In a swampy part of a region known as Pussywillow Hollow, there lies a place called Toad Castle where King Bullrush, the ruler of the amphibious people known as Wartmongers, resides, giving out orders for all his subjects to obey while being pampered with fresh bowls of slime to eat on a daily basis. It is a very privileged lifestyle that he lives, and all the male Wartmongers are happy to be given a privileged status above their female counterparts, who are forced to live separately from the males and are only called for in matters of procreation in their society. Yet for all this, King Bullrush was still not happy, and he has called his three great hunters Slop, Sludge, and Slime to express his displeasure.
"For years, we the Wartmongers know the place of females in our society, and their role is to serve us, the males who rule over them, as is given our right to do so," King Bullrush began. "This is a burden that has been placed upon us since the first Wartmongers were created long ago, and it has been our tradition for years."
"So what is the problem now, Your Grace?" Sludge, the leader of the hunters, asked.
"The same problem that has always plagued us, you imbecile...the Pussywillow Pixies," King Bullrush answered angrily. "We are able to subjugate every creature in the forest except for them, and they continue to defy us at every turn. I will not stand for seeing these pixies living rebelliously against us, against the rightful order of males in this domain."
"But Your Highness, we've been trying to capture the pixies for years," Sludge said.
"Yeah, and they always manage to get away from us," Slime added.
"If they didn't have their wings, we would be able to capture them so easily," Slop joined in.
"Silence!" King Bullrush shouted, pounding his fist on his throne and causing a bowl of slime to flip over and dump its contents onto Sludge's head. "Don't you think I know any of that by now? You three have proven to be the biggest failures when it comes to catching pixies, and yet I have tolerated your failures with the belief that someday you will succeed in your efforts. Well, this time you three are completely on your own."
"Completely on our own?" Slime said, sounding surprised. "You mean that you're not going to support us anymore?"
"That's exactly what I mean, you dolt," King Bullrush said. "Your privileges in this castle as of now have been revoked until you can prove that you are to catch a single pixie and keep her from escaping. Now begone from my sight, before I have you arrested and put to work in the slime mills."
"Y-y-y-y-yes, Your Highness," Slop, Sludge, and Slime said together rather fearfully.
As the three hunters left King Bullrush's throne room, they were talking among themselves. "How do you like that?" Sludge said. "After all this time of serving the king faithfully, we will no longer be called into his service."
"I'm going to miss standing in the king's throne room, Sludge," Slime said. "Especially when his niece Princess Chamelianne makes an appearance."
"Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah," Slop said, sounding excited at the mention of the princess.
"I have to admit, the sight of the princess surely gets my warts boiling," Sludge said. "But who among us is ever going to be her mate?"
"I surely would, if I were able to give her some nice things, Sludge," Slime answered.
"Oh, yeah, definitely, I would want to be her mate," Slop said in an excited tone.
"Look, none of us is ever to get near the princess anytime soon, even if we didn't have our castle privileges revoked," Sludge said. "Most likely King Bullrush is going to keep her locked up in the castle her entire life, not letting her have anything to do with us males."
"Her entire life?" Slime said. "But that would make her an old croaker who wouldn't be able to mate with anyone."
"Yeah, even though she doesn't deserve to live in the castle with her uncle," Slop said.
"Princess Chamelianne belongs to the king, and that's final, you guys," Sludge said. "If we're going to make the best of our years as mighty hunters, we can't be wasting our time worrying about female Wartmongers that we can't have."
As King Bullrush watched the three Wartmongers leave, a slender female Wartmonger with blue-green skin approached him. "You're still troubled by the fact that your mighty hunters can't catch a single Pussywillow Pixie, are you?" she said as she sat down next to him.
"You know better than to ask that kind of a question, Chamelianne," King Bullrush said. "It upsets me that they roam so freely in our domain, thumbing a nose at the thought of ever having to serve us."
"And yet your three mighty hunters continue to fail in their efforts," Princess Chamelianne said. "You deserve to have better hunters than the ones you have chosen to go after those meddlesome pixies."
"And where am I going to get the better hunters?" King Bullrush asked. "Those three were the best Wartmongers suited for the job, and even they are not good enough to accomplish this task."
"There's someone that I have seen who lives outside the hollow in my visions, Uncle, one who is just right for the task," Princess Chamelianne answered. "He lives among another group of people that you detest, the Smurfs."
"And why would a Smurf be willing to help us capture the Pussywillow Pixies?" King Bullrush asked. "They happen to be friends and allies with those rebellious women. None of them would ever choose to go against them for any reason."
"Just leave that part for me to handle," Princess Chamelianne said. "By the time I am through with him, he would even turn against his own people if you were to command it of him."
King Bullrush chuckled. "Yes, I am sure that you will sway him with your charms. Go and see if it can be done."
"Yes, my liege," Princess Chamelianne said with a bow before she left the king's chambers.
Slag the court jester entered the chambers just as the princess left. "So what does the luscious lady of a princess want with you, my king?" Slag asked, sounding curious.
