|The sun broke over the chilly rooftops of the New York skyline. It would be another couple hours though before it worked its way down the streets and canyons of the tall buildings.
In the residential area, in a simple building is where our story begins.
A loud alarm blared as a red-clawed hand smashed it. Jake Long yawned and sat up in bed, scratching his black hair and trying to wake up. It’d been almost ten years since he’d become the American Dragon and protector of all the hidden magical creatures of New York. And even though he nearly had a decade of experience under his belt, he still had a few surprises in store.
The first big surprise of the day was his hand. He couldn’t recall commanding it to change to dragon claws.
“Jake,” Came his father’s voice, “It’s time to get up.”
Sh*t, Jake grimaced and hid his hands under the covers as his dad opened the door.
“Come on son. Don’t wanna’ be late for you classes now.” Jakes dad seemed to bounce with joy.
“Sure Dad,” Jake forced himself to speak while willing his hand back to human shape. “Just give me a bit to get ready.”
Jake let out a sigh as his dad left and pulled out his hands, both were human for now.
Jake rode his skateboard to the college campus. Now at 19, he’d managed to scrape out of High school a couple years ago and was midway through his first college year. Thankfully the college had been close to home so he could live there, save cash on a dorm, and still get to classes easily.
All the way to class he’d been wondering why he’d changed and why it took such an effort to change back. Sure he’d had similar problems when he started learning to control his powers, but why was he having trouble now?
Jake soon met up with his African-American friend Trixy, one of the only two humans who actually knew who Jake was and understood a bit of the magical world.
“Yo Trix,” Jake grinned jumping off his board and landing next to her. “Anything up?”
“Not much, Jakey. I did hear that we’re gonna be having a ‘maturity test’ in psych class today.”
“I think I’ve heard about that. That’s where they test or mental age versus our physical age, right?”
“I think so.”
“Sounds interesting. So, how’s Spud been doing?”
“He’s fine.” She grinned. “it’s too bad he was held back. I’d hate to still be in High School.”
“Yah, I know.” Jake grinned as he followed her into the math classroom and took his usual seat by her near the back. “I’d hate being stuck with Rotwood again. I can’t believe he’s still got a job with how crazy he acts.”
Trixy only had time to nod before the teacher came in the room and class started.
The rest of the day passed normally. Well, until the last class Jake had. English.
The class was half over when a familiar tingle passed through Jakes left hand. Hiding it under the table quickly, he felt it once again assume dragon shape. His red scales flowing over his hand as black claws sprouted from the tips of his fingers.
Jake looked at his claws worryingly. Why was this happening?
Leaning over to Trixy, he whispered. “Trix, I gotta get outa here.”
She looked puzzled until he showed her his hand under the desk.
“If anybody asks, say I had some bad Thai food or I got sick. I’ll meet you at gramps place as soon as possible.”
Trixy nodded as Jake excused himself from the room, complaining of stomach cramps. However, he’d barely made it to the hall before another tingle passed through him, followed by the feeling of his dragon tail sliding down the inside of his pants leg.
Despite not being able to shift back, Jake tried to concentrate on what to do. Climbing up the nearby stairs, he made his way to the roof, tearing off the lock on the door and sprinting out as he felt the biggest tingle yet pass through him. Less than seconds later, his whole body shifted to his dragon form, his clothes vanishing with the magical energy that surrounded him.
Jake sighed and tried to relax as he looked himself over. His dragon self looked almost as it always had. Red scaled body with golden belly scales, a ridge of soft green spikes that traveled from his head down his back and tail. Even his black hair with green highlights and two under-bite fangs were there. Though personally, he didn’t much care for the fangs in the first place.
Everything seemed almost as normal as the last time, but there was a slight difference Jake noticed as he stood next to the door to the roof. Normally in dragon form, he was twice his human-self size. But now, he had to be at least a foot taller, pushing ten feet or more.
“I hope Gramps knows what’s going on. Because I’m sure getting freaked out.” Jake muttered as he stretched his wings and flew off the roof, careful to move from one rooftop to the next to stay hidden. As he traveled though, Jake felt some new feeling creep into his mind. Unlike the natural tingle of the transformation, it felt like he had an electric current running through him, constantly buzzing in his ears.
By the time he dived into the ally next to the store his Grandfather owned, Jake was stunned to see he’d actually expanded up another foot.
“Yo Gramps! Fu! I got a big problem here. Emphasis on ‘big’.” Jake called as he ducked while slipping in the back door.
“Whoa kid, you been taking steroids or something?” Fu, the magical shar-pei dog smirked from his nearby bed.
“This is no joke Fu, I need Gramps. Where is he?” Jake tried to keep calm, but the fact that he’d grown a foot on the way there, and the electric feeling was still running through him was starting to worry him.
“I’m here young one.” Jakes grandfather nodded, sliding in slowly, his small human form looking all the smaller next to Jakes larger body. “So I see it is time.”
