Part 6

"Meanwhile, Johan and Peewit were waiting for word from Homnibus' servant Oliver, to know what his condition is and when he would be well again to perform the spell of hypnokinesis," Narrator said. "They knew that the longer they waited, the less time they would have to get the magic flute back from Matthew McCreep."
As Empath, Polaris, and Smurfette listened to the story, they saw Johan and Peewit waiting outside Homnibus' bedroom until they were soon joined by Oliver. "Well? Is he awake?" Johan asked, eager to know.
Oliver sighed. "He is, but unfortunately he is rather feverish. He must have overdone it, so I made him take a sleeping pill. Tomorrow morning, when he wakes up, he should be feeling better."
"Tomorrow morning?" Johan said, not believing what he was hearing.
"That's all that I can do," Oliver said. "You can wait here until he recovers."
After Oliver left to go into the kitchen, Peewit let out a groan. "By then we'll never get our hands on the magic flute."
"And we were so close," Johan said, sharing what his friend was feeling.
Just then Oliver had let in a young lady wearing rider's clothes. Johan and Peewit recognized who it was. "Princess Savina? What are you doing outside the castle?" Johan asked.
"I figured that I would join you to see how you were doing in trying to get the magic flute from McCreep," Princess Savina as she joined Johan and Peewit sitting at the table.
"If only you were with us to the place that we went in order to get another magic flute, my lady," Peewit said. "There were these little blue creatures called Smurfs, who were the ones who made the first flute."
"Smurfs?" Princess Savina asked. "What were they like?"
"They were the most friendly beings we have ever met, Princess," Johan said. "We were in their village for two days waiting for them to make another magic flute that we would use against Matthew McCreep."
"That is, until Homnibus pulled us back too soon," Peewit said. "And now he's got a fever and he won't be better until tomorrow."
"That's terrible," Princess Savina said, her heart going out to Homnibus and her friends. "I just wish there was something I can do to help you."
"You should return to the castle before Dame Barbara notices that you're gone," Johan said.
"If I'm going to be a princess, I would rather be helping my friends than sitting on a throne in the castle doing nothing," Princess Savina said. "I'll deal with whatever punishment I may get for leaving the castle, but being beside you two is where I feel to be the most important place in my life."
"You're more than welcome to stay with us for the time being, Princess," Peewit said. "All we can do now is sit and wait for Homnibus to awaken."

Meanwhile, out in a hidden part of the forest, Matthew McCreep was showing Earl Flatbroke the valuables he had collected from the villagers that he had stashed away.
"Coins, thousands of coins," McCreep said as Flatbroke looked at and inspected all the valuables. "Gold, silver, jewels, precious stones. My cart's full of them...enough to make a nice little war."
"Oh, McCreep, you really outdid yourself this time," Flatbroke said with a big smile on his face.
"So that leaves me wondering, how many soldiers do you have for now?" McCreep asked.
"Uh...about five hundred," Flatbroke answered. "But with money, I can raise an army of three thousand men."
"No, that's too few," McCreep said. "We need to have at least ten thousand. Here's what we're going to do: I'll leave you a portion of the money to equip your three thousand men. With the remainder, I'll go abroad to recruit mercenaries whom I'll bring back here."
"Very good," Flatbroke said. "When do you leave?"
"Immediately," McCreep said. "I'm planning to embark tonight from the port of Terminac."
Unknown to either of them, two Smurfs were overhearing the conversation from the branch of a nearby tree. "This doesn't smurf good," one of the Smurfs said.
"We have to tell Papa Smurf about this," the other Smurf said.

Back at Homnibus' hovel, Johan, Peewit, and Princess Savina continued to sit and patiently wait for the wizard's recovery when Oliver came running into the room, sounding very frightened. "Johan! Peewit! Come quick! There are these little blue creatures outside! They're calling for you!"
The three humans got up from the table to look outside. "Good heavens!" Johan exclaimed as he recognized what he saw.
"The Smurfs!" Peewit exclaimed, seeing all of them arrive from the storks they were riding.
"We have the flute with the six smurfs," one of the Smurfs said, holding the magic flute.
