Table of Contents
To the Three Amigos—Scott Onnink, Jimmy Sarafin,
and Kevin TenDolle, and to their gifted
teacher, Ms. Mary Jo Balde—K. McM.
For Harris, one brave dragon slayer—B.B.
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Text copyright © 2004 by
McMullan. Illustrations copyright © 2004 by Bill Basso. All rights reserved. Published by Grosset & Dunlap, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, 345 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014. GROSSET & DUNLAP is a trademark of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. S.A.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Danger! wizard at work/ by Kate McMullan ; illustrated by Bill Basso.
p. cm.—(Dragon Slayers’ Academy ; 11 )
Summary: When a wizard’s spell goes awry and turns Wiglaf and his friends, Angus and Eric, into dragons, they spend a few days at Dragon Slackers Academy-a school for dragons with bad attitudes.
eISBN : 978-1-101-14213-4
[1. Wizards-Fiction. 2. Dragons-Fiction. 3. Schools—Fiction.] I. Basso, Bill, ill. II. Title.
p and at ’em, dragon slayers!” called Frypot, the DSA school cook.
Wiglaf opened an eye. It wasn’t light out yet. He closed it again. Maybe he was dreaming.
“Up, I say! It’s a beautiful day at DSA!” Frypot banged a pot lid with his soup ladle. CLANG! CLANG! CLANG!
Wiglaf jumped up. All the Class I lads did. They knew Frypot would keep banging until they were on their feet.
“What’s for breakfast, Frypot?” called Angus.
“Eggs and bacon, lads,” said Frypot. “All you can eat.”
Eggs and bacon? Wiglaf couldn’t believe it. Frypot never fed them anything but scrambled eel.
“Eel eggs, Frypot?” called Erica, who was a princess but disguised herself as a boy so she could go to all-boys DSA. Wiglaf and Angus were the only lads who knew her secret.
“Nah,” said Frypot. “They’re the real thing. Found ’em in the cupboard this morning.”
“Hooray!” cheered Class I.
“I’m going to be first in line!” Angus yanked on his DSA tunic.
“I’ll be second,” said Erica, racing for the door. “Hurry up, Wiggie. Let’s go!”
Wiglaf dressed quickly. The three friends headed for the cafeteria with throngs of other DSA students.
As they ran by the headmaster’s office, Mordred stuck his head out.
“Egad! A stampede!” he cried.
Mordred spied Angus. “Not so fast, nephew!” he called. “I need a word with you.”
“Uncle ... no!” Angus panted, already short of breath. “Got to get...to the caf...eteria!”
“Now!” Mordred grabbed him. “Eric and Wiglaf, you come, too. This is a three-lad job.”
Wiglaf sighed. Mordred’s jobs always had a way of turning out badly—for Wiglaf. The DSA headmaster picked on Wiglaf more than any other student. Was it because he was small for his age? Because he had carrot-colored hair? By rights, Mordred should like him best of all, for Wiglaf had slain two dragons—one named Gorzil and then Gorzil’s mother, who had come to seek revenge. True, Wiglaf had killed them both by accident. He would never kill any creature on purpose. In fact, he and Angus had “adopted” a baby dragon. They called him Worm and kept him hidden in the library, safe from the headmaster.
“Oh, Mordred, sir!” Erica cried. “Can we not come see you after breakfast?”
“Pretty please, with a great big pile of gold coins on top?” begged Angus.
“Missing breakfast won’t kill you,” Mordred boomed as he herded the three students into his office. “Here, look at the latest issue of
He waved a scroll in their faces, then rolled it down so the three could read for themselves.
SPECIAL OFFER-THIS WEEK ONLY!
Hermit Harry’s Jiffy-Gold
Alchemy Kit GUARANTEED to turn worthless household items into solid GOLD household items worth a bloody fortune!
Pick up your FREE Jiffy-Gold™ today! Take it home and try
™ for a week. If not completely satisfied, return the Jiffy-
no payment due, no questions asked. “Hermit Harry—he may stink, but his prices don’t!”
Just follow your nose to Hermit Harry’s Hur—Dark Forest, south of Nowhere Swamp.
Wiglaf and his pet pig, Daisy, had hiked through Nowhere Swamp on their way to DSA. It was there, in Wizard’s Bog, that they’d met Zelnoc, a mixed-up wizard. He’d put a speech spell on Daisy. Now she could talk—but only in pig Latin.
“I want that kit today!” Mordred boomed. “Why, in a week, I can Jiffy-Gold the whole castle. Then I’ll return the kit and I won’t have to pay a penny. Oh, it’s too good to pass up.”
“Mother always says if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” said Angus.
“What does she know?” grumbled Mordred. “Off with you to Hermit Harry’s. Be gone! Get me that Jiffy-Gold!”
“Nowhere Swamp is a day’s walk from here, sir,” Wiglaf pointed out. “We shall have to spend the night in the scary Dark Forest.”
“So?” said Mordred. “Get going!”
“So?” said Mordred. “Get going!”
“Yes, Uncle,” said Angus. “Right after breakfast. It’s bacon and eggs this morning.”
