Meanwhile, back in the village, Papa Smurf and Polaris Psyche were at the Smurf Theater, watching a rehearsal of Romeo And Smurfette with Harmony and Smurfette as the main characters. Of course, Smurfette was having a hard time acting during Harmony's singing parts since he was well-known for his off-key singing voice. However, Papa Smurf and Polaris were watching the rehearsal more for testing out the new Imaginarium crystals that Handy had installed into the stage that he claimed would enable actors to do instant costume changes as well as for instant scene changes and special effects.
"This one doesn't understand, Papa Smurf, the point of this theatrical production," Polaris Psyche said. "If it's supposed to be a reenactment of a story, then wouldn't it make sense that it should take place in the Imaginarium?"
"The point of theatre, Polaris, is for the actors to express themselves artistically to others," Papa Smurf said. "Portraying a character from a story isn't much fun if you don't have other Smurfs around to share the portrayal with."
"From what this one has seen in the Imaginarium, Papa Smurf, there's at least the element of interactivity and realism within its fantasy settings," Polaris said. "Here the actors are pretty much aware that they're on a stage instead of in an entirely different world. Wouldn't that make them feel intimidated?"
"That's what we would call stage fright, Polaris," Papa Smurf said. "Every Smurf has that feeling whenever they appear before a crowd to smurf a performance. Even I have that feeling when I have to smurf an important public announcement to my little Smurfs."
"This one has a hard time imagining you, the leader of the Smurfs, feeling intimidated by the Smurfs you're in charge of when you must appear in public before them," Polaris said. "But this one senses that you're able to control that feeling so that it doesn't overwhelm you."
"Stage fright can be a smurfy thing in that it makes the performer or presenter be more alert so he can smurf a good performance," Papa Smurf said. "Just remember that others will smurf you as being more confident of your abilities than you may smurf of yourself."
"Papa Smurf! Papa Smurf!" Century shouted as he arrived in the village and approached him at the Smurf Theater. "Something terrible has smurfened out in the forest today!"
"This one senses that something has happened to Empath," Polaris said.
"That's what I'm smurfing to, Polaris," Century said. "Empath and I were smurfing at the log over the River Smurf with our quarterstaffs, and I smurfed Empath in the back of the head, and he fell and smurfed his head on a rock and got smurfed downstream, so I followed him until I could smurf him back on shore. But then I smurfed some humans coming, and I couldn't smurf Empath into the bushes to keep him from being smurfed, and then they stopped and smurfed at him. The smaller one smurfed him into a cage and then they smurfed off across the river and down the road."
Smurfette overheard this and jumped off the stage to join Century, Papa Smurf, and Polaris. As she did, her Romeo And Smurfette costume changed back into her ordinary clothes. "Oh, dear," Smurfette moaned. "Is this true that Empath got smurfnapped? We've got to smurf something."
"We'll smurf the entire forest to see where the humans have smurfed Empath to, Smurfette," Papa Smurf said. "In the meantime, have Hefty join me as Century smurfs me back to the spot where Empath was last smurfed."
"Yes, Papa Smurf," Smurfette said. "I just hope Empath is all right."
"Although this one is new to how things are done in the Smurf Village, it would be wise if you leave this one to monitor things here while you do your search, Papa Smurf," Polaris suggested.
Papa Smurf sighed. "I would like to smurf you along so we can find Empath, but I wouldn't want to risk smurfing you beyond the forest unless it's absosmurfly necessary. Human villages are very big and tend to be very dangerous. The other Smurfs may not like this, but I don't smurf where I have much choice. So until I return, you'll be smurfed in charge with Duncan as your assistant. Is that undersmurfed?"
Polaris nodded. "This one acknowledges, Papa Smurf, and will not disappoint you."
"I'm sorry for smurfing Empath out in the forest like that, Papa Smurf," Century said.
"You smurfed your best with what you could smurf, Century," Papa Smurf said consolingly. "I just hope we'll be able to find Empath as quickly as possible. Who knows what the humans could smurf if they knew about the abilities he possesses."
Around this time Empath had awakened. "Uh...where am I...and who am I?" he muttered to himself. And then he saw a mouse in the same place he awakened in. "AAAAH...it's a monster!" he yelped.
"Stanley, it sounds like the elf has awakened, and it's able to speak," Simon said as he looked into the cage and saw Empath, who looked somewhat fearful.
"Hmmm, then maybe this elf can help us earn some coin," Stanley said, briefly looking at Empath before he turned his attention to the road.
"Who are you...and what am I smurfing in here?" Empath asked.
