A Tale of Griffins and Half-Bloods

Being a monster is hard enough. Being a monster who needs demigods to help you is even worse. Being a monster who needs help from demigods against other monsters is living hell.
And you thought being human was hard.

(Okay so I'm now realising my huuuuuge mistakes in consistency with the actual books so please bear with me that will be fixed I swear.)

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12. Nothing like a life or death situation to start an argument. - Alyx

So besides spiders, which was an understandable fear for every child of Athena, the only thing I was scared of was heights. Especially when said heights were with nothing to stand on, and a monster I had just so happened to annoy earlier that day. I was seriously regretting my decisions earlier. The bird was out to get me, with a vengeance.

My hands were tight around his scaled leg, just above his wrist. He seemed to be enjoying this.

The other demigods, my fellow campers, were yelling at Cinder. I hazarded a glance down, seeing some of them  ready bows, ready to shoot at the griffin. I tried to swallow my fear. If any of them actually shot- if any of them hit Cinder… I had no doubt he would drop me, even if he didn’t turn into dust. He held back none of his dislike for demigods. He made it very clear that he was only here because he had no other choice.

I looked at the claws digging into my shoulders. The huge, black, sharp, talons. I would have complained about the pain, but I was too busy being terrified for my life. His claws were the only thing stopping me from plummeting from my death, and he’d shown me just how easily he could just… let go.

My grip tightened further, and I squeezed my eyes shut. The wind whistled around my ears, an ever-present reminder that I was not in my favoured position. In a quiet voice, I spoke again. “Please put me down.”

The griffin bent his neck to look at me, his face upside-down. “You really don’t like heights, do you?” He asked, teasing gone from his voice, replaced with curiosity.

“You win-” I started, shuddering.

“You surrender?”

I only managed to nod.

I could feel his legs move as he shrugged, and he looked back ahead of us. We’d been circling the arena, slowly gaining height as he sought to torment me. At my nod, however, he had started to descend again, no longer flapping his wings, instead gliding in large circles, spiralling back toward the ground. When I opened my eyes again, we were almost there, losing speed as he started to come to a halt.

It was only now that I realised we hadn’t actually left the bounds of the arena. He’d stayed within its walls, technically, as the arena had no roof to speak of. He had ample chance to take me high up and drop me, or even fly off with a hostage demigod. But he hadn’t. He’d kept his word, not harming a demigod. He hadn’t even attacked me directly with his claws or teeth. Maybe- just maybe- the bird was trustworthy. Or at least, he wasn’t entirely evil. Not like most monsters.

 

He put me down as gently as he could. I still stumbled and fell into the dust of the arena’s floor, while he gracefully touched down a few meters away, folding his wings neatly against his back.

Almost immediately the other demigods swarmed us, a few of the other campers rushing to me to help me back on my feet, while the rest- my own cabin mates included- surrounded Cinder, swords drawn.

He shook the dust from his mane, feathers sticking out at odd angles here and there. He watched them all with the same yellow eyes he had in human shape, before he looked to me.

My gaze dropped to the ground that I had until recently been lying on. “He won,” I said quietly.

Annabeth looked at me from the half-bloods surrounding the griffin, her grey eyes hiding their confusion. “He’s a monster,” she said, accurately summarising the thoughts of every other camper here. “He can’t win.”

“He can,” I answered, “And he did. Chiron said he was not to be killed- I was only to test his skills. And besides, he’s done nothing wrong.” I looked back at her, glancing toward Cinder.

Her confusion rose to the surface for a split-second. “He’s a monster,” she repeated, “It’s not what he has done, it’s what he could do, and has the potential to do. Monsters kill half-bloods.”

“Only when they shove swords in my face,” the griffin grumbled, his tail flicking from side to side, like an agitated cat. I suppose it was rather fitting.

“What about Mrs O’Leary?” I was quite surprised at how defencive I sounded. I should have been siding with Annabeth, but against my better judgement I found myself trusting Cinder. “She’s a hell hound- Cinder could actually help us, he knows about something that could be coming for us-”

My half-sister’s eyes narrowed, now unable to hide the annoyance she was feeling. “Are you out of your mind? Monsters lie- Mrs O’Leary is loyal to her master. This griffin has no such ties. No griffin does.”

Cinder changed shape, the half bloods surrounding him not noticing for a few moments. They quickly closed the circle when they did.

I smiled despite myself. “He’s not a griffin anymore.”

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