“Wizard, stop!” cried Angus. “Please! Put a get-there-quick spell on us. Can you?”
“Do warlocks have warts?” replied the wizard. “Do damsels have distress?”
“Oh, do it!” said Angus. “I don’t want to spend the night in the Dark Forest.”
Erica folded her arms. “No need. We can get there ourselves.”
“Off you go, then,” Zelnoc said. “Oh, and keep to the path. Fewer poisonous snapping turtles there.”
Erica sighed. “You win, wizard. Do your spell. But it better work.”
“Worry not!” cried the wizard. “You’re going to like this one.” Zelnoc pushed up the sleeves of his wizard robe. “They’re going to beg me to speak at the next Wizards’ Convention after they get a load of this spell. Close your eyes, kiddos. Here we go.”
Wiglaf closed his eyes. He heard Zelnoc singing:
“Flies have ’em,
Bees have ’em,
Even itchy little fleas have ’em.
have ’em, too.
As Zelnoc sang, Wiglaf felt his shoulder blades growing. He heard a ripping sound. Was that his DSA tunic? He began to feel dizzy.
Zelnoc sang on:
“Ducks have ’em,
Hens have ’em,
Even funny little penguins have ’em.
Now, presto! You’ll have ’em, too.
Wings were sprouting out of Wiglaf’s back! He was sure of it. He opened one eye just a crack and saw Zelnoc twirling as he belted out:
“Vampire bats in their caves have ’em,
Scaly dragons do, too.
Wings, baby, you’ve got ’em,
Oh, what Zelnoc can do!”
“Wizard!” cried Angus. “Stop!”
Suddenly, a terrible dizziness overtook Wiglaf. His head whirled. He felt sick. He felt his whole body growing. RRIPPPPP! He felt as if he was bursting through his skin. He felt his neck growing longer. Teeth pushed up out of his gums. His eyeballs felt like inflating balloons. And what was that growing out of his backside? Dizziness took over. Wiglaf felt as if he was falling, falling.
Then all was quiet.
Wiglaf opened his eyes. He glanced over his shoulder at his back. Yep, he had wings. Not feathery little birdie wings, either. Huge, silvery, scaled wings.
“Angus?” he called. “Erica?”
Wiglaf looked around. Everything was a blur. He blinked. He thought he saw Angus and Erica. But, no. Those weren’t his friends. He blinked again. Now he saw that standing where Angus and Erica had been were two dragons!
iglaf stared at the dragons. One was silver. The other was blue. They weren’t very big.
Wiglaf looked down at his arms. Green. Scaly. His hands were green and scaly. He had claws!
“Ahhhh!” he screamed. “We’re dragons!”
Zelnoc snorted. “Okay, okay. But you’ve got wings, haven’t you? Wings will get you where you want to go—and fast! I meant to give you dragon wings so you could fly to Hermit Harry’s. Guess my spell is a little bit more powerful than I thought.” He shrugged.
“Turn us back into us,” said Erica.
“That would take a spell-reversal spell,” said Zelnoc. “Oh, sure, I could sing the whole song backwards. That would do it. But the chances of me tripping up are astronomical. Then who knows what you might turn into? No, best to stay dragons until I figure out my reversal.”
“When will that be?” asked Wiglaf.
Zelnoc looked thoughtful. “Under a year, I’d say.”
“A year!” cried all three dragons.
“Maybe sooner,” Zelnoc said. “Or the spell might wear off on its own. Who knows? Not me. I’d best go back to my tower. Transform some toads. Mutate some mice. That sort of thing. See what I can figure out. I’ll be back. Tah-tah!”
A cloud of blue smoke billowed from out of nowhere and swallowed up the wizard.
The silver dragon glared at Wiglaf.
“You think this is my fault, don’t you?” Wiglaf said.
Erica folded her spindly forearms and said nothing.
Angus, meanwhile, was studying what he could see of himself. “Hey, I know I’m blue and I’ve got a big white belly. But what does my face look like?”
Wiglaf was happy for a change of subject. “You have a mouth full of pointy teeth,” he told Angus. “A long snout. Blue eyes with yellow centers. And two stubby white horns on your head.”
“How about me?” asked Erica.
“Your face is shiny silver, like the rest of you,” Wiglaf told her. “You have green eyes, a curved horn on your snout, and a matching one on top of your head.”
“Cool,” said Erica.
“What about me?” said Wiglaf.
“Green face,” Angus told him. “Yellow eyes with black triangles in the middle. And a bright red crest on top of your head. Hey, it just started blinking!”
Wiglaf smiled. It sounded as if he was a very good-looking dragon. He wished Worm was here to see him. “At least now we can fly to Hermit Harry’s to get the Jiffy-Gold,” he pointed out.
“Do you really think we can fly?” asked Angus.
“Let’s find out,” said Erica.
Using muscles he never knew he had, Wiglaf unfurled a pair of great wings. Angus and Erica did, too. They began flapping and...
Up they went.
Wiglaf was just getting the hang of flying when a silvery streak whizzed by him. Was that Erica? He turned to see. Big mistake! He felt himself tilting, falling. He flapped harder. Which way was up? No way to tell. He crash-landed in some bushes.
“Ow!” he said. He felt his crest. He hoped it wasn’t bent.
He heard another crash. He looked up to see Erica perching unsteadily in the gnarly tree.
“Hey! Look up here!” called Angus.
Wiglaf saw a bright blue dragon circling easily overhead.
“Flying is great!” Angus called. “I love it!”
Angus landed. He gave Erica and Wiglaf a few pointers. Soon all three were soaring high above the Dark Forest. What a great feeling, gliding on the wind! No wonder Worm liked to sneak out of the library and fly around DSA. There was only one thing that worried Wiglaf.
