The Mage's Apprentice and the Great Dragon

by Rubberbando

Chapter One

The great polymorphing mage S'bar was walking through the woods with his apprentice J'ann when suddenly a large wolf leapt from the bushes with a look of hunger in its eyes.

"Stand Back!" S'bar said with much authority as he pushed J'ann aside.

S'bar quickly chanted a spell and tossed a small balloon full of magical ingredients towards the snarling beast. The balloon burst on impact with the wolf. The frightened beast recoiled in fear as a blanket of magical dust engulfed it.

Almost immediately, the sound of stretching rubber was heard as the wolf began to take on a smooth milky sheen. The wolf looked rather upset and began to growl at S'bar. Its body made soft squeaking noises at it readied itself to pounce on the old mage.

J'ann was scared. She feared for her master's life. S'bar could see the fear in her eyes.

"Do not fret, young mage. It has been rendered harmless" S'bar said, comforting his apprentice.

Just had S'bar finished those words, the wolf leapt at him, bearing its teeth. S'bar stayed as calm as he caught the rubberized beast with one hand by the neck. J'ann just stood there in awe of her master's work.

The wolf struggled against the mage's grip, biting and scratching at the man but found that its rubberized teeth and claws could do no harm. S'bar chuckled at the rubbery beast and tossed it up into the air just to watch the surprised look on its face as it slowly floated back down to him. J'ann watched in amusement and admired the way the light shown through its nearly transparent body.

When the wolf landed, S'bar grabbed onto it and removed the plug from the air nozzle that had appeared on its tail. The wolf just stood there in shock as a loud hissing was heard, its body slowly deflating. The wolf tried to make a run for it but soon found its legs could not hold its body weight as they lost air. A small whimper was heard escaping the wolf's muzzle as it finally collapsed into a pile of deflated latex.

"And that, my dear, is how we make balloon animals..." S'bar winked at J'ann as he rolled up the pile of latex and put it in his satchel.

"That is quite amazing, Master S'bar." J'ann was grinning from ear to ear.

"Come, young mage. There is much more for me to show you in the ways of polymorphism." S'bar beckoned her and they continued on their journey home.


Chapter Two

It had been several weeks since that incident in the woods, but seeing that wolf turned into a balloon was all J'ann could think about. Since then, S'bar had shown her how to transform creatures into plants, stone, and even into liquids. Yet, the wolf's balloon transformation still stuck with her the most. S'bar had left that morning to purchase more ingredients from other mages in nearby towns and asked J'ann to tend the shop.

Bored, J'ann started to flip through one of S'bar's spell books. To her surprise, she came across the balloon transformation spell. She read the instructions carefully and glanced around the shop to see if the ingredients were available. She was in luck. There was just enough for the spell.

Around noon, J'ann closed up the shop and decided to take a walk into the nearby woods for her lunch break. On her journey, she found herself glancing at just about everything she encountered and pondered turning it into a balloon. Bugs, rabbits, birds, rodents, trees, you name it, she considered balloonifying it.

In the end, she couldn't make up her mind and realized that she should be getting back to the shop when suddenly she heard cries of terror coming from the town. Quickly, she hurried back to town. When she arrived, she saw the great dragon circling over the town, getting ready to strike. A young man from the town saw J'ann and ran up to her.

"You...*huff* *huff* have to summon your master." the young man called out.

"What is happening?" J'ann asked.

"Some would-be thieves tried to steal some of the great dragon's treasure and woke it up. Now it threatens to burn down our village!" replied the young man.

"Master S'bar is out of town at the moment and isn't supposed to be back for several days." J'ann sighed.

"Is there anything YOU can do?" pleaded the young man.

J'ann thought carefully for a moment and then remembered the balloon spell she had in her satchel.

"Ok, I have an idea. First we need to lure the dragon away from the village." J'ann plotted.
"How do we do that?" asked the young man.

"Do you have anything on you made of gold?" J'ann asked.

"Actually, I have this locket that my mother gave me as a child." the young man as he revealed a gold necklace he was wearing under his shirt.

"That'll do nicely." J'ann smirked as she took the necklace from the young man.