“What do you mean?” Jake asked, a twinge of worry in his voice now.
“Calm yourself Jake, I will explain. Please, sit down.”
Jake, not trusting his larger size to a chair, sat on the floor and tried to calm his nerves as he explained about his sudden growth and not being able to shift to human form.
“Yes, I knew this time would come Jake. Just relax.” Jakes Grandfather looked the younger dragon over carefully for a long minute, as though he was both studying Jake and trying to find the right words to say.
“Jake,” he began slowly, “You know by now that all things develop in different ways. Many creatures are similar, growing in stages over a set amount of time. For dragons, we have a time where we are considered children up to a specific point. Then, over a period of three days, we undergo a special form of growth. For you see, up until now, you have been a child in size. Now you will gain your full dragon potential.”
“So, I’m about to go through Draconic puberty?” Jake asked feeling a little puzzled but more relieved.
“Yes young one. It will happen in stages. You have experienced the first three symptoms of it. Shifting to your natural form, being unable to alter shape, and experiencing the first small growth. The next stages will happen over one day each. We are fortunate that the last day falls on February 29th.”
“Why is that fortunate?” Jake asked puzzled, swearing he could feel himself another couple inches bigger since he’d arrived at the shop.
“It is the most magical day of the year. Every four years, all magical creatures are allowed to do whatever they want on this day. Even interact with humans. Because at the end of the day, all the creatures pool their energy to reverse the flow of time itself for one day. They retain the memory, but humans do not.”
“Ok. So why is that important for my growth?”
“Well Jake, it’s because of the stages you will go through. First, your body will need to store mass and energy to be used in the change, so you will probably get very hungry for a whole day. Second, that mass will convert to solid tissues and fibers in your body, a easy launching off point for the final part. And lastly, your body will convert that energy and fiber into everything needed to grow into your new size.”
“Wow, how big will I get Gramps?”
“Hard to say Jake. I’ve known of Dragons that have reached mountainous proportions.”
“Then, how come your form is small like all the other Dragons I’ve seen?”
“Due to the current nature of the world Jake, we’ve had to fit in. There is a spell I will teach you after this that will allow you to control your size. But for now, we need to get you to a place to prepare for the next part of your growth.”
Chapter 2: Sit and Weight
Jake stirred awake, feeling his body still in its dragon form. He yawned and moved slowly, working the kinks out of his back. The mattress wasn’t the most comfortable, but it was better than the concrete floor.
It was the next day after the changes had first started. Jakes Grandfather had taken him down to the harbor and led him to a warehouse just inside the waterfront. Inside crates of all sizes had been stacked up to the ceiling, nearly filling the room save for a small office area which Jakes Grandfather had told him he’d be sleeping in.
“G, are you serious?” Jake had said at the time, falling back to his slang out of habit, “There isn’t even enough room to swing a skateboard, let alone stand up.”
“Do not worry young one,” Jakes Grandfather had noted patiently, “By the end of tomorrow, you won’t have to worry about sleeping in there. But you must swear to me, that no matter what happens, you will not leave this building until the changes are done.”
“Swear it.” Jakes Grandfather looked dead serious.
Jake sighed. “Alright I swear.”
“Good, Fu Dog will check on you now and then, and I’ll tell your friends you’ll be here. However, you might not want them seeing you soon.”
Jake looked like he was about to ask what his Grandfather meant. But the look that was returned to him said both ‘you’ll see in time’ and ‘don’t bother asking’. So Jake just closed his mouth and nodded.
Now it was the next day. Jake squeezed his larger size out of the small office area and stood up, looking at the boxes. There was a note on the nearest one. It looked like an order form at first, but Jakes dragon eyes picked up the magically written lines of writing on it as well. Fu’s work no doubt.
This ordeal is not going to be an easy one, though Gramps has said some dragons actually enjoy it. But for some reason he wont tell me why. Sometimes I think he acts all mysterious just to seem cool.
Anyway, all these boxes are part of the changes you’ll be going through. I can’t say much more, but Gramps told me to tell you to just relax and let what happens happen; you’ll be fine in the end. Maybe even better then before. But you just have to let your dragon body do what it wants to.
See you later kid. Enjoy.
Jake looked over the boxes stacked floor to ceiling, each maybe half his size.
“All these for me? Geez, I wonder what’s in them?”
Jake shrugged and figured he might as well see. Digging his claws into the nearest box, he ripped the top off. Instantly his nose was assaulted with the smell of sugar in all its forms. Inside the box seemed to be a form of every candy treat ever produced and every fattening snack food ever made.
Unsure what to make of it, Jake tore open another crate to discover the same contents. And the third after that was the same. In no time, Jake realized that every box in the whole room was filled with enough sweets to keep a town’s dentist in the black for years.
Jakes first inclination was to gag at so many sweets, but oddly enough his stomach rumbled slightly.
