Part 5

Polaris helped Tapper move kegs of sarsaparilla ale from his distillery to the tavern, which made him feel somewhat useful to be put into some form of active duty while he was recuperating even as awkward as he was also feeling about being in the appearance of a Smurf.
"You know, Polaris, smurfing at you right now, you remind me of how Empath used to be in his early years of being a Smurf like us," Duncan said.
"This one is pretty much aware of Empath's early experiences of being around you Smurfs during his visits here, Duncan," Polaris said. "But then again, Empath was born a Smurf, so he should have been experiencing what it's like to be a Smurf from infanthood instead of having to do so years later."
"I can personally understand Empath's feeling of awkwardness of being around his fellow Smurfs in just a hat and pants, my fellow Polaris," Tapper said. "Ever since my days as a Smurfling, I was always taught that a good barsmurfer always dresses like a gentlesmurf, which is partly the reason you would hardly see me smurfing in anything less than my standard clothes. And besides that, I admittedly do feel a little ashamed of my own appearance compared to that of my fellow Smurfs when I do appear in anything less."
"This one has sensed that about you, Tapper, which makes this one admire you for your honesty on that particular issue about yourself," Polaris said.
"Yeah, well, Tapper's yet to find the right Smurfette that will bring out the real Smurf in him, laddie," Duncan said. "Not that Smurfette herself hasn't tried smurfing so, but she rather smurfs a fancy to Tapper appearing the way he is most of the time, so that's going to smurf a good while to happen."
"Do you believe that there might be female adult Smurfs living in a village similar to your own, Duncan?" Polaris asked.
"I only believe that it might be a possibility there," Duncan answered. "Of course, I do wonder what they might even smurf like. Who knows, it could be a bunch of Smurfettes that all have the same color hair except for their leader, smurfing leaves as masks and living in some forbidden part of the forest that we haven't smurfed yet."
"That's something that every Smurf here has dreamed about at one point or another, Polaris," Tapper said. "But whether or not such a group actually exists, it will not smurf me from living according to the will of the Almighty, in complete purity and holiness all the smurfs of my life."
"All the smurfs of his life," Duncan scoffed. "I swear that the laddie is just going to smurf into a complete monk if this keeps smurfing on with him."
"This one is not offended by Tapper's choice of a life pursuit, Duncan," Polaris said. "In fact, that's what the Psyche Master and the Great Ancestors demand of the Psyches, for that's how a Psyche will someday be able to be counted worthy of ascending to the Ancestors on that day of passing from this life."
"I would rather you be able to be smurfed worthy of the resurrection and the life that is to smurf when this world passes away, my friends," Tapper said.
Just then, Vanity came passing by the tavern. "Hello there, my fellow Smurfs," he said before he got a look at Polaris and then added, "My, where did that handsome specimen of a Smurf came from?"
"That 'handsome specimen' happens to be Polaris Psyche, you peacock," Duncan said with a bit of distaste.
"His condition is apparently a side effect of the Long Life Elixir that Papa Smurf and Empath had smurfed to him the night before, my fellow Vanity," Tapper explained.
"Well, he certainly smurfs close enough to be identical to Empath...if it weren't for the fact that he doesn't have a tail," Vanity commented after he got a closer look at Polaris in his current condition.
"So what smurfs you here besides just smurfing at yourself in the mirror all the day long?" Duncan asked.
"Oh, I just thought I'd check up on Polaris, to see if he's still smurfing," Vanity answered. "But I surely didn't expect this side effect to happen to him. I can only wonder how long he's going to smurf like this."
"I'm afraid that none of us really know for sure, Vanity," Tapper said. "All we can do is make sure that he doesn't smurf a relapse of the degeneration that happened before the cure was applied to him."
"Don't fret that smurfy little head of yours there, laddie," Duncan said. "If anything happens to our friend, we'll smurftainly let you know about it."
"I only hope so," Vanity said. "Anyway, Polaris, I'm surely glad that you're smurfing better. I might as well go and smurf off to elsewhere while you're recovering. Ta ta for now."
Polaris watched with Tapper and Duncan as Vanity walked off. "This one didn't like the feeling of how Vanity was looking at this one in my current condition," Polaris said with a bit of distaste.
Tapper sighed. "We can only pray that his attraction to things that aren't smurfy for him won't smurf him down the wrong path to destruction, my fellow Polaris," he said.
"It's certainly not an appropriate thing for a male Smurf to be smurfing," Duncan said, feeling the same way.
Just then, Hefty and Handy were both passing by. "Say, who's the new fake Smurf that's smurfing in our village?" Hefty asked when he spotted Polaris without recognizing him.
"What do you mean 'fake Smurf', Hefty?" Handy said. "Other than not having a tail, he smurfs pretty real to me."
"You remember the last time we had a Smurf in the village that didn't have a tail, Handy?" Hefty asked. "It surprisingly smurfed out to be Hogatha the witch, which makes you wonder why she smurfed into a male Smurf in the first smurf."
"You smurfed me, Hefty," Handy said. "Anyway, I'm not interested in finding out what parts a Smurf has or doesn't have, if you know what I mean."
"This new Smurf here is actually Polaris, my good friends," Tapper said. "He's currently recuperating from the degeneration that he was smurfing through by having the Long Life Elixir being applied to him, and apparently this was its side effect."
"A side effect?" Hefty said, sounding a bit amused. "I didn't think that Polaris really wanted to be a Smurf so badly."
"That actually wasn't this one's intention, Hefty," Polaris said rather defensively. "In any case, this one's minds-eye abilities are also affected by the cure, so there's no telling when these side effects are going to disappear."
"Oh, so now you can't smurf our minds," Hefty said. "That makes things a bit more comfortable on my part, since there's now one less star-face to deal with."
"Why do you always assume that Empath and Polaris want to smurf control over our minds, Hefty?" Handy asked, not liking what Hefty was suggesting.
"Because neither of them truly belong as one of us, Handy," Hefty replied. "Those two were better off being in Psychelia with those other star-faced freaks, where the only minds they can smurf is each other's. I don't want either of those creeps to smurf into my minds and smurf control over me."
"How dare you call Empath and Polaris creeps, you miserable sock head!" Duncan roared, sounding ready to let Hefty have it.
"Please, my fellow Smurfs, let's not smurf into a fight here," Tapper said, trying to keep the peace. "Empath and Polaris have as much right to smurf here as anyone, as long as they're not harming anyone else."
"Well, I'm going to make sure it smurfs that way," Hefty said, balling his fists together and cracking his knuckles.
"Excuse this one, but this one needs to distance himself from this situation before it escalates," Polaris said before he just walked away.
"Do you feel smurfy with yourself now, Hefty?" Handy asked, sounding very displeased as the others watched Polaris walk away.
"So what if Polaris walks away, Handy? It's not like he could stand smurfing the truth when it really hurts," Hefty said.
Tapper sighed heavily. "I honestly don't think this is really going to help Polaris with the situation he's in now, my fellow Hefty."

