Part 6

Sometime later, Papa Smurf was walking around the village with Empath, having a private discussion among themselves. "So how's Polaris dealing with the side effects of the cure that we have smurfed him, Empath?" Papa Smurf asked.
"So far, Polaris seems to be taking the whole matter of what he's been turned into for the time being all in stride, Papa Smurf," Empath answered. "However, he is concerned about his minds-eye abilities not being restored along with his health. But that's not the only thing that weighs heavily on this smurf's mind right now."
"I know, you're worried about him being accepted by all his fellow Smurfs," Papa Smurf said.
"This smurf senses that it was a struggle for him to deal with being around those who consider him an outsider just as much as they once considered this smurf an outsider, Papa Smurf," Empath said. "But now that he appears as one of them...or almost like one of them...he's going to be scrutinized more closely by those who are out to make him as nothing more than an imposter disguised as a Smurf."
"I can't say that I fully know what's smurfing on with Polaris since I'm not him and I don't know him as well as you do, Empath," Papa Smurf said. "But I do know that smurfing the right thing when it comes to smurfing with outsiders is not always the easy thing to smurf, especially when we don't know too much about the outsider to begin with."
"You've taught this smurf much about how we should treat outsiders, and this smurf takes those lessons to heart so that this smurf would know how to deal with them in any sort of situation, Papa Smurf," Empath said. "This smurf can only aspire to have the same wisdom and experience that you have in your many years of living when it comes to those situations."
"We all have to learn from our own experiences in life, Empath," Papa Smurf said.
Just then, the two of them heard Harmony going about the village using his horn as a signal. "Hear ye, hear ye, my fellow Smurfs," he cried out. "The first meeting of the Order of the True Smurfs will commence at the Smurf Theater, by the proclamation of Hefty Smurf. All who are interested, please attend at once."
"The Order of the True Smurfs?" Papa Smurf said.
"This smurf senses that there's something not right about this gathering Hefty is calling for, Papa Smurf," Empath said with some foreboding.
"Then we must smurf for ourselves this meeting," Papa Smurf said, agreeing with Empath's sentiment.
They both headed for the Smurf Theater, where there was a small gathering of Smurfs sitting in front of the stage, while Hefty stood at the front, with red banners having the Smurf head symbol in a white circle flanking him on either side.
"The time has come for us to stand as True Smurfs, my fellow Smurfs," Hefty said as he began his speech. "For too long we have allowed a pale-faced star-marked pretender to smurf among us as though he was one of us. But he's not one of us and he never has been one of us. He's smurfed with pale skin, and he never smurfs the clothes of a True Smurf, and he's been smurfed with a star mark that lets him smurf into our minds when we don't want him to."
"But Empath also has a star mark, Hefty Smurf," one Smurf said.
"And he never smurfs into our minds without permission," another Smurf added.
"He's just one special Smurf among us, my friends," Hefty said. "But even he has allowed this outsider to influence him and let him smurf among us, this smurf who will destroy your way of smurfing and mine by making us smurf the kind of life he wants us to smurf. And do you think he will be the only one from among the outsiders who will smurf this? No, he won't. Because there will be others who will smurf from that place to smurf the same thing, and they won't stop until they either destroy us or we submit to them."
"You tell 'em, Hefty," a third Smurf in the crowd shouted.
"This is the time that we need to smurf up a new order in the village, the Order of the True Smurfs," Hefty said. "This order will make sure that we Smurfs are the only Smurfs that will smurf in the village, and that pretenders like Empath's friend are not welcome here under any smurfumstances. This is our village, our way of life, and no one will make us submit to anything that isn't of a True Smurf. So who's with me in forming this new order?"
Only a few Smurfs raised their hands while the rest just got up and decided to leave, grumbling among themselves.
"This hatefulness has got to stop right now, Papa Smurf," Empath said, sounding a bit offended by what he heard.
