Empath’s personal journal, December 31.
This smurf still isn’t sure why Smurfette, Polaris Psyche, Baby Smurf, or the three boy Smurflings are unable to see for themselves the unusual reality that’s happening before our eyes of all this smurf’s parent Smurfs returning. Then again, this smurf also isn’t sure why none of this smurf’s parent Smurfs are able to see, hear, and feel the other Smurfs that this smurf, Papa Smurf, and all this smurf’s fellow Smurfs can easily see, hear, and feel. Polaris Psyche, though adamant in believing that what this smurf is experiencing is actually a magically-induced delusion, is searching for what hopefully may be the answers to this mysterious phenomenon that’s happening. However, this morning Papa Smurf has been in conference with several of his fellow Smurfs, and has included this smurf in their discussions – a discussion that will unfortunately become the last for this smurf, if what this smurf has heard from their discussions is true. Whatever the outcome, however hard this decision would be upon this smurf’s fellow Smurfs, this smurf is at least willing to give this council of the parent Smurfs this smurf’s full support without any reservations.
Around midmorning, Papa Smurf had Harmony summon every Smurf around the speaking mushroom. Every Smurf – both the parent Smurfs and all their little Smurfs – gathered around as Papa Smurf stood upon the mushroom with at least several of his fellow Smurfs, including Aristotle. He looked like he had a heavy decision to make, and that he was going to regret having to tell his little Smurfs the news. But he knew that the decision was for the greater good of the village.
“My dear little Smurfs,” he announced, “this news that I have to smurf comes as a complete surprise, even at a time like this when the new year is smurfing upon us. But now that all the Smurfs that were lost from us years ago have now resmurfed to us alive again, I am permanently smurfing down from my role as the leader of the village.”
“Smurfing down?” one of his little Smurfs asked. “But who’s going to smurf your place, Papa Smurf?”
“No one will be smurfing this position anymore,” Papa Smurf answered. “Empath himself will be smurfing down as my assistant counselor to take on a lesser role beside his fellow Smurfs. From this point on, the only ones who will be leading this village will be us, the parent Smurfs. We will together decide on what’s best for the village and we will carry out those decisions accordingly. And from now on…please don’t call me Papa Smurf anymore. I am your Uncle Cully, and I will allow your parent Smurfs to care for you now as I have previously done in their place.”
This news made most of his now-former little Smurfs very shocked and confused. They have gotten so used to living with Papa Smurf as their sole parent and village leader for so long, this sudden change that came with the return of their parent Smurfs left them wondering how things in the village were going to be now and for the coming year.
Later in Papa Smurf’s laboratory, however, Papa Smurf received a shock of his own from Brainy.
“What is the meaning of this?” he asked, holding up a piece of paper in his hand.
“It is my letter of resmurfnation, Papa Smurf,” Brainy answered. “Since my Papa Smurf has returned and invited me to be his apprentice in book publishing, I am officially ending my apprenticeship to you as your laboratory assistant in sorcery, effective immediately.”
Papa Smurf exhaled, a bit blown away by the sudden news. “I know that the years smurfing under me as an apprentice have been rather bumpy, Brainy, and you have smurfed a lot of things that really smurfed under my skin at times, but have you really thought of all you’re smurfing up just to smurf up this new venture with your Papa Smurf back among us?” he asked.
“I honestly feel, Papa Smurf…I mean, Uncle Cully…that my true talents as a book writer and a philosmurpher and an intellectual are being wasted here,” Brainy explained. “I just don’t think that I’m appropriate for you to continue training to smurf your place as a sorcerer. I haven’t smurfed up to everything you wanted me to be.”
“I never expected you to be perfect, Brainy – just a student who’s willing to learn whatever is there for me to teach you,” Papa Smurf mentioned. “I honestly believed that you would in time besmurf a better sorcerer and alchemist than I was under Palleadore years ago. But there’s no smurfing how you would have turned out now if you decide to smurf this decision once and for all to end your apprenticeship with me. Please, for your sake, reconsider what you’re smurfing.”
Brainy shook his head. “Sorry, Uncle Cully, my mind is totally smurfed up on this. I thank you for what you smurfed me over the years. But I’m not smurfing back to this job – not now and not ever.”
Papa Smurf breathed out a heavy sigh as he watched Brainy leave his laboratory. He thought that his decision to stand down as village leader and permanently put an end to this office was hard enough, but now having to find himself without an apprentice to teach in sorcery and alchemy made things more difficult. Things in the village were changing faster than what he expected because of this reunion, and he wasn’t sure how well he would adapt to life as he once knew it before it changed into the life that he was now used to.
Meanwhile, throughout most of the morning, Polaris Psyche was busy with Smurfette and Grouchy trying to look through books in the village archives as well as in Papa Smurf’s backup laboratory, which he had built and furnished in the event that his main laboratory was somehow destroyed, while Nat, Snappy, and Slouchy tried to keep Baby Smurf occupied. So far, even with Polaris Psyche’s touch-telepathy powers at work scanning through the books for a particular spell that had something to do with a New Year’s Eve song name, their search came up with nothing. Until now.
“Auld Lang Syne Spell,” Grouchy shouted as he found something in one of Papa Smurf’s books about spells. Polaris Psyche and the other Smurfs gathered around Grouchy as they read together the information about what the spell was supposed to do.
“Interesting,” Polaris muttered as he read. “This particular spell, which only works around this time of year, has the ability to cause those on whom it is cast to experience a physical hallucination of loved ones who have passed away coming back to life, usually drawn from the memories of those the spell is cast upon. This spell can make the illusion of this reality seem so real that it could fool the senses of even telepathic beings.”
