"Ouch! Will you smurf it easy on my back?" Papa Smurf yelped.
He was lying on top of a table in his laboratory, dressed down to a towel and hat while lying on his stomach with his head and arms rested on a pillow, scowling. Polaris Psyche was standing over Papa Smurf, using his hands and arms to apply pressure to points along the Smurf leader's back. Polaris used to be somewhat squeamish about touching other Smurfs, even with gloved hands, but he somehow managed to overcome that feeling.
"Oooh, this back massage therapy feels like torture, Polaris," Papa Smurf groaned. "I wonder why I couldn't get Empath to do this without smurfing me feel worse than I already am right now…or even Smurfette!"
"With the amount of stress you've put on yourself, Papa Smurf," Polaris commented, "the damage done to your back cannot be properly fixed with any 'quick fix' methods or female distractions. Sometimes there's just no substitute for good hard massage therapy to make you feel better. Are you still getting those headaches?"
Papa Smurf rubbed his forehead and temples. "Am I ever! It's like somebody's smurfing my head as a giant pincushion!"
Before Polaris could suggest anything more, Papa Smurf heard banging on his door and several Smurfs shouting for him, demanding his urgent attention. Papa Smurf didn't like having something as torturous as his massage therapy being interrupted like that.
Wrapping the towel around his waist, Papa Smurf answered the door and saw that it was Hefty and a few other Smurfs. "What is so important that you have to smurf on my door like that?" he snapped.
"Sorry, Papa Smurf," Hefty responded, "but we just smurfed something wrong with the bridge again, and we want you to take a smurf at it."
Papa Smurf groaned. He certainly didn't like hearing this news. "I'll be right there to check on it, Hefty," he told him. He found himself starting to follow Hefty and the others into the forest when Polaris called him back.
"I'm afraid this takes smurfedence over my massage therapy, Polaris," Papa Smurf told him.
"Actually, this one was going to suggest a change in clothing, Papa Smurf," Polaris admitted.
Papa Smurf just realized that he was still wearing a towel and went back inside.
After putting on his pants, Papa Smurf joined Hefty and the others at the Smurf river bridge and he didn't like what he saw happened. The bridge's span was broken in the middle, and he could see parts of a tree lying diagonally in the river's gully.
"What the smurf happened here?" Papa Smurf asked.
"It's probably some old tree branch that fell and smurfed the middle section," Hefty answered. "The other ends of the bridge are still intact, fortunately, but it's going to take a few days to get this bridge repaired, after we smurf that big branch removed."
"We don't have a few days!" Papa Smurf snapped. "I want as many Smurfs as we can spare to get that big branch out of there and smurf repairs on the bridge by the end of today! Is that understood?"
"We'll smurf right on it, Papa Smurf," Hefty replied, trying not to ask anything about Papa Smurf's flaring temper.
"I heard from the smurfvine that Handy's got Clockwork Smurf back and smurfing again," Reporter mentioned.
"Good," Papa Smurf exclaimed. "Then I want Handy to bring Clockwork here right on the double so we can smurf that branch away. Where's Empath?"
"Last I smurfed of him, he was visiting Handy this morning watching him smurfing Clockwork back to life, Papa Smurf," Brainy answered.
"And nobody has smurfed him ever since?" Papa Smurf asked. He didn't like hearing about Empath not being anywhere that he could be found. He then turned to Polaris. "I want you to find Empath wherever he is and smurf him that we need him here right now!"
"This one will find him, Papa Smurf!" Polaris replied.
"In the meantime, I'm smurfing Hefty to be in charge of the repairs," Papa Smurf finished. "I'll be in the village if any Smurf needs me!"
Brainy felt betrayed that Papa Smurf would again choose Hefty over him to be in charge of anything. It was different around Empath because he was Brainy's half-brother, plus he had intelligence, wisdom, and strength among other things. No Smurf could ever rival Empath in anything except for simply being a Smurf. But he could see Papa Smurf wasn't in any mood to have his orders questioned today.
"Yes, Papa Smurf," he finally muttered under his breath, sighing as he watched Papa Smurf head back to the village.
Meanwhile, Empath and Smurfette were still busy with each other behind Farmer's toolshed. They really felt like they just couldn't keep their hands off each other. Smurfette found herself on the ground still entangled with Empath, who was too busy kissing her when she stopped. "Empath, I think I heard something," she whispered.
"This smurf didn't hear anything, Smurfette," he murmured between kisses.
"Well, I could smurf I heard somebody coming," Smurfette told him.
"It's probably nothing, Smurfette," Empath responded, not wanting to stop.
But Smurfette felt like she had to stop. "I really mean it, Empath...somebody is coming!"
She was just about to struggle away from Empath when the both of them saw Polaris Psyche standing there, looking intent on finding somebody and a little shocked by what he saw.
