Just then, Duncan McSmurf joined the other Smurfs at the counter. "Say, laddies, what kind of story is Narrator telling you this time?" he asked while Tapper poured him another glass of sarsaparilla ale.
"Oh, it's this smurfdiculous story about how Smurfette became the leader of the Smurf Village, Duncan, not that I can believe a smurf of it," Brainy said.
"Smurfette being the village leader, eh?" Duncan said. "Well, that was just what I was discussing with Hefty and Tuffy, and neither of them believe that Smurfette would ever be smurf out for the job...not that I would agree with them on that."
"Nor would I believe it myself, my good Duncan, for I have always heard that the McSmurfettes and the Ailill clan Smurfettes are always the strongest-smurfed Smurfettes that can smurf their own against their Smurf counterparts," Tapper said.
"But Smurfette doesn't belong to any of those clans, since she was originally a creation of Gargamel, Tapper," Chatty said. "So what would that make her?"
"Do I really need to belong to a clan to prove myself as a Smurfette around here?" Smurfette asked, sounding indignant.
"No, of course not, lassie," Duncan said. "But as the only adult Smurfette in this village, having to smurf up with about a hundred male Smurfs has got to smurf a bit of the McSmurf spirit in you to deal with everything that your fellows can smurf at you on a daily basis."
"The only armor that you'll ever need is the armor of the spirit, my dear Smurfette," Tapper said. "Nothing in the world can smurf you as long as you smurf yourself in that armor and never let yourself be smurfed unguarded."
"So the story brings us up to the point where Smurfette and her fellow Smurfs are having a small party for all the hard work they have smurfed together and for Smurfette being smart enough to deal with the village's problems in her own unique way," Empath said. "What comes next, Narrator?"
"It was during the party that Smurfette and Sassette decided to turn in early for the night, but little did their fellow Smurfs ever know where they were really going," Narrator said.
As Narrator continued the story, Empath and his fellow Smurfs saw that the Smurfs in the story were having a wonderful time at the party, dancing, singing, eating, and talking to each other. Only Grouchy didn't seem to be having a good time, as he was standing next to Harmony, listening to him playing his trumpet out of tune. "I hate out-of-tune trumpet music," he said.
Smurfette was standing near some of her fellow Smurfs talking to them with Sassette and the Smurflings next to her when Hefty approached her. "Say, Smurfette, would you like to smurf a dance with me?" he asked politely.
"Uh...I'm a little tired, Hefty," Smurfette said. "The day was really smurfy for me, so I think that I'll be smurfing off to sleep now."
"Already?" Hefty said. "It's barely past sundown, and you want to go to smurf?"
"If I'm going to be a good leader, I need to make sure that I'm well prepared to smurf the tasks that are ahead of me for the following day," Smurfette said.
"Come to think of it, I need to smurf off to bed myself," Sassette said.
"But Sassette, it's not even anywhere near your bedtime, and Smurfette just allowed us to smurf up late for the party," Snappy said.
"I know, Snappy, but if I'm going to help Smurfette tomorrow, I need to be just as well-rested as she is," Sassette said. "You can enjoy the party without me."
"Well, if that's what you want, we'll smurf you tomorrow morning," Nat said.
"Goodnight, everyone, have fun," Smurfette called out as she and Sassette both left together. The other Smurfs at the party also said goodnight to her before they resumed with the festivities.
Both Smurfette and Sassette got as far as the gate to Smurfette's house when Sassette said, "Nobody's watching us, Smurfette."
"Good, now let's smurf out of here," Smurfette said quietly.
And so the two Smurfettes made their way out into the forest without being seen by any Smurf, following a path that led toward the desert in the area known only as the Cursed Country. Smurfette remembered that she and Hefty had to go through the same desert together in order to get Sir Johan and Peewit's help to deal with a dragon and his master who had set fire to their village and kidnapped all the Smurfs to make them work in his diamond mine.
Then soon upon approaching a hill, Sassette saw a campfire at the top. "There he is, Smurfette," she said.
They both went up the hill and saw that Papa Smurf had camped himself on top of a hill near the desert, looking through a telescope. "Papa Smurf," Smurfette called out.
"Smurfette! Sassette! Are the both of you all right?" he asked, looking away from the telescope that he had set up.
"We're all right, Pappy Smurf," Sassette said. "In fact, everyone in the village is all right. We just smurfed out here because Smurfette had some good news to smurf you."
