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A Guardian is one of XANA's monsters. Referred to by Aelita as "a sort of digital jail adapted to the body imprisoned in it", Guardians have the ability to capture a being inside Lyoko at the time, and keep them imprisoned to prevent them from stopping XANA. XANA first used this method in Image Problem to trap Yumi and send itself to the real world in her place. Yumi was, of course, rescued. XANA used a Guardian the second time in The Girl of the Dreams to imprison Aelita, making Jeremie think that Taelia was Aelita materialized, but, once again, Team Lyoko stopped XANA's plot.
No official Guardian has appeared since these episodes, but it seems that XANA has created an upgraded version of them, known as Simulation Bubbles. These first appeared in Ghost Channel, when he created a simulation of Boulogne-Billiancourt to trap Yumi, Odd, and Ulrich. That Simulation Bubble was destroyed by Aelita. The Bubble appeared again in Distant Memory, when William created one in the Ice Sector simulating Aeltia's past mountain home. This was done so William could throw Aeltia into the Digital Sea in order to lure Franz out of hiding. Of course, the plan failed.
Guardians and Simulation Bubbles are nearly invincible. They, as seen in Ghost Channel, can be destroyed by Aelita's Creativity, but cannot be destroyed by the Lyoko Warrior's weapons, as they have no Eye of XANA. A much less painstaking process is to bring a clone of the prisoner in front of the Guardian, and then the Guardian, confused, will eject the prisoner out and explode in a brilliant orange flash.