Chapter 6

Traveler was also curious as to where Empath might be, since he was the most affected by this change in Smurfette's timeline.  It didn't take long, however, for Traveler to find him, though it did surprise him that Empath decided to hide himself among his fellow Smurfs.  He now wore a white hat and pants, disguised his appearance in public so that nobody else could distinguish him from any other Smurf, changed his identity and his voice, and even behaved as if he were a normal Smurf all along, not using any of his abilities for the benefit of his fellow Smurfs.  Most of Empath's fellow Smurfs were at this point also wondering where Empath could have gone to, as this disguised version of Empath continued to work faithfully as an odd-job worker, not giving any Smurf a hint of what he was doing or why.  However, some Smurfs started getting secret messages to gather at a Smurf house by the north end of the village in the middle of the night, warning them to wear a disguise.  Nobody could figure out who wrote this or why, but it peaked the curiosity of several Smurfs to think about attending this secret meeting.
At night, when most Smurfs should be sleeping, a lone Smurf wearing a hooded cape and a mask snuck off toward a house by the north end of the village.  He knocked on the door as quietly as possible so as not to wake anybody else up.
A sliding panel opened, and another pair of eyes greeted his.  "Smurf the secret password," the voice on the other side of the door whispered.
"Great ancestors," the hooded Smurf whispered back.
The sliding panel closed, and the door was opened by another Smurf wearing a hooded cape and mask.  He opened a hatchway, where the both of them climbed down into the cellar.  They saw a dozen other Smurfs already gathered there, all of them wearing capes and masks, and among them, the very Smurf who called together this secret meeting -- Empath.
"As long as this smurf is shielding this location from Polaris' detection, no Smurf will ever know that we are here, least of all Papa Smurf," Empath noted as the two new guests sat down at the table, ready to listen to what Empath had to say.  "Right now, our numbers are about 14, but if we continue to get more of our fellow Smurfs behind us, we may have enough to force Papa Smurf, Smurfette, and all those still loyal to him to leave the village."
"But how do we know when would be the right time to smurf Papa Smurf off his throne, Empath?" one Smurf asked him.
"We must be vigilant as well as patient," Empath answered. "Right now, as far as this smurf could tell, neither of them are doing anything other than being husband and wife.  But if this relationship continues to grow as this smurf suspects it will, they may soon have themselves a child, and at that point they will be at their most vulnerable."
"But what about your friend, Polaris Psyche?" another Smurf asked.
"Polaris is no longer a friend of this smurf," Empath boldly stated. "He has chosen to stand among Papa Smurf and Smurfette, which makes him our enemy and not to be trusted.  Given that he has the same abilities as this smurf has, he may eventually try to use them against us should there be an uprising of any sort.  That is why we must be very cautious and not bring about any suspicion whatsoever.  In time, however, he will learn he cannot defeat an entire village when it is turned against him."
"Why don't we smurf a message to them now, just so they get the idea?" a third Smurf asked, sounding very impatient.
"That would be very foolish to do," Empath warned. "Papa Smurf and Polaris would be expecting that from any Smurf, and if any of us gets exiled, we may not be able to get the entire village behind our cause.  We must remain as nonviolent about this as possible."
"Well, I hate waiting," a fourth Smurf, obviously Grouchy, remarked.
"We know how you feel, Grouchy," Empath consoled. "We hate seeing Papa Smurf and Smurfette going on like this, but they chose to be with each other for all time, and they will be dealt with soon enough as long as we don't expose our plan beforehand."
They left as quietly as they came in.  Their mission was clear -- they were to find more recruits to join in the rebellion without giving themselves away.

Traveler journeyed further ahead to see how the rebellion that Empath would lead against Papa Smurf and Smurfette would begin.  He stopped at an event that sounded a bit familiar to him -- the sound of a newborn baby crying for the first time.
"Congratulations, Papa Smurf and Smurfette," Polaris stated, sounding a bit excited under the mask as he held up their newborn child.  "It's a girl!"
The both of them couldn't believe their ears.  They were so excited about having a child they didn't think it was going to happen.  But it did, and their world was a bit happier because of it.  Polaris quickly cleaned off the infant, then wrapped her in a small blanket and handed her to Smurfette, who looked at her along with Papa Smurf.
