Empath was asleep with his friend Polaris Psyche near a tree in the forest on their journey to rescue their fellow Smurfs from their time-lost journey, but that night he was having a dream that was profoundly disturbing to him. In that dream he could see himself and Polaris being tied together by the ankles with a magical chain that inhibited their movements. Before them, they saw their fellow Smurfs gathered around Papa Smurf, who looked rather sinister as if he was possessed by something evil during his time travels. In fact, all of their fellow Smurfs looked like they were possessed by evil, as they seemed unrecognizable in the clothes they were now wearing.
"How do you Smurfs plead with the charges smurfed against you?" Papa Smurf asked.
"This smurf and Polaris both plead innocent, Papa Smurf," Empath responded.
"It figures you would still smurf onto your presumed innocence, given that the jury of your peers have smurfed you and Polaris as guilty," Papa Smurf said. "For that reason, the both of you will be sentenced to death."
"This smurf won't let you get away with this, Papa Smurf," Empath said. "This smurf and Polaris will resist you and what you've done to the Smurfs."
"Not for long," Papa Smurf said, sounding like he was relishing the very thought of sentencing someone he loved to death. He then turned to another Smurf who surprisingly looked very much like Empath, except that he bore a black star mark on his forehead and wore white clothes with black stars on them. "Empath, show that blue-smurfed imposter and his friend how Smurfs truly smurf around here!"
"It will be my pleasure, Papa Smurf," the other Empath replied, smiling wickedly as he wielded what looked like a Psychelian energy staff with its crystal tip glowing with energy.
Polaris looked a bit frightened, but Empath just continued to look defiant as the other Empath came close and touched him with the crystal tip of the energy staff, flooding him with so much painful energy that it made Empath cry out in agony.
It was then that Empath awoke from his sleep and sat bolt upright, feeling scared of what had just happened to him in his dream. He looked around and saw that he was back in the forest with nobody else around but Polaris, who then also woke up at that time.
"Empath, is there something wrong?" Polaris asked, sounding concerned.
Empath took a few short breaths to calm himself down before he responded. "It was a dream this smurf had, Polaris," Empath answered. "The Smurfs have all come back from their time travels, but they're all so different...so evil...like this smurf can only imagine from what the Psyche Master has taught about the Smurfs. You and this smurf were both guilty of a crime, and were judged worthy of death. And there was another telepath that was very identical to this smurf, only he was evil, and he struck this smurf with an energy staff. It was so painful that this smurf woke up."
"Perhaps what you've experienced is merely a projection of those things you have been taught about the Smurfs in Psychelia that have entered your subconscious and have suppressed all those years until now, Empath," Polaris suggested.
"This smurf has never sensed the Smurfs to be as evil as these Smurfs that this smurf has seen in this dream, Polaris," Empath said. "This is a wickedness that is beyond anything the Psyche Master could ever imagine. It was like living in the land of Sodom and Gomorrah before the Almighty from Tapper's holy book destroyed them with fire and brimstone. This smurf felt very uncomfortable being there."
Polaris sighed, as if he was at a loss for what to suggest at that point. "At any case, the nightmare is over, and you should settle back to your resting period so that you will be fully refreshed for the new day to come," he said.
"Perhaps you're right, Polaris, that it is just a nightmare," Empath said. "This smurf apologizes for interrupting your resting period with this smurf's reaction to what had happened in the nightmare."
"There's nothing you need to apologize for, Empath, for this one understands what you're going through," Polaris said, as the two of them settled back to sleep, to continue resting until the dawn of the new day.
The next day Empath and Polaris continued on their journeys. Neither of them said anything throughout most of the day, but they could sense that their journey was becoming more difficult than they thought, that their hope of ever finding a way to bring their fellow Smurfs back home was becoming more challenging with each passing day and with each region of the world they were passing through.
Finally Empath broke the silence. "This smurf wonders if this whole journey to find a way back for our fellow Smurfs is nothing but a wild goose chase, Polaris," he said.
"Why do you say that, Empath?" Polaris asked.
"Well, it's been about four months since we left the Smurf Village, and we've traveled hundreds of miles across the world, and still this smurf has not found anything that would help us bring our fellow Smurfs back home," Empath said.
"This one can understand your growing impatience, Empath, but as we have already made such progress on our journey, we cannot turn back now and give up hope when the answer to our journey may lie somewhere in this world," Polaris said.
"But what if that answer doesn't appear anywhere in the world, Polaris?" Empath asked.
"That's a risk that we must be willing to make, if the lives of our fellow Smurfs matter very much to us, Empath," Polaris replied. "If it does, then we should let nothing stop us from searching the entire world no matter how long our journey might take."
"So you're not worried that it might take us as long as it took Grandpa Smurf to complete his journey for the four pure samples of the four primal elements to restore the Neverstone on Smurfling Island," Empath said.
