Table of Contents
For all the Pig Latin scholars at Colorado
Academy in Denver, especially Gayle Breaux,
Suzy Hisky, and guinea Pig Latin expert,
For James and Wei—B.B.
GROSSET & DUNLAP
Published by the Penguin Group
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Text copyright © 2005 by Kate McMullan. Illustrations copyright © 2005 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. DRAGON SLAYERS’ ACADEMY and GROSSET & DUNLAP are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. S.A.
Library of Congress Control Number: 2005001602
eISBN : 978-1-101-14214-1
iglaf lifted the bun on his sandwich. There was a pile of stringy brown glop underneath.
!” he cried, speaking Pig Latin.
“Yikes is right,” muttered Angus. “What
“‘Tis a moatweed sloppy joe,” Erica answered. “Frypot’s newest dish.” She bit eagerly into her sandwich. Erica loved everything about DSA. Even the food.
Wiglaf muttered. “Yuck.”
He had learned Pig Latin from his pet pig, Daisy. He now spoke it with ease.
A wizard had put a Speech Spell on Daisy. It was supposed to make her speak English. But when Daisy opened her mouth, out came Pig Latin! And no wonder. The wizard was Zelnoc. He couldn’t do even the most basic Wart-Be-Gone Spell or Sneeze-No-More Spell without messing it up. A Speech Spell was far beyond his powers.
“Ugh!” Angus pushed away his plate. “‘Tis a good thing my mother sent me a giant goodie box this month.”
Wiglaf watched longingly as Angus drew a Medieval Marshmallow Bar from his tunic pocket and took a bite. If only Angus liked to share! But alas—he did not.
“We had barley bran burgers for lunch at my old school,” said Janice. “They tasted like dirt. But moatweed sloppy joes are worse.”
“At Princess Prep,” said Gwen, “we had princess-and-the-pea soup every day.” She sighed. “I didn’t like it much, but I’d trade my emerald tiara for a bowl of it right now!”
!” called Headmaster Mordred as he strode into the DSA dining hall. His red velvet cape streamed out behind him. Thick dark hair sprang from his head. He wore shiny gold rings on all his fingers. And on both thumbs, too.
Wiglaf and the other students jumped up.
“At ease!” barked Mordred. “I have news!”
The dining hall grew so quiet that Wiglaf could hear the rats fighting over crumbs under the Class I table.
Mordred’s violet eyes glowed with excitement. “I do not believe in wasting time with school vacations.”
“That’s not news, Uncle Mordred,” said Angus. “We all know we’ve never had a single day off from school.”
“At Dragon Whackers,” said Janice, “we got a whole
off in the summer.”
“Silence!” snapped the headmaster. “I have a treat for all you lads—and lasses!” Mordred smiled at the new girls. His gold tooth sparkled in the noonday light.
“Tomorrow, Saturday, and Sunday,” he went on, “some very important people are coming to a meeting here at DSA.”
“Is Sir Lancelot coming?” Erica asked eagerly. The famous knight was her hero. A tapestry of Sir Lancelot slaying a dragon hung on the wall above her cot in the Temporary Lasses’ Dorm.
“No, the people who are coming are a—uh—teachers,” Mordred said quickly. “Yes, that’s it. Teachers. They are coming here so I can teach them how to be better teachers. So you lads and lasses get a three-day vacation. You get to go home.”
“YAY! HOORAY!” cried the students.
They stomped and cheered. The noise sent the rats under the Class I table, dashing for their hole in the wall.
Home! Wiglaf had not been home in ever so long. He would see his mother, Molwena. And his father, Fergus. And his twelve brothers. After eating Frypot’s cooking at DSA, he was even looking forward to a big bowl of Molwena’s cabbage soup.
“There is something fishy about this,” Angus muttered as the cheering died down. “Uncle Mordred doesn’t give a fig about better teachers.”
“Go to your dorms and pack your bags,” Mordred was saying. “Make your cots. Leave the dorm clean as a whistle.” He reached for his hourglass and turned it upside down. “I want everyone out of here within the hour. Go on. Buh-bye!”
Wiglaf and the others raced from the dining hall, shouting, “Holiday! Holiday!”
The lads ran to their bunks. The lasses disappeared behind the burlap curtain that divided the Lads’ Dorm from the Temporary Lasses’ Dorm.
Erica reached under her cot and pulled out the largest piece of her Lancelot-on-the-Go Luggage—a huge trunk with a handle and with wheels on the bottom. She began packing.
Wiglaf had no trunk. Or even a bag. So he spread his blanket out on his cot and began tossing his things onto it. His rusty sword, Surekill. His Lucky Rag.
