Somewhere at the end of a universe, there is a bar.
In this bar is a pretty brunette staring intently at a laptop, humming idly to herself and occasionally scribbling on an attached tablet.
Yep, on this side of the fourth wall it's kinda hard to ooo and aaah over the spectacle of an Elder Dragon's ascension properly, but she can respect the passage of time and conjure a cup of tea for herself, and a glass of strange and bubbling liquid, complete with a straw and a little umbrella, for James. She sips her tea and waits.
James accepts and sips from the straw - then pauses and inspects the drink thoughtfully.
Well. Why not. He sips and watches and waits. This is a significantly different experience from his side of the fourth wall.
Vlast's growth accelerates, and he soon blots out the sun. He roars again, and this time the sound is loud enough to be felt, rather than heard, all the way down where they are.
He begins his descent, and it soon becomes clear just how much he's grown over these minutes. His head alone is three times larger than his entire body was before. He's clearly the same dragon, but the crystal patterns are much more present and intricate, spanning jungles of rocky pillars along his back - and he's large enough one could in fact walk in this jungle. He lowers closer to the ground slowly, trying not to buffet Aestrix and James away with the ponderous flaps of his wings, which makes for a not so graceful descent, and takes care.
It's so nice for there to be a dragon this powerful in Tyria that isn't an asshole.
She stands, applauding, and then makes a little bow to the brand new Elder Dragon and foundation of the world's stability. It only seems polite. The wind buffets her and James in a suitably dramatic fashion, but Conveniently, they are not blown away.
"Hey Kralky's going to make a play for you, but fuck him, Imma pause time so we can talk in peace without that prick showing up," she calls, and the world goes still and slightly grey around them. "Also this keeps James from being late without time shenanigans, which is a nice plus."
The not-that-old Elder Dragon finishes landing, and turns his head so he can use his left eye to look directly at them. He opens his mouth slightly to speak, but clearly the words are not being formed by anything as mundane as the interaction between air, tongue, teeth, and lips.
"This is strange. I can feel my grandfather. He started coming this way as I did, but now... he is still." He blinks once, slowly, and makes a low growly noise. "I believe you, 'author'. What do you desire of me?"
"Uh, for you to not be terrible and seek only to gorge yourself on the magic and the lives of those that live on this world. So, good job, you're already doing it? I have a longer list of desires for world-fixing, and you can help with them if you'd like, but let me be crystal clear here: if you want to fly off on your own, right now, and do whatever you want for the rest of your life, you absolutely can. Your contribution of eating the power of that other dragon will be valuable and valued, and it is key to the world's continued stability. Regardless of anything else, you absolutely get to help with killing your grandfather and resurrecting your mom and being at your baby sister's hatching and anything else personally relevant to your interests if you want to. I am highly uncomfortable with anything close to trying to twist anybody's arm to make them do things they don't want to do, so, uh. I'm not. Above anything else the only thing I really desire of you is for you to be okay. Okay?"
He nods, once. "Zhaitan is dead. If we kill my grandfather, we will be one step away from the end of Tyria. My mother had plans - but if you can bring her back -"
"Yep! Vague plan is for us to go dramatically kill Kralky at some point, and resurrect your mom with that, since he uh, ate her magic. It makes logical sense that she could be brought back from his death with some shenanigans and retrieving her ghost from the Mists and whatnot. Narratively, I mean. I can make pretzels out of rules all I want, but I kind of don't want to ignore causality here. People not noticing that things don't make logical sense implies I did something to their minds to make them not notice, and that is not the 'everybody lives' ending I'm shooting for here. Which is just unacceptable."
"Hm. And then? Will she replace my grandfather?"
He huffs instead of nodding - a nod from this height might crush the ground and he wouldn't want that. "And me? Am I to replace the Deep Sea Dragon?"
"If you want. But because Bubbles has never been properly fleshed out in-fiction, there's not really much for you to replace besides the Elder Dragon World Foundation slot? I could make stuff up, but whatever is made up would inevitably be incongruent with the original fiction, whenever the original fiction gets to fleshing Bubbles out. So you are actually just free to do whatever you want. My plan was to ask you if you wanted to go eat Dhuum and become Dragon God-King of the Underworld, actually. But I'm pretty open to not going according to plan, if the plan isn't loved by the people the plan is for."
Vlast frowns. It's quite a sight, a frown on a face that big. "Dhuum? The old human god of death, exiled and sealed many hundreds of years ago. He walks free?"
"Trust me, I wasn't thrilled by the news either."
"Ish? He's eating his way out of his prison now that Grenth's left and stopped keeping him in check. He needs to be eaten by somebody. Might as well be you, if you'd be okay with being Dragon God-King of the Underworld. Or whatever. I'm not married to the title, it just succinctly gets across the thing I mean."
"What would I do, in his place?" He sounds a bit guarded about it. Yet another responsibility sounds not-so-great.
"Hunt down and eat the demons that break in and try to eat souls. Take credit for why resurrection works again without actually personally having to do anything in particular, because narrative convenience. Maybe also eat Palawa Joko, since he also deserves it? Oh, hey, there's a good order of operations for explanations if you want to go that route - eat Joko first to steal his power and break into the Underworld, eat Dhuum, then break back into reality with your newfound power to eat Bubbles, even though... that was not the order, but whatever, it's fine." She shrugs. "Anyway. Fancy lair? Lots of things to watch? The ability to not talk to people, because you'd be the dragon of death and ooooo, scary, they better not mess with you if they know what's good for them? It's not so much a huge responsibility as an explanation to Tyria's denizens for why their world is fixed, and the best way I could think of to get you, uh, out. Of Tyria. With its abusive grandfathers and its twisting prophecies and how it's pretty much constantly in peril, it seems like you'd have reason to want to go fuck off to fly around in the Mists eating demons."
"That would be acceptable," he grunts, blinking slowly to mark his assent.
"Okay! ... And to be clear, that's watch in a 'people watch' sense, not watch in a 'babysitting, watch the kids and clean their nappies' sense. I basically just want to give you the freedom to fly around in a huge infinite landscape, and terrorize and eat horrible things that deserve it like the awesome dragon that you are. So if you're cool with that we can go have you eat Joko so you can plausibly break into the Underworld to eat Dhuum, and therefore have had the power to plausibly win against Bubbles."
Vlast huffs and blinks again.