Authors: Kate McMullan
At that very moment, Count Moneypots and Lady Drippingwealth came out of the castle and started down the steps.
“Saint Dominick's dog!” exclaimed Count Moneypots as the yellow-haired horde sped toward him. “What is
“Peasants!” screamed Lady Drippingwealth as the brothers hurtled up the castle steps and through the door.
“Stop those ruffians!” Mordred shouted.
Fergus grinned. “That'll put an end to talk of pennies!”
Molwena pulled a flask of cabbage soup from her bag. Wiglaf nearly fainted from the stench. “Thâthank you, Mother,” he managed.
“It's for Dudwin, silly,” said Molwena. “I know you don't like my soup. The rest of the family can't get enough of it, but you, Wiglaf, have always been differâ” Molwena's eyes widened. “There's Queen
Wiglaf nodded. “She is Erica's mother andâ”
“Oh, I know who she is, don't I?” said Molwena. “I once spied her at the Pinwick Fair. 'Twas the year they had that two-headed calf. I snipped off a bit of her petticoat for a souvenir.”
?” cried Wiglaf.
“Wasn't I the envy of every wife in Pinwick!” Molwena smiled. “You were a newborn baby at the time, Wiggie. Say, who's that with Queen Barb?”
“Queen Marge of Palmlandia,” said Wiglaf.
“Look at her, waving a royal handkerchief. Aah, she's puttin' it into her pocket andâa bit of the corner's sticking out.” Molwena smiled. “Wouldn't I like to show
off back home!”
“Mother, no!” cried Wiglaf.
But Molwena was already making her way toward the queen.
Now Frypot stepped onto the platform in front of the castle. He picked up the megaphone and called, “Families, take your seats. Graduation is about to begin!”
iglaf hurried into the castle where Lobelia was handing out graduation gowns.
Angus was already pulling his on over his head. “This thing's itchy!” he cried.
Erica stared at Angus. “Your gown looks like a feed sack!” she said.
a feed sack,” said Lobelia. “Dyed black. They all are. Penny-pinching Mordred. What else could I do?”
The students struggled into the itchy gowns while Lobelia gave out graduation caps she'd made of parchment.
“Stay in line!” she said, herding the students back outside. “When Mordred calls your name, go up and get your diploma.”
As Wiglaf marched out to the castle yard, he
spotted his parents seated on a back bench. But where were his brothers?
The royals were sitting in the front row. Wiglaf and the other DSA students filed into the rows behind them.
How Wiglaf wished graduation were only a bad dream! He didn't want to leave his school and his friends. And when he walked away from DSA, Worm would not know where in the world he was.
“All stand for the headmaster!” called Frypot.
Mordred's red cape flapped behind him as he made his way to the platform. He smiled so broadly that his gold front tooth
his gold back molar sparkled in the sunlight.
“Royal persons!” boomed Mordred. “Ordinary parents! Peasants! Students! Whatever! Let's get starâ”
A watery blast landed inches from the headmaster.
SPLAT! SPLAT! SPLASH!
“Water balloons!” cried the students. They stomped their feet and cheered as more balloons rained down from above.
Wiglaf looked up. He spied his brothers! The yellow-haired knaves had somehow broken into Lady Lobelia's chamber and were leaning out her window, heaving water balloons!
Prince Rex leaped to his feet in the front row, shouting, “Keep 'em coming, lads! Keep 'em coming!”
Mordred ran around dodging the missiles and crying, “Stop! Stop!”
But the water-filled sheep bladders kept on coming.
Wiglaf enjoyed the barrage enormously! Yet he felt glad to be skinny and redheaded. No one would ever guess that he was kin to the beefy, yellow-haired water-balloon bombers.
When the balloons ran out, all the brothers shouted out together, “Happy graduation, Wiggie and Dudwin!”
Wiglaf slumped down on the bench. His cover was blown!
Frypot hurried onto the platform with a towel for Mordred.
“Just a little graduation fun!” said Mordred,
patting himself dry. “Brother Dave?” he called. “The diplomas!”