“Must be time for breakfast.” Jake muttered. But seeing as how he couldn’t leave the building, and the crates only offered junk food, Jake selected out a candy bar and bit into it. “Ugh, candy for breakfast.” he muttered.
But strangely enough, it wasn’t as bad as he had thought. So he took another piece of candy and chomped it down too. His mind wandered as he ate, wondering about the changes he’d be going through. Obviously the first was enhanced hunger if he could stomach candy for breakfast, but he couldn’t figure out why. It wouldn’t be much of an asset in the outside world.
Jake was suddenly brought up short in his musings as he found his clawed hand couldn’t reach the candy. Jake was shocked to discover that without thinking he’d eaten more than half the contents of the crate. But that shouldn’t have stopped him from being able to reach it. Jake reached further and then felt why.
His stomach was pressing against the side of the crate.
Pulling back, Jake stifled a yelp as his once toned dragon belly scales bowed outwards into a round gut as big as a beach ball. Jake hefted and poked and rolled it, but couldn’t get over the fact that it was all him. It was soft and smooth, his scales gently stretching over the rounded surface. And only the slightest creases showed at his sides signifying his new weight he carried in his gut.
Jake was just about to panic when he remembered what his Grandpa had said. The day after Tomorrow would be February 29th, the day when all magical creatures pooled their magic to turn back time. Jake couldn’t remember though if his Grandpa had said it would be turned back one day or more, but looking at all the crates of candy and feeling his stomach growl again, Jake reasoned that Gramps and Fu wouldn’t let anything bad happen to him.
So Jake grabbed an armful of candy and began exploring the warehouse while he munched on it. Thankfully, despite there not being much unoccupied by the boxes of junk food, Jake discovered a small portable TV some Guard must’ve left behind. It wasn’t perfect reception, but Jake dragged it back to the boxes and sat back to eat as he flipped around.
It was a couple hours later when Jake had to get up to pull another crate closer to keep going. He staggered a bit as he felt his legs had thickened out a good deal. His behind and tail too sagged with added rolls of flab that hung heavily off his body. He had even felt a second chin sagging down over his neck at this point.
So, as he dragged the crate back to where he’d been sitting. He was still feeling uncomfortable about this unnatural hunger, but he trusted his grandpa and Fu. So he sat back on the empty crate he’d been using as a seat… only to have it smashed to splintery bits under his new weight.
Jake sat up quickly. He wasn’t in any pain after that tumble, and he knew dragon scales couldn’t get splinters like human skin could. So over all he was ok. In fact such a drop had caused his whole body to shake all over, and Jake was a little confused and surprised to find it actually felt good.
Shaking his head (and causing more rolling motions in his flabby body) Jake pulled the TV closer and up ended a few crates nearby for more food.
The sun was low in the afternoon sky when Jake next came out of the trance of the situation. It happened when he realized he could no longer see the TV. It took a lot of effort to stand up this time, but it was obvious why when he finally got to his clawed feet.
Jake was huge.
His stomach hung past his knees, thick and covered in rolls of fat. His scales were stretched wide, but also saw that there were many layers of scales under them, taking up the space left between the stretched outermost layer. His thick legs were bigger around than his whole dragon body had been before all this. His arms were nearly as thick and sagged down almost to covering his fat claws. His rear was big enough to fill a park bench and his tail was, if anything, thicker than either his legs or arms and covered in rolls. His neck was thick with at least three extra chins and huge cheeks rolled down to rest where his shoulders used to be.
Jake felt like he should have felt mortified for his huge size, but somehow every movement at this size felt wonderful. He also knew that after sitting down next time he might not be able to stand. Surprisingly though, he found that the remainder of the crates had already been unwrapped and poured into this huge funnel like device that had a tube the stretched to near where he’d been sitting.
Jake found this a bit disturbing not to have noticed it. But then, with how out of it he’d been, he supposed Fu might have entered the building and set it up. With a deep blush he realized also that, if that was true, his friends might have visited him and he wouldn’t have noticed.
His stomach growled again, this time nearly matching a lion’s roar in volume. Jake blushed even more and dragged the large hose over to where he’d been sitting. The drop to the floor this time almost caused the whole building to shake, despite it being a concrete floor, and yet Jake didn’t feel anything uncomfortable. Jake lifted the hose to his mouth and enjoyed the weight and rubbing from all the flab on his arms as he stuck it in his, thanks to his massive cheeks and chins, seemingly tiny maw. The flow started almost at once and Jake just let himself dissolve into his increasing fat folds….
It was a while after the sun had set when Jake awoke this time, stars were just starting to appear in the sky as he looked up through the skylight over head.
Surprisingly close too.
Jake tried to move and found such a feat was impossible. His arms were buried in rolls somewhere along his sides, his legs weight down by untold tons of flab. Even his head was held in place by numerous chins and cheeks bigger than the mattress he’d slept on the night before.
