Part 4

Back in the Smurf Village in Handy's workshop, Empath, Smurfette, and Handy were watching Baby Smurf dancing to the annoying repetitive images of badgers doing calisthenics to an equally annoying repetitive dance beat that kept repeating the words badger, badger, badger. Ever since the Smurfs had discovered the "mirror net", Jokey came across this gem of a prank from a mischievous wizard and had the window-vision constantly run this animation all day with no stop, which drove most of the Smurfs crazy until Papa Smurf forced Jokey to shut it down. The only Smurf who didn't find it annoying, though, was Baby Smurf, who was frankly disappointed that he could never see the animation again. Fortunately, with Handy's new version of the crystal disk player that could now record such images and play them on the window-vision for future replays, Baby could watch the dancing badgers to his heart's content.
Handy chuckled, seeing that Baby Smurf is now endlessly entertained by Jokey's prank animation. He then turned to Empath, "I see that Reporter's been smurfing the live coverage of that weird colored sky that's smurfing over our village for his news program."
"It's been on the window-vision for two hours straight, Handy," Empath said. "Polaris thinks it has something to do with Grandpa Smurf's departure from the village some time ago. Papa Smurf went out into the forest to check up on Grandpa Smurf to see if he's all right. This smurf hasn't sensed anything from him yet that would suggest anything has happened to Grandpa."
"Knowing Tapper, I'd bet he will be smurfing that this colored sky is a sign that the end of the world is smurfing soon...not that I would personally believe it, but you know how he smurfs at times," Handy commented.
"Could we please not smurf about signs of the end of the world, Handy?" Smurfette asked. "I'm already uncomfortable enough smurfing it from Empath. I really don't want to smurf it from anyone else, even from Tapper."
"Well, Smurfette, if it truly is a sign of the end, then this smurf couldn't think of a better place to be than being right here by your side," Empath said consolingly.
"That's sweet of you to smurf that, Empath," Smurfette said, smiling as she looked at Empath.
Suddenly Empath saw something in his minds-eye. "Great Ancestors...Papa Smurf is in trouble!"
"What do you smurf, Empath?" Smurfette asked.
Empath spoke as he watched things play out in the theater of his mind. "Papa Smurf...he's in some sort of castle with four other Smurfs...they're looking for Grandpa Smurf...but they're now trapped in this place, and they're running for their lives from the castle's furnishings." Then suddenly everything went blank. "That's it...this smurf cannot see anything else."
"That's terrible, Empath," Handy said. "What are you going to smurf about it?"
"This smurf must follow where the source of the vision came from, Handy," Empath answered. He then turned to Smurfette. "This may be a very dangerous situation that this smurf may not come back from, Smurfette, so in case that happens...well, this smurf..."
"Please don't smurf like that, Empath," Smurfette interrupted. "I undersmurf what you are trying to smurf me." She came close to Empath and planted a kiss on his cheek. "Just smurf your best to rescue Papa Smurf and the other Smurfs...I have faith that you will smurf this by yoursmurf and smurf back home alive."
"Smurfette, you have always inspired this smurf to come out on top whenever there's a danger that this smurf must confront," Empath said as he looked into Smurfette's eyes, seeing the love she has for him. "Make sure Polaris knows that he's in charge of the village until this smurf returns." Smurfette nodded as she watched Empath leave Handy's workshop and take to the sky.
This smurf only hopes that that faith will be enough, Empath thought to himself.

