Part 6

Soon Vincent Devereaux was riding a horse to the castle gates of Lord Caravellan's estate, with Stanley and Simon following behind them in their wagon. The six Smurfs were hidden away in the wagon, still locked up in the cage with Empath having no memory of who he really was except for being the Bandit Smurf. Polaris Psyche followed after them, flying high over the small caravan so that he would not be noticed.
A guard greeted them at the gate. "Halt! What do you want?" he asked.
"We're entertainers who have come to offer our services to Lord Caravellan," Devereaux explained, gesturing to his companions in the wagon behind him. "Our show would surely be pleasant."
"Impossible!" the guard said, holding the blade and tip of his halberd toward Devereaux. "You are not allowed to disturb Sir Duke! He has other things to do than to watch your antics! No, go away!"
Just as Devereaux was about to protest, another man emerged from the gate. "Guard! Who are these people?"
"They claim to be entertainers, Sir Seneschal," the guard said. "I was going to drive them away."
"A moment," the seneschal said, as he recognized who the guard was dealing with. "Vincent Devereaux? I didn't think I would see your face again at my lord's gates. What brings you here again?"
"As I was telling the guard, we are entertainers who have come to offer our services to Lord Caravellan. I'm sure he would approve, as would you if you care to look at the kind of entertainment we are offering," Devereaux said.
He led the seneschal to the back of the wagon to see what was under the draped cloth. "By the beard of the King...they are certainly funny! Where did you come across those things?"
The seneschal then told the guard to step aside and allow Devereaux and his companions entrance to the castle.
"You have to forgive us, Devereaux, for the Duke has been deeply concerned since the disappearance of his son," the seneschal said, leading him as well as Stanley and Simon to the stables. "He has not heard much about you since the two of you parted ways years ago."
"I hope to provide much comfort for his loss, regarding the circumstances," Devereaux said.
"Tonight you will surely change his mind with your show," the seneschal said. "Come."

After Devereaux and his companions got settled in, they had Brainy, Hefty, Grouchy, and Smurfette change into performance clothes that Simon had made. Grouchy didn't like appearing in a jester's outfit while the other three wore acrobat jumpsuits.
"Oh, cheer up, Grouchy," Smurfette said. "It's not like we're going to smurf like this forever, are we?"
"I hate smurfing like this at all," Grouchy muttered.
"I hope you have a plan for smurfing us out of this, Papa Smurf," Brainy said.
"I'm working on it, Brainy," Papa Smurf said. "I only hope Polaris Psyche has found a way to smurf into the castle without being seen."
"It's pretty hard to leave if Empath is not going to smurf with us, Papa Smurf," Hefty said.
"Then our best hope is to find a way to separate Devereaux and his companions away from Empath," Papa Smurf said. "That way he will smurf for himself that staying with them is not the best choice."
Just then Devereaux came into the room. "So are they not pretty, your new costumes? And try to be convincing, because we have to stay several days to locate the treasure room. Just to make sure of your loyalty, I will not take the mouse as hostage this time...but one of you!"
Devereaux suddenly grabbed Papa Smurf off the table.
"You dirty son of a smurf!" Hefty shouted.
"Leave Papa Smurf out of this!" Smurfette yelled.
Devereaux laughed. "So I'm sure that he will not give you the urge to betray me, won't you, my dears?" he said to the captive Smurfs.
Just then, a guard peered into the room through a curtain. "Get ready, entertainers. It's almost time to do your antics."
And soon Devereaux appeared alone in the dining hall before Lord Caravellan and his assembled court, bowing respectfully. "Sir Duke, noble ladies and gentlemen, you will attend an unprecedented entertainment, never before reported, even at the court of the King..."
"They are the ones of which I speak, Sir," the seneschal whispered to Lord Caravellan, who looked sideways at him.
"Here, from a magical land, are the creatures that you never before knew existed," Devereaux continued. "Here tonight are...THE SMURFS!"
