Part 5

Back in the village, the Smurflings decided to visit Vanity in the infirmary, which made Vanity seem very surprised. "Oh, my little dears, why would you want to pay your big brother Vanity a visit?" he asked.
"We just want to see you happy, that's all," Sassette said.
"We heard that you got sick and decided you needed company," Nat said.
"You didn't happen to be smurfing on those glowberries in the forest like I was a day ago, were you?" Snappy asked.
"No, it was something far much worse, and something you should smurf away from," Vanity said.
"If it's smurfed you in the hospital, it's probably for the best that we don't smurf whatever it is you were smurfing," Slouchy said.
"I wish Periwinkle would visit the village soon, and help you smurf better, Vanity," Sassette said. "She's so beautiful, I could only wish that I could be like her."
"Yeah, but she's too much like Vanity, in love with herself," Snappy said.
"That doesn't mean she can't grow beyond herself, Snap," Nat said. "Who knows what she's capable of smurfing if given the chance."
"Well, we can still hope for her visit sometime soon, if that would help Vanity fully recover," Slouchy said.
"I don't think I deserve all the attention I'm smurfing right now, but I appreciate you Smurflings for trying to help cheer me up, believe me," Vanity said.
"Vanity, Smurfette has brought Polaris Psyche here," Doctor informed him.
Vanity nodded slightly, understanding. "I need to be alone with Smurfette and Polaris, my little darlings," he said to the Smurflings. "I'll see you later, hopefully."
"Sure, Vanity," Sassette said. "Come on, Smurflings, we'd better give him some time alone with Smurfette and Polaris."
"Just smurf in there, buddy, you're going to smurf a whole lot better," Snappy said encouragingly before the four departed.
Smurfette and Polaris came close to Vanity's bedside. "This one came as soon as possible, fellow Vanity," Polaris said. "Just what is it that you need to tell this one about?"
"I know who it is that lured me into the habit of smurfing pixie dust while I was visiting Periwinkle, Polaris," Vanity said.
"You know?" Smurfette said, sounding curious. "Tell us."
"I don't remember his name or his face, but he was the one who showed me how the pixies make pixie dust," Vanity said. "He tried to show me a sample which he smurfed was for...personal enjoyment."
"Would you mind if this one probed your mind to discover the full identity of who it was that introduced you to this habit?" Polaris asked.
Vanity nodded. "You're certain you're going to find out through my memories?"
"This one cannot be certain of what this one will find, Vanity, but hopefully what we will discover will bring some things to light," Polaris replied.
Vanity sighed. "Just smurf ahead. I don't seem to have much to lose anyway."
"Just relax and let this one enter into your mind," Polaris said. Vanity closed his eyes and relaxed while Polaris placed two of his fingers on Vanity's face to enter directly into his mind.
There was a rush of images that flashed through Polaris' mind as he sifted through the memories of Vanity's mind. And then he saw Vanity with Periwinkle, enjoying their visit together as she showed him all around Pixitopia, showed him all the various designs and fashions she was creating, and just generally enjoying their company together.
And then came a memory where Vanity was being escorted through the pixie dust refinement facility where he saw how pixie dust was made. There was a pixie with Vanity whom Polaris didn't recognize from Papa Smurf's memories of the pixies. This one led Vanity through the facility, showing the various processes in which the pixie dust was made. And then after the tour the two of them were alone together in the office of that pixie.
"It's all very interesting, Scullcap, but this tour is starting to tire me out," Vanity said.
"Then perhaps you would like something as a pick-me-up before you return to Periwinkle," Scullcap suggested.
"Do you have tea or acorn brew on hand?" Vanity asked.
"No, but I have something much better than either of those things," Scullcap answered. He then produced a handful of pixie dust in his hand.
"Pixie dust? But I thought you pixies only use it for magic," Vanity said.
"This special variation of pixie dust is made in a special way that gives you an energetic boost, where you feel like you can do anything," Scullcap said.
"But how do I take it?" Vanity asked.
"The only way you can safely ingest it is by inhaling it," Scullcap said.
"Uh, I don't know about it," Vanity said. "Papa Smurf said that I should be careful trying substances that I don't know about."
"Papa Smurf isn't here to tell you anything," Scullcap said. "You're in charge of your own life now here. Just take a try and see for yourself. It won't hurt you."
Vanity reluctantly took a pinch of powder and sniffed it up his nose. The memory suddenly became a bit more vibrant as Polaris experienced the same euphoric experience as Vanity did. Then Vanity sniffed the rest of the handful out of Scullcap's hand, and the euphoric experience was further heightened.
"Oh, sweet mother of Smurfness, this is better than acorn brew," Vanity said, reeling from the experience.
Scullcap smiled wickedly. "Shall I give you a few more samples before you go?"
"Oh, yes, please," Vanity said.
Then another being stepped into the memory, this one vaguely resembling a troll. "I think we have ourselves a customer, boss," the troll said.
"I know we do, Wild Dagga," Scullcap said. "Make sure our customer has what he needs before he returns to our dear Periwinkle."
