Before Empath could say anymore, an energy blast struck the village, causing the Smurfs outside the infirmary to run in fear.
"This one can sense that the Guard Elite has returned to retrieve this one," Polaris said.
"Well, this smurf will not let them have you without a fight," Empath responded. "Stay here while this smurf takes care of our visitors."
Empath and Papa Smurf joined the other Smurfs outside as they looked up and saw that the Psychelian Guard Elite is floating above the village, completely surrounding them. They have their energy spears aimed down toward the village.
"Outsiders, heed us," one of the Guard Elite commanded. "One of you has illegally taken one of our fellow Psyches who has escaped from our domain to seek asylum here. Surrender the Psyche to us and the Psyche Master will leave your village alone. Resist us and we will use force to take the Psyche Master's property away from you."
"This is my village, Psyches," Papa Smurf shouted. "You will not threaten my little Smurfs in any way possible. The Psyche you're after is under our care and we will return him to you when he is smurfing better."
"You have only one among your kind who is able to fight us, outsider," another Guard Elite said. "You and your village will not survive such a conflict with us, should you force our hand. Surrender the Psyche now or we will use our power to take him from you."
"Well, why don't you smurf down here so we can settle this Smurf to Smurf instead of smurfing up there like a bunch of cowards?" Hefty challenged.
"Hefty, we can't antagonize the Psyches," Empath warned.
"You can reason with them all you want, Empath," Hefty countered. "I'm not going to let them smurf over our heads like vultures, ready to smurf on us!"
"Maybe what they need is one of my surprises," Jokey quipped.
"I hate your surprises," Grouchy said.
"Hefty is right, Smurfs," Handy spoke. "This is our village, and we're not going to let anyone smurf around over it and bully us into smurfing over someone!"
The crowd of Smurfs gathered around Hefty and Handy grew as they raised their fists at the Psychelian Guard Elite and shouted for them to leave.
"You have been duly warned, outsiders!" one of the Guard Elite said. He fired a blast from his energy spear straight down toward the center of the crowd, causing them to dodge. However, it did not stop them from throwing everything they had at the Psyches, even though they had easily deflected their projectiles with their mind powers.
Empath knew this was going to get really ugly pretty fast. He had to deal with the Guard Elite and get them to leave the village. "Papa Smurf, we're going to need a shield around the village to protect the Smurfs from their assault," he said.
"I'm one smurf ahead of you on that, Empath," Papa Smurf responded. "Just smurf those Psyches away from the village."
Empath leaped toward the sky and confronted the assembled Guard Elite, who now directed their energy spears toward him. "You cannot possibly withstand the entire might of the Psychelian Guard Elite's power trained against you, outsider," one of the guards said.
Though buffeted by their energy blasts, Empath charged straight for their leader and knocked him straight into the forest. "This smurf was trained with the best," he told the guard.
The other Smurfs quickly readied their defenses. Handy had a team of Smurfs wheel out catapults to aim rocks at the Psyches. Archer had another team armed with bows and arrows. Smokey, the village firefighter, got the fire brigade ready with Handy's fire engine. Pretty much every Smurf was preparing something to throw at the Psyches in order to ward them away.
And in the meantime, Empath fought as hard as he could against the Psyches, avoiding their energy blasts as much as possible. He knew it was going to be a tough fight, and by himself he wouldn't last long against the number of Psyches currently sent to retrieve Polaris. He didn't want to think about this turning into an all-out war.
The Smurflings with Baby and Puppy saw the battle raging above their heads. "I wish I could smurf up there and be like Empath to smurf him a hand," Snappy said.
"Yeah, me too," Sassette said.
"It doesn't look like Empath's going to smurf very long against them," Slouchy said.
"If there was only a way we could distract those Psyches," Nat wondered.
"Smurf open the locket!" Baby Smurf said
"Baby, we can't," Snappy said. "If we try to smurf the locket, we'll be smurfed by lightning!"
"Smurf open the locket!" Baby Smurf repeated.
Snappy went and opened the locket on Puppy's collar. This time it opened, and from it a blue glowing light appeared before it closed back up. The glowing light went high into the sky and then changed into the hideous form of a dragon that went after the Psyches.
Empath saw this and realized that Baby had used the magic inside the locket of Puppy's collar in order to create a distraction. Hopefully this would give him enough time to do something that would end this conflict. He flew back down to the infirmary.
Meanwhile, the other Smurfs watched as the Psyches now had to fight off a dragon that was created by the magic of Puppy's collar. Even Papa Smurf was amazed to see what had happened. Hopefully this will give him some time to create a protective spell around the village that would keep the Guard Elite from attacking.
"Psyche Master, we are unable to defeat this creature that just materalized before us," one of the Guard Elite said.
"Focus all of your energy spears at the creature," the Psyche Master said.
"This one acknowledges," all of the Guard Elites said in unison. They aimed their energy spears at the dragon and fired them at the same time. The creature began to flicker like an image of a television screen and then eventually it had vanished.
The Smurfs saw this and realized that their distraction and protection is gone. "Uh-oh, it looks like we're in deep smurf now!"
"What are we going to smurf?"
