Empath was waking up one beautiful morning in the Smurf Village, feeling all rested and ready to take on the day ahead when he saw his friend Polaris Psyche appear in his bedroom. "Salutations, fellow Empath," Polaris greeted.
"Salutations, fellow Polaris," Empath greeted back, grabbing his bathrobe and going behind his divider to change into his normal day clothes. "How was your resting period?"
"It was very quiet, considering that we don't enter a dream space anymore, Empath," Polaris answered.
"This smurf knows that you must feel somewhat lonely without the intimacy we once had in that dream space, Polaris," Empath said. "But you'll get used to having your own dreams, especially about someone that you may not wish to share with this smurf."
"As this one senses that you have those about Smurfette," Polaris said. "The reason this one has entered your sleeping quarters is to inform you that your fellow Smurf Tracker is waiting for you outside."
"Oh, Tracker," Empath said, remembering something. "Well, this smurf will meet with him to see what he wants before we go to breakfast."
Empath opened his front door to see Tracker patiently waiting there. "Tally ho, my good Empath," he greeted. "So, are you ready for the hike that we're going to smurf with Papa Smurf and the Smurflings today?"
"The hike?" Empath asked.
"You know, to Dreamy Steamy Springs," Tracker reminded him. "I've already mentioned this to Tapper and Duncan, and they've been busy smurfing their things together so we can get smurfing as soon as possible."
Empath slapped his forehead. "Great Ancestors! This smurf forgot about the hike!"
"That would not be your normal routine to forget about something that important, Empath," Polaris said.
"Of course not, Polaris," Empath said. "Well, if this smurf promised that this smurf was going to attend the hike, then this smurf might as well get this smurf's backpack filled and ready." He went back inside to gather up his things. "Why don't you come with us? It will be lots of fun just to get away from the village for awhile."
"Empath, you should know that Psyches do not regard such expeditions beyond our residences to be 'fun"," Polaris said. "In any case, this one should stay in the village to watch after the Smurfs while you and Papa Smurf go off on this expedition with your fellow Smurfs and Smurflings."
"If that's your decision, then this smurf will honor it, even though this smurf would say you'd be missing out on some excitement," Empath said. He came back outside with his backpack and his walking stick. "Where's Papa Smurf?"
"He's smurfing one last round with the other Smurfs to see if they will change their mind about the hike, Empath," Tracker said. "I'm not sure how successful he will be in smurfing that."
"It may be difficult, but who knows?" Empath said. "This smurf has tried to ask Smurfette to come along just to get away from having her dress being prepared for the Ray Of Sunshine concert she's supposed to have."
"Oh, that concert," Tracker said. "She's been so busy trying to smurf things for that concert to smurf out so right, that I don't think anything else in the world matters to her besides that."
"And from what this one is sensing, your attempts to persuade her to go with you on this expedition have not been successful," Polaris surmised.
Empath sighed. "This smurf cannot force her to do what she doesn't want to do, Polaris."
"You might as well just let her go and enjoy yourself without her, Empath," Tracker advised. "If smurfing that dress together means more to her than smurfing with you on this hike, then there isn't much you can smurf."
"You may be correct in that asessment, Tracker," Empath said. "Besides, Smurfette thinks we've been spending too much time together already that we may need some time to not be with each other."
"You're not seriously thinking of terminating the relationship with Smurfette, Empath," Polaris said.
"That's not what this smurf meant, Polaris," Empath said. "It's just that sometimes couples need to be apart from each other so that they can have time for themselves, to enjoy things that don't need to be directly shared with the other person."
"This one seems to understand, Empath," Polaris said. "If Smurfette intends to stay, then this one will watch over her to make sure she is safe during her concert preparations."
"This smurf will appreciate your efforts, Polaris," Empath said. "It's time we meet with the other Smurfs who are going on this hike."
Empath remembered a few days ago talking to Smurfette about the hike to Dreamy Steamy Springs.
"Empath, I would love to go, but there's so many preparations for the Ray Of Sunshine concert that's smurfing that I don't have time to smurf anything else," Smurfette said as she was with Tailor doing alterations for a dress.
"But don't you think you should take some time off from the preparations to do something that's fun and entertaining...and also relaxing?" Empath asked.