"She's so beautiful, Smurfette, just like you," Papa Smurf commented, pleased for his wife as well as for himself.  "She's got your eyes and your nose and your smile..."
"Well, didn't you say you had brown hair at one time?" Smurfette asked.  "Because I think she's also got your hair color, too!  Like Papa, like daughter!"
Apparently, Papa Smurf felt so excited he had to tell all his little Smurfs about it, despite Polaris' warning that the news could be very upsetting at the very least.  After Polaris dressed her in one of Baby Smurf's sleeper outfits, Papa Smurf took his newborn girl Smurf to introduce her to the rest of the village, hoping that they would be pleased about it as he was.
As it turned out, though, Papa Smurf was greeted with about a hundred angry faces -- most of them belonging to all his little adult Smurfs, including Empath.  They didn't say anything, just stared at him and his child in silence with eyes like daggers.  Then Empath approached Papa Smurf, took his red cap off his head, and replaced it with a white hat.  Papa Smurf's feeling of pleasure then turned into fear and surprise.
"What is the meaning of this?" he demanded. "I am your Papa Smurf!"
"Papa Smurf you still may be, but you are no longer the leader of this village, and you and Smurfette no longer deserve to wear this," Empath boldly stated, as he removed his own star-patterned hat and replaced it with Papa Smurf's red hat.  "From now on, this smurf will be the leader."
"You can't do this to me!" Papa Smurf protested, getting angry himself. "I raised you all to be good, productive, and obedient adult Smurfs, and this is how you thank me?"
"No one in this village will listen to you anymore, Papa Smurf," Empath stated.  "You have used your authority to steal a very special Smurf from us, your little Smurfs, and now you've totally disgraced this village by producing a child with her!  You no longer stand for what you used to stand for anymore!  And we will no longer stand by and accept everything you do with Smurfette as being normal!"
"How many times do I have to keep smurfing you...I didn't take Smurfette," Papa Smurf shouted. "She came to me, she smurfed herself to me, and now she is my wife!"
"And now that you've made yourself and Smurfette happy, you can take your new family and leave this village at once!" Empath responded. "And if you don't, we will make you!"
Papa Smurf looked around at all the adult Smurfs he once was proud to call his little Smurfs.  They now acted like the very worst humans that he came to despise.  And what's worse, they were making him, Smurfette, and their child feel like they were among the worst.
"Get out of this village!" Grouchy growled.
Then a few more Smurfs started saying the same thing, until eventually Papa Smurf was surrounded by a group of voices all demanding him to leave.
"It's your choice, Papa Smurf," Empath warned.  "This smurf cannot hold back this crowd forever."
Papa Smurf realized that he had no choice but to think of the safety of Smurfette and his child.  He went inside his house where Polaris was watching over Smurfette, helping her recover.
Polaris looked at Papa Smurf, suddenly understanding.  "This one believes the entire village has turned against you, Papa Smurf," he stated.
Papa Smurf nodded, but said nothing more on that.  "I need you to carry Smurfette while I smurf our child out of here," he ordered. "Quickly!"
"What's going on, Papa Smurf?" Smurfette asked, still feeling weak from having to birth a child.  "Why are they smurfing this to us?"
"They won't listen to reason anymore, Smurfette," Papa Smurf answered, somewhat fearfully.  "We have to leave the village before things smurf out of control!"
Smurfette groaned as Polaris picked her up in his arms and carried her safely out of the village while Papa Smurf carried his newborn child with him.
Most of the Smurfs cheered when they saw the four of them leave, but the Smurflings found themselves appalled by the sight of this happening.  They never thought they would see the day when Empath and the other Smurfs would be this cruel.
"How could you Smurfs do this to Smurfette?" Sassette whined.
"Yeah…you throw her and Papa Smurf out just when she smurfed a baby and all you Smurfs could think of doing is cheering," Snappy added.
"If that's how you Smurfs want it, we might as well go live with Papa Smurf and Smurfette," Nat warned them.
"I don't know what to say," Slouchy commented, "but I'm smurftainly with them."
Even Baby Smurf seemed eager to hop out of Hefty's arms and waddle away with the Smurflings as they packed up their belongings and headed out into the forest with Puppy also following them, whimpering.
