Part 8

Soon, after Empath and Polaris have picked up their backpacks and collected all the stuff that was in them, making very sure nothing of importance was left behind, they both joined Gargamel, Azrael, and Scruple at the mouth of the cave where they have found the Janus Mirror in that world. Before they entered the cave, Empath allowed Gargamel to talk to the HoloSmurf for a bit so he could learn what the Papa Smurf of the other world was like.
"I honestly didn't think that there would be Smurfs that truly cared for other people besides themselves," Gargamel said. "I could only wish to meet them someday."
"I understand your desire, Gargamel, but your opening up the portal and then destroying it is necessary if we want to prevent others with evil intent from crossing over between the two worlds," the HoloSmurf said.
"I understand, HoloSmurf," Gargamel said. "I just envy the fact that your world has better Smurfs than mine does."
"If it's any consolation, Gargamel, our world would envy and desire your presence within our forest," the HoloSmurf said. "We would be just as grateful if you were there as one of its residents."
"Thank you," Gargamel said, a tear forming in his eye. Then the HoloSmurf vanished, and the good wizard handed the medallion back to Empath.
"We are ready whenever you are, Gargamel," Empath said. "We will lead you to where the mirror is located."
Gargamel, Azrael, and Scruple followed Empath and Polaris into the cave. It seemed to be going on much longer than Gargamel was comfortable with. "Are we there yet, Empath?" he began to ask.
"It's not far now, Gargamel," Empath replied.
After a little while more of walking, Gargamel began to get impatient. "Are we there yet, Empath?" he asked.
"It's not far now, Gargamel," Empath replied, sounding a little irritated.
After a little while more of walking, Gargamel was now losing his patience. "Are we there yet, Empath?" he asked.
"There it is, Gargamel!" Polaris said as he saw some glistening metal up ahead in the cave.
Gargamel, Azrael, and Scruple stopped as they approached the Janus Mirror. "Gee, that mirror doesn't look much like a mirror, Master Gargamel," Scruple said.
"Do you know the spell that can reopen the portal, Gargamel?" Polaris asked.
"Of course I do, Polaris," Gargamel replied. "The only problem with this spell is that it can only be used once with these mirrors, and after that it will completely destroy them so that they cannot be used anymore."
"We don't have a choice, if we're going to need that mirror to return to our world," Empath said. "Go ahead and cast the spell."
Gargamel nodded in acceptance. He raised up his wand and pointed it at the mirror. "Aperta speculum magica," he recited.
The surface of the mirror glowed and then became vaporous. Polaris stuck his hand through the surface and found himself pulled through until he was inside the mirror. "Goodbye, Gargamel, and thanks for everything," Empath called out before he too entered the mirror and disappeared into it.
The mirror remained dark for several seconds, and then its surfaced glowed bright until Gargamel, Azrael, and Scruple could hear it shatter like a broken window.
"Well, they're gone from this world forever," Scruple said. "Do you think we will ever see them again?"
"I can only hope so, Scruple, even if it's the last thing we ever do," Gargamel said somberly.

Again Empath and Polaris felt the sensation that their bodies were being stretched into infinity like taffy as they traveled between the worlds, and then suddenly they both appeared back in the house where they had found the first mirror. Soon after they have arrived, they could hear the sound of glass shattering. They turned and saw that the Janus Mirror was now in ruins, completely broken.
"Well, for better or worse, we're back home in our world," Empath said.
"And our world will be safe as long as nobody finds a way that they can cross between the worlds, Empath," Polaris said.
"It's too bad we couldn't stay to explore anymore of that world, Polaris," Empath said. "This smurf would have loved to see more of what that other universe had to offer besides its bad elements."
"As intriguing as that idea would be, Empath, it would be best for us to remain in this world and explore what it already has in it for ourselves," Polaris said.
"Do you think the other Smurfs would believe us if we told them we met a Gargamel that was actually good?" Empath asked.
"It would be an interesting story to tell, but whether they would accept it as truth or not remains to be seen," Polaris answered.
Empath snickered. "It's probably for the best that this smurf doesn't tell Smurfette about the other Smurfette that this smurf found very attractive. I don't think she needs to know about the competition, so to speak."
"This one would wholeheartedly agree with you, Empath," Polaris said.
Empath went to the window and looked outside. "The skies are clear, so we should be able to continue on our journey," he said.
Polaris nodded. They both adjusted their packs and headed back outside, feeling glad that their brief detour into the Mirror Universe was over. Before they got far, though, Traveler emerged before them from the timestream.
"Salutations, Empath and Polaris," Traveler greeted. "This one sees that you're back in your own universe, just as this one is now back in his own timestream."
"And you were able to defeat that other Traveler from the other timestream?" Empath asked.
"It's more like what you smurfed in that other universe that ultimately defeated him, Empath," Traveler said. "His connection to the Mirror Universe is most likely through your alternate self, from what this one can sense."
"What are you saying from that, Traveler?" Empath asked, sounding curious.
"It's something this one thinks you're not ready to find out at this time, Empath," Traveler said. "But this one will still be watching over you and will come to your assistance should it ever be needed. Now I must return to the timestream. May the rest of your journey be safe."
And with that, Traveler disappeared back into the timestream before Empath or Polaris could ask anymore questions.
"This smurf hates it when Traveler gets so enigmatic like that," Empath said.
"Maybe it's for the best that those things he knows should be kept unrevealed, lest we disrupt things that have yet to happen in our future, Empath," Polaris said.
Empath sighed. "Let's continue on our journey before this smurf gets totally upset over the whole matter."

Meanwhile, back in the Smurf Forest of the Mirror Universe, a small pair of eyes was peering from the tops of the trees at Gargamel's house, hiding an angry face that was swearing vengeance.
Someday, he knew, he will have it.

THE END...or is it?