It was finally the day of the wedding. Everyone seemed to be in high spirits and eager for the ceremony to begin. Everyone, that is, except for Hefty, whom Empath noticed looked a little hung over from the previous night. Nevertheless, he took his place alongside his brother Handy and Duncan as one of the ushers for the ceremony. A few more guests also arrived, such as Gunilda the fairy, Picklick and Guardiana the gnome couple, Queen Fauna and her child Prince Fenwick, Michael the leprechaun, Ripple the woodsprite, the Custodian of the Pools of Avalon, and Tharp the baby gargoyle, who has grown quite a bit since the Smurfs last saw him. Pretty much everyone that the Smurfs became friends with in the Smurf Forest over the last fifteen years were present.
"I heard that there was going to be a wedding today, Papa Smurf," a familiar voice said.
Papa Smurf turned to see two familiar faces joining them. "Father Time! Mother Nature! You received the invite!"
"We know how special this day is to you and to two of your Smurfs, so we decided to spend some time here to give our blessings to this union!" Mother Nature said.
"Actually, it was Mother Nature who talked me into attending this event, and she has a way of persuading even an old time guardian like me into giving in, Papa Smurf," Father Time said.
Papa Smurf smiled. "I'm sure Empath and Smurfette will truly appreciate your presence being here!"
Dylan was helping Marina find a seat, as she was now sitting in a barrel-sized tub with a smurferator attached to it to oxygenate the water. "This seems like a good spot for us to watch, my dear," Dylan said as soon as he parked the tub as close to the altar as they could without interfering with the ceremony.
"Oh, Dylan, I only wish that this could be our own wedding someday, if Papa Smurf is willing to do the honors," Marina said as she looked at the final preparations taking place.
"We can only hope, Marina," Dylan said. "Right now, I could only wish that we would be able to share a dance together at the reception like the others."
"As long as you're with me, Dylan, that's all that matters," Marina said as she stared into his eyes, deeply in love with him.
Empath was with Tapper, who in addition to a tuxedo jacket and tie was dressed in a green-plaid kilt identical to that of Duncan McSmurf's. "So how are you feeling now that the hour of your betrothal to Smurfette is approaching, my old friend?" Tapper asked.
"This smurf is experiencing some nervousness, realizing that this may be the end of this smurf being an independent Smurf, Tapper," Empath said. "After all these years of waiting for this moment to happen, a part of this smurf feels like running away from the inevitable."
"I'm sure that every Smurf would envy experiencing that moment for themselves right about now, Empath, including myself," Tapper said. "Just know that the Almighty will be there beside you and Smurfette all the way, for He is capable of smurfing your marriage in threefold cords that cannot easily be broken."
"This smurf will appreciate any prayers to the Almighty that you can give right about now, Tapper, because this smurf is going to need them to endure through this moment to come," Empath said with some honest feeling behind it.
"Me and my fellow Smurfs Barber and Sweepy will provide you and Smurfette with all the prayer you need, rest assured," Tapper said with a smile.
Empath sighed. "Mabye this smurf should briefly check in on Smurfette and see how her preparations are going along, just to settle this smurf's apprehension over the whole event."
"Wedding traditions would suggest that it is bad manners for the groom to smurf his bride before the wedding takes place, my fellow Empath," Tapper cautioned.
"This smurf doesn't need to go inside her house, Tapper, if this smurf can still sense Smurfette being in the village," Empath said as he headed away from where the ceremony was taking place.
Brainy looked rather nervous. He was pacing back and forth outside of Smurfette's house just waiting for her to come out so he could escort her down the aisle and present her to her husband-to-be. Nat, Slouchy, and Sassette were waiting nearby, sitting in a carriage being pulled by Puppy so they could take Brainy and Smurfette to the wedding ceremony.
Empath noticed this and went over to where Brainy was. "Something about this just isn't right, Empath," Brainy said.
"It's just Smurfette making final preparations to make sure she looks her best when she emerges, Brainy," Empath assured him. "There's nothing for you to be worried about."
"How long does a bride need to take just to make herself presentable?" Brainy asked. "It's like she's been smurfing inside her house for an hour, and I haven't smurfed anything from within."
"Brainy is right," Flowerbell said. "Your bride-to-be has been holed up in her house and I haven't heard her say anything. Maybe she just got cold feet and sneaked outside her house."
"Somehow this smurf can't sense anything from her house right about now," Empath said. "We may want to knock to see if she's all right."