Jake tried to shift again and found he felt something rubbing the distant pars of hid form, and he realized with a start it was the walls of the warehouse! He was completely filling the whole building!
That thought sent him over the edge; his mind reeled at thoughts of being to massive. It’s hard to say what happened to Jake from such a realization, especially since he didn’t know himself and nobody else was present. But near as can be known, he literally passed out again from the feelings coming from such a massively huge and flab filled body.
And as Jake lay unconscious, the clock passed midnight and his dragon body shifted gears, preparing for the next step of this change…
Chapter 3: Muscles, Muscles Everywhere, but Not a Beach in Sight
Jake awoke the next morning feeling quite groggy. Not to mention stiff from lying on the concrete floor. His mind worked slowly, developing the observation that he was indeed lying on the concrete into the question ‘Why was he lying there?’ and from there it took a little longer to reach the answer to that one.
But when it happened it was like a bolt of electricity jumpstarted his mind. The memories of the other day came flooding back. And this time the next question ‘how could he be lying there when he was so big?’ came much faster.
Jake rose onto his clawed hands and looked around. The warehouse was near empty now, save for the pile of broken wood he assumed was the remains of all the crates yesterday, pressed up against the far right wall. The guard hut to the left was in ok condition still, but the windows in it had been shattered and the front was bowed inwards somewhat. All in all, signs that showed yesterday was not a dream were close at hand.
But they still left him the question about himself.
Hastily he rolled over onto his rear end, shifting his tail out of the way, in order to get a better look. He was relieved to see that he was no longer such a giant blob of dragon flesh, though the experience yesterday still had him with a slight gut. Nothing extreme, but his features were all slightly rounded still. A quick search of the guardhouse and discovery of a portable mirror confirmed it. Even his face was still rounded from the excess weight.
Sighing he set the mirror down and sat on the mattress in the guardhouse, ignoring the glass shards that did nothing to his scaly body. At least he was more mobile now, but he still felt embarrassed about his decidedly rounder body.
“Ugh, what a bizarre week this is turning out to be.” Jake sighed cupping his head in his claws and trying to sort things out in his mind. One thing he decided, he never wanted to get that big again. Though the moment he thought that, some tiny part of him twinged.
Before he could work out if it was good or bad that he felt that, there was a noise just outside the warehouse. Thinking quickly and reacting only slightly slower due to his still noticeable weight, Jake leapt out of the guard hut and then jumped up into the rafters of the building with the help of his strong wings. Jakes instincts were right this time. For while he’d hoped it had been his friends Trixy and Spud, it turned out to be two large unfamiliar figures.
“Is this where we are supposed to meet the boss?” one grunted, “It’s too open.”
“No you twit,” the other replied in a more nasally tone. “We’re meeting him tomorrow in the warehouse at the end of the dock. We just need to lie low until those rent-a-cop guards leave.”
“Right right.” The first grunted again as he eyed the guards hut. “Looks like they won’t come in here, with how bad this place looks.”
“Ah, what do you know? You’re a huge slob anyway.”
Jake cringed as they bickered back and forth, trying desperately to shift his positioning. He had to move slow though and hope their arguing drowned out any noise he might make. One too loud squeak from the metal under his claws, they’d look up, and…
Jake considered. He was still a dragon, but it would be a dangerous play. If even one of them saw him before he knocked them out, there might be hell to pay. Worse still would be if they saw and got away. Jake thought back to what his grandpa had told him, ‘Yes Jake, being a dragon you should help everybody whenever you can, humans and magical creatures alike. However, we cannot allow humans to know about us. Therefore you must use the utmost caution when dealing in matters with humans.’
Jake understood the warning, he’d come too close to being put on display by his former teacher to risk more humans like him springing up from some sighting of a magical creature. Still, he couldn’t deny the desire to take down these goons and stop them from whatever plan they had. But if he’d learned one thing from all his mistakes, it was to wait, and be patient. The ideal time would present itself. Not to mention he might overhear more of what the thugs plans were.
“So, did the boss mention what this gig was Rocko?” The thicker of the two grunted as he spied the portable TV Jake had been using and fiddled with it.
Rocko glanced around, as though checking for eavesdroppers, though thankfully he didn’t bother to look up as Jake was near directly overhead. “Not really. He was very vague about it. Just said some big shipment is coming through the port tonight and he don’t want nobody snooping around.”
“How much’s the pay?” the other grunted getting some reception from the half crushed TV.
“He said six thousand if we do the job, an extra four if we keep our traps shut and ask no questions.”
Jakes eyes widened at this. Whatever was going down was big if two simple thugs like this were getting such a payoff.
The larger thug whistled. “That’s some dough.”
“Yeah,” Rock agreed as he entered the guards hut as well. “So just remember, anybody asks, you didn’t see nothing tonight. Got it?”
