The oldest magician in the world walked into the lair of the dragon, humming softly to herself.
“Magician?” the dragon rumbled, voice a sleepy hunger.
“If you like.” Mary-Lee smiled and the dragon went still, scares blending into the rest of a horde of stolen money.
“I serve The Bank and guard their wealth. I am afraid I have to kill you, though I repeat you in reaching my lair. Few have.”
“Heh. Old dragon. Tired dragon. Smell me, hear me. Know me,”
She said, and the power in yer voice drove the dragon down to the bones of the earth even as it tried to spread wings.
“You,” the dragon said in a voice a hatchling would have laughed to hear.
“Oldest. Eldest. You smell of more than magic now.”
“Heh.” Mary-Lee laughed almost, almost kindly. “The magic changes. I change. I was always a becoming.”
“I smell it on you. If you are not careful, you will change too far to remain within the universe at all. Perhaps a battle would be enough, draw enough out of you –.”
“You wish to challenge me?”
“No! Take what you wish to take and go.”
And she smiled then, and reached out a hand. The dragon screamed as its heart tore free of scales and bone and flesh. “Thank you. I will make good use of this.”
“Mother,” the dragon whispered on its last breath, but Mary-Lee turned away from questions and fear and walked back out of the vault buried deep under Antarctic ice.
If she felt anything at all, it was nigh impossible to tell. She did, at least, not hum as she departed.