Part 4

With the Smurfs cured of the effects from the lust arrows, they all gathered around Cupid as they kept him company while Papa Smurf went to do research on how to cure a cherub. They all felt sympathy for his daughter Charity, whom they had just met but felt that they could completely trust her if worse came to worst and she had to take his place.
"I just wanted to be an active cherub like my father, whose favorite thing in the world is to spread joy and love among all creatures," Charity said to Tapper. "I never wanted something like this to happen to him."
"Sometimes things like this happen in order to prepare us for difficult roles that we have to smurf in life, my dear Charity," Tapper said. "We were just young Smurflings when our parents were smurfed away from us, and a good deal of us didn't know how to run a village. But Papa Smurf was there to help guide us and nurture us and make us into the Smurfs that we are today, and for that I am forever grateful."
"You are unique among your brethren in that you are so wise, my young friend," Charity said. "You must feel honored to have them come to you whenever they need to know something that they are unable to ask your Papa Smurf about."
"I feel more humbled than honored, because most of what I have smurfed in life comes from years of being intimate with the one true God who has created all of us," Tapper said. "Even now I admit that my wisdom and knowledge pales in comparison to that of the Ancient Of Days Himself."
"I only hope that your God is able to bring my father back from the dead, or whatever death is for cherubs, Tapper," Charity said with a heavy sigh.
"Empath, we can smurf Cupid back to life with your mindlink, can't we?" Sassette asked, sounding tearful.
"This smurf fears this is one instance where the mindlink may not help our friend, Sassette," Empath replied. "From what this smurf is able to sense, the magic of the lust arrow acts as a slow poison in a cherub, and it seems that it is just too powerful to simply remove with a mindlink."
"But I don't want him to die!" Sassette cried out. "There's just so much love that this world needs from him!"
"This smurf agrees with you, Sassette, but this may be the time for Cupid to pass on from this world and for his daughter to take his place," Empath said comfortingly.
"I hate having to lose Cupid," Grouchy said as he stood next to Duncan.
"Aye, he's been such a valuable friend to the Smurfs, I don't see how we can smurf on without him, Grouchy," Duncan said.
"I just hope Papa Smurf can find the cure to his condition and soon," Vanity said.
Finally Papa Smurf came out of his laboratory. "I have some good news, my little Smurfs...there is a way that we can fully restore Cupid, but it's going to take some brave souls to smurf this task."
"This smurf is willing to undertake the journey, Papa Smurf, wherever it may lead," Empath said.
"And this one is willing to accompany Empath," Polaris said.
"Please, Papa Smurf, I want to help rescue my father," Charity said.
"Very well," Papa Smurf said. "The place you will need to smurf to is the Wellspring Of Hope, a legendary location where it is always spring. It has a special type of healing water that is able to cure cherubs, but in order to bring it back here, you're going to need this."
Empath saw as Papa Smurf gave him an emerald ring. "What is it, Papa Smurf?" he asked.
"It is a special ring that has been smurfed to me by the Emerald Empress, which is used to create containment bubbles," Papa Smurf answered. "You may need it in case you smurf into Eros again."
"Papa Smurf, I wish to join the group in traveling to the Wellspring Of Hope," Tapper requested. "Eros' arrows are unable to affect me."
"Very well, then, you may go," Papa Smurf said. "But you must return here with the water before sundown, or we may never see Cupid alive again."
"This smurf knows the location of the Wellspring Of Hope from Papa Smurf's memories," Empath said as he slipped the emerald ring on his finger. "It's time that we got ourselves going."
"Good luck, my little Smurfs," Papa Smurf said as he watched the four of them head off into the sky together.
"Oooh, I wish that I was going with them, Duncan," Smurfette said.
"They'll be fine, lassie," Duncan said. "We just need to smurf them time to reach their destination and smurf what they came for."
"I hate waiting for them to return," Grouchy said.
Duncan noticed that Clumsy was walking away from the crowd, looking as if his mind was focused on something else entirely. He felt as if his friend could use a bit of company right around that time.