"This one is just as much concerned about reuniting with this one's fellow Smurfs as you are, Empath," Polaris said. "And admittedly, this one is just as much concerned that this journey may age us to the point where we will be much older than our fellow Smurfs when they do return to us in whatever time period they return in."
"Well, this smurf doesn't want Smurfette to marry this smurf when this smurf is too old to give her a family like she would have wanted," Empath said.
"This one is certain that you will still be vital enough to fulfill her desires when the both are you are reunited with each other, Empath," Polaris said.
"Speaking of being vital, we need to find a place where we can get some nourishment, Polaris," Empath said. "This smurf can hear this smurf's stomach growling loud enough to scare off a nearby animal."
Polaris nodded in agreement but didn't say anything more. They continued walking for a while until they could hear the sound of thunder overhead and then they felt rain pouring down upon them.
"Just our luck...not only are we hungry, we're also going to be wet and cold," Empath said, sounding a bit upset. "Now we need to find some shelter to wait out the rainstorm until it passes."
Polaris stopped when he saw something. "There is a small human domicile that is straight up ahead," he announced. "Maybe we should use that as a temporary shelter to keep ourselves warm and dry."
"We might as well take our chances there," Empath said. "Perhaps whoever lives there will also give us something to eat."
They proceeded in the direction of the small human house, which was made of stone and hay, looking no different from the houses that they normally see around the Smurf Forest. But when they got close to the house and looked inside, all they could see was that it was dark and abandoned with cobwebs and dust everywhere.
"There seems to have been nobody here for ages, Empath," Polaris said from his observation through the window he and Empath had peered through.
"We might as well look around inside for something, even if it appears to have nobody inside, Polaris," Empath suggested.
They went inside through a crack in the bottom of the door. They could see that it truly looked deserted, as if nobody has lived in it for years. The dust content was so thick that it irritated Empath's nose, causing him to sneeze.
They checked the cabinets for any food that might be in there, however slim the chance there might be for fresh food. But all they could find in the cabinets and cupboards was more cobwebs and dust. "Well, so much for trying to find food in this place," Empath said.
"Empath, come and look at this," Polaris said as he noticed an object on the floor that was leaning against a wall.
Empath came and looked at the object. "It appears to be a mirror, Polaris, except that it isn't reflecting our images," Empath commented.
"The design of the two heads on top of it may mean that it is more than just a mirror, Empath," Polaris said, pointing to what he was seeing.
Empath looked at the design of the two heads carefully, as if trying to remember where he saw that from, and then instantly recognized it. "It's the image of Janus, the Greek god of beginnings and endings," he said.
"Fascinating," Polaris said.
"So what's a mirror like this doing so far away from Greece, if this is where it had originated?" Empath asked.
"This one does not know, Empath," Polaris said. "It appears that this mirror is not just an ordinary mirror, if it was even intended to be used as a mirror."
"You mean that it might be a portal to somewhere?" Empath asked.
"It might as well be, Empath, for all we know," Polaris said. He reached out his hand to touch the surface of the mirror and found that it wasn't a solid surface, but rather like sticking his hand in water. But then Polaris began to feel something strange with his hand. "This mirror...it's sucking this one into it..."
"Try pulling your hand out!" Empath cried out.
Polaris tried to no avail. "It's no use, Empath...the pull is too strong..."
Empath grabbed onto Polaris' other hand to use his strength. "Hold on, Polaris. This smurf will try to keep you..."
But then Empath felt Polaris being yanked from his grip with such a strong force, disappearing completely into the mirror. "POLARIS!" Empath cried out.
He looked at the mirror as if expecting to see his friend, and then about several seconds later he saw Polaris on the other side of the mirror, looking like he landed somewhere. Polaris got up and then headed toward the mirror's surface, feeling around it and looking like he was trapped somewhere.
"Polaris, can you hear this smurf?" Empath called out. But he saw that Polaris was not able to respond.
Empath realized there was only one thing left for him to do. He ran straight into the mirror's surface...and then suddenly he felt himself being stretched out into infinity like a piece of taffy, as if his whole body was made out of rubber. It was so painful for him to endure this experience...and then suddenly he appeared alongside Polaris wherever he happened to be.
"Empath, are you all right?" Polaris asked.
"Other than what this smurf has experienced going through that mirror, this smurf is still functional, Polaris," Empath answered. He looked around at his surroundings. "Where are we?"
"It appears that we are in a cave, and it would appear that this mirror on the other side is the exit point for the first mirror we have entered through," Polaris reported.
Empath looked and saw what Polaris was referring to. "Great Ancestors, this mirror appears to be identical to the one that was in that house we were in, Polaris," he observed. "It has the same markings and the same two-head design on the top."
"So the first mirror is most likely a portal to this mirror, serving as both an entrance and an exit to wherever it is we have traveled to," Polaris said.
"You mean we cannot go back the same way that we came?" Empath asked, sounding concerned.
"It would appear to be the case, Empath," Polaris said. "This one has touched the surface of this mirror, and it appears to be completely solid. We are most likely trapped on the other side, for better or for worse."
