In the infirmary, Empath and Smurfette were both beside Vanity as he laid there in a weakened state, being fed intravenously as one of his nostrils was stuffed with as much gauze as could reasonably fit within such an orifice. A heart-monitoring machine created by Handy was busy keeping record of Vanity's heartbeat, beeping at a steady rhythm. His eyes were closed, but he looked as if he were just one step away from death.
Doctor Smurf came in to check up on his patient. "How is he doing, Empath?" he asked.
"He's in a stable condition for now, Doctor," Empath answered. "This smurf had to fix the ruptured blood vessel in his nasal cavity to get him to stop bleeding, but it's only a matter of time whether he will fully recover from the blood loss or not."
"Well, you seem to know more about his condition than I do," Doctor said. "What could have caused him to smurf like that?"
"This smurf senses that he has been inhaling a white powder up his nose, which was irritating his nasal cavity and most likely have caused the blood vessel rupture," Empath replied.
"A white powder?" Doctor said. "Do you know what kind of substance it is?"
"Polaris Psyche has delivered a vial of it to Papa Smurf," Empath said. "He should know exactly what kind of substance we're dealing with."
"Well, if you need me for anything, let me know," Doctor said, recording the information about Vanity's condition on a clipboard before moving on.
"Empath, who could have caused Vanity to smurf this to himself?" Smurfette asked.
"That's what this smurf is hoping to find out, Smurfette," Empath answered. "All this smurf could sense right now is that it could be one of the pixies."
"But could it be his friend Periwinkle?" Smurfette asked.
"We just don't know who it is right now, Smurfette," Empath replied. "But we shouldn't be pointing fingers at anyone until we know for sure."
Soon Vanity had slowly opened his eyes. "Empath...Smurfette...where am I?" he asked weakly.
"You're in the infirmary right now because of a ruptured blood vessel in your nasal cavity, Vanity," Empath answered. "You had quite a loss of blood, so we need to keep you in here for a while until you recover."
"Vanity, what was it that you were trying to hide from me?" Smurfette asked.
Vanity sighed, realizing that he couldn't hide what he was doing anymore. "Pixie dust," he answered softly. "It was pixie dust that I got from a friend among the pixies."
"Pixie dust? What were you smurfing with pixie dust?" Smurfette asked.
"It's supposed to make me feel really smurfy, Smurfette," Vanity replied. "It's like the best feeling that I could ever have. But it doesn't last for long."
"So that's why you have vials of this stuff in your house?" Smurfette asked.
"I'm sorry that I lied to you, saying that they were special fragrances," Vanity said. "I thought that I could hide this habit away from the other Smurfs. I guess that I was wrong."
"But who is it that introduced you to this form of intoxication, Vanity?" Empath asked. "Who?"
Vanity looked like he had a hard time thinking. "Someone among the pixies. I can't remember who it was. Everything's sort of a fuzz in my brain."
Empath nodded, realizing that Vanity needed to have rest. "We'll find out who it is that gave you this poison for your body, Vanity. Trust this smurf."
Vanity smiled weakly before he closed his eyes again and relaxed.
"I should stay at Vanity's bedside in case he awakens, Empath," Smurfette suggested. "I don't think he should smurf here alone."
"This smurf understands and acknowledges, Smurfette," Empath said.
Papa Smurf used the auxiliary research lab to investigate the pixie dust sample that he had been given by Polaris, to find out more about what it's capable of doing. Soon he got his answer.
"This pixie dust is different from normal pixie dust that the pixies use, Polaris," Papa Smurf said. "Somehow the composition has been altered for the purpose of getting somebody high through inhalation."
"So somebody's tampering with pixie dust for some unknown purpose," Polaris said. "But who among the pixies would do such a thing?"
"That's what I'm going to visit King Goldenrod to find out, to smurf this matter to his attention," Papa Smurf said.
He then took the vial of pixie dust with him as he stepped out of the research lab with Polaris Psyche. On his way to Feathers' stable, Empath met up with him.
"Papa Smurf, Vanity has just told this smurf that he had been inhaling pixie dust, and somebody among the pixies is responsible for getting him addicted to it," Empath said.
"Then you must come with me to visit the pixies so we can ask King Goldenrod who is it that's producing this pixie dust as a drug, Empath," Papa Smurf said.
"And what shall this one do in your absence, Papa Smurf?" Polaris asked.
"You continue to watch over the village, and see if Smurfette may need you for anything regarding Vanity's condition, Polaris," Papa Smurf answered.
"This one understands and acknowledges, Papa Smurf," Polaris said. "May the Great Ancestors guide and protect you and give you wisdom to deal with the situation at hand."