"Yes, boss, right away," Wild Dagga said before he departed.
The rest of the memory became vague from that point on, but Polaris sensed that he had all that he needed to know. He removed his hand from Vanity's face, feeling a damp cold sweat throughout his body.
"Polaris, what is it?" Smurfette asked, noticing Polaris' reaction. "What did you discover?"
"Someone among the pixies has given Vanity this substance to imbibe on, and he isn't working alone," Polaris answered. "We got to find who it is this pixie was working with and expose his complicity or else things will be for naught."

Empath and Papa Smurf entered the chambers that Periwinkle showed them to for their stay. "I hope you will enjoy yourselves during your stay," Periwinkle said. "I must get back to my personal activities."
"We're not here to stay for long, Periwinkle," Empath said. "We're just here only to expose who it may be that is giving Vanity those drugs."
"Perhaps you should entertain us by telling us what you were doing with Vanity during the time he was smurfing with you," Papa Smurf said.
"Well, I gave Vanity a tour throughout the entire kingdom," Periwinkle said. "He was interested in seeing everything there was in it. I introduced him to Scullcap, who is in charge of the pixie dust refinery. I made sure that he was well escorted wherever he went. We spent some time together with me showing him my latest fashions and designs. We had meals together. We watched performances together. He was a perfect gentleman throughout the entire time...except for something that I did start to notice of him."
"What did you notice of Vanity that raised up a concern with you, Periwinkle?" Empath asked.
"He just didn't seem the same after Scullcap had taken him through the tour of the pixie dust refinery," Periwinkle said. "It's like something took a hold of him and started to change him for no reason. I tried not to say anything to him, but the state of Vanity as he left us worried me."
"We're worried about him too, Periwinkle," Papa Smurf said. "We're smurfing him the best care possible, but I'm afraid we know very little about pixie dust and how it smurfs as a drug to provide a possible cure."
"Is it possible that we can examine the facility for ourselves so that we know what it is that may have went on there with Scullcap and Vanity?" Empath asked.
"That place is heavily guarded, but I can escort at least one of you there, provided that you tell no one about how pixie dust is even made," Periwinkle said.
"We have no interest in making pixie dust for ourselves, Periwinkle," Papa Smurf said. "We just want to see your friend and ours resmurfed to health again."
"Then you should take this smurf with you, Periwinkle," Empath said. "This smurf may help us get past the guards in order to find out what's going on there."
"I can assure you, Empath has nothing on his mind but to help out Vanity," Papa Smurf said.
Periwinkle nodded with understanding. "Then we should go immediately. The less my father knows about what we're doing, the better."
"We will hopefully return as soon as possible, Papa Smurf," Empath said as he and Periwinkle left the chambers together with Papa Smurf watching.

Empath and Periwinkle got as close as they could to the pixie dust refinery. Already Empath could sense there was something wicked going on in the facility, but he couldn't determine what it was.
"There's Scullcap's office," Periwinkle said. "But it's heavily protected."
"This smurf will provide cover for us, Periwinkle," Empath said. He then raised his hand and used his telepathic abilities to make the guards see absolutely nothing, to fool them into thinking that all is well.
Empath and Periwinkle steathily went past the guards and got close to the door of Scullcap's office. From inside they could hear two beings talking with each other.
"When am I going to be paid for my deliveries of pixie dust, boss?"
"You will get paid when you sell enough volumes, Wild Dagga. Meanwhile, we have a new problem on our hands."
"Yes, boss, what is it?"
"These two Smurfs have come to look around for the ones who have given Periwinkle's friend some of our samples. If they discover who it is behind the sales, then we are doomed."
"So what do you want me to do, boss?"
"We need to make it look like those Smurfs have come to steal more pixie dust for themselves and thus get them out of the way. Just be careful of the old one with the beard, though."
"What happens if they should interfere with our plans?"
"They won't, as long as you know how to play your part, Wild Dagga."
"That sounds like Scullcap, but who is this Wild Dagga?" Periwinkle whispered.
"This smurf senses the presence of both a pixie and a troll in that room," Empath whispered. "This smurf would assume that Wild Dagga is the troll."
"And he's helping Scullcap with making pixie dust deliveries?" Periwinkle said, sounding startled. "But why?"
"This smurf senses that his intentions are to make a profit from selling pixie dust as a recreational drug to unsuspecting customers," Empath answered.
"Then we need evidence that this is what he has intended," Periwinkle said.
Then Empath sensed something. "Here they come. They're about to leave."
Both of them hid themselves behind the door to the side that it opened toward as Scullcap and Wild Dagga both began to leave together. Empath got a vague look at Wild Dagga and sensed that he must be the seller of the product.
"Do they notice us, Empath?" Periwinkle whispered.
"This smurf's abilities are still shielding us from his notice," Empath whispered back. Then Scullcap closed the door to his office and left the area of the facility.
"That door has a special lock that only Scullcap can open, Empath," Periwinkle said.
"Let's see if this smurf can't break the lock," Empath said. He touched the door handle and focused his telekinetic powers to move around the tumblers in the lock. Soon they heard a click, and Empath opened the door so that he and Periwinkle could enter.