"That is my niece, and you shall treat her with respect, even if she's the only female in my kingdom who has any position of power, Slag," King Bullrush said in a commanding tone. "And what she wants is to be able to find me someone who's capable of capturing those no-good Pussywillow Pixies so they can be my slaves."
"Someone who's capable?" Slag said. "You already tried before with your three mighty hunters and they have failed you time and again...what makes you think that this someone is going to succeed where the others have failed, your Highness?"
"That is what the Princess is going to try accomplishing, Slag, and by the Great Source this had better work for her sake and the sake of this kingdom," King Bullrush said.
"I'd like to marry her if she wasn't a princess, your Majesty," Slag said.
"Yes, I'm sure that the two of you would make a fine couple together, Slag," King Bullrush said derisively.
Princess Chamelianne went to the chambers of Slither the court magician, who was busy working on an experiment when she entered. "Is the transportation spell ready, Slither?" the princess asked.
"Oh, yes, your grace," Slither answered. "Are you still intending to use it on that Smurf that you want brought to Toad Castle?"
"Yes, Slither, he is the one that I want brought here," Chamelianne said as she looked into the crystal ball in the magician's chambers and saw Empath's likeness in it. "For a creature such as him, he is very attractive and desirable."
"And he may be even more, once you are able to transform him into a Wartmonger with my other potion," Slither said as he produced a vial in one of his hands.
"I can't wait any longer to put this plan into motion, Slither," Chamelianne said. "Activate the transportation spell and bring my intended here at once."
"As you wish, my lady," Slither said.
Meanwhile, in the Smurf Village, Empath was busy watching over the irrigation project that Handy, Miner, and Smithy were working on with Farmer so he could better water his crops.
"So what did you think of the wrestling match we were smurfing last night, laddie?" Duncan asked Empath after he brushed off his hands from helping set up the irrigation project.
"It seemed like a very close match between you and Hefty that time, Duncan," Empath said. "This smurf didn't expect the match to last as long as it did before the referee finally called time."
"Well, Hefty may think that he can smurf the upper hand on me, but he knows who's got him smurfed down on the mat longer," Duncan said. "Besides, it's not that I enjoy smurfing him in a lot of pain like he does."
"This smurf never assumed that of you, Duncan, even though fighting is what you like to do," Empath said. "It's just too bad that this smurf can't get involved in wrestling with this smurf's fellow Smurfs."
"What we need to smurf is get you to wrestle one of those Wartmongers over in the swamp, laddie," Duncan said. "I'm sure that they wouldn't mind trying to smurf a match with the likes of you."
"This smurf isn't sure that wrestling with a Wartmonger would be a...," Empath began to say before he suddenly disappeared in a puff of smoke.
"Empath! Where did you go?" Duncan shouted when he saw that his friend just disappeared before his eyes.
"Okay, Gutsy, what happened to Empath?" Hefty asked as he came over to join his fellow Smurf. "I thought that he would be here to oversmurf the project we are smurfing on."
"He was just here a moment ago, and then suddenly he went poof in a smurf of smoke," Duncan replied. "I get the feeling that somebody with magical powers must have smurfnapped him."
"That's just great," Hefty said. "Empath can't smurf himself out of trouble without needing us to smurf him out, even with all his fancy powers. Come on, let's tell Papa Smurf what happened here."
"...good idea, Duncan," Empath finished his statement in the moment that he reappeared, only to soon realize that he was no longer in the Smurf Village. "Now where did this smurf get transported to?" he asked as he looked around.
"You're in the chambers of the great King Bullrush, stranger, and you'll soon be his prisoner," one of the Wartmonger guards said as he and the other guards surrounded him.
"King Bullrush?" Empath asked, as if he was remembering something. "Then this smurf must be in Pussywillow Hollow. What would the king want with this smurf?"
"That will be his business to reveal to you," another guard said. "Right now, you are to follow us into his throne room, or we will put you down like the little blue puke you are."
Empath sensed that his telepathic and telekinetic powers wouldn't work normally in the place that he was in, so he had no choice but to follow the guards into the throne room. There Empath saw the repulsively obese king with his robe and turban, lounging on his throne and eating his bowl of slime.
"Ah, yes, this is whom my daughter has sent for," King Bullrush said as he saw Empath brought before him. "You have arrived right on time."
"What do you want with me, King Bullrush?" Empath asked.
"You have been brought to my kingdom for the purpose of helping me to capture the Pussywillow Pixies, who are the greatest of my enemies in my kingdom," King Bullrush answered.
"This smurf has heard of your dealings with the Smurfs, and this smurf has no interest in becoming your lackey," Empath boldly stated.
"Oh, what a dear shame, because I can't let you leave my kingdom to return home to your precious Smurfs unless you are willing to betray your allies, those vile females who would dare to thumb their nose at my authority," King Bullrush said.
"You can do whatever it is you want with this smurf, but this smurf will never turn against those whom the Smurfs are friends with," Empath said defiantly.
"I will have you become my Pussywillow Pixie hunter one way or another," King Bullrush said. "Guards, show our guest to his new home."
