Part 4

Empath slept beside Polaris in the bed next to his in the infirmary all that night, sleeping very soundly. He woke up the next morning, feeling a bit refreshed and eager to find his friend also awake and reinvigorated from the Long Life Elixir when he noticed something strange that happened to Polaris.
Empath tapped Polaris on the shoulder, from which he also awakened. "Salutations, fellow Empath," he greeted, sounding a bit stronger than he was the day before. "This one has a feeling that Long Life Elixir has worked in restoring this one's health and life."
"This smurf senses that it has worked, Polaris," Empath said. "But there's something that has happened to you that this smurf did not expect to happen."
Polaris took a look at his hands and noticed something about them. "Empath, why is the skin on this one's hands the same shade of blue as yours?" he asked.
Empath did not know how to answer that question. "Maybe we should bring you to a mirror so you can see for yourself what has happened to you," he suggested.
Empath helped Polaris get out of bed and took him over to a nearby mirror, where Polaris saw for himself that it wasn't just his hands that turned blue...it was his entire body that has also turned blue, leaving just his yellow star mark on his forehead intact. His blond hair from his head was now also gone, replaced by a completely bald head.
"Great Ancestors!" Polaris exclaimed, his face registering complete shock. "You mean to tell this one...that this one...is now a Smurf?"
"You are not completely a Smurf, Polaris," Empath replied. "Feel around your posterior and see if there's anything there that shouldn't be."
Polaris felt around his behind. "There's nothing there, Empath, just this one's posterior," he said.
"Then fortunately you haven't grown a tail like a Smurf," Empath said. "Apparently the Long Life Elixir when applied to you has caused an unexpected side effect that made you appear like a Smurf."
"But how long is this side effect going to last, Empath?" Polaris asked, sounding a bit worried.
"This smurf honestly doesn't know, Polaris, for it is the first time that we even tried the Long Life Elixir on you," Empath answered. "For all we know, this could end up being a permanent condition that you will have to live with for the rest of your life."
Polaris stood there looking at himself in the mirror in complete silence for about a minute or so, trying to comprehend the idea about the side effect being a lasting effect. He didn't know how to feel about what this could mean for him.
"This smurf honestly apologizes, Polaris," Empath said, trying to break the silence with some words of comfort. "This smurf just wasn't expecting for this to happen."
Just then, Papa Smurf had entered the infirmary to check in on Polaris when he also noticed what had happened to him. "Great Smurfs of Fire, Polaris, what has happened to you?" he asked, sounding rather surprised.
"It is a side effect of the Long Life Elixir when it was applied to this one, Papa Smurf," Polaris answered. "Somehow it has changed this one's appearance to resemble that of a Smurf, except that this one hasn't grown a tail in the process."
"Oh, so that explains it," Papa Smurf said. "How are you feeling this morning?"
"Other than experiencing the feeling of being in shock over the change in this one's appearance, this one feels that this one is now functioning at normal capacity, Papa Smurf," Polaris answered.
"Well, maybe we should examine you first and foremost so that we know that you are smurf and healthy today, Polaris," Papa Smurf suggested.
"It's all right, Polaris," Empath said, trying to sound reassuring. "Papa Smurf isn't going to do anything to harm you while he does the examination."
"This one admits to starting to feel a bit too warm with this shirt on," Polaris said as he took off his shirt and sat back on the bed to allow Papa Smurf to physically examine him, enduring the touch of the village leader's hands on his body as he went through the examination procedures.
After a while, Papa Smurf was finished. "As far as I can smurf, Polaris, you seem to be in perfect health for a Psyche...or whatever you might be now. I don't see any need to keep you smurfed in here, but I will have my little Smurfs watch over you from time to time to make sure you don't smurf down with something worse while you're resmurferating."
Polaris nodded. "This one acknowledges and understands, Papa Smurf."
"You might need a change of clothes to something that will make you look less conspicuous to the other Smurfs," Empath suggested.

