Part 7

Traveler was glad to see that the alternate version of Empath would be recognized as a hero by Papa Smurf and his fellow Smurfs, but was surprised to see that he would return to the company of the squirrels he was raised with in the forest. His great-grandfather told him about how he would meet the Smurf that would become Wild Smurf in the timeline he was familiar with, and that he also preferred living out in the forest in the squirrels instead of living with the Smurfs in the village, amusingly saying that they can take the Smurf out of the wild, but they can never take the wild out of the Smurf. His great-grandfather had also grown to envy the freedom that the Wild Smurf was already accustomed to, even if he was what the Psyche Master would deem to be the epitome of everything that was wrong with the Smurfs.
He traveled further into the timeline to see that Wild would make occasional visits to the Smurf Village, making friends with the Smurfs who would be jealous of all the attention he was getting just because he could do things that they weren't able to do, including Hefty of all Smurfs. However, because in that timeline Gargamel wasn't driven out of the forest along with Azrael and Scruple, the evil wizard also continued to remain a dangerous threat to the Smurfs that they had to deal with time and again. Fortunately, Wild proved to be very helpful in those situations where his unique skills as a forest roamer came in handy to keep Gargamel from ever having his way with the Smurfs.
Wild also spent time with Smurfette, keeping her company while she continued to teach him more and more about how the Smurfs live when Brainy decided she was a much better teacher than he was. Of course, all that time Smurfette was spending with Wild was making the other Smurfs jealous and thinking that she was eventually going to fall in love with him, marry, and leave the village in order to live with him. To everybody's surprise, including Traveler's, Smurfette said that she just loved Wild as much as any other Smurf, and that she had no plans of marrying anyone just yet, which meant that there would not likely be a future where Wild and Smurfette would be fated to become lovers.
He stopped at a point a few years later when Snappy had brought home a baby dinosaur that was found in the mountains and had been unfrozen when the Smurfs went there to find a rare herb that Papa Smurf needed for one of his experiments. Snappy named the dinosaur Crinkles and wanted to keep him as a pet, despite all the damage that the dinosaur created when the Smurfling just wanted to play ball with him. Unfortunately, as the Smurfs found out, Crinkles was unable to eat the vegetation of the present time, which meant that he had to be brought back to the prehistoric era that he came from. Papa Smurf went to see Father Time to find out if there was a way that they could bring the baby dinosaur back home, and the guardian of time had given him a special key with sixteen glowing crystals embedded in it.
"This is my special Key Of Chronos, Papa Smurf, which is used to open up portals between one time period and another," Father Time explained. "Be careful with this, because without the crystals you will not be able to use the key, and without the key you can still use the crystals but they will not bring you back home to the time period that you came from."
Papa Smurf took the key back home and told his little Smurfs that he, Hefty, and Duncan will be traveling back in time to bring the dinosaur back home to the prehistoric era, and that he would leave Brainy in charge of the village until they return. However, as Papa Smurf had opened up the portal that would lead to the prehistoric era of the Smurf Village, it started sucking up the other Smurfs into the portal until all the Smurfs, including Wild, found themselves transported through time to the period where dinosaurs once lived. Of course, when they did arrive at that time period, the Smurfs were all surprised to find themselves wearing animal skins for clothing instead of their normal Smurf clothes. Papa Smurf told them what Father Time had told him, that when one travels through time using the Key Of Chronos, they would end up wearing "the latest fashions of that time".
But as Papa Smurf, Hefty, and Snappy went off to find Crinkles' parents and reunite the baby dinosaur with them, Clumsy went off to find some rocks to start a fire with and was abducted by a cave dweller by the name of Grog, who was fascinated by the "magic" that the little blue creature had conjured up and wanted to use him to be recognized as the most important person in his tribe. Brainy, Smurfette, and Duncan went to rescue Clumsy, only to find themselves being captured by Grog as well. However, soon after Crinkles was reunited with his parents, he helped Papa Smurf, Hefty, and Snappy rescue the Smurfs from Grog's grasp and returned them to the group of Smurfs waiting for the Key Of Chronos to be used again so that they could return home.
Unfortunately, as Traveler watched, the Smurfs were suddenly attacked by a giant dinosaur, causing Papa Smurf to accidentally throw the Key Of Chronos into a small crater full of lava, which melted the key but caused the crystals to be ejected from it before it was fully destroyed. By the time the Smurfs had warded off the giant dinosaur, Papa Smurf was left with nothing but the time crystals, and there was nobody else who was intelligent enough to help Papa Smurf figure out how to assemble them into a formation that could open a portal that would possibly bring them back home.
Meanwhile, Traveler noticed that Empath's friend Tapper was a bit more depressed than his fellow Smurfs over the entire situation. "Laddie, what's wrong with you?" Duncan asked, sounding concerned as he noticed this mood for himself. "You look as if the Almighty has abandoned you for smurfing something wrong."
"I just don't understand it, Duncan," Tapper said. "I have been raised on the belief that the Almighty had created the earth as a paradise in six days, and man in His glorious image, and yet I see no evidence of it in the time period we're in. How could this be? Was everything He ever smurfed in His holy book a fairy tale that He wanted people to believe in?"
"I'm afraid that I can't answer that question for you, Tapper, since I don't know much about the Almighty except from what you smurf me," Duncan said. "Maybe it's something you need to pray to Him about, if that's going to smurf you any peace of mind with yourself."
