“Why so hasty, youngling?” asks the dragon.
“No need to be rude,” Shyan replies.
“I am nearly 4,000 years old. You are but a youngling, a sprout in the grass, reaching for sunlight that will burn you in the end.”
“I didn’t ask for a history lesson or to get my fortune told,” says Shyan. “We just want the money, all right? We’re hungry and want the coins.”
“Trifles, all,” the dragon says, its voice a bassy purr. You may take them, and the necklace, too. I’m a simple creature, and I’ve now selected a more precious treasure.” The creature turns its blazing eyes onto Abia, and she meets his gaze, flat and calm.