Empath didn't know what to think about this sudden change of events.  He only hoped that forcing Smurfette, Papa Smurf, and Polaris out of the village would be enough, but he never planned on the Smurflings choosing to leave as well.
"Well, I'm not sure what to smurf about Baby Smurf leaving us," Brainy said in his usual self-important manner, "but I for one am smurftainly glad the Smurflings are choosing to smurf with Papa Smurf and Smurfette.  I mean, we had smurfed along pretty well without the likes of Snappy always smurfing on my case and Sassette with her million questions and...!"
"We will not banish them from the village, Brainy," Empath barked, interrupting his half-brother and silencing him before he found himself being flung to the village limits. "If the Smurflings choose to come back or stay with Papa Smurf, Smurfette, and Polaris, we will allow them to do so and accept that decision.  Otherwise, we will carry on in the village as we normally do and make sure that Papa Smurf, Smurfette, and Polaris do not set foot here under any circumstances, no matter what!"
"You can count on me to smurf a watchful eye on them, Empath," Tracker said.
"And I won't let Polaris smurf the upper hand on me," Hefty added.
Most of the other Smurfs agreed that they would do their best to keep the Smurf Village as healthy and functioning as they could.  But as Traveler could sense, nobody could really feel happy about being a Smurf anymore.  Empath would be forever sunk into a role that would never replace the growing emptiness he was feeling because Smurfette had chosen Papa Smurf over him.  And his loyal followers would have to bear the burden of the same void in their own lives.

Meanwhile, Papa Smurf, Polaris, and Smurfette rested for a bit after they had gone a good distance away from the village.  "How are you feeling, Smurfette?" Papa Smurf asked, realizing that she had been brought out into the forest right after birthing a child.
"I'm still feeling pain, Papa Smurf," Smurfette groaned.  "Why did they have to smurf us out of the village before I could even recover from childsmurfing?"
"Empath had betrayed my trust in him, Smurfette," Papa Smurf gently answered. "He was responsible for turning all my good little Smurfs against us at a time when we needed their support the most.  Apparently, they were still blinded by their jealousy for us.  But now that we have each other, we will no longer have to worry about those Smurfs.  We can start over and smurf our own family out here in the forest."
"Let this one heal your birthing pains, Smurfette," Polaris offered.  He placed his hand on Smurfette's stomach, and as his minds-eye glowed, his hand glowed as well, and then Smurfette could no longer feel the wrenching hurt.  Smurfette let out a sigh of relief.
Suddenly the newborn baby Smurf started to cry. "She's hungry for milk, Papa Smurf," Smurfette said. "I guess that means I need to start nursing her." She drew her child close to her chest to suckle while Polaris and Papa Smurf gave her some privacy.
"This one is concerned that in our haste to leave the village, we have not secured any items for the baby to use while she is growing," Polaris said privately to Papa Smurf.
"My concern right now is for us to find shelter for the night, Polaris, so that the humans do not accidentally discover us." Papa Smurf stated. "We'll worry about our child's other needs when the time smurfs."
Polaris agreed. "This one will look for a suitable place of residence, Papa Smurf."
"Hey, Pappy, you need some young Smurflings to take care of the little tyke for you?" Sassette's voice called out.
They turned and saw the Smurflings approaching with Puppy, who was carrying Baby Smurf on his back.  Apparently, they had left the village of their own choice and now wanted to live with the four exiled Smurfs.
"My smurfness," Smurfette exclaimed, feeling surprised.
Papa Smurf smiled. "You're more than welcome to smurf along with us, my little Smurflings."
"We smurfed some fresh dideys from Tailor's house before we left, Smurfette," Slouchy said as he showed her a carrying bag, "and we also smurfed some feeding bottles from Greedy's kitchen."
Smurfette didn't know what to say. "Thank you, Slouchy.  At least somebody cared about smurfing care of our new baby!"
"By the way, Papa Smurf, if you're smurfing for someplace where you can smurf your hat, we happen to know the perfect place," Nat announced.
They led Papa Smurf, Smurfette, and Polaris to an abandoned old treestump, which seemed big and spacious yet sturdy enough to withstand the weather.  Papa Smurf and Polaris briefly examined the treestump's interior while Smurfette waited outside, quieting her newborn child long enough for them to find milk for her feeding.
