Empath one day found himself approached by Hefty all by himself. "Salutations, fellow Hefty," Empath politely greeted. "What may you need this smurf for?"
"I want you to stop smurfing up for Grouchy like that, you star-smurfed freak," Hefty ranted.
"Why do you want this smurf to not be involved with Grouchy?" Empath asked, sounding curious. "He is after all a fellow Smurf who deserves to be respected."
"Not while I'm in charge as Papa Smurf's second-in-command," Hefty shouted. "Grouchy smurfs what I say, and if he doesn't like it, that's his problem right there. If he has to smurf out the outhouses in the village with his tongue, I'm going to make him smurf it and that's final!"
"This smurf will not let you abuse your authority as Papa Smurf's second-in-command to harrass any of your fellow Smurfs as you see fit," Empath boldly stated. "You will leave Grouchy alone and stop bothering him right now."
"And just who the smurf are you to make me smurf that, you blue-skinned freak?" Hefty objected, poking his finger hard on Empath's chest several times. "You're not even a true Smurf for somebody who keeps smurfing himself as 'this smurf'. Why don't you smurf back to where it is you smurfed from?"
"This smurf is not going anywhere, Hefty," Empath countered, not changing his tone. "And while this smurf may be better able to tolerate your attempts at intimidation, this smurf won't let you do anything to harm Grouchy in any way possible."
"Is that so?" Hefty sneered. "Well, maybe I should smurf you instead!"
Empath felt the sharp pain of his gut caving in as Hefty punched him hard in the stomach. He doubled over slightly as he recoiled from the pain, but he managed to regain his upright position, making Hefty look less than pleased.
"This smurf can only wonder if that is the worst you can do to harm this smurf, Hefty," Empath commented.
That made Hefty mad enough to belt Empath in the stomach again, this time following it up with a sharp hook to the left side of his jaw. "That worse enough for you, you punk?" Hefty asked, feeling a bit satisfied.
Empath felt the welt forming on the side of his face, stinging very badly, but again he didn't show any sign of giving in. "The pain you have inflicted so far is still not enough to make this smurf reconsider," he told Hefty.
Hefty felt himself getting madder. This time he really let loose on Empath, pounding him until he was lying on the ground, looking really bruised. And still, Empath had found the strength to pick himself up from the ground and face him. At this time, not yet noticed by either Hefty or Empath, Grouchy watched as Hefty unloaded his fury on Empath. He felt disgusted at what this brute was doing to Empath.
Hefty couldn't believe what he was seeing. Empath wasn't even fighting back, and yet he kept standing up to him ready for more punishment.
"It's going to take a hundred more Smurfs like you to even break this smurf down," Empath murmured, literally choking out his words.
"Well, maybe instead of smurfing you down, I should just smurf you right here and now," Hefty snarled, pushing Empath hard to the ground and getting ready to make him really bleed.
At that point, Grouchy stepped in. "You stop smurfing Empath like that, Hefty!" he shouted.
Hefty looked at Grouchy, feeling a bit satisfied now. "So now the grouchy wimp wants to smurf the bodyguard for this star-faced showoff, huh? Well, after I'm done smurfing Empath a lesson, I'm going to smurf you one, too!"
"You smurf a finger on him or me, I will tell Papa Smurf on you!" Grouchy stated, staring Hefty straight in the eye, glaring at him. "And you won't be his second-in-command for very long when he smurfs out what you did to Empath."
Hefty could feel the fearsome look of Grouchy's eyes and it made him feel very uncomfortable about what Grouchy threatened to do. He slowly backed away.
"Fine…go smurf Papa Smurf on me, you tattletale," Hefty roared. "I'm done smurfing the likes of you and that freak, anyway!" He stormed away from them, feeling very mad.
Grouchy watched as Hefty disappeared from their sight, then he turned to Empath, who was still on the ground, feeling how injured he was. The scowling look on his face soon changed to that of concern. "Are you all right, Empath?" he asked.
"This smurf is still functioning, Grouchy, though not without some difficulties," Empath croaked, reaching out to Grouchy with his hand. "You were very brave to have confronted Hefty like that and to protect this smurf from his further physical abuse."
"I just hate bullies!" Grouchy said, the snarl in his voice returning but tempered. He grabbed Empath's hand and helped him to his feet. "Let's go tell Papa Smurf about this!"
Papa Smurf looked in shock at what Hefty had done to Empath when Grouchy brought him into Papa Smurf's house. He was even more dismayed when he heard Grouchy tell what he had seen of Empath's encounter with Hefty.