"You can smurf after Matthew McCreep now," another Smurf said.
Princess Savina was amazed by the sight of the Smurfs. "Oh, they are such adorable little creatures," she said, reaching to grab Clumsy and kissing him on the cheek.
"Gosh, I've just been kissed by a princess," Clumsy said, staggering from the effect of the kiss.
"I hate being kissed by a princess," Grouchy said.
"Papa Smurf, how did you manage to find us?" Johan asked as Peewit received the magic flute and kissed the Smurf who was holding it.
"It took a little while for me to discover who it was that cast the spell of hypnokinesis on you, and as it turned out, it was this wizard that I met years ago named Homnibus," Papa Smurf said. "I knew that he would become the great wizard that he must be today if he was the one who was able to send you into our forest with that spell. The question now is, what happened to him? Why did he not send you back so you could get the flute?"
"He wasn't able to because he came down with a fever, Papa Smurf," Johan said. "By the way, does the flute work now?"
Suddenly Johan and Princess Savina were dancing as they heard Peewit playing the magic flute. They looked at the young entertainer, a bit upset. "I should say that it works, Johan," Papa Smurf said with a chuckle.
"Very well, then," Johan said as he and Savina picked themselves up from the ground. "Now that we can go after McCreep, do you know where he is?"
"He was heading towards the castle of Lord Mumford, Johan," Papa Smurf answered. "A Smurf is waiting there to show you which way Matthew McCreep is headed next. Good luck."
"Thanks," Johan said. "Come on, Peewit, let's go."
"Just a minute, Johan," Peewit said. "Papa Smurf, it may be a good idea to have a Smurf waiting for us to tell which direction McCreep is heading to, but the thing is, none of us are able to speak in Smurf to understand what he might say."
"You're right, Peewit," Papa Smurf said, realizing it for himself. "In that case, I will have to come along with you."
"Then let's get going," Princess Savina said, as she and Johan got to their horses and Peewit called out for his goat Biquette.
"Papa Smurf, we want to come with you," Hefty said as the three humans prepared themselves for travel.
"No, Hefty, this is too dangerous," Papa Smurf said. "I will need you to stay here and make sure that the Smurfs are smurf and safe. I will go there alone to help our human friends in any way possible."
"But Papa Smurf, I want to come with you," Brainy said. "Surely my expertise in the study of geography will..."
"I have smurfed up my mind, Brainy," Papa Smurf said. "I want you to be a good little Smurf and follow Hefty's orders. Is that understood?"
Brainy sighed. "Yes, Papa Smurf, I will do what you smurf."
Then Papa Smurf hopped onto the saddle of Johan's horse Bayard as the Smurfs watched the three humans head down the road on their way toward the castle of the man previously known as Lord Mumford.
"This is the first time in my 542 years that I have even ridden on a horse," Papa Smurf said.
"Just hang on tight, Papa Smurf," Johan said as he brought the horse to a full gallop.
After a long ride across plains and forests, Johan, Peewit, and Princess Savina could see the castle sitting on a high hill in the near distance. "There it is," Princess Savina called out.
"And there is our Smurf lookout," Papa Smurf said, as he noticed the Smurf sitting on a tree branch looking over the road.
The three humans slowed to a stop to hear the Smurf speak. "Quick! Smurf along! Matthew McCreep is smurfing to Terminac to smurf abroad!"
"What's he saying?" Johan asked Papa Smurf.
"He says that Matthew McCreep is heading to Terminac to head abroad," Papa Smurf answered.
"I happen to know where Terminac is from my study of maps," Princess Savina said. "Follow me."
"The Princess has been studying maps, Johan?" Peewit asked.
"There's no time for us to talk about it, Peewit," Johan said. "If she knows the way to Terminac, we might as well let her go before us."
Johan and Peewit allowed Princess Savina to take the lead as they followed behind her.

Meanwhile, at the port town of Terminac, the captain of a sailing ship was watching one of his men carry aboard some chests full of Matthew McCreep's stolen valuables. "That's the last chest, Mr. McCreep," the captain said. "We're going to able to set sail soon!"