"Don't be frightened, little elf," Simon said. "I put you in here with my pet mouse. He's actually quite nice."
Empath struggled with the bars of the cage, but he was unable to free himself. He sat in the cage, looking like he was totally lost, not knowing who he was or what he was now doing with a couple of giants and a mouse. Everything in his memory was a blank, as if he was now a person with no past. He couldn't even think of what his future will be beyond being in a cage.
Meanwhile, Century took Papa Smurf and several other Smurfs to the place along the river where Empath was last seen. They examined the area for any trace of where Empath might have gone.
"This is the spot where I last smurfed Empath, Papa Smurf," Century said as he showed the village leader the imprint in the sand where he had dragged Empath's body to.
"Why do I smurf the feeling that this should have been me?" Jokey said as he also looked in the same spot Century showed Papa Smurf.
"How could you leave Empath alone like this, you smurfless coward?" Hefty said in an angry tone.
"I may be a brave Smurf, Hefty, but I'm not stupid," Century said. "I didn't want to risk being smurfnapped along with Empath, and I wasn't going to smurf a fight with a couple of humans."
"It's no use arguing over this, my little Smurfs," Papa Smurf said. "What's important is that we find Empath before the humans know what to smurf with him."
"We could follow the wagon smurfs so we could find where those humans have smurfed to, Papa Smurf," Tracker said.
"We could smurf that, Tracker, but then night would fall, and we would have no idea which of the nearby human villages they have smurfed to," Papa Smurf said.
"I wish Polaris was out here right now, helping us find Empath," Smurfette said.
"Which makes me wonder why you would smurf that pale-faced star-smurfed freak in charge of the village, Papa Smurf," Hefty said.
"What do you smurf against him, Hefty Smurf?" Smurfette asked. "He's Empath's friend."
"He also isn't a Smurf, unless you've forgotten that he smurfed his pale-faced friends along when Empath first smurfed him to our village, Smurfette," Hefty said.
"I also wasn't a Smurf either, Hefty, and you smurfed me into the village, not knowing that I was a creation of Gargamel," Smurfette said.
"Smurf me about it, Smurfette," Hefty said. "I would have smurfed you out of here for good if it wasn't for Papa Smurf wanting to smurf you into a real Smurf."
"Anyway, my little Smurfs, we should return to the village and wait until morning when we can smurf a visit to Homnibus," Papa Smurf said. "Perhaps he can help us track down where Empath was smurfed to with his crystal ball."
"Polaris should have smurfed him by now with those powers of his, Papa Smurf," Hefty said.
"I'm hoping that would be the case as well, Hefty," Papa Smurf said. The Smurfs got onto the backs of the storks they were riding and then flew away.
At nightfall at the side of the road, Stanley and Simon had pulled over to make camp and rest. Simon was watching over the captive Smurf, seeing him glare back as if he didn't like being where he was, while Stanley was gathering wood for the fire.
"By tomorrow morning we should reach the village of Abelagot," Stanley said as he stoked the fire. "I hope for your sake that your mouse does not make us look like laughingstocks again, given that he is the only performing act we have left." He then picked up the cage that Empath and the mouse were in. "And what about you, little blue elf? You do not say anything?" He poked Empath with a stick. "Come on, show us what else you can do."
"Stop it, Stanley! Don't pester him!" Simon warned.
Then Empath grabbed the stick and poked it right back into Stanley's face. "OUCH!" he said, grabbing his nose.
"Don't ever smurf at me like that!" Empath said sternly.
Simon laughed as he saw Stanley got poked in the nose. "I guess he really showed you, didn't he?"
Stanley looked rather sour. "A rogue goblin...very promising. I just hope he might be able to perform tomorrow for our audiences before I give him something to worry about."
"I am only hoping that Devereaux doesn't find us in Abelagot, Stanley," Simon said. "If he's going to get blood from a stone, he might as well look elsewhere for it."
Stanly sighed. "If only we can make enough money to get him off our backs for good, Simon. That's all I care about."
By morning Stanley and Simon reached the city gates of Abelagot. "Halt!" the guards at the gate ordered.
"Huh? What's going on, sergeant?" Stanley asked, curious.
"We need to inspect any vehicle that enters and leaves this village," the sergeant said.
"Search my vehicle? Why?" Stanley said, sounding fearful.
"Those are my orders, and I expect you to cooperate with them," the sergeant said. He then turned to his fellow guard. "Well?"
"Nothing, sergeant," the other guard said, finishing his inspecting. "They are just entertainers."
