It was the second time her mother called. She was always slow to rise from her perch in the mornings.
“Hurry now, your breakfast will evaporate and you will be late for school!”
“Coming mother.” She replied with a hint of sarcasm in her voice.
Lexi was a strong fairiality. She was very independent and a bit of a tom-fairy. She had heard tales all of her life of she-humans being powerful warriors and though she had never seen a she-human before, she aspired to be one.
As she made her way down from her perch to the breakfast branch, she overhead her father, a respected council member of the Chinderlings tribe, talking to her mother about the ceremony that was planned for that evening.
“Today, my dear, is a historical day. We have assessed many candidates and today we will select the best warrior from our tribe to flush the Gryphon from his lair on the Mountain of Caan.”
“Father, why do we wish to flush the Gryphon?” asked Lexi.
“Eat your nectar, dear.” said her mother.
Her father was eager to explain.
“That Lair, and in fact, the entire Mountain is covered with sacred stones. We need those stones to form the walls of our domain. Their magical energy will protect us from invaders and keep us safe so that we may live in peace and happily ever after.”
Lexi was captivated.
“Go on, father, please, I want to hear more!”
Lexi’s father was quite the storyteller and he graciously continued.
“The Gryphon is a mighty one, a ruthless, murderous, filthy beast. He has held those stones hostage for centuries and the council has pledged to liberate them and bring them to Chinderland!”
“Yes! Yes, father! Liberate them! Bring them home!” she echoed, pumping her fist in the air and battering her wings together loudly.
“Calm down dear! It is time you left for school.” said her mother.
“Yes ma’am.” And off she flew.
All that Lexi could think about during class was the Gryphon and the sacred stones. When recess came, she told some of her classmates about it. The more she thought and talked about it the more brash she became.
“I could flush that old Gryphon and liberate those stones myself!” she said. “And then I would be a heroine and crowned the fairy Queen! There would even be a Lexi Day in Chinderland!”
The hairies laughed out loud. The notion of a shairy being a warrior, let alone flushing the Gryphon from his lair was ridiculous.
“Go back to your perch, stupid shairy. There must be a toy there in need of a playmate. Leave the flushing to real warriors!”
“No really!” she said. “I would bravely face that Gryphon! I would shake him with all of my might and he would be afraid!”
The boys were amused and snickered as they walked away.
Lexi was disheartened and embarrassed. As she set out for home that afternoon, all she could think about was showing those insolent hairies just how wrong they were. And so she made up her mind. As the Chinderling tribe celebrated their new warrior that evening, Lexi was already fast approaching the mountain.
Slowly she crept up the side of Caan. Any other time, she would simply fly up to where she needed to go, but in this particular situation, stealth was her friend. She knew that when she got excited, her wings would beat together very loudly like tribal drums, which might alert the Gryphon to her presence too soon. So she climbed and she climbed and just as darkness was approaching, she reached the opening to the Gryphons lair.
She carefully stretched her tiny neck around the corner to look inside. Fully expecting to see the mighty Gryphon on guard, she prepared to show herself. To her surprise, she saw nothing, but her momentum carried her and she fell face first into the opening of the lair. She jumped up quickly and brushed herself off, looking around, embarrassed and hoping no one had seen her clumsiness. She was a heroine after all, at least in her own mind.
“I’m not hurt! I’m ok! I meant to do that. I am a warrior shairy and that was a one of my deadliest moves!” she said out loud.
Of course, there was no one watching or listening. No one dared come up to the Gryphon’s lair and he himself was obviously not home.
“Show yourself you ruthless, murderous, filthy beast!”
Everything was quiet. Not a single sound emerged from the now darkened lair. Night had fallen but the full moon lit up the landscape perfectly. Within minutes, it became clear to Lexi that the Gryphon was not home. She sat down on a stone, disappointed and perplexed at her conundrum.
“Where could he be?” she asked herself. “I hope he comes soon. Mother will be angry with me for being out so late.”
Not the typical quandary that most heroines would find themselves thrust in to, but a quandary for this heroine, nonetheless.
As the evening passed on, Lexi caught herself dozing. The next thing she knew, a deep dragging voice was pulling her slowly out of her peaceful slumber.
“Wake up little birdie.”
She snapped out of it suddenly and sprang to her feet, casting her head to the left and to the right, looking for the Gryphon.
“Yo. Back here little birdie, behind you.”
Lexi turned around very slowly and there he was. The mighty Gryphon. He was huge. The beak, the feathers on his head and those claws. Despicable, she thought.
“What brings you to my lair little birdie?” he asked.
“I am no birdie, beast! I am Lexilila Aukentasia Oopentosh! They call me Lexi. I am a heroine and I am here to flush you from this lair and liberate the sacred stones!”
The Gryphon stared at her for a moment, feeling a bit insulted by her obvious ignorance. He rolled his eyes but politely offered his name.
“Pleasure to make your acquaintance, Miss. My name is Hogben, cursed by Artemis, daughter of Zeus. My curse is to guard Caan until a brave warrior comes and flushes me from my lair.”
“That would be me, you ruthless, murderous, filthy beast!” she said.
Hogben appeared insulted again. His beak quivered uncontrollably until a single tear fell from his eye. He sniffled.
She could not believe her eyes.
“Are you, um, crying?” she asked.
“You hurt my feelings. I’m not any of those things. I never hurt anyone in my…sniff, sniff…life.”
She was shocked that the Gryphon was not a murderous beast at all, and then the reality of that very fact began to sink in. It was her only opportunity to be a heroine…to be the fairy Queen and she had faced her fears so bravely only to find out that her beastly foe was as docile as a fairy! She sat down on a stone, elbows to knees and fists to cheeks, pouting.
Still feeling offended, but curious as to why Lexi pouted, Hogben stretched out to make close eye contact with her.
“Did I say something wrong?” he asked?
“You are supposed to be a ruthless, murderous, filthy beast so I can flush you, but you are not at all!” said Lexi.
“I am sorry.” He said.
“Wait!” she said, jumping in the air and hovering several inches from the ground, wings beating together clumsily.
“No one knows anything about this but us! I am a genius!”
“I thought you were a heroine.” said Hogben.
“That too. Look,Gyrphon…”
He interrupted. “Hogben…names Hogben.”
“Ok, whatever. Look we can both win here…see, you let me flush you and I will let you be flushed by me! Get it?”
Lexi danced around and around, thrilled with herself. Hogben seemed excited as well but he really didn’t get it.
“No. I don’t get it.” he said.
“You are free from Caan, Hogben. I am the brave warrior you have waited for. Not what you expected, I am certain, but you can consider yourself flushed!”
At that moment, it occurred to the old Gryphon what the little fairy was telling him. If he let it be, it would be so!
The two laughed and laughed at the irony of it all. Hogben’s curse was lifted and he could be free. Lexi would fly back to her tribe alright, not under the power of her own two wings but on the back of the mighty Gryphon of Caan, having flushed him from his lair and liberated the sacred stones. She would be a heroine and destined to be the fairy Queen and the envy of every little hairy and shairy in school.
As the two flew down the mountain and on toward Chinderland, Lexi could only think about one thing, even in all of the excitement of soon being hailed as a heroine.
“Hogben? Do you think fairy Queens get punished by their Mothers for being out too late?”