Chapter 4

A short while later, Papa Smurf held a private conference with Empath, Smurfette, and Polaris in his laboratory, one of the few places that was at this point safe from any random accidents happening.  Smurfette sat in a chair with her cast leg propped up on a stool while she heard the others speaking.

“So far, Papa Smurf, there has been 15 reports of random accidents happening involving structural instability of various Smurf houses or things around the village,” Polaris reported. “Very few Smurfs have been injured by these accidents, but it seems that these accidents are growing increasingly frequent.  It may be a matter of time before things get critical to the point where we may have to abandon the village for a time.”

“What we don’t know, Polaris, is what’s smurfing these accidents to happen,” Papa Smurf responded.

“This smurf has already checked with Tracker about the possibility of an earthquake,” Empath spoke, “but none of his ground-tracking equipment seems to suggest that one is coming – if that could even explain some of the accidents that don’t involve floors and roofs collapsing.  This smurf can’t even sense that any possible earthquake is coming to the village.”

“There’s just one thing this one meant to report involving a private matter, Papa Smurf,” Polaris continued. “This one’s meditational stone was stolen this morning by Nabby Smurf, and Nabby later came to this one bearing an amulet with a strange design on it that had magical properties in it.  Nabby attempted to replace this one’s meditational stone with this amulet that had a calming effect on whoever touched it, but this one rejected his offer and he went on his own way with it.”

“I bet my smurfs Nabby must have smurfed this amulet from somebody in the forest,” Smurfette offered.

Papa Smurf stroked his beard when he heard this.  He wasn’t fond of hearing about Nabby filching anything from his fellow Smurfs, whether it was food from Greedy’s kitchen or personal possessions.  Someday, he was going to have a long talk with Nabby about his incessant need to take things that don’t belong to him.  But this day wasn’t the day for it.

“Perhaps we should have Nabby smurf this amulet into the laboratory so we can have a smurf at it,” he suggested.  “It may or may not have anything to smurf with these accidents we’re smurfing, but it can’t be a smurfincidence that these things may be happening because of it.”

 

Duncan was busy helping to pull a Smurf out of a hole in the floor that opened up in his house when Nabby came strolling by. "What's smurfing on here, Duncan?" Nabby asked.

"You haven't smurfed what's been smurfing on in this village lately, laddie?" Duncan replied. "It seems like everywhere the village is just smurfing apart, and we don't know what's causing it."

"Really?" Nabby said, sounding stunned. "I didn't think things would be smurfing this badly around here on a day like this."

"You wouldn't happen to know what's making the ground smurf under the feet now, would you?" Duncan asked, sounding a bit suspicious.

"Who, me?" Nabby responded, not liking the idea of being accused of anything bad. "Oh, no, of course not! Why would I be smurfing something that would be causing all this chaos?"

"Excuse me for being so smurf, but you do have a reputation for smurfing things that don't belong to you, laddie," Duncan said.

"Well, all I have is this amulet that I smurfed from somewhere in the forest, Duncan," Nabby said, showing him the amulet in question.

Duncan stared at the amulet with a scrutinizing look. "I don't smurf anything particularly unusual about this trinket of yours, but I would be careful where you smurf this thing. You may not know who may be smurfing after it."

Just then, Empath showed up. "Nabby, would you please come into Papa Smurf's laboratory with that amulet of yours?" he asked.

"Why, what for, Empath?" Nabby asked. "What did I smurf this time?"

"Papa Smurf wants to take a look at the amulet to see if there's something about it that could connect itself with the various disasters happening in the village, Nabby," Empath explained.

"You're not still mad at me for smurfing your morning muffin away from you, are you?" Nabby asked.

"Right now, that's the least of this smurf's problems," Empath answered. "We're going to need this amulet if we're going to find out why things are falling apart around here."

"You'd better smurf what Empath says, laddie," Duncan said. "I'm going to be smurfing my hands full rescuing the laddies wherever I'm needed."

