Meanwhile, in her observatory, Chlorhydris was watching through her magic telescope the things that took place in the Smurf Village since her magic spell was cast. She was now starting to see the effects of the spell taking hold upon most of the populace – besides their being so immersed in believing that these delusions they were experiencing were so real, they also experienced seeing Papa Smurf step down from his position as being the village leader and father figure. She also saw Papa Smurf reacting to Brainy’s decision to end his apprenticeship with him, and Empath reacting to Tapper deciding to close down his tavern to take the journey with his parents to the Emerald Isle.
“Just you Smurfs continue to believe in these fantasies,” she said ecstatically. “You have no idea that what you’re experiencing will become a complete shock to you when the clock strikes midnight tonight, when what you think you’re seeing will vanish right before your eyes. And then you will have a true reunion with your parents – when you all will join them in the slumber of your graves after the shock of the disappearance kills you!”
Around dinnertime, Empath sat with Papa Smurf and Lillithina at the dining table, with Empath and Papa Smurf enjoying yet another wonderful meal prepared by the father-and-son team of Baker and Greedy. Empath felt ashamed to admit that the meals had tasted better than they did when it was just Greedy running the kitchen – which wasn’t meant to slight Greedy’s skills as the village cook in the least. Yet now the mother Smurfs were waitressing the meals to their own sons, which was something Empath had never saw happening before this reunion took place. He was beginning to wonder if this would end up becoming commonplace in the days ahead, as long as the parent Smurfs would be with Papa Smurf and all the other Smurfs.
Lillithina just sat and watched, quietly smiling, as Empath and Papa Smurf ate heartily. Empath began to notice that his Mama Smurf didn’t have anything to say at this point. It was as if she was expecting something to happen.
“Is everything all right, Mama?” Empath asked out of concern.
“I’m fine, Empathy,” Lillithina answered. “Why do you need to ask?”
“It’s just that you seem so quiet now, just sitting there watching us eat,” Empath observed. “Are you becoming jealous about us being able to enjoy eating while you and your fellow Smurfs no longer need to eat?”
“Why would I need to feel jealous about that?” Lillithina wondered. “I feel so alive in a way that you cannot even begin to imagine. It’s like smurfing in the presence of the ones I love is all the smurfishment that I will ever need.”
Papa Smurf looked at her when she said that. “Hmmm…very interesting to hear you smurf that, Lilly. I guess smurfing back from the dead has really changed you and the other Smurfs I knew for the better. Of course, I would have to admit that I would smurf so jealous about not needing to eat if I were the one smurfing among loved ones who still could and need to eat in the smurf that you’re in.”
“When you smurf like I am, Cully, eating will be smurfthing that you will never miss,” Lillithina said. “You’ll also never have to worry about needing to drink or sleep or smurfing hurt or smurfing old or anything that besmurfs a burden in the smurf of living that you’re in right now. The only thing that will never change is how much I love you, despite everything you have smurfed when we were still smurfing together. You will someday smurf for yourself that this kind of smurfing is greater than anything that you have ever smurfed before.”
“If it’s truly this wonderful to smurf that way, Lilly, I wish that I can smurf that way right now with you alongside me,” Papa Smurf said, looking in her eyes.
“I promise you that you will, Cully…very soon,” Lillithina responded, leaning her face toward Papa Smurf’s to kiss him as he did his toward hers.
“Papa Smurf! Empath!” Smurfette called out as she approached the dining table, interrupting the kiss before it took place. She was carrying Baby Smurf with her. “Polaris Psyche smurfed out something about this reunion smurfing place that requires your attention.”
“Smurfette, can’t this news wait until dinner is done?” Papa Smurf asked, annoyed at this interruption. “As a matter of fact, can’t Polaris wait to report this until after tonight’s celebration of the new year?”
“Polaris believes it is urgent to report it to you right now,” Smurfette insisted. “Tomorrow may be too late, because the entire village is in great danger right now.”
Empath could see in Smurfette’s face that whatever she found out about this reunion was the truth. “This smurf will come with you to see Polaris, Smurfette, and to hear whatever he has to report concerning the danger that this village may allegedly be in,” he affirmed.
Smurfette felt a bit relieved to hear that. “Well, if you can just carry Baby Smurf in your arms, we can smurf to Polaris together and smurf what he has to say,” she said, feeling Baby Smurf squirm restlessly in her arms.