The little monk hurried up the steps with a big burlap sack clasped in his ink-stained fingers. He looked as if he'd been up all night.
Brother Dave handed Mordred a rolled parchment from the sack.
The headmaster called out the name on the diploma: “Knockworm!”
A Class III lad stood. He turned, smiled, and waved to his family.
“No waving!” called Mordred. “Graduation will take forever if you wave.”
Knockworm walked up to the platform.
“Here!” said Mordred, handing him his diploma.
“Thank you, sir!” said Knockworm.
“No thanking!” boomed Mordred. “Takes too long. Next!”
Brother Dave held out another diploma, but the headmaster shoved the little monk aside, plunged his arm into the sack, and grabbed a fistful of diplomas.
“Liverlot! Blogwit! Chadbroth! Meechum!
Pernickel!” Mordred shouted. “Fleabane! Hockbit! Fopslippers! Up here, NOW!”
Wiglaf watched groups of lads and lasses bound up to the platform. Mordred flung diplomas at them.
“This diploma says Peawallow!” cried one student. “But I'm Leekswort!”
“Doesn't matter!” roared Mordred. “Worthless scraps of paper,” he muttered. “Sort them out yourselves!”
“Angus! Torblad! Baldrick! Janice!” barked the headmaster. “Erica! Bragwort! Gwendolyn! Wiglaf!”
Wiglaf rose with the others from Class II.
“Here, here, here!” Mordred tossed diplomas every which way.
As Wiglaf unrolled his diploma, the sky began to darken.
“Fizzjelly!” Mordred called. “Coldspur! Stopgargle!”
The sky turned darker still and the wind picked up. Students held onto their graduation caps lest they blow away.
“Beltslinger!” Mordred cried.
The wind began to howl.
“It's like the minstrel's song,” Angus shouted over the wind. “A sudden change of weather. Remember?”
“The sky is black as night, Wiggie!” yelled Dudwin.
“It's all coming true!” cried Janice.
Wiglaf looked up. In the sky he made out two dark clouds shaped like dragons. He stared. No, not clouds. They
dragons. Huge dragons! Big enough to blot out the sun! And they were heading straight for DSA!
Now everyone saw the dragons. Everyone began running around the castle yard like frightened chickens looking for places to hide.
“The world is ending!” they shrieked. “Woe is us!”
“Now Prince Rex will stand his ground!” shouted Dudwin.
“Why do you think so?” Wiglaf shouted back.
“Because the minstrel's song said so, Wiggie!” yelled Dudwin. “And Rex is the only prince around!”
But Prince Rex was running for the stables, shoving people aside and shouting, “Make way for the royals!”
Wiglaf heard his mother cry, “The sky is falling!” as she ran for shelter.
“Come on, Wiggie!” cried Dudwin. “We have to hide!”
But Wiglaf stood where he was, looking up.
The dragons winged closer to DSA.
Count Moneypots, Lady Drippingwealth, and Sir Fuzzydice raced out through the castle gate. Wiglaf heard a splash as they leaped into the moat to save themselves.
“Draw your swords, dragon slayers!” cried Mordred, running for the castle. “I order you to slay these dragons!” He zoomed up the steps and inside to safety. “Send word when you've won the battle!” he called, and he slammed the heavy, iron door behind him.
veryone had run for cover.
Wiglaf stood alone in the castle yard.
Dudwin dashed out from the henhouse and ran to his brother.
“You must hide!” he cried. “These are giant dragons, Wiggie. They'll flame you!”
Wiglaf did not move.
The pair of enormous dragons landed in the castle yard, and the ground shook. One dragon was orange. The other was green.
“Hurry!” Dudwin grabbed Wiglaf's elbow and tried to drag him toward the henhouse.
But Wiglaf yanked his arm free and began running toward the dragons.
“You'll be roasted, Wiggie!” Dudwin called.
The green dragon turned its head and looked
at Wiglaf with a pair of yellow eyes with cherry-red centers.
