A Loss Of Innocence

It was the morning after Redemption Day. Greedy had Biscotti, Culinary, and Vino join him in creating a big breakfast feast for the whole village to enjoy. All of the Smurfs were so happy that Redemption Day was over, and so was their two-day fasting, that they ate as much as they wanted. Papa Smurf was happy to see that his little Smurfs can return to their normal daily routines with the sense that their souls have been cleansed and their innocence will be watched over for another year.
Empath, however, did not feel all that happy. While he attended the breakfast, he ate only as much as he needed to. Most of the Smurfs paid very little attention to Empath. But Duncan McSmurf noticed the expression he was wearing.
"What seems to be smurfing with you, laddie?" Duncan asked, sounding curious. "It's a brand new day. You should be smurfy and thankful that you're alive."
"This smurf only wishes that would be so, Duncan," Empath said. "However, this smurf cannot stop thinking about what this smurf did back in Psychelia, and how this smurf kept you all in the dark until yesterday about what had happened."
"Aye, what a shame there," Duncan said, sounding sympathetic. "I can't help but feel sorry for what you had to smurf through while you were away."
"Every Smurf thinks that this smurf is a monster or worse for taking a life," Empath said. "This smurf can't say that they're wrong for thinking that, because I really don't what to think of myself now."
"You feel guilt for smurfing such a terrible thing, Empath," Duncan said. "A real monster wouldn't even think or feel anything at all, except for maybe pleasure. If smurfing a life makes you feel guilty, then you only proved that you're still a Smurf at heart."
"But this smurf still feels unclean and violated," Empath said. "This smurf doesn't know how you are able to keep yourself from killing anybody while still practicing to be the best fighter that won't hold anything back."
"That's where the real battle is, Empath...not from without, but from within," Duncan said. "As much as I like to fight, the last thing I want to smurf is to kill anybody. That's why most of the time I use quarterstaffs and wooden swords, not bladed weapons. And I fight not because I want to hurt people, but because I want to keep others from hurting anybody else."
"That's what this smurf wants to do as well, Duncan," Empath said. "Not that this smurf enjoys fighting with anyone."
"But you still don't like that you had to kill someone just to win a fight, Empath," Duncan said. "Even if the only prize is your life."
"It makes this smurf feel very angry, Duncan," Empath said. "This smurf feels like I want to hurt someone just to get rid of this awful feeling that I have."
"If it will make you feel any better, Empath, I will let you spar with me for a few rounds with the quarterstaff," Duncan said.
"You sure that you would want to do that, Duncan?" Empath asked. "This smurf doesn't want to do anything to you that would mean another loss of innocence."
"I know that you won't, Empath," Duncan said. "You smurf more control over your abilities than you would ever admit to yourself. Besides, I have always considered you my greatest challenger when it smurfs to quarterstaffs. I would like to think that, for all I have smurfed you when it smurfs to fighting, that I would be as great a fighter as you have become...for a Smurf who isn't a true Smurfsman, that is!"
Empath smiled, taking it as a jest. "Now you're just wanting this smurf to go up against you in a match, Duncan."
"So does that mean you and I will be smurfing with each other after breakfast?" Duncan asked.
"Just bring your quarterstaff and this smurf will be ready for you, Duncan," Empath said.
Duncan smiled. "I knew that you couldn't resist a challenge, Empath. At least here in the Smurf Village when you're fighting with me, you won't have to worry about being forced to kill anyone."
"This smurf really doesn't want to kill anyone, Duncan, especially not my friends," Empath said.
"Then that's your battle, Empath," Duncan said. "Fight to protect and to save lives. That's part of what being a Smurf is all about."
Empath nodded as he started to feel a little better about himself, knowing that being around his fellow Smurfs in the Smurf Village meant freedom for him to be what he was born as.