Don't Talk About It

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The smell of burning joysticks enters my nose, just like every other morning. It is a routine for me to wake up when Lina is praying. I open my blurry eyes to see that I’m alone in the room. I glance at the clock on the wall to see that it is 7 in the morning. At least I have plenty of time to get ready.

Today is the day that will determine my fate. Well, not literally, but it feels like today is the day that will change everything.

I take a hot shower as I think of my decision thoroughly. Is going for this interview a mistake? How long will I be gone? What is the real point of protecting a demigod? Why aren’t HQ agents trusted with this job instead of trainees?

The more I think about it, the more I realize this doesn’t make any sense.

What if Augustus decides to go for this interview as well? No, he won’t. He made it clear yesterday when he ‘congratulated’ me that he’s interested in this exchange program.

I turn off the tap and step out of the bathroom, where my clothes are laid on my bed. All the clothes I own now is white, so there isn’t much to choose from, not that I’m complaining. I don’t care about it as long as they’re clothes and they are able to stick to me while I shift.

There is a knock on the door once I’m fully dressed in my white jacket that conceals my Xuihcoatl tattoo and white pants. I open the door to see Lina, also wearing white attire like all HQ agents.

“Hey, just want to tell you that you have fifteen minutes before the interview,” she says.

I nod. I’m about to open my mouth to ask her about her strange behavior yesterday when Lina cuts me off, “Listen, I know you have a lot of questions about yesterday, but it’s better if you don’t. I have no idea what’s going on as well, but I’m working on getting an answer. If anyone asks about your brother, don’t say anything. Got it?”

“Why?” I ask, feeling betrayed that my roommate wouldn’t tell me anything.

Lina shakes her head and takes a few steps back so she’s no longer in my room. “Who else knows that you have a brother?”

I frown as I think. “Well, Thomas knows. So is Mary…”

“Director knows?” she repeats.

“Yes, he knows me and my brother ever since we were young,” I explain. “He used to be my parent’s close friend.”

Lina nods with a thoughtful look. “Your father, Nicholas Meridian. The eagle shifter.”

I’ve almost forgotten that dad used to be a shifter as well, until he died. “Do you know what was my mum’s guardian animal?”

Lina has a strange look on her face, as if something just enters her mind. “I don’t know… Everything I heard about your parents is through the HQ agent seniors three years back. I think the only person who knows is Augustus since he practically grew up here.”

“Oh…” I trail off, thinking about how unfortunate for Mr. Grumpy Pants to never leave this building. No wonder he wants to be Director.

He deserves the title more than me.

“You better get your butt to Training Room 4 if you don’t want to be late,” Lina says, glancing at her wrist watch.

“Thanks! You better get yourself to class too, Li.”

Lina’s eyes bulge open when I say that. She curses in Chinese as she runs out of our dorm.

I laugh almost silently to myself.

Typical Lina.

I make my way to Training Room 4, where I see plenty of HQ agent trainees are sitting outside. I don’t recognize any of them, but most of them are huge and buff. The girls look like they’re from the wild where as the guys look like bodyguards for the presidents.

Most of them glance at me while a few others ignore me.

“Thank you, Director. I appreciate the efforts you have done,” a musical voice says.

“It is no problem,” Thomas replies.

The door opens, revealing Thomas and a beautiful woman with white cloth wrap around her with a white owl on her shoulder. Based on the Greek mythology I’ve read a few weeks ago, Athena’s animal is an owl.

“Melanie?” Thomas asks with shock.

“Hello, Thomas,” I say with confusion setting in.

“What are you doing here?” he asks harshly as he walks towards me and grab me by the arm. “You’re supposed to be at my office.”

“I’m trying out for the interview,” I say as he forces me out of the Training Room.

“No, you will not.”

“Excuse me, Director, but if the girl wants to try it out, you shouldn’t interfere with her wishes,” the Athena says, smiling at me. I can’t help but smile back. A goddess is helping me out!

“With all due respect, Goddess Athena, but she’s the next Director and she cannot afford to miss training,” Thomas explains, stopping us by the doorway.

“Nonsense!” Athena exclaims. “It’s just one year, I can assure you. I’m sure the girl can learn things on her own as well.”

Thomas looks torn between letting me go and forcing me to stay. “But…”

“Please, Thomas?” I plead. “I’m sorry for not informing this to you earlier, but it’s just one year.”

Thomas looks at me. “Melanie, I don’t know… It takes a lot of effort to be a Director.”

An idea pops in my head. “Let Augustus be Director. I know he wants it.”

Thomas is going to argue when Athena steps in, “We can talk about this later. For now, I have an interview to conduct. You are welcome to leave, Director, it may take about half an hour.”

Thomas sighs loudly and leaves me in the Training Room with Athena and the other interviewees.

Athena claps her hand and everyone in the room stands, bowing their heads slightly in respect. I turn around to see her looking at me.

“Thank you,” I tell her softly.

She smiles again. “I’ll go according to your guardian animals. From the smallest, to the largest. Once your turn, enter that room. Now, can everyone tell me your guardian animals?”

“Bear.”

“Shark.”

“Cat.”

“Panther.”

“Snake.”

“Hawk.”

“Dog.”

“Xuihcoatl,” I answer when it is my turn. Everyone, except for Athena, looks at me like I grew a tail. I notice most of them are predatory.

“Alright, I’ll call you by your guardian animal. Let me remind you that this is a job where you are to protect my daughter. Once you’re picked, you will have to protect her with your life. I will pick her protector not based on what your guardian animals are, but on your mental strength,” Athena says, looking at every one of us and lastly at me.

All of us nod in synchronization.

“Alright, let’s start with the cat. Please follow me.”

With that, the cat shifter and the goddess enter a small room in the Training Room where my fate might change.

Author's Note

You're going to find out how is the interview going to be in the next update! Will Melanie be picked? Or will she stay until she becomes the next Director... Or will Augustus be the Director? Question: Who is Charles de Gaulle?

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-M.

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