“That explains why Empath, Papa Smurf, and all the other Smurfs are able to smurf those ‘parent Smurfs’ smurfing back to life, even though they haven’t,” Smurfette reasoned. “Yet somehow me, Polaris, Baby Smurf, and you three Smurflings weren’t affected by the spell, and somehow Grouchy is able to break the spell at least partially, causing the image of his Papa Smurf to vanish.”
“The reason us six haven’t been affected by this spell is that none of us had loved ones that did pass away, in the sense that either we had parent beings that are still living, or in your case, Smurfette, you had no parents to begin with,” Polaris answered rather frankly.
“Smurf at this, folks,” Snappy said as he looked further into the passage about the Auld Lang Syne Spell. “It smurfs here that intense negative emotions smurfed at a particular illusion of a loved one can cause that illusion to smurf away. That may explain why Grouchy is able to make the illusion of his Papa Smurf smurf away, because he hated him so much.”
“I hate this Auld Lang Syne Spell,” Grouchy remarked.
“That may be all well and good for Grouchy, but how does that help us to smurf Empath and the other Smurfs out of their delusions?” Slouchy asked. “They love their parent Smurfs so much, they would smurf anything for them, even if they are illusions.”
“Whatever we smurf, we’d better smurf it before midnight, which is when the spell wears off,” Nat warned the others from what he was reading. “According to what the spell book smurfs, if they’re still experiencing these delusions when the clock smurfs midnight at the new year, it will smurf such a shock that it might even kill them.”
Around early afternoon, Empath had approached Tapper’s tavern to find that his friend had put up a sign on the doors that said ON VACATION JAN 1ST – WILL RESMURF AROUND JUNE. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SMURFRONAGE. This made Empath curious to find out what was going on in there.
He entered and found Séamus and Molly putting the place in order to close it down. “What’s going on here, Uncle Séamus and Aunt Molly,” Empath asked, curious.
“Ah, Empathy, you dear, Séamus had the desire in his smurfed heart to smurf back to the Emerald Isle again,” Molly answered pleasantly. “We just want to smurf the place spotless in case we resmurf here.”
“’In case you return here’?” Empath repeated, not liking the sound of that.
“You smurfed us to the quick, Empathy, me boy,” Séamus confessed. “Actually, myself and Molly are hoping to smurf back there for good with our young’un Tapper so we can smurf our own Smurf community there. It’s such a beautiful place, I’m surprised that it hasn’t smurfed you an interest in wanting to smurf there.”
“Well, there wasn’t much Tapper remembered from his being there as a baby Smurf that he could have told this smurf about, Uncle Séamus,” Empath admitted. “Most of what he told this smurf was from what you have told him, about leprechauns and this enchanted stew you almost ate that would have turned you into one and all.”
Séamus chuckled for a bit. “Yes, well, this time Tapper gets to smurf it for himself, and hopefully that will make his desire to smurf there instead of back here in the Smurf Village a smurfedfast decision. Of course, I will make sure he won’t smurf anywhere near that stew no matter how hungry he smurfs.”
“But why have this tavern close down for what may be a permanent vacation?” Empath asked. “Couldn’t you have some other Smurf run the tavern while you Smurfs were gone to the Emerald Isle?”
“Empathy, running this tavern smurfs more than just smurfing drinks and smurfing the customers happy and entertained,” Séamus told him. “It requires a lot of brewing of this sarsaparilla ale that you young Smurfs smurf for granted, as well as smurfing up the various kinds of seltzers for those who can’t smurf their ale. It requires a Smurf with a lot of heart and soul to smurf this task day and night, and though you may think you might be up to the task of smurfing it, I don’t think you’ll be able to smurf it the same way and with the same spirit that us family of Smurf brewers can.”
“Besides, sweetie, don’t you Smurfs have this Imaginarium to smurf some of your fun in?” Molly hinted. “If only we smurfed one of those things in the village back when we were just young’uns your age!”
“Well, if you Smurfs aren’t going to be returning to this village anytime soon, can’t this smurf at least talk to Tapper about what he’s doing with you two Smurfs?” Empath asked, realizing that there would be no return for them.
“Of course, Empathy,” Séamus answered. “He’s in his bedroom right now, smurfing up things he will need for this trip.”
Empath nodded before he climbed the ladder upstairs to Tapper’s sleeping quarters.
Tapper noticed Empath entering into his quarters as he was in the middle of packing. “Greetings, my fellow Empath,” he said smiling. “Sorry about the message I smurfed upon the doors of this tavern, but this is one opportunity of a lifetime that I don’t want to miss – my first chance to smurf the Emerald Isle as an adult Smurf.”
“Tapper, tell this smurf that you’re doing the right thing, going off with your parents on this trip, and so soon after you’ve been reunited with them,” Empath pleaded.
“Empath, I’ve smurfed enough of my life smurfing among you fellow Smurfs, even though I’ve only smurfed you when you visited the village during your years away from here,” Tapper responded. “It’s time for me to venture out into the brave unknown, to smurf things of my own that I have always wanted to smurf with my own Papa and Mama Smurf beside me. But here…smurf this!” He handed Empath a four-leaf clover. “I’ve been smurfing this clover from out here in this forest in the hopes that some Smurf I’ll smurf it on to will have good luck for the rest of his life…though given your title as ‘the luckiest Smurf’, this gift may be a wee bit redundant on your part.”
Empath took the four-leaf clover and stuck it in the fold of his hat. “You’ve been a very good friend to this smurf, Tapper, just to let you know that. This smurf appreciates everything you have done to help show this smurf what it means to be a Smurf. And honestly, things won’t be the same in this village or in my life without you.”
“I’ll think of you always, my friend,” Tapper said as he and Empath hugged each other.