Chapter 8

"A few weeks later," the current Empath heard the current Papa Smurf say, "I smurfed what I thought was the unthinkable for me at the time. I smurfed you outside the village to find this 'Psyche village', riding smurfback on a stork to make finding it easier. I had to smurf so under the guise that I was taking you on a picnic somewhere up in the hills. Your mother objected on the grounds that I was just smurfing her out again, but I succeeded in reasoning with her to let me smurf some private time with you." He laughed with some feeling of regret before he continued. "It was beginning to be late in the day when I finally smurfed the place that I was looking for beyond the mountain range. It was just like the explorer's desmurftion of the Psyches' village: all marvelous and smurfed out of polished stone. But as the stork dropped downward to the village, I smurfed the Psyches and had a feeling that they weren't going to accept you as one of their own."
As Empath continued to listen, he saw at that point Culliford carrying Empathy as the stork landed outside Psychelia. It seemed that Culliford's fear was realized when, as he approached the outer barrier of the village, he was greeted by a few Psyches pointing crystal-tipped spears glowing with energy at him and Empathy. Their faces were expressionless, but their tone was less than friendly.
"Outsiders are not allowed to enter the domain of the Psyche Master," one of the Psyches announced. "Depart freely and immediately, or we will force you on your way."
"I only wish to smurf with this Psyche Master for my son's sake," Culliford told the Psyches guarding the village. "He is a Smurf with the same abilities that your people seem to possess. He only needs to learn how to smurf them wisely."
"We are nothing like you or your child, outsider," another Psyche stated, "and no one is allowed to seek an audience with the Psyche Master unless he permits it. Again, you must leave here immediately or we will..."
"Cygnus! Centauri! Arcturus!" a fourth Psyche, who looked a little older than the guards, interrupted as he approached the scene. The three Psyches who were addressed by their names turned their attention toward the older Psyche. "The Psyche Master commands you to allow these outsiders safe passage into his temple immediately. You three are dismissed from duty."
"This one acknowledges," each of the three Psyches said in turn, bowing to the older Psyche afterward. They held their spears upright and stood back as the older Psyche quietly led Culliford carrying Empathy with him to the Psyche Master's temple.
Upon entering the temple, Culliford swallowed hard, for he had found himself in the presence of something that appeared bigger than himself. In the center of the majestic temple was a pillar of rainbow light that extended itself to the ceiling. Culliford couldnít see if there was anybody inside this pillar of light, but then a face appeared, a bearded visage that to Culliford didnít look anything like a Smurf. The doors to the temple shut themselves behind the two Smurfs after the elder Psyche guide left, sealing them in darkness that only the pillar of light before them could illuminate.
"I have allowed you passage into my temple because I sensed that you are the third of your kind who has learned about the legend of my people," the face spoke. "I was once a part of your people, born in your village as a Smurf almost two thousand years ago. But even then your people were so afraid of their own uncivilized ways they took it out on those that they thought were more unnatural than themselves. I could have shown your people through my abilities and my intelligence a better way for them to live. But they would rather live like savages and have everybody accept that way instead of mine."
"So you left the village and...created all of this...all these people?" Culliford asked.
"It was my decision to leave," the face continued, "but you are correct. Here I am known as the Psyche Master, and these beings, the Psyches, are of my creation, as is this village called Psychelia. They share not only my abilities, but also my ideas on how to live. Every male and female here lives, feels, and acts as equals with each other, so there is no disorder here in my domain. If you came here to prove otherwise, then you shall leave here immediately."
"That wasnít why I came here, Psyche Master," Culliford said a bit defensively. "I came here only because I need your help. My child Empathy was also born with the same abilities that your people possess. I donít know how to train him how to smurf his powers wisely, and my people still wouldnít accept him as he is." He then went on to explain how he discovered his sonís abilities and what he was able to do.
"I will see if what you claim about your son is true and whether it is worth my attention to aid you in any manner," the Psyche Master interrupted Culliford. He placed his son on the floor and then watched as Empathy was bathed in a bluish-white glow that extended itself from a beam the Psyche Master projected. Empathy sat still and expressionless as the Psyche Master saw into his mind.
"Interesting," the Psyche Master remarked. "Your child does possess mental abilities that rival those of our own Psyches, although most of them are not under his control as of yet."
"So does that mean you will help him?" Culliford asked.
"More to the point," the Psyche Master answered, "we will accept him as one of our own and train him accordingly. However, we will require you to leave your child here. You must not interfere with his training in any way, and he will not be allowed to leave here until he has reached 150 years of age."
"What?!?" Culliford cried out, shocked by the Psyche Masterís offer. "That isnít what I smurfed in mind. I didnít come here asking for your asmurftance only for you to smurf my son away from me."
"You do not understand what I am saying to you," the Psyche Master rumbled, sounding displeased. "You will leave him here willingly and accept my offer...or you will never see your son again!"
Culliford fell to his knees as he felt an incredible burst of pain in his head. He wanted to keep saying no, but the pain was too much for him to endure.
"I accept. I accept!" he finally answered.
As the pain vanished in Culliford's head, Empathy crawled over to his father and looked up at him sadly. Somehow he knew what his father was going to say to him.
"I'm sorry I have to smurf you like this, Empathy, my son," Culliford said, holding Empathy one last time. "I can only hope that one day you will undersmurf why I had to and you will find it in your heart to forgive an old fool like me. I just wish you didnít have to be born with these powers you have. I wish you couldíve been born a normal Smurf." He kissed Empathy on the forehead and set him down before the Psyche Master. "Until we meet again, I will always cherish you."
Empathy watched tearfully as his father turned and left the temple. Then he started to cry, wanting his father not to leave him.
Culliford heard his son crying as it got louder, even when he was outside the temple some distance away. Then it suddenly became a scream.
Culliford stopped in his tracks. "Empathy!!!" Fearing the worst, he raced back to the Psyche Masterís temple, only to find that its doors were sealed shut.
"Open up!" he shouted as he banged against the doors and tried to physically force them open. But nothing he did opened the doors, nor did it stop the screaming. "I wonít let you smurf my son! I wonít let you!"
Then the screaming turned to dead silence. It took Culliford a short while before he realized that his son was dead, and that he was responsible for killing his son by bringing him to the Psyche Master.
Culliford felt sad and guilty. He started to weep silently as he treaded slowly away from Psychelia, believing that he would never see his son again and that things in his own village would never be the same again.