"Very good! You may enter!" the sergeant said, as he and the other guard stepped out of the way to allow Stanley and Simon passage.
As they rode into the village, Stanley looked at his companion. "That's the first time that we were searched at the entrance of this village," he commented. "I wonder what's going on."
"Maybe they know you're a couple of thieves and they were smurfing for me," Empath said, sounding angry. "Let me smurf out of here before you smurf out for yourselves what they want."
"Spare us your spittle, gnome, until we reach the market," Stanley shot back. "In any case, I have no idea of what you are saying at all."
Soon they have reached the marketplace, where they already see various entertainers at work. They found a vacant place where they could park their wagon and set up their stage.
"I warn you, Simon, that this is the last chance with that stupid mouse of yours," Stanley said as they both got off the wagon to set up. "If he misses his number again..."
"Don't worry about a thing, Stanley...he will perform it," Simon said as he proceeded to set up the table for their stage.
After the table was set up, Stanley proceeded with his work. "Welcome, one and all, to the Stanley and Simon Traveling Show. Come and join us for an amazing spectacle." He then showed the mouse on the table who was their star performer. "This mouse that comes from a remote area is an animal like no other...he will perform right before your very eyes a few tricks that are worthy of the best entertainers. And here is the star, the most incredible mouse ever!"
"Come on...don't be afraid," Simon said gently to the mouse as he coaxed his pet toward the ball on the tiny stage. The mouse climbed on top of the ball and tried to roll the ball around the table with his feet, but he ended up falling off it.
The people gathered around the table looked like they were not impressed, which made Simon quite fearful. "Ahem...well, now he will perform a stunt of incredible high-flying acrobatics," he said, trying to keep himself from losing his audience. He then pointed toward the small seesaw that the mouse was standing on, which was next to a stack of wooden blocks. "Watch as he will leap from this platform and perform a triple jump backwards..." He pushed down on the other end of the seesaw to catapult the mouse. "...and then he will land perfectly on..."
The mouse flipped over and knocked the entire stack of blocks down, causing the audience to laugh. "This is ridiculous," one of the people in the audience said. "You call this a spectacle?"
"Charlatans! Here's to your spectacle!" another person said, throwing a ripe fruit at Stanley.
"Please! Dont..." Stanley said, trying to get his audience not to depart when he got hit in the face by the fruit. He then turned his attention to the mouse, picking him up by the tail with one hand and ready to pound him with the other. "You stupid excuse of a mouse! I'll show you..."
"Stop! Smurf him alone!" a small voice said. He saw that it was coming from Empath, who was still in the cage. "Smurf me out of here, and I'll show you how you can smurf some tricks."
Everyone now turned their attention to the little blue man in the cage. They wondered what it was and where he had come from as Simon brought the cage over to the table and let Empath out of it.
"I may not know where I smurf from, but I do know that animals like this should be smurfed kindly if you want them to smurf what they want," Empath said. He then reached into his pocket and pulled out a small bit of cheese. "I have smurfed this when I was smurfing in the cage. Here you smurf." He then tossed the bit of cheese to the mouse, who nibbled on it happily. "And now, he's going to smurf for us a little somersault."
The mouse happily obliged by performing the somersault.
"And there you have it," Empath said, smiling. "It couldn't have smurfed any easier. So what do you smurf of that?"
The audience was left puzzled, staring at the little blue man. "What did he say?" one person asked.
"How would I know?" another person answered. "I can hardly understand him myself."
Empath could sense that the audience looked puzzled, though he had no idea how he was able to sense that. He felt that the only way he could gain their attention is to give them what they wanted. "Good smurfs of Abelagot, I'm going to smurf you such a show the smurfs of which you have never smurfed before."
And so the audience watched as Empath and the mouse performed amazing feats that would remain etched in their memories. Empath had the mouse jump through a flaming hoop, then do a somersault and land on top of his head with a seesaw, then do a tightrope act, and finally roll Empath around with his feet while lying on his back.
"Ta-dahhhh!" Empath said as he and the mouse took a bow after the final act was finished. "And there you have it, folks...one smurfy performance! Let's smurf a great round of applause!"
The audience clapped and happily threw their money into Stanley's collection bag, impressed by what they called "the little blue man" and the mouse. Meanwhile, a mysterious man with a moustache watched the whole thing from behind the crowd, unnoticed by anyone.
"I'm telling you, that little blue man is fantastic," a member of the audience said to his friend. "All those incredible feats, and he's no bigger than a mouse!"
"Maybe he could help me," the mysterious man said as he disappeared from the crowd.