"I agree," Papa Smurf said. They both approached the stage and confronted Hefty. "Who smurfed you permission to smurf this assembly of Smurfs, Hefty Smurf?" he demanded.
"Are you saying that I don't have a right to assemble a protest, Papa Smurf?" Hefty asked.
"Every Smurf in this village has a right to assemble a protest, Hefty, but the kind of protest you're assembling seems to be one based on hate and prejudice against those who are different than you," Empath said.
"Well, excuse me if I offended a precious little snowflake like you," Hefty said sarcastically. "If you care so much about your friend Polaris, why don't you both smurf everyone a favor and leave the village together?"
"This smurf is not leaving, and neither is Polaris, Hefty," Empath stated boldly.
"No Smurf here is going to harm any outsider who smurfs in our village as either a guest or a permanent resident, Hefty," Papa Smurf said. "If I hear that you or any Smurf here smurfs any harm to Empath's friend, I will personally smurf to it that you are adequately punished. Do I make myself clear?"
Hefty just glared quietly at Papa Smurf for a moment before he said, "Yes, Papa Smurf."
Then after Empath and Papa Smurf walked away, the few Smurfs who listened to Hefty gathered closer to him. "What are we going to smurf about this new order now that Papa Smurf knows about it, Hefty?" one Smurf asked.
"Don't worry about him," Hefty said. "The less he knows about what we smurf in private away from his ears, the better."
"But Empath's going to find out about this, and then he's going to let Papa Smurf know for sure," another Smurf said.
"We're going to smurf this as secret as possible," Hefty said, speaking very low. "We'll smurf more about this at my house, where I will smurf about what we will do."
Meanwhile, Empath and Papa Smurf were still talking to each other. "This smurf has a feeling that Hefty's not going to obey your orders, Papa Smurf," Empath said.
"As much as I would like you to keep close smurfs on Hefty and what he's planning on smurfing with this new order, I would rather you focus on keeping your friend safe in case something does happen in the village," Papa Smurf said.
"You think Hefty has a right to protest against people like Polaris, Papa Smurf?" Empath asked.
"He just doesn't have the right to smurf his protest into a violent one, especially when your friend hasn't smurfed anything to us that requires a violent protest, Empath," Papa Smurf said.
Empath nodded. "This smurf acknowledges, Papa Smurf."

Then came dinnertime, which every Smurf in the village took part in at the dining commons. Empath noticed that Polaris had a hearty appetite from his working all day, for he pretty much ate everything that Greedy and his kitchen crew were serving for dinner.
"This smurf can sense you're not used to eating much beyond your necessary portion at mealtime, Polaris," Empath said as Greedy served Polaris another portion of food upon request.
"This one is not used to feeling this hungry, Empath," Polaris said as he started to eat his second portion of food.
"So how are you feeling now with this side effect being a part of you?" Empath asked.
"This one is still concerned over the loss of not being able to use this one's mental abilities, Empath," Polaris said. "However, even with that loss, this one can innately sense the feeling that not every Smurf here is comfortable with this one being among them in his present condition."
"This smurf knows, Polaris, and this smurf wishes to be able to make that feeling go away," Empath said. "But we'll get through this, trust me."
"Mind if I smurf with you two?" Smurfette asked as she approached both Empath and Polaris at their place at the table.
"Please feel free to accompany us, Smurfette," Empath replied. He and Polaris then moved aside to allow Smurfette to sit beside them at the table.
"So you have any plans on what you're smurfing tonight, Polaris?" Smurfette asked.
"This one is considering spending some time over at Tapper's Tavern and keeping Tapper and Duncan company for the night, Smurfette," Polaris answered.
"How about you smurf some time with me at the tavern?" Smurfette asked persuasively.
"This one would not do anything that would interfere with your relationship with Empath, Smurfette, if that's what you're asking," Polaris answered.
"I didn't say you have to smurf anything with me besides just being a friend, Polaris," Smurfette said. "Don't worry...we won't smurf anything to make Empath feel jealous of us now."
