Chapter 3

It was well past sundown. All the Smurfs were gathering around the Smurf theatre stage, getting ready for the first night's opening acts. Many of the Smurfs in the audience were all decked out in their tie-dyed shirts, pants, and hats and wearing flower wreaths and stone bracelets -- including Papa Smurf, who was holding Baby Smurf with him. They were eager for the music to begin as Editor and a few other Smurfs passed out the programs. Greedy and Tapper were standing by at the refreshment stands as well.
Empath met Smurfette again as he was ready to go on the stage and make his announcements. She was wearing a long flowing white dress and a flower wreath on her head with her hat, while Empath himself was dressed up in a tuxedo suit that went with his star-patterned suit.
Smurfette laughed when see saw Empath in the tuxedo. "You seem to be a bit oversmurfed for an event like Smurfstock," she commented. "How come you won't smurf on a tie-dyed suit like most of the other Smurfs?"
"This smurf chose to be this year's master of ceremonies, Smurfette," Empath answered, feeling only a little miffed that Smurfette would choose to laugh at his choice of apparel. "This smurf wanted to be in his best to announce the various acts, even if some of them are so...unusual, like this year's Smurfs Without Hats and such. Besides, this smurf always found those tie-dyed suits to look a bit too colorful on this smurf."
"Gee, don't smurf it too personal, Empath," Smurfette sighed. "It's just that I've never smurfed you looking this good before."
"And you are just as beautiful in that dress as you are in anything," Empath complimented her, feeling a little better about himself.
"So when are you going to smurf your musical number for this year?" Smurfette asked.
"This smurf is still trying to compose it, Smurfette, so you won't be able to hear it until the last night of Smurfstock," Empath answered. "This smurf hopes it will be worth your wait."
"Well, after hearing the likes of 'Smurfs Without Hats', I'm sure to smurf forward to hearing it," Smurfette assured him.
Every Smurf in the audience was waiting for the show to begin when Empath stepped onto the stage and they clapped for him. "Welcome, my fellow Smurfs, to the first night of the annual Smurfstock music festival. This smurf is here to introduce the first act of tonight, coming straight from the south end of the village, the Smurfs Without Hats!"
As Empath made his announcements, Smurfette could feel more than just a slight cool autumn breeze in the air. She felt a somewhat enticing darker chill, drawing her to look away from the stage and see a caped stranger approaching her. As the stranger got closer, Smurfette could see that he looked very much like a Smurf, except that he had a lot of head hair and his skin was very pale. But whoever he was, he looked very handsome, maybe even more handsome than Empath.
She turned away from looking at the stranger and back to the stage, where she saw four Smurfs basically without hats, as they called themselves, performing their song "The Smurfy Dance." "We can smurf if we want to, we can smurf your friends behind,..."
Empath walked off the stage, singing along quietly to the song being performed, and rejoined Smurfette. "What's the matter, Smurfette?" he asked concernedly.
Smurfette shrugged. "I don't know, Empath...I just have the feeling like somebody's smurfing me and it feels somewhat creepy."
Empath looked behind her and saw nothing that could make Smurfette feel that way. "Maybe it's just the excitement of performing on stage getting to you," he offered.
Smurfette looked behind her and noticed that the caped stranger was gone, but the creepy feeling remained. "I just hope that's what it was, Empath," she finally said.
Soon the audience cheered for Smurfs Without Hats as the performance of their song ended, and now Empath had to go back on stage and introduce the next act.
"You all know her, you all love her, but you have yet to know how she sounds," Empath announced. "Here she is…the one and only Smurfette!"
Everyone cheered and Empath watched as Smurfette went on stage. He could see that she felt a bit nervous, as did some other Smurfs that performed before others, himself included. But he had a feeling that she was going to do well performing whatever it was she was going to sing.
"You only see what your eyes want to see, how can life be what you want it to be..."
Throughout the act, no one could take their eyes off Smurfette. Apparently, as Empath had guessed correctly, they were truly astounded that she had a very beautiful singing voice. But Empath felt a bit tricked that she asked him to create a song that would make her feel all warm and happy inside while she went on and sang something that was just the opposite.
"...if I could melt your heart...we'd never be apart...smurf yourself to me..."
Smurfette could see again the caped stranger, this time from beyond the crowd itself. He looked at her with eyes that seemed to hypnotize her, that made her singing voice even more dramatic. None of the other Smurfs seem to notice it much, since they were already amazed by how beautiful her singing voice was.
"…you are the key…if I could melt your heart."
The crowd cheered for Smurfette. They wanted her to stay on stage to do one more song, but she politely thanked her audience and made her way off it while Empath went back on to introduce the next performer.
"You have such a beautiful voice, even more so than I last remembered you, my dear Elismurfetta," a heavily accented voice greeted her offstage.
Smurfette found herself face to face with the caped stranger, and she was very surprised by how he looked. He wore a fancy-looking Smurf hat with a princely vest and pants, and had head hair as black as the night. His skin was a very pale blue, but the pupils of his eyes looked blood red.
"I'm sorry, but I don't know who you are," Smurfette answered.
"I am Lord Vladimir Smurfula of the kingdom of Smurvanya, and you are my beloved, the fair maiden Elismurfetta," the stranger answered. "For a mortal Smurf, your youth and beauty has managed to remain as fresh as the day I last smurfed you one thousand years ago."
Smurfette giggled, thinking either this must be Jokey trying to trick her again or this Vladimir Smurfula was the real thing and confused her for someone else.
"Actually, my name is Smurfette, Lord Vladimir, but I do have the pleasure of smurfing you for the first time," she responded. "I have never met a Smurf of royalty like you before!"
