Part 6

Soon the king and his royal guards and servants are enjoying a feast the likes of which they have never eaten before. "Mmmm, magnificent," the king said as he continued to eat like there was no tomorrow.
Empath, Smurfette, Grouchy, Tapper, and Duncan have dressed themselves in serving aprons as they continued to bring more food for the entire court to feast upon. "It's only the beginning, Your Highness," Empath said.
"I feel so ridiculous, smurfing up like this as if I'm part of Greedy's kitchen staff," Duncan said.
"I hate being part of Greedy's kitchen staff," Grouchy said.
"Just try to act natural about it, my fellow Duncan," Tapper said, not paying any attention where he was going. "Empath seems to be knowing what he's doing..."
The next moment, he accidentally tripped over a loose rock and caused his plate of food to fly off and hit King Glouton in the face. The king seemed a bit displeased until he tasted what had spilled over him. "Ah...peppermint pate!" he said as he licked his finger.
Duncan snickered at Tapper's accident. "So much for trying to act natural, laddie. I guess even the best food smurfers have their moments."
Tapper chuckled at his own mishap. "So I have a wee bit of Clumsy in me. To err is Smurf, as Brainy would say."
"I hate having a wee bit of Clumsy in me," Grouchy said.
Meanwhile, in the kitchen, Prince Leon was talking to Greedy as he continued to do the cooking. "I still don't understand what Empath Smurf expects to gain by putting on this feast," Prince Leon said.
"I'm sure that he has some plan in mind, Prince Leon," Greedy said as he flipped what appeared to be a pancake frying on the griddle.
"That is correct, Greedy," Empath said, entering the room with a set of keys on a ring. "As you shall soon see."

After a while, Empath and his fellow Smurfs went out into the throne room and saw that the king, the guards, and the servants were all sound asleep. "This smurf didn't think that they could resist a nap after all that food," Empath told his fellow Smurfs very quietly.
"Of course, a siesta," Tapper said. "A heavy meal like that will always be able to smurf someone to sleep."
"We've got to get those other chefs out of the dungeon while they're still smurfing wood, laddie," Duncan said.
"That's what this smurf is planning to do before we leave," Empath said. "Let's try to get there as quietly as we can."
The six Smurfs tried to quietly sneak by the gnomes in the throne room in order to reach the hallway leading to the dungeon. Everything was going perfectly until a guard turned on his table and knocked a plate off the table onto the ground.
The noise suddenly awakened all the gnomes in the throne room. They slowly opened their eyes to see the six Smurfs creeping through the room. "The chefs are escaping!" King Glouton cried out when he saw them. "Stop them!"
"Uh-oh, laddie, it smurfs like we're going to have to fight our way out of here," Duncan said as he saw the guards closing in on them.
"I hate having to fight our way out of here," Grouchy said.
"Why fight with swords when we can fight with food?" Tapper said, as he reached over to the table that had cream pies on it and started throwing one.
"This smurf understands your idea, Tapper," Empath said. He, Duncan, and Grouchy also picked up a pie and started hurling it at the guards.
The pies struck down the guards with such force as to knock them off their feet. But some guards decided to fight back by throwing pies as well. "A pie for a pie," one of the gnomes said.
"Oh dear, this is terrible," Smurfette said.
"Duck, Smurfette," Empath said. She ducked just as two gnomes were heading toward her from opposite directions and ended up colliding with each other head-on.
Prince Leon watched from safety as the pies were being flung across the room at the Smurfs and the gnomes. He had to figure out what to do before this got out of hand.
"Stop them, I say!" King Glouton shouted. "Stop them!" Then suddenly he got hit in the face with a pie. "Mmmmm, yummy," he said after licking the cream on his face.
"Great Smurfiny Crickets, we're all out of pies," Tapper said as he looked at the serving table.
"And out of luck, too," Smurfette added as the six Smurfs saw the guards surrounding them.
"I hate being out of luck," Grouchy said.
"It smurfs like we're going to have to smurf our way out of this the old-fashioned way, laddies," Duncan said.
"This smurf doesn't want to hurt them, Duncan, but it seems like we have no other choice," Empath said.
"THROW THEM IN THE DUNGEON!" King Glouton shouted. "THEY WILL BE MY PRISONERS FOR THE REST OF THEIR DAYS!"
"Then you'd better put me in the dungeon too, Father...otherwise I am leaving forever," Prince Leon said as he bravely approached his father.
"What...put you in the dungeon?!?" King Glouton exclaimed. "But you're the prince, my beloved son. You're all that I have left of your mother."
"All you really love since Mother died is food, which would make her feel ashamed to know this is how you honor her memory," Prince Leon countered. "I have had more friendship from Greedy than I have ever received from you."
King Glouton seemed flabbergasted. "B-b-b-b-but..."
"I have made up my mind, Father," Prince Leon said insistently. "I am moving out!"
King Glouton looked like he didn't know what he was going to do. "Oh dear..."
"With all due respect, Your Grace, we've had the problem of making the same mistake as you, that we lost Greedy because of our neglect," Empath said. "Only you can decide what's important to you right now...your belly or your son!"
"My belly or my son?" King Glouton said, sounding a bit offended at first, but knowing that what Empath had spoken was the truth. "I have never realized it...that I have used food to deal with the loss of my dear wife for so long that I have forgotten about the child we had together, but...what can I do?"
"The first thing we need to do is to release all the chefs that you held prisoner, Your Highness," Empath said.

At the entrance of the cave to the gnome kingdom, King Glouton watched with Prince Leon and Empath as all the chefs that he has imprisoned were allowed to go their own seperate ways.
"Oh, I can't believe that I'm letting all my chefs go free," King Glouton said, saying it as if it were the worst thing to ever happen in the world.
"Now, now, Father, if you want me to stay, you'll have to change your ways," Prince Leon reminded him.
"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.