“They say an ancient dragon hides in these woods, but we’ve never seen it, Pike.”

Snow crunched, blurring her quiet words, but my keen ears picked them up. I look to her, my girl marching a few steps ahead, digging trenches in the snow for my neat limbs to trace. We’d walked this route many times and indeed, we’d not seen hide nor hair of any such dragon.

“They say she was a kind Guardian,” my witch continues, “but I think I’d still be scared to meet her.”

I yipped back – my words were not always clear to her, but the intention was felt. She laughed, turning to watch me.

“I know you’d look after me, Pike, but I doubt a wise old dragon would fall for your tricks and jests.”

I snorted and wrinkled my muzzle, feeling the rising thrill of challenge as it fluffed up my fur. We’d see about that.

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