As Polaris was walking off on his own, he came across Jokey, who was carrying one of his "surprises" with him. "Hey, Polaris, how are you feeling today?" he asked politely.
"This one is currently recuperating from the degeneration with the help of the Long Life Elixir that has been applied to this one last night, although it has produced this kind of side effect that you see," Polaris explained.
"Oh, so that's why you look like Empath all of a sudden," Jokey said. "You know, I think that I prefer that kind of smurf on you over your old one."
"This one does not wish to stay with this appearance, Jokey, although admittedly this one does not know how long this will last," Polaris said.
"Well, maybe this kind of smurf will stay with you forever, just so you would know what being a Smurf feels like," Jokey said.
"Is that supposed to help this one feel better about himself, Jokey?" Polaris said, sounding a bit angry.
"Relax, Polaris, I wasn't trying to offend you," Jokey said. "I'm just thinking that you and Empath could smurf places with each other from time to time to confuse your fellow Smurfs, maybe smurf a good laugh out of it."
"This one does not find this situation even the least bit amusing, Jokey," Polaris said.
"Anyway, here's a present that will help you smurf better about yourself with what you're smurfing through," Jokey said as he presented his present to Polaris.
"Are you certain that this isn't one of your usual 'surprises', Jokey?" Polaris asked.
"Smurfs' honor, Polaris, you can trust me," Jokey replied.
Polaris relaxed a bit as he opened up the present, only to find that it exploded on him, as it is typical of Jokey's presents.
"Fooled you, Polaris," Jokey said, laughing at Polaris' reaction.
Polaris sighed as he held what was left of the present in his hands, wondering how much more abuse he was going to take.

Meanwhile, far beyond the Smurf Village, in an observatory overlooking the forest, Chlorhydris the witch sat at her telescope, observing all the activity going on in the world, with her attention focused mostly on the Smurfs.
"How I dearly hate those wretched Smurfs," she said to herself. "They have the nerve to live happy and peaceful lives in their comfortable little village, hidden from the eyes of everyone except me and my telescope. They have thwarted my attempts to destroy happiness in the world these several times, and now they have this star-clothed Smurf among them that protects them from every sort of evil that they themselves cannot handle."
"Awwrk, that's a-not fair," her pet toucan spoke.
"I swear that I will find a way to destroy the one who calls himself their guardian Smurf, my pet," Chlorhydris said. "When he becomes subject to the very things that I plan to do with him, the Smurfs will lose all hope in him and realize how frail and weak they really are in a world that's much bigger than they are." Then suddenly, she noticed something. "What's this? There are two of these Smurfs with stars on their foreheads? Now this could mean much worse trouble than I have expected."
"Awwrk, much-a worse trouble indeed," her toucan said in agreement.
As Chlorhydris continued to watch the other Smurf with a star mark, she noticed one thing about him that was different. "Apparently, this 'other star-marked Smurf' among them is a fake. Seeing how attached they must be to this 'fake Smurf', I must find a way to lure him to my lair, and then hopefully that will draw the real star-marked Smurf to me as well. When I have them both in my hands, then the real fun will begin."
Chlorhydris let out an evil laugh along with her pet toucan as she headed for her books to devise her plan.

