"You are doing the right thing, Your Highness, if you truly value the love of your son more than that of your food," Empath said.
Empath was joined by Greedy and the other three Smurfs who appeared at the entrance of the cave. "Before I leave, Sire, I thought that I would prepare tomorrow's meals," he said before he lifted up the serving tray to reveal three smurfberries, each on a lettuce leaf.
"Three smurfberries?!?" King Glouton exclaimed.
"That's right...and these are your meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner," Greedy said. "Try not to eat them all at once, though...you'll enjoy the taste better."
King Glouton clutched his stomach, as if he couldn't imagine his only meal being just three smurfberries a day. "Ohhhh, my grumbling stomach," he moaned.
"But just think of how much fun we'll have together once we get you back in shape," Prince Leon said with a laugh while flexing his arms.
"Well, it's time for me to start smurfing along...I've got a whole village of mouths to feed," Greedy said as he and his fellow Smurfs started heading for the village.
"Won't they all be happy to smurf you back in the kitchen when you truly belong, laddie," Duncan said, patting Greedy on the back.
"They smurf that the best seasoning in the world is hunger, Duncan," Tapper said. "I think our fellow Smurfs should be plenty seasoned by now to enjoy anything Greedy has to offer them."
"Anyway, we're so glad to smurf you back with us, Greedy," Smurfette said, giving Greedy a kiss on the cheek.
Greedy turned back and waved goodbye to Prince Leon and he and King Glouton also waved them goodbye. He hoped that things in the gnome kingdom will have a much better ending with the prince's father now deciding to take better care of his health.
Empath's personal journal.
With Prince Leon's situation with his father resolved and Greedy back among us, things in the village are now starting to return to normal again. Greedy was given a warm reception not only by his kitchen staff, but also by the entire village, as the next meal he served was so delicious they pretty much left Greedy without anything to have for seconds...which is a very rare thing to happen when it comes to Greedy. This smurf is glad to see that everybody now wants Greedy to do all the cooking from now on, leaving this smurf free to do the duties of the assistant counselor...and also leaving a backlog of appointments that this smurf needs to catch up on as far as private counseling sessions. This smurf couldn't be more happy to know that Greedy truly feels appreciated for all the hard work he has done, even if he does have a good deal of help from his friends in the kitchen.
Empath had one last talk with Greedy's kitchen workers. "This smurf understands that this smurf hasn't treated you the same way as you would expect Greedy to treat you when he was working beside you, and that there were times when this smurf was hard on you. But please understand that this smurf truly cares for you and only wants you to do your best as you would for Greedy."
"Hey, you were the best worker we had in our kitchen next to Greedy," Biscotti said. "You're more than welcome to smurf over for Greedy anytime that you want to."
"What this smurf wants to do is let Greedy have his kitchen back, because this is the place that he feels he is the most useful Smurf in the village," Empath said.
"Of course, Empath Schlumpf," Culinary said. "We don't want to keep you from your own appointed task in the village."
"Can't say that it wasn't fun, smurfing you around like you were the new Smurf in here, though," Gelato said.
"You have one strange definition of 'fun', Gelato," Vino said.
"Come on there, Vino...you enjoyed every single minute of smurfing Empath on his toes to make sure he smurfs everything right around here," Biscotti said.
"And we would do it again with the next Smurf who wants to be the head chef, even if it's Brainy Schlumpf," Culinary said.
"This smurf has no doubts about that, Culinary," Empath said. He then turned to Greedy standing beside him. "Greedy, this smurf apologizes for ever making you believe that this smurf would want to take over your job when it really isn't my job to take in the first place."
"I should apologize for ever doubting you, Empath," Greedy said. "I couldn't have any other Smurf smurfing over my kitchen anytime besides you. As far as I'm concerned, you were the best village chef that we ever had."
"This smurf believes that the title of the best village chef rightfully belongs to you and your crew, Greedy," Empath said, giving Greedy a hug. "From now on, this kitchen is yours."
"Oh, thank you, Empath, for everything," Greedy said. He then turned to his kitchen workers. "You four are the best friends that I ever had smurfing with me in the kitchen. I couldn't ever smurf my best without you."
"And I think that I smurf for the four of us when I say that we couldn't smurf our best without you, Greedy," Biscotti said. "You're truly the master chef."
Empath smiled as Greedy and his kitchen crew gave each other a group hug. He felt as if he had been the instrument of bringing the situation to a peaceful resolution, that these five Smurfs were truly a family within a family.
One night at Tapper's tavern, Empath and Polaris Psyche were sitting together at a table, where Empath was enjoying a crossword puzzle from the daily newspaper.
"This one has sensed that your mental state has returned to normal since the weight of responsibility for assuming Greedy's position as the village chef has been removed from you," Polaris said.
"It certainly feels good to have every Smurf back to doing what they love doing the best, Polaris, and that nobody's hounding this smurf for making the best meal in the world for them every single day," Empath said with a sigh of relief.
"But even though this burden has been lifted from you, this one does sense some part of the job that you are starting to miss," Polaris said.
"This smurf does admit that it was fun trying to please this smurf's fellow Smurfs with a great variety of foods, including some that they have never tried before, Polaris," Empath said. "This smurf only wishes that you would be able to experience them for yourself."
"This one does admit to experiencing a bit of envy of the other Smurfs in this regard, Empath," Polaris said. "However, this one does appreciate that you at least were able to make nutrient paste to the satisfactory quality that would be expected of any Psyche."
"This smurf would never think that there's a fine art in even making nutrient paste, Polaris, but this smurf is pleased to make it in the way that you specifically like it," Empath said.
"Hello, Empath and Polaris," Smurfette pleasantly greeted as she came to their table with a little present.
"This one senses that this interaction with Smurfette will require privacy, and so this one will return to his residence and leave you alone to converse with her," Polaris said, nodding as he got up from the table and left the tavern.
"It's something personal that I have made to thank you for filling in for Greedy," Smurfette said as she sat down at the table next to Empath.
Empath opened up the present and saw what was in it. "It's a specially-made chef's hat...that almost looks like this smurf's normal hat," he said as he took it out of the box and looked at it.
"Read the message that smurfs with the hat, Empath," Smurfette said as she pulled out a little card inside the box.
Empath read the note: To the greatest head chef in the village. Love, Smurfette. He then looked at her quite strangely. "You're not hoping that this smurf would take over again as the village chef, are you?"
"Not at all, Empath," Smurfette said. "In fact, I was hoping that you might smurf me up some dinner sometime...just the two of us...a little candlelight and some smurfberry wine..."
"Oh, so that's how it is, Smurfette," Empath said, understanding what it is she really wanted. "This smurf can always ask Greedy if he would let this smurf have use of his kitchen for a private touch of Chez Empath to my favorite customer of all."
"Oooooh, I can't wait to be dining with you," Smurfette said, giving Empath a kiss on the cheek. "Now remember, if you want it to be truly classy, you'll have to smurf yourself a tie at Chez Empath...and smurf a white apron across your waist...and not smurf a shirt at all in front of me."
"Your table shall be ready, Mademoiselle," Empath said, as both he and Smurfette laughed together.