Authors: Kate McMullan
“I think sssssso,” said Erica.
“But I can't carry my ssssstash!” squealed Angus.
“I'm hungry for sweetssssss,” said Janice. “Let'sss eat it now!”
“Oh, all right!” squeaked Angus.
Without another word, the five flies descended on Angus's stash. They ate and ate, though they hardly made a dent in the Camelot Crunch Bars, Licorice Dice, Medieval Marshmallows, Ginger Lollies, or Jolly Jelly Worms.
When they could eat no more, they spread their wings and took to the air. With Erica in the lead, off they flew to Dragon Slackers' Academy.
They flew on their tiny fly wings for what seemed like forever. At last they landed in the DSA castle yard near old Straw Guts, a scarecrow knight the dragons used for practice.
“Ready?” squeaked Wiglaf.
Together they chanted, “FLY NO MORE!”
Zounds! Wiglaf felt as if he were being stretched like a piece of toffee as he grew back into himself.
“You and your wizard,” grumbled Erica, shaking out her legs.
“Well, here we are!” said Wiglaf. He felt like calling for Worm, but that would be too risky.
Dudwin looked at the castle. “That looks kind of like our school,” he said. “Only ten times bigger. Dragons go here?”
“Only slacker dragons, Dud,” said Wiglaf. “Slacker dragons do not like to flame villages or fight knights.”
“That time Zelnoc changed us into dragons, we flew away from our DSA and landed at this school,” added Angus.
“And you say it's dangerous for us to be here?” Janice asked excitedly.
“Very dangerous!” said Erica.
“The teacher dragons tried to flame us the last time we were here,” put in Angus.
“Oh boy!” said Janice. “Maybe we'll see some real action!”
“Come on!” Wiglaf said more bravely than he felt. “Let us find Worm.”
Keeping low, the questers made their way toward the castle. They reached it just as two dragons burst out the door, nearly flattening them.
“Oh my gosh!” cried a green-and-white-striped dragon. “Little knights!”
“Are you here to slay us?” cried a yellow-and-black dragon with a shiny, black crest.
“No, never!” cried Wiglaf. He stared at the
yellow-and-black dragon. “Taxi?” he said. He turned to the green-and-white one. “Sissy! Do you not remember me?”
“You dudes were the fake dragons!” Taxi exclaimed.
“I remember!” exclaimed Sissy. “You were under a spell or something.”
Wiglaf nodded. “Now we have come looking for a real dragon, Worm. He is green and has yellow eyes with cherry-red centers. Do you know him?”
“Oh, yeah, sure!” said Sissy.
“Hooray! Hooray!” cried all the questers, forgetting that their lives were in danger.
Wiglaf grinned from ear to ear. “Where is he?”
“Dunno,” said Taxi. “He took off yesterday.”
“Say not so!” cried Wiglaf.
“He did,” said Sissy. “I think he was homesick or something.”
“Poor dude,” said Taxi. “Said he had to find somebody he missed a whole lot.”
Wiglaf couldn't help but think the one Worm missed was him. He wonderedâcould Worm be on
his way back to Dragon Slayers' Academy to find him right now?
“Oh gosh,” said Sissy. “Here comes Ace Lizzard.”
“If he sees us, he'll throw us into the dungeon!” cried Erica.
“Or worse!” cried Angus.
“Hide behind us, guys,” said Sissy. “Quick!”
The questers dived behind Sissy and Taxi, who spread out their wings as a large, pale-green dragon landed in front of them. He pushed his flying goggles up onto his head.
“Are you two cutting class again?” Ace Lizzard asked the dragons.
“Sort of,” said Taxi.
“We're flunking out of Flaming class, Mr. Lizzard,” said Sissy.
“All the more reason you shouldâ” Ace Lizzard's eyes widened. “What's behind your backs? Are you slackers stealing school supplies?”
“Uh, not today, Mr. Lizzard,” said Taxi.
Ace craned his long neck and peered behind the dragons.
“Flaming turrets!” he cried. “Dragon slayers!”
“Only pupils,” Angus squeaked. “Not real ones.”
“Except for Wiglaf,” said Dudwin. “He has slain two dragons.”
“Shush, Dud!” cried Wiglaf. He turned to the flying teacher. “Sir, we come in peace,” he said. “We are on a quest to find Worm, a young dragonânot to slay him,” he added quickly.
Ace frowned. “And what have you to do with Worm?”
“We raised him from a pipling,” said Angus.
“We love Worm,” added Wiglaf.
“And yet,” said Ace, “I just heard that you have slain two dragons.”
“Only by accident!” cried Wiglaf.
“Wiggie won't even squish a roach,” put in Dudwin.
Sissy spoke up. “These guys like dragons, Mr. Lizzard.”
Ace stared at Wiglaf. “Well, you don't look like much of a dragon slayer,” he said.
, sir,” said Wiglaf. “I think Worm may have
returned to our school to findâ¦someone he missed. So we must go back, too.”
“'Tis a long walk for stubby, human legs,” said Ace Lizzard.
“I'll never make it,” moaned Angus.
“Since you came here because you truly care for Worm,” Ace said, “I'll give you a ride back to your school.”
“Oh, thank you, sir!” cried Angus.
Ace pulled on his flying goggles and hunkered down in the grass. Wiglaf climbed onto his back and held out a hand for Dudwin. Soon, all five questers were aboard.
Wiglaf held on tight as the dragon ran, spread his wings, and took to the air.
“Good-bye, Sissy! Good-bye, Taxi!” the questers shouted to the dragons on the ground who grew smaller and smaller as Ace Lizzard rose higher in the air.
