Part 4

Back in the village, Empath was overseeing the reconstruction of the stage Handy was working on, with Hefty and Carpenter filling in for Handy. Tapper came along with some nice refreshing smurfberry iced tea for the hard workers.
"Hefty, Empath, have any of you seen Handy?" Smurfette asked as she approached the stage.
"Unfortunately not, Smurfette," Hefty answered. "Empath sent Gutsy out into the forest with a few other Smurfs to find him right now, and Papa Smurf has smurfed another group with him some time ago."
"I hope Duncan finds him soon," Smurfette said. "I'm starting to worry about him and the others."
"Gutsy will find them, all right, trust me," Hefty said.
"Great Smurfiny Crickets, do you think Handy and the others could be smurfing out for another one of those orbs?" Tapper asked.
"Given what this smurf has sensed of their behaviors, Tapper, it's very likely to be their most logical choice of action," Empath said.
"Empath! Quick! I need to find Papa Smurf!" Farmer said as he entered the village, approaching the work area of the stage.
"Papa Smurf has left with some Smurfs to find you and the others, Farmer," Empath said. "What has happened?"
"Poet and the other three Smurfs have been smurfed by this Allura we found in the woods," Farmer reported. "I fear that they may have been captured."
"This smurf senses that you don't look so good," Empath said. "You should take this smurf to the last place that you've seen them."
"I should accompany you and Farmer to this place, Empath," Tapper suggested. "There's no telling what we may smurf once we get there."
"This smurf would be grateful for your assistance, Tapper," Empath said. "Hefty, you'll be in charge of the village until this smurf or Papa Smurf returns."
Hefty nodded. "I understand, Empath. Just be careful."

In Allura's fortress, the four Smurfs are busy with their work of scrubbing the chamber where the Orb Of Euphoria is located, feeling rather helpless in their situation.
"Oh, smurf is me, from paintbrushes to scrub brushes," Painter groaned.
"This work would be so much easier if I can touch the orb," Harmony said.
"Yes, yes, just one little touch," Poet said, eager to go up to the orb.
"Poet, stop!" Handy said, stopping his friend from touching the orb. "Don't you see? The more we resist, the stronger we'll become. If we keep using the orb, we'll be stuck here forever."
"My, my, such willpower," Allura purred, looking on from a high window with her two birdlike companions. "Resistance is useless, you're not strong enough to break free. Now hurry up, because I have several more chambers for you to clean up before you sleep."
After Allura turned away from the window, Harmony muttered, "Great Smurfness, what are we going to do?"
"Hopefully Empath will come to save us, my fellow Smurfs," Handy said. "Whatever you do, don't give in to the temptation of the orb."