And so Empath took Polaris over to Tailor's shop, where Tailor looked at Polaris in his current appearance and made some measurements. "While you are waiting for your new pants, Polaris, may I suggest you smurf through my collection of hats, that you may find something that smurfs you very well?" he said before going off to another part of his shop where he could assemble Polaris' new pair of pants in private.
"This one does not understand the point of selecting a hat from Tailor's collection if they all look the same, Empath," Polaris said as he looked through the collection and noticed it for himself how they all appeared.
"This smurf doesn't fully understand how the Smurfs could see each white hat as being distinct from one another if they all appear to be the same either, Polaris, but that's just how most of the Smurfs behave around here," Empath said. "It's the same thing with Smurfette when she goes through her dresses and tries to pick which one she would wear, even though all her dresses are pretty much the same type of dress."
"So somehow the Smurfs are able to see distinctions in things like clothing that otherwise appear to be the same to everyone else," Polaris surmised. "It is a rather odd behavior pattern that this one wouldn't expect to be present among your people, Empath."
"But it sure makes living among them rather interesting, Polaris," Empath said as he looked through the collection of hats and then picked one that he thought would look good on Polaris. "Here, try this on and see how it looks on you."
Polaris put on the hat and then examined his appearance in the mirror while wearing it. "It is surprising that this one somehow bears an uncanny resemblance to you while wearing the hat, Empath," Polaris commented.
Empath looked at himself with Polaris in the mirror and smiled. "You can say that we almost look like twins together, Polaris," Empath said.

Sometime afterward, Polaris stepped out of Tailor's shop now wearing just a white hat and pants, looking pretty much like a regular Smurf. "This one feels rather underdressed in these clothes, Empath," Polaris said, feeling like he would rather not be seen in public as he now appeared.
"Nobody's going to make fun of you for how you appear, Polaris, trust this smurf," Empath said, trying to sound encouraging.
Smurfette soon appeared, carrying Baby Smurf with her. "Hello there, Empath," she greeted until she got a look at Polaris standing next to him, and then added, "My smurfness, did you just suddenly smurf a duplicate of yourself?"
"Smurfette, this is Polaris Psyche who is just recovering from the effects of the degeneration with the Long Life Elixir," Empath explained. In a lower voice, he added, "It has a side effect of...making him look like a Smurf."
"Really?" Smurfette said, casting her eyes at Polaris. "Well, it certainly makes him smurf just as smurfy as you do, Empath."
"Empath's twin," Baby Smurf said.
"Yes, well, it is uncertain how long this side effect will last, Smurfette," Polaris said, sounding a bit uneasy about Smurfette staring at him like he was an object of desire. "This one's condition will be monitored to make sure that the reviving properties of the Long Life Elixir will be long-lasting."
Smurfette smiled. "At least you're still alive for the time smurfing, so I'll smurf you alone unless there's something that I might need you to smurf for me, if you're still interested in watching over Baby Smurf. Enjoy the rest of your day, Polaris."
"Bye, Polaris," Baby Smurf said, waving as Smurfette walked away with him.
Empath gave Polaris a sly kind of half-smile, as if he was either approving of how Smurfette was interacting with Polaris in his current condition or just a little jealous of the attention his friend was now getting from her. Polaris just stared at him as if thinking that was the last thing he wanted Empath to think that he was thinking.
"We might as well see if we can get anything from Greedy's kitchen that will satisfy our appetites now that we have skipped past breakfast," Empath suggested.
"This one shares the same sentiment, Empath," Polaris said. "This one is starting to feel rather hungry."