"Papa Smurf! The Psyches have destroyed the dragon!"
"Crazy, sound the alarm! It's time for a retreat!"
The village was in chaos as Crazy Smurf made a siren noise and every Smurf ran this way and that while the Psychelian Guard Elite turned their attention toward striking the Smurfs with their energy spears. Some of them were beginning to wonder where Empath and Papa Smurf had went.
Then finally Empath emerged from the infirmary with Polaris Psyche. The latter was having trouble trying to stand on his feet, but at the very least he was up and about. Polaris looked up and saw what was going on.
"The Guard Elite has been sent here to retrieve this one," Polaris realized. "This one's presence has put your people in danger. You must call for a surrender."
"Polaris, this smurf can't let you go," Empath said. "You are my Psychelian brother and you are my friend."
"I know," Polaris said. "If you value that relationship, you will call for a surrender."
Empath realized that and decided to do the wise thing. "Psychelian Guard Elite, this smurf has the Psyche you have been looking for."
"Call off the attack," Polaris shouted. "This one willfully surrenders."
The Psychelian Guard Elite looked down and saw Empath with Polaris. They stopped the attack and then swooped down to join the two at the infirmary's entrance. Every Smurf watched as Empath and Polaris now dealt with the guards face to face.
"You are foolish to not have surrendered the Psyche earlier, outsider," one of the guards said to Empath. "We will now take him back to Psychelia, and we will leave your people alone."
"Wait," Empath said. "This smurf wishes to bring Polaris back to Psychelia himself."
"You will not enter our domain with the Psyche, outsider," another guard said. "He returns with us, and you are to remain here."
"Empath, please don't risk another attack by the Psyches," Papa Smurf said when he joined Empath and Polaris with the guards.
"This smurf wishes to speak to the Psyche Master regarding the Psyche you are retrieving," Empath said. "This smurf will not return him unless he permits this smurf to have an audience with him."
"The Psyche Master does not speak with outsiders," a third guard said.
"Allow him to enter my chambers," the Psyche Master said, speaking only to the Guard Elite through thought. "I will deal with this matter myself."
"This one acknowledges, Psyche Master," all the guards said in unison. They all quickly flew away.
Papa Smurf sighed. "I just hope you know what you're smurfing, Empath."
Empath and Polaris arrived in Psychelia and were quickly escorted to the Psyche Master's chambers. Empath knew the Psyche Master wanted to resolve this matter as quickly as possible, and so also did Empath. He knew that this could possibly be the last time he would ever see Polaris Psyche.
"Empath Psyche, designation K-1137, acknowledging his presence," Empath stated as soon as he and Polaris were alone with the Psyche Master.
"I know who you are, Empath, so you do not need to address me by your former designation," the Psyche Master responded. "I sense that you are here to petition for the life of the Psyche whom you have bonded with during your time in Psychelia, a Psyche who now seeks asylum within your savage culture. I understand why you would not easily surrender him to me. However, you as an outsider must know how the Psyches have seen you during the time you were raised among us as a Psyche."
"This smurf acknowledges that this smurf was seen by the other Psyches as a prototype, Psyche Master," Empath admitted. "Yet you have not allowed any of them to know that this smurf is a Smurf."
"It would not have benefitted this community for them to know your true origin, to treat you as though you belonged to that race of savages," the Psyche Master said. "But as you became more aware of what you really are, you knew that you couldn't truly belong here as a Psyche. Polaris will no doubt find himself in the same situation if he was to ever live among your kind. It is here alone that he can find his true purpose and identity."
"Polaris cannot live here anymore with what he knows about the Smurfs," Empath contested. "He would contaminate the mindlink with his fellow Psyches if his knowledge about the Smurfs is ever shared. Release him from Psychelia, and the other Psyches can continue to live in peace without any further interference from us."
"Your petition is commendable, Empath, but it is ultimately useless," the Psyche Master said. "Polaris is to remain here in Psychelia, and we will deal with the knowledge that he refuses to give up. You are to return to the Smurf Village, and you are to never bother us again."
"This one wishes to speak for himself, Psyche Master," Polaris requested. "This one does not wish to return to Psychelia."
"What you wish for is irrelevant, Polaris," the Psyche Master countered. "What you are to do is imperative. You are to submit yourself to the greater good of the collective. You cannot live outside the community of your fellow Psyches."
"The Smurfs are not the 'savages' you make them out to be," Polaris said. "They also operate in the form of a collective, and yet they choose to embrace feelings and freedom."
"What they embrace are reckless behaviors," the Psyche Master responded. "I am disappointed that you would consider their ways to be more honorable than ours, as if they alone know the proper way to live. The path you choose is a dangerous one. I cannot let you go down that path, for your sake and the sake of your fellow Psyches."
"This one would rather die that ever submit myself to the collective, Psyche Master," Polaris boldly stated.
"If that is your desire, Polaris, then so be it," the Psyche Master ominously said. "Your sacrifice will make sure nobody has the desire to leave Psychelia."
"Wait a minute, Psyche Master," Empath interrupted. "If you're going to kill Polaris because he doesn't want to live in Psychelia anymore, you're going to have to kill me as well."