"Thank you, Sassette," Smurfette said. "What I wanted to smurf you is that I have smurfed such an impression on the other Smurfs while I was leading the village during the time you were away that they wanted to smurf me as 'Smurfette The Great'...but naturally I had to smurf it down."
"You should have seen it, Pappy Smurf," Sassette said. "Tailor had smurfed up this dress and hat for Smurfette to wear. We were ready to call her Mama Smurf...well, at least me and the other Smurflings were going to call her that."
"Mama Smurf?" Papa Smurf said with a chuckle. "Well, Smurfette has some years ahead of her before she is ready to be called that, but I will say that I am happy for the both of you. I knew that Smurfette would succeed in her job, and that you, my little Sassette, would be faithful to her as her assistant."
"To tell you the truth, Papa Smurf, it was a hard role to smurf at first, and I was going to leave it in order to seek you," Smurfette said as she and Sassette sat down to talk with Papa Smurf.
"As a wise Smurf once said, Smurfette, it's lonely at the top, and being the leader of the village can smurf pretty lonely for me at times when there's no other Smurf my age that I can smurf to for advice," Papa Smurf said. "Fortunately, you smurfed on good. It's impossible to succeed as a leader of anything if you don't have any perseverance."
"This means that you can return soon, Pappy Smurf," Sassette said. "The other Smurfs won't even know that you've been smurfing out here all this time."
"I'll be here smurfing until dawn, Sassette," Papa Smurf said. He then directed their attention to the small ball of light that was in the sky. "There's this hairy comet that I've been smurfing with my telescope that's smurfing above us right now. It's a rather rare occurrence that I have been smurfing out here in the desert just to see it on a clear night like tonight."
"A hairy comet?" Smurfette said, as she and Sassette took turns looking through the telescope to get a better look at it.
"I wonder if this is a he comet or a she comet if it has any hair, Pappy Smurf?" Sassette asked after looking at it.
Papa Smurf chuckled. "I don't think comets are either hes or shes, Sassette. But if I were to give this one a name, I would name it 'The Great Smurfette'."
"Oh, I get it...like 'Smurfette in the sky with diamonds' or something," Smurfette said with a giggle. "Anyway, it makes me think of what it would be like to always be smurfing in the sky, looking down upon my fellow Smurfs, like Astro Smurf when he tried to smurf into outer space."
"Maybe you should try it someday, Smurfette," Sassette said. "I'm sure that an Astro Smurfette can succeed in smurfing one small step for Smurf and one giant leap for Smurfkind."
Papa Smurf chuckled at the thought. "I don't think we'll be smurfing through that again anytime soon, Sassette, but maybe someday Smurfs might succeed in smurfing to the stars where only others have dreamed of smurfing such a thing."
"Well, it's time for me to smurf back to the village, Papa Smurf," Smurfette said as she yawned. "Come, Sassette, we need to smurf back home."
"Oh, Pappy Smurf, can I stay with you to watch the hairy comet in the sky?" Sassette asked. "Oh, please, can I, can I, can I?"
"Of course you can, Sassette," Papa Smurf said. "I'll make sure that she returns with me right before dawn, Smurfette. That way, in case anyone asks, I'll say that I have found her smurfwalking into the forest."
"Oh, all right, Papa Smurf," Smurfette said as she turned to walk toward the village. "I'll smurf the both of you in the morning."
"And so Smurfette returned alone to her house to sleep at night while waiting for Papa Smurf to smurf home with Sassette, but she would wake up to a very unsmurfy surprise waiting for her," Narrator said.
And with that, Empath and his fellow Smurfs saw Smurfette wrapping some pancake-like breads in a cloth to put in a basket that she would give to Papa Smurf for breakfast that morning, along with a jar of smurfberry jam. On her way to Papa Smurf's house, she ran into Handy who wanted to talk to her about something important.
"Oh, good morning, Smurfette," Handy said. "Say, I've got to smurf a small inspection on the suspension bridge, and I think that we should..."
"Oh, we'll see it when Pa...that is, we'll both smurf it later," Smurfette said as she passed right by him.
At that moment, the boy Smurflings came running up to her. "Hey, Smurfette, do you know where Sassette is?" Snappy asked.
"She said that she was going in smurf in early last night with you, but we haven't smurfed her in her bed when we smurfed to sleep," Nat said.
"You think that she has smurfed away from the village, Smurfette?" Slouchy asked.
"I don't know where she could be, Smurflings, but it's likely that she was smurfwalking last night," Smurfette said. "I'll smurf out into the forest to find her if she doesn't return soon."
"Now why would Sassette be smurfwalking all of a sudden?" Snappy asked his fellow Smurflings.