"Empath, do you have any suggestions for this association that Smurfette wants to have with me?" Polaris asked.
"If she's asking you for a date, why not take her up on it?" Empath answered, smiling at his friend. "Besides, you're not going to make this smurf jealous of you or Smurfette. We know each other well enough."
Polaris nodded in acceptance to Empath's suggestion. "This one would be honored to be your escort for this night's association, Smurfette," he said.
Smurfette smiled. "Good. You can smurf for me outside my door so I can get myself smurfened up a bit. Then you can smurf me to Tapper's and we can enjoy ourselves together."
"This one is looking forward to it, Smurfette," Polaris said, though he felt a bit awkward saying it in front of his friend Empath.

While alone together in Empath's house, both Empath and Polaris privately discussed what a "date" is all about.
"A date is when you associate yourself with someone of the opposite sex and try to share parts of yourself that you may not want others to know about, but in a way that makes the both of you feel comfortable about each other," Empath explained.
"But this ritual requires physical interaction between both this one and Smurfette," Polaris said. "This one fears that something will go wrong between us and Smurfette may not want to associate herself with this one again."
"That's always the risk when it comes to going on a date with Smurfette, Polaris," Empath said. "Many Smurfs before this smurf have made themselves look like total fools before Smurfette and have smurfed things to her that made her feel uncomfortable with them. But that doesn't mean that she wouldn't want to continue having any association with them, even as friends."
"You seem to have more experience with this situation than this one does, given the amount of time you have spent with Smurfette prior to this one coming into your village, Empath," Polaris said.
"That doesn't mean that this smurf is a complete expert when it comes to knowing how to please Smurfette, Polaris," Empath said. "There are just some things you can't completely figure out in any lifetime, and one of them is how to keep a female companion perfectly satisfied. They have their own quirks, their moods, everything that makes the female part of the whole equation a wonderful mystery."
"It's unfortunate that this one cannot share directly with Smurfette everything about this one without the need to physically associate this one's self with her," Polaris said, sounding a bit disappointed.
"Look, you don't need your Psyche abilities to do that," Empath said. "Smurfette is such a wonderful person that you're going to have a great time with her. Don't worry about your lost powers and just focus on what really matters, getting to know Smurfette in a social setting."
"Do you think this one is ready for the 'date', Empath?" Polaris asked.
"You're going to do fine, and you look great, Polaris, even as a Smurf," Empath answered. "Just relax and be yourself."
"This one would only feel more like this one's self if this one actually looked like this one's old self, Empath," Polaris said.

Polaris showed up at Smurfette's door and politely knocked. "Who is it?" Smurfette asked from inside the house.
"It is Polaris Psyche, Smurfette," Polaris announced.
"Oh, it's you," Smurfette responded. "Just smurf me a minute, and I'll be ready."
Polaris patiently waited while Smurfette got herself ready. While he was waiting, Grouchy was walking towards him. "Salutations, fellow Grouchy," Polaris politely greeted.
"Hello, Polaris," Grouchy said, sounding a bit disinterested. "I almost didn't recognize you because of how you smurf."
"So you're not offended by how this one currently looks?" Polaris asked.
"I just wish you were back to the way you smurfed before you got smurfed into...this," Grouchy answered. "Not that I really care either way how you smurf."
"This one only wishes to return to the way this one looked, if it is possible for that to happen," Polaris said with a sigh.
"Well, what are you smurfing outside Smurfette's door at this time of smurf, if you don't mind my asking?" Grouchy asked.
"Smurfette wanted this one to take her out on a 'date' to Tapper's Tavern this evening, and this one accepted the honor," Polaris answered.
Grouchy grunted, as if he didn't know what to think or say about that. "I don't know what Smurfette sees in you that she wants to smurf with you on a date to smurf anywhere, Polaris," he finally said after a pause. "In any case, you're lucky that she wants to smurf with you."
"Have you tried to take Smurfette anywhere with you on such an association, Grouchy?" Polaris asked.