"Empath, we don't always have to smurf everything together," Smurfette said. "I thought you would let me smurf my own things once in a while and I would let you smurf your own things as well. Isn't that what we decided together?"
"Of course we did, Smurfette," Empath said. "It's just that you've been so busy with this concert, you could use a bit of a diversion."
"We can always smurf on a hike together, Empath, but this concert is a one-time event that I want everything to smurf just right with it," Smurfette said. "I don't want to let any Smurf down with the concert, not even you."
"If it's that important to you, Smurfette, then this smurf will support you wholeheartedly," Empath said. "You're not going to be disappointed that this smurf won't be in the village to help you out in any way?"
"You don't have to worry about me, Empath, all right?" Smurfette said. "I have an entire village of friends to smurf out for me. You go smurf your fun with Papa Smurf and your friends, and I will still be here. I'm not going to smurf anywhere."
"This smurf was just hoping the other Smurfs might come as well, Smurfette," Empath said. "It's just that everybody is so busy either with concert preparations or doing something else like Brainy's book writing. This smurf is surprised to hear that Tapper and Duncan would want to come along."
"Well, there you are, Empath," Smurfette said. "Frankly, I haven't heard what Handy's been smurfing lately since he heard about the hike that's smurfing on in a few days."
"Whatever it is, Smurfette, this smurf will be interested to find out when this smurf returns," Empath said.
Empath's thoughts of his talk with Smurfette were interrupted by Tapper and Duncan as they brought the Smurflings together.
"Smurf o' the morning to you, my fellow Empath," Tapper greeted. "I see that you're ready to smurf on the trip just as I am."
"This smurf is pleased that you and Duncan would be willing to join us on the hike, Tapper," Empath said.
"Aye, and why would we not?" Duncan said. "It only happens to be our favorite place in the Smurf Forest, and it's time that the Smurflings knew for themselves just how great it is by smurfing their first trip to the springs."
"Besides that, I could smurf a break from being in my tavern and distillery, smurfing up the ale for you gentlesmurfs," Tapper said.
"Smurfabunga!" Snappy shouted. "This hike to Dreamy Steamy Springs is going to be so much fun."
"I hope we smurfed enough things with us to smurf our first hike there," Slouchy said.
"I never smurf anywhere without my Smurfy Lou doll," Sassette said.
"If you've smurfed anything from your first survival test, my little Smurflings, all you need is a sleeping bag and a smurf of water," Tracker said.
"Greedy smurfed us a bag of smurfmallows, just in case," Nat said. "Anyway, the forest has everything that we need to smurf out in the open."
"And don't forget your basic defense training, in case we smurf into any danger while we're out there," Duncan reminded them.
"I only wish that we weren't smurfed with walking sticks, Duncan," Snappy said. "I would want to smurf myself with that broadsword of yours. No one would ever think of smurfing with you when you smurf that."
"The only sword you need to be armed with is faith, my young ones," Tapper said. "The Almighty is strong and powerful enough to smurf over us and our loved ones. He won't let anything smurf you that you're not capable of handling yourself."
"A sword will smurf you no good if you're not properly trained with it," Duncan said. "Besides, I will not let you train with a sword until you are old enough for one."
"Aw, who are you smurfing, Duncan? You've smurfed with a sword since you were our age, you smurfed us," Snappy said.
"If Duncan's experiences are any indication, Snappy, that is the reason for his decision regarding such training," Empath said. "Besides, we'll be fine since we also have Papa Smurf as part of the expedition."
"I only wish the other Smurfs would want to smurf along with us, Empath," Slouchy said.
"This smurf knows how you feel, Slouchy," Empath said. "It's just that your fellow adult Smurfs are so busy with other things, and they also have their own reasons for not wanting to do a hike."
"Yeah, like Brainy smurfing a book about his life story, like anybody wants to read it," Snappy said.
"Or Greedy smurfing up a new recipe for smurfberry souffle," Nat added.
"Or Smurfette smurfing up that new dress for the Ray Of Sunshine concert," Sassette said.
"Hefty and Tuffy don't want to smurf on the hike because they say they can't exercise while they're hiking," Duncan snorted. "Such pitiful excuses!"
"Hmmm, and one would think that hiking in itself would give a Smurf plenty of exercise," Tapper said. "But if you ask me, most of the other Smurfs would simply say that hiking is just boring to them."