Duncan was still watching the sky when he noticed that Empath was now taking off to fly to wherever he was headed. He was soon joined by Tuffy. "You sure don't see something like this smurfing in the sky every day now, do you, Dunk?" Tuffy asked.
Duncan seemed so preoccupied that he didn't notice Tuffy was there until he heard his friend speak. "What? Oh, certainly, laddie...I wouldn't miss a thing like this for the world."
"Are you all right, Dunk?" Tuffy asked. "You're acting like you've got something on your mind."
"Oh, I'm just wondering what's smurfing on with Grandpa Smurf that made him decide to leave the village when this thing smurfed in the sky, Tuffy," Duncan said.
"You don't think that he's going to drag Papa Smurf and Hefty into whatever it is that's smurfing that incredible-looking sky, do you?" Tuffy asked.
"Maybe not on purpose, Tuffy, but you know how tight-smurfed Grandpa can get when there are things that bother him," Duncan said. "I just hope that he finds whatever it is he's smurfing for and smurfs back home safely."
"But what if he gets smurfed by that thing instead?" Tuffy asked.
"There's no way we're going to let that happen to him, even if he's capable of smurfing himself out of any trouble he can smurf himself into," Duncan said.
"I just wish that we were there with Papa Smurf alongside Hefty, Dunk," Tuffy said.
"Hefty's a strong boy who can smurf after any Smurf who's with him, Tuffy," Duncan said. "I'm sure that if needs be, he can help get Grandpa Smurf out of whatever may smurf him out wherever he is right now."
At that moment, Gelato came by with his ice cream cart. "Anyone for a special rainbow sherbet cone on a day like today?" he announced. "You might as well enjoy one while they last."
"I can't see how you can think of smurfing ice cream at a time when this thing's happening over the forest, laddie," Duncan said to Gelato as he took a cone.
"Hey, business is business, and besides this flavor doesn't get smurfed very often, so what better time to smurf it than while we're smurfing this special colored sky?" Gelato answered, also giving Tuffy a cone.
"It's no problem with me, Gelato," Tuffy said as he started to lick his cone.
"Tapper thinks this might be the end of the world or something, which means that this could be the last day of business for me at the Smurfwalk Cafe," Gelato said.
"So you're believing what Tapper keeps smurfing from his holy book?" Tuffy asked.
"If you ask me, the poor boy's letting such things smurf to his head, and I don't like to be there to see what would happen if he's proven wrong," Duncan said as he licked his cone.
"I'm not saying that this would smurf a believer in his Almighty out of me, but I sure wouldn't want to be the one to find out that he's been right all along," Gelato said. "Anyway, I hope that you'll enjoy your ice cream before the end smurfs for us, and that it's been nice smurfing with you."
After Gelato moved on with his cart, Tuffy asked Duncan, "You really think that this may not be one of those signs that Tapper keeps smurfing about, that the Almighty's Son is coming?"
"I'm thinking that if anyone has the answers behind this kind of sky, it's Grandpa Smurf, laddie," Duncan said.

Inside the castle, Grandpa Smurf followed Nanny as she led him through the large banqueting hall. It felt particularly different for him to let Nanny take the lead in any adventure, since he was so used to doing it the other way around, when they used to be Smurfling Pan and Wendy Smurfling on Smurfling Island. But this place was definitely not Smurfling Island.
"Okay, Nanny, where exactly are we smurfing to free your friends?" Grandpa Smurf asked.
"Shhhh...keep it down, Grampers!" Nanny spoke in a soft voice that suggested that Grandpa should do the same. "I don't know how, but this castle is so aware of who's smurfing in it, that even its walls have ears. That's why we have to be careful of where we smurf around here."
"Well, those pictures on the walls smurftainly seem to act as if they have ears," Grandpa Smurf said, looking at them and barely noticing that the portraits within the pictures seem to move.
The two of them walked past a bearskin rug on the floor, which Grandpa Smurf seemed to sense that it felt alive somehow. Then as they noticed a large shadow looming right over them from behind, they turned and saw that the bearskin rug was alive.
"Smurfs alive, that's just what we need right now...a grizzly bearskin rug smurfing to life," Grandpa Smurf commented.
"No time for any wisecracks, old timer! Let's get a smurf on it!" Nanny shouted as she started to run away.
"I'm right behind you, Nanny," Grandpa seconded as he joined her. However, their way of escape has been blocked by a door. "Well, this isn't how I expected to smurf out of this world...being smurfed by a giant bearskin rug! Any last regrets?"
"Just a few, but I'm ready," Nanny replied as they both watched the bearskin rug come closer to devour them.
Soon the door opened, knocking the bearskin rug in the head and putting it in such a daze that it eventually fell back on the floor.
"Well, what do you know...the castle just smurfed care of our problem!" Grandpa Smurf said as he and Nanny now moved through the open door. "Guess I should believe more in Tapper's miracles, because we're going to need them to smurf out of here alive."
"I'd like to meet this Tapper Smurf for mysmurf if and when we smurf out of this place," Nanny said, again taking the lead.