“What if the spell wears off while we’re up here?” he called to the others.
“Good point,” said Erica. “Let’s fly to Hermit Harry’s as fast as we can.” She surveyed the ground below. “I think it’s that way. Follow me!”
Silver dragon in the lead, the three flew over the Dark Forest. A full moon lit the sky. They flew over hills and valleys dotted with small villages. The hills below grew bigger. Zelnoc hadn’t said anything about mountains! Where were they? Wiglaf’s muscles began to ache. Flying was fun, but hard work. He needed a rest.
“Let’s take a break,” Wiglaf called.
“Hug your wings close to your body and you’ll zoom down fast!” called Angus.
The three landed on a rocky peak.
Wiglaf squinted through the dark. Down in the valley, he saw what looked like a huge stone building. He was pretty sure it wasn’t Hermit Harry’s Hut.
“Let’s take a closer look,” suggested Angus.
They flew down to a riverbank. The river, wide and swift, shimmered in the moonlight. On an island in the middle of the river stood a great walled castle.
“Look,” said Angus. He pointed a claw toward a sign on the castle wall.
When Wiglaf read what it said, his crest began blinking on and off.
“It says DSA!” Wiglaf couldn’t believe his black-and-yellow eyes.
“Has Uncle Mordred opened another school?” Angus wondered out loud.
Once more, Wiglaf heard a noise. “Do you hear growling?” he asked.
“Take it easy,” said Angus. “It’s just my stomach.”
“I’m hungry, too,” said Erica. “Let’s see what’s left in your stash, Angus.”
“Oh, rats! I left it behind,” Angus said. “Let’s go into that DSA and get something to eat. Then we can figure out what to do.”
“We can’t!” said Wiglaf. “DSA is a school for dragon
And we’re dragons!”
“Hmm,” said Angus. “Could be dangerous. But I’m really hungry!”
“I know,” said Erica. “Let’s sneak into the castle while it’s still dark and raid the kitchen.”
They had a plan. Angus spread his wings. He glided over the river, up and over the wall, landing in the castle yard. Wiglaf and Erica followed.
This yard was much bigger than their own DSA castle yard. The three dragons made their way across it. Wiglaf wasn’t used to walking on dragon feet. He felt awkward, off balance, as if his body was too heavy for his legs. But on he lumbered.
Erica slowly opened the castle door. They tiptoed inside. No one was around. In the dim light, they made their way down the hallway and up a set of stairs, hoping the kitchen was in the same spot as the kitchen at their own DSA.
Angus stuck his head in a door. “Here it is!” he whispered. Erica and Wiglaf hurried in after him.
The kitchen was lit by a narrow shaft of soft pre-dawn light.
“We have to hurry,” Angus said, opening the pantry. “They’ll be up soon. There’s a ton of spaghetti in here. Wait. It’s not spaghetti. It’s dried eel grass!”
Wiglaf found a jar. Its label said
Eel Slime Sauce.
“Ew!” exclaimed Erica. “Jars of pickled eel. All this stuff looks disgusting!”
“Excuse me?” a voice boomed out from behind them.
Wiglaf looked up. His crest began blinking at triple speed.
Standing in the kitchen doorway was a very big, very red dragon.
lazing britches!” Angus squeaked.
“Whoa,” said Erica.
Wiglaf couldn’t have spoken if his life depended on it. He just kept blinking.
The dragon was twice their size. Violet tentacles sprouted from the top of his scaly red skull. He wore a rumpled cook’s apron.
“Looking for something?” the dragon asked, narrowing his beady orange eyes.
“F-f-f-food,” Angus managed.
The big dragon blew twin smoke rings from two holes on the sides of his head. “No eating between meals at DSA.”
“But we’re hungry,” said Angus.
“You’ll wait for breakfast like the others,” said the cook. “You must be new students.”
Wiglaf felt as if his whole head was blinking. New students? Was this DSA a school for
“I am Sizzlegizzard,” said the dragon, hissing white smoke as he spoke. “School cook.” He walked over to a cupboard. He took out a skillet and a jar. He opened the jar and poured what looked like green spaghetti into the skillet. Then he took a breath and blew out a jet of orange flame, setting the spaghetti aflame. “DSA is a last-chance school for dragons who have been kicked out of all the decent dragon schools. You know that, don’t you?”
Wiglaf shook his head in time with his wildly blinking crest.
“Yes, here at DSA we work with the worst of the worst!” Sizzlegizzard jiggled the skillet as he spoke. “If you get booted out of DSA, there’s nowhere to go. End of the line. So we have rules here to shape up young slackers like you. Lots of rules.” He flipped the contents of the skillet and bent down to flame it again. “If you don’t follow the rules, you’ll be sent to Madam Dragonova.” As he spoke her name, the violet tendrils on the top of his head began to quiver. “And you don’t want that.”
Wiglaf, Erica, and Angus pressed close together. They were quivering, too. Even Erica.
“You know, Sizzlegizzard,” Angus said, “I think we’ve come to the wrong school.”
“Yes!” said Wiglaf eagerly. “It’s all a mistake.”
“Bye!” said Erica. “Nice meeting you!”
The three turned and raced for the kitchen door. But when they opened it, they found themselves face to face with a huge dragon. This one was twice Sizzlegizzard’s size, and covered snout to claw with dull gray scales. He stared at the little dragons with cold, half lidded gray eyes.
“Oh, it’s you, Drigon,” said Sizzlegizzard. “More new students. Take them down to the Class I dorm, will you?”