"This may not have all the comforts of home, Smurfette," Papa Smurf said as he finished his examination of the treestump, "but it looks smurfect enough for our future home."
Smurfette looked at her husband with loving eyes. "Anywhere with you will always be home for the three of us, Papa Smurf."
"Don't forget us, Smurfette," Sassette chirped. "We're part of this family now!"
Smurfette laughed as he put her free hand around Sassette.  "I won't forget about you, Sassette...not now and not ever.  You're the only little sister Smurf I'll ever have."

Traveler watched as the treestump they found in the woods became a new home for the exiled newlyweds and the Smurflings.  Polaris Psyche did everything he could to furnish it and protect it the best way he knew how.  Papa Smurf continued his studies of magic and alchemistry while Smurfette kept the house clean, tended to both baby Smurfs, and watched over the Smurflings as they played out in the woods.  On occasion, Polaris would bring the Smurflings and Puppy to visit the Smurf Village, making sure he never stepped foot in there or gave his presence away since the other Smurfs were sure to watch out for him.  The adult Smurfs didn't seem to mind the visits, even though Brainy made sure they never took any of Papa Smurf's books of magic for fear that they might be used by him to retake the village.  But Sassette no longer found herself interested in Empath as a potential lover since he now was responsible for the cruelest thing he could ever do to another Smurf.  And as the Smurflings sadly found out from Tapper, Empath seemed too busy with trying to numb the growing pain of his heartbreak by drowning himself in sarsaparilla ale at the end of each working day.  Tapper honestly wished he could do something to bring Empath out of his misery, but he felt that nothing short of undoing the very thing Papa Smurf and Smurfette had done could make that wish come true.  Admittedly, even Tapper felt heartbroken over what Smurfette did, for the Smurflings saw that the picture of Smurfette that hung on the wall of his tavern was now broken and torn in two.
Still, despite the hardships of the new life they had made for themselves and for the Smurflings, Papa Smurf and Smurfette felt quite content and happy with each other, no longer inhibited by what the other Smurfs had thought about the relationship.  They never stopped showing how much they cared for each other and had found time for themselves to show it in private.
This lasted up until a day a few years later, when Papa Smurf and Smurfette saw Puppy, Polaris, and the Smurlings returning from their visit to the village.  From the look on their young faces, the two of them could see that something terrible must have happened.  "What smurfened in the village?" Smurfette asked.
"Everyone smurfed to have disappeared, Smurfette," Sassette whined. "Empath, Brainy, Hefty, Handy, everyone.  We couldn't find a trace of them."
"Well, actually, there was something in the village we did find," Nat pointed out. "There were some strange animal footprints, probably belonging to some prehismurfic creature that existed years ago.  The other Smurfs must have found one of them out there in the forest and tried to smurf him home."
Traveler's eyes widened upon hearing that. A prehistoric creature? Could this be the same dinosaur that the Smurfs in the alternate timeline of Empath have found? Or could this just be a coincidence?
"Hmmm...I wonder how they could do that," Smurfette mused.
"This one believes to have the answer, Smurfette," Polaris joined in. "This one found out Empath was using something called the Key of Chronos that was given to him by Father Time, since we also paid a visit to his workshop at Nat's request.  When he used this magic key, it created a vortex that transported him, the creature, and all the other Smurfs out of this time period.  There was a bit of magic residue left in the village, but otherwise this one cannot detect any trace of him or the other Smurfs.  It is possible that they may be stranded in time and are unable to return."
"Oh, dear," Smurfette gasped, feeling her heart going out to her fellow Smurfs. "Papa Smurf, we should smurf out and try to find a way to bring those other Smurfs home."
"We will not help those Smurfs in any way possible if that's the last thing we ever smurf," Papa Smurf protested.
Smurfette couldn't believe she was hearing Papa Smurf talk like this.  "What's the matter with you, Papa Smurf?" she asked. "How could you be so unsmurfy as to just let those Smurfs stay stranded in time like that?  Don't they mean anything to you?  Especially Empath, your only son?"
"Empath betrayed me, Smurfette," he snapped. "He was jealous because he couldn't accept the fact that you loved me more than any other Smurf, and he used that jealousy to smurf all my former little Smurfs behind him and smurfed us out of the village.  He was no better than Gargamel, and now he finally got what he and all those traitors desmurfed all along."
