"Hello there, boys," Smurfette said as she approached Empath and Polaris standing there listening to Pushback tell his story. "So what are you smurfing there today with Pushback?"
"Polaris was curious to know how Pushback became the Smurf that he is today, Smurfette," Empath answered. "He was busy telling what had happened at the Firefly Festival when he substituted for Scaredy as the Foxfire Smurf, and had reached the point where he accidentally snuffed out the Foxfire flame."
"I really didn't mean to do that, Smurfette, to awaken the Marsh Monster back then," Pushback said.
"I believe you, Pushback," Smurfette said. "You were just trying to be a friend to Scaredy, and things just smurfed out of control from that point on. It's too bad that you got smurfed into doing so many things that you didn't want to smurf all because you couldn't say no to anyone."
"It's not that I didn't like smurfing anything for anyone, Smurfette, including you of all Smurfs," Pushback said. "It's just that there's only one of me and I can't smurf everything all by myself, especially for Smurfs who want to use me for smurfing things they should be smurfing themselves."
"You're still a sweet Smurf, even if you're not Pushover anymore," Smurfette said, giving Pushback a kiss on the cheek. "I've got some flower wreathes to smurf, so I'll smurf you three later."
After Smurfette left, Polaris reminded Pushback of the story that he had left to tell the rest of. "So while you were fleeing from what was known as the Marsh Monster, what was Scaredy doing?" he asked.
"Well, from what I smurfed, Scaredy was trying to keep himself from being smurfed by the other Smurfs because he wanted them to know that it was him and not me that smurfed out to the Great Swamp," Pushback answered. "But apparently he got too anxious in his waiting for me to return."
As Pushback continued the story, Empath and Polaris saw that Hefty and Handy were busy setting up the Firefly Lantern on a tall pedestal that had been erected. The lantern was so-named because it looked very much like a firefly, and had little crystals appearing in holes from which the light of the Foxfire flame could shine through in many different colors.
"Good, smurfect," Papa Smurf said as he directed Handy with his crane with the positioning of the lantern of the pedestal with Hefty assisting. "Now we just have to wait for Scaredy to return with the Foxfire to light it and conclude the festival. I just hope the storm over the Great Swamp doesn't frighten him out of his smurfs."
"Well, he'd better hurry, because it's going to be dark soon," Handy said.
"Oooh, doesn't that Firefly Lantern smurf so pretty?" Smurfette said as she came to get a closer look at it with Tapper and Duncan beside her.
"Aye, she's a real beauty all right, my dear lassie," Duncan said. "You just have to wait until it is lit with the Foxfire, and then you'll smurf a sight like you'd never seen before."
"I'm sure it will be something that Smurfette will never forget as long as she smurfs, my fellow Duncan," Tapper said.
"By the by, has anyone seen Pushover today?" Duncan asked.
"Come to smurf of it, Duncan, I really don't know where he would be," Tapper answered. "I think he would be too busy smurfing in from all that he was smurfing on yesterday."
"Oh, really, Tapper, why would you need to be so concerned about a Smurf like Pushover?" Brainy said as he appeared with Clumsy beside him. "He's just that kind of a Smurf that can smurf care of himself more than he really needs us to smurf his hand and smurf care of him all of the time."
"Because no Smurf is an island unto himself, my fellow Brainy," Tapper responded. "Even capable Smurfs like Pushover do need somebody else to help them when things are too much for them to smurf all by themselves."
"But the way you've been smurfing around Pushover all of yesterday, you might as well be smurfing everything unto him while you are smurfing yourself off like a daisy in the sun," Duncan said.
"That's nothing that Papa Smurf really needs to know about, Duncan, because as a wise Smurf once said, out of sight is out of mind, and..." Brainy said.
"What did I not need to know about, Brainy?" Papa Smurf said, overhearing his name being mentioned and joining the Smurfs gathered together around the Firefly Lantern.
Brainy looked as if he was put on the spot to answer for himself. "Well, it's just a matter of how some Smurfs make a big deal out of saying they smurf all the jobs for the other Smurfs in the village, and how other Smurfs don't smurf what they're supposed to be smurfing, Papa Smurf," he said rather weakly, chuckling awkwardly afterward.
"I see," Papa Smurf said, giving Brainy a suspicious look as if he really knew what Brainy was doing. "I don't suppose this has anything to smurf with what Pushover was trying to smurf me last night, is it?"
"Uh, why would it, Papa Smurf?" Brainy asked, feeling like he was being backed into a corner that he couldn't escape. "You know that I wouldn't smurf anything bad to my fellow Smurfs, even if it would smurf them some good in the long run."
"If I hear that you've been using other Smurfs to smurf your own jobs while you smurf it easy smurfing nothing while I'm busy with other things, Brainy Smurf, I will make sure that you will be smurfing more than your fair share of work as suitable punishment," Papa Smurf said a bit sternly. "Is that understood, my little Smurfs?"
