"I prefer my fare to be a little more substantial." The grin turned sharp-edged for a moment before fading back to one of genial affability and amusement. "But I have no doubt that if you were to turn your hand to such craft, it would be something to be fought over."
A somewhat proprietorially pleased glance around the room followed Phaedra's comment. It really was rather nice, after all. There were still things to be done, but all of the construction was being done in stages, which meant that everything tended to look finished. For a given value of finished, perhaps, but the overall effect remained something the dragon was proud of. "I don't. I would offer to introduce you to those who did design most of the decor, only I would not like to lose their services to you." He paused. "I will rely the compliment, however."
"Keeping secrets, are we?" Phaedra purred, circling the Dragon King, letting the tip of her tail just brush at the backs of his knees. "Doing such in my presence is either very brave or very foolish. Do you delight in tempting me, noble dragon?"
"Neither," he said, remaining still while she circled him, though the steady tick of his tail betrayed some level of nervousness. "I am no thrill-seeker, taking risks just for the sport of the game." He raised one eyebrow as she came full circle, golden rimmed blue eyes sardonically amused.
"As I said earlier, I trust you only to be yourself, and as you have found something you want, well." Another pause, accompanied by a short laugh. "It is simply prudence on my part to keep that which I desire to remain mine from your sight or grasp."
"Which simply tempts me further," Phaedra sighed. "To walk up and take something is no challenge at all. To fight for it with tooth and claw, to wrest it triumphantly after bringing your opponent down, to lay out and execute a beautifully-scripted plan... there's true delight." She ended the word with a purr that, itself, flowed into a light (but never gentle) laugh.
"Hence our games, dear dragon. For who knows more of guarding treasures than you? Or who did, perhaps? I entered with relative ease, and here I am merely a mewling babe compared to my ancient strength." She sighed and affected a bored stance. "So are we all, I suppose, and yet... ah, I craved more."
The dragon listened, amused to hear her lay out the bones of their long relationship in such terms. "Oh, I know. And who better to test my ingenuity against than you, dear lady? We may yet be young and lacking our ancient strength, but would it be any fun at all to match yourself as you are now against Futs Lung of old? I daresay the reverse would not be as enjoyable either."
Equal footing, that was the key. Oh, there was something to be said for a challenge, and indeed Greed had just claimed satisfaction with that very thing, and yet...And yet, an impossible challenge would bring nothing but frustration.
"Have you gone soft then, old... hmm. 'Friend' is not right; 'enemy', laughable. Congenial adversary... better, but a bit overwrought." She tapped one golden claw against her own cheek. "But we are none of us what we once were... good. The same thing, forever, is so hideously dull... though I do hope you obtain a more suitable dwelling soon. These 'modern' buildings are rather hideously dull themselves." She heaved an exaggerated sigh, as if there was simply no hope for suburbia. Which was probably true.
His shoulders rippled in a shrug. "Perhaps I have simply become more cautious." And that was, perhaps, no bad thing to be in this Age. Then again, he had probably always been more conservative in his outlook.
"Oh, agreed. These buildings are pedestrian, though they serve their purpose well enough for the moment." Another shrug. "I will endeavor to locate more suitable quarters, believe me." Boxy houses, all the same, with no sense of history or grandeur. Hardly appealing at all.
"Caution? Bah." Phaedra made a dismissive gesture. "So, my dear Jin Huang... what delights have you been hunched over in this cave of yours? What troubles Futs Lung in these slightly less troubled times?" She shifted to lean against him lightly, casually, as she might lean on a wall.
A wry twist to his mouth was briefly visible at Phaedra's casual dismissal of his tendency towards caution, but it quickly disappeared as he stiffened at her unexpected movement. "Ah," he said while trying to relax; the amount of poking at his ego that would likely occur shortly making this more difficult than normal. "Primarily the Grigori," he finally replied in what was probably an overly controlled voice.
Phaedra raised one eyebrow again, this time in surprise rather than deliberate baiting. "A heady topic, and not one given to levity," she said, after a moment. "Of course they yet live, or exist, or whatever it is they do... and as they do so, they detest All, for it is not the End they so ardently desired." Her tail whipped back and forth a few times with unease. "Has the Twin Crown laid this onus on you, or do you simply... anticipate?"