Meanwhile, Handy and Miner were busy in one of their mining sites, checking each shaft to make sure there was no possibility of a cave-in. Personally, Handy felt that he would rather be in the village supervising the set-up of the stage for Smurfstock, checking the lighting and the sound gear and making sure nothing falls on top of any Smurf or trips them up during a performance. However, since Handy was Miner's biggest customer when it came to using extracted metals for shaping into various everyday items, and since Handy also knew something about mineral extraction, Miner wanted the best Smurf to assist him in his inspections. So Handy left Hefty in charge of the stage set-up -- not that Hefty was technically minded enough to know the difference between two similar types of equipment, but he was good at following instructions and getting others to follow them as well.
They were near the end of their inspection, and Handy was checking each mineshaft off on his clipboard. "So far, everything in here is rock-solid smurfed, Miner," he commented, making his last checkmark.
"By the way, Handy, might I ask what would you be a-smurfing for a musical number at the Smurfstock festival?" Miner asked.
"Gee, Miner, I wouldn't know what I would smurf for any musical number," Handy answered. "I'm usually too busy smurfing sound checks to even smurf up with something."
"Well, Barber, Tapper, and Sweepy had asked me to join their Barber Smurf Quartet, which will be performing tomorrow night," Miner mentioned. "You could smurf in for a wee bit to listen to us smurfing some real old classics, back when your Papa Smurf was just a young laddie."
"Maybe I will do that, Miner," Handy said. "It's been a while since I actually listened to…!" He stopped when he noticed a boarded-up passageway in one of the mineshafts.
"Smurfin' Begora, Handy! What is that you just smurfed there?" Miner asked.
"Funny, I was going to smurf you the same question," Handy replied, looking at it as if an explanation was waiting behind the boards and rocks. "Whatever it is, they sure smurfed through a lot of trouble to make sure it's buried here."
"Then maybe it's for the best that we leave it that way," Miner suggested.
"And maybe we should find out for oursmurfs just what it is that somebody buried in here that's so important to them," Handy countered, lifting up his pickaxe.
"Hold on just a smurfy minute, Handy," Miner interrupted, sounding very concerned for Handy's apparent rashness. "What if what we smurfed behind those rocks is something very dangerous, like those Crowns of the Titans that we smurfed up a few years ago? I sure donna want to see Greedy or another Smurf try taking over the village again like that!"
"Somehow I don't think that it's anything like that, Miner," Handy answered. "Besides, being buried down here for so long, what danger could it smurf us?"
Unable to convince Handy otherwise, Miner joined in breaking through the boarded-up passageway. They didn't know how or why, but they had the feeling that something was compelling them to find out the secret.
Finally, they entered the sealed passageway with their miner hats alight, looking for whatever it was until they saw a low long black shape lying on the ground.
"Smurfs like a coffin," Handy remarked when he examined it closer. "And there's a Smurf symbol on it, painted in red with some inscriptions smurfed on it, with a seal on its side, probably to prevent someone from smurfing inside it."
"This place smurfs of something dark and menacing," Miner noted as he looked all around the cavern, somehow sensing an overall feeling of dread. "We'd better smurf out of here before we disturb whatever's inside that blighted coffin."
Just then, they heard sounds coming from inside the coffin. "Please, whoever it is that entered here, smurf me out of this casket!"
"Did you smurf something to me, Handy?" Miner asked.
"I swear I didn't smurf anything," Handy replied. "It sounded like another Smurf was trapped in that coffin."
"Another Smurf?!?" Miner exclaimed. "But…that's just too smurfy impossible!"
"Please, let me out so I can smurf some air!" the voice in the coffin pleaded.
Handy didn't even think of what to do next. He just picked up his pickaxe and broke the seal, causing the coffin's door to spring open and knocking Handy and Miner to the floor.
They looked and saw what appeared to be a male Smurf with black hair and a princely suit sit bolt upright in the coffin, shielding his eyes from the bright lights that shone at him.
"Miner, smurf the light away from him…his eyes may be sensitive to it," Handy advised.
As Miner removed his miner hat and aimed its light away from the coffin, Handy doused the light on his hat and approached the stranger. "Who are you, and how did you get smurfed down here like this?" he asked out of curiosity.
"The year," the stranger begged. "Tell me what the current year is."
Handy told him.
"Unbelievable that I have been smurfing in this casket for about 1,198 years," the stranger remarked, sounding puzzled. "Are there any kings that rule Smurvanya now?"
