The feathers on his wings flutter as he banks around the high tower heading towards the mage’s quarters. The satchel tightly affixed to his side hugs him as his front set of paws hit the lower roof and then spring forward as the rear legs touch and launch him again. His powerful wings spread wide over the open courtyard and take advantage of the thermal rising from the grassy land below. He banks again beyond the outer wall, over the triple waterfall that defines the front of the academy. Finally landing, he steps quickly to the door where he can feel the magical power emanating.
“You’ve been taking a joyride around again, boy!” the mage admonishes while frowning as he stands at the now opened door. “I’ve been waiting for those papers you have.”
“Oh, I’m most sorry, revered one,” the courier responds, the beaked head nearly touching the ground. “I’ve been cooped up in the lab for hours on end and I just needed to stretch,” he adds as he stands so the mage doesn’t have have to bend over to take the papers from the satchel.
The mage flips through the papers, pauses a moment longer and then chuckles, all traces of irritation vanishing. “Well, it’s handy having you around. A foot runner wouldn’t be halfway here yet. Thank you for taking the time from your work, Geryon.”
Bowing again, the young wizard responds, “The exercise is always a pleasure, your greatness. And, of course, the opportunity to see you is well worth a few moments away from my query.”
“Yes, query,” the mage mumbles as his face turns serious again. “All my knowledge and wisdom have been bested by that goof. What you two were thinking that night is beyond me, but few things have made me feel as inept as my inability to change you back.”
“I’m getting used to it. And may I say that I am most honored that you consider this a personal burden? But, with your leave, I must return to the lab,” Geryon begs as he begins to turn to launch.
“Yes. Yes. Go,” the mage waves to the gryphon. “And say hello to your mother for me. It’s been long since I’ve seen my sister.”
“I will, dear uncle,” Geryon responds, using the family title now that the mage has acknowledged it.
Launching upwards with his powerful hind legs, the great wings sweep down, providing the lift needed to clear the building. Still rising, he catches sight of a lone figure approaching the central building. His eagle-sharp vision focuses on the individual and sees her long, pearl-white hair beckoning to him as she heads towards the main doors.
“Whoa. Will you look at that?” Geryon muses as he banks, his course changing to intercept. Diving quickly, he reaches the building just as she passes through the doorway. Smiling internally, his form wavers as he touches ground, becoming an almost childish rendering of his former self, smaller, and according to the girls in town, just sooo cute.
Passing through the doors only moments after her, he quickly catches up to the stunningly beautiful lady.
“May I help you, lovely lady?” he inquires, causing the young woman to halt, turn to him, and then laugh lightly.
“Well, he was right when he said I would be found,” she remarks.
The unexpected response to his question causes Geryon to pause momentarily and then, while still trying to hold his endearing cuteness, inquires, “I’m sorry, who was right?”
“I don’t suppose there are other gryphons traversing the Academy?”
“Oh, not at all. Just me,” Geryon responds edging closer with his head, inviting a petting. The girls normally fall for that routine. “Poor, one-of-a-kind me.”
“Then you would be Geryon, and the one I am here to see. Sergeant Gwydion said you would find me.”
The sound of the name causes Geryon to back away, a shocked look on the cute, little eagle’s face. Quickly turning and hunting with his eyes, he bluntly exclaims, “Dion? Dion?! He is not here, is he?”
As Alma seems about to answer, something halts her response, her beautiful lips hushing her thoughts. After a moment of silence, she inquires instead, “Why? Is there a reason he cannot be here?”
Geryon halts his hunting, looks at the beautiful woman before him and responds. “Well, it’s not that he can’t come here as such…” And I’d personally love it if he showed his pretty face here again… the gryphon adds in thought. Out loud, he continues, “But there are some important and powerful people just slightly upset with him right now. So, it’s probably best if he’s not here.”
Alma nods absently, her deeply blue eyes looking away at nothingness for an instant before she finally responds. “No, he is not here. He asked me to come as he is engaged on Guardia business. I am to return something to you and ask for assistance on his behalf.”
Reaching into her pocket, Alma begins to extract the God Striker. Geryon quickly recognizes the object and reacts swiftly, covering it and Alma’s hand with a paw, concealing the object in her robes.
“Gods, lady! Where did you get that?!” Geryon asks, very agitated.
“That is a long story, and one I am not at liberty to share currently. Sergeant Gywdion indicated that you might be able to provide me information on how this came into our possession.”
Geryon releases Alma’s hand, nodding to her to put it back into her robes, which she does. “Come with me,” he states flatly, leading her out of the general area, into a hallway of intersecting rooms. Choosing one, the gryphon enters, followed by Alma.
“I didn’t recognize the outfit before, but I’ll assume you are Guardia as well?” Geryon inquires.
Alma points to one of her armbands, where her sergeant insignia announces her rank. “Sergeant Alma, Guardia Dei, and I prefer to hold to my Death Clan robes,” she flatly states.
Geryon nods slowly. “Death Clan… Yes, that makes sense. I hope you’re not here to take delivery.”
Alma looks hard at the young wizard’s eyes. “That may depend on your answers.”
Geryon, looking concerned again, asks, “May I have the Percussorem?”
Alma again retrieves the God Striker, and as she goes to hand it over, Geryon blurs before her eyes, taking on his prior form.
“You’re full of surprises too, I see,” Alma says.
“The other form is merely so that I do not scare people,” Geryon responds. And to mingle with friendly ladies who want to pet the bird kitty, he thinks. “But, to do work, I prefer this form.”
Looking over the instrument, holding it in surprisingly dextrous leonine paws, Geryon continues, “Hmm… I know this one, but it certainly shouldn’t be here in this room, uncharged and coming from a Guardia officer. Dion was right to have you bring it to me directly. I’ll need to make some inquiries of my own.”
“On behalf of the Guardia, I appreciate your assistance. But there is a second matter behind Sergeant Gwydion’s request that I come here. He is in need of additional mana. The task he is currently performing is draining him quickly. He told me that you could provide him with additional reserves.”
Geryon halts his review of the God Striker momentarily to consider Alma’s statement. “Yes, I can help you with that. We’ll need to go back to the lab. The wizards there can see to getting a package together for Dion.” Pausing a moment, he adds, “Is he all right?”
“For now, yes,” Alma responds, “but time is important here, and I will need to return.”
Placing the God Striker in his side satchel, Geryon says, “Then let’s get Dion’s care package together and get you back to him.” With that, the gryphon leads Alma out of the room and heads for the wizards’ lab.