There was no reply, so Jake could only guess the other thug had nodded in response. There was no other noise then save the faint indiscernible noise from the portable TV. Jake shifted uncomfortably. Such a perch in the rafters was giving him cramps. But even as he got into a more comfortable sitting position on one of the beans, he still felt cramps in his limbs. Not sure what else to do, Jake began rubbing his arms and legs, as well as his tail in an attempt to ease the pain.
However he got a bit of a surprise in that when he placed a claw on one arm, he found it a good bit thicker than normal, by easily a couple inches in diameter. And this time with rock hard muscle. Jake immediately looked himself over. While his stomach had receded to basketball size now, the rest of his body looked like a pro body builder.
In any other situation Jake might have been thrilled for this, but he also knew this was trouble. Muscle weighed more than fat, and if he was getting more buff there was a chance the rafters might break. Even if they just creaked too loud there was a chance of the thugs hearing it.
He had to find a way out and fast. Looking around quickly, he spotted a skylight nearby. Moving as fast as he dared while trying to stay quiet, he inched his way along the beams to the roof window. Looking at it from just a couple feet below, he pressed against it lightly.
Locked. Or jammed too tight to move. And Jake seriously hoped it was the former, as the latter would mean he might have to break the window.
Remembering his training, he stuck out his long snake-like tongue, trying to ignore the dusty taste of the metal and feel for a crack he could work it through. Finally he found one, and pressed through. Feeling near the edges outside, he found the simple latch and, with amazing tongue work, managed to undo it.
Jake had to get out of there, already he could feel his weight bending the metal under him. He pushed on the skylight again. This time it was stuck. He risked pushing harder and the window suddenly flew open. Jake barely had time to stretch out his tongue and grab the lip of the window frame before it broke on the rooftop.
Heaving a sigh he began working his way out. He just had one leg through when he head movement below. He barely had time to get out on the roof and close the skylight before the two thugs emerged from the guard hut.
"Did you hear something?" The one known as Rocko asked, looking around the empty space. There was no reply so Jake could only guess it was non-verbal in nature.
"Whatever," the first thug muttered, "We better hurry, the meeting starts in less than half an hour. If we're late the boss'll skin us alive."
The thugs turned towards the door and Jake thought about what he should do. Even flying his fastest he couldn't make it back to tell his Grandpa or Fu. And even then, they couldn't handle this sort of thing. Trixy and Spud were closer, but while they had a couple of Fu's potions, those were for extreme emergencies.
Jake looked around. Well, he'd already broken his promise not to leave the building, he might as well justify it.
Jake had the hardest time tailing the thugs. His body already too thick for his wings to keep in the air, he'd had to resort to jumping from roof to roof. However, his weight proved problematic as after he landed on the first roof it resulted in a loud bang which made the thugs jump and look around.
Realizing that rooftop travel would not be viable with so many flimsy roofs close at hand, Jake was forced to face facts. Despite it being more dangerous, he'd have to go street level. So for he rest of the way he tailed the thugs at a blocks distance, keeping out of sight. But it was becoming harder as he continued to grow with every passing minute.
Finally they entered a dark green warehouse at the end of docks. Just in time to, a muscle cramp hit Jake like a brick wall and he was forced to stretch out his legs from the almost-too-small dumpster he was hiding behind.
By now Jake could put a pro-bodybuilder to shame. His pecs looked like half filled beachballs and his six-pack looked more like a twelve-pack. Limbs were thicker than telephone poles and could probably lift one and swing it like a bat with ease. Even Jakes tail looked like a veritable cone of overlapping muscles.
And the sun had only just recently set, with hours to go until midnight.
"Damn," Jake whispered to himself, "Just how much bigger am I gonna get?"
Despite his size, Jake moved as slowly and quietly as he possibly could. His Dragon ears had already picked out six watchmen on duty nearby. And with his super hearing, he could tell where each was and the direction they were facing. All of them, near as he could tell, were built like tanks, big and buff, but probably little brains between them.
Jake smirked, the younger him would have barreled into that place without a second thought, but he'd made too many mistakes in the past not to have a plan handy this time.
Almost three hours later Jake was ready to scream with frustration. Nothing had some to mind. All the entrenches were too well guarded and his still thickening form made stealth near impossible.
Still he watched from his too small hiding spot, still hidden only thanks to the darkness of the alley. Sooner or later there would be a gap in the patrol. Everybody made mistakes. he just needed to be ready for it.
Still, it was another hour before he spotted it. A window of opportunity. Literally. The window was on the second story and wide open. The guard had turned from the watch post to look out into the harbor.
It was now or never.
Using some soft thrown away cushions to hide his footsteps, Jake took three great strides and leapt a the hole. For a moment he looked good. Then trouble struck as his too-wide shoulders wedged in it. Quickly wriggling with as little noise as he could manage, Jake squirmed through. And not a moment too soon. Had he still be outside he might have seen the guard missed looking down and spotting his tail snaking inside by just a matter of moments.