Flowerbell knocked on the door. "Smurfette, sweetie, it's me, Flowerbell. Your friends and your husband are waiting for you."
Empath put his ear to the door. "This smurf is hearing nothing from within."
"Smurfette, I'm going to come in, all right?" Flowerbell said. She turned the knob but somehow the door wouldn't open. "That's strange...the door must be locked."
Empath tried to get the door open himself, but it wouldn't budge. He pushed against it and tried to force it open, but to no avail. "The door isn't locked...it's been magically sealed shut! Nobody can get into Smurfette's house!"
"Papa Smurf! Polaris! Quick, we need your help!" Nat called out.
Papa Smurf and Polaris heard Nat's cry and ran over to Smurfette's house to see the struggle to get her door to open. "Empath, what's wrong?" Papa Smurf asked.
"The door to Smurfette's house is sealed shut, and this smurf can't sense what's going on inside the house," Empath said. "This smurf has the feeling that something must have happened to her."
"Oh dear," Elderberry said. "I hope we can rescue her before it's too late!"
Polaris examined the door with his minds-eye. "Apparently the whole house has been sealed off with a magic spell that prevents entry of any kind," he reported. "It will be impossible for us to get inside to find out about Smurfette."
Blue Eyes showed up at the door. "Smurfette's trapped inside her own house with a magic spell?" he said. "Let's see if I can't do anything about it!"
The pegasus turned himself around and used his rear feet to kick at the door. It opened with such a powerful blow.
Empath, Polaris, and Blue Eyes went inside the house to find Smurfette, only to find that there was no trace of her. But there was something Empath did find on the floor.
He picked it up and found out that it was his Smurf hat. Smurfette was supposed to be wearing it for the wedding. It made him feel sad that it was now left on the floor, as if Smurfette finally reconsidered going through with the marriage.
"Empath, there's something not right with the hat," Blue Eyes said. "I'm sensing magical particles coming from it. Smurfette didn't take the hat off. She was transported from it."
"Transported?" Empath asked. "But to where?"
Blue Eyes sniffed the hat. "These magical particles emanate from a location outside of this forest. I can lead you to the exact location."
Empath had a feeling he knew just who took Smurfette. "Chlorhydris," he said as the three of them left Smurfette's house. "She was supposed to marry someone years ago, and she was left at the altar heartbroken, and she made it her life's mission to make the world as miserable as she is. Now she wants to ruin this smurf's wedding by taking Smurfette away."
"What would Chlorhydris hope to do with Smurfette in order to keep the wedding ceremony from taking place?" Polaris Psyche asked.
"That's what this smurf would like to know, and that's what this smurf is going to prevent," Empath said. "This smurf is going after Smurfette, and nothing is going to stop this smurf from rescuing Smurfette."
"Wait, kiddo," Flowerbell said as Empath came out of the house. "If you're going to go after Smurfette, you're going to need all the help you can get."
"The woodnymph is right," Elderberry said. "If Chlorhydris is holding your Smurfette hostage, you're going to need assistance. Me and the Pussywillow Pixies will accompany you so that you will be able to get inside and rescue her."
"And I'm going to join you as well," Flowerbell said.
"You can count me in," Periwinkle said.
"And I will also help you rescue Smurfette," Clockwork Smurf said.
"Tharp tharp tharp," Tharp said, also eager to join in.
"Hey, if you're going to smurf after Smurfette, you're going to need my help," Hefty said.
"You sure you're up to the task of this rescue operation, Hefty?" Empath asked, concerned.
"You know that I wouldn't let a little thing like what happened last night try to stop me," Hefty said. "Besides, I'm not going to let you marry Smurfette without smurfing my mind about how I feel towards her. You and me are going to settle this issue of who loves Smurfette more once and for all, and I'd rather do it the only way that I can with you -- by helping you rescue her."
Empath sensed that Hefty was resolute in both wanting to help and wanting to make his peace.
"This smurf would be honored to have you beside me, Hefty," Empath said. "And when we do reach Smurfette, you can tell her yourself exactly how you feel towards her without any reservations."
"Good," Hefty said. "Now let's get smurfing!"
"This one will remain here and make sure that the Smurfs and the guests remain calm while you resolve this situation, Empath," Polaris said before he saw Empath and his assembled team take to the skies to follow the trail.
"Come on, William," Sir Johan said as he got upon his horse. "We might as well give our young friend a hand in rescuing his bride from that evil witch."
"Hey, wait for me," Peewit said as he got upon his goat and followed after Johan.