"Yes, Papa Smurf," the gathered Smurfs said together.
"Gosh, it's like we can't even smurf favors of any Smurf anymore," Clumsy said as he watched Papa Smurf walk off in another direction.
"Smurfing favors of any Smurf is not the problem, my fellow Clumsy," Tapper said. "It's smurfing advantage of another Smurf's good will to smurf things that you should be smurfing yourself."
"Well, let's hope that Scaredy smurfs back home soon with the Foxfire or else we might as well go smurf off after him," Duncan said with a heavy sigh.
Meanwhile, Scaredy was still hiding out inside his own house, peering out through the window very cautiously for any sign of Pushover's return. He had spent all day inside his house, hoping that his friend would return with the Foxfire so that Scaredy could present it at the second night of the festival in time to conclude the festival. So far, though, Scaredy saw nothing.
"Oh dear, oh dear, where's Pushover?" Scaredy asked, daring another peek out through his window when it seemed no Smurf was around his house looking for him. "He should be back by now." He could hear the sound of thunder in the distance, which made him duck under the window for cover and safety. "I sure hope nothing's happened to him."
But then another thought came into Scaredy's mind, a thought that filled him with such dread. "But...what if something did happen to him? Then it would be my fault, because I had smurfed him into this."
He paced around inside his house, trying to think of what to do. "Oh, if only I wasn't so afraid, I would have smurfed the job by myself and nobody would have to worry about anyone but poor little old me," he moaned. Realizing that nothing would be accomplished if he stayed inside his house and did nothing, he said, "I know what to do...I've got to go find him!"
Pounding his fist into his hand as he made his decision, Scaredy debated at first whether he should dare step out of his house and go out into the forest to hopefully find his way to the Great Swamp. But eventually he decided to face his fear and take a bold step outside. He barely made it past his house when he ran into the last Smurf he wanted to run into at that moment: Papa Smurf.
"Ah, there you are, Scaredy Smurf," Papa Smurf said as soon as he had seen Scaredy, spooking the little Smurf out of his mind.
"Oh, uh, hi, Papa Smurf," Scaredy responded, trying to keep as calm and collected as he could in the face of great fear.
"I'm glad to smurf that you're back, Scaredy," Papa Smurf said. "We'll be able to light the Firefly Lantern with the Foxfire after the parade. By the way, you were careful not to smurf out the Foxfire now, weren't you?"
"Uh, yes, Papa Smurf," Scaredy answered. "What would have happened if I did?"
"Why, it would have awakened the Marsh Monster," Papa Smurf replied, as if he was surprised Scaredy wouldn't know from years of previous Firefly Festivals what the consequences were for not heeding that simple command. "But since you were so careful, we won't have to worry about it now. I'll smurf you later, Scaredy."
Scaredy felt even more scared than before. Not only did he put his friend Pushover into possible danger, he realized that he could put the entire village into danger as well. Now it was more imperative that he should go out into the forest and find Pushover before the other Smurfs realize what they had done.
"I...I only hope that he didn't awaken the monster," Scaredy said as he set out toward the forest as bravely as he could to begin his search.
"And so out into the forest Scaredy had smurfed, hoping that he would find his way to the Great Swamp since only Papa Smurf knew the way to it, all the while smurfing out my name," Pushback said. "I didn't know how long it took for him to smurf the way by himself, but eventually he smurfed near the outskirts of the swamp when I heard him smurfing out to me."
As Pushback continued the story, Empath and Polaris both saw Scaredy enter the Great Swamp, still calling out Pushover's name. He felt as if all the hairs on his skin were standing up on end, and he had icy chills running up and down his spine, when he saw and heard all that was in the swamp, everything that he felt could put himself in great danger.
"Pushover? Hello? Any Smurf here?" he called out as he ventured further into the swamp.
"Cursed he who kills the flame, cursed he who gives me pain," a deep gravelly voice spoke from within the swamp.
Scaredy feared that the worst has happened, that his friend had accidentally awakened the Marsh Monster, and yet he was still no closer to finding where his friend went. "PUSHOVER?!?" he cried louder.
"HELP! SOME SMURF, HELP!" a familiar voice cried out.
Scaredy found out that it was Pushover. As he came close to where the sound of his friend's voice came from, he could see the faint glow of what may be the Foxfire up ahead. "Is that you, Pushover?" he called out.
Then when Scaredy did come close to the where the glow was coming from, he heard his name called out clear as a bell: "Scaredy!"
Scaredy jumped at the sound of his name, only to see that Pushover was now almost up to his neck sinking in a mire, with the Foxfire torch still lit beside him. "Oh, Pushover, am I glad to see you," Scaredy said, sounding grateful as he reached out a hand to pull his friend onto solid ground.
"Thanks for smurfing me out of that pit, Scaredy," Pushover said. "Now let's smurf out of here before..."
"Before what?" Scaredy asked.
"Before that!" Pushover answered, pointing to what was behind Scaredy.