The warehouse was partitioned unusually. Half of the building had a room which took up two floors of space, stacked high with crates. The other half was divided into two floors for offices, the upper level being where Jake now stood. Moving as slow as he dared in order to stay quiet, he moved towards the sound of voices which came from the other half of the warehouse.
By now Jake was enormous, his height may have been normal, but all his muscle mass mad him almost as wide as he was tall. His shoulders alone could have filled any doorway, and his arms looked as big as bear kegs. His torso was bigger than any barrel and layered with every muscle shown in extreme definition. He tried to make his footfalls as light as possible with every cautious step, but the wood still creaked ominously as he crept closer.
In the center of the other half a large table had been set up. Various men in black suits gathered around talking in love voices. Even in the large room and with his excellent ears, it was hard to discern what they were saying. All of them looked tough though, even if they weren't as brawny as the guards, each had the look of a man who'd seen more than their fair share of prison.
Jake leaned forward slightly and watched as they huddled over what looked to be expensive artwork laid out on the table. No doubt stolen.
Then disaster struck.
A nearby clock started chiming as it struck twelve. The sound was loud enough that Jake jumped slightly and the railing in front of him broke. Jake tried to maintain his balance, but ended up reaching out and grabbing the chain of one of the lights dangling from the ceiling.
Under his massive weight the iron bars in the ceiling bent and a whole section of the roof came crashing down on top of him as he fell to the floor. Needless to say, all the gangsters were there in seconds, guns pulled and carefully shifting the wreckage.
Jake knew he had moments left, but as they all began to lift the last heavy chunk of roof, the clock struck twelve.
It was time....
Chapter 4: Growing Up is an Unnatural Part of Life
The next second was as if a bomb had gone off in the building. Jake felt as if his whole body had exploded with the surge of energy that rush through it. But just as fast it was over.
When Jake opened his eyes, his dragon vision saw through the clouds of dust all around him. It took him a minute to understand what he was seeing though. It was the edge of the hole in the roof.
He was a giant.
Standing at 40 feet tall, the top of his head stuck out of the roof. His arms brushed the walls as he shifted and he could feel his tree-trunk thick tail sweep whole crates away, turning them into splinters just by touching them.
He had to act fast, the criminals were blinded from the dust thrown up by his growth, but they'd be able to see again soon. Yanking down the chains from more light fixtures (thankfully not caving in the roof any further. Jake fashioned them into a giant lasso and slipped it around the criminals, quickly pulling them all into a bunch and tying them up with the remaining length of the chain.
By now the dust was thinning, Jake hurriedly grabbed the bundle of criminals and proceeded to sniff out any others nearby. He'd almost gotten them all when the dust was clear enough for him to be seen. One twitchy kid remained, unfortunately, he was holding a fully automatic and looked like he'd wet himself any second at the sight of Jake appearing out of the dust.
Jake tried to grab him quickly, but the gun went off. Jake winced reactively as he felt the multiple hits in his shoulder before he snagged the last criminal who fainted dead away.
Once he had them all bundled up tight for the cops, Jake checked where the bullets had hit. Amazingly, there was almost no sign of it. The only clue was one or two of his scales were dinged slightly, but the indents were so minor as to be nearly invisible, save for his powerful eyesight.
As Jake flew away from the harbor and back towards the shop, he was witness to the magical creatures having their field day. Herds of Centaurs were galloping down the street, pixies were dive bombing humans, he even saw a leprechaun trying to use a gold coin to buy some irish whisky from an all night liquor store.
Mostly his mind was on what had happened at the warehouse. The fact that the bullets hadn't hurt him had been gladdening, but it made him wonder... Was it simply part of the growth? Was he only bullet proof when huge? Or was this some new power that adult dragon scales had? He was determined to ask his grandfather about it all when he got back to the shop, whatever the case.
"Gone? What do you mean gone?"
"Emergency meeting kid, he had to."
Jake had arrived at the shop only to find his Grandfather missing and Fu guarding the shop from various troublemakers that had scattered when Jake arrived.
"What meeting?" Jake asked, feeling a little worried, looking down the street at all the playing magical creatures, wondering if the city would even be standing in another 23 hours.
"Emergency meeting of the Dragon counsel," Fu explained, "He wouldn't say much, just that it had something to do with todays Magical 'reset' at Midnight."
"I don't know Fu. I've got a weird feeling something's wrong here."
"You're tellin' me. Look at you, 40 feet tall if you're an inch and one hour hasn't gone by."
"Wait, what?" Jake asked, surprised, "Fu, are you saying I'm not done growing yet?"
"Heck no, you just got your first spurt. And let me tell ya kid, with your height doubling every hour, you are gonna out class every dragon on this planet."
