Meanwhile, in the Imaginarium, the adult male Smurfs were holding their bachelor party. Only this party wasn't what Empath or anybody was expecting.
"Ah, here we are again, right where I want you to be," Gargamel said as he was holding a good deal of the Smurfs captive in his laboratory. "You rotten little Smurfs think you can always get away from me, but this time is where I will prove you wrong. Soon I will be able to complete my Philosopher's Stone, and with that stone I'm going to turn half of your village into gold, and the other half is going to serve me and my cat on our dinner plates!"
"You won't get away with this, Gargamel," one of the captured Smurfs said.
"Always the same refrain that I hear from you," Gargamel said. "Well, where's your beloved Papa Smurf this time? Is he going to save you like he normally does? Or is he too cowardly and too impotent to do anything about his little Smurfs?"
"Empath will come to save us, and then you'll be sorry," another captured Smurf said.
"Oh, yes, the son of Papa Smurf," Gargamel said. "Let him come...I will be expecting him."
"Uh, Gargy, don't you think it would be better to give up the Smurfs rather than risk having Empath come to their rescue again?" Scruple asked a bit fearfully.
"Have you no faith in the power of evil, my worthless student?" Gargamel reprimanded. "He is just one powerful Smurf, but his power is no match for mine."
"That's what you think," Empath said, emerging from behind a vial on a shelf. "Crazy, sound the alarm!"
Crazy appeared from behind another vial and made a very loud siren noise. Then every Smurf popped up from everywhere in Gargamel's lair and attacked the evil wizard, some with various projectiles, others with direct assaults.
"Azrael! Scruple! Stop those Smurfs!" Gargamel shouted as he futilely tried to swat some away.
But Scruple was easily overwhelmed by the number of Smurfs attacking him. It was the day of their final battle with Gargamel when he wore the Gauntlets of Gantharros, except that they were fighting him without the gauntlets.
"There comes a time when every Smurf must stand up for what is good and cute and blue in the world," Narrator said as he was observing the Smurf attack on Gargamel. "And on this very night before Empath and Smurfette's wedding, that time is now!"
"Hey, seriously?" Grouchy said, standing beside Narrator.
"Sorry, it's kind of what I do," Narrator said.
"Hey, gato estúpido! Tratar de cogerme!" Zipper said, taunting Azrael.
Azrael tried to give chase to Zipper, only to find that Zipper was always one step ahead of him, easily evading him. He ended up luring Azrael into a net where he got tangled up in, struggling to find his way out until he hit his head against a wall, knocking him out.
Then came Wild Smurf swooping down from the rafters with a big sack that he dumped right onto the wizard's head, blocking his vision. Gargamel found himself falling right to the floor, where a bunch of Smurfs were waiting to tie him up with rope.
The captured Smurfs cheered as Empath unlocked the cage they were trapped in. They rejoiced as they saw their nemesis again on the floor at the mercy of his prey.
"This is one victory that's definitely worth celebrating!" one of the Smurfs said.
"And here's where we have the victory celebration," Jokey Smurf said. "Cue the beach and the music!"
The scenery then changed from Gargamel's hovel to the beach front setting where the Smurfs normally held their beach parties. Sloppy was already there with his band ready to start the music. And soon the Smurfs were dancing and singing and having the time of their lives together.
"Hey, Empath, here's a special cake that we smurfed just for you," Jokey said, as the music stopped briefly while he and Sneaky carried a very big cake that said HAPPY WEDDING DAY, EMPATH written on it in cake frosting.
"Hmmm, a very special bachelor party cake," Empath mused. "This smurf can only wonder what would be the reason for..."
Suddenly the top layers of the cake popped off, and a Smurf called Nudie, appearing entirely nude, rose out from inside. "Did somebody call for a stripper?" he asked, as the other Smurfs simply laughed at the sight, including Empath.
"I hate strippers...if they happen to be like Nudie Smurf," Grouchy said.
Polaris stood by and watched the festivities from a distance, not wishing to participate in them. "A rather interesting setting for this 'bachelor party' of yours, Empath," Polaris commented.
Jokey went over to where Empath and Polaris were standing. "Great idea for a bachelor party, isn't it?" he said.
