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The Reluctant Dark Knight/Part 8

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Knight Fall

Johan waited patiently for his friends to return; standing on the lowered drawbridge, he kept an eye on the road and the setting sun, judging it was creeping up on the sixth hour of the evening. A chilling breeze picked up, so he pulled the hood of his cape up and finally caught sight of them hurriedly approaching. He waved.

"Peewit! Falla! Where have you been all this time?"

Several feet before him, she commanded Gentile to slow into a stop, and then she dismounted. Peewit hopped off his goat right behind her, munching on a loaf of bread – he took the reins of her horse and led it back into the stables while his friends talked.

"We were with the Smurfs, Johan,” she began, “I heard that Gerard’s Grand Ball will be formal, and I haven’t a thing to wear that isn’t already used for recreation, and I remembered that the Smurfs made his coronation outfit, so I went out to ask them if they could help me make my own.” The knight had his arms crossed while she explained.

"When we got there it was about noon – later than I had hoped – and Peewit just had to stop to eat with them, so I asked Tailor, Smurfette, and Papa Smurf if they would help me. They said they’d be delighted, so I started drawing the initial pattern in the ground, Tailor copied it on paper, and Smurfette helped me fine-tune the details.”

For a minute there was silence as he stood still, keeping his face straight and his arms crossed; he tapped one foot slowly. Finally she tilted her head with a sigh, dropping her shoulders, and asked, “What’s wrong, Johan? I know you’re mad about something.”

“You left without telling me.”

She looked down for a moment and straightened up as he continued. “I was worried because I had no idea where you had gone, and both of you know better. If anything had happened to you, I’d have no way of finding you in time, and Falla...” He put his hand on her shoulder, catching her eyes with a softened countenance. “You are one of my closest friends. I’d certainly hate to lose you.”

Falla smiled sincerely, pulling him into a firm hug and whispered, “Same to you, big guy. What would we do without you?” She could tell he was smiling based on the light half-breath that lay in his chest against hers. They parted and he led her back into the castle, signaling the guard to raise the drawbridge once inside; they entered the tower and ascended the stairs to their rooms.

“It’s been a long day, hasn’t it?” he said, stopping by his door.

“Yeah…” She turned halfway around, maybe three or four feet ahead of him, and pointed to the nearest room over her shoulder. “I’m gonna tell Peewit a bedtime story before hitting the hay. He says he sleeps better when I do.”

Johan chuckled, pulling down his hoodie, and shook his head delightedly: “What a ham.” Then he entered his room and disappeared, so she proceeded to see their smaller friend. She knew he was waiting for her in his little red pajama robe, in bed – and she was right when she opened the door.

. . .

Greedy and Clumsy were on Feathers, flying above Gargamel’s hovel when they landed on the roof and spotted him exiting the front door. It was very early morning on the third day of the plan; it was the day he set off to put his horrible potion to use. The Smurfs watched carefully as he waited for his assistant.

Vanity, Painter, and Grouchy hid in the bushes on the ground with a good view of the humans – they exchanged a sign language message with their roof-top Smurfs about following Scruple. Then amongst them they decided one would stay behind to watch Azrael – just in case. Painter volunteered, claiming he might get a chance to paint the cat and make a ghoulish “master-pizza.”

"Hurry up, Scruple, or we’ll never get there with enough time to act!” he barked, now joined by Azrael. He looked at his cat and bent down, tossing him back inside. “Stay here, you miserable fur ball - you’ll only get in the way.” The boy was outside immediately after hearing the terrified feline’s mid-air screech.

“Okay, okay, I’m here, Garggy!”

“Ah, yes, now let’s be off,” Gargamel replied. He checked his pockets for the vials and sneered, envisioning his plan unraveling gloriously. “Can’t you just imagine it, Scruple? That pesky knight will be such good company once he’s evil, don’t you think?”

“You said it,” he admitted, “For once I don’t see how this could go wrong!” They shared a laugh as they travelled down the road towards the King’s castle. The journey took several hours on foot, but it would be worth it so long as their target was inside; little did they realize four little Smurfs were hot on their trail the entire way.

. . .

After several hours of riding, the trio arrived at King Gerard’s castle dressed in their most formal casual wear; Johan had on a dress shirt with puffed shoulder sleeves over his ordinary white long-sleeve, a red sash going from his right shoulder to left hip which disappeared under his dark brown waist belt, and matching riding boots with his red leggings – they reached mid-calf on him. Last was his blue cape which gave him a collar and draped over his shoulders, moving with the wind as he walked. He had his sword attached to his belt on the left hip.

He gently pulled the reins to make Bayard slow while crossing the drawbridge, and behind him his friends did the same. Then he signaled to the guard at the wheel and they made their way into the front courtyard. When they found the stables he dismounted and led his horse into the first vacant stall. Once secure, he turned around and offered the young lady a hand.