After a while of the Smurfs dealing with Greedy being abducted by a prehistoric bird who had mistaken him for her baby, and Brainy trying to get the baby off his hands and back to its true mother, Papa Smurf had finally opened the portal through an arrangment of the time crystals, which would at least get them out of the prehistoric past. Every Smurf seemed eager as they jumped into the portal and allowed themselves to be taken to wherever and whenever the portal would lead them.
And so through the various time periods and geographical locations, Traveler watched the Smurfs travel in their quest to get back home: ancient Egypt, the Emerald Isle, feudal Japan, the Polynesian islands, ancient Greece, ancient China, Babylon, Scotland, the South American Amazon jungle, Arabia, Transylvania, ancient Rome, Mughal India, Australia, Aztec Mexico, Antarctica, Spain, the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, Russia, Camelot in England, Switzerland, Africa, the Netherlands. In each of the time periods, Wild proved to be heroic but still useless in helping Papa Smurf arrange the crystals in the proper order. In one time period, Wild was captured and used for a cuckoo clock, which forced the other Smurfs to come to his rescue.
And then finally, after more traveling through the timeline, Traveler saw...nothing. A big white empty nothing. "What is this?" he asked himself. "Where did this one finally end up?"
"You're at the end of time in this alternate timeline," another voice broke in.
Traveler saw that Alternis appeared where he was right now, in the middle of his timeline traveling. "How could the timeline just abruptly end like this?" Traveler asked. "What happened to the Smurfs from this point on?"
"I wish I could tell you, but this is one of the mysteries of the infinite timelines that branch out from one person's own life, Traveler," Alternis replied. "Sometimes a branch can extend itself almost indefinitely, and sometimes a branch extends only for a certain distance before it ends. It seems that the Smurfs were never meant to make it home from their time-traveling, however much you want to see its conclusion."
Traveler sighed. "Then this timeline journey is all for nothing, because Empath is never meant to travel down this path as the Smurf he might have become in it."
"Don't think that your first timeline journey is a failure because it has terminated into nothingness, Traveler," Alternis said, putting a hand on Traveler's shoulder. "You're only beginning to realize how complex your journey through a person's timeline really is, that there are things that will happen in those timelines that you will not expect to happen, not just because of what you have chosen, but also because of what fate may choose for those who are living in those timelines."
"But what could cause such an ending like this to happen?" Traveler asked. "There's got to be something we can do."
"This timeline must be allowed to end the way that it has ended, or else you could make things much worse by trying to divert it onto another course," Alternis said. "It is time for you to let it go."
Traveler realized that Alternis was right. He pulled his hand out of Empath's head, and instantly everything in that alternate timeline rushed by in reverse until he and Alternis were both standing in Empath's house at the very moment where Traveler had first touched Empath. Time was still frozen as Traveler and Alternis moved about in Empath's house, talking to each other.
"Empath was not meant to become anything other than what he is, or else this one's history would never exist, that much is certain," Traveler said. "I wish to know what may lie in store for the other Smurfs in the village."
"You may carefully explore the alternate histories of any Smurf you wish, but remember that you still cannot change anything in those alternate timelines, even if they will end in disaster," Alternis said.
"This one thanks you for your assistance, Alternis," Traveler said. "It is time to let Empath continue his life the way it is meant to be lived."
"And so we shall leave this place and let history in this timeline continue," Alternis said, as he and Traveler both left Empath's house while still being outside of time.

Empath sat on his bed, looking like somebody had just stepped on his grave. In a moment of time, he felt as if he had lived an entire lifetime that was different from the one he was living now -- being raised among squirrels, living as the Smurf that would be known as the Wild Smurf, using his skills to help save the village from disaster. It was like he had woken from a dream that was every bit as real as his own actual life.
"Great Ancestors," Empath said to himself. "This smurf can only wonder what it was that this smurf had experienced. Is it anything like the visions of the future that this smurf had seen some time ago? Something tells me that this may be something that this smurf would need to tell Smurfette about."
Then there was a knock on the door. "Empath, it's your friend Tapper. Me and Duncan are waiting to join you for breakfast this morning," the person on the other side of the door called out.
"Hold on, Tapper, this smurf is coming," Empath said as he quickly got dressed and left his house to start the brand new day.
At the breakfast table, Empath decided to ask a question that was on his mind. "Tapper, this smurf was just wondering what your thoughts are about those who think that your Almighty makes men to be wild," he said.
"I think that they do not truly know the heart of the Almighty as they think they do, my fellow Empath," Tapper said. "You see, man was made to smurf the image of the Almighty, and the creatures are to be his servants to smurf dominion over. It is sin that has made man to be wild, and with that all of creation was affected as well."
Duncan snorted as he listened to his friend speaking. "Well, I'm not sure that I would believe that smurf for a second, laddie."
"If sin has made people like Gargamel out to be evil, Duncan, who knows how much it has affected man and everything else that he lives with in nature," Empath said.
"Indeed, for the Almighty has smurfed through His prophet Jeremiah that the heart is deceitful above all things and is desperately wicked," Tapper said. "The only way that man can truly smurf the image of the Almighty is through the blood of His only begotten Son, and even then the world will never smurf at peace until He returns once more to redeem His creation and rule over it as He was fated to smurf."
"Tapper can believe whatever he wants to, Empath, but I truly think it's in the heart of a Smurf to be wild, because out there in the wilderness is where a Smurf's heart belongs," Duncan said.
"I am curious, as to what has smurfed you to ask me that kind of question this morning, my fellow Empath," Tapper said.
Empath wasn't sure how to answer that question, given what had happened to him just after he had woken up. "This smurf just wanted to hear what you had to say on the matter, that's all."