"The pleasure is all mine, as are my sincerest apologies to you, my dear Smurfette," Lord Vladimir told her, taking her hand and kissing it. "You remind me so much of my beloved Elismurfetta, who smurfed into existence more than a thousand years ago. Your face of velvet sapphire, your hair of golden sunlight, your eyes of sparkling diamonds, your voice of sweet birdsongs…it is as though she had been resmurfed in the form you now possess."
As Lord Vladimir held Smurfette's face gently with his hand, she could feel herself being irresistibly pulled toward him. Then Empath's voice snapped her back to reality.
"Smurfette?" he asked. "Who's this Smurf you're talking to?"
Smurfette looked and felt as if she was rudely interrupted, though she seemed to take it all in stride. "Empath, this is Lord Vladimir Smurfula…he comes from the kingdom of Smurvanya," she answered politely. "He was just smurfing me how beautiful my voice sounded tonight."
"Ah, but it is you, my dear Smurfette, who are beautiful," Vladimir pointed out. He then looked at Empath. "I see that your friend has also smurfed a likening to you!"
"Yes, well, Empath is a very good friend of mine," Smurfette explained.
Empath extended a hand out to Vladimir as a greeting, but the minute he touched Vladimir's hand, the princely Smurf suddenly recoiled, as if his hand was burned in a fire. Smurfette looked at Vladimir's hand, feeling concerned, and then she looked at Empath, wondering what he did to make Vladimir react that way. Empath shrugged, for he had no idea what had happened.
"Foolish mortal," Vladimir snarled. "I can smurf that you have no song in your heart. That is why she will never belong to you!"
"Are you sure you're all right?" Smurfette asked Vladimir. "Do you need anything?"
"I will be fine, my dear Smurfette," Vladimir answered, sounding sweet and genteel around her. Toward Empath, he spoke harshly. "I only need to be smurfed away from the likes of him. His very touch can burn a thousand year old soul." He turned to Smurfette again. "Meet me here at the end of your musical symphony and you shall hear music from a true master…not some soulless poser!"
Vladimir kissed Smurfette on the hand again and then departed back into the night while she watched him, sighing as she felt her heart going out to him.
"Smurfette, this smurf truly didn't mean to hurt him like that!" Empath tried to explain. "Though this smurf has to admit there's something in his very touch that doesn't feel right…as if he was supposed to be deceased."
"Really!" Smurfette pouted, as if Empath had said something very insulting. "You know, sometimes, you can smurf people the wrong way without ever realizing it."
"It was just an observation, Smurfette," Empath said defensively. "Nothing more than that. If you wish to entertain his company, this smurf will not stand in your way. But this smurf would ask you to be very careful around him."
Smurfette heard what Empath said but didn't say anything further. She just watched the rest of the concert, trying to keep in the spirit of the festival, but her mind was on the stranger of the night that met and courted with her.

Later on, after the last song of that night's performance and every Smurf had gone to rest up for the next day's activities, Smurfette waited alone at the stage for Lord Vladimir to return. The night air had a slight chill that made her shiver a bit.
"I am grateful that you have awaited for me, my dear Smurfette," Vladimir said, appearing so suddenly from behind that it nearly startled her. "Your fellow villagers have performed such a cornucopia of arranged sounds, and yet they do not know what real music is. I wish to smurf you that, if you are interested."
"You said that Empath had no song in his heart," Smurfette reminded him. "What did you mean by that, Lord Vladimir, if I may be bold enough to ask?"
"Please call me Vladimir, for it has been a long time since titles of nobility have been smurfed in this region," he answered. "When a Smurf has no song in his heart, he cannot ever see the joy in the life that he lives, nor can he ever have passion for anything that his eyes can besmurf. He is simply an empty vessel that sails through the ocean of life, never knowing where he is going, cast to drift in the winds of fate."
"Funny that I don't smurf Empath as just an empty vessel," Smurfette pondered.
"How can a Smurf that does not feel music in his heart ever hope to create music that can capture one's heart?" Vladimir went on. "Music is what makes us who we are. It has a power older than time itself. It can communicate in sounds what words alone cannot do. It can smurf you to places where the night lives forever in all its dark beauty and sings in its own symphony of voices and sounds that command attention. It is a world that I intend to share with you if you would allow me to demonsmurf what I mean."
"Music can really smurf that?" Smurfette asked, intrigued by what he told her. "I'd love to hear whatever it is you would call music, Vladimir."
"Very well, then, my dear Smurfette. I shall play for you 'The Smurphony Of The Night'." He took his place in front of Harmony's pipe organ and began to play.
Smurfette sat by the pipe organ and listened to Vladimir playing his tune. The melody was eerie and haunting, yet had a beautiful and seductive quality to it. Smurfette could feel herself drawn into the music, carried through its rhythms into a world where the night in all its dark and hidden terror was no longer frightening to her. She could see in that music a world where death itself had no meaning, where the powerful preyed on the weak, where passion and love were eternal and nothing stood in its way. It felt like a world that she wanted to live in all her life.
Smurfette was so spellbound by Vladimir's music, she barely even heard him stop playing it. He looked at her and knew that she understood what it was all about.
"That was the most beautiful piece of music I've ever smurfed!" she said, feeling herself swoon.
"I know, my Elismurfetta," Vladimir replied. "I smurfed it many years ago just for you! It is as beautiful as the blue rose that sits beside my organ by the pale moonlight."
Smurfette felt captivated by Vladimir's words. It no longer mattered if he had mistaken her again for his long-lost Elismurfetta from many years ago. In that moment, nothing else in Smurfette's life ever seemed to matter anymore.
She pulled herself closer to Vladimir as he took her into his arms and kissed her on the neck. It was a kiss that felt like it had lasted forever.