"Well, maybe Empath was right, Papa Smurf," Sassette barked. "You didn't really love Smurfette…you smurfed her away from every other Smurf, especially Empath, the one Smurf who truly loves her!  Even Tapper can smurf that!"
Papa Smurf felt angered by that comment.  He didn't even think of what to say or do.  He just slapped Sassette hard in the face.
Every Smurf was in shock as they saw Papa Smurf suddenly strike Sassette.  Even Polaris, who normally had an emotionally-controlled reaction, felt his jaw suddenly drop.
Smurfette handed the baby to Nat while she rushed to Sassette's side to comfort her.  She then glared at Papa Smurf.  "How could you smurf this to her?" she demanded.
"It was an accident, Smurfette," Papa Smurf said, just realizing how violent his reaction to Sassette's comment was.  "I didn't mean to smurf her like that!"
"You'd let Empath and the other Smurfs stay stranded in the past, and then you'd call this an accident?" Smurfette snarled, not believing her husband. "What happened to the Papa Smurf I fell in love with…the Papa Smurf that smurfed the goodness in me and changed me into a real Smurf?  The Papa Smurf that forgave Empath for breaking a promise about not smurfing a life because he had to survive?" She felt herself breaking into tears. "I can't believe I smurfed my heart to somebody you used to be and somebody that you're just not anymore."
"Please, Smurfette, I beg of you to believe me," Papa Smurf pleaded, finding himself feeling closed off from his wife now.  He then turned to Polaris.  "You must still believe in your heart that what I smurfed to Sassette was an honest mistake, do you?"
Polaris sighed, realizing that whatever he had to say was now going to hurt Papa Smurf more than it was going to hurt himself.
"You had been a very honest and caring Smurf, Papa Smurf," he finally said. "However, this one has observed that you have allowed your amorous feelings for Smurfette to override your better judgement as both a leader and a father for far too long.  This one was foolish enough to have believed that what you were doing was for the greater good of the entire village.  But now this one sees that you have abused your authority to get what you have wanted for so long, and now without the role of leadership you once had, your authority no longer carries with it the same weight of respect.  This one apologizes, but Smurfette is correct, and this one must now stand beside her in her decisions."
"You mean…you two are going to smurf off into the forest and try finding a way to bring those treacherous Smurfs back?" Papa Smurf asked.
"Not just her and Polaris, Papa Smurf!" Snappy hissed. "Us four as well!"
"And wherever we smurf, Puppy smurfs along with us!" Slouchy added.
"So don't expect to smurf any of us back here anytime soon," Smurfette said angrily, "Because when we find those Smurfs, you won't have anything more to smurf with them…or with your daughter!"
Papa Smurf watched helplessly as Smurfette, Polaris, and the Smurflings gathered as much of their things as they could reasonably carry with them.  Then, as soon as they started off on their journey, he saw that Smurfette was carrying his daughter with her.
"NO!" Papa Smurf yelled, feeling his heart being torn out. "Please don't smurf her away from me!"
But as he kept begging and begging for Smurfette to not do what she was doing, she just continued onward, not saying anything back.  Neither Polaris nor the Smurflings said anything back to Papa Smurf as they followed, with Puppy carrying their things along with them.
At last Papa Smurf broke down and cried.  He never thought he would see the day when all his little Smurfs would forever leave him behind.  Most of all, he never thought he would ever see someone he thought once loved him now walk away from him with the one thing his love for her had produced...all because of a simple outburst.
Then he heard another voice crying, but louder.  He turned to see that it was Baby Smurf.  He was now sad because he was also seeing every Smurf leave him behind as well.  And even worse, since Baby was the only Smurf that could open the magic locket on Puppy's collar, he would no longer have Puppy's presence beside him.
Papa Smurf sighed, realizing that his wounded pride would have to wait to be healed.  He went over and picked up Baby Smurf, to try soothing him.  "It's okay, Baby Smurf.  At least they left you for me to smurf care of.  I know you won't ever leave me like all the other Smurfs now, would you?" he said in as gentle a voice as he could.
But Baby Smurf still kept crying.  It was too much for him to bear.