Sometimes, when the world was calm and the air was still, when he wasn't needed to ferry monks across the sky, Dojo thought about death.
Not about his death, never his death. It was always about the death of someone else. Dashi. Clay. Fung.
His friends never stayed around for long, relatively speaking at least. Humans tend to live mere decades. Every friend he made would only ever take up a fraction of a percentage of his long life. Practically gone in a blink of an eye.
There were only two friends from his past that stuck around all these years, but they were Chase Young, who wasn't really a friend anymore, and Guan, who…well…Dojo tried not to make eye contact with him.
Make dragon friends, his relatives would say, they make longer conversation partners. You wouldn't have to find new people to talk to every hundred years. Why are you crying again? You knew this would happen at the start, don't even pretend you didn't. This always happens. Why do you make friends with humans? They live about as long as flies. They can't really do great magic. They're so small-minded. They smell weird.
And no matter how much he tried to explain, nobody understood why he preferred human company. They didn't understand how ingenious humans could be because they couldn't do magic. How so much meaning were in those short, short lives. How, despite being an insignificant speck on the blotter of the universe, they strove to grow and learn and understand. And after a while, you get used to the smell.
Sometimes, Dojo thought about Dashi. What he could have done with a dragon's lifespan. What his mind could have made had he lived a little longer. (What fun they could have had, just hanging around, making jokes, travelling the world…)
Sometimes, Dojo thought about how old Fung was getting. How frail. None of the Dragons-in-training ever saw him sag in the night, saw him stumble, heard his limbs creak.
Sometimes, Dojo thought about what never happened eighty years from now.
Sometimes, Dojo thought about Lao Mang Long soup.
If he was evil, he wouldn't sit around, thinking about death. He would be hunting dragons, dragons who demeaned him, dismissed his closest relationships, told him to 'get over it.' And all his friends would have a dragon's lifespan.
But he was good.
Sometimes, he didn't know which was worse.