"Smurvanya?" Miner asked. "Canna say I ever heard of that place, but I can tell you there is nary a single member of any royalty smurfing our village."
"Then nobody rules this forest anymore," the stranger realized. "It was an ancient time beyond your own memory when Smurfs ruled the forest and everything that existed in it, which was the kingdom of Smurvanya. I was the last in the line of that royalty when I was smurfed in this coffin."
"The Smurfs actually were kings here?" Handy asked, surprised by this bit of information coming from the stranger. "That's just so incredible! Right now, we just have a single village, and Papa Smurf is the only one who leads us."
"A peasant ruler," the stranger mused. "Nothing more than just the foreman who smurfs the soil and leads the humble serfs to harvest its produce for the masses. It is a pity that such a kingdom is now nothing more than just a peasant's village."
"Well, it isn't all that bad," Handy commented. "We have all that we could ever smurf for right here in the village, and we have a female Smurf who…"
"A female Smurf?" the stranger asked. "Does this maiden have long golden hair?"
"That's our Smurfette," Miner answered. "Why are you so interested in the lass?"
The stranger thought about that for a moment. "Elismurfetta," he finally said, as if he was remembering something from that long ago that neither Handy nor Miner could recognize. "I must smurf to your village so I can besmurf what this maiden looks like."
"Well, you can smurf with us right now," Handy invited. "It isn't that far to walk from where we are now."
"No!" the stranger shouted. "I must be brought there in this casket, for the sunlight bothers me, and I am too weak to venture from here. I need my strength to awaken after sundown so I can smurf for myself this village of yours."
Handy considered that problem for a moment. Then he said, "In that case, I'm sure that Miner and myself can smurf you there without having to open your coffin on the way."
"Are you sure we want to be a-smurfing this…Smurf to our village, just like that, Handy?" Miner asked, cautious of that idea.
"I don't smurf why we shouldn't, Miner," Handy answered. "Besides, he's the oldest-living Smurf still smurfing -- I'm sure the other Smurfs wouldn't mind smurfing something about how this forest used to be with an actual member of Smurf royalty."
"I still smurf that we should be careful smurfing something or someone like this into the village," Miner advised, now speaking so low so that the stranger wouldn't overhear them. "If he's been smurfed in this cave for that long, it's possible that he could have been smurfed into some kind of monster."
"Miner, that just smurfs so ridiculous!" Handy protested, speaking only a little louder. "I can undersmurf Empath having premonitions of some kind of disaster, but smurfing from anyone else, it sounds like it should be smurfed in the Reporter's gossip papers. You can smurf all the bad things you want about this stranger Smurf, but I say we should still help him out!"
Miner sighed. He apparently was unable to convince Handy otherwise.
"All right, then, but I'd be a-warning you this one time about him!"
Soon Handy and Miner were carrying the sleeping princely Smurf in his coffin out of the mineshaft and straight toward the village.
"Empath Smurf, where the smurf are you? I need your help!"
That was the sound of Brainy crying out in frustration as he found himself beleaguered by his fellow Smurfs, all complaining about something very important to them. He was appointed to be the scheduler of all performances for the three nights of Smurfstock, to make sure every Smurf who was to appear on stage had enough time to perform their music. Apparently, Brainy's knack for organizing things had caused some conflicts that he wished he knew how to resolve if it weren't for the evident feeling that his fellow Smurfs were going to send him on another one-way flight out of the village.
He had buried his head under his hands, not willing to even look into the faces of his fellow Smurfs, when Empath finally arrived on the scene. "What seems to be the trouble, Brainy?" Empath asked calmly.
Brainy gasped as if he had been denied air for this long. "I've been trying to smurf together a program, as Papa Smurf had wanted me to smurf, so that every Smurf here gets to perform on stage on all three nights, and now they're mad at me because they didn't like the way I smurfed up this program," he vehemently explained. He handed Empath the proposed schedule of performances so that Empath better understood the dilemma while the other Smurfs spoke up.
"Brainy cut us all down to only one song from each of us, Empath!"
"Yeah! And why the smurf did he put us doing 'Smurfbop' on the last night?"
"Some of us don't even to smurf on stage long enough to smurf our guitar solos!"
"And where's my musical number? 'I'm too smurfy for my shirt, too smurfy for my shirt, so smurfy it hurts'!"
"How come Brainy and the Village Smurphony Orchestra gets to play the longest?"