“I don’t care what you eat!” cried Mordred. “Just go! Just—” The DSA headmaster paused. “Blazing King Ken’s britches!” he cried, his oversized violet eyes widening in horror. “Frypot is feeding the lads
eggs and bacon! They’re
Mordred ran out of his office, his red cape billowing out behind him. “Oh, if that cook is feeding my eggs and bacon to students, I’ll put him in thumbscrews!” Mordred turned, and glared at Wiglaf, Angus, and Erica, who were standing at his office door. “What are you waiting for?” he growled at them. “Get me that Jiffy-Gold! I want it here tomorrow, or I’ll put you all in thumbscrews! Go, go, GO!”
The three took off running down the hallway.
“I’m soooo hungry!” Angus said when they reached the Class I dorm.
“There’s always your stash,” Wiglaf pointed out.
Angus shot Wiglaf a look. Angus was famous at DSA for the amazing goodie boxes his mother sent him. He hardly ever shared. But now he filled a large bag with gummy worms, jelly beans, chocolate spiders, and marshmallows.
The three packed what little else they needed for the trip. From inside Mordred’s office, they heard the headmaster sobbing, “Oh, my eggs and bacon—wasted on boys!”
Before they left the castle yard, the boys made a quick trip to the library. Wiglaf wanted to be sure Worm had enough food. He told the young dragon to be good while they were away. Then he stopped at the henhouse to say good-bye to his pet pig.
When Daisy heard that they were going into the Dark Forest, she said, “E-bay areful-cay!”
“We shall be careful, Daisy,” Wiglaf promised.
All morning, the three friends trudged on. They kept Swamp River on their right. Even in the daytime, the Dark Forest was dark. Owls hooted. Bats screeched. Then, under the other forest sounds, Wiglaf heard a low growl.
It grew louder.
“Do you hear something?” Wiglaf asked.
“I-I think so,” said Erica. She did not sound like her usual brave self.
Now the growler let rip with a terrible, blood-chilling roar.
Wiglaf, Angus, and Erica shrieked. They clung together in a frozen clump.
“A wild animal!” cried Angus. “We’re doomed! We’re doomed!”
oads and toadstools!” shouted a voice.
Wiglaf knew that voice. “Zelnoc?” he called. “Is that you?”
A white-bearded face topped by a pointed hat appeared high in the branches of a gnarly tree.
“Could be,” he said. “Who wants to know?”
“Wiglaf,” said Wiglaf.
“You again!” cried Zelnoc. The wizard floated down toward the DSA students. His star-speckled robe fluttered in the breeze. “How was my roar?”
“Loud,” said Erica.
“Scary,” said Angus.
“Ah, good.” Zelnoc smiled. “Roaring is wonderful for a wizard’s soul. Makes us feel powerful.” His face fell. “And I could use some extra power. I’m in a bit of a pickle.” He skidded to a halt in front of them, pinwheeling his arms to keep from losing his balance.
The wizard didn’t look so good. Wiglaf saw that he had dark circles under his eyes, as if he hadn’t slept in weeks.
“Zelnoc, what’s wrong?” asked Wiglaf.
Zelnoc sighed. “Oh, a little spell went wrong. Nothing I can’t undo, given time. And a really, really powerful spell-reversal spell.”
“What spell went wrong, wizard?” asked Erica.
“The Young Again spell,” said Zelnoc. “Zizmor’s been working on it for ages. I happened to see his notes lying around his tower the other night. I started messing around, making improvements. When Ziz came in, okay, maybe I shouldn’t have tried it out on him. But I wanted to impress him. He is my boss.” Zelnoc shook his head. “Now I’ve got to do a spell-reversal spell. That’s the trickiest kind! But if I don’t do it—and soon!-the Wizards’ Committee will take away my wand!”
Wiglaf’s heart went out to the troubled wizard. Zelnoc always tried to help when Wiglaf summoned him.
“We need a spell, Zelnoc,” said Wiglaf. “I’ll bet you can help us.”
Erica elbowed him. “Wiggie!” she whispered. “You must be jesting. A spell from Zelnoc is the last thing we need.”
“We need to get to Hermit Harry’s Hut,” Wiglaf pointed out.
“Do you know where that is, wizard?” asked Angus.
“Doesn’t everyone?” Zelnoc pinched his nose as though something smelled really, really bad.
“We know it’s south of Nowhere Swamp,” said Wiglaf. “But that’s all we know.”
“You don’t need a spell.” Zelnoc sighed. “You need directions. Head south. If you cut through Nowhere Swamp, it’ll take a day off your journey. But watch out for the quick-sand. And the crocs. They’re very hungry this time of year.”
Wiglaf swallowed. “Crocodiles?”
Zelnoc nodded. “If you come out of the swamp alive, walk south to where two roads meet. You’ll come upon the Crone of the Crossroads. If she’s in a bad mood, that’s the end of your journey. Buh-bye! But if you make it by her, veer left, past the graveyard—1 don’t recommend cutting through
—you’ll come to the Tower of Mysterious Light. There, take a right—”