Chapter 1

Empath's personal journal, February 21.
With springtime still weeks away and the Smurf Village still covered in snow, this smurf's fellow Smurfs are starting to feel what Papa Smurf calls "cabin fever." There is almost nothing to do in the village except to shovel our walks, eat our meals, and just try to keep ourselves active and social. It is a very depressing time of year for most of the Smurfs, who basically live for activity and, finding not much to do, they end up becoming restless.
As for this smurf, this time of year has never been a problem, for in Psychelia, we are constantly kept busy with various duties and lessons. Though this smurf is no longer among my fellow Psyches, this smurf can still manage to keep this smurf so busy that the endless days of snow and cold do not seem to be a big problem. But it doesn't stop this smurf from feeling concerned about my fellow Smurfs, for their collective mood is slowly growing from bad to worse.
Meanwhile, Papa Smurf has been busy doing something with Handy and Miner in the Smurf meeting house. This smurf could only wonder what they are doing, for Papa Smurf seemed to put some sort of mind-blocking spell on himself, Handy, and Miner so this smurf couldn't read their minds. However, this smurf has been seeing them transporting long glowing crystals to the Smurf meeting house. Whatever it is they are doing, they have peaked this smurf's interest in it as well as those of this smurf's fellow Smurfs. This smurf could only hope this secret project would be revealed soon.

It was another cold winter day in the village, as just about every Smurf gathered in line outside the main dining house for their breakfast. Most of them were shivering, trying to keep warm under thick-layered jackets, gloves, scarves, and earmuffs. Even though a Smurf's body is capable of adjusting to various temperature changes, this particular day was too cold for any Smurf to wear anything less. Most of them were also trying to make conversation to keep their minds off the long wait in line, the cold numbing temperatures, and the never-ending boredom.
Empath was among those waiting in line for breakfast, but instead of wearing thick layers of clothing, he had on a thin black bodysuit -- the very same one he wore as a Psyche being trained in Psychelia. Most of the Smurfs just looked at him like he was crazy for wearing such thin layers on a cold day like today. Empath didn't mind all the stares until he found himself standing next to Smurfette.
"Empath, how come you never feel cold smurfing those clothes on?" Smurfette asked, feeling her teeth chattering away.
"This suit has been designed by the Psyche Master himself," Empath explained. "It's specially designed to fit snugly on a person's body so that there's no need for putting holes in the back for tails and drawstrings to keep them up. Also, they're capable of repairing themselves if they ever got damaged."
"That's impossible, Empath," Smurfette retorted. "Clothes can't fix themselves!"
"This suit can, Smurfette," Empath insisted. To show her what that meant, Empath ripped the bodysuit right down the front, exposing his upper torso.
"Oh, boy...Empath's flashing in front of Smurfette," Jokey quipped, as he saw Empath showing what his bodysuit could do.
"Empath, couldn't you find a better place to smurf me this?!?" Smurfette fussed, feeling a little embarrassed.
But as Smurfette watched, the rip in Empath's bodysuit started to mend itself, as if it were alive somehow. Soon she couldn't see any evidence of a rip.
"That's amazing," Smurfette gasped, not believing what she saw.
Empath smiled. "The suit is organic in nature. It keeps this smurf warm in winter and cool in the summer, though this smurf couldn't think of wearing anything like this here on a hot summer day!"
"Oooh...that's just what we need right now!" Smurfette said as she shivered. "A day on the beach in the middle of summer, with a warm sun, a cool breeze, and lots of ocean waves to smurf around in. And me in my latest smurfing suit."
"You've been working on designing a bathing suit all this time, Smurfette?" Empath asked.
"I know it's kind of silly, Empath," Smurfette answered, "but with nothing else to do in the village other than smurfing out at Tapper's tavern, I had to smurf up with something, even if it's something that I couldn't wear for the next three months."
"This smurf will find the waiting for you to publicly display your new bathing suit to be worthwhile, Smurfette," Empath said with a smile. "In the meantime, this smurf is wondering if you would like to join this smurf and the Smurflings to do skiing tomorrow."
Smurfette sighed. "I would like to...but only if you can smurf me one of those suits sometime soon. I'm barely smurfing warm wearing what I have here!"
Empath nodded. "This smurf will begin designing one for you as soon as possible!"

