Richard awoke with a gasp. He, oddly enough, had a nightmare. It included a lot of blood, violence and torn limbs.
Oh wait, that was the good part.
Oh yes, then Cale appeared dressed in the most delightful apron and served him cupcakes. It would even be fine if Cale was wearing something under that apron of his. And if he wasn't feeding him.
Richard was in a somewhat spacious room – still in a cave, but it was obvious that someone took extra care to make the walls straight, the floors clean and put up a torch on the entrance – the torch didn't help much though, as it was on the other side of the rusty bars and behind a wall. Its light barely into the dungeon Richard was in.
His head felt like it was being hit with a sledgehammer – a pretty bothersome sensation he haven't felt in quite some time. It took him a few moments to realize he was chained to a table. Probably a torture room. His eyes quickly grew used to the dark.
"Nothing brings back memories like being chained down to a table." he murmured to himself, and tried to get rid of the shackles. Whoever chained him down also took care in having his very skinny wrists secure tightly.
All of a sudden, a shriek so high and so full of agony broke the eerie silence that even Richard had to get startled. He recognized it as Cale's and genuinely got worried – usually, Cale's screams made him laugh, and it was "good times", but right now he was chained to a table with no power, and Cale was screaming because he was being done God knows what. Cale may be in serious trouble, and if he died...
Another scream. Richard glanced at the jewel on his chest. He concentrated. The jewel shined a faint light. Whatever spell it was that stopped his magical abilities, it wasn't powerful enough to drain ALL of his powers.
He notices he had trouble performing and kind of spell as he tried to make the shackled fall apart. Oh well, he didn't have a challenge in quite a while.
It took him a full minute before shackles fell, and he rose to his feet. Immediately he felt dizzy. He had no idea what or who the spell source might be. For some reason, the "table" he was on was barely two apples tall.
The barred gate was, surprisingly, opened. He sneaked out and proceeded quietly down the hall, surprised he wasn't meeting anyone. The scream was heard again, this time louder. Richard hurried, going further and faster, soon realizing he was running when the scream ripped through the air again and as he took a turn-
And then he stopped.
While it was not the first thing he noticed, this room, despite being in a cave, was different, like a temple. Not too wide, but very tall, with many, at the moment extinguished, torches, and way on the top, a small, barely seen window that let in the moonlight, which was surprisingly strong enough to reach to exactly the middle of the room. It's walls were bricked with huge, well made strong bricks. The corners decorated with pretty statues. Each of the four walls of the room had an entrance, tall, wide decorated passages into other parts of the cave.
But what really mattered, was the things that occupied the room.
Ten, twenty, fifty... hundreds... of beings he couldn't quite classify, yet he had feeling he saw them at least once before. They were all small. Very small. One would barely reach his knee. And they were all as blue as the sky on a cloudless sunny day. They wore lovely white hats and pants. But worst of all... it was very obvious that these abominations were clearly what a good deal of the normal human population would find... cute.
The creatures completely surrounded Cale on the table lit with torches, similar to one Richard was on. Cale was tied up, and his torso was bare. On his body, two of the small disgustingly cute creatures were tap dancing. God knew why. The rest of the blue crowd was cheering, clapping, dancing or even singing. A small group of them in the back was making music. The whole scenery was so... delightful. It made Richard sick.
"Make it stop~~!" Cale shrieked, unable to cope with the amount of lovely in the room. At least that was Richard's conclusion, but he decided to see what was Cale actually upset about.
"Oh, smurf this guy, he has no taste in music whatsoever!" one of the creatures said grumpily.
"Come on, big elf girl, don't be such a smurf; smurf with us! You'll smurf it!" a single female specimen of the creatures approached Cales' head and gave him a kiss on the forehead.
"NO! Leave me alone! I don't want to be a part of you!"
"EVERYBODY wants to be a part of Smurfs!" one of them, old, and dressed in red lectured Cale with a darling smile. He got up on the "torture table" and talked to the audience:
"Smurfed be this day, for we have a smurfcomer! And a female as well!"