“Worm!” Wiglaf cried as he ran. “Wooooorm!”
called the green dragon, bouncing toward Wiglaf.
The last time Wiglaf had seen him, Worm was as big as a horse. Now he was as big as a house!
Wiglaf reached his dragon. He tried to throw his arms around him, but Worm's neck was too big for a hug.
“You were gone so long, and I was so worried, Worm!” cried Wiglaf.
“I always come back to you, Mommy.”
“But what if you know not where I am?” said Wiglaf.
“I find you any place,”
said Worm. “
No matter where you are.”
“Oh, I am glad of that!” said Wiglaf. “Now tell me, where have you been?”
said Worm as the orange dragon stepped up beside him. She blinked her deep-blue eyes.
“This Shirley Dragon,”
“I meet Shirley at Lair. Shirley fly off with other dragons, and I fly off to go to school to learn dragon ways. But I miss Shirley, so I fly off to find her. Shirley miss me, too, and she fly off to find me.”
Shirley nuzzled Worm's neck. Worm purred happily.
“Lucky for us, we fi
nd each other.”
Now Wiglaf understood that it wasn't him Worm had gone searching for. It was Shirley Dragon.
Brother Dave dashed out from the stables.
“Worm!” he cried, running over. “Thou art back!”
“This is Shirley Dragon,” Wiglaf told Brother Dave.
“Shirley and I in love,”
“Want to get married!”
“Married?” cried Wiglaf. “You are but a baby, Worm!”
“Taketh another look at thine dragon, Wiglaf,” Brother Dave said.
Wiglaf swallowed. Worm was enormous. And he no longer spoke like a baby dragon. But marriage? That was a big step.
Worm bent close to Brother Dave.
“Willl you marrry us, Brrrr?”
“I shalt!” said Brother Dave. “Where wilt thine wedding taketh place?”
added Shirley Dragon.
Mordred stuck his head out of his office window and hollered, “What's going on down there?”
“These are friendly dragons, sir!” Wiglaf called up.
Hearing this, everyone peeped out at the dragons from their hiding spots.
Count Moneypots, Lady Drippingwealth, and Sir Fuzzydice staggered back through the castle gate, soaked to the bone and stinking of eel.
Mordred's head vanished from the window, and in no time, the red-caped headmaster dashed out the castle door.
“Moneypants! Lady Drippingwet!” he cried as he ran toward them. “Sir Fuzzy!”
“Get rid of the dragons, Mordie,” growled Sir Fuzzydice. “Or we're pulling out of the deal.”
“Pulling out?” squealed Mordred. “No, don't even THINK it!” He turned and smiled nervously at the dragons.
“Be gone!” He wiggled his fingers at them. “Go on! Shoo!”
The dragons only stared at the headmaster.
“Fly up to the clouds!” Mordred jabbed a finger at the sky. “Back where you came from. Go!”
Worm and Shirley stayed put.
“FLY!” cried Mordred. “Spread your wings! Up, up, and away!” The headmaster ran across the castle yard, flapping his arms to demonstrate.
“I'm not doing business with this lunatic,” said Lady Drippingwealth.
“Let us be gone!” cried Count Moneypots.
“Nooooo!” warbled Mordred. “Noooooooooooooooooooooooo!”
“Get a grip, Mordie,” said Sir Fuzzydice. “It's over.”
Mordred's face went scarlet. His violet eyes bulged dangerously as they searched the crowd. At last, those eyes found Wiglaf.
“YOU!” roared Mordred. “This is YOUR fault!”
“M-m-me, sir?” said Wiglaf.
“Friendly dragons, my fat foot!” snarled Mordred. “They're scaring away my backers!”
Mordred grabbed the front of Wiglaf's graduation feed sack and lifted him up until Wiglaf was looking directly into his smoldering, violet eyes.
“Getâ¦ridâ¦ofâ¦theâ¦dragonsâ¦NOW!” bellowed Mordred.
Angus ran out from the henhouse. “Uncle Mordred!” he cried. “Let him go!”