A/N: Well it's been a while. Literally years.
To readers who read this story before, I've rewritten the first 7 chapters - no plot changes, just grammar and spelling.
Hope I'm not too rusty, enjoy ;)
At the darkest hour, just before the dawn, the Guardian slipped past the Saiyan guards and into their camp, clinging to the dark patches among the bushes with skill. The guards didn't notice a thing – his mistress had summoned clouds to hide the moon and strong winds to blur his steps – and the Guardian entered the camp unseen. He crossed the open space swiftly and jumped into the nearest tree, finding shelter between the leaves. Then he waited patiently.
Soon the rest of the Saiyans began to gather, just as his mistress had predicted. It looked like they were preparing for some ritual, drawing rough shapes on the ground while speaking in hushed voices, as if afraid to wake the dead. Even with his enhanced sense of hearing he couldn't comprehend what they were talking about, the language was unknown to him.
After a short while the grey twilight of dawn began to appear in the sky, and the tension in the camp was growing, like the buzzing of a great hive. The Saiyans – there were ten of them now, after the battle that occurred two days before – formed a circle in the middle of the open space, and waited impatiently for something to happen. The Guardian didn't share their impatience – patience is the hunter's greatest trait, that was what his mistress had thought him.
It looked like the Saiyans had been sleeping on the ground, but there was a single tent that stood in the middle of the camp. From it stepped the final member of the group, the leader. The Guardian remembered him well from the battle. That morning he wasn't wearing his armor, nor his green cloak; He was wearing a pair of rust colored loss leggings, his feet and the rest of his scared and sun stroked skin exposed. In the middle of his chest he carried with pride a huge round scar, a reminder of the blow that could not slay him. He stepped into the middle of the circle, inside the rough drawings.
He spoke to his men in the language the Guardian didn't understand, his voice rising slowly, shattering the silence of dawn. His men called and shouted enthusiastically, as if preparing to go to battle. And although he couldn't understand what they were shouting, the roar of their voices disturbed and frightened him, like the prey might feel when he hears the predator approaching. Their voices spun images of vengeance and carnage in his mind, awakening the slumbering memories of the Guardians of old. The Saiyans were preparing for the Hunt once again, only that now there was only one Guardian to hunt.
The first rays of dawn peaked over the trees. The Saiyans were linking their hands together, after one last cry of rage. The leader was standing very still, eyes shut and fists clenched, prepared.
That was his chance. The Guardian drew his bow swiftly, conjuring an arrow of pure energy as he aimed his deadly weapon at the leader.
He was about to release it when something distracted him – a voice in his head that was telling him not to do it, not to kill this man, not without a fair fight. He pushed the voice aside, the will of his mistress driving him to fill her command.
It was only a split second hesitation, but it was already too late; A ray of sun colored the leader in gold, and a huge burst of energy from all his men was channeled to him suddenly, disrupting the Guardian's blow.
A deafening explosion swallowed the forest. The Guardian was thrown back with force, but managed to stop himself mid air, increasing his energy to shield himself. When it was over most of the forest had turned to dust inside a huge crater.
The Saiyans were still alive – their energy signatures were blazing after the sudden attack – and so was the leader. He was very weak, maybe even on the verge of death, but still alive. The Guardian balled his fists. This was very bad. He felt horrible guilt for destroying all that life, and all for nothing; The leader might as well survive, and if he does, he would become stronger. He missed his chance. He could never find him now, when he was so weak and the pain and fright of the animals all around were so strong. And his men where looking for him, too – the Guardian might be able to dodge their attacks in the open air, but if he were to go down there they would be able to corner him, and he wasn't sure he could beat all of them without the help of his mistress. He couldn't risk being caught or killed, he couldn't leave her unprotected. He was her last Guardian.
Knowing that his mistress would be very displeased with him, he turned and flew away, far from the destruction he caused. He wouldn't have to face his mistress until nightfall, which was the only time she could gain form, because the plant's sun was too strong for her to handle in her weakened state. She would be angry – she would know what had happened – and she would punish him. He deserved it more than he ever had before. But until then, he had another mission.
He flew west. The earth rolled beneath him with great speed as the forests and mountains turned into fields, and then into civilization. The Guardian looked at the towns and cities with disgust mixed with fascination. His mistress had told him how the heretic humans were destroying life with their greediness and hatred, how their cities were poisoning the air and the earth. He knew he wasn't supposed to want to go down there and see these people up close, but sometimes he did. Another reason for his mistress to punish him.