The Smurflings were busy playing around outside their tree stump playhouse when they saw Polaris approaching. "Simpering spiders, who could that be?" Sassette asked as she looked on at Polaris in confusion.
"I didn't know Empath had cloned himself all of a sudden," Snappy said.
"He sure smurfs weird and all with the white suit," Slouchy said.
"I have a feeling that it must be Polaris Psyche, with what the Long Life Elixir must have smurfed to him," Nat said.
"That's Polaris?" Snappy said in disbelief. "No way!"
"He sure looks as smurfy as Empath with the blue skin," Sassette said, her eyes seemingly fixed on Polaris' appearance.
"Well, you're still too young for the likes of Empath, Sassy," Slouchy said.
"Salutations, my fellow Smurflings," Polaris greeted, though sounding a bit less enthusiastic than usual. "How are things going with you today?"
"Oh, we're pretty much fine, Polaris," Nat answered. "We were just wondering about you."
"Yeah, how you got so blue and smurfing like you're Empath's clone," Slouchy added.
"This appearance is apparently the side effect of the Long Life Elixir that has been applied to this one to cure this one of the degeneration," Polaris answered.
"So this means you're going to be smurfed with this appearance for a good while?" Snappy asked.
"Who knows, this might end up being a permanent condition, Snappy," Nat said.
"Well, I don't mind it being a permanent condition," Sassette said, sounding like she's still too enamored with Polaris.
"I think you might want to be careful around Sassy, Polaris," Slouchy said in a sly tone. "She seems to have the smurfs for you."
Polaris looked at Sassette's eyes and noticed this for himself. "Yes...well, this one is sure that she will eventually grow out of the infatuation that she currently has for this one, Slouchy."
"So has anything else changed about you since you've been smurfed the cure?" Nat asked.
"It's just that this one's appetite for food has somehow changed, Nat," Polaris answered. "Where this one would normally be allergic to anything with sugar, this one has now developed an appetite for...smurfberries."
"Smurfberries?" Snappy asked. "Oh, smurf out of town! I didn't think that someone like you would even like smurfberries at all."
"But you haven't yet mentioned this to Papa Smurf, have you?" Nat asked.
"Neither has this one mentioned to him that this one's minds-eye abilities have somehow stopped functioning so that this one cannot even sense anything of what the other Smurfs are thinking or feeling," Polaris answered.
"Smurfs like you're going to be stuck smurfing as one of us for the time smurfing, Polaris," Slouchy said.
"I'm sure we can help you smurf like you're one of us now, if that's what you want," Nat suggested.
"As long as I can smurf with him anywhere," Sassette said, grabbing a hold of Polaris' hand and just gently rubbing her face with it.
Polaris sighed.

Brainy and Clumsy were both walking together with Painter. "Gosh, Brainy, I wonder how Polaris is doing with that cure that Empath and Papa Smurf had smurfed him," Clumsy said.
"I'm beginning to wonder that myself, Clumsy," Brainy said. "I mean, it's very noble of Empath to be smurfing him a possible cure made from Smurf essence that was also used to cure Selwyn and Tallulah, but we honestly don't know if it has smurfed his friend any good."
"Well, M'sieu Brainy, we're certainly going to find out," Painter said. "I'm still wanting to smurf my next masteurpiesa with him as the subject, but how can I smurf with someone who just is too self-conscious about himself to even want to be a subject for a masteurpiesa?"
"Uh, I don't know, Painter," Clumsy said. "Maybe he just doesn't like to pose for a picture."
"I'm still waiting to be the subject of Painter's next picture, Clumsy," Brainy said. "How is the village supposed to know that I, the great Brainy Smurf, am quite wise and intelligent when all that they smurf of me is what they smurf before their faces every day with me smurfing in their presence personally?"
"Only when pigs fly will I consider you to be the subject of my next masterupiesa, M'sieu Brainy," Painter said. They soon stopped at the Smurflings' playhouse when they noticed a Smurf among them that looked rather familiar. "Sacre bleu, it can't be!" he cried out.
"Is that...Polaris?" Clumsy asked, also as surprised as Painter was.
"I would have to say that it is, Clumsy," Brainy said, sounding equally perplexed. "But what I don't understand is how he smurfed blue like a Smurf all of a sudden."
"And if M'sieu Polaris is a Smurf, why doesn't he now have a tail?" Painter added.
"Painter Smurf, just because Polaris is blue does not mean that he is now a Smurf," Brainy said. "It's obvious to smurf that he is still a Psyche, since Psyches do not have tails for some reason that eludes me."
"Well, maybe the tail has yet to smurf in or something, Brainy," Clumsy suggested.
"That's not what the Long Life Elixir is supposed to do, Clumsy...at least from what I understand of the formula," Brainy said. "It must be something that has to do with how Psyches are created that smurfs out the traits of a Smurf when the Long Life Elixir is applied to them."
"All I can smurf is, if he's blue like a Smurf, then he is a Smurf to me, M'sieu Brainy," Painter said.
"Uh, yeah, what Painter said," Clumsy said in agreement.
Brainy snorted. "That only smurfs how much you know, Painter," he said, looking at Polaris with some suspicion.