Tracker sighed at that thought. "Well, we can't always smurf their minds about things now, can we? They smurftainly don't know the things that they're missing out on by not smurfing along."
"It's their decision as well as their loss, Tracker," Empath said. "We might as well go along with our own decision and have fun ourselves."
Just then, the group had met Papa Smurf. "Good morning, my little Smurfs," he greeted. "Are you all set for the hiking trip that's ahead of us?"
"This smurf senses that all the members in our group are well-prepared, Papa Smurf," Empath responded. "So it's just going to be the nine of us?"
"I'm afraid so, Empath, which is rather disappointing," Papa Smurf said with a sigh. "I have explained to my other little Smurfs that the point of the hike to Dreamy Steamy Springs is to smurf away from it all for awhile. Apparently, they would rather smurf their own things instead."
"You could make it an order that every Smurf should put aside the things they are currently doing and attend the hike, Papa Smurf," Polaris advised.
"I am not the Psyche Master, Polaris, and I would rather my little Smurfs have a choice of what they want to smurf than force them to smurf anything, even if it is for fun," Papa Smurf said. "You know that I am smurfing the care of the entire village into your hands while I'm gone."
"This one understands and acknowledges, Papa Smurf," Polaris said. "You have assigned Hefty and Brainy to be this one's assistants, despite that Hefty would rather not serve under this one for his own personal reasons."
"Neither of them should smurf you much trouble, Polaris," Papa Smurf said. "If anything should happen that requires me or Empath, you know how to contact us."
"We might as well make our goodbyes to the other Smurfs, Papa Smurf, before we get underway," Empath said.
The Smurfs have all gathered around the dining commons as Papa Smurf made his speech.
"I'm sorry that you all want to smurf your own things, but I am leaving Polaris Psyche in charge of the village while me and Empath are gone," he announced. "I want you all to behave yourselves, and if there's any emergency that requires me or Empath to return, Polaris will smurf me the message."
"You should have smurfed me in charge of things, Papa Smurf," Hefty suggested.
"I have smurfed my decision, Hefty," Papa Smurf said. "You and Brainy can both assist Polaris Psyche in his duties. I am counting on you to smurf him your full cooperation, even if you don't like him."
Hefty nodded. "I understand, Papa Smurf. I just want to make sure the Smurflings will smurf out of trouble."
"We'll smurf you back something from the springs, Hefty, I promise you," Snappy said, with the other three Smurflings laughing with him.
Smurfette came to hug Sassette. "I only wish you can smurf with us, big sister," Sassette said.
"I can only wish the same here, Sassette," Smurfette said, smiling. "You smurf yourself out of trouble in the forest and try to smurf the same for Empath."
"Don't worry about him, Smurfette," Sassette said. "I'll make sure to smurf him back home safe."
Smurfette then turned and kissed Empath. "Enjoy yourself at the springs, Empath. I'll smurf you home in a few days."
"This smurf was going to say the last part, but this smurf understands, Smurfette," Empath said, looking into her eyes.
"May the spirits of the Great Ancestors guide and protect you and your fellow Smurfs, Empath," Polaris said.
"And may your spirit be strong for the both of us, Polaris," Empath said.
The Smurfs all waved goodbye as Empath, Papa Smurf, Tracker, Tapper, Duncan, and the Smurflings have started their hike into the wilderness. Then Hefty wondered, "Where's Handy?"
"Oh, he's been busy smurfing on some secret project for the past few days, Hefty...certainly nothing that will be as impressive as the story that I'm writing of myself," Brainy answered.
"I'm sure the whole world can't wait to read your story, Brainy," Hefty said sarcastically.
"Well, I can't wait to try out Greedy's new recipe for a smurfberry souffle," Nabby said, licking his lips.
"Sacre bleu! I can't wait to try out the new paints that I have smurfed together for my masteurpiesas," Painter said.
"And I can't wait to see Smurfette in that new dress she's smurfing for the Ray Of Sunshine concert," Vanity said. "She'll be absosmurfly fabulous in it!"
"We all have our things to smurf in the village while Empath, Papa Smurf, and the others are gone to Dreamy Steamy Springs," Hefty said. "And as much as I don't like who's smurfing in charge of things around here, we might as well not smurf Polaris any trouble."
"I hate smurfing Polaris any trouble," Grouchy said.