"You are lonely," she would say to him softly when the punishment was over. "You are a mere mortal, designed to live among your kind. You will not be lonely for long, my child. Soon their will be a second Guardian to protect me."
That was the thing he wanted more than anything else – first of all, for his mistress to be protected, and secondly, not to be the last of his kind. And his wish was about to come true.
He flew higher as he approached a huge city, a bowl of mechanical noise and terrible smells, and dove sharply when he appeared above his destination, landing in a flower bed. Now he had to be very careful. There were strong warriors near by – one of them had already detected him before, when in his curiosity he forgot to mask his energy – and he couldn't afford to make another mistake.
He crept towards the house, feeling around for the warriors, which appeared to be somewhere deep inside. But one of them was separated from the group like an animal that strayed from the hoard, vulnerable. He was close. The Guardian floated close to the side of the house, peering into the windows, until he found him.
He was sitting with his back to the window, running his hand through his silky oval hair. The Guardian leaned towards the window, forgetting for a moment about his mission and about his mistress' wrath, and even about the need to stay hidden. The man inside didn't notice him, concentrated on something on the table before him; The Guardian watched in fascination how the muscles of his back strained his shirt as he leaned forward, how his hair slipped over the back of his neck, reveling a patch of delicious tanned skin.
The Goddess had chosen her new champion well. He was was without a doubt the finest of their kind, a powerful and handsome prince. After the battle, when his mistress looked into the man's mind, he got a glimpse of what she had seen through him; He was the vast loneliness, the acing for something he could not define. They were so similar. The mistress knew exactly what he wanted, what he needed - what they both needed - and provided it for them. And after the night they had spent together he wanted more than anything for him to be his companion, to be b his side always, so none of them would have to be lonely again. But now, watching him through the window, a voice like the one that spoke to him earlier that morning – the voice that told him not to kill Cassius – floated in his mind. It told him that it wasn't right, that he wasn't supposed to be spying on him, that he wasn't supposed to want him to be like him. They were supposed to be together, but not like that - never like that.
For a moment he almost listened to that voice – his hand was on the window latch, ready to go inside, to grab Trunks and take him far away, to some place were no one could find them –
A noise that came from inside startled him and he hid behind the window pane. As if awaken from a dream, he realized what he was about to do, realized the thoughts that went throw his head, and without even trying to be quiet he flew away from as fast as he could, confused and frightened.
What was happening to him? Where were these voices coming from? He shook his head, flying as fast as he could but not knowing where. How could he even consider disobeying his mistress and approaching the soon to be Guardian? He thought for a moment that he knew his name, that they had meat before, but it was washed away from his mind like footsteps in the sand. He felt calmer once he couldn't grasp at it anymore, but something still felt off.
He stopped mid air when he realized he didn't know where he was. He was floating over a plane on an edge on a forest, where two small houses stood on either sides of a large field of turnip. He was sure he had been there before, even though he hadn't, and it confused him. Maybe he had dreamed it?
Hypnotized, he floated to the ground and landed in front of one of the houses. Peering through one of the windows, he saw the house was empty. A delicious smell was coming from inside. He walked around it once, carefully and curiously, and finally went in.
The smell was much stronger inside. He followed his nose, tiptoeing across the smooth wooden floor, until in one of the rooms he found a table loaded with food. An overpowering hunger came over him at the sight, as if he hadn't eaten for days. Without thinking twice, he grabbed one of the dishes and with a second's hesitation put it into his mouth.
His mistress had always provided for him, never let him go hungry, even when he deserved to be punished. But this food was nothing like what he was used to; It was so delicious, and nourished not only his body, but also something in his soul... Something...
He was so focused on the food that he didn't notice that someone was coming until it was almost too late. He managed to hide behind the door frame of the next room, just as a woman walked into the room. She was much older than him, with short dark hair and dark eyes. He had never seen her before, but something about her made him uneasy, nudging at that something that started bothering him when he was eating.
She inspected the food on the table, her pale face growing hard, and for a moment he was sure he was caught. But then she shouted, "Goku!"
A man walked into the room, drying his wild black hair. The Guardian saw him before – he tried to talk to him during the battle, but he couldn't remember what it was; He had been so full of rage at the attack on the planet, and the words and the sounds were drowned in the roar of the wind and the rain.