"Doubling?" Jake looked worried. It was true he hadn't measured himself after the candy binge and the muscle he'd gained, but he thought he hadn't gown in that time at all. But if Jake had checked, he'd have found he'd grown to 20 feet tall by the time the first spurt had hit...
"Yep," Fu pulled a calculator from his folds, "And with some basic math, a little converting and... Wow, congratulations kid, you'll be the first dragon nearly the size of a planet yourself."
Jake would have collapsed then and there, but doing so would have crushed the shop.
"A planet!?" he mumbled worriedly, "Are you serious!?"
"Well not quite kid, you'll be just over six thousand three hundred miles tall, and the planet is only just under eight thousand, so it'll be a sizable difference, but you'd still be a new content unto yourself."
This time Jake did collapse, though he fell into the street thankfully and missed other magical creatures running past.
A whole continent in size... After a long stretch of no thoughts on the subject, Jake simply decided he didn't know how to feel about that.
Jake would never be sure quite how long he lay in the street just trying to wrap his mind around such an idea. He knew it wasn't an hour because he didn't feel the next spurt of growth in that time, but whether it was just a few minutes or nearly a half hour he couldn't be sure. Fu had left to make sure the back of the shop was secure and Jakes massive size prevented anyone from coming near him as he stared at the sky.
All he knew is an unidentifiable amount of time later, he awoke to a loud noise that reverberated through the concrete. He'd felt only one such earth rumbling vibration once before, some years back.
On September 11th.
Somewhere, not far away, a large building or buildings had collapsed or been blown apart.
His instincts had him in the air before he even knew he'd stood up. Flying above the city Jake spotted the zone of destruction quickly. Being on the Jersey side of the River, he was half-tempted to just ignore it. But then he noticed something rising through the dust and rubble.
For a weird moment Jake thought it was another dragon growing big like him, but the creature, despite being scaly, had no wings. The thing was large and ovoid in shape, covered in green scales and spotted with darker green splotches all over. A pair of large legs supported it as it stood, clawed feet ripping into the concrete below. It had four arms oddly enough, each looking strong, but still a bit weaker than such a huge body should have had. Atop the curve of it's rounded body was a long neck, thin, but still as big around as a car for the creatures size. It's face was reptilian, but with two extra eyes on horns of some sort where the forehead was.
Jake hovered in mid air, taking all this in for a long moment before he spotted the unicorn in the creatures hand as it brought the struggling creature up to it's huge mouth. Jake sped into action, dive bombing the monsters face and slashing with his claws as he tried to pull the unicorn free.
The creature didn't even react to the slashes save to jive jake a hard look before batting him away. Jake tumbled through the air but managed to regain his orientation quickly. Flying back up, he was ready to make another run at the creature, when he noticed something odd.
The creature was holding the unicorn close to it's face, but didn't seem to want to eat it. Instead, the scaly being inhaled deeply and Jake watched in amazement and some horror as a golden yellow energy was pulled from the unicorn and sucked down the creatures throat.
The unicorns struggles weakened as the reptile swelled slowly adding another dozen feet on it's hight before it stopped and threw the unicorn away.
Jake barely managed to catch the poor thing before it hit the ground. The Unicorn was in a sorry shape, it looked completely emaciated, as though it hadn't eaten in weeks and could die of starvation at any moment. But even as Jake held it, he could see some of the same golden energy pulled from his body and enter the unicorn, helping ease it's pain and restoring the creature slightly.
Jake pondered this turn of events and decided, whatever the monsters intentions, he needed to get the unicorn back to Fu first. So leaving the monster to search through the streets, Jake flew the poor unicorn back to the shop.
“This is bad kid, this is really bad,” Fu muttered looking over the unicorn and listening to Jakes story, “That thing drained her magic. She would have been dead in hours if you hadn't caught her.”
“It drained her magic?” Jake asked from the front of the store, where his head could barely fit inside the doorway, “How is that possible? I thought noting could transfer magic energies.”
“Almost nothing kid, you yourself did it when you caught her. Well, more like she did it to you sort of. Place a dry sponge against a wet sponge and the dry one will absorb some water.”
“Back to the monster Fu, what are we going to do about this thing? If it's feeing on magical energies this is the worst day it could have shown up. Magical creatures are out in force.”
Fu sighed, “I won't kid ya kid, this is the worst situation I've seen yet. I bet this thing has something to do with what Gramps was talking about too.”
“The emergency about the 'reset' at midnight?” Jake mused and then a thought struck him, “Fu, all the magical creatures have to agree and pool the magic right?”
“Yeah.” the magical Sharpei nodded.
“So, if this creature is sucking up the magic and it's not part of the magical community...”
“...then if it absorbs enough that when the reset time comes it'll be impossible.” Fu finished with eyes wide, “Kid you've got to get out there and stop this creature however you can!”
“But how can I?” Jake asked, “Last I saw it was almost four times my size.”