"Tried? I can't even smurf anything nice to her, and believe me, I have tried to smurf something nice to her for years," Grouchy answered. "Now you know why I'm called Grouchy."
"Okay, Polaris, I'm ready," Smurfette called out from inside her house.
"Well, guess it's time for me to smurf," Grouchy said. "Enjoy the rest of your night, Polaris."
After Grouchy walked off, Smurfette appeared at the door, dressed in her best clothes and wearing some sort of perfume. "You look rather beautiful tonight, Smurfette," Polaris complimented.
"Thank you, Polaris," Smurfette responded, sounding glad. "It may not smurf like much coming from you personally, but to me that's high praise. Shall we smurf off together?"
"This one is ready whenever you are," Polaris said. He took Smurfette by the hand and walked with her toward the tavern.
Unfortunately they didn't get far in their walking when they start hearing a haunting voice calling out, "Polaris."
Smurfette started to feel a bit fearful. "What's smurfing on?" she asked.
"It's probably nothing but the sound of the wind, Smurfette," Polaris answered, trying to sound reassuring.
"Polaris, how dare you smurf into our village and start smurfing with the likes of Smurfette disguised as a Smurf when you know you are not one of us?" the same voice spoke again in an accusing tone.
Then Smurfette screamed as she saw four beings dressed in white robes and hoods, bearing torches and clubs, looking like vengeful spirits out to take somebody's life. "They're ghosts!" she shouted.
"They may appear in the form of ghosts, but I don't think these are actually phantoms, Smurfette," Polaris said calmly.
"We are the Order of the True Smurfs," one of them said in a haunting voice.
"And we are here to preserve the purity of the Smurfs," a second said in the same manner.
"And right now we are to preserve one of our own from somebody who isn't truly one of us," a third added.
Smurfette didn't like being scared, not by Smurfs pretending to be ghosts. "All right, you Smurfs, this isn't funny," she fumed. "You stop scaring us and let us smurf in peace right now."
"Only you will smurf off in peace, Smurfette," the fourth robed and hooded Smurf said. "It is this imposter Smurf that we want."
"Smurfette, it would be better for you to get yourself to safety while this one handles these assailants," Polaris warned.
"I'm not going to leave you here by yoursmurf, Polaris," Smurfette protested.
Then the four robed and hooded Smurfs drew themselves closer, threatening to attack the both of them.
"GO!" Polaris shouted.
Smurfette ran for safety while Polaris fought as bravely as he could against the four attackers. Eventually they got the better of him as he was clubbed in the head from behind.
The four Smurfs gathered around Polaris after he had fallen from the ground. "What are we going to smurf about him now?" one of them asked.
"We smurf him someplace where he's not going to escape...probably a very deep cave near the mountains," another answered.
"I don't think I'm going to like what we're smurfing to him," a third said, sounding very guilt-ridden.
"It's for the best, and if you know what's good for you, you'd smurf quiet about it," the second one said in a threatening voice.
Suddenly, one of the robed and hooded Smurfs got knocked to the ground by a powerful force, removing his hood and robe to reveal the Smurf who was wearing it. The other three turned and saw who was approaching. It was Empath with Duncan and Smurfette.
"Okay, laddies, you smurfed your fun," Duncan said. "Now smurf it up before we smurf you real good."
Empath approached the three still standing and unmasked one of the robed and hooded Smurfs, revealing him to be Hefty. "You couldn't leave well enough alone now, could you, Hefty?" Empath said, sounding angry.
"Hefty, how could you smurf this to Polaris?" Smurfette asked, also sounding angry.
"I was smurfing this to protect you, Smurfette, from the likes of Polaris Psyche," Hefty said in his defense.
"Well, it smurfs like you and your Smurfs are going to need protection right now, you numpkins," Duncan said.
Just then, Papa Smurf arrived on the scene. "What in the name of Smurf is going on here?" he demanded, seeing Empath, Duncan, and Smurfette with the robed and hooded Smurfs hovering over Polaris.