"Your role in this has ended, Empath," the Psyche Master commanded. "Leave now or I will force you out!"
"No!" Empath protested. "Polaris is my Psychelian brother, and he is my friend! If I am leaving, I am leaving with him -- one way or another!"
"Empath, do not sacrifice your life to interfere in the judgment of the Psyche Master," Polaris warned. "It is for the best that we part company now."
"We are brothers, Polaris," Empath answered, holding Polaris' hand. "Whatever happens, this smurf is not leaving you!"
"Then you shall share in the same judgment!"
Both Empath and Polaris convulsed as they felt powerful painful energy surging through them coming from the Psyche Master. But Empath also felt his own mental energies being strengthened by the mindlink he still had with his fellow Smurfs. With his energies, Empath slowly rose to his feet, resisting the Psyche Master's energy attack, and concentrated all his focus on dispelling it altogether. Finally Empath extended his hand toward the Psyche Master, and with a great burst the energy attack was dispersed.
"Impossible! You shouldn't be able to do that!" the Psyche Master roared.
"You're not the only one who knows about the 'power that only the greatest of minds can harness', Psyche Master -- the mindlink," Empath explained. "Right now, this smurf has harnessed the energies of my fellow Smurfs to repel your attack, and right now this smurf is in control of all your Psyches. None of them can do, say, or know anything unless this smurf wishes them to. So, shall we settle this matter peacefully, or shall we settle it Smurf to Smurf -- which is after all what you really are!"
"How dare you!" the Psyche Master shouted.
"Great Ancestors," Polaris exclaimed. "Is what this one is sensing of the Psyche Master actually true, Empath, that he really is a Smurf?"
Empath nodded. "Hard to believe, isn't it? The very one who claims to be a Psyche, who makes the other Psyches believe that Smurfs are a dangerous savage race, is actually a member of that same race. This smurf always wondered why he treated this smurf a little different, and why he has kept all the Psyches in the dark about who and what this smurf really is. Is it really to train this smurf to be a Psyche like all the others, Psyche Master -- or were you intending to make this smurf the next Psyche Master?"
"That was that I had intended for you, Empath, had it not been for the fact that Papa Smurf had thought I have deceived him by making it look like you have died when he left you here, when such was not the case," the Psyche Master answered. "And had it not been for allowing you to visit the Smurf Village to see for yourself the kind of savage life that they live, you would have been trained for that role, and no one would ever think to know that it was a Smurf who rules Psychelia when the time comes."
"Unfortunately, this one knows, from having been bonded to Empath, Psyche Master," Polaris reminded.
"This smurf has a better idea, Psyche Master," Empath suggested in a sneaky way. "Why don't we see what happens if this smurf lets the Psyches know that the Psyche Master is really a Smurf?"
"I will not let you do that, Empath!" the Psyche Master countered.
"Then release Polaris, and we will keep your secret hidden from the knowledge of every Psyche," Empath stated. "If not, then this smurf hopes you are able to defend yourself when all the Psyches turn against you!"
The Psyche Master heaved a sigh that Empath and Polaris could feel. "You are certain, Polaris, that you want to pursue the kind of life that you are seeking among the Smurfs?"
"This one is very certain, Psyche Master," Polaris answered.
"Then so be it," the Psyche Master concluded. "Polaris Psyche, you are forever exiled from Psychelia. You will be forever disconnected from the link of your fellow Psyches. You are never to return here under any circumstances. Acknowledge!"
"This one acknowledges, Psyche Master," Polaris responded, bowing respectfully before the Psyche Master. The two of them started to leave the temple, but the Psyche Master had called out to Empath.
"Even though you have been exiled from Psychelia, the offer for you to succeed me as the Psyche Master still stands. You cannot remain among your fellow Smurfs forever with the abilities you possess, and the Smurf Village cannot remain as your home forever. In time you will realize this for yourself, as you have begun to realize the power you now wield over your fellow Smurfs and the Psyches you were once part of."
"This smurf is not interested in wielding power over anyone, Psyche Master," Empath stated. "This smurf only wants to live among my fellow Smurfs as an equal, and to build a future with one of them -- a female whom this smurf loves dearly. This smurf cannot leave them."
"You will never stand among them as an equal, Empath," the Psyche Master reminded. "That is the curse you will carry for the rest of your life. You know that they will fear and even despise you, because that is the nature of savages -- to fear and despise that which is different from themselves. Think about it as you try to make a home for your fellow Psyche, for he will surely be feared and despised for what he truly is in his nature, which is a Psyche."
As Empath and Polaris left the Psyche Master's chambers and headed outside the domain of Psychelia, Polaris said nothing until they were alone.
"Empath, you have taken a risk to defend this one from the Psyche Master," Polaris said. "This one is honored and will be forever in your debt for your kindness."
"You are my Psychelian brother, Polaris, and you are my friend," Empath told him. "There is nothing this smurf wouldn't do for you."
"This one is relieved to hear that," Polaris said. "But now this one is without a community of fellow beings to call home."
"You have a home, Polaris, with this smurf," Empath assured him, smiling. "Come to the Smurf Village and we will discuss it with Papa Smurf."