In Lord Balthazar's castle, the evil sorcerer was sitting on his throne with his raven sitting on top of the throne's back portion, looking rather impatient as he was pondering in his mind about what he had sent the hunters after. He was twirling around his rather thin chin spike of a beard when suddenly the jewel on his ring began to glow, which meant that he had an incoming call from the hunters. He raised the ring up to his mouth and spoke into it. "Yes, what is it that you want?" he asked roughly.
"Your prey has disappeared into the forest, and we are having complete difficulty trying to track it down, my lord," the first hunter spoke. "We don't know where it can be right now."
"You imbeciles!" Lord Balthazar growled. "Must I do everything for you in order to do your jobs correctly? I am the one who's paying you!"
"My apologies, lord, but I don't see how we can find the golden pheasant that you're after unless there's some way we can accurately track it down to wherever it has gone to," the hunter said.
Lord Balthazar felt greatly annoyed, but he realized that the hunter was right. "I have an idea, but it's going to require your cooperation," he said. "Can either of you go into the forest and find a feather from the golden pheasant?"
"It's possible, but we're not sure what good it will do us at this point," the hunter replied.
"You worry about finding the feather, and I'll concern myself with being able to help you complete your quest," Balthazar said. "Just remember what I said, that I want this creature before sundown or neither of you will be paid."
"Yes, my lord, we will remember that," the hunter said before the jewel on Balthazar's ring grew dim.
Lord Balthazar let out a heavy sigh. "As much as I hate having to rely on incompetent help, I might as well see what the spell books say about using personal items of creatures in order to track their location." He went to the bookshelf in his laboratory and skimmed through the pages until he found what he was looking for. "Ha...perfect! Now all I need is that feather, and that golden pheasant will be as good as mine!"
At Feathers' stable in the Smurf Village, Brainy and Clumsy were both watching after the golden pheasant, with Clumsy feeding the pheasant some birdseed from Farmer's fields. The bird seemed very happy, as was also Clumsy when he was watching and listening to the bird sing.
"Oh, can you believe it, Brainy?" Clumsy said, sounding very ecstatic. "This bird sings very beautiful music when I feed it some birdseed. Don't you think so?"
"Yes, Clumsy, it's very beautiful music," Brainy said, sounding disinterested. "But can't you just leave me alone to read my own book? I'm sure you're very capable of watching over the bird yourself."
"But Brainy, I thought we're going to smurf this together," Clumsy said, sounding very disappointed.
"Right now, the only thing I wish for you to do is to smurf yourself silent so I can read my book in peace," Brainy said, sounding very annoyed.
"Oh, sure, Brainy, if that's what you...," Clumsy started to say when his voice suddenly went mute and he was unable to speak. He tried to get Brainy's attention, but Brainy was so enraptured by his book that he couldn't divert his friend away from it. Realizing that he would need the help of Papa Smurf, he quickly ran away from the stable.
"Clumsy, you sure seem to be quiet all of a sudden," Brainy said while he was in the middle of reading his book. "Is everything all right?" He looked up from his book, only to see that Clumsy was gone. "Ah, it figures...he probably has to smurf to the outhouse to relieve himself or something," he said to himself after briefly looking around. "Oh well, I'm sure he'll smurf back to doing his job."
Just then, Jokey showed up carrying one of his "surprises" with him. "Hey, Brainy, what's that you're smurfing with there?" he asked, sounding curious.
"Well, that happens to be a golden pheasant that Tracker and the Smurflings have found in the forest today, Jokey Smurf, like it's that important for you to know," Brainy said condescendingly.
"Mind if I feed it some birdseed?" Jokey asked.
"Oh no, go right ahead, Jokey," Brainy said. "I'll just be here reading my book."
Jokey picked up a handful of birdseed and fed it to the pheasant. The bird spread out its tail feathers again and sang a beautiful song.
"That's amazing, Brainy," Jokey said. "You just feed it birdseed and it sings. I wonder why you're so lucky to be watching over a bird like this."