As they followed the trail Blue Eyes was leading them on, Hefty was thinking of that moment of confession he was going to make to Smurfette. Empath sensed this from Hefty and hoped that he would have his opportunity while he had the chance. He wasn't going to be cruel to Hefty about marrying Smurfette if there was even the possibility of making him happy by giving him what he wanted.
"The trail leads to here," Blue Eyes said as the assembled team flew toward Chlorhydris' observatory.
Empath and his party had entered the observatory, staying very close as they explored it together. Hefty was expecting to fight his way through the observatory in order to get Smurfette, but so far there was nothing opposing them. It felt like they were being led into a trap.
Upon reaching the main chamber where Chlorhydris would normally be, they have found the witch just sitting by her telescope. "What have you done to Smurfette?" Empath demanded.
"I just simply brought her to my chambers for a little pre-wedding talk, Empath," Chlorhydris said. "She's waiting for you right here on this table."
And sure enough, the party saw Smurfette standing on the table. "Empath! Hefty! What are you smurfing here?" she asked, her voice sounding surprisingly dull.
"Thank Smurfness that witch didn't harm you," Hefty said.
"We've come to rescue you and bring you home so that you will get married to this smurf," Empath said.
"I'm not going to be married to you, Empath," Smurfette said in the same dull voice. "In fact, I don't love you anymore, and I don't even feel a thing for you."
"Smurfette, that isn't you," Hefty said, sounding rather surprised. "Empath and I have smurfed company with us so that you could smurf home, and now you don't want to be married to him?"
"I don't want to be married to anyone, Hefty," Smurfette said. "I don't feel a thing for you or for any Smurf."
"What have you done to her?" Empath asked Chlorhydris, sounding furious.
Chlorhydris chuckled slightly. "Why, I just simply removed her heart, my young Smurf. That's why she can't feel love for you or for any Smurf. And if she doesn't feel love for any Smurf, there simply can't be any wedding."
Empath turned to Elderberry, the leader of the Pussywillow Pixies. "This has got to be a trick, right?" Empath asked.
"I'm afraid not, my child," Elderberry answered. "That witch used a magic spell that removes the heart from any being so that they are incapable of feeling anything, including love. The only way Smurfette can feel any love for anybody now is that one of you must give up your heart for her, which means that you will no longer feel anything for anybody."
"Wow, now that sounds serious," Hefty said.
"Then it's settled," Empath said. "Since this smurf loves Smurfette and intends to marry her, then the logical choice is that this smurf must give up my heart for Smurfette so that she could feel love again."
"Hold it, Empath," Hefty said. "If anyone's going to give up their heart for Smurfette, it's going to be me."
"Hefty, this smurf can't let you do this," Empath said.
"Consider this my wedding present to you and Smurfette," Hefty said. "You and every Smurf in the village thought that I always smurf problems with my fists. Well, here's smurfing to you that you're wrong about me." He then turned to Smurfette. "I just want to let you know, Smurfette, that I was the first Smurf to ever fall in love with you, and even if you never fall in love with me, I will always love you and I will never stop loving you. So, as proof of that love, I now smurf you my heart."
And at that moment, Hefty handed Smurfette a glowing heart that came from his inner being and placed it inside her. There was a slight glow that came from Smurfette before she became rather animate again.
"Empath! Hefty! My guests! You're here!" Smurfette said, sounding rather excited.
"This smurf is glad that you're back to your normal self again, Smurfette," Empath said. "Hefty sacrificed his heart to make sure you would be able to feel love again."
"He did?" Smurfette said, turning to Hefty. "Oh, that's just sweet of you."
"I don't feel anything for you anymore, Smurfette," Hefty said, now sounding rather dull.
Smurfette was surprised to hear this. "You don't? But I thought you loved me! I thought you cared for me and Empath to be smurfy together."
"I don't feel anything for Empath anymore, Smurfette," Hefty said.
"Rather amusing, is it not?" Chlorhydris said. "A Smurf who loves you enough to give up his heart for you now no longer loves you."
"You mean nasty old witch," Smurfette said. "Hefty is my friend, and I want him back the way he was."
"The only way Hefty can be back the way he was is that you must be willing to give up your heart, Smurfette," Elderberry said.
"Fine," Smurfette said. "I'm willing to smurf that to make sure Hefty is able to feel love for anyone again."
"No, Smurfette, this smurf won't let you do this," Empath said. "Hefty wants this smurf back to the way this smurf was when this smurf first visited the Smurf Village so he could be happy again, and if that means we will not be married, then that's what this smurf will do."