"So where do you think we have traveled to through the portal?" Empath asked.
"This cave doesn't seem to give us a clear enough answer, Empath," Polaris said. "It would be best for us to reach the surface and find out for ourselves."
Empath nodded. "We don't seem to have much of a choice now."
As Empath and Polaris headed toward the entrance of the cave, they began to have a feeling that something about the cave seemed familiar to them in some strange way, as if they have been in there before, though they don't know where or when.
Then soon Polaris said, "We must be reaching the entrance, Empath," as they saw light up ahead.
"Good," Empath said. "Maybe then we'll find out where exactly we are."
Then at the entrance of the cave, Empath and Polaris both stopped and looked around and noticed that where they currently are at was familiar for some reason. "By the Ancestors, that mirror portal had led us...," Polaris began to say.
"Straight back home, to the Smurf Forest," Empath finished, as they stood and looked in amazement at the scenery before them. "Amazing...but why haven't we discovered this mirror in our own forest before now?"
"This one is unsure of what the answer may be, Empath," Polaris said. "But it may help if we return to our own village to find out for ourselves."
"Fortunately it should still be protected by the spell that has rendered it intangible," Empath said, agreeing with Polaris' suggestion. They headed out of the cave toward the direction of the forest.
Both Empath and Polaris looked around at the forest, feeling that there was something amiss, only they weren't sure exactly what it was. "Polaris, do you get the feeling like everything in the forest is somehow the exact opposite of how it originally was when we had left it?" Empath asked.
"It seems to be more than just this forest, Empath," Polaris responded. "It feels like this whole world is running in a reverse polarity somehow."
"Reverse polarity? What does that even mean?" Empath asked, sounding confused.
"This one is not sure how to adequately explain it," Polaris said with some difficulty, "but it would suffice to say that your description of the forest being 'the exact opposite' is the only definition that this one can give for that term."
"Do you think this could be the world that Vanity's mirror twin originally came from?" Empath asked.
"It is possible, but there isn't enough evidence right now to even confirm that hypothesis, Empath," Polaris replied.
Then suddenly the both of them could hear the sound of something swinging through the trees, letting out a cry that sounded very familiar to their ears. "Great Ancestors, Polaris, could that possibly be...?" Empath asked, stopping in their tracks as they heard the cry.
"That would mean the Smurfs have returned to the present time, if that's who we believe is making that particular sound, Empath," Polaris answered.
Then suddenly a net fell on top of them, pinning them to the ground, unable to escape. "This feels like some sort of magic net, Polaris," Empath said as they struggled to get free.
"That would definitely be the case, Empath," Polaris said, finding his strength to be useless in breaking out.
Then suddenly a Smurf dropped out from the tops of the trees and landed on his feet. It was Wild...but he somehow looked different to Empath and Polaris. It wasn't just the sinister look on his face, which was now marked with a cat-like tattoo design. It was also that his skin was a bright shade of red, and his clothes seemed a shade darker than before.
"Wild, it's us...Empath and Polaris!" Empath cried out. "Don't you recognize who we are?"
"This one senses that this is not the same Wild Smurf that we know of, Empath," Polaris said.
"But how did he get red skin all of a sudden?" Empath asked, as Wild silently continued to watch his captured prey.
"This one does not know, Empath," Polaris replied.
"Ah, what do we have here?" another familiar voice spoke. Empath and Polaris watched as another Smurf, also with red skin, arrived with four others that resembled the Smurflings, although they now dressed rather differently. The grown-up Smurf resembled Tracker, but his clothes were now black, and his feather was a rather vivid shade of color that looked rather unnatural.
"Tortured turtledoves, what are these beings smurfing in our forest?" the one who resembled Sassette asked, sounding curious.
"They look like Smurfs, Sassy, but their skin color is all wrong," the one who resembled Nat answered.
"Do you think that Gargamel created these Smurfs just to smurf on us again?" the one who resembled Slouchy asked.
"Who knows and who cares?" the one who resembled Snappy responded. "All they are right now are our prisoners."
"Let's smurf them bound together so that we can bring them to Papa Smurf, my little Smurflings," the one resembling Tracker said. "He'll find out where these Smurfs came from and what they're smurfing here in our forest."
Wild took a knife that was attached to the belt he was wearing and cut loose the thick threads of the net that had ensnared Empath and Polaris. The both of them felt relieved to be loosed, but that feeling soon disappeared when the Smurflings tied their hands behind their backs with rope and also bound them together with rope.
"You two, get smurfing!" Tracker said, picking up the spear that was next to him on the ground and aimed it towards Empath and Polaris. "Smurf anything funny and you're going to be a couple of smurf-kebabs."
"It would appear that these Smurfs are not the Smurfs that we normally know of, Empath," Polaris said.
"We have no choice but to go where it is they want us to go, Polaris," Empath said. "Maybe we will find out from these Smurfs where we really are and what has happened to the Smurfs we know of."