by Nilaya Kuntamukkala
I live in a secret village- only known to griffins like me. It protects us from dragons and other ferocious predators. Most griffins aren’t allowed to leave the village, BUT a select few are allowed to. To make sure we are extra safe there are jobs for all the griffins. When every young griffin grows up we get to pick a job. For many of the jobs, we must tryout to see if we have what it takes. The job options are . . .
The guardians. (I WILL HAVE THIS JOB. YUP. I WILL! And we all know it…)
The hunters. (I guess hunting is okay)
The scouts. (Yeah, I’d much rather be a guardian)
The caretakers. (Meh, kind of boring)
The mentors. (Teaching is so BORING. And mentors are so MEAN. I’m definitely NOT being one of those).
The guardians, hunters, and scouts are the more difficult and dangerous jobs. The jobs you need to try out for. The jobs you have to train for since you were a little whelp.
The guardians have the most dangerous job. They . . . well, guard. They protect us from threats. Fight dragons or any other creatures who mean us harm. In case you didn’t notice, it is the job I will have when I grow up. The job I WILL have. I WILL- there is NO DOUBT I will have this job. And the tryouts are tomorrow.
“I’m so sorry Moon, you’re not cut out to be a guardian,” The lead guardian sighed.
“NO. THIS ISN’T ACCEPTABLE. THE GRADING SYSTEM IS BROKEN.”
This can’t be happening. I prepared! Since the beginning of my life. I mean . . . I might not have payed attention to the teachers. And I failed at everything I was supposed to do. And the teachers hated me. OK, so maybe I didn’t do a good job preparing. MAYBE. I thought.
“No, I’m not broken. Just so you know I grade you all; therefore, I am the grading system. I’m pretty sure I can grade perfectly well. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.”
I paused, “Oh. Oh. That’s true. Can I retake it? Can I redo the tryout? I PROMISE you won’t regret it!”
“No,” the lead griffin, Flare said. “The tryouts are held ONCE every six moons. You’ll just have to keep training.”
“But- but. I’m ready!” I begged. “PLEASE!”
“No. You’re dismissed,” Flare pointed at the exit. “I have to go grade the other students. Bye.”
“But, no! NO! I-”
“Go,” The big griffin said sternly.
“FINE!” I thundered off.
I sat in a corner. Thinking about what had happened. Then I heard footsteps of someone coming behind me.
“You did well . . .” A soft voice called out.
“You’re just saying that to be nice,” I argued before I even knew who I was talking to.
I turned around and looked at the griffin speaking. She was a tiny bit smaller than me but she was
just as fierce. Correction—more fierce. Her name was Breeze. She had already completed the tryout. Guess what—she’s a guardian!
Breeze thought for a moment. “Yes, you’re right. I was just saying that to be nice.”
I scowled at her. “Wow. Well, you’re SUPER nice.”
“Well, I was just agreeing with you.” She smiled at me. “You did have it coming.”
“You’re not supposed to agree with me!” I growled.
“I’m serious.” She sounded serious.
“I can tell,” I agreed.
Breeze frowned at me as if trying to decide if I was joking or not. “Let me speak! Okay. I’m serious-”
“STOP already! Okay, I’m serious, you—”
“SERIOUSLY. You need to pay more attention to your mentor,” she paused as if expecting me to interrupt again. “And, maybe. Ya’know, since I’m an expert, I can train you.” She winked at me.
“First off, you ain’t no expert. Second, sure great idea, EXPERT!”
“I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or not.”
I just smiled and then walked away.
Just as I was walking away someone else walked up to me. “Hi Emerald.”
“Hello, you did great.” She said to me.
“I feel like this is going to be a repeat of another conversation I just had.” I added, “No I didn’t.”
“Yes, you did.” She responded.
“No, I did not.”
“YES, YOU DID.”
And that pretty much sums up that conversation. So, it got pretty weird after that. You don’t wanna know.
As I was walking home I heard a horrible sound. A HORRIBLE SOUND. ALMOST as horrible as Emerald’s dancing. The sound I thought I would never hear . . . the sound of dragons. But—I thought our town is safe from dragons! The only way a dragon could have found our home . . . oh no. They got a hold of the enchanted jewel that hides our town. OH NO. I need to defend the school.
WHY’D THEY ATTACK THE SCHOOL? Oh, the poor little griffins trying to learn (okay, OKAY, I know I pretty much just called myself a little griffin because soon I will be going back to that school. UGH). And I know the guardians are the only ones allowed to fight, but I can’t watch the dragons hurt my fellow griffins.
My parents are going to hate me after this . . . I thought.
And then I dove into battle.