"And may the Ancestors be with you and Vanity as well, Polaris," Empath said as he and Papa Smurf mounted Feathers and flew away.
Tapper and Duncan paid Vanity a visit in the infirmary after hearing about what has happened to him. They couldn't believe that someone so vital and healthy as Vanity could be so near death.
"How is Vanity doing, my dear Smurfette?" Tapper asked.
"He's barely smurfing onto life as we know it, Tapper," Smurfette answered sadly. "We're trying to smurf the best we can under the circumstances, but we don't know what we can smurf for him other than to let him rest."
"Aye, this is not how I would ever want to see the laddie," Duncan said grimly.
"But your Almighty is capable of resmurfing him to life, isn't He?" Smurfette asked.
"I believe that my God is both capable and willing to do it, as He is willing to do it for anybody, Smurfette," Tapper said. "I don't believe that it is yet time for our friend to smurf on from this life to meet his Maker."
"Well, are we going to pray over his soul or not?" Duncan asked.
"Let me smurf in two others who will join us, my friends," Tapper said. He then looked at Barber and Sweepy, who were waiting at the door of the infirmary. The two of them immediately understood what their friend wanted and joined together with him at Vanity's bedside.
"Okay, let's begin," Tapper said. "O Lord God Almighty, the Heavenly Father, the Maker of heaven and earth and all good things, we praise You today for all that You are -- a merciful, loving, compassionate God who forgives iniquity and heals all our diseases, slow to anger and abounding in grace, yet holy and righteous and just in all Your ways. We smurf to you with heavy hearts because of our friend Vanity Smurf, whom You have created in the womb, smurfully and wonderfully made. We rest on the promise that Your only begotten Son, who is God in the flesh, has purchased healing for us with His stripes, and that there is nothing beyond what we are able to smurf that You cannot smurf, except to lie or fail."
"Yes, Lord God, hear our prayer," Barber and Sweepy said together.
"We smurf in agreement together to speak peace, comfort, and healing to our friend from the smurf of his head to the smurfs of his feet, for You have spoken the word, and that word is life eversmurfing," Tapper continued. "We ask You to pour upon him the balm of Gilead to bring full resmurfation upon his being, that he would smurf up out of this hospital bed, as good as new. We ask You to forgive us our sins and forgive those of our friend, that though he does not know You yet, he will know that You are the one true eternal God who reigns supreme over all creation and is far exalted above all gods."
"Yes, Lord God, hear our prayer," Barber and Sweepy said together.
"Satan, you have no claim over this soul, for we claim it in the name of the only begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ," Tapper continued. "The Lord rebuke all the lies, all the accusations, everything you have ever spoken over this Smurf, for we smurf in faith that this soul will be born anew as a child of God. We cast you away and smurf you on your way to Hades, which is where you and your demons belong. And may the chains of our friend's addiction be broken. For we ask this in the mighty and matchless name of Jesus Christ. Amen."
"Amen," Barber and Sweepy said together.
Tapper took a breath after the long prayer he prayed. At that instant, they could hear the heart-monitoring machine's beeping rhythm grow stronger and stronger until it became steady. They could also hear a deep breath like a sigh of relief coming from Vanity's body.
"I'm not sure what you smurfed there, laddies, but the peacock's becoming a much stronger bird now," Duncan said.
"Smurfing from you, Duncan, that's quite a compliment," Smurfette said. "Thank you."
"Aye, don't mention it, lassie," Duncan said with a smile.
Empath and Papa Smurf soon arrived in the land of Pixitopia, the capital of the kingdom of the pixies. Empath marveled at how beautiful the land was where the pixies lived, but Empath wasn't there to take in the scenery. He was there to help find out who was giving pixie dust to Vanity.
King Goldenrod's daughter Periwinkle greeted the Smurfs as soon as they landed in the clearing. "Papa Smurf, how is my friend Vanity?" she asked.
"I'm afraid that he is near death, Periwinkle," Papa Smurf answered. "We came here to talk to your father about a very important issue."
"Namely, this vial of pixie dust that we have found on his person after he returned home from his visit with you," Empath said, producing the vial in question.
"Vial of pixie dust? Vanity?" Periwinkle said, sounding shocked. "But I don't remember Vanity ever leaving this place with anything but the fragrances that I have given him for his beauty projects."
"Then you're not responsible for giving Vanity pixie dust?" Empath asked.
"Of course not!" Periwinkle replied adamantly. "My father would disown me if he found out that I have done anything like that!"