"A very interesting surprise, indeed," Empath said. "One last adventure we'll have together against the evil wizard Gargamel. This smurf appreciates the sentiment."
"It's too bad Hefty isn't here to smurf the fun, though," Jokey said as he went back to join the others in dancing.
"Wait a minute," Empath said as he went over to talk to Jokey. "You said that Hefty hasn't appeared in here?"
"I haven't smurfed him at all, Empath, and neither did Tapper smurf up," Jokey said. "I could understand why Tapper wouldn't smurf up, but Hefty?"
"You suspect something has happened to him?" Polaris asked when Empath rejoined him.
"Duncan said earlier that Hefty was just going on about this smurf and Smurfette when they were both escorting the Pussywillow Pixies," Empath said. "And this smurf sensed that Hefty wasn't happy. This smurf must go and talk to him to find out."
"This one will remain here to make sure the festivities don't get out of hand," Polaris said as Empath exited the Imaginarium.
Empath realized that if neither Hefty or Tapper showed up at the bachelor party, there was only one place Hefty would go. It wasn't exactly the place that Hefty himself would frequent unless it was for Vita-Juice, and Empath knew that Hefty wasn't much of a drinker of sarsaparilla ale. But Tapper's Tavern was the place to look for him.
"Thank Smurfness you're here, Empath," Tapper said as Empath entered the tavern. "I was going to smurf your bachelor party, but I just knew in my spirit that one Smurf wasn't going to attend it, and I didn't know what to smurf, so I let him smurf here!"
"Where is Hefty?" Empath asked.
"Over by that table, smurfing with that Psychelisphere," Tapper answered, pointing in that particular direction. "All I smurfed him was a single mug of sarsaparilla ale, and not his usual kind, either. But it's like he's barely even smurfing it!"
"This smurf will handle this, Tapper," Empath said as he went over to the table where Hefty was sitting. His face wore frustration, and not just from how badly he was trying to play the Psychelisphere. Something was definitely on his mind.
"Would you mind if this smurf just sat here with you, Hefty?" Empath asked.
Hefty shrugged, barely noticing Empath at all. "Be my smurf."
Empath sat across from Hefty and watched him continue playing the Psychelisphere. "It's rather strange to see you play a game that doesn't require physical exertion, Hefty," Empath said.
"Just so much on my mind about what's smurfing on, I don't know what to smurf," Hefty said, again not paying any attention to Empath.
"What is it that you're thinking about?" Empath asked.
"Just that one question, Empath...why," Hefty said. "Why is it that Smurfette will never smurf in love with me no matter how hard I try to please her? Did I smurf anything wrong to her?"
"All this smurf can sense is that the only thing you did to Smurfette was just be yourself around her, Hefty," Empath answered. "She wouldn't expect anything less than that from you."
"But it's still not enough," Hefty said. "I can see now that nothing I can smurf for her will ever be enough to smurf her heart."
"And you blame this smurf for it, Hefty," Empath said.
"Yeah, I blame you for everything that smurfs wrong in my life," Hefty said. "You smurfed into my life and smurfed a mess of it. I smurfed pride into being the first...the firstborn among the Smurfs, the first that found Smurfette out in the forest, possibly even the first that smurfed in love with Smurfette. And then you came and smurfed me that being first isn't everything. I really hated you for it, Empath. I wished that you could smurf back to Psychelia and never smurf back at all if it would mean that everything in my life would be smurfy."
"Do you still wish for this smurf to go back to Psychelia now?" Empath asked.
"If that would mean that Smurfette will marry me instead of you, then yes!" Hefty said. "But I see now that you truly don't belong in Psychelia anymore. And I can't wish for anything unsmurfy to happen to you or Smurfette because I'm too much of a Smurf for that. The thing is, I can't offer you or Smurfette anything but grief because the only thing I'm good at is smurfing muscles and smurfing with my fists!"
