“Marla, what did you bring home this time?!” Juliette said, an incredulous look on her face. “This is the sixth one… the sixth one this week!”
Before the war, Juliette lived with Marla in a well-off manor in Tarith. It was a gated building, sporting a large courtyard within its walls. The courtyard itself was absolutely filled to the brim with all sorts of plants and animals. It had small treehouses for all sorts of birds, ponds for turtles, shelters for dogs, cats, and many other animals. Needless to say, it was difficult and expensive to maintain. Their neighbors would say that it looked less like a courtyard and more like a forest.
And this time, Marla had brought home…
“Why would we need a gryphon after everything else?” Juliette groaned. “Besides, isn’t it illegal to own a gryphon? They belong to the army — why not give it to them?!”
Marla carried the baby gryphon in her arms. Its wings weren’t big enough to fly. It clung closely onto Maria, nestling itself in her arms.
“I couldn’t help it! I was walking by this little girl on the street. She seemed pretty scared: all cooped up in an alleyway, growling and roaring at anyone who passed by… She kept running away from me at first, but when I fed her some food—”
“Why would you feed it food then pick it up? You know that when you get affectionate with an animal—” Juliette pointed at their courtyard. “—this happens!”
“Well, I’m sorry!” Marla looked down at the gryphon she held, gently rubbing its head. “It’s just… when I saw her trying to fend for herself in the streets, I figured she must have gone through some bad stuff and ran away, you know? And she wouldn’t be able to survive the next few days if I left her alone…!
“If I just left her there to freeze and starve to death… I feel like her death would be on me. And if the army took her back, I would also have a hand in whatever she goes through there, you know? So… so…!” Marla gripped the baby gryphon with both hands, then held it out towards Juliette. “If you don’t take her in right now, it’ll be on you too! It’ll be your fault Charlie dies.”
“M-my fault?” Juliette scoffed. “And you already named it?!”
“Yeah, your fault, and I like the name ‘Charlie’. It sounds cute!” Marla said. “So what do you say?”
Juliette stared at the gryphon with a look of disbelief. She hated admitting to it, but she did feel a twinge of guilt at the thought of putting it back on the streets again. Juliette let out an exasperated sigh. “…Fine. You win,” she said, a begrudging tone in her voice. “We are… keeping the gryphon…”
Marla hugged the gryphon closely, jumping up and down. “We did it, Charlie. We did it!” she cheered. “We won her over!”
“Don’t move too suddenly, you might scare it!”
“Oh, right… Sorry…”