Part 6

Empath and Smurfette traveled down the path to the seashore. There they saw several giant flowers as well as several giant green-spotted outcroppings that looked like they were eggs or rocks.
"Oh, Empath, look," Smurfette said. "Those flowers look like they're wilted."
Empath and Smurfette turned aside to examine the flowers. "Whatever these are, something nearby is causing them to lose their nutrients from the soil. It may be those outcroppings that are in the sand."
"How are we going to smurf those flowers back to health?" Smurfette asked.
Empath spotted a female figure on the beach. "Maybe she would be able to provide some answers," he suggested. They both went over to see the female figure, who turned out to be an elderly woman that looked like she was a gardener.
"Oh, kind sir and madam, could you help me with a problem?" the elderly woman asked.
"This smurf senses that you are the one smurfing care of the flowers over here," Empath said.
"My name is Flora, and yes, I do take care of those giant flowers," the woman said. "But since those Eggshell Turtles have been nesting in this area, my poor babies are all wilted. Could you please be a dear and help me remove them from the beach so that my babies can be healthy again?"
"We'll see what we can do, Flora," Smurfette said, trying to sound comforting. "Empath, can you sense anything from the Eggshell Turtles?"
Empath touched one of them and scanned it with his minds-eye. "It appears to be sleeping, Smurfette. Maybe a little ground punch will wake it up."
Smurfette and Flora both stood back as Empath took a moment to build up his telekinetic power to deliver a powerful ground punch. Then suddenly he punched straight down toward the ground, causing a shock wave that was powerful enough to dislodge the Eggshell Turtle from its resting place. It crawled around on all fours, looking very upset for being awakened from its sleep. Then suddenly it leaped up into the air, as if it was going to land straight on top of Empath.
"LOOK OUT!" Smurfette cried out.
Empath quickly dodged the attack as the Eggshell Turtle landed on its back, stuck in the sand and unable to move. "This smurf senses that the only way to defeat this creature is to pound it into the ground while it's smurfing on its back," he said.
Suddenly he leaped high over the creature, then landed straight down on top of it with his feet. The creature disappeared, leaving behind a small patch of flowers. At that instant, Smurfette noticed something. "One of the giant flowers is reviving, Empath," she said.
"You're doing it," Flora said, sounding amazed. "You're restoring one of my flowers to full health."
"That's one down, several more to go," Empath said.
And so Empath went through each of the Eggshell Turtles on the beach, awakening them from their sleep, letting them get stuck in the ground while lying on their backs, and then pounding them into oblivion, causing more small flowers to grow and also reviving each of the giant flowers.
Finally, when the last Eggshell Turtle was taken down, and the last giant flower was revived, Empath dusted off his hands. "Those turtles shouldn't be smurfing you anymore trouble, madam," he said.
"Oh, thank you, kind sir," Flora said, sounding grateful. "As a reward, you may have this." She then produced what appeared to be part of a broken star, all gold and shiny.
"You were keeping a part of the Mystic Star, Flora?" Smurfette asked.
"Of course I was, young lady," Flora said. "Be aware, though, that your journey to collect all five pieces of the Star will be fraught with danger on every side. Stay close to your companion lest you be taken captive and brought to King Tortarus as his prisoner."
"King Tortarus?" Empath asked, curious to know who he was.
"He's king of the Tortarians that live on this island along with the Utopii, whom I am friends with," Flora explained. "He'll stop at nothing to make sure the Mystic Star is never put back together, for that would mean the end of his evil kingdom."
"We'll smurf that in mind, Flora," Smurfette said. "Thanks for helping us."
As Empath and Smurfette head off from the beach, they didn't notice that a turtle-like creature was spying on them the entire time they were helping Flora. He quickly dashed away before either Empath or Smurfette could spot him.
"Well, that wasn't so bad, Smurfette," Empath said. "It almost felt like we were smurfing a game."
"I don't know about this, Empath," Smurfette said. "We could be smurfing ourselves in all sorts of danger trying to smurf together the Mystic Star."