Greedy was already working on the day's lunch when Empath and Polaris had entered the kitchen. "Since you two are late for breakfast, you both smurf the honors of having to eat nutrient paste," he said "It may not be the smurfiest thing in the world for you to eat, Empath, but I don't think Polaris is going to have any problems with it."
"Nutrient paste is fine, Greedy," Empath said as Greedy ladled out a bowl for both him and Polaris, trying not to complain about his lack of choices for breakfast. "But this smurf is wondering if you have any smurfberry jam on hand to give this smurf's serving some flavor."
"Fortunately for you, I still have a jar left," Greedy responded. "Just don't smurf the whole thing in your bowl to try covering up the taste." He reached into the cupboard to pull out an unopened jar of smurfberry jam and gave it to Empath to carry.
"This one appreciates your allowing us to still have breakfast at a later time, fellow Greedy," Polaris said before he followed Empath to the dining commons.
When Empath and Polaris got settled at their table with their nutrient paste, their glasses of water, their silverware, and their napkins, they both closed their eyes and clasped their hands together as Polaris prayed. "Great Ancestors of Psychelia who watch over all who desire to be among you in our day of ascension, grant us the blessing of this meal which has been provided for us, and may it nourish our bodies so that we may seek to please those whom we serve."
"And so let it be," Empath responded. He proceeded to put some smurfberry jam onto his nutrient paste and mixed it in so that the jam's flavor would be in the paste. He took a spoonful and swallowed it. "Hmmm, not bad for a new way to flavor a Psychelian delicacy," he commented.
Polaris ate a spoonful of his own without anything in it and found himself grimacing at how it tasted in his mouth. He then took the jar of smurfberry jam and started scooping some of it into his own bowl of nutrient paste, mixing it in for the sake of giving it flavor. He then ate his next spoonful of the paste and found the taste surprisingly delightful as his eyes just flashed wide open.
Empath noticed this when he looked at Polaris eating his nutrient paste with smurfberry jam. "Now there's a first...you're actually eating nutrient paste with some flavor added to it," Empath said.
"This one does not know how or why, but this one now feels a need to eat things that actually have flavor to them," Polaris said.
Empath watched as Polaris continued to eat his paste until his bowl was empty, and then suddenly he took the jar of smurfberry jam and started eating its contents until the whole jar was empty.
Polaris noticed that Empath was staring at him, smiling in either apparent amusement or amazement, as he was now eating smurfberry jam straight from the jar. "There must be something in the smurfberries that is just so...addicting to this one," Polaris said when he was finished.
"That was just how this smurf felt when this smurf ate his first batch of smurfberries years ago, Polaris," Empath said. "There's nothing about it that you need to feel ashamed about."
"But how could this be...if this one is supposed to be a Psyche and not a Smurf?" Polaris wondered.
"Try not to take it the wrong way, Polaris, but there's a bit of Smurf in you when the Psyche Master created the Psyches," Empath said.
"The Psyche Master has told you this while you were in private with him?" Polaris asked, not liking what he was hearing.
"The Psyche Master never wanted this information to be shared with the other Psyches in Psychelia, but when he first created the Psyches, all he had to work with...was the genetic structure of the Smurf when he created them from Smurf essence," Empath answered.
"And now you tell this one the information that the Psyche Master has kept secret to make this one feel better about what's happening to him now?" Polaris said with a hint of disbelief in his voice.
"This smurf has no intention of throwing everything you believed about yourself as a Psyche into doubt, Polaris," Empath said. "It's just that this smurf feels you deserve to know the truth, even if it is hard for you to bear with."
Polaris sighed heavily. "This one believes that you have the best of intentions, Empath, but as one of your fellow Smurfs is fond of saying, the road to Hades is paved with good intentions."

After Empath and Polaris have finished their breakfast together, they left the dining commons to discuss something that was now also troubling Polaris.
"Since this one woke up this morning, this one has also discovered that this one's minds-eye abilities are not functional," Polaris said.
"You mean that you can't sense what anybody is thinking or even feeling right now?" Empath said. "What about your telekinetic abilities?"
"This one has not yet tested them, Empath, but if this one's telepathic abilities are affected, then it should stand to reason that this one's telekinetic abilities are also equally affected."
"Well, let's try it out now," Empath suggested. "See if you can get yourself to lift off the ground and fly."
Polaris decided to do that. He closed his eyes and concentrated as hard as he could to use his mental abilities to lift himself off the ground. His face became a grimace as he balled his fists and struggled hard to focus on doing that one simple task. After a minute or so, he just let out a big breath of exhaustion and relaxed his pose as he felt frustration set in. "It's impossible, Empath," he finally said. "Somehow this one is just unable to do it."
"Maybe that's also a side effect of the Long Life Elixir, Polaris," Empath guessed.
"But this one wonders how long that side effect is going to last, Empath," Polaris said, starting to sound a bit worried. "If this one is unable to regain control over those abilities, then what will this one do?"
"We'll get through this together, Polaris, trust this smurf," Empath said. "Right now this smurf is a bit envious of being like the other Smurfs without this smurf's abilities."
Just then, Tapper and Duncan were walking towards them. "Smurf o' the morning to you, lads," Tapper greeted. "I see that our friend Polaris has survived the night, though not without a change to his person."
"Aye, he does seem to smurf a lot like you there, Empath," Duncan jested.
"This one's condition is at present a side effect of the Long Life Elixir, Duncan, which this one does not know how long it will last," Polaris said rather defensively.
"Oh, sorry about that, laddie," Duncan said. "I didn't think that you would be smurfing this a bit too personally there."
"This smurf is thinking that Polaris could be of some help to you two Smurfs while he is recovering from his degeneration," Empath suggested.
"Then I would be happy to have him help smurf some important tasks in my tavern, my fellow Empath," Tapper said. "What do you think, Duncan?"
"Better that he would be smurfing with us than with anyone else on a day like this for him, laddie," Duncan said. "Don't worry there, Polaris, nobody's going to smurf you any trouble when you're with us."
"This one is grateful to be considered to assist you," Polaris said as Empath watched him walk off with Tapper and Duncan.