"It's a dragon! A real dragon. There are dragons left in the world!" the rider exclaimed.
A gust of wind knocked the hood of the dark wool cloak back from the rider's head and coppery hair cascaded to slender shoulders. Emerald green eyes met cinnabar red ones above.
"Why, its just a human girl," boomed Tim in a kettle drum voice. "On a horse too scrawny to eat."
"How amazing," said Miranda. "It talks."
"Of course it talks," agreed Tim, coasting to a graceful landing on the road. "It flies and breathes fire and does many more amazing things than just talk."
"It certainly boasts," Miranda declared, steadying her mount as it tried to dance backwards.
"With reason," countered Tim.
The girl laughed. "It is beautiful."
"As is the girl," Tim replied. "With hair like firelight and eyes like spring."
"It is perhaps not a dragon at all but a silver-tongued prince under an enchantment?" asked Miranda, hopefully.
The ground rumbled as the dragon laughed. "No, just a dragon. Aren't you afraid of me, little human girl?"
Miranda shook her head. "No. I admit I was at first but I'm not afraid anymore. Although I probably should be. But you see, encountering a talking beast is...well, the wonder of it seems to have drained the fear out of me. And, in any case, if you are going to kill me there is nothing much I can do about it now. So, I might as well have an interesting conversation first."
Tim nodded. "Indeed. I like your reasoning. And, just between you and me, I have never killed a girl who reasons."
"Have you killed any that don't?"
"I have not. In fact, although I am loath to admit it since it doesn't seem very dragony, I haven't as yet killed any humans. Not on purpose anyway. Furthermore, you are the first human girl I've had a conversation with at all. The others just screamed and ran away."
Miranda giggled. "Well, I can understand that. You are a dragon, after all....."