Synopsis:

Clarissa, Allison, Diana, Elizabeth, Carter, Cole and Davis are seven teenagers that were born in the kingdom on Altonia. According to a prophecy told by Queen Emeralda, together, they would defeat the ancient insurgent group known as the Lux. These seven became legendary and were known as the Protectors before the last of them was even born. After that last birth, the Lux held a raid of the magical village of Drianon, killing the Protectors' parents as well as many other, unaware that the seven infants had been collected and would be sent to Earth for their own safety.

Seventeen years later, the growing threat of war has led the Queen to call the Protectors back. She, her own son, Prince David, Darius, Professor Erwin, and partially Agatha, now guide the Protectors in learning about Altonia, their duties and their powers. At first, all of them were having difficult grasping the reality of the situation. However, their training helped the idea slowly sink in. Before long, a few of them had started developing friendships and even showing romantic interests in one another. Clarissa and David in particular was showing the beginnings of a possibly rocky relationship. They both showed interest in one another, but Clarissa had decided to remain only friends with David. After an incident in which they both kissed, Clarissa ran away from David, and believed she had effectively ruined any chance of a relationship they may have had. Since then, Clarissa and David have avoided each other and focused on their duties and training. Almost a month has passed since the Protectors had been called to Altonia and their training has taken off full speed. One day, Darius instructed them to head towards Queen Emeralda's office, where they learn that they will be going on a mission with two knights, Sir Andrew and Sir Evan. Their first mission will be to deliver a message to an armory owner in the city of Rinsgale. With one day to prepare for this mission, the teenagers are excited as the prospect of leaving the Royal Village for the first time.

Clarissa rolled over in her bed and groaned. The first rays of sunlight crept through the cracks in her curtains, but she was not quite ready to get up. Once she rose from bed, she would have to prepare for the journey tomorrow, and though she was excited, she was exhausted from the day before. In addition to training, they had learned how to ride horses in a matter of hours. Who knew it could be so exhausting?

Breathing deeply into her pillow for the next few minutes, Clarissa relished how relaxed she felt. The past month had been nothing but studying, training, eating and, much to everyone's dismay, very little sleeping. Once she rose for the day, she would have to prepare her supplies for her first mission. Deciding that she would get it over with sooner, rather than later, Clarissa forced herself to get out of bed. Picking up a simple knee-length dress, she dragged her feet over to the bathroom attached to her bedroom. Brushing her teeth, she pulled her night clothes off and let them fall into a pile at her feet as she climbed into the warm shower. To say the spray of water against her back was soothing was an understatement. She remembered she hadn't showered after training yesterday and proceeded to scrub the dirt and sweat off of her body and out of her hair. When she was finally clean, she let her hair down to dry, rubbing it with her towel, and pulled her dress on. Exiting the bathroom, she slipped on a simple pair of sandals and left the room, grabbing her satchel and money on her way out. Once in the common room, she noticed that Allison, Elizabeth and Diana were relaxing on the sofas.

"We're going to town in the morning right?" Clarissa asked.

"Yeah," Allison said, turning to her. "But the boys are still getting ready." Nodding, Clarissa took a seat on one of the couches and set her bag at her feet just as their was a knock on the common room door.

They all looked up as Darius entered the room, lugging an enormous cloth bag behind him.

"Hello, girls," he greeted them with a gruff nod. They all replied and eyed the bag curiously. "Armor," Darius said. "For your mission." He pulled out lightweight vests, wrist guards and shin guards, as well as chain mail gloves. There were seven of each item and in varying sizes. It looked like they had these fitted, but when would they have gotten the measurements, and how, Clarissa mused. She quickly let the thought go as the boys filtered out of their rooms. Over the past month, she learned that the castle's staff was a little short of a miracle.

"Gather 'round here," Darius called to them. He pointed to which items were what and how to wear them before letting them know that the armor was light, but strong. "Not even an arrow would pierce this metal," he said, approvingly. "But I have to be off now. I'll see you this evening in the training fields." The teenagers bid him farewell before distributing the armor among themselves.

Clarissa tried her own armor on, along with the others, and was surprised to find that it was rather flexible. She slid on the gloves and curled her fingers into a fist, appreciating the way the material didn't feel stiff or uncomfortable.

After depositing their armor into each of their rooms, Clarissa and the others reassembled in the common room.

"Is everyone here?" Carter asked. Clarissa looked around to make sure no one had been left behind.

"I think we're good," she stated. The others nodded, and they made their way out of the castle.

Ambling down the dirt path to the city, Clarissa wondered why she hadn't seen David around for a couple of weeks now. Though she admitted to herself countless times that their relationship was nonexistent, she couldn't help it when her thoughts strayed to him.

She would absentmindedly reminisce about those few days where all had been well between them, remembering every time they had laughed together and the way the specks of gray in his eyes disappeared when he laughed. His eyes would light up and become the exact same shade as his mother's. She sighed. She was the one who couldn't handle being that close to someone.

"Thinking about David?" Her head snapped up. Carter looked straight ahead as they walked. "You haven't screwed up. He still likes you." He paused. "More than likes you, actually."

How was that even possible? She had pushed him away after he kissed her! Carter was probably just trying to smooth things over between them. Clarissa shook her head.