Scaredy looked and saw that the Marsh Monster had been awakened and was now furious in his chase after whoever awakened him. "Cursed he who kills the flame, cursed he who gives me pain," he growled.
"Scaredy, run for your smurf!" Pushover said, grabbing his friend's arm after Scaredy had grabbed the Foxfire torch that had been lying on the ground.
It wasn't just Pushover and Scaredy that were fleeing for the lives; it was also the animals of the forest that fled before the presence of the Marsh Monster who now ventured out of the Great Swamp and into the forest to chase after the ones who had awakened him. And as the two Smurfs fled back to the village, they could still hear the haunting chant: "Cursed he who kills the flame, cursed he who gives me pain."
Back in the Smurf Village, while it was dark, Papa Smurf was studying through one of his magic books in his laboratory when Brainy knocked on his door to get the village leader's attention.
"Papa Smurf, the Smurfs are all ready for the parade, but we can't find the Foxfire torch," Brainy reported.
"But I had smurfed into Scaredy earlier today, and he said that he had..." Papa Smurf began to say, until he realized that something was amiss.
Papa Smurf and Brainy headed outside, where the Smurfs gathered were busy holding lanterns while a swarm of fireflies hovered above them. "What's smurfing us up here?" Hefty asked, sounding rather miffed.
"Where's Scaredy?" Tracker asked.
"Does he have the torch?" Sloppy asked.
"It's getting late," Jokey said, sounding very impatient.
"I hate waiting," Grouchy muttered.
"What's going to happen if we don't smurf the Foxfire torch?" Smurfette asked.
"Don't worry; I have faith that Scaredy will smurf up soon," Tapper said.
"It had better be real soon, laddie," Duncan said.
"Has anyone seen Scaredy lately?" Papa Smurf asked as soon as he and Brainy had reached the gathered group outside.
"No, Papa Smurf," some Smurfs answered in unison.
"I saw him at Pushover's house last night, Papa Smurf," Smurfette said.
"Pushover's house?" Papa Smurf said. "Has any Smurf seen Pushover today?"
"No, Papa Smurf," most of the Smurfs answered in unison.
"Hmmm...now I'm beginning to understand," Papa Smurf said, realizing what Scaredy may have done with the Foxfire torch.
"Michty me, laddie, you don't suppose that Scaredy had smurfed Pushover into smurfing all the way to the Great Swamp to light the Foxfire torch?" Duncan asked Tapper.
"I don't like what I'm sensing in my spirit right now when you have smurfed that, my fellow Duncan," Tapper said with some foreboding. "But if that happens to be the case, the village may be in great danger."
Papa Smurf headed over to Pushover's house and knocked on his door, with Tapper and Duncan standing beside him. "Pushover? Pushover Smurf?" he called out.
"I don't think the dear boy is even at home right now, Papa," Duncan said when there was no answer.
"This is certainly not how I would want to end the Firefly Festival, smurfing out into the forest to find two lost Smurfs," Tapper said.
"I don't think we have much choice there, Tapper," Papa Smurf said. "You and Duncan should have Hefty smurf one group into the forest, and Handy smurf a second group, and..."
"Papa Smurf! Papa Smurf!" the three of them heard two Smurfs cry out.
"Great Smurfiny Crickets, Papa Smurf, that sounds like Scaredy and Pushover," Tapper said.
"And it also sounds like they're not alone either," Duncan added.
The Smurfs could soon hear a growling voice coming from within the forest. "Now who is that?" Brainy asked.
"What...what...what is that?" Smurfette asked, sounding very afraid.
"Great Smurfness, it sounds like they're smurfing him straight toward the village," Papa Smurf said, sounding worried.
"But...but who, Papa Smurf?" Brainy asked.
"It's the Marsh Monster," Papa Smurf answered, making Brainy quake with fear at the sound of its name. "Quick, every Smurf, evacuate the village! Wait for me across the River Smurf and stay here until I smurf otherwise!"
"Yes, Papa Smurf," all the Smurfs said in unison.
Crazy immediately sounded the alarm to get every Smurf to head out into the forest for their safety. Only Tapper and Duncan stayed behind with Papa Smurf while the others have fled.
"I'm not sure what my presence here will smurf as far as any good against this creature, Papa Smurf," Tapper said.
"Maybe this Almighty of yours will smurf to our rescue, laddie," Duncan said. "Me, I want to see if I can smurf this giant to the ground."
"Perhaps it would be better for the both of you to join the others," Papa Smurf advised. "I will see if I can intercept the two Smurfs before the monster smurfs a rampage."
"May the luck of the Smurfish be with us, Papa Smurf," Tapper said as he and Duncan watched Papa Smurf head out into the forest, carrying a scroll in his hand.
"At least this Firefly Festival hasn't been without any real excitement there, laddie," Duncan said.
"A little too much excitement than any Smurf has even asked for, my fellow Duncan," Tapper said.