"Then we would like to find out who among you is smurfing him this as a recreational drug, Periwinkle," Papa Smurf said.
"I will do whatever I can to assist you, Papa Smurf," Periwinkle said. "Follow me right this way."
Empath and Papa Smurf followed Periwinkle to the royal chambers of the king. "Wait here until I can summon my father to have an audience with you," Periwinkle said before she stepped into the main chamber.
Empath and Papa Smurf waited in the outer chamber. "From what this smurf can sense of her emotions, Papa Smurf, she is telling the truth...that she knows nothing about who gave Vanity the pixie dust," Empath said.
"Well, if it isn't her, then somebody Vanity has encountered here in this kingdom must have smurfed it," Papa Smurf said.
Just then, a male pixie greeted the two. "You must be Papa Smurf, and this must be Empath, one of your little Smurfs," he said. "My name is Scullcap, and I am the one who has shown Vanity all around our wonderful little kingdom here."
"This smurf senses that you know something about how to produce pixie dust, Scullcap," Empath said.
"Ah, yes, the production of our personal commodity," Scullcap said. "Well, we only use the best of the freshest pollen to make our pixie dust. We put it through a very rigorous refining process to make sure there are no impurities before it is mixed together. I take it that you Smurfs do not use pixie dust in your magic castings."
"This smurf is certain that we do not, Scullcap," Empath said.
"Well, we do highly control who gets to use pixie dust, for it does have certain...euphoric properties as well as magical ones," Scullcap said. "Anyway, I'm sure that we can schedule a tour of the facilities for you, provided that you do not attempt to create a facility of your own to create any pixie dust for your personal use."
Empath nodded. "We will keep that in mind, Scullcap."
Just then, Periwinkle emerged from the inner chamber. "Papa Smurf, my father the king would like to speak to you now," she announced.
Empath and Papa Smurf followed Periwinkle into the throne room, where, seated on a throne, was an old pixie that definitely looked the part of a father. "King Goldenrod, your grace," Papa Smurf said as both he and Empath bowed before him.
"Papa Smurf, there is, I believe, one of your Smurfs who has recently visited here, who may have stolen some vials of pixie dust from our supply," King Goldenrod said. "Do you have one of the vials on hand with you?"
"Here it is, my king," Papa Smurf said, producing the vial. "However, this among the vials of pixie dust that one of my little Smurfs has does not contain the actual pure magical properties of pixie dust."
"No actual pure magical properties?" King Goldenrod said. "Explain."
"According to my research of the sample, this pixie dust has been altered to be used as a recreational drug, and it may have been given to one of my little Smurfs by one of your very own pixies," Papa Smurf said.
"That is impossible!" King Goldenrod said. "We are very strict and careful who we distribute pixie dust to, Papa Smurf. It would be a crime to smuggle pixie dust to anyone who isn't a pixie. If Vanity isn't the one who stole our pixie dust, then who is?"
"That's what we are here to figure out, my king," Empath said. "Someone among you has taken very great pains to get Vanity addicted to using pixie dust as a drug so that he could be poisoned to death."
"Scullcap, do you know anything about someone giving our visitor pixie dust to be used for his recreation?" King Goldenrod asked.
"Certainly not, my lord," Scullcap answered. "If anything, he may have experimented with using pixie dust himself and has found out what it's capable of doing, and then asked to smuggle samples from here for his own use."
"Very well," King Goldenrod said. To Papa Smurf and Empath, he said, "As you can see, Scullcap has no recollection of anyone among the pixies personally giving our visitor any samples of pixie dust for his own use."
"This is very puzzling indeed," Papa Smurf said, stroking his beard. "May we be allowed to stay for awhile so that we may find out for ourselves who may be behind what my little Smurf is accused of?"
"You may stay, but only under supervision so that you do not venture into places where you may not be allowed," King Goldenrod said. He then summoned his daughter Periwinkle. "Please show them to their guest chambers."
"Of course, Father," Periwinkle said with a curtsy. She then told Empath and Papa Smurf, "Follow me, and I will show you both our guest chambers."
While they followed Periwinkle, Papa Smurf quietly asked Empath, "Did you sense anything smurfing on with either King Goldenrod or Scullcap?"
"King Goldenrod is being honest, but Scullcap seems to be hiding something, and this smurf senses that it may have something to do with who has given Vanity the pixie dust," Empath answered, speaking quietly.
"Well, we're going to have to find a way to discover who it is that's behind Vanity smurfing his hands on pixie dust so that we can clear Vanity's name in regards to the theft," Papa Smurf said.
"This smurf understands and acknowledges, Papa Smurf," Empath said.