"Who knows?" Nat asked. "Papa Smurf's going to be mad at us if we can't find her soon."
Smurfette sighed. She didn't like having to lie to her fellow Smurflings, but she knew Sassette was safe with Papa Smurf, though it made her wonder why Papa Smurf didn't put Sassette in her bed right before dawn when he returned. Maybe he was so tired that he could only put her in the spare bed he had set up in his house for the Smurflings whenever they needed be around him sometime in the night when they slept.
She approached Papa Smurf's house and, after looking around to make sure no Smurf was looking, quietly entered in. "Papa Smurf? Sassette?" she called out. She looked around and saw that Papa Smurf's bed and his spare bed were both empty, and there was no sign of his traveling bag anywhere. That made Smurfette feel worried, that something had happened to the two Smurfs while they were out in the desert.
She left Papa Smurf's house and headed straight for the forest, only again to be intercepted by Handy. "Say, Smurfette, about the bridge..."
"Not now, Handy, not now!" Smurfette said, waving him off before she continued on her way. She followed the path toward the desert and went up the hill where she saw Papa Smurf camping the previous night, but there was nothing left on top of the hill but a smoldering campfire and two trails of footprints.
"Oh dear! Something must have been smurfing for them," Smurfette wondered to herself as she followed the footsteps that led to a spring. "Was it the comet or...?"
She stopped when she saw Papa Smurf's traveling bag lying open on the ground with his spare pants and his telescope pouring out, making it look like some creature that got too exhausted to go anywhere or worse. She also saw that there were other footprints -- big ones made by a human -- and there was a bit of brown fur that was caught in a small branch within a bush.
"Big foosteps? Brown fur?" Smurfette said as she examined both items. Then she realized what had happened. "Gargamel and Azrael! They have captured them!"
"Indeed it was Gargamel who captured them," Narrator said. "And while Smurfette was wondering what to do, to either inform the other Smurfs about Papa Smurf's and Sassette's whereabouts or to smurf after them by herself, Gargamel was in his laboratory gloating about his capture to the only two smurfs that were with him...Azrael and his apprentice Scruple."
Then Empath and his fellow Smurfs saw Gargamel placing a key inside a small clay jar while Azrael and Scruple looked on at the two Smurfs in a small cage. "So it's true that the passage of comets announce that extraordinary events will happen," Gargamel said with an evil laugh. "We took two Smurfs, and not just any Smurfs at that...it was Papa Smurf and that annoying little brat who keeps thinking that I'm her real father."
"Pappy Gargamel, how can you do something unsmurfy like this both to me and to Pappy Smurf?" Sassette asked.
"It was quite simple, my dear little Sassette," Gargamel said. "When I saw that light that was on top of that hill, I was immediately thinking, 'there is a Smurf below'. But I did not approach him out in the open, oh no. Instead, I had set up an ambush near the source, I waited patiently...and presto! I got more than what I was hoping to get. And they say that I'm not smart?"
"Ooooh, not possible!" Papa Smurf said. "Someone might actually say that?"
"Well, I would, if there was nobody else around for Master Gargamel to hear it from," Scruple said, as both he and Azrael laughed.
"That's it, mock me all you want, Papa Smurf," Gargamel said a bit angrily. "I'll have the last laugh when I see you and your little daughter Smurf stewing right in my cooking pot." He then pointed at both Azrael and Scruple. "And as for you two, neither of you are going to be laughing at me when I'm through with you."
"I can't believe that you would be so heartless as to smurf your own daughter for a meal, Pappy Gargamel," Sassette said.
"You can have me for whatever you want to smurf, Gargamel...just let Sassette go," Papa Smurf said.
"Now why would I want to do that, Papa Smurf?" Gargamel said. "After all, in order to create the Philosopher's Stone, it's going to take a total of six Smurfs, and since you two are here, I'm sure that it won't be long before the other Smurfs will come to rescue you and that little whiner from my clutches."
"That's if you can even catch them, Gargy, which I doubt that you're able to do even with the two of us," Scruple said.
"I'll show you that I'm able to catch more Smurfs, you no-good little...," Gargamel began to say before he was interrupted by a knocking on his door. He opened it up and saw that it was a raven delivering a message to him. He read who the message was from before opening it. "'The Order Of The Sorcerers'? What do they want now? I have paid my dues!"
He then opened the message and read aloud: "'Following various complaints we have heard about you, we have decided to inspect your facilities and to check your basic knowledge of alchemy and sorcery...' Oh, goat fodder, this is too much! What nerve they have to inspect me, a wizard of a well-known reputation!"