And with a theatrical gesture, the five Smurfs came out from the room behind the curtain. "All right, fellow Smurfs, let's smurf out there and try to smurf on a good show," Hefty said.
"I hate trying to smurf on a good show," Grouchy mumbled.
"Good evening, Sir Duke," Hefty introduced himself as he and his fellow Smurfs leaped onto the dining table. "They call me Hefty Smurf because I'm the strongest Smurf there is. We smurf you well because the show is about to begin." He held his arms straight out to the sides. "Okay, Bandit and Brainy, smurf on my hands."
Brainy and Empath leaped onto Handy's hands, with Empath maintaining perfect balance and Brainy struggling to stay balanced.
"Okay, Smurfette, now it's your turn," Hefty said.
Smurfette swallowed hard as she never performed a flying leap before. She made a running start, then she did a few flips, which on the last she ended up catapulting herself like Clumsy doing the same trick. She feared that she was going to make the other Smurfs collapse. Just then, Empath's telekinetic abilities have activated, causing her to land perfectly with her feet in the air, and Brainy and Empath holding her hands.
"Impressive," Lord Caravellan said as his fellow court members clapped at the execution.
Grouchy climbed onto the table just as the four other Smurfs started their juggling acts, with Hefty and Empath juggling bowling pins with each other, and Smurfette and Brainy doing solo performances with balls. "I hate juggling acts," Grouchy said.
"Come on, Grouchy, try to smurf into the act like the rest of us," Hefty said.
"Do it for Papa Smurf," Smurfette encouraged.
Grouchy sighed. "All right, I'll smurf my best." He went over to the beareded old man sitting next to Lord Caravellan. "Say, did you smurf about the Smurf who took another Smurf's pants while he was unsmurfed? They smurfed that there was a blue moon!"
As Grouchy kept the old man entertained with his jokes (most of them actually borrowed from Jokey), Empath took a sideways glance at him. He recognized him as the man that the child in the cellar called Ganelon, the one responsible for kidnapping Lord Caravellan's son. He felt as if he should have told somebody about him.
Soon the show was over, and Lord Caravellan was in high spirits as he and his court members gave a round of applause. "Bravo! How wonderful this show is!" Caravellan said.
"Thank you, my lords," Devereaux said, taking a bow. "This will conclude our show for tonight."
As soon as everybody else left the dining hall, Caravellan had a private chat with Devereaux. "I have not seen you in my court for ages. I heard that things did not go well for you and your tenants, and that you have money problems now."
"It's a minor setback, my lord," Devereaux said. "I'm now in the entertaining business."
"I see," Caravellan said. "With these fascinating creatures you've brought, I'm sure you'll manage to regain your lost fortunes in no time."
"If you are pleased, I would ask for your hospitality so that my performers can show the second part tomorrow," Devereaux said.
"By all means," Caravellan said as he showed Devereaux to a guest room. "Take advantage of my hospitality as you enjoy your stay here. But tell me, Devereaux, wherever did you find these creatures?"
"It's a little trade secret, my lord," Devereaux said.

Later, with the Smurfs back in their regular clothes except for Empath, they were put back into their cage and moved into the guest room. Papa Smurf noticed that Empath had a look like something was on his mind and didn't know whether he should tell him. "What is it, Empath?" he asked.
Empath sighed. "It's probably not anyone's smurfness here, but there is a man here that I have smurfed in the cellar of the usurer who has smurfnapped Lord Caravellan's son Geoffrey. That man is named Ganelon."
"That bearded gentleman at the table that Grouchy was smurfing his jokes to?" Brainy asked.
"That same one," Empath said. "He's smurfing the boy hostage in order to smurf a ransom from the boy's father."
"Why are you smurfing us this, if you're the Bandit Smurf?" Hefty asked.
Empath shrugged. "I don't know. I just smurf that you're the only ones I can smurf this to."
"It's a good thing Empath hasn't been fully smurfed out of him yet, Papa Smurf," Smurfette said.