"That's not true, Hefty," Empath said. "If anything, whatever differences we may have with each other, you have always inspired this smurf to be strong and brave and to rely on this smurf's own physical strengths when this smurf's mental abilities aren't enough. This smurf would gladly give up all my minds-eye abilities just to be able to know what it's like to be you for a day. And those heart tattoos...this smurf originally thought you wore them because you love to show how strong you are. But now, this smurf sees that you have chosen that particular marking because you love to show that you care for your fellow Smurfs, and how you choose to show how you care for them is by using your strength to help others, not to hurt them."
"Yeah, I really helped my fellow Smurfs back then in the day, Empath," Hefty said. "I treated you, Grouchy, and everybody else really badly, and I'm beginning to realize how much of a jerk I was and how much of one I became over the years. Even Smurfette sees me as a jerk. I guess I desmurf it."
"We all have our faults, Hefty," Empath said. "But the one thing this smurf never wants you to stop being is who you are. And no matter how much you hate this smurf, this smurf is never going to hate you in return. You are my Smurf brother and you are my friend. Nothing in the world will ever change that."
"I'm not sure I can ever be a friend to you, Empath," Hefty said. "And I'm not sure I can let you marry Smurfette without me smurfing anything about it."
Empath sighed. "You have the right to confess yourself at the wedding, Hefty. Just get some rest and we'll see what happens tomorrow." He got up from his seat at the table and began to leave.
"Empath," Hefty said, "remember when you smurfed my hand when I was smurfing you hard in the chest, and I had to have my hand smurfed by you or else I wasn't going to smurf it again? You never apologized for it."
"This smurf can only apologize for causing you pain, Hefty, but not for the intent," Empath said.
"Well, I hated you for smurfing that to me," Hefty said, looking away from his game to look at Empath. "But now all I want to say is...thanks for smurfing that to me. I needed you to smurf me in my place."
Empath didn't know what to say to that. "This smurf will see you in the morning, Hefty," he said before he left.
Out in the forest near the village, Johan and Peewit had set up camp. They were sitting around the campfire thinking about earlier times and the adventures they had with their fellow Smurfs, including when they attended King Gerard's wedding with his cousin Princess Savina, who after her uncle's passing was made queen.
"Johan, did you ever think about marrying Queen Savina...you know, back in the days when she was just a princess?" Peewit asked.
"There hasn't been a day that passed without that very thought in my mind, my young friend," Johan answered. "It's unfortunate that her station as a princess and mine as her loyal knight means that neither of us were meant to be. It hasn't stopped me from thinking about what kind of future the two of us could have had together if our stations weren't what was keeping us apart."
"I only wish I wasn't stuck with that curse that left me as a young boy for many years," Peewit said. "That left me watching so many beautiful women pass by in the my life that I could do nothing with."
"You don't have that interfering with your life now, William," Johan said. "You should have plenty of time for a virtuous young maiden to find her way to your heart if you give it a chance."
"Ah, if only it were me with Queen Savina on the day of her coronation," Peewit said with a sigh.
Just then, they were joined by the Smurflings. "We couldn't sleep because we were too excited about the wedding tomorrow, so we thought that we could join you two," Snappy said.
"You're more than welcome to sit by the fire before we retire for the night," Johan said.
"So what are you Smurflings thinking about this evening?" Peewit asked as they sat with the two humans.
"We were just wondering who we're going to marry someday," Nat said.
"Yeah, and both Nat and Slouchy think that I should be marrying Snappy of all Smurfs," Sassette said. "That's just disgusting."
"And you don't think there could be someone special for any of you?" Johan asked.
"Orbit and Dreamy think there could be another Smurf Village out in the world somewhere that has just female Smurfs," Slouchy said.
"Well, why aren't you Smurfs going out to explore that possibility?" Peewit asked.
"Leave the village and smurf the world based on just some Smurfs' flight of fancy?" Snappy said. "Papa wouldn't let any of us smurf out into the forest without an adult, much less smurf the seas looking for another village."
"There's got to be something out there, not just for us, but also for the other adult Smurfs in the village, because Smurfette is the only adult female Smurf we have," Nat said.
"I sure wouldn't want to see your friends go through their lives without having a Smurfette that they could fall in love with and marry someday," Johan said.
