Part 1

Empath's personal journal, May 22.
It is now a year since this smurf has left Psychelia for good. Things in the past year have been rather momentous in this smurf's life and in the life of this smurf's fellow Smurfs. This smurf has first met Smurfette, who has now been the kind of Smurf that this smurf wishes to be with, and not just as friends. The evil human wizard Gargamel has been driven from the forest along with his cat Azrael and his apprentice Scruple. And this smurf has discovered that this smurf was the only begotten son of Papa Smurf. Apart from that, there has been a lot going on that would rival anything that took place in this smurf's previous visits to the Smurf Village. However, the one thing this smurf is glad for is this smurf's freedom from being a slave to the Psyche Master in Psychelia. No more does this smurf have to endure the agony of not being able to express myself in any form, having to control all of this smurf's emotions. No more does this smurf have to go through endless days of studying and training and having to do things that feel totally against how this smurf feels as a Smurf. No more does the Psyche Master have to monitor every single thought that this smurf is thinking as part of the collective consciousness of the Psyches. And for those freedoms, this smurf is eternally grateful. However, it does make this smurf wonder about someone in Psychelia who has yet to experience those freedoms for himself.
Meanwhile, on this day which is supposed to be this smurf's 151st birthday, Papa Smurf has sent this smurf to help Homnibus run some errands in fetching important things for his experiments for some unknown reason. Homnibus is a gentle and kind human wizard who has been Papa Smurf's friend over the past six years, and this smurf feels like this smurf could talk to him about anything that is on this smurf's mind.

Homnibus and Empath both sat in the Imaginarium, imagining themselves in a nice quiet scenic place far from the forest, with Empath relaxing himself after all the errands he was running. Homnibus' Imaginarium didn't feel quite the same as the one in the Smurf Village, for Empath couldn't interact with anything he could imagine here, but he still appreciated having a place that the enchanter could go to take breaks and to meditate.
"So how old are you supposed to be this year, if I may ask?" Homnibus asked.
"This would be this smurf's 151st birthday," Empath replied.
"Oh my," Homnibus said, sounding surprised. "It's amazing how young you and your fellow Smurfs look for such an age."
"As much as this smurf likes still being young, Homnibus, what this smurf doesn't like is that the years from my birth up until this smurf's release from Psychelia haven't been so kind to this smurf," Empath said.
"I wouldn't envy you for the experiences you've had apart from your own people, Empath," Homnibus said. "Having to live so many years without being able to express your emotions and enduring such harsh rigorous training isn't what I would wish upon anybody."
Empath nodded in agreement. "It just makes this smurf wish that this smurf could experience how humans age, Homnibus. This smurf simply doesn't see how Papa Smurf could learn anything from an elderly human who's only a fraction of his age."
"It's not how long a person lives that matters, Empath," Homnibus said. "It's how that person has lived in those years and what he has learned along the way. Take your own life, for example. You have experienced things that have made you wiser than any of your peers. Would you have traded all that you have learned over the years for anything they have learned if it would make you a better person?"
Empath thought about that for a minute. "That's a really tough question to answer, Homnibus. This smurf feels that we both have something that we can learn from each other."
"That's how I feel about my friendship with Papa Smurf, young one," Homnibus said. "As wise as he is from all the knowledge he has accumulated over the years, there's still something he can learn from those who don't have the benefit of your people's legendary longevity."
"It still makes this smurf wish that I can grow up faster, Homnibus," Empath said.
"You should take advantage of your longevity rather than squander it foolishly, Empath," Homnibus said. "You'll never know when such wisdom will come in handy even for among your fellow Smurfs."
Empath nodded. "This smurf will take such advice to heart, Homnibus."
At that moment, Homnibus' servant Oliver entered the Imaginarium. "Master Homnibus, your supper is ready," he announced.
"Thank you, Oliver, I shall be joining you shortly," Homnibus said.
Empath left the Imaginarium and looked out the window of the enchanter's hovel. "This smurf believes it may be time for this smurf to return to the village," he said.
"Then I shall let you go," Homnibus said as he too left the Imaginarium. "I appreciate your help in running some important errands for me in the time we spent together."
"And this smurf appreciates the time as well," Empath said. "Farewell until we meet again, Homnibus."
"Take care of yourself, young one," Homnibus said as he watched Empath fly off.

Empath arrived in the village to find that nobody was there except Puppy, who eagerly greeted him with a friendly lick.
"This smurf is pleased to see you as well," Empath said with a laugh. "Do you know where all of the other Smurfs went?"
Puppy barked out an answer that Empath understood.
"Oh, really? Well, this smurf might as well check there. Thanks, Puppy."
Empath headed straight for Tapper's Tavern, which is unusually roomy for such a place for Smurfs to just relax and be alone in. He sensed that a magic spell was cast upon the entire village, and he had a feeling that it was Papa Smurf who was responsible for it just so Empath couldn't find out where the Smurfs were holding a surprise party for him.