"But it would be worth it to remove this King Tortarus from this island forever," Empath said. "Besides, compared to the things we faced before, how dangerous could he really be?"
"I don't think you should be smurfing fate asking that kind of question, Empath," Smurfette said.

The turtle-like creature entered into a hole in the ground hidden by a rock, which turned out to be a tunnel leading to an underground passageway and then into a chamber where similar turtle-like creatures lived. They looked as if they were all preparing to take over the island, as they were working on various types of war machines and doing military battle drills.
Two large turtles guarded a special chamber which no one was allowed to enter except by appointment. "State your business, Creepshell," one of the guards said as the turtle-like creature approached them.
"I have important news to tell our king, about two blue people who are seeking after the Mystic Star," Creepshell said.
"New visitors of the island? Why should he be concerned?" the other guard asked.
"I have seen the blue male being, and he is possessed with supernatural abilities," Creepshell answered. "He got rid of the Eggshell Turtles at the beach."
Then a loud growling voice roared from inside the chamber: "BRING ME CREEPSHELL RIGHT NOW!!!"
"Uh, okay, Your Majesty," the first guard said. "Creepshell, you are free to enter." He and the other guard stood aside and opened the door to the chamber.
Creepshell entered and saw a giant turtle-like creature sitting on a massive throne. "Oh, King Tortarus, I, your grateful servant, am humbled by your presence," Creepshell said as he bowed down on his knees and worshiped before the king.
"You say that there is a visitor on the island that has gotten rid of the Eggshell Turtles that were on the beach, ruining the flowers in the Garden of Flora," King Tortarus said.
"I have seen him, and indeed he is very powerful, and he has a mate with him," Creepshell said.
"I am curious as to what those two are doing on the island, if their intent was to retrieve all the pieces of the Mystic Star," King Tortarus said.
"I have only seen one of their kind before, but he wasn't here for that particular purpose, Your Majesty," Creepshell said.
King Tortarus scratched his chin, meditating in thought. "If those two have heard about the Mystic Star and are seeking to find all its pieces, then they must be stopped. I must have the female brought to me unharmed so I can discover from her what their intentions truly are."
"Yes, Your Majesty, right away," Creepshell said, bowing before the king several times before leaving the chamber.

Back in the village, Handy and his crew of workers were starting on the remodeling of Smurfette's house, putting in new sections to the base house itself. There was a lot of activity going on as wood was being cut and shaped and nailed in place, ground was being broken up, bricks were being laid, and windows were being cut in the raw material of the mushroom walls.
Hefty stopped in the middle of his work to talk with Handy. "Well, this is smurftainly hard work getting this house prepared for Empath and Smurfette's return home, Handy," Hefty said.
"I thought that you enjoyed smurfing hard work, Hefty," Handy said.
"I do, but this is for a couple that I wouldn't expect I'd be smurfing anything for, especially when it's Empath," Hefty said.
"That's funny," Handy said. "At the wedding you said that you were over your jealousy of Empath marrying Smurfette."
"Maybe I still have a bit of that jealousy," Hefty said. "I always thought that I would be smurfing this for my future house with Smurfette as my bride."
"I know what you mean, Hefty," Handy said. "I imagined myself being the one who would be smurfing this house over for Smurfette if I happened to be her husband."
"So I guess we both lost as far as arguing over which of us is going to marry Smurfette," Hefty said.
"I still think of what I could be smurfing if I were to ever marry Marina the mermaid, if that was possible," Handy said.
"That would be pretty hard for the two of you to smurf together, unless somehow one of you was able to change how to live," Hefty said.
"I would be glad to give up living as a Smurf if I could live to be with Marina forever and ever in Atlantica," Handy said.
"Well, time for me to smurf back to work," Hefty said. "I'll smurf with you later."
Handy nodded as he watched Hefty return to what he was doing. He sighed as he thought about Marina and how happy she is now with Dylan the Snorkelian being in her life. It didn't seem fair that he had to fall in love with somebody that he could never be with for the fact that he was a land person and Marina was a sea person. But as he heard Papa Smurf say again and again, life is never fair.