Soon, just about every Smurf except for Papa Smurf, Handy, and Miner were seated inside the big dining house, eating their breakfast. Empath and Smurfette noticed that there wasn't much talking going on between any of the other Smurfs.
"From what you smurfed me about Psychelia, Empath, it looks like the Smurf Village is smurfing into another version of it," Smurfette commented.
"This smurf can sense that feeling among this community, Smurfette," Empath replied. "Unfortunately, unlike the Psyches, the Smurfs don't tolerate a lack of stimulating activity very well for very long. It is this smurf's understanding that such deprivation would eventually make the Smurfs lose their grip on reality and do very bad things to themselves and possibly each other."
"You're not a Psyche, and yet you don't seem to be smurfing off the deep end, Empath!" Smurfette noted.
"This smurf may be well trained to adapt to such conditions, Smurfette, but this smurf would still need the company of other Smurfs to keep this smurf mentally stable," Empath told her. "Right now, this smurf is still wondering what this secret project is that Papa Smurf, Handy, and Miner are working on in the meeting house!"
"You're not the only Smurf who's wondering about that, Empath!" Brainy fussed as he joined Empath and Smurfette. "I can't believe that Papa Smurf wouldn't even trust me, Brainy, his faithful assistant, to smurf me in on his little secret!"
"Probably because you wouldn't smurf it secret for very long!" Smurfette answered.
"Oh, and you don't go blabbing to other Smurfs about me behind my smurf, do you, Smurfette?" Brainy whined.
"Why should I have to, Brainy?" Smurfette snarled. "You pretty much smurf a good job making a fool of yoursmurf without any Smurf's help!"
"Please, Brainy and Smurfette," Empath intervened, noting the tension level between them getting ready to break. "You must learn to control your emotions before either you say or do anything truly regrettable."
"Well, how come you can't smurf Papa Smurf's mind to find out what he, Miner, and Handy are smurfing with those crystals they smurfed into the village?" Brainy asked Empath.
"This smurf can't sense anything from Papa Smurf, Miner, and Handy most likely because Papa Smurf had cast a spell on himself and them to prevent this smurf from reading their thoughts, Brainy," Empath answered calmly. "It is not because Papa Smurf doesn't trust this smurf. Rather, it would be because he would want to surprise this smurf. At this point, this smurf can only speculate as to what they are actually assembling with the crystals."
"Maybe it's a new kind of energy source Miner and Handy found," Smurfette guessed. "Something that's much cleaner than those dirty rocks they smurfed up a year ago."
"Crystals as an energy source?" Brainy scoffed. "Not on your life, Smurfette!"
"Or maybe it's a new way to smurf crops in the middle of winter," another voice joined in. The three of them saw Farmer pull up a seat right beside them. Though he seemed to tolerate the cold weather better than any Smurf besides Empath, they still could see that look of despair in Farmer's eyes because he had nothing to do in the winter.
"Still awaiting the day you can start planting the new year's crops, Farmer?" Empath asked, understanding how he felt.
Farmer sighed. "That do be what I'm waiting for, Empath. Though we would be well supplied until the first day of spring, the daytime hours just do not smurf to pass quickly enough in wintertime. I already know what vegetables and fruits I'm going to plant in which areas, but I can't smurf anything when the ground's still frozen with snow."
"Maybe you two can join me and Empath on a skiing trip down the mountains to smurf your mind off waiting for spring," Smurfette kindly suggested.
"Oh, please, Smurfette," Brainy groaned. "I'm smurfing to escape the dullness of winter, not go outside and freeze my smurfs off and catch a cold. I can't believe how many books I've smurfed through this winter, and most of them I already read before."
"Somehow, I smurf what Brainy's be feeling right now, Smurfette," Farmer seconded. "There's nothing that a real change in scenery couldn't smurf to lift up my spirits. I envy the fact that most of the birds in the forest have smurfed to warmer climates around this time of year, while I have to smurf through winter after winter in the same place, unable to travel elsewhere."
Just then, Tracker and the Smurflings had come in from the cold to have their breakfast. Empath and Smurfette noticed that the Smurflings seem to be constantly energetic, always able to do things even in the dead of winter while most of the adult Smurfs have to find enough strength just to get out of bed. Like Empath, Tracker was one of the few Smurfs who could keep himself active all winter -- but Tracker's purpose for doing so is basically because he's the village weather reporter. He has to keep tabs on climate conditions to see what the next day is going to be like, not only from what Handy's weather-tracking devices can tell him, but also from his heightened sense of sight, smell, and sound.
