Part 7

"And indeed Gargamel was preparing for his next plan to capture the Smurfs, Polaris," Narrator said. "His apprentice Scruple was with him at the time of that preparation, hoping that his master would help him smurf back his place at the sorcerer's guild, but as usual Gargamel had other smurfs in mind than helping his apprentice succeed as a sorcerer."
And as Narrator continued the story, Polaris saw in Narrator's mind Gargamel busy at work in his laboratory mixing together a formula with his apprentice Scruple watching. "What are you planning to do with that mixture, Gargy?" Scruple asked.
"I'm going to achieve my goal of capturing the Smurfs by becoming one myself, my dimwitted apprentice," Gargamel answered. "I figured that if I can't beat them, I might as well join them and then beat them...a rather smurfy plan, don't you think?" He laughed evilly at the thought.
"Just what I figured about you," Scruple said, rolling his eyes. "You're so obsessed with these Smurfs that you're starting to talk like one of them."
"If you've been around these miserable creatures as long as I have been, you would understand my desire for revenge against them," Gargamel said as he focused on mixing the last of the ingredients. "All I want to do is be the first wizard to create the Philosopher's Stone, and all that I need to create the formula are six Smurfs...the rest I intend to feast on them until I'm full."
"So you don't just want to use them to make this magical stone, you also want to eat them, Gargy?" Scruple said, making a face after he said that. "Eeeww, I don't know about your strange tastes in food."
"Compared to what I've been eating in the forest, a taste of Smurf in my mouth will be like a taste of heaven...not that I will be going there when I'm through with them, but if that's where they believe they're going to when they die, then I would surely want to send them there to be rid of them once and for all," Gargamel said.
Azrael just yawned in total disinterest at whatever he heard his master say about the Smurfs.
"There...the formula is ready," Gargamel said after a while of watching the mixture in the cauldron boil. He took it away from the hearth to let it cool for a bit. "Scruple, get me the bucket so I can pour this mixture upon myself to make the transformation."
"So how long are you going to stay a Smurf once you transform into one, Gargy?" Scruple asked.
"It should last for several hours, which will be how long it will take me to find the Smurfs, since only the Smurfs themselves know where their wretched village is in this forest," Gargamel answered.
"So you don't know where these Smurfs even live?" Scruple said as he grabbed the bucket. "That's going to be real helpful."
"Don't worry about that, my faithless pupil," Gargamel said. "Papa Smurf always has his little Smurfs go out into the forest to collect sarsaparilla or smurfberries or whatever things they live on for their daily sustenance. All I need is just one stupid unsuspecting Smurf to lead me straight into the village, and then I will have them in the palm of my hands once the formula wears off."
"This plan had better work for your sake," Scruple said, as he watched his master pour the formula into the bucket and then attach a rope to the bucket.
"Oh, don't be so negative, my child...of course it's going to work, or I'm not the great wizard Gargamel," the evil wizard said with a laugh. He put the bucket upon a shelf and stood underneath it with the rope in his hand. "Now stand back and watch my genius at work."
"If this plan doesn't work, Gargy is just going to be one wet wizard with water on the brain," Scruple said to himself.
Scruple and Azrael stood back and watched as Gargamel pulled on the rope and turned the bucket over to douse himself with the formula. Suddenly the two of them watched as Gargamel shrunk to the size of a Smurf, changing into the form of a Smurf right before their eyes.
"Hey, what do you know, Gargy?" Scruple said. "You really do look like a Smurf now...except for the nose, that is."
Azrael then looked at Gargamel's new form and started licking his chops. "Now, now, Azrael, let's not get too hasty...I'm still your master," Gargamel said in his attempt to keep his cat from attacking him.
Azrael bared his claws and swiped at Gargamel, which made him back away and run off. "Help! Scruple, stop him!" Gargamel cried out.
"Now why should I do that?" Scruple said mischievously. "If you're now a Smurf, you should have to deal with Azrael as one for now."
"Ooooh, I'll get you for this, you miserable turncoat...just you wait," Gargamel hissed as Scruple opened the door and watched Azrael chase his own master out into the forest.