Jake paused as he felt a tingle run through his body, quickly yanking his head out the door as he felt his body begin to grow again. As his body reached a full 80 feet tall the shop front didn't even reach his knees.
“Well, that should help some at least,” Fu replied stepping out of the shop, “Now go get 'em kid. I'll spread the word for magical beings to get out of the way.”
Jake just nodded, not trusting his voice to not break windows at his new size. Flying off Jake began what was to be the longest day of his life.
Dawn is a beautiful time of the day. Normally. As the sun rose over New York this day it found a scene not unlike the classic Godzilla movies. The giant green monster tussled with a near equally sized dragon, Jake. Jake was really getting worried now, they'd been at it for just over five hours, and despite his size doubling every hour, the creature managed to find just enough magical beings to drain dry and keep up.
By now Jakes Grandpa had returned, along with whatever dragons could be spared, but even the biggest of their natural forms wouldn't have been more than child sized to Jake at this point. So they had mostly set up a sort of search and rescue team for all the beings that had been drained and helped get others out of the way.
Jake backed off briefly from the fight, silently marveling that he was now twice as tall as the Empire State Building, the tallest building in New York. This also struck a harsh chord though as jake realized he was doing almost as much damage to the city as the monster. True, if he won, everything could be reset at midnight, but if he lost... Jake couldn't bear the thought and tackled the creature again, pushing it closer to the ocean, in hopes of dragging the battle out to sea.
The plan worked and huge waves crashed against the buildings as Jake and the creature tumbed into the sea. Jake would have been overcome with grief if he focused on how many might have just drowned from the waves, but he kept his mind focused on the battle. He had to win. He had to set everything right.
Noontime found the combatants fighting further out at see, the water barely coming up to jakes thighs as he now towered an amazing 31 miles tall, taller than New York was wide. By now a plan was forming in Jakes mind as to what to do with the creature, who still managed to keep up by finding mermaids and silkies in the ocean depths.
Jake had tried many ways of getting the magic out of the creature, trying to make it throw up, squeezing it tightly, even trying to roast it with his breath did little to nothing. There was only one thing he could think of. He'd need to ware down the monster, wait until the last hour (if possible) then hurl the giant creature into the sun. He could only pray he'd have the strength to do so before their time ran out.
For now, all he could do was keep the creature from feasting on magic. So far it had worked, the monster was a head shorter than Jake by this point and soon Jake would double in size again.
However, when the one o' clock growth came about, he had a problem. The Earths atmosphere was only sixty miles thick, and he was fast approaching that limit. The cold, void of space loomed over him and he had to crouch to keep breathing.
From there the battle got harder. Ever hour Jake ducked lower and lower, staying within the atmosphere as best he could, and still the monster grew beside him, completely unhindered by the cold vacuum of space.
Six o' clock (NY time) was fast approaching, and Jake was pressed flat against the planet, his back in the cold of space. If not for his thick dragon scales it would have hurt like hell. The monster was barely the size of his arm, despite having near free reign for the past couple hours.
Jake braced himself, took the deepest breath he dared, and grabbed the monster before standing up. The cold was like a lance through his heart, but he braved it as he summoned all his strength to hurl the creature directly at the sun.
It vanished into the sunlight and Jake dropped to the planet, unsure if it had even worked.
Midnight neared, Jakes skin inexplicably burned with the cold of space, Even pressed in close to the planet,, much of his body was still in the cold of space. He concentrated on his inner fire, trying desperately to stay warm as the final moments ticked down.
He could feel it, the last spurt happening and at the same time, this other force, a gathering of power. But he could not identify it as he slipped into unconsciousness from lack of air.
His eyes snapped open, rubble covered his body. He only had a moment before he dug his way through the wooden planks below and feel into the water.
He'd come back, the day had started over, and he'd just missed getting spotted by the gangsters above. Swimming away, he emerged from the water and took the time to look over himself. He was back to his old normal dragon body as far as he could see. Nothing unusual or out of the ordinary.
Still, before he did anything else, he wanted those crooks caught. So he slipped over to a pay phone and dialed the police, informing them of what he'd seen. He left back for the shop as soon as the cops arrived and busted the art smugglers.
Sometime later he sat in the shop, explaining all that had happened to his friends. Needless to say, his Grandpa and Fu remembered, but he had to fill in Trixy and Spud on all the details. He was also thankful to hear that his plan had worked. Even with his strength, the monster had hit the sun, been vaporized, and released all the magical energy just in time. And everything had been restored to normal.
Jake returned home that night and sighed happily as he sank into bed. Idly he turned his hand into a claw and back again, a bit of reassurance that all was under control once more.
Still, he couldn't stop thinking about all the changes he'd gone through, and how good some of them had felt. Maybe some day he'd have to explore the possibilities.
For now though, all he wanted was to sleep. He had been one long day...