"I am a man, you blue dorks!"
"And the one with sense of humor too! I can already see your name, your Smurf name shall be Funny Smurf!"
"Leave me alone~~" the tears formed in Cale's eyes and freely trickled down his face.
"Once the ceremonial part is over, you'll pass through the smurfine ritual of Smurfinication!"
Cale started sobbing. Not quietly, or restrained, but loudly, with no shame, looking more pathetic than ever.
"And then, by the power of Smurf, you shall become one of the Smurfs, you shall be granted our body, out mind and a piece of Smurfs' soul! Only then you shall experience Smurfana!"
The crowd started cheering, their attention solely on the broken Cale and apparently deeply respected smurf in red. By the time they started the music again, Richard was still just standing, trying to absorb it all, trying to allow it to sink into his conscience as fast as possibly – no such luck.
Cale was sobbing louder and louder. The warlock felt his blood freeze as he observed elf's pathetic face, his body cramping as he tried to get rid of the ropes. It was painful. For the first time in his hundred years old life/afterlife, Richard couldn't stand seeing someone suffer. Slowly, very slowly, after minutes of long shock, he came to... and the blood started to boil. His eyes, usually sunny yellow, gained a red, bloody shine. The crystal on his chest glowed, stronger, and more powerful.
Cale screamed, his eyes closed shut, his face an expression of desperation, oblivious to anything but the horrible future that was about to be given to him.
A strong red light filled the room in waves, passing through the whole room several times. The sound of crunching bones and tearing skin was mixed with fresh, surprised and most satisfying of all, agonizing screams of blue creatures in white. The light subdued slowly. Even though the room was now in almost complete dark, the moonlight managed to reach enough to shed light on just what a wonderful shade of red the room got - but definitely not from the light that was no longer emitting from Richard's jewel. His robes were soaked in blood, his face slightly sprinkled. He marched towards Cale, ignoring the sticky and slippery blood under his feet and bones his robe was dragging along with him. Standing right above Cale with a snap of fingers he freed him of ropey bonds. Cale was surprisingly not covered in much blood. He passed out.
Richard picked him up bridal style. Surrounded by pool of blood, chunks of meat and piles of bones, the moonlight threw an eerie kind of light on him. He studied Cale's face. It was torn apart, yet relieved. Who knew for how long have those guys been torturing him, to leave him in a state like this? Trying to convert him, turning him into something so disgustingly cute, incorrigibly moral, and something so horribly determined of their own beliefs, they couldn't allow anything else to coexist.
For the first time ever, Richard felt the power of compassion.
And then, for reasons the usually emotionless warlock couldn't understand, he felt the Fan Servitium curse raise. Surprisingly enough, he still felt compassionate. But he would ponder his newly acquired ability to do so later – they had to get out of here.
And he was ready to do so, even if he had to blast the whole cave open – what he did not expect though, was countless, much more than just hundreds red lit eyes in the dark passages around him. He turned around in panic, several times, not being able to take in what he was seeing. His power was still half subdued, and it would take time until he could have his full power back. Usually he would brag that half of his power was more than enough – but he was terrified. The cute creatures got closer and closer, their eyes brightly red, and he could hear their whispers:
"Smurf is the way to go... Join the Smurfs and you'll have your place in Smurfirise forever..."
"Smurf, smurg, smurrrrffggrrrraaaaah..."
The cute creatures started letting out weird noises, almost like the undead brainless minions. The advanced slowly, and mercilessly.
"You need to be taught a smurfing lesson." came the voice of Smurf in red, whom Richard could swore he obliterated moments ago. He just stood, petrified, and feeling utterly defeated, and utterly thirsty for blood at the same time, awaiting his unavoidable destiny.
Back to present...
The whole night was spent with in agony – the same agony Cale went through. Cale was luckily without conscience, so at least he didn't have to go through it again. And Richard was actually happy about it. He wasn't cursed anymore, yet he felt happy for him. Because he couldn't wish this kind of torture on anyone even remotely dear or at least a tiny bit likeable.
