"So you were going to take on the task without informing anyone else of what you were doing," Polaris said. "This one can understand that you were under pressure for having to do it, even if this one wouldn't agree on that being the wisest thing to do."
"I wasn't going to let that human smurf any harm to that elf tree, Polaris," Timber said. "As I said to Vini, I thought Hefty or Duncan would be more suitable for the task at hand, because I wasn't the strongest or the fastest Smurf for the job."
"But your heart was still in the right place, Timber, which is what matters," Empath said. "Anyway, you and Vini were headed for the island where the legendary golden tree was, but the way to that place was not going to be easy."
"I would definitely say it wasn't," Timber said. "The first obstacle we had to oversmurf was a series of ledges we had to smurf over...or rather I had to smurf over, since Vini could fly over without a problem."
And as Timber's story continued, Polaris saw that Timber and Vini had reached a place in the forest where a series of dangerous ledges had to be jumped over. Timber stopped at the edge of one and saw how far the drop was.
"What's the matter?" Vini asked, sounding concerned.
"This may be a little too much for me to smurf over," Timber said. "I have never smurfed across such depths before in my life."
"But my sister's life is at stake here," Vini said.
"I know that it is, Vini," Timber said. "But I don't know if I can make it."
"You have to try...that's all that matters," Vini said.
Timber realized that Vini was right, that trying and failing was better than not trying at all. He swallowed hard. "Okay, here smurfs!"
With a running start, Timber made it past the first ridge, then the second, then the third, although with each successive leap the ledges afforded less and less space before having to jump again. Then came the final jump, which seemed a little farther to land than he was expecting.
"I can smurf this! I can smurf this!" Timber said to encourage himself.
With all his might, Timber propelled himself as far as he could, only to find himself barely missing the ledge. Grabbing onto the ledge with one hand, Timber threw his axe onto the top of the ledge and used both hands to pull himself up.
"You made it!" Vini said, sounding pleased. "That wasn't so bad now, was it?"
"As long as we don't have to smurf that again anytime soon," Timber said, stopping to catch his breath. "How close are we now?"
"We have to travel on this pass between the two mountains that leads to the lake," Vini responded, showing Timber the area she was talking about.
"That shouldn't be a problem now," Timber said as he stepped out onto the smooth surface of the pass and headed toward the other side of the pass.
They didn't get far, though, when they started hearing roaring noises. Timber stopped, having a bad feeling something was going to happen. "What was that?" he wondered aloud.
Then he could feel a burst of hot flame right behind him, nearly singing his tail. He screamed in pain as he and Vini ran for cover to hide from whatever it was that attacked them.
It was from there that Timber saw what it was for himself. "It's the three-headed monster!" Timber said. "Vini, you said that it was only a legend!"
Vini didn't know what to say to that. "Uh, reality often surpasses fiction!"
"It's blocking our way toward the other end of the pass," Timber observed, watching the creature's movements. "What are we going to do?"
"I'll distract the monster," Vini said. "You just get behind it and chop off its tail. It will lose its strength."
Timber didn't like having to wound living creatures like that, but he had to trust what Vini was doing. "Go!" he told her.
Vini flew toward the creature and zipped around it, trying to get its attention like an annoying mosquito. The creature then ran around and followed her, breathing flames at her while she did her best to avoid being burned.
Timber watched until the monster came close enough to him, then he jumped out and got close enough to slice off its tail. The monster screamed in pain as its fiery breaths stopped and raced frantically toward the other end of the pass, leaping off a ledge until it fell into the lake.
Vini rejoined Timber as quickly as she could. "Timber, are you all right?" Vini asked.
"I'm fine, but I hated what I had to smurf with that monster," Timber said.
"Don't worry, the monster's tail will grow back in time," Vini said. "Anyway, the pass is safe to travel now. We should get to the lake soon."
"This is certainly more than I smurfed for when I smurfed out into the forest just to get an evergreen," Timber said as they both headed to the other end.
"Meanwhile, back in the village, from what Narrator can tell me, Hefty and Duncan were beginning to wonder where I was, as they couldn't find me anywhere in the village, and so they brought that to Papa Smurf's attention," Timber said to Polaris.
And as Timber continued the story, Polaris saw Hefty and Duncan passing by a group of Smurfs being led into a practice session of singing carols with Harmony leading them:
Hark, the Smurfs and Smurflings sing,
Glory to our King and Queen,
Mother Nature and Father Time,
Living in harmony sublime.
Joyful, all the forest rise,
Land and rivers, mountains and skies,
With the animals proclaim
Time and nature forever reign.
Hark, the Smurfs and Smurflings sing,
Glory to our King and Queen.
Hail, the Father of History.
Hail, the Mother of Fertility.
Light and life to all they bring,
The great Provider of all good things.