“Hang on for a tight curve!” called Ace as he banked to the left.
“The minstrel's prophecy is coming true,
Wiggie!” Dudwin shouted over the flapping of wings. “I'm flying on the back of a dragon!”
“Yaaaaa-hoooo!” yelled Janice, and her gum dropped out of her mouth.
Wiglaf looked down. He could see for miles. The whole flight, he kept a lookout for Worm but saw not a sign of his dear dragon. That could only mean one thing: Worm was already at Dragon Slayers' Academy!
ce dropped his passengers off outside the village of Toenail.
“Wouldn't do for me to fly too near
DSA,” he said.
“Thank you, Mr. Lizzard!” cried the questers.
Ace gave a salute, spread his wings again, and took off.
The sun was going down as the questers headed south on Huntsman's Path.
“Just think!” said Wiglaf. “Worm may be in the library with Brother Dave right now!”
“What's all that light up ahead?” said Janice.
“'Tis DSA!” exclaimed Erica. “All lit up with torches!”
As tired and hungry as they were, the questers broke into a run. They reached their school and started over the drawbridge.
“What's this?” cried Erica, and they all looked up at a new golden sign blazing over the castle gate:
MORDRED'S CASTLE OF FORTUNE
mean?” asked Dudwin.
“Let's find out what crazy thing is going on now!” cried Janice.
They ran through the gate to the castle yard. Dozens of small tents dotted the ground. Student teachers stood on tall ladders, and by the light of many torches, they were painting the castle gold.
“Is this some sort of camping trip?” said Dudwin.
“I fear Uncle Mordred has lost his mind!” cried Angus.
Baldrick de Bold stuck his head out of a tent and said, “Shhhhhh!!”
“But why is everyone sleeping out here?” whispered Wiglaf.
“The dorm's been turned into a bingo parlor,” Baldrick said, sniveling from an awful cold.
“Bingo?” cried Janice. “I love bingo!”
“We don't get to play,” said Baldrick, wiping his nose on his sleeve. “It's for the customers what's coming next week.”
“What customers?” cried Angus. “What's happening around here?”
Wiglaf didn't care what was happening. “I'm going up to the library to see Worm!” he said.
“Can't,” said Torblad, sticking his head out of another tent. “Lads and lasses aren't allowed in the castle till breakfast.”
Wiglaf cupped his hands to his mouth and shouted in the direction of the library tower, “Worm! Worm! Are you there?”
“SHHHHH!” came a loud chorus from inside the tents.
“Find a spot and go to sleep!” cried Torblad.
While his friends spread their blankets on an empty patch of grass beside the practice dragon, Wiglaf ran to the henhouse. Perhaps his pig, Daisy, had seen Worm.
cried Daisy when she saw him.
“Id-day ou-yay ind-fay Orm-way?”
“No,” said Wiglaf. “I was hoping he was here at school.”
Daisy shook her head.
“Woe is me!” cried Wiglaf. “Where can that dragon be?”
“Orm-way ill-way ow-hay up-ay,”
Wiglaf sighed. Then he told Daisy how a minstrel told him he was not who he seemed to be, how they had nearly been eaten by trolls, and how a dragon had flown them back to DSA.
As he walked slowly back to his friends across the castle yard, Wiglaf spied two student teachers carrying what looked like a roulette wheel, and now he wanted to know: What
happening at DSA?
The next morning at sun up, Frypot banged his soup ladle on his frying pan: BONG! BONG! BONG!
“Up and at 'em, lads!” cried the cook. “The black bread mold is spreading faster than usual this morning, so get your breakfast, quick!”
The questers rolled up their blankets and hurried to the dining hall. Another new sign greeted them above the doorway:
WINDS OF FORTUNE DINING ROOM
“This gets weirder and weirder!” said Janice happily as she went through the line.
The questers hadn't eaten since they were flies buzzing around Angus's stash, so they ate every bite of their eel and moldy bread.
Then Wiglaf turned to Angus. “Let us try to sneak up to the library now,” he whispered. “Brother Dave may have some news of Worm.”
Without being noticed, the two lads left the dining hall and raced up the 427 steps of the library tower. After all their hard questing, Angus wasn't even out of breath.
“Brother Dave?” called Wiglaf as he walked into the book-filled room.
“Ah, lads!” said the little monk, coming out to meet them. “I canst telleth from thine faces that thou didst not findeth Worm.”
“No,” Wiglaf said sadly. “And you haven't heard from him?”
Brother Dave shook his head. “Do not giveth up hope, lads,” he said. “I knowest thy Worm shalt come back to thee soon.”
Angus peered out through a slit in the castle wall.
“There are crazy signs all over the place,” he said. “Listen to this:
Try-Your-Luck Ball Toss, two cents. Guess How Many Jelly Worms in the Jar, two cents. Mordie Guesses Your Weight, three cents. If he's wrong, you win a brand-new penny!”
He turned toward the monk. “What is Uncle Mordred up to?”
“I knoweth not,” said Brother Dave. “Yet he hast turneth yon classrooms into gaming parlors. And he hast sent all thine teachers off to Cheatin' Charlie's School of Card Dealing.” The little monk shrugged. “So long as thou art here, lads, why not checketh out some books?”
The Big Surprise
by Omar Gosh. Angus chose
The Amazing Sandwich
by Gladys Lunchtime. Then the lads went back down the 427 steps straight to Frypot, who handed them each a scrub brush. For the rest of the day, they scrubbed writing off the privy walls.
Angus scrubbed off
Mordred sleeps with a teddy bear!
Mordred's pajamas have a butt fl