Being tougher nut to crack than Cale, he managed to survive all of the "smurftastic" expressions, songs, dances and whatnots during the "ceremonial" part. But in his mind, he was falling apart. He couldn't even bring to himself to THIN about murder and blood he usually loved so much. They just wouldn't let him think. Their song, their manner of speech was thinking for him.
"We'll let you two have a smurfy rest – tonight, we begin with your smurituals, and you'll finally learn of smurfiness!"
And with those words, the two were put into a dungeon, shackled and tied to each other, back to back, their hands shackled together, left to right and right to left hand, so one couldn't use them without the other ones cooperation. They both shivered. No, not from disgust over one each other – but from hatred, fury, mental pain and overall feeling like dying.
"I need to kill... I can't... anymore..."
The warlock collapsed, slightly tugging Cale, and his head falling between his knees.
"Richard! Oh Gods, please, please don't give up on life—after life- whatever! Richard! DICK!"
No response. But he could still feel the slight movements. Like shaking. Cale winced.
"HELP!" he yelled, not knowing who he was calling for. But he didn't want to end this way. He didn't want Richard to end this way. Richard didn't deserve this. After all, this was Cales' fault. Oh Gods, this was his fault! He would never get rid of this horrible guilt!
"PLEASE HELP US! HELP~ SOMEBODY! ANYBODY!"
He cried, shutting his eyes firmly and letting his head fall between his knees, much like Richard.
He blinked trying to clear his vision, and then he saw something, that wasn't before his eyes seconds ago. Two footless legs. Rising from the earth itself. Like two black columns. He looked up. And then he laughed.
"They have been gone for two days now, father... two days. I don't know what to think. I mean, there is no burned tree, or a handicraft or even a trace of blood. It is not like Richard. Something happened to them. I'm so worried. I'm so scared." Benny tried her best not to cry as her father stroked her hair. He sighed.
"I know gid, I know. We have to be strong. Don't you worry, we'll find them. We'll find them even if I have to search the whole forest and all the caves and villages in 50 miles radius."
The two were in the tent, and Pella was sitting outside, staring at the sky. It was a clear, nice morning. She was petting Sooba – it too, missed its master.
"Ye feel it too, huh?" she spoke to the animal.
"Something in these parts... something be going on. Something sinister." she remarked. Sooba yawned.
"I wonder if it is possible they encountered... nah, that sect was rid of long ago. There be no way, right?" she smiled to herself, feeling calmer.
"R... Richard... your f-friend is here." Cale whispered with difficulty.
But Richard did not move.
Cale turned to face Slendy, whom, even though he knew was friendly, was still kinda scared of.
"S-sorry... he's without conscious... we encountered the... the Smurfs..." Cale coughed. Slendy stood as still as a statue.
"They... can't be st-stopped... we're going to die here... please, help us."
Slendy stood still.
"Is... isn't he your friend? Please... save him at least... he would hate it, here ... too much of eh, lovely, heh heh heh..." the laughter hurt him for some reason.
Slendy still haven't moved an inch.
Cale decided the creature was maybe pondering. It did have very slow movements. Maybe it was preparing for something? Cale didn't know.
Then something very uncomfortable happened. A sounds, extremely high pitched sound was heard, and awful noise, disturbing, distorted noise. Not the sounds and being could produce. More like a sound of some hellish out-of-this-world machine.
"W-wha? Slendy? Is that you?" Richard woke up from the sound that apparently was emitted by Slendy. He turned his head, and his tired worn out face lit up.
"Slendy! Oh God, thank evilness, you need to get us out of here! How did you-"
He didn't get to finish the question because of the horde of Smurfs that suddenly busted through the door. They were roaring, literally roaring, sounding like a unity, a horrible beats from depths of Hell. Looking as equally lovely and terrifying as the last time he saw them, Richard barely managed not to scream.
