"This one does find Hefty's desire to have Empath remain in Psychelia rather disturbing, even if this one can respect his decision to not have any interest in spiritual pursuits," Polaris said.
"Well, the desire to seek after a supernatural being for a person's daily needs is something that that person is going to have to deal with on their own, Polaris," Empath said. "You can't make them believe in a God anymore than a non-believer can make you lose your belief in one, as Tapper himself would say."
"But Tapper still believed that Dabbler could change with the help of his Almighty, which is something that I still find amazing even to this very day," Smurfette said.
"In any case, this one would like to know how the quest for the black rose had turned out, Smurfette, since you were one of the three Smurfs who embarked on it," Polaris said.
And as Smurfette continued her story, Polaris now saw that she, Duncan, and Grouchy were still in the dungeon trying to find that third grating on the left that the genie had mentioned in his instructions. "Michty me, there sure are a lot of spiders smurfing down here," Duncan said, noticing the cobwebs around the walls, a good deal of which were blocking their path.
"I hate spiders," Grouchy said as he and the other two Smurfs tried to walk past the cobwebs.
"Let's try to smurf this way...the path is clear," Smurfette said, noticing the pathway on her left that seemed less littered with cobwebs.
"Eh...there's something smurfing behind us," Grouchy said, as he heard a hissing noise. He turned and jumped when he saw that there was a big spider behind all three of them.
"Oh my!" Smurfette cried out in fear.
"Now's a good enough time as any to smurf out these explosive seeds," Duncan said as he took a seed out of his bag and threw it at the spider. "Here, smurf that, you evil creature!" Suddenly there was an explosion that turned the spider to cinders. "Well, what do you know? It actually works!"
"Careful, Duncan, there are others smurfing around us," Smurfette warned, as she noticed them coming towards her and her friends.
Duncan threw more seeds at the spiders, also causing them to explode. "Just like Jokey's firesmurfs," Duncan laughed as the three of them made a run for it.
"I hate Jokey's firesmurfs," Grouchy said.
"This way!" Smurfette called out. "This is the second grating!"
They crawled through the holes in the grating and made it safely to the other side. "Well, I wonder what we're going to encounter next in this dungeon," Duncan said as he looked around.
They soon heard the sound of clanking bones. "I don't think I like the sound of that," Grouchy said. It was soon followed by the sound of sinister laughter. "And I sure don't like the sound of that either," he added.
"Duncan, look!" Smurfette cried out as she saw what it was that was making the noise.
Duncan looked and found himself trembling in fear. "What in the blue blazes...it's a skeleton!"
"I...I...I hate skeletons," Grouchy said, shaking in fear before he and Smurfette started running.
Duncan tried using the seeds on the skeleton, but they harmlessly exploded with no effect. "That's not going to smurf it," he said with grim realization. "Run for your smurfs!"
As Duncan caught up with the other two Smurfs, the three of them saw something else approaching from another direction. "Oh no...it's that ghost that we smurfed! It's smurfing toward us again!" Smurfette cried out.
"Careful, lassie, there's a hole," Duncan said as he noticed Smurfette running towards it.
"Smurf me, it's our only chance," Smurfette said as she jumped into it.
"Jump, laddie, jump!" Duncan cried out to Grouchy as he saw the skeleton and the ghost getting closer.
"No!" Grouchy shouted, but suddenly he was pushed into the hole with Duncan following soon after.
The three of them screamed as they fell down a shaft together. They soon landed and tumbled over each other until they came to a complete stop. "Are the two of you all right?" Duncan asked as he and his friends started to pick themselves up.
"I'm fine, Duncan," Smurfette answered. "What about you, Grouchy?"
"No, I'm not all right!" Grouchy said angrily. "We've been smurfed by a ghost, by spiders, by a skeleton, and then we smurf down this hole. Is this your idea of being all right?"
"Well, at least you're still alive to complain about it, Grouchy," Duncan said, dusting off the dirt on his kilt. "Now we just need to know where we..."
"Look," Smurfette said, noticing something. "There's the third grating to the left."
"Then that must mean...," Duncan began to say as he and Grouchy followed her through the grating, and then they stopped and saw something glowing. "Michty me...there it is! The black rose!"
"Oh, it's so beautiful," Smurfette said as she gazed at it. "Now the problem is smurfing it out of here."
"I hate smurfing roses," Grouchy said. "They prick my fingers."
"That will be the least of your problems, laddie," Duncan said. "Let's smurf it before..."
"WHO GOES THERE?!?" a voice commanded. The three of them turned to see a knight in armor rising from the black mire near the rose. "I AM THE GUARDIAN OF THE BLACK ROSE! NO UNCLEAN HANDS MAY TOUCH IT!" He swung his mace and struck the ground right in front of the Smurfs to show he meant business.
"We're not thieves," Smurfette told the knight as she raised up her magic sword. "We smurfed the rose so we can save our Papa Smurf. We'll fight you if we have to."
"Smurf at it, you big monster," Duncan challenged as he raised up his sword, preparing himself to fight.
"I hate big monsters," Grouchy said.
Suddenly in a puff of smoke, the armored knight disappeared, only to be replaced by another familiar sight. "Oh...it's the frog...I mean, the knight," Duncan said as he and Smurfette lowered their weapons.
The frog knight laughed. "I am the real guardian of the rose, my friends. I have tested your hearts and found them to be pure. The black rose is now yours to take."
"You've tested us?" Smurfette said before realizing it for herself. "Then you must be Magnificus the magician."
"Well, why didn't you smurf so in the first place?" Duncan said as he used his sword to slice the black rose's stem from the base.