"Great Smurfs of Fire!" he exclaimed. "Thank goodness you smurfed me how badly Hefty was abusing his authority as my assistant, Grouchy, though I wish it didn't have to happen this way! When I'm done smurfing up Empath, I'm going to have a smurfious talk with Hefty…and I will make very sure no Smurf ever bothers you like that anymore." He then turned to Empath and examined his injuries. "Well, at the very least Hefty hasn't smurfed anything serious to you, Empath, but I will have to treat these bruises so that they heal smurfly and without further infections."
Empath looked at Papa Smurf, not resisting the gentle touch of the village leader. "This smurf did the right thing in this situation, Papa Smurf?" he asked, uncertain.
"Yes, you did," Papa Smurf answered. "A true Smurf does not use his powers to smurf advantage of others for his own smurfonal gain. He uses them only to protect and defend his fellow Smurfs in times of dire need, as Grouchy has done to protect you."
"But Grouchy does not possess a minds-eye like this smurf," Empath mentioned.
"That's true, Empath," Papa Smurf reminded him, "but the power of the heart is always stronger than any other power that exists in this world."
As Papa Smurf applied the witch hazel to Empath's wounds, making his patient wince slightly with each application, Empath looked at Grouchy with a grateful look in his eyes.
Grouchy smiled privately back at Empath.
Empath could sense that he had found a friend in Grouchy.
From that day onward, Empath and Grouchy no longer had any problems with Hefty or any other Smurf about them being together. Though Grouchy didn't change how he acted toward his fellow Smurfs much, he did become more willing to help his fellow Smurfs out in times of need without complaining about it. Somehow knowing that there was one other Smurf who felt the same way Grouchy did about expressing emotions made him feel more comfortable about being a Smurf.
Empath's learning about showing emotions took up a good part of that year. He had some trouble understanding all of what he saw and heard, but in time the many expressions began to make sense in Empath's mind. With Grouchy alongside him as well as Papa Smurf and Tapper, he started to feel a little more comfortable about being a Smurf himself, even though he still never showed any emotion.
On the last day of his visit to the Smurf Village, when it was time for him to return to Psychelia, Empath was surrounded by all his fellow Smurfs who were gathered around the village square. Papa Smurf thought it would be appropriate for them to be together to see Empath off, though Hefty now looked like he would rather be somewhere else. Empath had changed back into his Psychelian bodysuit since he could not be seen returning to Psychelia wearing only a white hat and pants. After Empath made his individual goodbyes to his fellow Smurfs, he went over and thanked Papa Smurf for showing him the way that the Smurfs lived.
"This smurf understands now the true nature of himself, Papa Smurf," he explained, "but this smurf must still follow the way of the Psyches. Everything this smurf has learned about being a Smurf will not be of much use for this smurf in the presence of the Psyches because the Psyche Master forbids the expression of foreign ideas."
Papa Smurf sighed, feeling as if everything he had taught Empath was all for naught. "Well, if it means anything to you, we will miss smurfing you in the village, and you will always be welcome back to us should you ever visit us again." He then pulled out of his pocket a medallion with a symbol that looked like a Smurf's head and gave it to Empath. "Just remember when you smurf this symbol that you as a Smurf are no longer alone in this world. You are always one with us in our hearts, minds, and souls, and every one of us will always live inside of you."
"May the luck of the Smurfish always be with you, my friend," Tapper said as he and Duncan stood beside Papa Smurf.
"I'm going to really miss you smurfing in the village, laddie," Duncan said, sounding like he was going to break into tears.
Empath briefly looked at the medallion before he started to head for the stork that was waiting to fly him back to Psychelia. Then he suddenly turned around and embraced Papa Smurf, feeling as if he was never going to see him again.
"This is your way of expressing friendship, for this smurf will miss your presence as well," Empath said with a hint of sadness before he hopped onto a stork and flew away.
As Papa Smurf and all his little Smurfs watched the stork fly away, he saw Grouchy staring up at the sky, looking as if he too was going to miss Empath. He went over to him and noticed that Grouchy shed a single tear on his constantly scowling face.
"I hate saying goodbye to Empath," Grouchy said, his voice a low growl.
Papa Smurf nodded somberly. "You must have been very good friends with Empath, Grouchy!" He placed his hand on Grouchy's shoulder, and Grouchy placed his hand on Papa Smurf’s.