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The Reluctant Dark Knight/Part 1

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Marketplace Pathway

As is usual, Farmer, Greedy, and Brainy were first to rise in the Smurf Village to begin the fair autumn day. While the little baking Smurf fixed smurfberry muffins and the gardener dug up fresh vegetables with his hoe, Brainy placed his glasses over his eyes and approached the window of his humble abode. With a smile, he admired the early morning sun as it came into view, spreading a warming light across the land.

“Ah, what a smurf-tacular morning to be a Smurf,” he mumbled aloud, “I should go wake Papa Smurf. Hopefully he’ll agree with my suggestion about smurfing the sun’s rays as a new energy smurf – after all, it’s the most logical solution.” Then he walked out the door and made his way to their leading figure’s house – it was only a short stroll past the well and towards Greedy’s kitchen. He knocked on the door three times.

“Papa Smurf, oh Papa Smurf,” he called, “It’s me, Brainy Smurf, your assistant!” He heard footsteps on the other side and smiled. The older Smurf opened the door with tired eyes.

“Hello, Brainy,” he greeted. Out of his apprentice’s hands appeared a scroll. “Oh my, what is that for?”

“I’m so glad you asked, Papa Smurf – it’s a page of a few more genius quotes for my book, Quotations from Brainy Smurf, written by Brainy Smurf,” he replied proudly. With a shake of his head, Papa Smurf trod along with him following close behind, chattering nonstop; in short, it was just another smurfy day.

. . .

Meanwhile in the castle outside the forest, Peewit was hiding under the cupboards while the King’s chef prepared breakfast; he was waiting for him to leave so he could make off with a few dozen rolls and sausage links. The hearty scents of sugar, baked bread, and sizzling meats were enough to lure anyone into this room at the moment – if the food wasn’t watched carefully, Peewit would show off his magic skills by making it all disappear.

He listened carefully through the door; no footsteps were fading yet, so he whined, whispering to himself: “Come on…when’re you gonna leave?” Just then his wish came true – the cook arranged a fine platter of food and left the room. “Finally!” he exclaimed, hopping out from his hiding place. Immediately he grabbed a bread roll and a chalet of water, licking his lips with delight, and he beamed.

Several minutes later, the cook returned and his jaw dropped at the sight of the court jester surrounded by crusts, empty cups, and a large plate with scraps of dried meat skin left on it. He reached for the ladle on the counter and began chasing him, shouting, “You little thief! Get out of my kitchen this instant!”

“Yikes!” Peewit bolted for the door and slammed it behind him. “I was hungry, that’s all.” He nearly leapt across the room when he heard a large knife strike it; he kept running away until he entered the King’s courtroom and collided with someone.

“Peewit, what on earth are you doing?” He looked up to see his best pal, Johan, giving him a disapproving frown. As if he didn’t notice it, he smiled and brushed himself off.

“Oh, hi Johan,” he replied, “I was just looking for you.”

“What for?” the knight asked as he got to his feet with his arms at his sides. They both saw the cook headed their way, so Peewit ducked under his cape. “Hide me, please,” he squeaked. Before he could protest, the cook faced him – angry as ever – and demanded he see the jester. Johan lifted his hands and attempted to calm the man.

“I’m terribly sorry for whatever Peewit has done and he would be more than willing to pay for all that he’s eaten,” he paused to lift the side of his cape, revealing the smaller boy, “aren’t you, Peewit?”

“Oh, uh, of-of course! How much?” he replied with a nod; he still cowered behind his friend’s leg. The cook shook his hands in the air, clearly in a fluster as he stated, “You’ll be lucky if your legs don’t fall off when you carry everything back from the market, Jester!” He pulled a list out from his apron pocket and shoved it into Johan’s hands, adding, “And I need all of this tonight for dinner, so hop to it, boys!” Before either one could answer, he stormed back down the hall and grumbled to himself as Falla passed by.