Nabby sighed. "Okay, Empath, I'm smurfing with you." He joined Empath as they both headed to the laboratory together.

 

With the amulet in his possession, Papa Smurf looked through his books in the laboratory about various types of amulets until he came across the very thing he was looking for — complete with an illustration of the amulet itself.

"This is called the Amulet of Harmonix, Empath," Papa Smurf read aloud. "This was smurfed by a goddess who called hersmurf Harmonix, who besmurfed upon all those who smurfed out to her inner peace and serenity, even those who were afflicted with demons that could not be smurfed out of any person's body.  This amulet allowed its owner to control and quiet the demons so that he could smurf a normal life without any interference from within himsmurf."

Empath seemed impressed by hearing about this Harmonix.  "She sounds like someone the Psyche Master had once admired at a time when he once was among the other Smurfs, Papa Smurf," he suggested.

"But what does this amulet have to do with all these unfortunate random and somewhat unrelated events taking place in the village?" Polaris asked. "There must be something it has in common with things in the village falling apart without cause."

Before Papa Smurf could try to answer Polaris' question, a monstrous voice boomed like a tidal wave over the entire village.  "Whoever runs this village, come on out and face me...or I will destroy your village and every being in it!"

At that same instant, Papa Smurf, Empath, and Polaris could feel a heavy rumbling beneath their feet, causing jars and vials on Papa Smurf's shelves to fall and break on the floor.  Papa Smurf decided that he should face whoever it was that called out to him.

He met the stranger, the same robed gnome that Nabby had found resting in the forest, standing in the center of the village.  His peaceful countenance was replaced by a devilish demeanor that caused his face to glow red with an unrestrained fury.

"Smurf here, whoever you are," Papa Smurf said, trying to sound peaceful but meaning business. "I'm Papa Smurf, and I don't know what business you smurf with any of the Smurfs here, but you will have to smurf with me first.  I promise I will smurf no harm to you, but you must also promise not to smurf any harm to anyone else while you are here."

"You weak graybearded fool," the gnome sneered, "you don't know who you're dealing with, but I will make it clear...you and all your people have sealed your doom!"

With that, the gnome raised his hands and caused them to glow with dark mystical energy.  The Smurfs who were in the village and in their houses ran for safety when they felt the ground shaking beneath their feet. Papa Smurf realized that this gnome wasn't going to listen to reason and decided to defend himself and the other Smurfs from the gnome before he caused any further damage.  He cast a spell toward the gnome in the hopes that it would stop him.  The gnome countered this with a spell cast toward Papa Smurf.  At first, their spell energies simply held each other at bay, but then the gnome’s magic slowly began to overpower Papa Smurf’s, and soon he was able to defeat Papa Smurf.  He fell to the ground, stunned but unhurt.

The gnome laughed at Papa Smurf’s failure.  “Anyone else foolish enough to challenge me?” he asked.

“Polaris, let’s try to enter into his mind together,” Empath suggested. “That way we can overpower his thinking and get him to stop his magical attacks on the village.”

Polaris went along with Empath’s suggestion.  Both he and Empath focused their minds-eyes’ energies together and entered into the mind of their opponent, hoping that they could reason with him and get him to stop.  But the gnome’s mind was resistant to their attempts, and was causing feedback that made it impossible for either Empath or Polaris to maintain control.  Soon the both of them fell down, unhurt but overpowered.

“It’s no use, Empath,” Polaris reported. “Something in his mind is blocking us from doing so.”

“Then we must get all the Smurfs to safety before the village collapses,” Empath replied.

Nabby, who was watching the two Smurfs and the Psyche combat the out-of-control gnome, looked at the amulet in his hand and realized that that may be the only way to stop the gnome.  He whirled the amulet around his head like a lariat loop and then flung it toward the gnome, having it land over his head and then hung down on him like a necklace.