"That's can be right, Carter. I screwed up, royally." She thought for a second. "Plus, if he still likes me, why haven't I noticed it?"

Carter shrugged. "Maybe because you two got really good at hiding your feelings? Frankly, I think your feelings are still pretty obvious, to me, at least. But then again, maybe you just don't want to believe it because you're afraid you'll mess up again."

"Carter, has anyone ever told you that you'd make a good psychologist?" He laughed.

"Yeah, I get that a lot. I guess it's good then that I was going to be a psychology major." Clarissa grinned.

"Makes sense to me."

He gave her a small smile before his expression grew serious.

"Seriously, Clarissa, think about it." Before she could protest, he added, "I'm not saying to go confess your undying love for him." She shut her mouth. "I'm just saying to think about how you feel."

She sighed. It was fair enough, though she wasn't sure what exactly she would think about since she was still convinced that Carter was wrong about David's feelings towards her.

As they approached the city, Carter left her for Diana, Davis, Cole and Elizabeth. Allison took his place as they passed the town square. As they walked, they mostly ignored the stares and whispers of the town's people. The attention had gone down since their first visit to the Village, and it wasn't as if it was harming them. It was curiosity.

The teenagers wandered to the artisan section of the town. Though they would be well equipped with food, clothes and even weapons for the journey ahead, they would need some personal supplies and equipment.

While the others stopped to look at a shop for travel boots, Clarissa and Allison headed into a smaller supplies store.

Stepping through the threshold, they let the door swing shut behind them with a chime from the bell. After looking around a bit, Clarissa spotted a row of canteens. Unsure of how long she would have to make her water last, she decided to get one medium-sized canteen and one larger one, just in case. As plucked the first one from its shelf, she looked up at the sound of footsteps approaching.

"How can I help–oh!" Chris stopped a few feet away from her, his eyes wide with surprise. "Hey, Clarissa," he greeted her.

She smiled back, feeling a little guilty for their last encounter, but it didn't seem to have any affect on him as he went on showing her the different equipment they had in stock. She deduced that he probably didn't know or recollect David using his power to influence Chris's emotion. It was probably better that way.

By the time they were ready to pay, Chris's father had come out into the front of the shop. He introduced himself as Albert, and dealt with Clarissa's money smoothly and swiftly while Chris organized the stock in the front of the shop. As Allison paid for her own items, Clarissa moved towards the door.

"So I guess you'll be gone for a few weeks?" Chris asked, looking down at the box he was carrying. He slowly placed it on the ground in front of him.

"Just a few days, but I don't think it'll be longer than a week," she said, shrugging.

"So, then," Chris said, clearing his throat, "maybe, you like to hang out sometime?" Clarissa stared at him blankly. She thought Chris was friendly, but the way he was looking at her seemed to imply that he was asking her out on a date. "I'm mean," he added, scratching the back of his head, "once you get back. We could go for a walk and maybe eat dinner together." He didn't meet her eyes as he spoke, adding to the nervous effect.

Clarissa felt sorry for him, but she would have felt worse going on a date with him, especially when she knew she couldn't forget about David so easily.

"Sorry, Chris. I'd love to be friends, but I'm not interested in that way," she gave him a sad smile, which he returned, meekly.

"Yeah, I kind of figured. I told myself I would at least ask, but I knew you and the Prince looked like something was going between you." Clarissa mouthed opened wider and wide as he spoke. Disbelief must have been evident on her face, because Chris looked at her apologetically. "I promise I won't say anything." Clarissa shook her head.

"No," she breathed. "It's not that." Why was she having such a hard time denying Chris's statement? "David and I aren't dating. That just caught me off guard. And I'm the one who's sorry, Chris." And stupid, that's what she was. "You're a really nice guy, and I'd love to be friends." She held out her hand and he took it, grinning slightly.

Just then, Allison came up to them. Looking between them, she seemed to understand what had happened, politely said goodbye to Chris and ushered Clarissa out of the store. Once the door swung shut, Allison turned to her.

"He was the guy from the night that David kissed you, wasn't he?" Clarissa nodding, confirming the other girls suspicion. "What did he say to you that was so awkward?"

"Well, he kind of asked me out on a date. When I turned him down, he said he was expected it because he thought David and I were together." Clarissa rolled her eyes at the other girl's cheesy smile.

"Well, if you refused to believe it before, I think you should give it a chance now."

"What?"

"There's hope for you two." Clarissa wasn't sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing. Currently, there was a little bubble of hope swelling within her. Reminding herself of that one night last month, she tried to crush it, hoping it would go away so she could stop making a fool of herself.

A/N: Hello! I don't think sorry is enough of an apology considering how much I bailed on my stories once school started up. However, I have a little more time to spare these days and I hope you're glad to read this and know that I haven't disappeared, been severely injured, etc. I always think the worst has happened when authors stop updating their stories with minimal notice. Anyways, I apologize with great vigor and I hope you can find it in your hearts to forgive me. I hope to be better from now on.

I hope you guys are still reading this and I hope you enjoy it, because I'm back and ready to write. Unfortunately, I'm trying not to rush into action because I want to develop the characters and story line a little more, but things will heat up in a few chapters. Or at least, they will in my opinion. Stay tuned and, as always, I appreciate you guys coming back to read Protectors.

Everis