The instant Empath entered the tavern, all of the Smurfs within it shouted, "Surprise! Happy smurfday, Empath!"
"So that's where you Smurfs have been," Empath said, sounding surprised although he really wasn't. "You know, this smurf has been searching all over the village for you, and then this smurf comes here, and guess're all safe and sound!"
"We never want you to be worried about us, Empath," Papa Smurf said. "We just want to make your smurfday party special for you!"
Smurfette greeted Empath with a kiss. "Smurf over here, big boy, and blow out the candles!" She led him over to the counter where there was a moderately-sized cake with some candles on it. Everyone cheered as he blew them out.
"And now, for the smurfday boy, a mug of my special brew of sarsaparilla ale," Tapper said, producing a tall mug of the frothy liquid.
Empath took a hearty sip. "Mmmm, just the way this smurf likes it, Tapper!" he said, wiping the foam off his mouth.
"You shouldn't have wiped the smurf off your mouth there, laddie," Duncan McSmurf said. "You could have smurfed yourself a moustache!"
"This smurf would rather have the whiskers around your face, Duncan," Empath said. "It would keep this smurf's face warm during the cold nights!"
"You got to be a Smurfsman like me to have them, my boy," Duncan said. "Of course, not every Smurfsman has the good fortune of smurfing them at such a young age."
"Well, as long as this smurf doesn't have to wear the kilt," Empath said.
"I'd rather be smurfing a kilt than those dark skivvies you and them Psyches are smurfing," Duncan said. "You make me embarrassed just to smurf at you in that."
"Empath, you have to open my present first," Brainy said as he presented it to Empath. "You'll see why it's so special."
Empath promptly unwrapped Brainy's present. "Why, it's...the first edition of your Quotations of Brainy Smurf...translated into Psychelian!" he exclaimed.
"See, Empath, I wanted to show you that I was capable of smurfing one of my books into the language you read," Brainy said proudly. "Not that transsmurfing from Smurf to Psychelian was really that easy, but if the Psyches were to visit this village someday, I, Brainy Smurf, want to be the first to smurf that gap between them with a book that they can smurf in their own language."
Empath smiled. "This smurf is sure that you mean well, Brainy. It's just that this smurf doesn't think they'll be paying a friendly visit anytime soon, if ever."
"Well, why not?" Brainy asked. "Matter of fact, how come you won't write a book about the wisdom of the Psyches? I'm sure that they must be intellectual geniuses or they wouldn't have trained you to be just as smart as I am or as Papa Smurf."
"Brainy, Psychelian wisdom isn't all that it's cracked up to be," Empath commented. "They live in a society that's very restrictive about what they let in. Nobody in Psychelia really knows anything unless the Psyche Master wills it to be known to the general public, and only through what he calls 'proper channels'."
"But the Smurf Village would certainly benefit from that wisdom, least of all mysmurf," Brainy pleaded.
"What I learned from Psychelia as far as wisdom, Brainy, is that not everything I learned there is worth sharing," Empath said frankly.
"Now you're just making it difficult, Empath," Brainy shot back. "One day I'm going to find out for mysmurf just how wise the Psyches really are, and you're going to regret not smurfing it in a book for the whole village to read because I'm going to smurf it in a book first."
"Hey, Empath, smurf at this!" Jokey called out. Empath turned his attention toward the village comedian. "Now tell me which face I'm smurfing here."
Empath saw Jokey's facial expression with some amusement. "It would appear that you're trying to imitate the expression of a Psyche."
"Wrong, Empath...I was trying to imitate your face!" Jokey laughed. "At least it was your face when you were still trying to get used to being a Smurf."
"Not a bad impersonation of that, Jokey, but this smurf can sense that you were a bit twitchy," Empath commented.
"Hey, smurf me some credit," Jokey snapped. "It's not easy trying to smurf my face like it was made of stone. I had to practice this face all day just to smurf it right. I bet you couldn't smurf your face straight when you returned to Psychelia after smurfing with us for a year."
"Come to think of it, Jokey, there were times in Psychelia when this smurf was like ready to explode in laughter and this smurf was having trouble trying to keep this smurf's composure while standing with a group of Psyches listening to our instructors," Empath mentioned. "Of course, this smurf did get punished whenever this smurf totally lost it and just simply burst out in laughter. But personally it was worth suffering those punishments just to see the look on every Psyche's face. It was totally priceless."
"I knew that smurfing around with me would get you smiling sooner or later," Jokey said. "I bet that I can smurf the same to those Psyches, who seem to smurf the same facial expression for everything."
"You might find that rather difficult, if not impossible, Jokey," Empath warned. "If anything, they might just get annoyed and simply walk away from you. Life in Psychelia isn't like living in a constant amusement park."
"I'll get them to crack someday, just wait!" Jokey promised.