“Oh boy, he doesn’t look good,” she commented, “what’d I miss?” She put her fists on her hips as Johan slapped his forehead with a sigh. As he filled her in, he waved the list in Peewit’s face – he took it from him. When he finished, she rolled her eyes at the jester and smiled at her friends: “Why don’t I go with you? It sounds like you could use an extra hand.”

“That would be wonderful, Falla,” Johan replied, again giving his small friend a frown, “I was only roped into this because Peewit chose my cape to hide in. Thank you.” Peewit’s nervous smile helped them back off.

“Let’s get going then,” she said, walking away. The boys followed her; she led them out to their horses (and goat) and mounted Gentile in a flash. Likewise, Johan was on Bayard in the same amount of time – they were already outside the castle by the time Peewit caught up to them on Biquette.

“Wait up, guys!”

. . .

Smurfette was merrily skipping about, singing the Smurf’s Tune to herself, and found a patch of sunny daisies. They were about the size of her hand; each was white, yellow, or purple and in full bloom reaching for the sky. She couldn’t resist picking them.

“Ooh, Poet, don’t these flowers look smurfy?” she cooed. Her friend approached her and watched as she lifted one to sniff it, holding his hands behind his back.

“A smurf called by any other smurf would smurf just as smurfily, Smurfette,” he replied with a tone of pride. She gathered several more in her hands and giggled.

“That’s lovely, Poet,” she said, “We should smurf back to the village. I hope Greedy’s almost done smurfing breakfast by now.” With that, he agreed and they headed back down the path. Upon their arrival they passed Painter and stopped to admire his newest creation.

Smurfette smiled; it was a lovely portrayal of her in the flower fields, surrounded by colorful pansies, roses, and buttercups. The sky was partly cloudy – as it was today – and her pretty pink house was in the background with the sun’s rays shining down on it and her.

“Ooh, Painter, it’s beautiful!” she exclaimed. He turned around with his paintbrush still in hand and beamed at the compliment. In his passionate French accent, he told her, “Ah, merci Smurfette. You inspired me yesterday, alors I smurfed I would put my artistic skills to good use. Before I smurfed it, viola! Zis was created!” Poet also took a minute to admire it before he and Smurfette continued along towards Greedy’s house – they could smell fresh muffins a mile away.

Little did the Smurfs know that they were being stalked; it was none other than Gargamel and his often unwilling sidekick, Scruple, hiking through the forest. While the boy trudged behind him, Azrael the cat followed him – they both seemed to be bored and spacy.

“We’re close to the village, Scruple,” said the wizard. He was holding a strange potion bottle in his hand and a red hat that was identical to the one Papa Smurf wore. He had explained earlier to his apprentice that it was a spell to control their leader by switching his hat with the tainted one, and then lead them into a trap.

“I’ll give it one hour to crash and burn, Garggy,” he replied with a hidden smirk. Azrael snickered behind him, wagging his tail back and forth; both stopped when Gargamel looked over his shoulder with a sour frown.

“Oh, be quiet you good-for-nothing child, and help me find a good place to hide when we find those wretched Smurfs,” he barked. The boy groaned and followed, saying nothing more until they reached a clearing with several Smurfberry patches. Then they stopped and Gargamel sneered – he found a large bush near an oak tree about four or five steps away from the nearest one and gestured for them to come.

“Here is where we’ll lye in waiting, Scruple,” he concurred, “now all we need is a way to lure Papa Smurf here.” He directed that towards his cat and quickly added, “Azrael, make yourself useful and go fetch me that miserable, horrible creature at once!” Scruple sat down beside him and pouted with his arms crossed; he wanted nothing more than to go back – anything that didn’t involve Smurfs – but his opinion meant nothing to his master.

Azrael scurried away; luckily for them, the village was nearby.

Author's Notes

The Smurfs have been introduced immediately following Johan, Peewit, and Falla, and after them - respectively - is Gargamel and Scruple acting as the main antagonists. Also, make a note of Peewit hiding in Johan's cape because it might come up again later.

Continuation

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