"Well, those were very entertaining stories you've shared with this smurf about Gargamel's relatives, Narrator," Empath said as soon as Narrator's third story was finished. "This smurf appreciates the honor of your taking the time to tell them."
"The pleasure is all mine, Empath," Narrator said. "I have many more stories that I can tell you, but it seems that the hour is smurfing late for me. I shall smurf with you again in the morning."
Empath decided that he was going to get another smurfberry seltzer before he would call it a night. He got up from his seat at Narrator's table to go to the counter to ask Tapper, but when he turned to look at where Narrator was sitting, he was already gone.
"I see that Narrator was entersmurfing you with some of his stories again, Empath," Tapper said as he went to get Empath's glass filled with another serving of smurfberry seltzer. "I could only wonder what those stories were about this time."
"Narrator was telling this smurf about our people's encounters with two of Gargamel's cousins and his twin brother Gourmelin, Tapper," Empath said. "This smurf thought that they were amusing, but now this smurf wonders if there's another reason why those stories needed to be told."
"If I were to hazard a guess, I would say it's to smurf you that having a family is always important, even if you don't like who's a part of it, my fellow Empath," Tapper said. "Of course, in our case, it's not always blood that smurfs people together as a family, but how people smurf a bond of love between each other that cannot easily be broken, like myself and Duncan, and like Papa Smurf and all of his little Smurfs."
"Then this smurf would have to guess that this smurf should appreciate the relationship that this smurf has with Brainy and Papa Smurf, even if it's something that this smurf has never chosen," Empath said. "It's just unfortunate that some people like Gargamel could never truly appreciate having family members unless it's for something he specifically needs from them."
"I do feel that kind of sorrow for Gargamel, but I feel an even greater sorrow for those who wish to remain outside the greater family that the Almighty is smurfing together through His only begotten Son," Tapper said. "To know that He has loved them enough to smurf them the gift of His Son for their salvation, and to choose to reject that gift, that will certainly haunt them for the rest of eternity when they have to smurf an account for everything they have smurfed in their lives."
"And this smurf senses that you desire all your fellow Smurfs to be part of that family as well, no matter what it takes for you and the Almighty to accomplish that," Empath said.
"I will not smurf beyond the boundaries of the holy word to achieve such a mission, Empath, but that is exactly what I pray will happen, even knowing that there will be those who will smurf away from such a great offer of salvation," Tapper said. "I also pray that you will become part of that same family so that you will never be lonely for all eternity."
"This smurf appreciates the thought, Tapper, although admittedly this smurf isn't ready to put this smurf's faith in a being that this smurf isn't entirely sure about," Empath said. "For now, this smurf wants to get used to being part of the greater family that has come together since its own inception."
"Of course, Empath," Tapper said. "To that, my only prayer is that you will smurf your happiness among your fellow Smurfs here."
Just then, Brainy had entered the tavern, looking all excited. "Oh, thank Smurfness that I've run into you here, Empath. Since you'll be smurfing in my house until yours is fully resmurfed, I would like for you to read a draft that I have just smurfed up for my next book, Brainy Smurf's Guide To Discovering Your Family Roots."
"Brainy, this smurf is still just trying to relax from the rest of the day," Empath said. "Why can't we do the reading of your draft tomorrow when this smurf is fully rested?"
"Oh, come on, Empath, I thought you liked reading my drafts before I publish my completed smurf," Brainy said. "You can't escape your duty to me as my newly-discovered half-brother now, can you? Besides, you're the reason that I'm even smurfing this book together, so what do you smurf, huh?"
Empath sighed. "Of course this smurf will read your draft and give this smurf's honest opinion about your work, Brainy." He took the glass of smurfberry seltzer that Tapper had given him and drank it all in one long swallow, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand afterward. "Well, Tapper, this is where this smurf must call it a night, as this smurf must assist Brainy in his writing endeavors."
"I wouldn't envy you for smurfing a part of that, Empath, but here's smurfing that Brainy's newest writing effort will be successful," Tapper said with a smile. He said goodnight to Empath as he watched his friend leave the tavern together with Brainy.
Duncan came over to the counter as he also saw Empath and Brainy leave the tavern together. "I would never imagine for the smurf of me that Empath and Brainy would ever be brothers in this life that we're smurfing, laddie," Duncan said.
"I wouldn't have believed it to be so myself, my fellow Duncan, but for all the things either of them have suffered smurfing apart from each other, I'm happy to know that this is one family gathering that will smurf out for the best," Tapper said.
"I would almost feel sorry for Empath if he has to tolerate smurfing with a brother like Brainy, but he's certainly a braver soul than I for smurfing up with the bespectacled laddie for much longer than other Smurfs like myself would," Duncan said.
"I don't think it's Brainy's intent to smurf the patience of those who would have to listen to his moralizing on a daily basis, Duncan," Tapper said. "In fact, I sometimes wonder what it would be to smurf out if on the off-chance that Brainy and I happen to be related to each other as brothers or cousins."
"Brainy and you as brothers?" Duncan said, making a face at that thought. "Michty me, I don't think I could ever smurf trying to imagine that scenario, with him and you both preaching about the Almighty all day."
Tapper laughed. "It would be interesting, though I would have to pray for the Almighty to temper Brainy's enthusiasm with a bit of wisdom about how to handle preaching the Word of truth in the spirit of love and understanding."
"Well, for whatever it's smurf, here's hoping that the future smurfs out for the best for the two newly-discovered brothers in the village," Duncan said.
"Amen, my fellow Duncan," Tapper said in agreement.