Farmer, Empath, and Tapper arrived near the entrance of the fortress. "Yep, that's where she be keeping them, Empath," Farmer said.
"Great Ancestors, this place certainly makes the Psyche Master's chamber in Psychelia look more like home to this smurf," Empath said.
"Where do you suppose this Allura would be keeping the Smurfs she has captive?" Tapper asked.
"That's what this smurf is going to find out, Tapper," Empath said. "You should stay here and keep a watch on Farmer to make sure he doesn't go in. This smurf doesn't want him to go anywhere near a magic orb."
"I'd be happy to oblige, Empath," Farmer said.
"Aye, Empath," Tapper said. "Be careful and may the luck of the Smurfish be with you."
Empath quietly made it across the bridge and into the entrance of the fortress. There he saw that his fellow Smurfs were all in the main chamber, held prisoner by chains attached to the platform where the Orb Of Euphoria is located. As he entered the fortress, one of Allura's winged companions spotted Empath and went inside to alert its mistress.
"Oh, it's so's so very close," Poet said. "Oh, I can't stand it anymore. I've got to touch it."
"Me too," Harmony said. "I can't resist."
"What's the use?" Handy said, dropping his mop on the floor. "Allura is right. None of us are strong enough."
"Stop!" Empath shouted, racing into the chamber. "You can be strong with my help!"
"EMPATH!" all four of the Smurfs shouted as he broke through their chains one by one.
Meanwhile, Allura's winged companion alerted its mistress of Empath. "An intruder?" she said. "He could ruin all our plans. We must find him at once!"
"Come on, fellow Smurfs," Empath said. "We can overcome the temptation of the orb together."
As the four Smurfs followed Empath out of the fortress and across the bridge, Poet trailed behind. "Oh, I've got to smurf back for just one more touch..."
"Empath, Poet's smurfing back into the fortress," Tapper shouted.
"You and Farmer should take the other three back to the village," Empath said. "This smurf will go back for Poet." As the other five Smurfs left, Empath raced back into the fortress. "Poet! Stop! Don't touch the orb!"
Suddenly Allura grabbed Empath. "So you're the intruder who's stealing my prisoners!"
Empath struggled uselessly against Allura's hold. "Her touch is draining this smurf's power, Poet," he said. "This smurf can't break free!"
"Don't worry about him, Poet!" Allura said. "Once I have him touch the orb, he will feel just as helpless as you!"
"Oh no!" Poet exclaimed. "I've got to help Empath break free!" He picked up a mop and placed its handle right under the orb to use as a lever to dislodge the orb from its pedestal.
Allura saw what Poet was going to do and dropped Empath. "What are you doing?" she shrieked.
Soon the orb was loosed from its pedestal, and Allura chased after it as it bounced down a set of stairs before it was smashed to pieces.
"Empath! Are you all right?" Poet asked.
"This smurf is functioning normally, Poet," Empath said. "Let's get out of here and smurf back to the village."
Allura watched as the two Smurfs ran away from her fortress. "Run all you want, you haven't seen the last of me!"

Upon Empath and Poet's return, the five former captives of Allura looked around at what their dependency on the Orb Of Euphoria had caused.
"Sacre bleu, what a mess this is," Painter said, looking at all the colors he had thrown onto the canvas. "I had no idea what I was smurfing when I was smurfing all these colors together."
"You want to smurf a bigger mess, you should smurf a gander at my poor fields," Farmer said, shedding a single tear from his eye.
"'I love to hear the splashing sea, I love to hear the'" Poet read from the Spring Day poem he was working on. "I can't believe that I even wrote this!"
"Now you see why we were so worried for you, my little Smurfs," Papa Smurf said. "If it weren't for Empath and Tapper smurfing after you, you would still be captives of that evil witch's Orb Of Euphoria."
"It's a good thing that we have such smurfy friends looking after us," Handy said, looking at Empath, Tapper, and Hefty.
"Hey, what are brothers for, Handy?" Hefty said, smiling at Handy. "Someone's got to smurf out for you to keep you out of trouble."
"True, but your friends can only do so much," Empath said. "In the end, though, it's up to you to resist the lure of dangerous magic, for no amount of magic can ever replace your own talents and abilities."
"You know, Empath, that just inspired me to smurf up a whole new poem for the Spring Day Pageant," Poet said.
"But Poet, the pageant starts in an hour," Smurfette said.
"Don't worry, Smurfette," Poet said. "This poem shouldn't take no more than an hour to write. I just need some time alone in the forest to compose it."
"This smurf will check on you in an hour to make sure, Poet," Empath called out as he watched Poet go back into the forest.
Papa Smurf then turned to Jokey. "I'm going to need one of your surprises for you to deliver to someone."