"I can see that, Smurfette," Papa Smurf said. "If Empath's empathetic nature is also part of his Bandit Smurf personality, then perhaps there is a way we can reach him and resmurf his original personality. And I think I know of a way of how we can smurf ourselves out of this situation, and maybe smurf the situation of Lord Caravellan's son once and for smurf."
Just then Devereaux entered the guest room. "You have been perfect, you ugly little midgets. Lord Caravellan is completely entranced by your performance." Stanley closed the door as Devereaux revealed his plan. "Tomorrow you will discover the location of the treasure room, which we will empty in the evening...and then I'll be rich, RICH!" He then noticed that Stanley was looking at him suspiciously. "I mean...WE will be rich, and your debt will be paid in full."
After Devereaux and the two entertainers went to sleep, Papa Smurf, Brainy, Hefty, and Grouchy went to sleep as well. Smurfette, however, stayed up and looked at Empath, who was now in a meditative pose. She wanted to reach out and talk to him so he could see what he has forgotten.
"You should be asleep by now, Smurfette," Empath said, as he was aware of Smurfette still being awake as she approached him.
"I wanted to talk to you, Empath, now that it's just the two of us," Smurfette said.
"As I have smurfed you, I am not Empath," he said. "I am the Bandit Smurf."
"Whatever you smurf yourself now, you can't hide the fact that you are Empath," Smurfette said. "You helped me smurf that performance with Hefty and Brainy flawlessly. You wouldn't have cared about me or your fellow Smurfs if you haven't smurfed that."
"I only smurfed that because I am helping my friends, Smurfette," Empath said. "They need Lord Caravellan's treasure to get out of a debt, and I am willing to smurf them a hand by smurfing Master Devereaux's bidding."
"Those humans are not your friends, Empath," Smurfette said. "If they were your friends, they wouldn't keep you smurfed up in a cage, and they wouldn't have you smurfing things from other people."
"The mouse is my friend, Smurfette," Empath said. "I won't let anything happen to him as long as I help Master Devereaux."
Smurfette gently touched Empath's face. "We are going to help you smurf out of this, Empath," she whispered. "I won't smurf you up this easily to the Bandit Smurf."
Empath looked at Smurfette's face and felt something about her that he remembered from somewhere. It was as if they both shared an intimate moment that marked him and this female as becoming soulmates for the rest of their lives.
And then Empath turned away from Smurfette, as if he couldn't be touched by her anymore. And Smurfette slowly backed away from him.

The following day, five of the Smurfs were let out of their cage by Devereaux. They were told by him to look for the duke's treasure room. However, Papa Smurf had other plans in mind for his little Smurfs.
"All right, then, we will smurf into two groups," Hefty said as soon as they reached the bottom of the stairs. "Brainy Smurf, you will smurf with Smurfette and Grouchy to go smurf the right wing of the castle. Me and Bandit will smurf the left wing. You know what we're smurfing for, so let's smurf it without smurfing ourselves away."
"I just wish we could stop calling Empath the Bandit Smurf, Hefty," Smurfette said.
"That's what he still is, Smurfette, and as long as he's that, I'm not letting Empath smurf out of my sight," Hefty said.
"A very sensible precaution, Hefty Smurf," Brainy said. "I for one would have difficulty trusting Empath now that this alternate personality has smurfed over him, and..."
"Let's just get smurfing," Grouchy said, interrupting Brainy's thoughts.
And so the Smurfs set off on searching the castle. Brainy, Grouchy, and Smurfette passed by a few of Caravellan's court members as they headed in the direction of the right wing.
"I hate this," Grouchy muttered. "I don't know why we should be smurfing for the treasure room if Papa Smurf has a plan for us to smurf without stealing the treasure!"
"This is to smurf the suspicions of our captors, Grouchy," Brainy said. "Besides, Papa Smurf asked us to smurf a few objects of representation for tonight."
Smurfette peeked in through a nearby door. "Not here! These are just kitchens! Let's smurf this way!"
"I hate kitchens," Grouchy said.