The two of them went past the giant suit of armor that was now carrying Papa Smurf and the other four Smurfs into the banqueting hall. "No sooner do we smurf on our way do we get smurfed up by this walking smurf of armor, Papa Smurf," Brainy commented.
"At least it's smurfing us somewhere, Brainy, where we may hope to find Grandpa..." Papa Smurf started to answer, but then the suit of armor tripped over the bearskin rug by the door, causing the five Smurfs to fly out of its hands and land in the serving trays of food on the large banqueting table.
"Pappy Smurf, are you all right?" Sassette asked as they climbed their way out of the serving trays.
"I'm all right for now, my little Sassette...don't worry about me," Papa Smurf answered.
"Well, that's the last time I would want to be smurfed to the bansmurfing table by a walking piece of metal, Papa Smurf," Brainy said as he, Hefty, and Wild gathered together with Papa Smurf and Sassette. "Wouldn't it have been better if Empath had smurfed along with us in this castle, since he's obviously powerful enough to deal with what we're smurfing?"
"I don't think Empath would be much help with us in here, Brainy," Papa Smurf replied. "There's something about this castle that's smurfing it to have a personality all of its own. If the source of its personality is magical in nature, it would smurfiously affect Empath's powers as well."
"Look, Papa Smurf!" Wild Smurf shouted, looking behind himself. The other four looked and saw that the utensils on the table had now come to life and were now coming straight toward them.
"Run for it, my little Smurfs!" Papa Smurf said as he headed for the end of the table on the other side of the room.
The other four Smurfs joined him. "Now we really should have smurfed Empath along with us!" Brainy complained.
"Enough about Empath, Brainy! Let's just smurf out of here!" Hefty said.
"No matter where you run, my little friends, you'll never be able to escape the castle," the voice of the castle spoke as the five Smurfs reached the end of the table and jumped down onto a chair and then onto the floor. One of the suits of armor in the room came to life and now chased after them.
They reached the large doors at the other end of the room when they came to a stop and saw another suit of armor blocking their way of escape.
"Oh no...we're doomed!" Brainy said as he turned to see the suit of armor behind them coming closer.
The five Smurfs waited and watched as the two suits of armor got closer, then they both collided with each other and fell on the floor as the five Smurfs moved out of their way.
Hefty let out a sigh of relief as they now ran through the open large doors. "So long, you smurfering junkheaps," he said. "Have a nice trip and smurf you in the fall, as Jokey would say."
"Hold it, my little Smurfs," Papa Smurf said as he came to a stop. The other four Smurfs did the same. They were now looking down a long hallway that seemed to go on forever, with lots of doors that went to who-knows-where.
"Which way do we go now, Pappy Smurf?" Sassette asked.
"I don't know, Sassette," Papa Smurf answered. "It smurfs like our best chance of finding Grandpa Smurf now is to smurf up into two smaller groups. Hefty and Brainy, you will smurf as one group. I will smurf Wild and Sassette along with me as the second group, since I don't want either of them to smurf off by themsmurfs. Now whatever you do, be careful not to get smurfed by any of the traps this castle may smurf on you! We will rendezsmurf under the big smurfelier when either of us finds Grandpa!"
"Good luck, Papa Smurf," Hefty said before they split up and went their separate ways through the doors in the hallway.

A short while later, Nanny was leading Grandpa Smurf through some doors in the long hallway while Papa Smurf and the other four Smurfs were being chased around through the doors by the castle's furnishings.
"You sure you're smurfing me in the right direction in finding your friends, Nanny?" Grandpa Smurf asked as they crossed through the hallway.
"Trust me, Grampers," Nanny answered, "I've had 500 years to smurfy this castle's layout, so I'm sure I'm smurfing you in the right direction. Trust your Nanny Smurf on this!"
"Just lead the way, Nanny...Smurf..." Grandpa was distracted by the noise of something moving in the hallway. For a moment he thought he was seeing Papa Smurf, Wild, and Sassette being chased around by a chaise lounge. They disappeared through a door before he got a good chance to see them, and then he quickly dismissed the whole thing as just "smurfing up things".
"Hey, Grampers, what's smurfing on with you?" Nanny asked as she peered through the door she just entered to see what's holding him up.
"Oh, uh, sorry, Nanny," Grandpa Smurf said. "I just got a little distracted by something in this castle!"
"And you thought that Smurfling Island was full of surprises now, didn't you," Nanny said, chuckling. "Anyway, I was right in that this is the way to where my friends are being smurfed captive. So let's get a smurf on it!"
"Whatever you smurf, Nanny, I'm right behind you," Grandpa Smurf said as he followed her through the door.

The other five Smurfs met under the chandelier in the hallway, but they were no closer to finding Grandpa Smurf than they were before they decided to split up. Even worse, the doors in the hallway had all slammed shut, sealing them in.
Hefty panted as he was catching his breath. "I smurf you, Papa Smurf, this castle is just beyond crazy! We get smurfed around by a bunch of chairs and ottomans and smurf knows what else! I can only hope Grandpa smurfed what he was after in this place and smurfed out of here."
"I hope you have enjoyed the grand tour of the place, because I have enjoyed your company, seeing how fast your little feet can run," the castle spoke again, causing the five Smurfs to quake with fear. "But all this running around must be tiring you allow me to give you a lift!"
Somehow the chandelier had sprouted tentacles with hands that grabbed the five Smurfs and lifted them up into the air. They struggled uselessly but were unable to break free of the chandelier's strong grip.
"Here's the perfect place for you to rest...before you become my slaves forever," the castle chortled maliciously. A hatch opened in the floor below and the five Smurfs were dropped into it.