"Good," McCreep said, eager to get himself going.
"Raise the main sails! Cast off the moorings!" the captain yelled after the last chest was brought on board.
Soon the sailing ship was heading underway, picking up wind as it was leaving the harbor. Matthew McCreep just smiled, knowing that soon he was going to help Earl Flatbroke become a powerful force to take on King Audric.
At that point, Johan, Peewit, and Princess Savina had just rode into town and reached the docks. "There is his cart," Johan pointed out.
"But where is that Oily McCreep?" Peewit wondered.
"Let's ask that fisherman if he has seen someone like him," Princess Savina suggested.
The three humans got off their mounts and went over to the fisherman. "Hey! Do you know where he is, the man who arrived with that cart?" Johan asked.
"Yeah, this big man that has this ugly mug for a face?" Peewit added.
"Yep, I have seen him," the fisherman said. "He had just boarded that ship right over there." He pointed to the ship that had just sailed out of the harbor.
"Quick! Is there another ship we can board that we might be able to catch up to him?" Princess Savina asked.
"I'm sorry that there isn't, young lady," the fisherman said. "There are only slow little fishing boats. It's no use even trying."
"Do you know where it's heading, sir?" Johan asked the fisherman.
"I'm sorry that I don't know," the fisherman said.
"Well, that's just great," Peewit said. "Some help you are, working out here in the docks and you don't even bother checking who is going where around here."
"Peewit, take it easy," Princess Savina said. "If he doesn't know, then he doesn't know."
"But someone in the village must know where the ship is heading," Johan said. "We should split up and ask everyone here if they know about the ship. Someone must be at least willing to talk."
"I'll make them talk, all right...with a little tune from my magic flute," Peewit said.
"No, Peewit, don't use the magic flute on them," Princess Savina said. "Wait until you get to McCreep and then use it on him."
"Oh...all right, Princess, for you I will do that," Peewit said as the three of them went off in separate directions.
"And so the three of them spent all day asking the people about the ship that had left the port and where it was headed," Narrator said. "By evening, however, all they came up with is nothing."
As Empath, Polaris, and Smurfette listened to the story, they saw Johan, Peewit, and Princess Savina join together at the docks, looking like they have accomplished nothing.
"It's no use, gentlemen," Princess Savina said. "Either nobody knows or nobody is willing to tell."
"We did our best, and that's all that we can do," Johan said as they sat down together on a rock.
"It's too bad that this magic flute can't do anything more than make people dance, Johan," Peewit said. "I wish that I would have one that would make me master of the seas, master of the skies, master of all the creatures on the earth, master of all that can be surveyed...and most of all, master of my own destiny."
"I would prefer you to be the master of music, Peewit, if you were to be the master of anything," Princess Savina said.
"You really think that about me, Princess Savina?" Peewit asked.
"I really think you can be a great musician, if you're willing to give yourself a chance," Johan said.
"But if I give up this flute, I would no longer be as great as I am now with it," Peewit said.
"You can be a great musician without the flute, Peewit," Princess Savina said. "I just have a feeling that you will."
"Johan! Peewit!" a voice called from behind them. The three humans turned to see who it was and recognized the speaker.
"Papa Smurf, where did you go?" Johan asked.
"I was searching for the Smurf who followed Matthew McCreep here," Papa Smurf said as another Smurf joined him on the post he was standing on. "I hoped he would know where the ship was heading. Unfortunately, he doesn't know a thing. On the other hand, he has informed me that McCreep has made a pact with the man called Earl Flatbroke, whom I believe is also Lord Mumford. He's going to bring back an army of mercenaries to invade the country."
"Then all is not lost," Johan said, sounding encouraged. "In that case, Flatbroke must know where McCreep has gone to."
"Let's go find that wretched man, Johan," Peewit said as he started to head for his goat. "If he refuses to talk, I'll just play him a little tune until he starts singing."
"Peewit, wait!" Princess Savina said. "He could tell us that he doesn't know a thing, or he could send us the wrong way. There's little chance that he will tell us the truth."
"But I think there is a way that we can get him to lead us there," Johan said. "Here's what we will do..."