“Allow me, Falla.”

“Thank you, Johan,” she replied, touching his shoulders. He put his hands on her waistline and hoisted her out of the saddle.

“Sorry if I’m heavier than usual. It’s my dress.”

He assured her he felt no extra weight to be polite and carefully placed her on the ground, letting go. Her dress was made up of three overlapping purple layers: the third was dark violet, second was soft violet, and the top most prominently shown was lavender. Connecting the upper torso to the skirt was a strongly sewn-in black band; she wore elbow-length gloves and two-inch heels to match.

Never before had the boys witnessed her looking so beautiful when compared to her ordinary attire.

“I hate wearing this stuff,” Peewit grumbled, fussing with his cape. He had changed very little: aside from adding a fur-trimmed red cape with sleeves, he had only cleaned his usual clothes. Regardless, he hated being formal; she and Johan considered this normal for his age.

“What time is it anyways? I don’t wanna be here longer than I have to, Johan.”

There was a sun dial just beyond the stables which had a definite shadow.

“It’s a quarter to seven in the evening, Peewit,” he said. The Grand Ball was set to start officially at 7:30 sharp as Gerard had mentioned, so they had arrived with enough time to help him prepare everything.

The boy huffed, adding, “Dinner better be ready soon because I’m starving!”

Seeing Falla walking towards the ballroom, he hurried to catch up and grabbed her hand before she approached the doors. Johan settled Gentile and Biquette into stalls before joining them.

Inside, the dance floor was a never-ending strip of tiled ground and curtains were drawn to let the nighttime sky pour in as the evening proceeded. Tables stretched from one end to the next, awaiting the food to be set upon them, and the decorations – as lovely as they were – were organized in the far left corner near where King Gerard stood. He was talking to maybe ten servants with the Clockwork Smurf at his feet holding a list and feather pen, writing as quickly as he could.

“Aw, the food’s not out yet,” Peewit whined, looking at the tables.

"If it were, you would make it disappear before anyone else had any...” Johan murmurred. He shot a glance to the knight while approaching the king.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

Johan flicked his hand at him with a little smile, assuring him, “Nothing - nothing.” With a huff, Peewit turned and pulled the girl’s dress to get her attention.

“Falla, help me find the kitchen! I can’t remember where it is.”

“Oh, alright, Peewit,” she replied. She took his hand again and proceeded to the right for the corridor at the end of the room. “Go outside and into the second tower with the open door -”

“Falla, King Gerard is requesting your presence,” Johan announced from the other side. He held his arm up and gestured with his hand before turning back towards the boy-king, so she changed directions. She told Peewit to follow her instructions, and then she approached the boys and servants; she smiled and greeted the Clockwork Smurf first.

“Hi, Clockwork,” she curtsied while addressing his majesty, “And hello, Gerard. Is there something I can do for you?” She folded her hands together.

“Please oversee that these five -” he gestured to half of the servants, “– finish decorating the dance floor with the banners here.” He pointed briefly to the neatly stacked pile behind him, so she faced the men and was about to speak when he raised his arm.

“I almost forgot my manners, miss.” He kissed the top of her hand, ducking his head bashfully for a moment after. Falla smiled, making him smile too, and then he allowed her to fulfill the task at hand.

“As for you, Johan, I need you to help me elsewhere,” he said to him, “Come with me.” The knight obeyed, following him out the corridor Peewit had gone through earlier.

. . .

"Unbelievable, Scruple! This is ridiculous - the very idea!”

The poor boy had been listening to Gargamel rant about their victim being at a different castle tonight – of all nights – so they had to find a new means of transportation in order to reach it in time. So far, they were waiting for a carriage to hitch a ride on and, having heard about the Grand Ball being tonight, expected one to come momentarily. Sure enough, one did.

“Get ready, Scruple. One...two...three!”

They clung to the back rungs of the elaborate wagon while he sneered. “We should arrive in no time!” he whispered hoaresly. Scruple nodded with his own little smirk, but then frowned.

"Yeah, that's assuming we don't get caught first," he stated, to which his master replied, "Bah! This carraige won't stop, boy. Just look at the time." He lifted his hand, bringing their attention to the darkening skies. "This carriage will be late if they stop now. We have nothing to fear!" He cackled in self-satisfaction, never imagining anything going wrong in that moment.

Author's Note

Johan and Peewit's outfits are based off of the ones they wore in "The Imposter King" from the show. Falla's attire is derived from my own creativity, and I love the color purple way too much. And in heels she is taller than King Gerard - it's actually kind of cute considering he is younger.

(P.S. As of November 5th, 2015, I have no idea what to make of this chapter anymore. What a waste of time this was; I mean, really, did I even plan anything? That's debatable.)

Continuation

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