"HEY! I have gold!" J'ann called out to the dragon circling overhead, waving around necklace, while the young man ran off to find cover.

Immediately, the dragon turned its attention towards J'ann and dived right at her. J'ann dropped and rolled away from its attack. The dragon swooped back into the air and began hovering over J'ann. It took a deep breath and let out a stream of fire at her. J'ann leapt to the side, just missing getting hit.

The dragon snarled and took another deep breath, getting ready to fire again. This time J'ann was ready. As the dragon took the breath, she flung the balloon filled with magical ingredients into its mouth while chanting the words, "baloonistransformis!"

The dragon swallowed the balloon with one big gulp. It stopped in surprise, wondering what it just ingested. Suddenly, the dragon felt a burbling in its tummy. The sound of stretching rubber was heard as a milky sheen spread across its body. It floated in the sky, looking itself over in dismay as it noticed itself becoming slightly translucent. Its body squeaked with each and every movement. A small 'pop' noise was heard as an air nozzle emerged from its tummy. It looked down at the new protrusion and snarled in discontent at J'ann.

"Ha! You can't hurt anyone anymore now, you mean old dragon!" J'ann taunted.

Enraged, the dragon took in a deep breath (tummy swelling all the way) and let out a blast at J'ann who just stood there scoffing at its attempt to attack her.

"Look out!" the young man from earlier yelled as he emerged from behind a tree where he was hiding and pushed J'ann out of the way of the dragon's attack, taking the brunt of it himself.

"What did you do that for?" J'ann asked. "It's not like it can breathe fire anymore."

J'ann turned around to see that even though the dragon did not breathe fire anymore, it did emit something else instead. It was a stream of fine mist and the young man was now engulfed in it.

When the mist cleared, J'ann saw the man lying on the ground, shivering in fear.

"Are you ok?" J'ann called out.

"I strange...something is not right.." He shuddered.

J'ann looked him over, only to discover to her horror that his clothing and skin had taken on a rubbery shine. The man moaned and pulled at his rubberized shirt until it was untucked and scratched at his stomach. A moment later, a small air nozzle emerged from his belly button.

"What have I done?" J'ann sighed as she held the balloonified man in her arms.

The dragon watched from overhead and seemed quite amused with what its new breath weapon had done. It then flew off into the woods, disappearing from J'ann's sight.


Chapter three

It had been a few days since J'ann transformed that dragon, but she proceeded on her quest to track it down and put an end to its rein of terror. It hadn't been that hard to follow its path of destruction as just about everything it encountered had been rubberized. J'ann found trees, forest animals, crops, buildings, and even entire villages transformed. It had been hard to keep up with the beast as it could fly much faster than she could walk. Eventually, she caught up with it at an amazon women's encampment.

Many of the women were already balloonified and floating about uncontrollably. The ones that hadn't been changed continued their fight, throwing spears and other sharp objects at the beast. However, they all just seemed to bounce off the dragon, no matter how hard they tried to pop it.

"You have to pull the plug out of its air nozzle in order to defeat it!" J'ann called out to the tribal leader.

The tribal leader nodded and blew on a conch shell she wore around her neck. Within a few moments, a large falcon appeared from the sky and landed on her shoulder. She whispered some commands to the bird and it took off into the sky and darted at the balloon dragon.

The dragon noticed its approach and began to fire at it. The falcon effortlessly dodged every attack and managed to hit the air nozzle with its curved beak, loosening the plug. The dragon quickly grabbed the falcon by the neck with its front claws. But that didn't stop the falcon from extending its own claws and plucking the plug from the air nozzle.

The dragon dropped the falcon in surprise as the air rushed out of it. The force of the escaping air propelled the dragon into the distance, never to be seen again.

The crowd cheered at the defeat of the great dragon. The amazons (that hadn't been transformed) held J'ann and their leader up into the air, praising their victory of the beast. However, J'ann couldn't help but think to herself that she'll have allot of explaining to do when Master S'bar returns.....

The End?

P.S. If you find a giant deflated dragon balloon, it might not be a such a good idea inflating it without first having it looked at by the local mage. ;-)