"I'm not lucky, Jokey, I'm just watching over it until Papa Smurf shows up," Brainy said. "In fact, I'm getting so impatient waiting for him, I could only wish he would show up right here and now."
"Well, good luck with that, Brainy," Jokey said. "He's going to be busy..."
Then suddenly Papa Smurf materialized out of nowhere. "Great Smurfs Of Fire, what in the name of a Smurf has happened?" he asked, sounding very puzzled. "The first thing I knew, I was in the stadium watching the football game, and the next moment I'm here. What's going on, Brainy?"
"I...I...I...I just don't know, Papa Smurf," Brainy answered, sounding just as puzzled as Papa Smurf was. "I only wished that you were here to examine this bird Tracker and the Smurflings found in the forest, and here you are all of a sudden."
"A bird they found, eh?" Papa Smurf said as he looked and saw the golden pheasant for himself. "Smurf is me, it certainly is a very beautiful bird, of a kind that I have only heard about before, but never smurfed until now."
"You know what kind of bird it is, Papa Smurf?" Brainy asked.
"Certainly, Brainy," Papa Smurf answered. "This is a very rare Wishing Bird. It smurfs you wishes whenever you feed it and it becomes happy enough to smurf a song to you."
"You're not kidding, Papa Smurf?" Jokey said, sounding amazed. "I just fed this bird some seed a few moments ago, then Brainy smurfed that wish, and here you are."
"Oh no, Papa Smurf!" Brainy said, realizing it for himself. "I may have wished Clumsy away by accident, because he was here a moment ago and the next he was gone."
"I'm sure we can bring Clumsy back, Brainy," Papa Smurf said assuringly. "Wherever he has gone, all we can smurf is just smurf the Wishing Bird some seed and it will grant our wish."
Meanwhile, Empath and Polaris were still watching the football game together when Clumsy approached them in the bleachers, not able to find Papa Smurf, but willing to go to Empath if necessary.
Empath looked at Clumsy as he frantically tried to get Empath's attention. "Clumsy, what's wrong?" he asked. "This smurf can sense you are no longer able to talk."
Clumsy tried to use sign language to communicate the situation to Empath and Polaris, who just watched while Clumsy signed.
"It would seem that Tracker and the Smurflings have found something in the forest, Empath, and that something has somehow disabled Clumsy's ability to use his voice," Polaris interpreted.
"It's a good thing you came to this smurf when you did, Clumsy," Empath said. "This smurf will come to find out what it is that caused this to..."
Then suddenly Clumsy disappeared right in front of Empath and Polaris.
"This is very unusual," Empath said. "First Clumsy shows up without a voice, and the next moment he vanishes. This smurf has a feeling that there's something magical in the village that's causing this."
"It would be best to investigate this matter for ourselves, in order to keep the other Smurfs safe from this mysterious magical phenomenon," Polaris suggested.
Empath sighed. "So much for watching the rest of this game."
Tapper showed up at Feathers' stable at the same moment that Clumsy appeared out of nowhere. "Golly, Papa Smurf, how did I suddenly smurf up here when I was at the stadium trying to talk to Empath?" Clumsy asked, also surprised to find that his voice returned.
"Just relax, Clumsy," Papa Smurf responded. "I just smurfed a wish to the Wishing Bird that you would show up the way you were when you first disappeared."
"But I didn't disappear, Papa Smurf," Clumsy objected. "I just lost my voice and I tried to get Brainy's attention and I couldn't, so I just..."
"Great Smurfiny Crickets, I have never seen such a beautiful bird like that before," Tapper said, interrupting Clumsy. "What kind of bird is this, and where did it smurf from?"
"This is a Wishing Bird, Tapper," Papa Smurf said. "As far as I know, Tracker and the boy Smurflings found it out in the forest and smurfed it home here...or rather, it smurfed both them and itself back home here."
"This is incredible, Papa Smurf, but what are we going to smurf with it?" Tapper asked.