"Indeed I am," Magnificus said. "You three have done a good job. Now close your eyes, for I will send you safely out of this castle so that you may return to your home with the rose." With the Smurfs' eyes closed, the magician raised his hands and chanted, "ABRACADABRA!"
Soon, as the three Smurfs opened their eyes again, they were back on the shore of the lake. "We...we made it!" Grouchy said, sounding excited. "Oh, I love being back outside again!"
"But now my magic sword is gone," Smurfette said as she saw that it was no longer in her hands.
"And so is my bag of magic seeds, but at least we still have the rose," Duncan said. "Come on, let's smurf home."
Back in the village, the Smurflings continued to look for signs of the three Smurfs' return with the black rose. And then Snappy looked up at the sky and saw it was getting dark. "Well, smurfs like the sun is going down, and they're still not back yet," Snappy said. "Oh well...at least they tried their best."
Puppy then barked, alerting the Smurflings to something or someone coming. "Hey, Smurfings, look!" Nat called out as he saw what Puppy saw.
"It's Smurfette, Duncan, and Grouchy!" Sassette said, sounding excited.
"And they smurfed home the black rose," Slouchy added.
"Well, Snappy, it looks like you're going to have to smurf your hat after all," Nat jested.
"Arrrh...me and my big smurf," Snappy said angrily as he took off his hat and started biting into it.
Tapper was the first to greet the three Smurfs as they returned. "Blessed smurfs of Éire, it smurfs like your journey to smurf the black rose was a success," he said, sounding pleased.
"Indeed it was, laddie," Duncan said. "You wouldn't believe all the trouble we smurfed through to get it, though."
"And there was this magician who smurfed like a frog who tested us and helped us along the way," Smurfette added.
"You don't say," Tapper said. "Well, let's smurf the black rose to Papa Smurf as soon as possible so that he may recover."
"I hate...being anywhere other than home," Grouchy said as he followed the others to the infirmary.
Dabbler looked pleased when he saw that the three Smurfs returned home with the black rose. "Thank Smurfness you're just in time," he said. "He smurfs like he's on his last smurfs of living."
"I only hope that we're not too late, Dabbler," Smurfette said as she handed the rose over to him.
"We'll just have to wait and smurf," Dabbler said. He then brought the rose over to Papa Smurf, who was then awakened by the strong scent that the rose was giving.
"Uh...Smurfs...you smurfed home with the black rose?" Papa Smurf asked as he opened his eyes.
"Aye, Papa Smurf," Duncan answered. "We had to smurf through the Castle of Evil Spirits for smurf of saving your life."
"There now, just relax and breathe, Papa Smurf," Dabbler instructed.
Papa Smurf did just what he was told. As he breathed in the scent of the rose, he could feel himself being invigorated, and the other Smurfs could see that the color has returned to his face. "Aaaah..."
"How are you feeling, Papa Smurf?" Smurfette asked.
"Much better, Smurfette," Papa Smurf answered with a smile. He then sat up and stretched his arms. "I feel just like a new Smurf again. Thank you for smurfing back the rose for me, you and Duncan and Grouchy."
"Aye, Papa Smurf, but I think it's Dabbler you should be thanking," Duncan said.
"I know, Duncan, I know," Papa Smurf said. "I couldn't think of a better Smurf who's willing to smurf care of me even when I was at smurf's door."
"It was nothing, Papa Smurf," Dabbler said humbly. "In fact, smurfing care of you seems like it's now the only thing I ever want to smurf in my life, not to mention smurfing care of all the other Smurfs."
Papa Smurf chuckled. "I'm glad to hear that, Dabbler. If you like, I have smurfs of medical books that you can read so you can get started preparing yourself for the role that you're going to smurf."
"Oh, please, I'm eager to learn all there is about healing and medicine," Dabbler said with great honesty.
Tapper stood by Duncan as they watched Papa Smurf talk with Dabbler. "It smurfs like my prayers have been answered at last, my friend," Tapper said. "Dabbler's going to devote his life to becoming a doctor."
"Aye, that's such a change in his life, I feel like I'm going to be needing a doctor," Duncan said.
"I hate needing a doctor," Grouchy said.
Later that night, Tapper, Duncan, and Smurfette found Papa Smurf outside Dabbler's house, looking through a window. "What are you doing, Papa Smurf?" Smurfette quietly asked.
"Just checking up on my student, Smurfette," Papa Smurf answered. The four of them watched as Dabbler was at his desk studying one of the medical books that Papa Smurf had given him.
"Michty me, it smurfs like the laddie is really smurfing his education so seriously," Duncan said.
"Indeed he is, my fellow Duncan," Tapper said. "It reminds me of my early days when I couldn't smurf enough of reading the holy book. It makes me feel happy that he's now smurfed the desire and the hunger to learn everything there is to smurf about medicine."
"Or the desire and the hunger to learn one single thing," Smurfette added. "Oh, I can't wait for the day when he no longer has to be called Dabbler Smurf."
"You sound like you want to smurf right alongside Dabbler as his medical assistant, lassie," Duncan commented.
Smurfette giggled. "I just prefer being called a nurse. I'm not sure that all that studying to become a doctor is for me at all."
"I'm certain that a lot of Smurfs would be smurfing at your door for medical care should that ever be a desire in your heart, my dear Smurfette," Tapper said.
"Aye, and I bet that a great deal would dare to smurf sick just to have the pretty lassie smurf care of them as well," Duncan said with a laugh.
"That's always a possibility, my little Smurfs...that's always a possibility," Papa Smurf said.
Smurf to Part 7