“This smurf will do that,” Empath replied as Smurfette passed Baby Smurf onto him and he cradled the infant in his own arms. No sooner did he do that, though, did Baby Smurf wave his hands around in the air, saying, “Auld lang smurf”. And in that same instant, Empath felt a tingling sensation all around him, as if some sort of magic spell was being cast over him – or rather, that the effects of a magic spell he was under were changing somehow.
Then Empath passed Baby Smurf back to Smurfette, and noticed that something strange has happened. He could still see and hear Lillithina sitting at the table with Papa Smurf having a conversation with him. But now it was as if he was looking at a ghost that bore her image, becoming translucent. He could now no longer sense her being around. And as Empath approached her and tried to touch her, his hand simply passed through her like she was just air.
Lillithina looked at Empath, who was now looking at her rather strangely. “Empathy, what’s the matter?” she asked, uncertain of what was going on. “Why are you smurfing at me like that? Is there smurfthing wrong?”
Empath nodded. “Something is definitely wrong, Mama. I can still see you and hear you, but it’s like you’re not really there at all.”
“That’s because she was never really there to begin with, Empath,” Smurfette explained. “You and the other Smurfs were under a spell smurfed by someone called the Auld Lang Syne Spell. That’s what Polaris Psyche is trying to smurf you.”
Papa Smurf turned to face Smurfette when he heard this. “Auld Lang Syne Spell? What nonsense is this that you’re smurfing about, Smurfette? My wife is actually here with me, even if you can’t smurf her.”
“But now I can, Papa Smurf,” Smurfette said. “The spell Baby Smurf used is one that has not only brought Empath to smurf for himself the reality of the Auld Lang Syne Spell effects, but also one that lets me finally smurf just what it is that you’re smurfing.”
“Cully, I can finally smurf this Smurfette and this Baby Smurf she’s smurfing,” Lillithina commented, looking rather strangely at the two of them. “But what does she smurf by this Auld Lang Syne spell that she smurfs that you’re under?”
“It’s just smurfthing that she smurfed from her own imagination, Lilly,” Papa Smurf tried to console her. “It’s nothing that you need to consmurf yourself about. She’s just trying to smurf Baby Smurf company like she usually smurfs.”
Then Baby Smurf waved his hands in the air again, saying, “Auld lang smurf”. And then Papa Smurf felt the same tingling sensation, and then noticed for himself what Empath was now seeing. He tried to touch his wife, only to find his hand passing through her like she really wasn’t there.
“No!” Papa Smurf shouted. “This can’t be! All this time…I have spent entersmurfing an illusion?!?”
“Unfortunately, that’s what you, this smurf, and all this smurf’s fellow Smurfs were doing, Papa Smurf,” Empath answered, realizing the truth for himself. “This Auld Lang Syne Spell has got us so wrapped up in believing that our parent Smurfs have come back to life to the point where, if it weren’t for Baby Smurf counteracting some of the effects, we wouldn’t have known what these illusions were doing to us until it is too late.”
Papa Smurf was shocked to hear this. “I can’t believe that I have been this deluded! I have smurfen up my being the village leader and a father figure…all because my fellow Smurfs now here among us are just illusions!”
“Cully, what are you smurfing?” Lillithina asked, not liking what she was hearing. “Is that what we really are…just illusions that are somehow smurfed life because of some magic spell?”
Papa Smurf looked at his wife – the image of his wife – and nodded sadly. “You have never returned back from the dead, Lilly. And neither have all of our fellow Smurfs. Someone must have smurfed advantage of us wanting to smurf all of you back to us from the dead, and tried to smurf our memories of you against us for some persmurfed purpose.”
Lillithina looked so sad, she started to cry. “Then this whole thing was just too smurf to be true. I’m just nothing more than a living memory to you, and all my fellow Smurfs were just memories of their little Smurfs. You have been so kind to accept us as though we were still smurfing, and all we have smurfed is to smurf everything you once had together as a new family away from you and each other.”