Duncan stopped by from his work on the house to check up on Handy. "Hey, laddie, are you all right?" he asked, sounding concerned.
"I'm just thinking about Marina right now, Duncan," Handy said. "She's happy being with Dylan now and I'm feeling lonely because she's with him and Smurfette is with Empath."
"I'm sure there's plenty of fish in the sea, if you don't mind my manner of smurfing, that you can smurf your heart to if you just smurf it a chance," Duncan said.
"Yeah, but if there isn't anybody out there that can love me, what good would my life smurf me after this?" Handy said.
"Just be patient about it, laddie," Duncan said. "You're sure to smurf the right one in time. Smurfette was able to wait to find Empath, and she's happy with that."
"You seem to be confident in the face of insmurfmountable odds, Duncan," Handy said.
"You've got to smurf the heart of a warrior if you want to smurf through this world, and most of the battle is from within rather than from without," Duncan said. "Don't worry, we'll smurf through this together."
"Gee, thanks, Duncan," Handy said, trying to sound grateful.
"Well, look who just smurfed up here, smelling like he's been with someone," Duncan said as he saw Wild approaching them, looking like he had the best time of his life in the Imaginarium.
"I feel so smurfy, like I'm ready to smurf out there into the forest right now!" Wild said, making growling noises.
"I'm glad to have helped you there, laddie, but you're not going to wait until Empath and Smurfette smurf home from their honeymoon?" Duncan asked.
"I'll be back when they smurf home," Wild said. "Right now, I feel so smurfed up and ready for action."
Duncan chuckled. "You might as well get smurfing there while the fire is still smurfing good."
Handy and Duncan both watched as Wild made a high leap onto the top of a Smurf house and then headed straight into the forest and disappeared. "What was that all about, Duncan?" Handy asked.
"Just something that's his own personal business to smurf about, laddie," Duncan answered.

Empath and Smurfette were both walking together on the path when they both stopped, Empath sensing a feeling of sadness. He looked at Smurfette and asked, "Smurfette, are you all right? This smurf is wondering what's wrong."
"That's funny, I thought I was feeling sadness smurfing from you, Empath," Smurfette said.
"But if you're not sad and this smurf is not sad, then what is causing this feeling among us?" Empath asked.
Smurfette turned to look behind her and saw something. "Empath, look!"
Empath looked and saw what Smurfette was seeing...a spectral being that had a look of sadness on his face. He seemed to be perpetually weeping.
"Oh, pardon my appearance," the being said. "I must be frightening to the both of you. I didn't mean to make you feel sad."
"You haven't frightened either of us, but we were wondering who was feeling sad right about now," Empath said.
"But who are you, and why are you following us?" Smurfette asked.
"My name is Willow, and I am the Weeping Ghost," the being said. "I am sad because I have wandered from my grave to look for my house, and I can't seem to find it. I am wondering if you could help me."
"We are on a quest ourselves, to find the pieces of the Mystic Star," Empath said.
"The Mystic Star? I may be able to help you find a piece, if you are able to help me," Willow offered.
"We would be glad to help you, Willow," Smurfette said. "Empath, does the map show us any kind of house on the way?"
"There is one that appears on the way, Smurfette," Empath said, pulling out the map and looking at it. "But whether that is Willow's house is anyone's guess."
"We might as well smurf the chance, for who knows whether we will smurf anything there that will help us," Smurfette said.
"I would be eternally grateful for your help, kind beings," Willow said, trying to sound cheerful.
Empath put away the map before he and Smurfette continued onward with Willow following behind them. The both of them couldn't help feeling an overwhelming sadness emanating from Willow's presence.
"So what are you two doing on the island, if I may ask?" Willow asked.
"We are on our honeymoon together, because we have just been married, and we wanted to enjoy ourselves away from our fellow Smurfs," Empath said.
"You are married?" Willow said. "Oh, I wish I knew what it was liked to be married."
"What happened to you, before you became a ghost?" Smurfette asked.