Empath saw the guards ready to capture him and decided that he was going to fight his way out, even if his powers wouldn't work normally. Unfortunately, the guards proved to be too big and strong for him to land any punches on, and he was soon felled to the floor, completely unconscious.
Princess Chamelianne watched from the shadows as Empath was now being carried out of the throne room toward the dungeon. She could see that part of her plan was working perfectly, and now she needed to bring the rest of her plan to fruition.
Papa Smurf and Polaris Psyche joined the Smurfs at the place near Farmer's fields where Duncan claimed he saw Empath disappear in a puff of smoke. Polaris was scanning the very spot that Empath was standing in while Papa Smurf asked the Smurfs who were working in the fields what they were doing when this had happened.
"This one does sense that there was a magical spell that took effect upon Empath right where he was standing, Papa Smurf, but this one is uncertain about the origin of where the spell came from," Polaris reported.
"My question is, who would smurf a magical spell just to smurf Empath away from us?" Papa Smurf asked as he stroked his beard in thought.
"Maybe it was Gargamel, who finally smurfed a place to live and decided that he was still going to smurf even with us after all, Papa Smurf," Duncan guessed.
"But all the way from wherever he is outside the forest just to smurf his revenge, Duncan?" Tapper said.
"Gosh, I wonder if it could be them Wartmongers?" Clumsy asked.
"Clumsy, why would you think that the Wartmongers want to smurf anything to do with us all of a sudden?" Brainy said. "It's not like we have anything smurfy to offer them, even if we happen to be their enemies, and besides that, who among them would even know magic to smurf something like this off?"
"It may be improbable, fellow Brainy, but we can't rule out the possibility that they may be responsible for the abduction of Empath through the use of magic," Polaris said.
"I would have to agree with you on that, Polaris," Papa Smurf said. "In any case, Pussywillow Hollow may be where we will need to go to smurf some answers, so I will be taking a few Smurfs with me on this journey. Hefty, Tuffy, and Duncan, you will be my volunteers."
"Oh, great, and what is my job going to be?" Brainy said, not liking who was being chosen to go with Papa Smurf.
"You will be assisting Polaris Psyche, who will smurf behind in the village to smurf over things while the four of us are visiting the hollow, Brainy," Papa Smurf answered.
"This one understands and acknowledges, Papa Smurf," Polaris said. "May the spirits of the Great Ancestors guide and protect you and your chosen Smurfs on this journey."
"Hmmmph...well, it figures that I would have to smurf second fiddle to Empath's friend being the temporary leader of the village while the Three Smurfketeers get to smurf all the fun of finding Empath," Brainy scoffed.
"Gee, Brainy, I have no idea that being an assistant to Polaris Psyche means having to smurf a musical instrument," Clumsy said.
"It's just a figure of speech, Clumsy, which means...oh, never mind!" Brainy said, sounding rather frustrated.
"I'll be back with Empath, my little Smurfs," Papa Smurf said as most of the village was gathered together to see him head off into the forest with Hefty, Tuffy, and Duncan. "I want you all to behave yourselves and smurf Polaris Psyche the same respect as you would smurf me or Empath."
"We will, Papa Smurf," most of the Smurfs said in unison, before the four Smurfs started off on their journey.
"This one senses that you are rather disappointed that Papa Smurf did not choose you as part of the expedition that would go and find Empath, fellow Brainy," Polaris said.
"How would you expect that I would feel, Polaris?" Brainy said. "Instead of choosing at least someone like me or Tapper as the Smurf with the most intelligence and wisdom to handle smurfing to someplace like Pussywillow Hollow, he would end up choosing the Three Smurfketeers to smurf on this important journey."
"I don't always understand Papa Smurf's reasons behind who he chooses to smurf off on certain journeys, my fellow Brainy, but at the very least I would trust that Papa Smurf knows what he's smurfing with his choices and respect that decision nonetheless," Tapper said.
"Uh, Brainy, why do you call those Smurfs the Three Smurfketeers?" Clumsy asked.
"Oh, Clumsy, must I always have to explain everything that your feeble mind can understand?" Brainy said. "Have you never bothered to smurf the great classics of literature like the Three Smurfketeers for yourself?"
"I just remember being in a play that was smurfed from that story, Brainy," Clumsy said.
Tapper chuckled. "I think Brainy's reference to Hefty, Tuffy, and Duncan being the Three Smurfketeers is just his way of saying that those three Smurfs rely on their strength and their courage to deal with dangerous situations in much the same way that their counterparts from the story smurf so, my fellow Clumsy," Tapper said.
"This one would consider that an interesting and accurate assessment of the three Smurfs' personalities, fellow Tapper," Polaris said.
"Truth to tell, Polaris, I would surely want to smurf in their places right about now to face whatever situation they may be headed for in that mystical place called Pussywillow Hollow," Tapper said.
"Perhaps in some other situation that may be a possibility, Tapper, but right now we must continue with our normal daily routines in the village in the absence of Papa Smurf and the others," Polaris said. "Brainy, your assistance will be needed to help this one maintain order in the village while Papa Smurf is gone."
Brainy sighed. "Yeah, sure, whatever you say, Polaris."