The Smurflings were calming themselves down as they brought their breakfast over to their table. Empath and Smurfette decided to pay them a visit.
"Hey, Empath, you still up to take us smurfing down the mountain tomorrow?" Snappy asked as Empath approached their table with Smurfette.
"This smurf wouldn't go back on that promise unless there was a good enough reason to, Snappy," Empath replied. "This smurf can only hope the weather outside will be good enough for skiing and snowboarding."
"I promise you that it will, Empath," Tracker said. "Though it will be another cold day, at least we won't smurf more snow for at least a week or so. You just won't catch me smurfing down on one of those boards like the Smurflings!"
"So how come you won't try out a snowboard?" Nat asked Empath.
"Yeah," Slouchy added. "We smurfed up one just for you!"
"This smurf does appreciate the effort you and the other Smurflings have put into creating a snowboard for this smurf, Slouchy," Empath answered. "It's just that this smurf thinks those boards are just a bit too dangerous for this smurf to try out."
"Dangerous?" Snappy said in disbelief. "The only Smurf who can fly high into the sky without falling thinks snowboards are dangerous? We've been smurfing them for years, and I don't think they're dangerous at all!"
"It's no different than smurfing a skateboard or a surfboard, Empath," Sassette joined in. "You just have to practice with it a bit to smurf the hang of it."
"This smurf does not intend to make any offense by refusing your invitation of trying it out, Smurflings," Empath said. "But though this smurf has lived most of my life as a Psyche, this smurf has experienced moments of reckless and sometimes dangerous activities during this smurf's visits to the Smurf Village in this smurf's younger years. Some of those activities were even regrettable for this smurf to engage."
"Well, whatever smurfs your boat, Empath," Slouchy remarked, "just as long as you know that you're only a young Smurf once in your life."
"By the way, Smurflings, how's Puppy doing?" Smurfette asked.
"Boy, Smurfette, Puppy has never been more active than he is right now," Snappy answered. "He smurfs much faster than we do when we smurf him out into the forest for his morning walk!"
"Make that his morning run, Snap," Slouchy corrected. "Or our morning run, since he smurfs us enough of a workout trying to smurf up to him!"
"Say, how about smurfing along with us tomorrow when we go snowboarding, Smurfette?" Sassette asked.
"Yeah, we even have a board for you to use," Nat added.
"Gee, Smurflings, I would very much like to smurf you up on that," Smurfette replied, flattered by the attention the boy Smurflings were giving her, "but I had already promised Empath that I would go skiing with him!"
"Oooh…Empath and Smurfette!" Snappy hooted, sounding very sly.
"Sounds like the slopes are going to get pretty warmed up!" Slouchy commented.
"Seems all so very natural to me," Nat said in agreement.
"Oh, come on, you Smurfs," Sassette whined. "They are just good friends. Don't start smurfing this whole thing about Empath and Smurfette being two lovebirds."
"Well, who says we ever thought of them as lovebirds, anyway?" Snappy asked. Then he along with Nat and Slouchy shared a vicious childlike snicker about what they really thought of those two.
"Don't let those boys smurf to you, Sassette," Smurfette said. "I'd be happy to join you on the slopes tomorrow, if only to smurf the looks on Nat, Snappy, and Slouchy when you beat them in a race downhill."
"Hey, nobody beats me at snowboarding," Snappy pouted. "Especially not some girl Smurf who'd rather wear a big pink ribbon than a Smurf hat!"
"Oh, yeah, Snappy?" Sassette responded. "Then prove it…first thing tomorrow!"
"You're on," Snappy accepted.
Empath looked at Smurfette with a raised eyebrow. "This smurf can see you've set the Smurflings up like this on purpose just to get me started on making that snowsuit for you, Smurfette!"
Smurfette smiled back with a sneaky looking smile that told Empath she knew some things that she wasn't going to tell him.
"Looks like you'd better start smurfing on it now, Empath," she replied, looking at him from behind, "or else I might think of borrowing yours for the time smurfing."
Empath sighed. He had a feeling Smurfette was trying to embarrass him in a playful manner -- what the other Smurfs would call "smurfing a rise out of him". Not that he would want to let Smurfette know how successful she was at doing it.