"Well, I'm sure every Smurf is going to want to smurf a wish with the Wishing Bird, Tapper, and since Tracker left me and Clumsy in charge of it, I will be controlling who gets to smurf a wish from the Wishing Bird," Brainy announced.
"Oh boy, I get to help Brainy be in charge of the Wishing Bird," Clumsy said, sounding excited.
"Let's not smurf the cannon here, my little Smurfs," Papa Smurf said. "I'm sure there's a good reason Tracker and the Smurflings have brought this Wishing Bird home, and it's not to have every Smurf make wishes with it. Brainy, you and Clumsy watch over this bird to make sure it remains safe here in the village. Whoever is after it must have some evil purpose in mind, and I don't want to give whoever wants it a chance to smurf here and get it."
"Yes, sir, Papa Smurf, you can count on me," Brainy said with a standing salute.
"Uh, yeah, me too, Papa Smurf," Clumsy seconded with his own salute.
"Papa Smurf, I would advise a bit of caution if I were you," Tapper counseled. "It's not that I don't trust Brainy or Clumsy to smurf their job as watchful Smurfs, but I fear that somebody in the village might smurf the bird's magic for their own selfish reasons."
"I respect your concern, Tapper, and I will smurf your note of caution into consideration," Papa Smurf said assuringly.
Just then, Empath and Polaris showed up. "This smurf was wondering where Clumsy had disappeared to when he showed up at the stadium trying to tell us what was going on here, Papa Smurf," Empath said.
"This one trusts that the situation concerning Clumsy is under control," Polaris said.
"You don't need to worry anymore, Empath and Polaris," Papa Smurf said. "Clumsy is safe here and will be watching over the Wishing Bird with Brainy to make sure it is safe here in the village."
"You mean someone might be after this bird, to use whatever magic it has to fulfill their evil purposes," Empath said, sensing what Papa Smurf was thinking.
"We would like to offer our services to keep the village safe in case someone who is looking for this bird invades our village, Papa Smurf," Polaris requested.
"I'll smurf you in charge of that, Polaris," Papa Smurf said. "Empath, your job is to keep the other Smurfs occupied so that they are not thinking about this Wishing Bird that is among us. Who knows what kind of chaos we might smurf upon ourselves if every Smurf knows about this?"
Empath nodded. "This smurf understands and acknowledges, Papa Smurf."
"I pray that we can smurf through this situation without making things smurf much worse for ourselves in the process, my fellow Smurfs," Tapper said before he, Papa Smurf, Empath, and Polaris left the stable to go their own separate ways.
Out in the forest, the hunters were searching for a feather from the golden pheasant through all the known places they have searched for it. And then soon they saw something glistening in the sunlight on the ground. They came close and saw just what they were looking for: a single golden feather.
The first hunter picked it up and examined it before touching the locket he was wearing. "Lord Balthazar, I think I have found the feather," the hunter said.
"Hold still, and I will cast a spell that will make the feather be able to track your prey down," Lord Balthazar responded. He went to his cauldron where he was preparing a potion that was simmering in it, causing its foul vapors to rise in the air. While waving his hands in the air, Balthazar spoke in an arcane language:
Single feather, down of fowl,
Gilded dressing of the Wishing Bird,
May this lead back to you
Where you may be found
Upon the curse of a single wish
That may be spoken.
When the final word of the spell was uttered, a beam of red light came from the hunter's locket to strike the feather, causing it to glow with an evil aura.
"You now can track the bird to wherever it is in the forest, but only if someone is foolish enough to make a single wish with that bird," Balthazar explained. "Now hurry and bring me that bird before sundown."
"Yes, Lord Balthazar, we are on our way," the first hunter said.
"What good would that feather do us if somebody doesn't make a wish with this bird, if that's what our prey is capable of doing?" the second hunter asked, sounding doubtful.
"We'll find out if we can track our prey down with this thing or not," the first hunter said. "Somebody has it, and somebody is going to do something with it that will alert us."