“There, there, now, Lilly,” Papa Smurf tried to console her. “It wasn’t your fault that you didn’t know what you really were. You at least gave me a chance to smurf the Smurfette that I loved long ago once more, and you smurfed Empath a chance to smurf for himself a living memory of his Mama Smurf. That was more than any Smurf here could even hope to have happen in their lives. All my little Smurfs may not like having to smurf what we’re smurfing now, but they will learn that it’s truly for the best to know the truth of this reunion.” As the image of Lillithina nodded with some acceptance to what Papa Smurf had told her, he then turned to Smurfette. “I think it’s time for you and Baby Smurf to awaken all the other Smurfs from this delusion and smurf this reunion for what it really is.”
“Right away, Papa Smurf,” Smurfette replied, as she went around the dining tables with Baby Smurf using the same counteracting spell to awaken all the other Smurfs into seeing their parent Smurfs as truly illusions.
One by one, they all started to react similar to how Empath and Papa Smurf himself reacted when they saw Lillithina as really being an illusion. Some were shocked, some were angry, and some were even weeping.
“Please, my little Smurfs, listen to me,” Papa Smurf announced as he stood up from the table to speak. “I know that the truth of what you’re experiencing is hard to accept, but the truth is is that we were all under the effects of the Auld Lang Syne Spell. It has smurfed the very memories of our loved ones who had passed away and smurfed them to be so real, we would have had no idea that these illusions would have smurfed our very lives at the smurf of midnight.”
“But why is it that we can still see and hear them, Papa Smurf?” one of the Smurfs asked.
“Baby Smurf has managed to countersmurf some of the effects, to enable us to smurf for ourselves the reality behind this illusion,” Papa Smurf answered. “The full effects of the spell won’t wear off until midnight tonight, but at the very least we won’t be fooled by these illusions smurfing us to be the real thing.”
“Well, there smurfs my trip to the Emerald Isle,” Tapper groaned, not liking the sound of hearing that his parents sitting with him at the dinner table were just living memories given life.
"Ah, bugger, guess I won't be smurfing off to the ancestral Highlands myself," Duncan said, sharing the same sense of disappointment.
“But what do we smurf now that we know the truth?” another Smurf asked.
“We still have several hours until midnight, my fellow Smurfs,” Empath told them. “This smurf would suggest that we keep our original plan to celebrate the New Year’s Eve. Until that time, we should use those hours to make peace with these ‘living memories’ of ours and prepare for the inevitable event of these images vanishing.”
During the several hours until midnight, Empath helped Tapper get the tavern set up for the New Year’s Eve celebration party, taking down the signs that were put up on the doors, getting chairs and stools down for Smurfs to sit upon, and putting up streamers and balloons around and on the ceiling. Meanwhile, the images of Séamus and Molly stood and watched, unable to do anything since they no longer could handle anything as they did when they were physical hallucinations. Tapper was rather quiet as he and Empath did their preparation work, but Empath could sense a bit of heartbreak and disappointment from Tapper. He could see on the faces of Tapper’s parent’s images that they didn’t like seeing their son not wanting to speak to them.
“Tapper, my boy, please don’t smurf us out,” Séamus’ image pleaded. “We never meant to harm you – at least, that was not our intent. We only wanted to smurf you happy one last time.”
“Please listen to your Papa Smurf, Tapper,” Molly’s image suggested. “I know now what we truly are, and I’m sorry that we’re not what you’ve expected us to be. But at least, don’t let this last night together smurf like this.”
Tapper finally stopped and looked at them, sighing. “I truly believed that you both smurfed back from the dead, and that we could finally be a family together again. But what you are now is just a reminder that, as much as I would want things to smurf back to what it used to be, I’m much happier now with what I have in the present. I have a Papa Smurf with a heart that’s big enough to care for a hundred young Smurfs such as myself, and I’m very proud to be called ‘his little Smurf’. I have a life here in the Smurf Village, and people here who care about me and depend on me, and I just can’t up and leave this life with the promise that things will be smurfier elsewhere – not even in the Emerald Isle, however badly I would much want to smurf that place again like we did when I was a wee one.”
“We see that now, Tapper,” Séamus’ image said. “It was foolish of us to ever want to smurf something as precious as your life here in the Smurf Village away from you. Your Uncle Cully was a fine fellow Smurf that, despite his faults, was one Smurf we were proud of to smurf you into his hands to be your Papa Smurf. He was a friend who smurfed closer to us than a brother when we were still living, and because of what we smurfed through together with him in our younger days, we knew that smurfing you into his hands was the right choice for us…and for you.”