Then Empath just stared at the door of the tavern, as if expecting something to happen. Tapper noticed that Empath was staring in that direction without saying anything for a bit longer than he was comfortable with. "Great Smurfiny Crickets, my fellow Empath, what smurfs to be the matter?" Tapper politely asked.
It took about a second or two for Empath to realize Tapper was there asking him a question. "This smurf apologizes, Tapper, but for a moment this smurf had a feeling that the Psyches were going to come through that door or something," Empath finally said.
"Don't tell me you're afraid that they might smurf you back to Psychelia after you being smurfed away from there for only a year, especially if this Psyche Master says that you will never return there ever again," Tapper said.
"This smurf supposes that there's still a part of this smurf that fears that the Psyche Master will go back on his word to Papa Smurf, Tapper," Empath said. "This smurf is just getting used to being a free Smurf, and who knows if that will last beyond this night."
"I do not envy you for smurfing that feeling, my friend," Tapper said. "But you've got to let those things smurf in the past where they belong. You won't smurf your friends here much good if you're still smurfing over your shoulder worrying about things that might possibly happen that most likely won't ever happen in this lifetime."
Empath sighed. "I suppose you're right, Tapper. This smurf is just used to being here only for visits when this smurf was away in Psychelia. This smurf should be grateful to be allowed any liberty at all from that horrible place. Again, this smurf apologizes."
"There's no need to apologize for that, Empath," Tapper said. "No matter how long you have to live here since your last smurfday, this village will always be your home. Don't forget that."

After the party, Empath and Smurfette flew off alone over the forest. She remembered their first night flying together over the forest, and how excited she felt to be with Empath. It was like she was holding hands with a god in Smurf form. She never wanted that feeling to end. For Empath, it was the first night that they kissed each other, and from that point on Empath felt as if he was holding the future in his hands. She was like an angel that came to him in Smurf form. He never wanted that feeling to end.
After they set down over a high lookout point near the mountains, Smurfette spoke. "Did you notice that most of the Smurfs at your smurfday party were talking about Psychelia, as if it was some place that they actually wanted to visit?" she asked.
"That did surprise this smurf, Smurfette, that they would be that curious of a place that I would rather not revisit," Empath answered. "But for all the trouble this smurf had living in a place where there was no freedom of expressing emotions, there was some good that came from being there."
"Tell me," Smurfette prompted.
"Well, usually around 20 years after the Psyches emerge from their gestation chambers, they go through a bonding ritual where a Psyche is paired with another of the same sex and they become partners for life, though it is more like being close brothers or sisters," Empath described. "The ritual is simply that we touch each other's hands without gloves and then emit a pulse of energy from our mind's eyes that flow through our hands into each other, and then we know instantly our partner. The Psyche this smurf was bonded to is named Polaris. Like all the Psyches there, he was curious about the 'prototype Psyche' that this smurf was 'created by the Psyche Master' as."
"You knew that you were different from the Psyches, even before Papa Smurf smurfed you that you were a Smurf?" Smurfette asked.
"This smurf always wondered why this smurf was treated a little different from the other Psyches," Empath answered. "One day, after this smurf had returned from my first visit to the Smurf Village, this smurf and Polaris were in a group of Psyches doing rock-climbing as one of our training exercises. This smurf and Polaris were called to work together to get ourselves to the top of a sheer cliff. We were doing pretty good with Polaris going ahead of this smurf, up until when Polaris lost his grip and fell. He tried to grab onto something for safety, but what he grabbed was my tail -- only he didn't know that he was grabbing my tail until later when we finished the rock-climbing together!"
"Ouch, that must have hurt!" Smurfette groaned sympathetically.
"At that point, Polaris really wanted to know who and what this smurf is, because Psyches don't have tails," Empath continued. "So this smurf let Polaris know everything this smurf knew about myself and told him that this smurf is a Smurf. He was totally surprised to find that out, since Psyches generally see beings like Smurfs as savage creatures. Fortunately he treated me just like I was another Psyche in the community and helped me at times to deal with being away from my fellow Smurfs. I don't think I could have lived all those years in Psychelia without him being by my side when I just would have fallen apart."
"You must miss having him around now that you're back in the Smurf Village, Empath," Smurfette surmised.
"There isn't a day that passes being home in the village when this smurf doesn't think of Polaris, Smurfette," Empath remarked. "But this smurf knows that when the Psyche Master had permanently cast this smurf away from Psychelia, he would cause every Psyche to forget that this smurf ever existed among them -- including Polaris. It's probably for the best that Polaris no longer remembers this smurf because it would not bring him peace wondering about this smurf when this smurf is not near him anymore."
"At least you can still remember him, Empath," Smurfette said. "He will always be with you in your heart and in your memory -- just as I will be if you will ever lose me."
"I never want to think of ever losing you, Smurfette," Empath said as the two of them looked into each other's eyes and kissed.