Alone in the forest in the same spot where he had met Allura, Poet had written several sheets of verses that all came to the top of his head about what spring means. It was nearly an hour later when he finally wrote the last verses.
"'And so I vow this fine spring day, when life begins anew, to never depend on magic when I see my problems through'," he said as he wrote the verses down.
"Splendid, splendid!" a familiar female voice spoke behind him.
Poet recognized and saw who it was. "Allura!"
"Don't be frightened," Allura said, appearing in her harmless gentle form. "I want to set things right. Here, Poet, this is for strings attached." She showed him another case that had another magic orb. "And when its magic is used up, you can have another. Go ahead, take it. I want to be your friend."
As Poet stared at the magic orb, Empath's voice called out. "Poet, the pageant is about to start!"
"Sorry, Allura, but you can keep your magic orb," Poet said. "I know who my real friends are." Just then, Empath appeared with Clumsy and Jokey. "I'm ready."
"Golly, who's the beautiful lady?" Clumsy asked.
"It's nobody that you'd want to know," Poet said as he picked up his quill, ink, and papers.
"Perhaps one of you would want to have my wonderful gift," Allura said, showing them the magic orb.
"Uh, no thank you," Clumsy said.
"But you can have one of my surprises," Jokey said
"A surprise?" Allura wondered as she took the present from Jokey's hand. "Oh, what is it?"
As she opened the present, it exploded and Allura was turned into a frog. "Surprise!" Jokey shouted, laughing.
Empath also laughed as Allura in frog form now hopped away. "This smurf can only wonder where you would come up with a surprise like that, Jokey."
"Come on, Smurfs, let's go back to the village," Poet said. "I can't wait for the pageant to start, because this is my best Spring Day poem yet."
"This smurf will be eager to hear the result of your newfound inspiration, Poet," Empath said as they headed back.

Empath's personal journal.
The Spring Day Pageant was a success, despite that some of the things in it were missing. We all enjoyed listening to Poet's new Spring Day poem, which felt like it resonated in the hearts of those who were affected by the Orb Of Euphoria. This smurf is glad that Poet found it within himself to resist the lure of the orb when Allura tried again to tempt him with its power, and that he has now found confidence in his own abilities again as a writer. This smurf feels certain Painter and the other Smurfs who were victims of this orb will also regain confidence in their abilities, knowing how much their contributions to Smurf society will be missed by those around them, this smurf included.

By evening, Empath and Smurfette enjoyed a glass of smurfberry wine together at Tapper's Tavern, glad at how things turned out for the Spring Day Pageant.
"So what are you going to do smurf about being the assistant counselor, Empath?" Smurfette asked.
"As much as the job may remove this smurf from interacting with the other Smurfs, Smurfette, this smurf will continue to work in that position nevertheless," Empath said. "It's less stressful letting other Smurfs handle the important jobs of the village, knowing that they will be able to handle things without needing much or any of this smurf's involvement."
"I just hope you don't get too comfortable smurfing your job, Empath," Smurfette said. "Who knows when I might need you to smurf something important for me?"
"Whenever you need this smurf for anything, this smurf will be at your disposal," Empath said.
"Good, because I was wondering if you could smurf over for me with teaching the Smurflings their lessons at school tomorrow," Smurfette said.
Empath pondered her request. "If what you need done tomorrow is that important, Smurfette, then this smurf will be honored to be your replacement."
"Oh, I knew you wouldn't let me down!" Smurfette said, sounding very excited. "Thanks, Empath...I'm sure you'll undersmurf." She slipped him a kiss and then got up from the table. "Anyway, I'll see you tomorrow morning."
"Rest well, Smurfette," Empath said as he watched her leave. He was beginning to wonder what the whole thing was all about.
Tapper appeared at Empath's table to fetch the glasses. "Smurfette seems to be smurfing in rather early tonight," he commented. "Can't say I blame her, though. Of course, Handy, Harmony, Poet, and Painter have also smurfed themselves to bed early tonight, which is a good idea for them since they've been so smurfed out from that Orb Of Euphoria that's been smurfing them up like a motor."
"They will recover from the experience even as it will teach them about how to deal with such temptation, Tapper," Empath said. "In the meantime, this smurf is dealing with the constant temptation of being near Smurfette all the time."
"I don't think you will ever be cured of it, Empath, and I don't think that you should be," Tapper said. "All I want is to make sure that you will smurf the right thing and smurf your passions under control until the day comes when you and Smurfette decide to get married."
"This smurf wants so much to keep Smurfette's maidenhood intact until that day comes, Tapper, believe me," Empath said. "It's just not easy when she's given this smurf the kind of kiss that she's never given any other Smurf before."
"Aye, and that alone has smurfed you the envy of every Smurf in the village, including myself," Tapper said. "I will continue to pray that you and Smurfette will grow in your friendship together and that the both of you will respect each other."
"And that she will always be this smurf's orb of inspiration," Empath said, as he and Tapper made a toast together.