Meanwhile, Hefty was leading a few Smurfs out into the forest on a healthy jog. Clumsy and Vanity tried to follow to the best of their ability, but soon found themselves lagging behind, slumped and gasping for breath. "Come on, let's move it," Hefty tried to encourage them. "If I'm going to have any competition for this contest, you Smurfs have got to smurf in shape."
"Gosh, I didn't think being in the contest would have me smurfing like this," Clumsy said.
"Me neither, Clumsy," Vanity said. "I would prefer smurfing my beautiful self in a sauna to smurf my self into shape rather than smurfing myself into a sweat like this."
"You think Empath would smurf himself in a contest like this?" Clumsy asked.
"Why would he?" Vanity responded. "He's just too perfect for us to ever compete with."
"Oh, who needs Empath around?" Hefty said, overhearing the two speaking to themselves. "That old star face is better off smurfing his life in Psychelia instead of always trying to impress us with..."
Suddenly the three Smurfs could hear a cat snarling nearby. "Uh-oh, that sounds like Azrael," Hefty said as he, Clumsy, and Vanity stopped in their tracks.
"Azrael?" Clumsy said, sounding scared. "Golly, now I wish that Empath was home so that he could deal with him."
"Too bad he isn't," Vanity said. "We'd better smurf back to the village to keep ourselves away from that cat."
Then Azrael came into view, chasing after a Smurf. "Get away from me, you worthless cat," the Smurf cried out as he ran for his life away from Azrael.
"Who's that Smurf that Azrael is chasing after?" Clumsy wondered.
"Who knows and who cares, Clumsy?" Hefty answered. "Let's just run and get ourselves to safety before he comes close to us."
"Oh, I knew I should have smurfed at home and relaxed in the sauna instead of being out here jogging," Vanity said as the three of them started running.
"Quick, let's smurf into that gopher hole," Hefty said as he took the lead. He, Clumsy, and Vanity dove headfirst into the gopher hole as Azrael and the Smurf he was chasing after got closer and closer.
"Help! Wait for me!" the Smurf cried out as he dove headfirst into the gopher hole himself, knocking over Hefty, Clumsy, and Vanity as they stood on top of each other to see Azrael's approach.
"That was close," Clumsy said with a sigh of relief.
The Smurfs looked up and saw Azrael's eye looking down into the hole, trying to find his prey. They kept quiet for as long as they could in hiding until the cat lost interest and then went away.
"We won't be able to smurf up to the surface that way, Smurfs," Hefty said. "We might as well smurf out where this gopher hole smurfs and try to smurf back into the forest where it exits."
"Well, get a load of that Smurf," Vanity said as he looked at the fourth Smurf that just joined them.
"Say, what happened to your nose?" Clumsy asked as he saw that Smurf's face.
"My nose?" the Smurf answered. "Oh, well, I think maybe Azrael smurfed me in the nose with his paws. Yes, that's exactly what happened. I only hope that Papa Smurf can fix it."
"Fix that nose?" Vanity scoffed. "You've got to be kidding me."
"I've never smurfed any Smurf in the village with a beaker like that, Smurf," Hefty said.
"Gosh, maybe Papa Smurf can fix Beaker's nose," Clumsy said. "Why can't we just ask him?"
"With a nose like that, Clumsy, he doesn't even stand a chance," Vanity replied.
"Well, neither will you stand a chance of winning the Mr. Smurf Contest, Vanity," Hefty shot back.
"Uh, you're having a Mr. Smurf Contest in the village?" Beaker asked.
"Yeah, Beaker," Clumsy answered. "It's being smurfed at the Smurf Theater tonight."
"Every Smurf who's any Smurf will be there, and the winner of that contest will get to take Smurfette to the Harvest Moon Ball as her escort," Vanity added.
"But if we don't smurf an exit out of this gopher hole soon, we won't be in the contest to win it," Hefty said. "Come on, let's go smurf out the exit."
As the three Smurfs headed down the tunnel to find the exit, Beaker followed behind after him, with none of the three realizing that he was actually Gargamel. Well, well, well, he said to himself, now when my Smurf formula wears off, I'll have them all in the same place at the same time, and then I will be Smurfette's escort to her final dance before my traitorous daughter joins the Smurfs in their doom.
He laughed in quiet malice over the thought of what he was going to do with the Smurfs.

Then Polaris saw in his mind as Narrator's story turned its attention to what was going on in the village around that time. He saw Papa Smurf inside the meeting hall, watching as it was being prepared for the Harvest Moon Ball. Party was busy putting up streamers and filling up balloons while Scribbler was creating paper cutouts of Smurfs that he drew and a few other Smurfs were busy arranging tables and chairs and getting the stage ready for Fiddler, Twanger, and Piper to play their music.
Just then, Sassette approached Papa Smurf. "Say, Pappy Smurf, are you going to be at the Mr. Smurf Contest tonight?" she asked. "Smurfette is going to be there to pick out which Smurf is going to be her escort at the ball."
"Of course I will, Sassette," Papa Smurf answered. "Tapper just informed me about the contest, and I would be happy to see which Smurf is going to win that honor."
"Gee, that's great that you're going to be there, Pappy," Sassette said with a heavy sigh.
"What's wrong, my little Sassette?" Papa Smurf asked, sounding concerned. "What's with the long blue face?"
"I'm just wondering if you think that I'm going to grow up to become as beautiful as my sister Smurfette, because I'm jealous that she's smurfing all that attention from the grown-up Smurfs," Sassette answered.
"I'm sure that you will grow up to be beautiful in your own special way, Sassette," Papa Smurf responded. "All you need to have is time and patience with yourself, and let Mother Nature smurf you into the kind of Smurfette that she has smurfed you to be."
"That would be nice if only it wasn't for the fact that Pappy Gargamel smurfed me into what I am, Pappy Smurf," Sassette said.
"Gargamel only created the formula for the body, Sassette, but what he didn't create is the very thing that's inside you...the thing that makes you a Smurf," Papa Smurf said. "By the way, have you asked any of your fellow Smurflings if they would want to be your escort to the ball?"
"Me, ask my fellow Smurflings?" Sassette said. "I don't know, Pappy Smurf. I like them and all, but I don't find myself attracted to them like I do the grown-up Smurfs because they're just so smurfy to look at."
Papa Smurf chuckled. "That's just natural for a Smurfling like you to be attracted to an older Smurf, Sassette. But in time your attractions will turn to your fellow Smurflings as they grow and age along with you, and I'm sure one of them will marry you someday."
"I just hope that it isn't with Snappy Smurf," Sassette said with a hint of disgust in her voice. "That's the last Smurf that I would ever want to marry."
"Who knows who it will be in the future, Sassette?" Papa Smurf said. "Now run along and make sure that your Mr. Smurf Contest is all ready for tonight."
"Yes, Pappy Smurf," Sassette said. "I'll be happy to know that you'll be there watching." As she ran back outside, Papa Smurf looked at Sassette in wonder about something.