Chapter 11

It was still late in the night in Papa Smurf's laboratory when Empath heard the last words of his father's tale and saw the last image in his father's mind. Both of them were now silent, but Papa Smurf noticed that Empath seemed a bit too quiet, nearly deep in thought about all that he heard about himself.
Empath hardly felt the same way he did when he came in to tell his father about the dream. He wished he had nothing more to ask Papa Smurf about what he told him about the past he knew and didn't know. He wished that his curiosity had been satisfied. But he felt and saw something that made him suspect that what Papa Smurf told him wasn't entirely true.
He saw the younger Papa Smurf leave him again in the Psyche Master's temple. But this time instead of being sad about leaving him, he was angry and cruel, his words being spat out like venom. "You should've been born a normal Smurf, Empath! But you weren't, and because of that, you don't deserve to be my son anymore! You belong here, as an outcast with all these other Psyches!"
This image scared Empath, and it made him feel angry.
Papa Smurf now noticed this in Empath's face. "Are you all right, Empath?" he asked with concern.
"Why did you do what you did to me, Papa Smurf?" Empath asked, his fury beginning to show through.
"I thought that what I smurfed was for your own good, Empath," Papa Smurf answered, sounding a bit fearful. "I had to protect you!"
"What were you protecting me from, Papa Smurf?" Empath growled. "The truth about yourself...or the truth about myself? All these years you had me believing that I was a real Smurf, and that my being with the Psyches was just some accident that happened. Now you smurf this story that I was your real son, and that you yourself left me there because the Psyche Master made you. If I was your real son, you wouldn't have smurfed that. But you left him, and he died, and you're just smurfing me into believing that I was him!"
"What I told you was true, Empath," Papa Smurf insisted. "I am your father, and I did leave you there because I had to protect you from the Psyche Master. Why else would you still remember smurfing me leave you?"
"Maybe because you smurfed me from my real father," Empath shot back, "or maybe it's because you didn't want me to be your son, or even be part of your people. But whatever the real reason is, I don't think that I can believe you the same way anymore!"
Papa Smurf was beginning to feel frustrated with Empath's current lack of understanding. "I sincerely regret what I smurfed to you back then, Empath, but believe me, there was nothing more I could have done for you back then. If things were different in the Smurf Village back then, I could have kept you there and no one would have smurfed the worst about it. Can't you see that I didn't have any choice in what to smurf with you?"
"You had a choice," Empath retorted, "when you left your son -- this smurf -- with the Psyche Master. You could've smurfed up to him to protect me -- your son, whoever it was. You could have overpowered the Psyche Master, you could have smurfed anything. But all you did was smurf in the Psyche Master and left me there, like I was worth nothing to you. All my life, you had the chance of smurfing me away from the Psyches completely, and you failed to do it."
"I am not like the Psyche Master, Empath!" Papa Smurf shouted, losing his patience. "I do not force what I believe upon anyone whether or not they are Smurfs. I just try to undersmurf differences and work around them. Besides, even if I could, how could I raise you with almost a hundred other little Smurflings to take care of as well?"
"You're my're supposed to figure that out!!!" Empath snarled. "But I guess you're not him if you couldn't, huh? You're just some disgusting old savage pervert who lies just to smurf back what he lost on purpose!"
"That's enough!" Papa snapped. "I don't know why you still won't believe me, but I am still your Papa Smurf, and I won't..."
"Won't listen to me call you a liar?"
"Empath Smurf, you will..."
But Empath was beyond listening. In one swift motion, he swung his fist toward one side of Papa Smurf's face, felling him to the floor.
As his father laid there feeling the bruise forming on his cheek, Empath looked at his still-throbbing hand that had been that fist, horrified by what he had done.
"Papa Smurf...this smurf is sorry," he said as he watched his father crawl to a table where he picked himself up.
Papa Smurf was too hurt to even look at his son. "No, just leave me...there's no more for me to tell you," he told Empath. He put some liquid witch hazel on a clean cloth and applied it to the bruise, then pulled up a stool and sat there, his back still toward Empath.
Empath understood this wasn't a time for any apologies and left Papa Smurf's house.
As he entered his own house and settled down in his bed, Empath felt an overwhelming wave of guilt from what he had done to Papa Smurf. This being who said that he was Empath's real father had never hit him, even when Empath did something he shouldn't. Up until now, Papa Smurf never did anything that would have made Empath want to hurt him. Hearing how his father left him in Psychelia as an infant, and feeling somehow that his father never really wanted him as his own son or even as a Smurf, made Empath feel so hurt and angry that he had to avenge himself, to make his father feel the same hurt he did.
But now that feeling of justice, of balance, and of satisfaction was replaced when he saw his father cowering on the floor in fear of his own son. Now he felt as if he had burned the very flag he once worshipped, had removed the ground from under the same tall being who lifted him up long before he learned how to fly. Even if he never used force on anyone like the Psyche Master did, Papa Smurf was still someone that deserved to be respected for taking care of his own, and what Empath did to him made Empath wonder if that was ever a way to respect anyone of Papa Smurf's stature.
As Empath drifted back into sleep, he remembered thinking about how his life would be different if and once he ever left Psychelia. Now he wished he never knew how different it would really be.