“If I wanted to make myself known to the world again, I wouldn’t need your help. I could jump from these cliffs and scour the countryside below in flames and death. I could demand homage again. I could see the leaders of you mortals bend their knees to me and pay for the privilege of their lives. I would rise from the ashes of their mythical stories and earn their fear and respect again. I don’t need you to do any of that, witch.”
That it had responded with words rather than a snap of its jaws meant that the sorceress had succeeded in her plan, and they both knew it. It was still a dangerous situation, though, and she needed to continue to play the role she had set out upon to placate its pride and ensure her survival.
“Of course, of course,” she started, bowing in deference to the beast’s awesome power and abilities, “you don’t need me. You don’t need the help of anyone or anything. We have already established that there is nothing I can provide that you can’t do for yourself.”
The dragon rose its massive head away from the magician to peer down upon her intently, and, as an afterthought, removed its claw from where it had been crushing into her magical defenses. It had already sensed what she was going to say next and approved, but needed to hear her say it all the same. “Go on.”
“I could travel before you and spread the word of your greatness, not so the towns can prepare to fend you off, that would be impossible anyway, but so they can prepare to honor you and treat you with the respect you deserve. And, even for a creature as close to true immortality as you there are always risks in this world, I would act as your first line of defense: taking any initial strikes the foolish might take against you so you can see them in the shadows and dark corners where they hide and strike them down before they even have the opportunity to try and harm you.”
“And if I were tempted to let the world know of my presence again, to remind them that I am no myth, and you were to travel as my emissary and, unnecessary, guard, what exactly is it you would ask in payment? I know you wish for the deaths of those who have attacked you recently. I can see that hate and desire in your eyes, but I sense you want the pleasure of those kills for yourself. So, what then do you actually want from me?”
“I want to know what you know. I want to know the ancient magics that have been forgotten over the years just as you were forgotten. I want to know how to harness the fire burning in my soul as you do.” The sorceress paused, having nearly said that she wanted to know everything it would teach her, to calm her excitement and keep her composure. “I want to know as much as you are willing to teach me.”
The left side of the beast’s snout rose in a toothy grin.