"Polaris and Smurfette encountered these four Smurfs acting against your orders, Papa Smurf, wearing hoods and robes to conceal their identities while they attack Polaris," Empath explained.
Papa Smurf sighed heavily. "It smurfs like I have no choice. Hefty, you and your followers will have to be smurfed into custody for disregarding my orders. Empath, take your friend to the infirmary and see how seriously injured he is."
"This smurf acknowledges, Papa Smurf," Empath said as he picked up Polaris and carried him off to the infirmary, with Smurfette following. Papa Smurf and Duncan both took Hefty and his followers to the prison.

At the infirmary, Empath sat by the bedside of Polaris while he continued to scan for any injuries. Smurfette stood beside Empath, feeling her heart going out to Polaris as she looked on him. "Is he going to be all right, Empath?" she asked.
"You can thank the Ancestors that he will be, Smurfette," Empath answered. "The Long Life Elixir seems to be at work, healing his injuries. They weren't serious or life-threatening."
"But how could Hefty be so mean as to smurf this toward Polaris?" Smurfette asked, sounding a bit angry at Hefty. "He wasn't even brave enough to smurf that without disguising himsmurf."
"It's no secret that Hefty still hates Polaris and even this smurf just for the sake of being telepaths, Smurfette," Empath answered. "This smurf can only guess that he didn't want any Smurf to know how far he was willing to take his hatred for Polaris, and so he had to disguise himself and his followers."
"Well, what Hefty smurfed truly wasn't smurfy at all," Smurfette said.
Just then, Tapper arrived at the infirmary. "Great Smurfiny Crickets, my fellow Empath, I began to pray the moment that I saw Smurfette smurf into the tavern and tell me what was smurfing on," Tapper said, sounding concerned.
"Your prayers were not wasted, Tapper," Empath said. "He should be recovering soon."
At that moment, Polaris' eyes opened, and the first thing he saw was Empath standing over him. "Empath...thank the Ancestors you have come with the others," Polaris said a bit weakly.
"How are you feeling, Polaris?" Empath asked.
"This one should be functioning normally, all things considered," Polaris answered. "However, this one is feeling like this one truly doesn't belong here, if what this one encountered tonight was any indication."
"Don't ever say that, Polaris," Smurfette said. "You belong here just as much as any other Smurf. Those were just Smurfs too scared to smurf with you without hiding their true selves."
"Aye, listen to what Smurfette is saying, my friend," Tapper said. "A true Smurf wouldn't need to hide themselves behind a mask if they want to smurf how they truly feel towards you, whether it is for good or ill."
"Papa Smurf and Duncan are dealing with this matter right now, putting Hefty and his followers into custody as we speak," Empath said. "For now, you need to rest so you can have a clearer idea of what to do about this situation in the morning."
"This one does not feel that it would change anything, Empath," Polaris said, sounding a bit like he was in despair. "This one cannot go back to Psychelia in the state that this one is in now, and this one cannot remain here and continue living as an outcast and an outsider."
"We will find a way to work through this, trust this smurf," Empath said, sounding resolute.
"We should let Polaris smurf here for the night until he fully recovers, Empath," Dabbler said as he came in to check on his patient. "I'll let you know what's smurfing on with him as soon as possible."
"He shouldn't need to be anywhere except in his own home to rest, Dabbler, but if you feel this is necessary, then this smurf will agree with your decision," Empath said.
"Whatever you want it or not, I'm going to pray for you," Tapper said to Polaris. He then took a hold of his friend's hand. "O Lord God, the Heavenly Father, help my friend Polaris have a clear mind as to what to smurf concerning his current situation, and let him know that You loved you and smurfed Your only begotten Son to die for him so that he can smurf with you forever in heaven, that what the enemy had smurfed for evil, You will smurf it around for good. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen."
"You're still a brave Smurf to me," Smurfette said, kissing Polaris on the cheek before she, Empath, and Tapper left the infirmary together.