Kinya adjusted the rough brown hood on her robe. She was so excited, she was almost bouncing up and down in her seat. A fair-haired boy sitting across the hall looked at her and smiled nervously, and Kinya grinned back at him, her eyes squishing into thin lines through her huge spectacles. The boy's eyes widened in astonishment. He didn't know anyone's face could stretch like that, and turned his attention back to the stone floors of the castle.

"Kinya Rintoppe?" a the voice of a bored squire came from the door.

"ummm… yay!" Kinya squeaked as she went to follow him. As they walked through the halls, they passed portraits of the most famous dragon tamers in the country: Harold the Magnificent, Pinot the Gracious, Niacenth the wealthy… Kinya couldn't believe she was about to become one of them. She imagined herself with an incredibly strong dragon, whose flames could decimate enemy armies within minutes, or a beautiful female dragon, endowed with a great and terrible intelligence. They would travel the world together, solving the mysteries of life, the universe, and everything…

Then the door opened, and Kinya saw the old headmaster sitting behind a tiny cardtable. "What happened to your huge oak desk?" Kinya asked, tilting her head to the side.

"Budget cuts." The headmaster said, rubbing his forehead and disturbing thin white locks.

"Huh." Kinya said, a bit confused. She sat down in the folding chair across from his.

"Yes, the monster of No-Dragon-Left-Behind is killing us." The headmaster sighed, "But that's not what we're here to talk about today. I hear this is the day you are to receive a dragon."

Kinya squealed again.

"Stop that!" the headmaster said, swatting her hand with a rolled-up newspaper. Kinya pursed her lips in anger and rubbed her hand. "Anyway, your dragon is out the door this way, the Board has gone over your tests and we think you'll get along best with this one." He walked outside to the grassy field with Kinya following close behind. Suddenly, he stopped and Kinya ran into him. He snorted and kept walking.

"This," he said loudly, "Is your dragon!"

Kinya's mouth dropped open. The dragon was huge, about the size of a small house, and red, just like the one in Kinya's dreams. Well, actually, Kinya had dreamed of dragons of all colors of the rainbow, but now she only made room in her memory for those of red dragons. It also had two huge fangs jutting out of its mouth like a snake, and a bunch of dull, but extremely hard brown studs on its back. It's eyes were blank and white except for the pupil, which stared out like the hole in a powdered donut. It blinked a few times before roaring, "Garggghhhlfgickak!" and charging at Kinya. Kinya screamed and dropped to the ground, pleading for mercy. The dragon tripped over a rock and flipped head over heels twice. "I have you now!" it growled, attacking the rock again and again with its tail.

"What's it doing?" Kinya shouted over the ruckus.

"I don't know. We were told this dragon was a bit—problematic." The headmaster yelled, shading his eyes from the glare as the dragon began to blow flame at the rock, melting it.

"Problematic?" Kinya asked, now that the dragon was quiet and panting by the side, allowing itself a thin smile of victory.

"Yes, problematic. You see, I'm afraid we may have… kinda, umm…dropped it when it was an egg."

"You… you what?!" Kinya asked incredulously.

"Nothing." The headmaster smiled widely and thought I'll use my brainwashing powers on her so that she won't remember…kehehehe…

"So, what were we talking about again? It's as if someone used their brainwashing powers to make me forget… have you ever had that happen?" Kinya asked.

It worked! The headmaster thought. "We were talking about the advantage of amethyst crystal magic over cerulean crystal magic."

"Crystals?" Kinya looked over at the melted rock. "Wait, what about my dragon?"

"Oh, your… your dragon… yes. Well, I—uh—I think I've got one right here." He bent down to pick something up off the ground. He held it and eye level and Kinya saw a long, brown stick.

"A stick?"

"No, a dragon. But it has powers to appear as a stick—that's what makes it so special. It can, uh—change shape. It's a shape-shifter-changer-dragon." He said, holding the stick in his outstretched palm, "Go ahead, take it, it won't bite."

The red dragon had become bored after his defeat of the rocks and galumphed over to where the headmaster was standing and holding out the stick. "Ouuu, thank you sooo much!" said the dragon, and he craned his neck down and swallowed the stick in one gulp. "Hyuk hyuk hyuk…" he chuckled as he pranced away.

"NOOOOOO!!!" Kinya cried as she dropped to her knees and started to tear at her curly dirty-blonde hair, "I didn't even get to know you!!!!!" she sobbed.

"Aww, don't cry…" the headmaster looked back at the dragon and at Kinya. Then he noticed a stick lying on the ground between them. He picked it up and held it out towards the dragon, who started bounding in his direction and then he turned around and showed it to Kinya. "Hey, look, your dragon's back." He said.

Kinya perked up and smiled.

"And now it's going to change form." He said, holding it behind his back where the dragon came up and snatched it. "Ta-da!" he said, stepping aside as Kinya admired the dragon and the dragon stared blankly at Kinya. "There's your dragon, there's your human, now you can both leave." He bowed slightly and pointed to the iron gate with both hands.

"C'mon, Watahmelon!" Kinya said as she got on the red dragon's back and spurred him on. He jumped off the ground and pumped the air with his left wing, letting the right go limp. He glided down to the ground.

"Watahmelon?" he asked as he pushed off from the ground again. "Wha's watamelon?"

"It's your name," she was forced to pause as they bounced off the ground, "silly. It had… a nice ring to it. Long names usually work well on dragons."

"Ma… ma name?" the dragon asked. He gained flight again.

"Yes, your name. I should know all about dragon names. In fact, I know all about dragons. I'm the president of the dragon fan club," she paused as they hit the ground again.

"Don't ya know." The dragon finished.

Back near the melted rock, the headmaster sighed, "I think this is going to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship." As the pair hopped and flopped and glided into the distance.