The man smiled with delight when he saw the food. "Lunch!"
he tried to grab some of the food but the woman swatted him away. She was much shorter and less muscular then him – she must have had some terrible hidden power, because the man stepped back.
"What did I tell you about snacking?!" The woman raised her voice, "The food is for Panny's birthday party! If you keep sneaking tastes there would be nothing left!"
The man looked genuinely confused. "But Chi, I didn't touch the food – "
"Save it, Goku. There was a plate full of eggroll, and now it's almost all gone."
"But – "
"And why aren't you ready yet? We need to be there in half an hour."
"I – "
"Go get changed, or we're going to be late."
The man, Goku, opened his mouth to replay, but then thought better of it and just nodded instead. He turned to leave the room.
He turned back to her. Her stern expression changed into a sad one.
"Hey, what's wrong?" He asked with concern. "Its about the eggrolls?"
She shook her head. "I just wanted to say... I'm sorry I snapped at you. You didn't deserve it."
Now he looked even more concerned.
"Is that why you left?" She asked, and then very suddenly started to cry. "Because I was so terrible to you?"
"No! Of course not!" Goku exclaimed. He watched her crying for a moment, having no idea what to do, before walking over and putting his arms around her gently.
"Every time you left I told myself that you had to, that it wasn't because of me... But then... Goten... And I couldn't help but wonder... Maybe I had been a terrible mother? Maybe both of you just got tired of me..."
"Don't talk like that," he husband said, obviously helpless and the situation and not knowing what to say. "I wasn't your fault. He'll come back, you'll see."
She said nothing, sobbing into his chest silently. The Guardian watched them carefully, torn between the urge to leave and an inability to stop looking. For an unknown reason the scene made his eyes water. He tried to wipe the tears away, but they just kept coming, as if he had lost all control over his reactions.
After a long, heavy silence, Goku said, "I'll never leave again. I promise."
Chichi wiped her face, pushing away gently from her husband's chest.
"Don't make promises that you can't keep," she said. She gave an odd, sad smile, kissed him on the cheek and left the room, still drying her face.
Goku looked after her with a pained look, even long after she was gone. After a few long moments he slumped his shoulders and went to the other direction.
The Guardian made sure they were out of sight before he slipped out of the window and sneaked silently into the forest. He felt exhausted, like after a hard training session, and tears were still rolling down his face. He felt like there was a storm raging inside him. All he wanted was to get back to the sanctuary, to the serenity of the woods, to the calming bliss of his mistress' presence.
He was about to start flying when a heavy cloud came over the sun at once, turning the world between the trees almost as dark as night. In that darkness his mistress appeared.
He dropped to his knees at once, bowing his head deeply. At daytime she was nothing more then a heavy shadow, roughly in the shape of a tall woman with ram's antlers. Only her eyes could be seen, glowing in an ancient dark light. Her presence washed over him, powerful yet calming, and although he knew she was about to punish him a blissful calmness came over him.
"I have forbidden you to come to these parts," she said to him in her deep, soft voice, now laced with rage. She wasn't supposed to leave her sanctuary when the sun was still up – he knew she must be horribly furious if she endangered herself like that only to come before him.
"Forgive me," he replied. He didn't even notice these were the forests she ordered him to stay away from.
"The Saiyan Cassius has survived," she said. "When he recovers he will be stronger then ever. I am very displeased, Guardian."
He bowed his head as deep as he could, waiting for his punishment.
Suddenly her voice grew more quiet and dangerous when she said, "Something is changing inside you... You thoughts, they are different..."
He prepared himself, and the unnerving, numb pain came after a moment - that was how it felt when his mistress was looking into his mind. As she was roaming it he saw the events of day before his eyes; The explosion in the forest, the man with the oval hair, the woman crying in her husbands arms... She dove deeper, reading his thoughts and fears, and the pain became unbearable. It wasn't a physical pain, it felt like his soul was being torn apart. Nonetheless he restrained it.
"I will not allow it," she said when the pain was over, and he felt the ground swaying beneath his feet. "You shall not leave my side again, not until my second Guardian is at my side, and our enemies are vanquished. Return to the sanctuary at once."
The cloud moved and the sun was shining again. The Guardian allowed himself no more then a split second of recovery before getting to his feet and flying to the sanctuary. His night was about to be full of pain.