"Yeah, who'd want to listen to Brainy smurfing us to sleep, anyway?"
Empath could feel the ire of his fellow Smurfs rising again as they voiced their complaints. But this time, he hoped to end this conflicting situation peaceably. From his minds-eye he emitted a pulse of his psychic energy that ever so slightly bucked the crowd of Smurfs away from Brainy and himself. He had hurt nobody with this pulse, but at least he got their attention as they stopped shouting altogether.
"Attention, my fellow Smurfs," Empath announced. "This smurf knows that you are not happy with the arrangement of Brainy's program scheduling, but he is only one Smurf doing the best that he could under the circumstances. Editor needs to get the program printed out and ready for distribution before the first night's concert begins, so please let Brainy do his duty and accept the accommodations in his schedule with some grace."
The other Smurfs grumbled and talked amongst themselves as they heard Empath's words, but at the very least they listened. They all left Brainy alone as they headed back to attending their own tasks.
Brainy exhaled as he felt the pressure lighten. "Thank smurfness they still listen to you, Empath," he said, wiping his brow.
"This smurf is honored to help you out, Brainy, though you could give some leeway to your fellow Smurfs and not make your schedules so tight," Empath suggested. "From what this smurf heard of your attempt to run a workday schedule, it had caused many of your fellow Smurfs to feel uncomfortable and overworked."
"I'm only trying to smurf up to my expectations as being the expert in organization, Empath," Brainy remarked defensively. "More Smurfs should be smurfing my latest book called The Brainy Smurf Daily Manager Plan. Then they would know how to smurf through their days better and not be jealous of how I can organize things better than any Smurf besides you and Papa Smurf can."
"This smurf is very certain that you mean well," Empath consoled. "By the way, you need to include Vanity's musical number somewhere and cut down the time on your own performance with the Village Smurphony Orchestra." His attention was soon diverted when he saw Handy and Miner carrying what appeared to be a coffin of some sort into the village. They were too far away to call their attention and ask what it was they had brought with them, but it still made him feel concerned nonetheless.
"Empath, what's going on?" Brainy asked, bringing Empath back to dealing with his half-brother. "Did you smurf something bad happening in the village?"
Empath shook his head. "This smurf didn't see anything happening yet, Brainy."
Handy and Miner put the coffin on the floor as soon as they reached Handy's workshop. So far, very few Smurfs that they managed to pass by even bothered to ask what it was they were carrying. Handy joked to the few that did ask, saying that it was a prop for a musical act by Actor's request. Miner said nothing, but he felt that bringing this coffin into the village was a mistake. "Where would you like us to smurf you now?" Handy asked.
"Kindly place me in your cellar where I can rest," the princely Smurf inside the coffin instructed. "I need someplace dark so I can resmurf my strength."
"No problem, your royalness," Handy responded as he lift open the hatch that lead into the basement. He and Miner then carefully lowered the coffin down, making sure that it didn't get accidentally opened. Handy found a place in the basement where they could set the coffin down. "I hope this spot is dark enough for you to smurf some shuteye!"
"Yes…this place will do quite nicely," the princely Smurf answered, sighing with relief. "Thank you for smurfing me to your village."
Handy and Miner climbed out of the basement and sealed the hatch behind them.
"I have a very unsmurfy feeling that what we just smurfed into the village isna going to be a very smurfy thing," Miner commented as he and Handy left the workshop. "And I'd be a-certain that Papa Smurf would smurf the same thing in my stead."
"Well, as long as he smurfs down in my basement, I don't think he's going to smurf any harm to any other Smurf," Handy responded. "Right now, I've got to smurf up on the stage preparations to make smurf that the concert smurfs along well for tonight."
"And I'd better join me fellow balladeers so that we can rehearse our songs for tomorrow's performance," Miner added. "I donna think you'd want to be hearing any of us smurfing out of key!"
Inside the coffin, the sleeping Smurf prince smiled wickedly, for he had successfully lured some unsuspecting Smurfs to bring him into the village. He hardly knew what had changed in it over the past one thousand years that he had been asleep. But it hardly mattered to him, for he had felt a female presence that lived and drew him here.
The presence felt like his beloved Elismurfetta. But how could that be…unless, like him, she somehow managed to live out those years with her youth and beauty intact?
He no longer cared how it happened. All that mattered now was Elismurfetta is still among the living. And pretty soon, they will be united once more and live forever in the dark symphony of the night.
That thought alone made him smile as he rested, waiting for the night to come.