“A Bent Blade of Grass Would Be Enough” After quite a few strips, we are back outside. The “gnomes” have not been idle since their departure. They have been searching for signs of their quarry’s movement and it appears that they have found it.

Also, who needs smartphones when you have a homunculus? (Although I heard the search engine is hands-on slow and limited to your personal library.)

Be careful out there.

↓ Transcript
Panel 1
Autumn colors are seen in a large wide shot of a hilly, lightly-wooded area with a forest in the distant lowlands. Puccini and the gobos - still magically disguised as gnomes - are making their way down an incline. Fip, arrow nocked but pointed downward, is in the back of the procession while Wak, axe at the ready, looks over a bush in the foreground. Both are alert for any unexpected incident. Puccini, eyes with a white glow, and Hob, leading the wizard by the hand, are in a discussion, although Puccini seems lost in thought. The ground rises some in the foreground and a curious Nik steps up to Nak, both with their blades in hand. Nak looks down to Pōk, who is kneeling on the ground with spear for support. The gobo sentry's one-eyed gaze with raised brow seems fixed upon the ground.
Narrative Box: "Far to the East"
Puccini, thinking: "I wasn't expecting to talk so soon. Is everything resolved?"
Nob, telepathic response: "<Yes. But Hob betrayed me.>"
Puccini: "Ha!"
Hob: "<Are you okay?>"
Puccini: "Yes. He thinks you betrayed him."

Panel 2
The scene focuses on Puccini and his guide. Puccini's eyes lose some of their glow as the wizard looks down to Hob, who is visually puzzled.
Hob: "<"Hee"?>"
Puccini: "Nob. You signed him up for school."

Panel 3
The view zooms in on Hob holding the wizard's hand. The armored gobo is more thoughtful now.
Hob: "<"Him"? I don't understand. The elixir must have spoiled..."

Panel 4
The scene flips as Hob turns quickly with a look of shock, audacity and accusation directed up towards Puccini, who's hand is still held.
Hob: "<Unless the are curses and insults!>"
Puccini, partially off-screen: "What? Never! Why would I?"

Panel 5
The view changes to a close-up of Puccini, his faintly glowing eyes show surprise and raising his free hand defensively.
Puccini: "No, not every word translates clearly between languages."
Pōk, off-screen: "<Hob!>"

Panel 6
The scene moves further into the foreground to Pōk, who maintains the same pose as earlier except for a more serious expression and subtle finger gesture towards the ground.
Pōk: "<Footprints!>"

Panel 7
Pōk's chin lifts and the gobo uses a spear thrust to indicate direction.
Pōk: "<They go that way!>"

Panel 8
The view returns to the close-up on Puccini as he reaches his hand up to his beard, eyes once more aglow.
Puccini, thinking: "Nob, I have to go. We found tracks."

Panel 9
Puccini's glowing eyes narrow and his expression becomes thoughtful and calculating, his hand stroking his beard.
Puccini, thinking: "Whiskit?"
Whiskit, telepathic response: "Yes?"
Puccini, thinking: "Locate every goblin lexicon I might own."