"SLENDY! Run! RUN! There's no telling what they're-"
And then Richard and Cale sat back and enjoyed the show, as Slendy moved with a surprisingly, extremely fast turn, and used the numerous tentacled slithering from his suit to decapitate every single one of the smurfs who dared to enter with no effort at all. Few tentacles wrapped around Cale and Richard to carry them, and he slowly, slowly started going towards exit, brutally killing every single smurf that dared to come into his sight, and boy, these guys were as numerous as roaches. But not a single one was left alive when two hours later, Slendy brought his two friend into the day light, through the same passage they went in through first.
"AIR! OH, AIR!" Cale looked up to the Sun, enjoying the warmth it brought him. Richard was looking overwhelmed with relief.
"Slendy, I don't know how to thank you!" he sniffed as he held his friend. Slendy slowly hugged and patted him on the back, as if comforting him.
"Richard... oh my God, Richard!"
"The curse! It is gone! Do you feel it? It's gone!"
"I know. Something down there triggered something-or-another, and we got rid of it." Richard mumbled out quickly. "I wish not to discuss it."
"Hell yes, we'll discuss it!"
"Well, not now anyway."
Cale approached Slendy, and with only a slight bit of effort needed, hugged the strange being. It was surprisingly soft and warm, but for some reason, he heard a the same distorted noise in the beings' chest as the one it made down in the cave – though a very quiet noise. Like a heartbeat, or breathing.
"Thank you Slendy. You're a true friend."
The being played with its tie, and this time Cale knew what it meant.
"No need to thank me. After all you saved our lives, and destroyed those pests once and for all. I wish we could do something for you."
Slendy stared at them both for a minute, trying to say something. Richard and Cale looked at each other.
"We'll do our best." they confirmed.
"MY SINGING PARTNER!"
They all shared a group hug, and the certain two shared a kiss as well.
"What happened to you guys! We were so worried!"
"Long, long story. We'll tell you everything as soon as you feed us."
"Well, you came just in time for supper!
"I need to KILL something. Tell me there are bandits or peasants nearby!"
"Well, there is a small camp to the west, not a mile away, but-"
The warlock disappeared with extreme speed.
"Oh well,let him have fun. He suffered enough."
"Tell us what happened!"
And so Cale, soon joined by bloodied Richard and a piece of meat he didn't want to question the origins of, started to tell the story. They told hem about the legendary Slendy ( "I knew it!" Krunch victoriously shook his fist ), the horrible, still living Smurf cult ( "There be more? Curse those little dwarf imitators!" ) and how the got rid of the curse.
"So how DID you get rid of it?"
"I don't know. Richard has a theory, but-"
"But nothing, I have no idea."
"- but he doesn't want to share." Cale admitted. He himsel didn't know what made the curse go away.
Krunch as a scientist wasn't happy not to find out the solution, but Pella shrugged it off.
"Who cares, the important thing be, you two be safe. To the Group!"
"To the Group!" they all cheered with glasses of fine ale and drank up. They talked and laughed long into the night, happy to be alive, well, and with no curses what so ever at least for one night. Slendy wasn't far away, hiding in between the trees as he always did, unnoticed by almost anyone who passed, seeing all, watching all. He was grateful. This day went well. He met his old friend, gained a new girly friend, and finally met someone he longed to meet so hard...
"Whatcha doin' Slendy?"
Slendy looked down. Alessius was standing beneath, with brushes in one hand, and bunch of canvases in another. He was smiling.
"Oh, your friends? Ah, I'm sure they'll come visit you again. Now that they know where you live."
Silence filled the air as Slendy conversed.
"Oh, well that's a good idea. Visiting them would probably be easier too. But not too soon – we have a project to finish. Stone Wasps ain't gonna paint itself!"
"I'm so glad to have actually met you. I thought those two were kidnapping me, but in fact they were trying to show me just how nice you are actually. I'm grateful to them. You're a really nice guy."
Slendy merely shrugged the statement off, and leaned his head to the side just a tad. Little. Bit.
"Do you think Slendy will really put up with Alessius's project, and be able to befriend him without mercilessly stealing his memories and eating his kidneys?"
"You're being silly, Cale." Richard replied as he baked another marshmallow.
"Slendy doesn't ever eat kidneys, they're too hard to chew."