Hunter stands before the creature, his eyes glinting with tears. The dragon is much larger than the normal kind, scales gleaming in the bright lights of the underground cell. Chains keep it in place, securing it's body firmly, preventing it from causing damage. Red scales coat a sleek body of powerful muscles, though they're riddled with scars and dried blood. The creature's eyes, however, are still as beautiful as Hunter remembers.
This is the Guardian.
"Why is it injured?" he asks, voice cold and emotionless. The man who runs this entire prison rolls his eyes.
"Why not? We have to break it, don't we? We can't do that unless we hurt the damn thing."
Hunter grits his teeth, clenching his fists and forcing himself to smile, if only slightly.
"Well, I would like to take the creature."
The man turns to face Hunter, his eyes blazing. "You don't know how dangerous it is."
"I caught it, didn't I? Besides, haven't our scientists already perfected that drug that keeps them in their humanoid form? I have rights to this one, you know. It's mine. A Guardian Conqueror is entitled to keep the Guardian they captured, if the Guardian remains in it's humanoid form, and can be kept under control. To turn me away is to break the law," Hunter reminds him, and the man scowls.
"There's a reason only three of the Conquerors have kept their Guardians as slaves," he hisses, but Hunter simply shrugs, determined to win the argument.
"Inject it with the drug, put the collar around it's neck, and give it to me. Don't hurt it, either."
The man scowls, but bows his head and nods resentfully. Hunter turns his attention back to the Guardian, who watches with savage eyes. I don't blame you for hating me, Hunter thinks silently to the Guardian. I don't blame any of your kind. Humans forced you into this. And I was one of them.
There's a thin layer of glass between them, but it does little to restrain the dragon's glare. Hunter gulps down fear, clenching his fists and narrowing his eyes. He has to do this. He can't live with the guilt any more.
A group of guards enter the Guardian's cell, the large, oversized needle held between two of them. Sorry, he thinks silently. But this is the only way. They approach the Guardian with fear dancing through their eyes, holding the point of the needle to it's neck, and pushing it through a kink in the scales. Hunter winces, seeing the pain in the Guardian's murderous eyes, but can only watch, his face twisted in horror.
The Guardian's limbs begin to twist awkwardly, wings folding backwards into his shoulder blades as his body writhes within the chains, decreasing in size as Hunter presses a hand to the glass, trembling in shock. A roar echoes through the air, resounding through Hunter's ears. Agony. Pain.
Claws shrink back to fingernails, as the Guardian's arms snap back, scales seemingly melting into the Guardian's skin, replaced by pale, bare flesh.
The limp figure falls to the floor, no longer restrained and held up by the chains. His unconscious body hits the floor as Hunter slams his hands to the glass, shouting for somebody to catch the falling figure.
Guards scurry to surround him, and Hunter's view is blocked by their bodies as they hurry to secure the collar onto the Guardian's neck. He remembers when he was first told about Guardians - gigantic dragons with the ability to transform themselves into a 'humanoid form' - a figure with a strong resemblance to humans, with the exception of tainted skin and pointed ears. People say their senses are better, too; a rumour that Hunter has no difficulty believing.
The Guardians are powerful, given their name because that's just what they are. They protect other creatures in this so called paradise, and most have been killed or captured. The few that remain free spend their days in hiding, keeping smaller creatures away from humans and engaging in no fights at all. After all, humans had developed weapons especially to fight them. Injections: painfully forcing the Guardian into it's humanoid form. Collars: put around the humanoid form's neck, sending some sort of signal to the Guardian's brain that keeps it from transforming.
All this technology, even energy plants, fuelled by the dragon's flames, is technology of cruelty and evil. Hunter despises it.
Even more, he despises the people who torture this Guardian, trying to force him into slavery at an energy plant, people who capture the Guardians and take them as slaves.
These are the people who Hunter could kill with no remorse.