"Laddie, are you all right?" Duncan asked as he came over to Clumsy. "I can understand that this is upsmurfing, but Empath, Polaris, and Tapper are going to help the poor cherub and hopefully smurf him back to life."
"It's not that, Duncan," Clumsy replied. "It's...something that I don't feel comfortable telling any Smurf except my closest friends. I'm not sure I can even tell Tapper because I know what he's going to smurf about it."
"I know that you're a close friend of Brainy," Duncan said. "I can see that you care for him just as much as you care for Smurfette. In fact, you smurf like you feel something more for him than you think is appropriate."
"Yes, but how do you know?" Clumsy asked. "You don't have that minds-eye like Empath has or..."
"It's just a gut feeling that I smurf about you, Clumsy," Duncan said. "You're probably thinking that you feel less of a Smurf for feeling the way that you do for your friend. I surely don't envy you for the burden that you carry."
"I feel so ashamed, Duncan, like every Smurf is going to make fun of me for admitting it," Clumsy said. "Even the Smurfs that I smurf up to like you and Hefty...they're going to think that I'm so unsmurfy."
"What I feel about how you feel for Brainy is something I have to smurf with," Duncan said. "But what's more important to me is letting you smurf your life however you want, like Vanity and Century. If they're comfortable with who they wish to smurf their love with, then why should my opinion matter to them?"
"You think that I should let Brainy know how I really feel for him, Duncan?" Clumsy asked.
"You should only tell him when you're good and ready, laddie," Duncan said. "But no matter what happens, I'm always going to be a friend to you."

Empath led the way as Polaris telekinetically transported Tapper and Charity flew besides them. Polaris sensed that Empath felt somewhat uncomfortable about what happened to the both of them when they were under the influence of the lust arrow. He could understand that feeling for himself, as the whole thing seemed like a violation of their very being. He hoped that they could come to a mutual understanding so that it would not affect the future of their relationship with each other.
Then Empath said, "There it is!" The four of them saw a place that looked like it was always spring, with a beautiful garden surrounding a bubbling fountain in the center.
"It's so beautiful, just like the Garden of Eden," Tapper said.
"This place is truly remarkable, if it does have miraculous recuperative abilities that are described in Papa Smurf's books," Polaris said.
"We might as well get what we came for and return quickly," Empath said.
"At least there's nobody here that can stop us now," Charity said.
"Guess again," another voice broke in. They saw Eros reappear right above the fountain itself, laughing maliciously. "Take one more step and I'll poison this water so that nobody will be able to use it for anything," he said, aiming one of his lust arrows at the center of the fountain itself.
"Why do you want to fill the entire world with lust, Eros?" Charity asked. "Have we cherubs ever did anything wrong to you?"
"All you cherubs ever care about is love, love, love," Eros answered in a mocking tone. "And frankly, what you call love just makes me sick. You don't care that some folks just don't share the same kind of love that you do. Instead, you just want to make the world into the kind of love where nobody has any freedom to love whoever they please."
"What you're spreading in the world isn't true love, Eros," Empath said. "It's only the burning sensation of lust that harms people, including those that feel it."
"So what if it does? Nobody lives forever, you know," Eros said. "I might as well give the world what it truly wants, which is to let people have their own way with others, even if it doesn't fit your definition of love."
"We are not going to let you alter people's feelings just to satisfy your savage desires, Eros," Polaris said.
"And how are you going to stop me, huh?" Eros said. "None of you except that meddlesome green-vested Smurf has the power to withstand my lust arrows. If one cherub has to fall to its power, then what could another cherub possibly do against me?"
"I do not want to hurt you, Eros," Charity said. "I would rather see you restored to the cherub you once were before you decided to become evil. Surely that good part of you hasn't been fully driven out."
"That part of me is no more, dearie," Eros said. "I would rather be slain than have anyone attempt to make me into something I no longer want to be. In fact, I wouldn't mind having a partner to tag along with me and reshape the world into the image of love I would want it to have. Come, throw away everything that the elder cherubs have taught you and join me as we give the world what it truly wants."