"Empath, Smurfette, what are the both of you doing here?" he asked.
Empath felt so embarrassed at being seen by someone like Polaris doing what they were doing and he had to think of how to answer him. "Uh, this smurf found Smurfette on the ground. She had fainted when she went to borrow some gardening tools from Farmer Smurf and this smurf had to resuscitate her."
Polaris looked even more puzzled. "Is that why the both of you seem to be lacking the proper attire?" he asked, noticing that Empath had his shirt off and Smurfette seemed to...well, let's just say she lost a bit more than her hat.
Smurfette covered herself up as best she could while Empath remained the way he was when Polaris found him. "Is there something important you needed to tell this smurf?" Empath asked insistently.
"Only that Papa Smurf needs your help at the Smurf bridge," Polaris answered. "A large tree branch has destroyed the middle section of the bridge span, and he needs you and Clockwork to remove the branch so they could start work on repairing the bridge."
Empath looked at Smurfette, who just looked at him, wondering when he was going to return to her. But he couldn't let Polaris in on what's going on between the two of them.
"Well, Smurfette, this smurf could see you're feeling better," he told her as if she were his patient. "This smurf would suggest that you'd take it easy out here in the sun. This smurf will check back on you as soon as possible."
Smurfette seemed to know what Empath was doing. She went along with him and nodded, as if she was still recovering from her fainting spell.
"This one will be heading back to the bridge to wait for your arrival," Polaris said before he left Empath and Smurfette alone, letting out a big sigh of relief.
"Thank smurfness!" Smurfette exhaled as she started to dress herself. "For a moment there, I thought it would be Papa Smurf smurfing in on us!"
"Somehow, this smurf doesn't feel comfortable with the fact that Polaris had seen us like this," Empath moaned as he put his shirt back on.
"Well, he's your friend, isn't he? I'm smurftain he wouldn't tell on us!"
"That isn't the point, Smurfette. He basically doesn't understand situations like this because all he ever knew of the Smurfs was what this smurf told him about the Smurfs before you existed. And this smurf wouldn't want to hear about Polaris asking Papa Smurf the meaning behind what we were doing here."
"Then just explain it to him yoursmurf," Smurfette suggested.
Polaris saw Empath racing toward him as he was on his way back to the broken bridge. "Your prompt response to my relaying Papa Smurf's order is admirable, Empath," Polaris commented. "However, this one doesn't understand why your engaging in private activities would take precedence over your duties as Papa Smurf's assistant counselor."
"This smurf apologizes, Polaris," Empath replied, finding himself fudging around for a suitable answer, "it's just that…well, you know what goes on between a male and a female…that sort of thing happens and…well…!"
"You were attempting to mate with Smurfette?" Polaris asked, trying to clarify in his mind what Empath was trying to say.
"Well, you didn't have to say it like the whole village needs to know," Empath remarked, looking incredulously at Polaris for being so blunt. "Actually, we were trying to show how much we love each other. It's not as if we were actually going to do…you know…!"
"This one can sense your evasiveness in trying to talk about procreation, Empath," Polaris pointed out. "In all the years we have known each other, this one has rarely seen you behave in a manner that would suggest you were trying to hide something."
"Oh, come on, Polaris," Empath groaned, finding himself feeling more like a Smurf whose hand was caught sneaking into a cookie jar. "You're not going to tell Papa Smurf about all this, are you? I mean, this smurf does appreciate you trying to assist Papa Smurf in my absence and all, but…! In all the years this smurf knew you, you have never ratted out to the Psyche Master on me like that."
"Interesting metaphor you would choose, 'ratting out'," Polaris pondered, feeling like he was talking more to another Smurf than to his own friend. "Would you rather this one to be dishonest and keep Papa Smurf and others uninformed about your activities in times of dire emergencies?"
"Of course not, Polaris," Empath answered testily. "But you could be just a bit more discreet about reporting these encounters."
Suddenly they both heard Hefty howling in great pain. Something had happened to him at the bridge and they weren't there to observe it.
"Great Ancestors!" Empath cried out. He and Polaris rushed to the bridge where they saw Brainy and Clumsy along with a few other Smurfs by the edge of the river's gully.
"We didn't smurf anything to Hefty, Empath," Brainy explained. "We were just trying to smurf the branch away with the rope and then he had smurfed down like he wasn't able to get up."
Polaris saw Hefty by the bottom of the gully, collapsed and in great pain. He and Empath both hopped down to where Hefty had fallen and saw that his healthy muscular body had turned weak and shriveled.
"He had suffered a bad fracture in his left leg," Empath told Polaris after he had scanned him. "Let's take him back to Papa Smurf's house where we can find out more about what happened to Hefty."