“I only hope, my son, that you will smurf somebody as sweet and kind and fair as this Smurfette you smurf about,” Molly’s image said. “Had we still lived, we would have been honored to smurf your children as our own grandchildren. You have a heart that truly cares for your brothers and sisters in this village. Don’t forget that.”
“And if you ever decide to smurf your way to the Emerald Isle, remember this one thing – don’t smurf that enchanted stew at any cost,” Séamus’ image playfully warned.
Tapper laughed a bit hearing this warning, nodding in acceptance. “May the luck of the Smurfish always be with you two. I will dearly miss you both in my tavern.”
Empath was glad to see Tapper making peace with the images of his parents. As disappointed as he was over finding out the reality behind the illusion, Tapper was willing to not let this disappointment ruin his life.
Meanwhile, Duncan was in his house talking to the images of his parents Angus and Bonnie. "I can't believe the both of you aren't even real ghosts, because you sure have ruined the best reunion that we ever smurfed by not being really alive in the first place," Duncan said very angrily.
"So we're not really ghosts and we haven't really been smurfed back to life," Angus' image said. "The thing is, laddie, that you can't keep smurfing on to us and expect that we're going to smurf each other again except in the smurfy hereafter."
"Your Papa is right, Duncan," Bonnie's image said. "As much as we would want to smurf here in person, you're a grown-up Smurf now with a life of your own that you must smurf, and so also is your brother Connor. You must let the past smurf in the past and smurf on to the future."
"Aye, I suppose that you are right," Duncan said with a sigh. "I've been smurfing too long with a new family and have been used to the way things were smurfing before this 'reunion' happened, it's just foolish for me to think that I can smurf back to the way things used to be like nothing's ever happened. Even though this means that I still have to smurf up with Hefty always calling me Gutsy."
"He may not fully like you, Duncan, but at the very least he respects you, which is why you shouldn't let his calling you Gutsy ever bother you," Angus' image said. "In time he's going to smurf around and see that he's smurfing the wrong battle with you."
"Nonetheless, I couldn't be more pleased to smurf the honor of raising a son like you, and to let Cully raise you into the Smurf you are today," Bonnie's image said. "The McSmurf clan will surely smurf you as a true warrior among its ranks."
Duncan looked at the clock and noticed that it was getting closer to midnight. "A few more hours and you'll be smurfed from our lives forever, as if you were never really here to begin with. You will join us for the smurfing of the new year, won't you?"
"Aye, laddie, me and your Mama Smurf will be right here with you until the bell smurfs at midnight," Angus' image replied.
"But we will always be with you after we are gone, in the place that you will remember us," Bonnie's image added.
Around 11:30 that evening, all the Smurfs were gathered outside in the village square near the clock tower with the translucent images of the parent Smurfs, watching as Brainy with his pocket watch counted off the minutes left until the new year began. They knew that at midnight, the effects of the Auld Lang Syne Spell would completely wear off, and the images of the parent Smurfs would vanish. So they thought it was fitting that they would join together for one last time, to say goodbye not just to the previous year, but also to each other. Tapper supplied all the party favors to this event, with all but the parent Smurfs wearing party hats and glasses, and a good deal of them had all sorts of noisemakers. Jokey had special exploding giftboxes of confetti ready to activate with the pull of a string.
As Brainy announced that there were twenty minutes left until midnight, Papa Smurf stood with Lillithina, the both of them sad that they could no longer feel or touch each other, but at least glad that they were together again one more time.
“It’s just what I’ve always wanted to smurf, my dear Cully,” Lillithina sighed as she watched the clock. “To smurf one last New Year’s Eve with the most loving and most handsome Smurf I’ve ever smurfed.”
“If only we could smurf more time with each other, my sweet Lilly,” Papa Smurf said, feeling a tear form in his eye. “I’ve lost you before, and the thought of losing you again, even like this, smurfs like it’s too much to bear.”
“Cully, you’re not alone anymore,” Lillithina said, looking into her husband’s eyes. “The product of the love we smurfed together, our son, is here with you, as are all these fine young Smurfs that all call you Papa Smurf. And if that isn’t enough, know that in your heart is where you will always carry me, and that is where I will always love you, even when you’re the only Smurf left.”
“And that is where I will always love you as well, Lilly,” Papa Smurf responded, sounding like he wanted to kiss her at that moment.