"I was waiting for my sweetheart to return to me after she had left the island many years ago because we have pledged to be married and to live together in our happy home," Willow answered. "But I waited years and years for her and she never returned, and I ended up dying of a broken heart, being alone."
"That's unfortunate that such a thing happened to you, Willow," Empath said.
"We worry about that for our fellow Smurfs, since I'm the only female Smurf that they could have married," Smurfette said.
"So there's only one female Smurf for the many of the male Smurfs where you came from?" Willow said. "That makes me feel even sadder than before."
"Oh, please don't cry, Willow," Smurfette said, trying to sound comforting. "I know that our fellow Smurfs will survive this marriage."
"There it is, the house on the path," Empath said, directing their attention to the house that they were just approaching in the distance.
"That looks like my house!" Willow said, sounding excited. "Quick, let's get to it so that I can see everything in it!"
Empath and Smurfette walked a little faster so that they could reach the house that Willow said was his. It looked like a simple cottage made of stone and thatching, a smaller version of most houses the Smurfs would see in human villages.
Smurfette tried to open the door, but couldn't get it to budge. "It must be locked," she said.
Empath tried to open it himself using his touch-telepathy, but also couldn't get it to open. "This must be somehow resistant to my abilities," he said.
"Here, let me try it," Willow offered. Empath and Smurfette stepped aside and watched as Willow touched the door with one of his arms. Suddenly the door opened, and the three of them entered and looked around.
"It looks like Willow hasn't lived in here for ages, Smurfette," Empath said as he visually examined everything in the house, seemingly full of dust and cobwebs.
"Look at this picture right over here, Empath," Smurfette said, noticing the picture of a beautiful female figure sitting on a table.
Empath and Willow came over to see the picture. Willow recognized who it was. "That's my sweetheart Mulberry," he said. "I kept that picture with me ever since she left. That's the only thing I have left of her until I died."
"This smurf feels sorrow for your loss, Willow," Empath said, showing empathy unto the spectral being.
Willow floated around the room, examining everything in it that was from his life among mortals. Empath and Smurfette could both sense that Willow was reliving the memories he had of being alive, of the happiness he had when Mulberry was a part of it, and the sadness that followed when she was no longer in it.
"Oh, Mulberry, if I could only have enjoyed our first night of total intimacy together," Willow said after he had finished his examination. He then turned to the couple. "What was it like...you know, your first night together...?"
"That's a rather personal question, Willow," Empath said. "But if you must know, we both enjoyed the experience together."
"It was wonderful, and I couldn't have asked for a better Smurf to share such a moment with," Smurfette said.
Willow sighed, seemingly satisfied with the knowledge. "Take me back to my grave upon the hill," he requested. "I have seen enough, and it's time for me to rest."
Empath and Smurfette both complied, as they shut the door of the house behind them after they and Willow left. This time Willow took the lead as he directed them on a path that led to a single tombstone that was erected upon the hill.
Empath and Smurfette both stood in front of the tombstone, carefully keeping their distance in respect for the dead. "'Here lies Willow the Weeper. May he rest in peace.'," Empath read.
"Is there anything else you would want us to do?" Smurfette asked.
"You have done all that I could have asked of you," Willow said. "I have promised you to help you in your quest for the pieces of the Mystic Star, and now it is time for me to fulfill it. May the two of you enjoy your lives together." And with that, Willow lowered himself into the ground and never came back out.
Smurfette looked and waited, but nothing seemed to have appeared. "Is that all?" she asked.
Empath approached the tombstone and touched it. He sensed something that was underneath it, so he carefully moved the tombstone aside and looked. Underneath was something gold and shiny. "That's it! He was hiding a piece of the Mystic Star!"
"Oh, how smurfy!" Smurfette said, sounding excited. She stood and watched as the piece of the Mystic Star hovered until it joined with the piece that they already had.
"That's two pieces of the star so far," Empath said. "This smurf senses that there are three more to find and assemble."
"So I wonder where we're going to find the next three pieces so that we can restore peace and tranquility to this island," Smurfette said.
"This smurf is certain we will find them somewhere along our journey, Smurfette," Empath said. "Let's return to the path so we can resume."