This is the ninth chapter of a 10-chapter novella by teenager Arden Calhoun. We’ll publish more installments of this story in weeks to come.


The next day, Johanna went to the library to find out all she could about dragons. She discovered that very often, they lived in caves, and also very often, they weren’t very nice. In fact, they had a tendency to light anyone who came too close to them and their lair on fire. Johanna came to realize how lucky she was. She found out another key piece of information- all of a dragon’s body is fireproof, except for their bellybuttons! But don’t worry, they’re all extinct now, so no need to trouble yourself before going into deep dark caves with only one way out. Sure. So she also came to realize that yes, this book held good information (and possibly the only information she would find), but it also held some vital mistakes.

A few days later, Bob wasn’t in school. Johanna got worried.

“Where’s Bob?” she asked one of his teachers.

“Oh, Bob went on a solo hike. He’ll be back this evening,” the teacher responded. Johanna suddenly got a sinking feeling.

“Where is he hiking?” she asked nervously.

“Oh, he just went up Mount Astro. It’s right across the street. No need to look so worried,” replied the teacher. Johanna managed a tight smile and a thank you, and then turned away. There was a reason to worry. A very big reason. That was the mountain with the dragon’s lair. And the trail went right past the cave! Johanna rushed out of the building and poofed into dragon form once again. Then, without thinking whatsoever, she flew as fast as she could towards the cave.

From the book she had read and from being one, she knew that dragons had very strong senses, so she was sure that the evil cave dragon would smell and hear Bob when he got near the cave. And knowing Bob, his sense of adventure would lead him to want to explore inside the cave, and… Johanna didn’t even want to think about what would happen if things went in that direction. There had been lots of news stories about people going missing around this area, the reason always being blamed on raging rivers, storms, or avalanches, but now Johanna knew what the real reason was. Best to just focus and get to the cave before Bob did.


Too late. Before she could even see the cave, she heard roaring and screaming.

“YOU DARE TO TRESPASS AT MY CAVE? I’LL SHOW YOU WHAT HAPPENS TO TRESPASSERS!” roared the dragon. He took a deep breath, but Johanna swooped through and plucked Bob right out of his claws, just as the fire blazed out. Luckily, it hit a rock, not a human, dragon, or tree. Johanna flew down a safe distance and landed on a flat spot in the trail. She set down Bob here.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you!” cried Bob, breathless.

“No problem,” replied Johanna, “Be right back!” Before Bob could object, Johanna took to the air and flew straight towards the angry dragon. When she got close, the dragon turned around and saw her.

“YOU CAME BACK?” it sneered, “If I were you, I’d be miles away by now!”

“Yeah, well, you’re not me!” replied Johanna, “And you shouldn’t be so mean and rude. Leave my friends alone!”

“It’s my job to be mean and rude! I’m a dragon!” the evil dragon shouted.

As he said this, Johanna beat her wings hard, and shot straight up into the sky, and the dragon followed. Pretty soon, she was in the clouds, and the evil dragon couldn’t see her. He stopped right below them and started shooting fire up into the clouds, hoping to hit Johanna, not knowing that she had flown up higher than his range. This was actually the first part of her plan, to run him out of ammunition. When the fire blasts stopped coming, she dove down out of the clouds until she was directly under him. Then she lay back and blasted.

BOOM! The blast hit the evil dragon in the bellybutton, and at first, everything stayed the same. Then, he started filling up, blowing up and swelling like a giant balloon! After that, the bad dragon burst into a million pieces, shot out into the sun, and he was the one who got sizzled up like a sausage. Johanna flew around, landed, and transformed back into a human, breathless. Bob stared at her, amazed.

“How. Did. You. Do that?” Bob gasped. “Also, thank you so much! You just saved my life!” He ran to her and gave her a big hug.

“No problem,” Johanna answered, “Just a little help for a friend.” She hugged him back.

“Johanna! Bob!” a voice cried from behind them. They both let go and looked to see who it was. It was Ron, Morgan, and Mark. Morgan came over and gave her advisee a hug.

“We saw the fire blasts from down on campus!” Mark said.

“We were all so worried,” added Ron.

“But we knew that the light would land on top.” Morgan said, “Right guys?”

“Right!” they all exclaimed. Then they all walked down the mountain as Johanna told them all about the battle in the skies.

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