"Oh, Lord, please protect the young cherub from this wicked one's temptations," Tapper prayed.
Charity looked at Eros for a moment as if to consider his offer. Then she just said, "No, I won't. You're going to have to kill every cherub if you want a world full of lust." She lowered her bow as if she was going to surrender.
"No, Charity, please don't do it," Empath pleaded as he, Polaris, and Tapper watched.
"If that's what you want, young one, then that's what you'll get," Eros said as he pulled back his bowstring and let fly a lust arrow aimed straight at her.
Empath tried to fly straight into the arrow's path to intercept it, but it reached its target before he could get there...only for the arrow to have no effect as it struck the female cherub.
"What?!?" Eros said, surprised by what he saw. "That isn't possible!"
"With the Almighty, all things are possible," Tapper said. "She and all my friends here are protected by Him, so that none of your lust arrows can smurf anything to us."
"Curses," Eros growled. "If I can't affect you with my arrows, then I have no choice but to poison the well."
"Eros, dont!" Charity cried out.
But Eros had already fired a lust arrow straight into the center of the fountain. The fountain briefly glowed dark for a moment, and then it turned bright with a blinding light before its water became clear again.
Eros was upset that his attempt to poison the well didn't work. "What...?!? No...it can't be...!"
"Apparently the fountain must be self-purifying to the point that it cannot be contaminated with anything evil," Polaris observed.
"Empath, Charity, he's smurfing away," Tapper said as he watched Eros fly off in a rage.
"We won't let him get away," Charity said as she and Empath flew off after him, with Charity firing her love arrows and Empath emitting green bubbles with his emerald ring. Eros evaded them for as long as he could, but eventually one of Charity's arrows struck him. He started to fall to the ground until Empath encased him in a green bubble.
"You didn't have to smurf that to him, Charity," Empath said, sounding upset at what happened.
"Don't worry, my friend," Charity said. "Love arrows can only stun, not kill. He will awaken and return to his wicked ways, but for now he will not bring harm to anyone else."
The two of them returned to the fountain with Eros, while Tapper and Polaris waited for them. "Now that Eros has been taken care of, it's time that we got what we came for," Polaris said.
"With this ring, Polaris, it won't be a problem," Empath said. He soon projected a bubble into the middle of the fountain and scooped up a good amount of its healing water inside.
"It's too bad that we can't smurf in a world like this forever, my friends...not until the Lord Himself comes and resmurfs the world into a paradise," Tapper said.
"This smurf is certain that every Smurf would want to live in this type of world forever, Tapper," Empath said. "Come...it is time that we return to our village."
"Hopefully we will arrive in time to save my father," Charity said as the four of them flew off with two green bubbles in tow.

As the Smurfs continued their watch over Cupid's condition, the Smurflings noticed something. "Soaring seagulls, Pappy, the sun is going down," Sassette said, looking up at the sky.
"And the four of them haven't yet returned with the healing water," Nat said.
"Oh, Papa Smurf, what are we going to do?" Smurfette asked, finding herself ready to break into tears.
"There, there, Smurfette," Papa Smurf said comfortingly. "I know it's going to be difficult if this is going to be the last Valentine's Day that Cupid will ever smurf."
"I feel so sad that it makes me want to smurf a funeral dirge for our friend," Harmony said, ready to put his trumpet to his lips and start playing.
"Don't smurf the music yet, Harmony...look!" Slouchy said, as he noticed something else.
"It's Empath, Polaris, and Tapper with Charity," Snappy said, recognizing who it was that was approaching.
The Smurfs made room for the four travelers to land. "We've got the healing water for Cupid, and we also have Eros in confinement, Papa Smurf," Polaris reported.
"Now how do we open the bubble that contains the water?" Empath asked.
"All you have to smurf is just focus with your mind, Empath," Papa Smurf answered.
Empath then directed the water bubble to appear over Cupid's head and then released the water that was inside it, dousing the cherub. As the Smurfs watched, Cupid began to open his eyes. "Wha...what happened to me?" he asked.
"You were smurfed with a lust arrow and were near death, my friend," Papa Smurf explained. "Your daughter helped to smurf back the water you need to smurf back to life."