They looked around for anything they can use as evidence against Scullcap when Periwinkle noticed something lying on the floor. "That looks like Vanity's traveling bag," she said.
"Why would Vanity's traveling bag still be here?" Empath asked.
She looked inside and found contents that she remembered being in there. "These are the bottles of fragrances that I have put in his bag," she said. "Scullcap must have found a way to switch bags before he left us."
Empath understood what had happened. "Then we must bring this to the attention of King Goldenrod if this is what happened," he said.
"Empath, what are you doing?" Periwinkle said as he stood before a bureau and just stood there touching it.
"Just seeing if there are any pieces of evidence we can find to prove that Scullcap is behind all this," Empath said. Then he sensed something and opened a drawer to pull out a file folder that was marked PROJECT EUPHORIA.
Periwinkle looked at the file folder Empath pulled out. "Project Euphoria. What is that?" she asked.
"It's probably just what we need," Empath answered. He read the file papers and discovered something interesting. "It says here that Scullcap intended to create a separate facility that would alter the composition of pixie dust so that it would heighten the euphoric properties of pixie dust and that it could be used for recreational purposes. It lists everything we need here to know about how to alter the composition, where the secret facility is located, diversion of funds, everything. Scullcap is operating a drug ring right under your father's nose, and he may also have been behind getting Vanity to become a drug addict, if what this smurf is sensing is true."
"Oh dear," Periwinkle said. "We'd better bring this evidence to my father immediately or else..."
"Or else what, Periwinkle?" a voice broke in.
The two of them turned to see who had just entered the office. "Scullcap, how could you do this to my dear father, behind his back?" Periwinkle asked. "And how could you do this to Vanity?"
"Your father is a tired old king, my dear," Scullcap said. "It's time for new blood to take the throne, and to throw off the shackles of his reign so that we could have a kingdom where everybody could enjoy themselves on the pure bliss of my special pixie dust. As for your friend...consider him the unfortunate price of business."
"You're not going to get away with this, Scullcap," Empath said.
"Oh, but I am, and you, my young friend, are going to help me," Scullcap said. "We're going to frame Periwinkle as a traitor to the kingdom, and the people are going to revolt against her and her father for his carelessness in watching over her, and when things are in a state of chaos, I am going to step in with you by my side and declare myself as the new ruler of this kingdom."
"And how are you going to do that?" Empath asked, challenging his adversary.
"I'm surprised you even asked that question," Scullcap said, pulling out a vial full of white powder. "You're going to inhale this powder, and you're going to do everything that I say while you're under the influence."
"I'll die before you smurf me any of that junk," Empath bravely stated.
Scullcap sighed. "I guess we're going to have to do things the hard way. Guards, seize our visitors."
The guards suddenly came and seized both Periwinkle and Empath. Empath struggled to get free, but somehow he could feel his strength becoming useless, as if what the guards was wearing was resistant to his abilities.
"Just relax and give in to the pleasure of euphoria," Scullcap said, pouring out a handful of the dust into his hand and then blowing it right into Empath's face.
Empath ended up breathing in the dust through his nose, and then suddenly he could feel as if he was floating in a cloud, feeling so wonderful, as if the world no longer mattered to him.
Scullcap smiled wickedly. "There now. That didn't hurt so much, did it?"

Wild Dagga was walking out of the borders of Pixitopia without anybody noticing him at all. He seemed to be very pleased with what he was doing that he whistled a song that he had heard and sung so many times before. But then he suddenly walked into somebody who was taller than him.
He looked up and saw that it was a Psyche. "Well, hello there, stranger," Wild Dagga greeted. "What is it that I can do you for?"
"Do you know anything about a pixie named Scullcap?" the Psyche asked.
"Uh, Scullcap?" Wild Dagga said. "Uh, no, sir, never heard of the name before."
"This one senses that you have, and that you have private dealings with this person regarding a certain illicit product you are selling," the Psyche said.
"Illicit products? Me? Why would I do such a thing like that?" Wild Dagga said. "I'm just a humble trader of goods. I occasionally do my business with pixies."
"You're not going to escape this one even if you try," the Psyche said. "It would be wise for you to surrender yourself and explain what your dealings were about."
"Well, good luck with that," Wild Dagga said. "I've got other business to attend to. Have a good day."
The Psyche watched as Wild Dagga tried to make a run for it. But then the Psyche caused his star mark to glow, and Wild Dagga tripped and fell to the ground, unable to move anywhere.
Wild Dagga was cursing himself and the Psyche he ran into when the same Psyche came and picked him up from the ground with incredible strength. "Now are you going to assist this one in helping to bring a criminal to justice, or are you going to take his side and be incriminated along with him?" the Psyche asked.
"Please, don't send me back there!" Wild Dagga begged. "I'm just doing what Scullcap wanted me to do. He's the one you want."
"Then you better confess before the court what you know about your boss before this one forces you to in a most unpleasant manner," the Psyche said.
"No! Not that!" Wild Dagga cried out. "Please! I'll do anything!"