Soon the entire village was at peace, with no more shaking and quaking going on.  The gnome himself was also at peace, but he was now feeling like he had just been awakened from a sleepwalk.  “What’s going on?” he asked, puzzled by his appearance. “What happened? Where am I?”

“You’re in the Smurf Village,” Papa Smurf answered.  “Apparently, something must have smurfed you here without your knowing about it.  I’m sorry if our first meeting is anything less than peaceful, but I had to protect the village.”

“My name is Prozalek,” the gnome answered, “and I was born with the curse of a demon inside me that would drive me mad and cause me to do all sorts of evil things beyond my control.  That amulet that was taken from me is the only thing that gives me control over that part of myself.  It was given to me at a very young age, and I haven’t lost the amulet ever since, and if it were even taken from me, it would direct me toward where it would be located.  Whoever took the amulet from me brought with him a lot of trouble your way without realizing it.”

“I’m afraid I’m the one who smurfed your amulet, Prozalek,” Nabby confessed, a lump forming in his throat.  “I smurfed a friend of mine’s meditational stone from him this morning, and I was trying to smurf it back for him when I smurfed across you and your amulet.  I thought I could smurf amends with him with the amulet, but he refused to take it.”

“I don’t know how you could mistake a meditational stone for my amulet, Nabby,” Prozalek said. “But taking something like that from me was not a wise thing to do.  Your village could have been destroyed because of me.”

“That’s just what stealing does, Nabby,” Papa Smurf seconded. “It destroys the value of trust your fellow Smurfs have in you, and it destroys friendships.  You’re fortunate that Polaris Psyche isn’t totally dependent upon a meditational stone to smurf control of his life.  I wouldn’t want to imagine the damage the loss of his control would smurf if he were so dependent upon it.”

“And you’re also fortunate that you’re around fellow Smurfs that care for you, even if you do annoy them at times with your problem of filching,” Empath added. “This smurf isn’t going to hold a grudge against you because you’ve taken this smurf’s morning muffins this morning or any morning.”

Nabby nodded, realizing the truth of what was said. “I guess you Smurfs are right.  I do have a problem of smurfing things besides food that don’t belong to me, and I do drive you Smurfs crazy when I smurf it.  I didn’t think that I could be so hurtful toward someone who doesn’t smurf like he’s hurt over anything.”  He shamefacedly went over to Polaris.  “I’m sorry that I smurfed a mess of your morning by smurfing your meditational stone and then trying to pass off Prozalek’s amulet as a smurfable replacement for it.  I hope this time you can forgive me.”

“This one also apologizes to you, Nabby, for this one’s reaction to your failure of retrieving this one’s meditational stone,” Polaris responded calmly.  “This one should never have let personal possessions bind this one in such a way that this one would react to its loss in such a negative and hurtful way.  This one should realize that there more important things to worry about than the loss of a personal possession.”

“So are we friends again, Polaris?” Nabby asked.

“Let’s just say that our communal closeness to each other in the village shall continue from this point on,” Polaris answered.

Nabby then turned to Prozalek.  “I’m sorry that I smurfed your amulet from you while you were smurfing out there in the forest.  It was a stupid mistake that I hope to live resmurfing.”

“You didn’t know about the amulet or what it did or anything about me, Nabby,” Prozalek replied. “How could I be angry at you for your ignorance?  This curse is what I’ll have to live with for the rest of my life, and so also is wearing this amulet.  Your problem may be overcome in time, if you are willing to believe in yourself to overcome.”

“Meanwhile, we have a village to smurf up,” Papa Smurf said after all the apologies were made. “And we might as well get all the Smurfs started in smurfing things back in order.”

“I’ll be more than happy to help you Smurfs repair your village, Papa Smurf,” Prozalek offered.  “It’s the least I can do to show that I may have a monster within me, but that doesn’t mean the rest of me is that way.”

Papa Smurf smiled.  “I’ll be happy to let you smurf a hand.”