"You did that, Charity?" Cupid asked. "Then where is Eros?"
"He's safe inside a containment bubble for now, Cupid," Empath answered. "This smurf is not sure what to do with him, but as long as he's unconscious he won't pose anymore of a threat."
"I had to stun him with a love arrow, Father," Charity explained. "He tried to tempt me into joining him, but I didn't want to have any part of his plans."
"I know that you're strong enough to resist such temptations, my child," Cupid said as he got up and embraced her. "Today you have proven yourself to be worthy of your calling as a true cherub."
"I love you, Father," Charity said tearfully, as the other Smurfs cheered.
"Oh, this is just so touching, I can't control myself," Weepy said as he cried tears of joy.
"You smurfed it, Weepy," Vanity said, finding himself in tears. "What a smurfy way to close out the day...other than the Valentine's Day dance tonight."
"I think it is time that we return to the Land Of Myth with our captive, my friends," Cupid said. "It has certainly been a Valentine's Day to remember."
"Of course, Cupid," Papa Smurf said, understanding. "Empath, you should smurf the ring to his daughter."
"But Papa Smurf, the ring is too small to fit her finger," Empath said. "How will she wear it?"
"The Emerald Empress said that the ring will change size depending on who wears it," Papa Smurf explained.
Empath nodded as he gave the ring over to Charity, which then grew to the size of her fingers. "What will you do with Eros once you return to your world, Charity?" Empath asked.
"We cherubs believe in restoration, no matter how long it takes," Charity answered. "Someday Eros will realize for himself that spreading lust in the world is wrong and he will return to the good cherub that he once was."
"But he will do everything to resist that change," Polaris said. "That may end up proving itself a fruitless endeavor."
"I believe that only something greater than myself has the right to choose when a life should end, Polaris," Charity said. "In the meantime, I will do everything I can do to fulfill my calling in life to spread love, joy, and compassion among all creatures."
"This one is certain that you will achieve that purpose," Empath said.
"May the spirits of the Great Ancestors guide and protect you," Polaris said.
All the Smurfs watched and waved goodbye to the cherubs as they headed off into the sky with Eros and then suddenly vanished. "I hate it when they just suddenly disappear," Grouchy said.
"So, my little Smurfs, it is now time that we celebrate Valentine's Day with our dance," Papa Smurf announced.
"Oh, goody," Vanity said, sounding very excited. "I've got to smurf home right now and get myself prepared."
"Me too," Century said. "Smurfette's going to like the suit that I'll be wearing."
Smurfette turned to see Empath approaching. "Oh, Empath," she said, giving him a warm embrace. "I'm so glad that you smurfed home with Tapper and Polaris. I feared that you were going to be smurfed by those lust arrows again."
"Tapper provided us with all the protection we needed, thanks to his faith in his Almighty, Smurfette," Empath said.
"So I see," Smurfette said. "But can you really prove to me that you're no longer affected by it?"
"How about this?" Empath asked, as he gave her a kiss on the lips.
Smurfette giggled after the kiss ended. "That's all the proof I will ever need."
Clumsy then came over to Brainy. "Uh, Brainy, there's something that I need to smurf with you in private," he said rather quietly.
Brainy noticed the look in his friend's eyes that this was something very important. "Oh, very well, Clumsy," he said as the two of them walked off together.
Tapper was with Duncan as he noticed Clumsy and Brainy walking off together. "I sense in my spirit that Clumsy has an important secret that he needs to smurf with his closest friend, and it may not be something that he wants to smurf with anyone else," Tapper said.
"I tried to comfort the laddie and let him know how I feel about this secret he's smurfing," Duncan said.
"You did only what a friend could smurf, my fellow Duncan," Tapper said. "I pray that the Almighty's hand will be upon him to smurf him on the path that he should follow for the sake of his soul."
"I just want you to know, if it hasn't been smurfed before, that I love you as a brother, Tapper," Duncan said, giving his friend a hug.
"I know just how you feel, for that's also how I love you," Tapper said.