Brainy spotted an open door leading into a room. "Here is the laundry room, Smurfette."
"Oh, we could smurf up costumes with these rags and sponges," Smurfette said.
"Here, Grouchy, smurf us a hand by smurfing some of these," Brainy said as he grabbed some rags.
"I hate smurfing rags," Grouchy said.

In the other wing of the castle, Hefty and Empath have finished their search and were ready to regroup with the others when Empath noticed Polaris standing around the corner. "Why are you following me?" Empath demanded.
"It is time for you to regain your true self, Empath," Polaris said. "Let this one help you."
"I don't need your help, stranger," Empath said. "I know who I am, and this is how I will smurf."
Hefty, take him, Polaris said through telepathy. Hefty then seized Empath, who struggled to free himself of his fellow Smurf's grip. "Smurf go of me right now!"
"Calm down, Empath," Polaris said. "Let this one begin the process of restoring your mind."
But just as Polaris reached out to touch Empath's forehead, Empath broke free of Hefty's grip and pushed him out of the way before running. "Smurf after him!" Hefty said.
Polaris chased Empath around the hallways until he ended up losing him. Then Polaris was tripped up around a corner by Empath, who was holding two metal rods in his hands. "If you will not leave me alone, then I must fight you," Empath said, tossing one of the rods to Polaris.
Polaris grabbed the other rod. "This one has no desire to fight you, Empath...only to restore the self that is buried deep in you."
Empath swung his metal rod at Polaris, who then blocked Empath's with his own. Soon they were both fighting with each other, using the metal rods as quarterstaffs, with Empath fighting aggressively and Polaris fighting defensively.
" can't abandon your fellow Smurfs," Polaris tried to speak between blows. "They're your people...your friends...your family...they're a part of your life. Even Smurfette...the one who loves you...above all your fellow Smurfs."
"I don't need anyone! I am not Empath!" he shouted. "I am the Bandit Smurf!"
Then Polaris managed to get behind Empath and strike him in the back of the head with a powerful blow, sending him flying into a wall. The mask fell off Empath's face as he fell to the floor, losing consciousness.
"Empath! Empath, are you all right?" Polaris asked as he looked down upon his friend.
Empath was in a daze before he shook his head to clear it. "Polaris, what is going on? What happened to this smurf?" He looked at the mask that fell to the floor. "And why was this smurf wearing a mask?"
Polaris let out a sigh of relief. "You have suffered amnesia, and now and some of your fellow Smurfs have been captive and made to work for a thief and a couple of entertainers."
Hefty just arrived on the scene. "Is Empath back to his normal self, Polaris?"
"This one senses that his original personality has returned, fellow Hefty," Polaris said. "You must take him back with you and apprise him of the situation."
"Here, you're going to need this," Hefty said, handing Empath the mask. "We don't want Devereaux to smurf that you're anything but the Bandit Smurf now."
"Bandit Smurf," Empath said as he put on the mask again. "This smurf believes it is time to find out just what we're dealing with."

Meanwhile, Papa Smurf was having a private discussion with Simon, trying to persuade him to become an ally.
"You think, Sir Papa Smurf?" Simon asked. "Yes...maybe..."
The other five Smurfs came back into the room. "We smurfed the things that you asked for, Papa Smurf," Smurfette said.
"And Polaris smurfed Empath back to his normal self," Hefty added.
"Good work, my little Smurfs," Papa Smurf said. "Does everybody know what to smurf for tonight?"
"This smurf has a pretty good idea of knowing what, Papa Smurf," Empath said.
"Ah, so you have returned," Devereaux said as he entered the room. "Have you found the treasure room?"
"No, we...," Brainy began to say, before he was silenced by Hefty.
"Uh...of course, Master Devereaux," Empath said, trying to sound convincing. "I have...uh, smurfed it in the south wing of the castle. It is smurfed by a single guard. You should have no problem smurfing it."
"Perfect!" Devereaux exclaimed. "We will take action this evening, after the show."