The dragon stretched away morning stiffness. Just as her mother taught her, she inspected her cavern with eye and nose before setting a scale outside. Of course, there was no one there and not a single coin out of place, and good old fashioned vigilance would keep it that way.
She inhaled cool air as she stepped into the sunshine. Before she consciously recognized the scent of humans she was on guard - claws out, wings open, looking all around. On second breath she realized the scent was neither close nor recent. Seeing and hearing nothing out of the ordinary, she followed the olfactory trail. Down the slope from her cave she found a table, and on the table several sheets of paper, folded together and weighted with a pearl coronet. While small to her, they would have been large sheets for human hands. The dragon examined it all closely, taking her time despite her curiosity. Not many knew that dragons could read. The pages intrigued her. Vigilance satisfied, she moved the coronet, opened the sheaf, and took in the contents.
Miles away, a young queen, the first woman to rule in her own right, told her advisers that she had written and delivered the letter. Their protests were cut short by a great rumbling sound, like ceaseless thunder. The one she liked the least cried out, "See! Your foolishness has angered the beast when we are not ready to attack her!" The queen closed her eyes as the color drained from her face. She inhaled slowly, letting a smile touch the corners of her mouth. After the first shock of sound, the roaring resolved into laughter. A huge, booming laugh from far away.
She let the advisers argue, not showing how carefully she listened to what was said by whom. The laughter faded as a sound of huge wings began. Everyone fell silent as the wings came closer. Several advisers fled, some fainted, and others froze in place, pale and quivering. The new queen walked calmly into the courtyard. The dragon dropped low, then hovered. The dragon nodded to the queen, saying, "Yes, my lady. Call on me at any time; I'm sure we can work things out, woman to woman." With a rush of wings, the dragon flew off. After a moment of silence, everyone in and around the castle cheered their brave queen.