Empath came with Smurfette to stand near Papa Smurf and Lillithina, who then turned to face her son. “Empathy…or should I now call you Empath…I can smurf now this Smurfette who is so special to you, who smurfs in you things that she could never smurf in any other Smurf your age, and that she truly loves you very much. No matter how much your life smurfed out different from what I was hoping, I can still smurf so much of what I loved about your own Papa Smurf in you. If it means anything to you to smurf it from me, I just want you to know that I have loved you the first day I smurfed eyes on you, and that I will always love you.”
Empath felt his eyes fill with tears. “I never thought I would ever smurf that from you, Mama Smurf. I will always love you, too.”
Lillithina then turned to Smurfette. “Please, my dear, smurf care of my precious son for me. He’s a very special gift that I want you to smurf the privilege of enjoying for as long as you shall smurf.”
Smurfette nodded, finding her eyes fill with tears. “Yes, Mama Smurf, I will. He smurfs so much to me, just as you smurf so much to Papa Smurf.”
There were now ten minutes left. The image of Jokey’s father Pranky was now talking with Polaris Psyche, whom Pranky was now able to see. “I just want to let you know, my Psychelian friend, that Jokey smurfed nothing to do with that prank in the tavern,” he confessed. “It was entirely my smurfing, and I meant no harm in smurfing it.”
Polaris nodded with some understanding. “At least this one knows where Jokey gets his talents and his sense of humor. This one will make certain that his style of humor does not get out of control.”
“Jokey is right about one thing he smurfed about you,” Pranky’s image commented. “You smurftainly need to have a good laugh in your life. You’re not going to smurf much of a life here in the village without one.”
“This one will keep that thought well in mind,” Polaris said.
Meanwhile, Muscles' image was saying goodbye to Sassette, who was a little sad when she realized the truth of this reunion with what she thought was her father, but even sadder that he had to go away. "I wish you could have smurfed here a little longer, Papa," Sassette pleaded, "even if you can't play with me anymore like you used to."
"You have your new friends to smurf after you now, Sassy," Muscles reminded her, now seeing Nat, Snappy, and Slouchy among the crowd. "My only regret is that I can't smurf Grouchy how much I love him, even if he isn't one of my favorites like you or your older brothers. I guess I desmurf what I got from him for being the favoritist parent."
"I'll love him for you, Papa, I promise," Sassette replied. "Before you go, I just wanted to smurf that I'm sorry for smurfing away from home, even after what Hefty and the other Smurfs smurfed to me back then."
"I know, Sassy, and I don't blame you for smurfing it," Muscles consoled her. "I'm only glad to smurf that you and Hefty are smurfing along together better than you did back when I was smurfing. You see, the reason us men Smurfs smurf our hearts on our arms is to remind us that we need to smurf our strength to help others out, not to smurf them around. Make sure Hefty never forgets that lesson while I'm gone, you got that?"
"Even if I have to smurf him in a headlock," Sassette answered, giggling afterward with her father.
“One minute left,” Brainy cried out, as all the Smurfs present had finished saying their goodbyes. The images of the parent Smurfs then gathered together as one group separate from Papa Smurf and all the other Smurfs, standing right in front of the clock tower. It was a heartbreaking scene as the two groups faced each other, knowing that the time of departure was getting closer.
And then with Brainy’s final announcement, they all shouted, “10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…”
The clock tower in the village square now struck midnight, and as the bell tolled, ringing out the hour of the first day of the new year, the Smurfs saw the parent Smurfs begin to fade completely.
“Remember us well, my little Smurfs,” Lillithina said as she looked at her husband’s face one last time.
And as the Smurfs watched the images of the parent Smurfs fade into nothingness, Smurfette began to sing the song with Duncan playing the bagpipes, and as she sang, the other Smurfs joined with her:
Should auld acquaintance
And never brought to smurf?
Should auld acquaintance be forsmurfed,
And days of auld lang
And days of auld lang smurf, my dear,
And days of auld lang smurf.
Should auld acquaintance be forsmurfed,
And days of auld lang smurf?
“Happy New Year!” they all shouted as Jokey pulled the cord that triggered all his surprise giftboxes to open one after another, releasing an explosion of confetti that rained down on the Smurfs gathered around the clock tower. All the Smurfs let out a loud festive cheer with shouts and noisemakers on hand.