"Ah, there you are, you young whippersmurfers," Grandpa Smurf said as he entered the campsite. "I know that this is a very exciting night for everyone in the village, but you Smurflings ought to smurf your sleep because you're going to need all that energy for the wedding tomorrow."
"Yes, Grandpa Smurf," all four Smurflings said in unison as they headed back to the village.
Grandpa Smurf chuckled as he saw the four Smurflings depart. "If only they were old enough to attend the bachelor party that Empath and his friends were having...and if only I was young enough to join them. It's too bad that I never got to see my son get married or smurf his only child, but you know that I was just too busy exploring the world for any such things."
"Do you regret missing out on those days you could have spent with Papa Smurf?" Peewit asked.
"All the time, young one, all the time," Grandpa Smurf said. "But I knew that as long as he is with his fellow Smurfs, he is with family, because family is more than just blood...it's about people who will always smurf by with you and care for you no matter what happens. It just warms my heart that I get to smurf my grandson be happy and marry the Smurfette of his dreams."
"All we can hope for is the best with Smurfette and her fortunate bridegroom," Johan said.
Just then, Papa Smurf appeared at the campsite. "Smurfadoodles, Papa Smurf, shouldn't you also be asleep for the coming day ahead of us?" Grandpa Smurf asked.
"Just thought I'd check in with my human guests and see how they're smurfing, Grandpa Smurf," Papa Smurf said.
"Oh, me and Johan are doing fine out here in the woods so far," Peewit said. "We were just talking about who we would want to marry someday, if that's even possible for the both of us."
"We're grateful for whatever hospitality you can give us, Papa Smurf," Johan said. "My only concern is with the bride and groom, that this is something they truly want to do together."
"I'm sure there must be a little nervousness with both Empath and Smurfette," Papa Smurf said. "Marriage is a very big step for the two of them to take, but if they're brave enough to take that step together, then nothing in the world is going to stop them from smurfing so."
"It would seem that slaying dragons and defeating evildoers would be mere child's play compared to the huge responsibility of making sure that a husband and wife are happy together," Grandpa Smurf said.
"I would only hope to be fortunate enough to find someone I would dedicate my entire life to in the day that I will be called to the bonds of marriage," Johan said.
"You said it, Johan," Peewit said. "I'm with you right there all the way."
Late at night, when every Smurf has gone to bed, Smurfette looked at herself with the wedding dress she was going to wear. She had to admit that it looked really beautiful on her. Tailor and Vanity had really put their hearts into making the dress be everything Smurfette wanted.
And then she looked at Empath's hat lying on the chair next to the mirror. She knew what it symbolized: the moment she wore the hat, she would no longer be just a child Smurf or even a single female Smurf. She would forever belong to Empath as his wife.
She picked up the hat and looked at it some more, pondering what she would look like wearing something that she knew has Empath written all over it. She felt like she had to satisfy her curiosity.
Immediately her other hand removed the white hat from her head and tossed it onto the chair before she placed Empath's hat on her head. She then looked at herself in the mirror with the wedding dress and Empath's hat.
She was startled at the sight of the Smurfette that was now staring back at her. It was like the day Papa Smurf had transformed her into a real Smurf. Except that now it wasn't that Empath's hat made her more beautiful or anything. It just simply made her look really different.
She continued to examine herself, turning this way and that, stroking her hair and trying to see something in this Smurfette that would soon become Empath's wife in more than just formality. She imagined what she would look like in everyday clothes, greeting her fellow Smurfs as well as her husband-to-be wearing his hat. She imagined what she would look like as a mother of Empath's children while wearing the hat. She imagined a lot of things, even what she would look like at Nanny Smurf's age while wearing the hat.
And through it all, she felt a bit scared. This was like a point of no return for her, that she cannot go back to the Smurfette who was originally so content with flowers and dresses and just loving all her fellow Smurfs equally without much of a care in the world.
But even through the fear, Smurfette managed to smile, as if being married to Empath would make her somebody to be recognized in the Smurf Village. She knew everybody would treat her different. But they would not treat her as a nobody Smurf anymore.
Already she was calling herself Mrs. Empath Smurf in her thoughts. It had such a beautiful sound to it that she didn't mind repeating it over and over. She could live with such a name.
Smurf to Part 9