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Huddled behind a grey speckled boulder, I held my breath. Unfortunately for me, the swishing of my tail created ripples in the water surrounding my hiding place. The quiet padding of paws behind me brought the realization that I had been caught.

"Ooooooh Unapoo?!" a cheerful, quirky voice called above me. I kept quiet, just on the off-chance that she had not yet located my hiding place.

A blur of purple feathers and fur splashed into the water directly in front of me.

"I found you Una! Just like I always do. You need a better hiding place, I think." she declared and sniffed at the water. She was, of course, right. But there was not an abundance of hiding places for a hippocamp. Water was pretty much it. I grinned at her, and playfully splashed at the smiling beak.

I remember when I first met Nanashi, or as I had come to know her lovingly as, The Purple Fuzzbutt. She was just as loopy then as she is now. One of her most admirable traits. No matter who pushed her around or tried to make her feel bad about herself, Nanashi always bounced back.

It was one of those dull, summer days. One of the days so warm that to move was to laze while thinking of moving, and to speak was to drone listlessly. Interestingly enough, these are my favorite days. The temperature did not affect me as much as you might think. Water retains its temperature longer than air does, and so I was rather comfortable throughout the day. Bored, yes, but comfortable.

It was on this increasingly heated day that I decided to lurk about the babbling streams running through the infamous Great Forest. I usually did not journey too far into the dark abyss, but today it did not seem as dreary as I had remembered it before. Under leaves and over pebbles I made my way, noting the songs of different types of birds and the rumbling of a nearby dragon. Scoot, scooting along I began to hum to myself, following the soft glow of the suns rays. A sudden squawk halted my low hum. What the heck was that?! I looked all around for the owner of such a voice, but to no avail.

I slowly inched my way forwards again, this time with my ears twitching at even the crinkle of a leaf. It was in such a manner, that a twig snapped behind me. I swung my head around quickly, nostrils flaring for any type of scent, but nothing of interest could be found. I think, perhaps that the twig snapping was the best thing that has ever happened to me, for while I was still looking backwards, I smacked into a pole. Shaking my head I focused upon the words "Nanashi's Aerie" with an arrow stenciled in pointing to the right. With my cheek slightly puffed and starting to swell, I followed the arrow on the sign. I rounded the corner but was abruptly halted by three brooks, each with its own sign.
The first was of oak and read "The Work of the Purple Fuzzbutt." I scratched my chin with my fin thoughtfully. How interested in this I had become.

"To The Guild!" I read aloud from the second sign, its words engraved in a glossy cherry slab.

I swung my head to the last sign, the most captivating of all. It stood taller than the others, and was expertly decored in orange and purple flowers. "Nanashi." it simply stated in a rich, plum paint.

Without much of a decision process, I started myself down the brook labeled "Nanashi." A long winding stream it was, too. It was not until my fins started to grow weak that a nest of an odd sort came into my vision. It looked rather like a giant gryphon next turned upside down. A tiny smoke stack poked from the top, sending a sticky, sweet scent into the air. A flower box hung from the window, where three tiny purple mums stood firmly. The stream reached all the way up to the door, where it made a quick swoop, and went back in the other direction. It looked homey enough to me, so I decided to pay this Nanashi a visit. Up to the door I swam, but before I had a chance to knock the three purple mums turned and looked at me. Quite taken by their peculiar behavior, I reached out to one. Mistake. A horribly high pitched yelp ran through the forest as the mum bit down on my fin. The door swung open suddenly and I turned to face the owner of the mums. There stood a purple gryphon, streaked with flower and pie filling, holding a rolling pin above her head.

"Dont hit me!" I wailed piteously, my fin now hanging limply from the mouth of a purple mum.

The gryphon sniffed at me for a moment, then quickly haltered her rolling pin. Quite a relief to me, I assure you. With a shining claw, she scritched under the mums chin. (At least, I think it was a chin. Im not too sure about flowers that can bite.) A light purring followed by my release came from the purple blossoms grasp.

"Thanks." I mumbled, licking at my fin. What kind of lunatic keeps attack flowers by her welcome mat?

"You should have been gentler with my babies." she shook a claw at me. As an after thought she added, "would you like to come inside? I just finished a lovely batch of pies."

Well, I was rather hungry after my adventure, and now shaken thanks to the killer mums, so I accepted and went inside. Interestingly enough, I found it quite easy to stay moist enough for comfort in the little thatch. The purple gryph scuttled around the kitchen quickly, gathering up at least a dozen pies and placing them on the table. With a grin she sat across from me, although with the pies stacked as they were I could not see her.

"Im Nanashi, The Purple Fuzzbutt around here." she poked her beak around the pies to get a look at me with her golden eyes. "And who might you be?"

"Unakavierde, Una for short if you will." I replied with some nervousness. She seemed nice enough, but those mums outside lurked in my mind. "I saw the signs, just figured I would come to see who Nanashi was."

She chuckled lightly. "You heard the squawk, didnt you?" With a raising of an eyeridge, I nodded to her question. "That was me!" she giggled loudly. Indeed, after thinking about it, I saw the humor as well and started laughing myself. A full stomach and several laughs later, I felt it was my time to leave. Just before I exited her house, however, Nanashi smooshed into my face a cherry pie. With quite an interesting mask, I took up a key lime and splooted her beak with it.

"Its been great meeting you Nanashi, but I really should get home." I told her. She simply nodded through the green goo and gave me a hug.

An now here we were, almost six months later, trying to play hide and seek at my pond. The irony of it all. I now own my own green mum, she hides under the waters surface and nips at the resident snails. We still have pie fights, we still laugh, and we still act completely insane. It's a beautiful thing.

<Nanashi (c) Herself!>
<Story and Writing (c) Una!>