him so we can get this show on the road. 

 

       Kana walked into the living room dressed in her normal night attire. She thought about changing into something a little less exposing but she figured if there were gonna be living together for 3 years like this then she might as well stay comfortable. As much as I hate to admit it. With us living under the same roof, I’m sure we will see much more of each other at some point by accident. Might as well get the awkwardness out of the way. We are partners. Not lovers. So we need to get used to each other at our most defenseless and comfortable.

 

       “Hey, are you almost ready for this thing?” Kana walked around the couch in the living room to check on Kenichi. He’s asleep. Today must have taken a toll on him. I could definitely use some sleep too. Why they want us to wait till 9 pm anyway? Seems kinda late for something so important. Especially if we start training in the morning. 

 

       Kana sat down on the couch as she finally got a good look at the boy who was now going to be her partner. Someone, she would spend every moment of the next three years with. So, I’m supposed to risk my life for him. Is he willing to do the same for me? Will he be able to with my past? 

 

       Kana unknowingly moved a little closer to get a better look. 

 

       He’s not bad looking at all. And he looks fairly in shape too. I wonder what he did before coming here?

 

       The sudden voice from the tv broke Kana out of her wandering thoughts.

 

       It is now 9 pm. Please Students recite the academy motto while holding the crystal to your chest. Be born again into Guardians.

 

       “Hmm? Oh, I fell asleep. Kana, you’re finally out the ba–.” Whoa, what is she wearing? Is that what she plans to wear to bed? It’s just a tank top and boy shorts! Did she forget that I’m gonna be living here too? Maybe she thought it wasn’t worth it trying to cover up all the time with us living together. Lord knows how many times I caught Akito with even less living with him over the years. At least this time it’s with a girl. Now that I look at her she is really beautiful. Her hair is so long. I have never seen hair change color like that. Her face, although originally mostly stern, now has a more relaxed look about her. Calming even. Her body. No. No. No! Bad Kenichi that’s your partner. Even if the school has some weird acceptance about dating your partner that does not mean she wants to date you. Besides, it’s time for my old life to end. Time for me to be reborn into a Guardian. I have to concentrate on showing how exceptional I can be. Then and only then will I be able to get some answers about what happened.

 

       “Are you ready to do this?”Kenichi asked while trying to hide his embarrassment from staring earlier. 

 

       With a slight nod, they each sat up on the couch reaching down to take the crystal in their hands before placing it on their chest.

 

       “Guardian protector, Set ablaze my soul”

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