Mild they lay their glory by,
Watching our souls until we die,
Smurf our souls to prove our worth
While our bodies rest on earth
Hark, the Smurfs and Smurflings sing,
Glory to our King and Queen.
"I don't smurf the point of these smurfdiculous songs that we sing every Winter Solstice," Hefty said.
"You don't think we should smurf glory and honor to Mother Nature and Father Time?" Duncan asked.
"If anyone deserves any glory and honor in this life, it should be me for helping to smurf this village together after losing our parents," Hefty said.
"Ha!" Duncan scoffed. "It will be a cold day in Tartarus before I even smurf you the same honor."
"You'll be smurfing on your knees before me in time, Gutsy, just you wait," Hefty said.
"That's Duncan to you, you smurfy numpkin!" Duncan shot back.
Soon Hefty and Duncan were knocking on Papa Smurf's door. The village leader opened up and saw who it was. "Hefty, Duncan, what's going on?" he asked.
"We were wondering where Timber was, Papa Smurf," Hefty said.
"Aye, we smurfed around the village and we haven't smurfed a trace of him anywhere," Duncan said.
"I think he probably smurfed out into the forest to smurf down a Solstice tree all by himself just to prove himself," Hefty said.
"Then you need to smurf out into the forest and find him at once," Papa Smurf said. "Take a group of Smurfs with you and see where he may be smurfing."
"You're certain that you want us to handle it ourselves, Papa Smurf?" Duncan asked.
"I am very certain that the both of you can handle this situation together," Papa Smurf answered. "Now if you'll excuse me, I have some personal business to attend to." And with that, he closed the door shut.
Hefty sighed. "It figures that we have to smurf things together, Gutsy. Let's smurf ourselves a team so we can find Timber before he smurfs too far away."
"Not that I like smurfing with you, laddie, but Timber could be smurfing way over his head in something out there," Duncan said.
Handy and Tapper just walked toward where Hefty and Duncan were standing. "What were you two smurfing about with Papa Smurf?" Handy asked.
"Me and Gutsy were supposed to smurf out into the forest with Timber to smurf a Solstice tree together, but neither of us could find him today, Handy," Hefty answered.
"Great Smurfiny Crickets, you think that Timber smurfed off alone and is now in danger?" Tapper asked.
"That's what we're going to smurf out, laddies," Duncan said. "You're more than welcome to join us in the search if you want to."
"If he's got a tree smurfed down, he's going to need help smurfing it back home, so I'm in," Handy said.
"And I will also join you in your search," Tapper said. "I pray that we will not be too late to rescue him out of any danger he's in."
"While Hefty was leading the team out into the forest where I was, me and Vini were smurfing close to the final part of our journey, and there it was, just waiting for us to smurf it," Timber said.
And as Timber continued his story, Polaris saw that Timber was now at the end of the pass, with the lake right before them and the island in the middle. "There it is!" Vini pointed out. "This is the lake island and the legendary golden tree with its pinecones."
"It certainly looks like it's smurfed of pure gold," Timber said, stopping to take a look at the tree at the top of the island. "But is it safe to smurf across to the island?"
"It should be," Vini said. "I invented the story about the lake monster. It doesn't exist."
Timber gulped. "Well, here smurfs nothing anyway," he said, as he started to hop across the rocks on the surface of the water toward the island.
Halfway across the lake, though, Timber started to hear noises in the water, like something was moving in it. Then suddenly from behind, a thin gnarled creature that looked like it was made of wood rose up to the surface, startling Timber.
"Go away! You don't exist!" Timber shouted as he swung his axe, chopping off the creature's nose. The creature writhed in pain as it sunk back into the water.
"We made it," Vini said as soon as they reached the shore of the island. "Now let's gather as many pinecones as we can from the ground."
The both of them reached the top of the hill where the tree was. But when they reached it, tney noticed something that made the both of them very disappointed. "Oh no! The pinecones aren't golden at all! They're just reflecting sunlight!" Vini cried out.
Timber felt the tree and also noticed something. "This just feels like regular wood to me," he said. "The legendary tree isn't golden at all. Everything about this area is just a legend, except for the monsters. What are we going to do?"
"We're doomed," Vini said, sounding like she was totally out of ideas. "That human will set my little sister, who was transformed into a tree on fire. This whole quest was all for nothing. I'm sorry that I dragged you into this."
"That's okay, Vini, we'll figure something out," Timber said, realzing that he's going to need some way to fool the human into getting what he was after. Then it came to him in a flash. Taking a piece of paper-thin bark from the tree and a piece of coal from the ground, he wrote a message on it. Then he spotted a stork that was flying nearby, which he whistled at to get its attention.
"Here, smurf this message quickly to the Smurf Village," Timber said to the stork as soon as it landed.
"What are you intending to do?" Vini asked, watching the stork take the message in its beak and fly off.
"You'll see, Vini, you'll see," Timber answered.