"Yeah, sure, everybody knows Gargamel the Goof-up, Gargamel the Failure, Gargamel the Powerless," Scruple said, as both he and Azrael laughed together.
Gargamel ignored Scruple's comments as he continued to read the message. "'The examination will consist of a practical exercise and the questioning of the potions and spells. No spell books can be used in the examination.'" His eyes shot wide open when he reread the last part. "No spell books?!? But I don't know any of the formulas by heart!"
"None? Oh, how very disappointing," Papa Smurf said, making a clicking sound with his tongue to express mock sympathy toward his adversary.
"You think that you know more than me, you dwarf?" Gargamel shouted, grabbing the cage that Papa Smurf and Sassette were placed in.
"I didn't say that, Gargamel, but I do have a few centuries of experience in the magical arts," Papa Smurf said.
"A few centuries of experience?" Gargamel said, realizing something. "Why, that's it! You're the solution to my problem, Papa Smurf! The jury will come tomorrow, and you're going to help me pass the review."
Outside Gargamel's hovel, Smurfette was approaching when she heard Papa Smurf and the evil wizard talking with each other. She got up onto the window and saw through it that Papa Smurf and Sassette were in a cage being held captive by the wizard and his cat and apprentice.
"Me, give you any help as a sorcerer?" Papa Smurf said. "Never, Gargamel, never!"
"Oh, be reasonable for once, Papa Smurf," Gargamel said. "If you help me pass my review, I will renounce reducing you and little Sassette to a broth!"
"Pappy Smurf, please say yes to Pappy Gargamel," Sassette pleaded. "It may be the only way that he can finally be nice and smurfy toward us."
"Just give me one reason why I should believe you, Gargamel," Papa Smurf said.
"I swear that it's the truth," Gargamel said. "On...on the heads of my dear Azrael and my darling boy Scruple, I solemnly swear."
"Oh, who are you kidding, Gargy?" Scruple said. "You'd never swear to be true upon anything in your life. What makes you think Papa Smurf's going to believe you now?"
"Quiet, Scruple!" Gargamel shouted. "I'm the one who's doing the swearing, not you!"
"Scruple does have a point, Gargamel," Papa Smurf said. "There's just too much history between us to ever make me believe that you'll keep your word on your promises."
"Ooooh, you're making it more difficult, Papa Smurf," Gargamel said. "If you don't help me pass that review tomorrow, you and that little Smurfling are going to be a rather tasty treat, and then let's see how your little Smurfs will handle things without you being there for them."
Smurfette didn't like what she was hearing. "Please, Papa Smurf, say yes!" she shouted without thinking.
At that moment, Gargamel turned around and saw who it was at the window. "Well, well, well, look who's here," Gargamel said as he noticed Smurfette. "It's my other darling little daughter who's come to see the end of her Papa Smurf."
"Smurfette! Look out!" Papa Smurf cried out as he saw Azrael appear behind her.
Smurfette screamed as she saw Azrael. She barely avoided being swiped at by his paw as she jumped through the hole in the window, only to land roughly on the floor inside Gargamel's hovel.
"Azrael! Scruple! Don't let her escape!" Gargamel ordered.
Smurfette ran to find someplace to hide or escape from either Azrael or Scruple. She found an open pantry and jumped into it, but then Scruple suddenly closed the doors after she had entered it and locked it so that she couldn't escape.
"So now you have two Smurfs to worry about, Papa Smurf...the little one with you in the cage, and the one in the pantry with a starving cat watching over it," Gargamel said. "So either you're going to help me pass the review tomorrow, or Smurfette is going to become kitty food for Azrael, as will also Sassette."
Papa Smurf sighed. "It seems that I have no choice but to agree with you, Gargamel. But I will only do it on the promise that you will let both Smurfette and Sassette go."
"I will let only one of you go, and since Smurfette is the one that the Smurfs love the most, she will be the Smurf that I will let go," Gargamel said.
"Then it will be Smurfette," Papa Smurf said. "And though I don't trust you, I am doing it with the hope that for once you will keep your word."
"Pappy Smurf, how is having Pappy Gargamel releasing Smurfette going to help us escape?" Sassette asked.
"Smurfette will inform the others of our whereabouts once she reaches the Smurf Village, Sassette," Papa Smurf said. "As much as I regret keeping my little Smurfs in the dark just for the sake of Smurfette trying to be recognized as a capable leader of Smurfs, this may be the time when we'll have to break the silence about our little plan."