“At home I shall ride my red pony,” said Gwen, packing her tiara and fashion magazines.
“I shall go to the Toenail Fair,” said Torblad. “And have my fortune told!”
“I shall go home to the palace and get the royal treatment,” said Erica. She rolled up her Sir Lancelot tapestry and put it in her trunk. She packed her suit of Sir Lancelot armor. “What shall you do in Pinwick, Wiggie?”
“I shall...” Wiglaf stopped. He did not want to tell Erica that he would likely spend his holiday elbow-deep in greasy dishwater, scrubbing his mother’s soup pot. Or picking cabbages. Or packed inside the hovel with his twelve smelly brothers, listening to their father’s awful knock-knock jokes.
“I shall keep busy,” he said at last.
“I shall sleep late.” Angus grinned. “And eat cherry pie for breakfast.”
“Angus,” said Erica, “did you not tell me that your mother went to West Sheepdip?”
Angus’s smile faded. “I forgot!” he cried. “Mother is visiting her cousin, Lady Flockbleet. Oh, woe! I cannot go home!”
“Come home with me to the palace, then,” said Erica, buckling on her tool belt.
Angus wiped his nose. “Really?”
Erica nodded. “Chef Pierre can bake you a cherry pie for every meal.”
“With whipping cream?” asked Angus.
“With whipping cream,” said Erica.
“My parents are visiting my brother for Parents Weekend at Dragon Whackers,” said Janice. “Is there room for me, too?”
“Sure!” said Erica. “The palace has 435 bedrooms. You can take your pick.”
“Will you come home with me, too, Wiggie?” she said.
Wiglaf felt torn. He wanted to see his family. But here was a chance to stay at a real palace! A palace with a chef who baked cherry pies! A palace where someone else would wash the pots and pans. A palace where he might sleep in one of 435 bedrooms—all by himself!
Wiglaf was so very tempted! “Oh, but Daisy,” he said, remembering. “I cannot leave her here.”
“She can stay in the Royal Sty,” said Erica.
Wiglaf smiled and bowed. “In that case, Daisy and I would love to come!”
Wiglaf’s fingers trembled with excitement as he knotted his rope around his blanket. To think that he, a lowly Pinwick peasant, was going to the Royal Palace!
aitest thou lads and lasses!“ called Brother Dave. The chubby little monk came rushing across the castle yard toward the departing students. ”Thou canst not journey with empty stomachs. Here!“ He began handing out big chunks of his homemade peanut brittle from the basket he was carrying.
Wiglaf tucked a piece of the peanut candy into his pack. And a piece for Daisy, too.
“Thank you, Brother Dave,” he said.
“Worrieth not about Worm,” the monk whispered to Wiglaf, referring to the young dragon who sometimes hid out in the DSA library. “I shall looketh after him whilst thou art gone. Enjoyeth thy stay in Pinwick!”
“I am not going home, Brother Dave,” Wiglaf said. “Erica has invited me to come home with her to the palace.”
“Me too,” said Janice.
said Daisy, which meant, “me three.”
“Me four,” Angus chimed in. “We shall eat cherry pie for breakfast, lunch, and supper. Oh, I cannot wait to get there!”
“Farewell, then, lads and lasses,” said Brother Dave. “But remember, enjoyth thy journey. A journey canst bring wondrous surprises—and dangerous ones as well. Taketh care!”
“She’s saying good-bye to you, Brother Dave,” said Wiglaf.
“Fare thee well, Daisy,” said the monk. “Farewell, all!”
Wiglaf waved. Then the travelers walked through the gatehouse, over the DSA drawbridge, and turned north on Huntsman’s Path.
Wiglaf stuck a long stick through the knot on his blanket so that he might carry it on his shoulder. His load was light, and he was glad.
Erica’s trunk was not so light. Along with her Sir Lancelot tapestry and her Sir Lancelot armor, she had packed her Sir Lancelot dagger collection, a shoe from Sir Lancelot’s steed, and her precious brick from Sir Lancelot’s castle. She had tried to pack her Sir Lancelot first-aid kit and her Sir Lancelot beach towel. But alas! She could not squeeze in another item.
“How long does it take to reach the Royal Palace?” Wiglaf asked her.
“Many hours,” Erica said, pulling the mammoth wheeled trunk behind her. “Unless we take the shortcut through the Dark Forest.”
“Through the forest?” said Wiglaf uncertainly. He had never gone into the heart of the Dark Forest. Everyone knew it was full of strange creatures, fierce trolls, and crazy hermits.