"Empath, please don't!" Smurfette said.
But Empath was resolute in his decision. "Hefty, you are my Smurf brother and my friend. You deserve to be with Smurfette more than this smurf does. And so with everything this smurf has, you shall have this smurf's heart."
And Empath pulled out his heart and gave it to Hefty, who now felt surprised to be able to feel anything again. "What happened?" he asked. "How am I able to feel again?"
"Your friend Empath gave up his heart for you, Hefty," Elderberry said. "He considered your happiness to be more important than his."
And Hefty saw that Empath was back to the way he first was when he first came from Psychelia. And he was not happy.
"Empath, you idiot, what have you smurfed to yourself?" Hefty said. "This is supposed to be your wedding day, not mine! You're supposed to be in love with Smurfette, and you're supposed to marry her!"
"This smurf does not feel anything for anyone anymore, Hefty!" Empath said in a rather flat tone.
Hefty then turned to Chlorhydris. "I want my friend back the way he was!" he shouted.
"The solution is simple," Chlorhydris said. "You must give up your heart for your friend if he matters more to you than anything."
"No, Hefty, don't!" Smurfette said. "I'll give up my heart to Empath!"
"And risk not having you love any Smurf?" Hefty said. "Not a smurf!"
"Empath is the love of my life, Hefty!" Smurfette said. "I will not let anyone smurf in my way of making sure that he is happy, and I will smurf up everything to make sure that he is!"
"And I'd give up my heart again so that he would love you the way you should be loved, Smurfette," Hefty said.
"My, my, two Smurfs fighting over who's going to sacrifice their hearts for one little Smurf," Chlorhydris said. "This will definitely make for an interesting wedding day."
"You do not understand, witch," Elderberry said. "This is what true love and friendship is about...the power of sacrifice. They're willing to give up everything they have to make sure the other is happy."
"And we're willing to give up everything we have to make sure you don't ruin this wedding day," Flowerbell said.
"So give back the heart that you have stolen, or you will know from us what the power of sacrifice means," Blue Eyes said, sounding very determined.
"You pathetic little fools," Chlorhydris said. "You think that your power is enough to stay my hand? Your sacrifice will be meaningless once I'm through with you all."
At that moment, Sir Johan and Peewit entered the observatory, with the young knight holding up his drawn sword, ready to use it. "Let my friends go, you foul witch, before I shall put an end to your treachery," Johan charged.
"You heard my friend, Chlorhydris," Peewit added. "Give it up or else you'll regret it."
"Don't be foolish to risk your lives for the sake of these meddlesome creatures," Chlorhydris said as she raised up her arms to cast fireballs straight at the two humans. Peewit cowered, but Sir Johan stood his ground and blocked each of the fireballs with his sword.
"Stay back, I warn you, or I'll use the full extent of my powers against you," Chlorhydris said as she tried to create a lightning spell to repel the intruders.
Sir Johan used his strength to keep his sword fully raised to block the lightning that was generated by the evil witch's spell. "Your powers are weakening," Sir Johan said as he noticed that the strength of the lightning spell was getting weaker until it dissipated altogether. "This is your last chance...release my friends or else pray for mercy," he said as he held his sword straight in her face.
Chlorhydris could see that this struggle was becoming futile, and in her frail condition she was not going to be able to put up much of a fight. "Oh, very well," she snorted. "Have your miserable wedding. But I swear that this will not be the last you will hear from me."
And with a flash of her magic wand, Empath, Smurfette, Hefty, and their party of guests were gone.
They instantly materialized back in the village, with Empath and Hefty back among the gathered Smurfs waiting for the ceremony to begin. Sir Johan and Peewit also instantly reappeared with their mounts.
"Great Ancestors," Empath exclaimed. "This smurf is able to feel again."
"Well, that makes me smurf better," Hefty said. "I'd rather have you smurf the way that you are now than the way that you were when I first smurfed you."
"This smurf shares the same sentiment," Empath said. "This smurf appreciates that you were willing to come with this smurf to rescue Smurfette and to give her your heart."
"What are friends and Smurfs for, Empath?" Hefty said. "You and Smurfette desmurf to be happy together and I will not smurf in the way anymore of making smurf that you're happy together."
"Okay, places, everyone," Brainy announced. "The ceremony is about to smurf."
"We'll talk more about this later, Hefty," Empath said before the two of them rushed to their places.