After a while of playing around with each other in the water, Empath and Smurfette decided to take it easy for a while on the shore. They passed by Sculptor working on a sandcastle with Baby Smurf and Lazy sleeping with most of his body submerged in the sand as they walked off toward the other end of the shore.
"So how does this Imaginarium actually work, Empath?" Smurfette asked, curious to know everything that can be done with Handy's and Papa Smurf's new invention. "I know it uses our mind power to smurf things that we can imagine into reality, but how can it smurf this beach scene to be as real as...like smurfing on a real beach?"
"This smurf found out a few things about fantasy environments that can be created inside the Imaginarium, Smurfette," Empath answered. "They are only about as real as you can imagine them to be, but no matter how big the environment is, there are still boundaries that let a Smurf know that this is still just a fantasy." He directed Smurfette's eyes toward the vanishing point in the horizon where the sea and the sky are divided. "For example, you can swim as far out there as you possibly can, but it never gets too deep, and if you continue swimming in the same direction, toward that horizon, you will simply warp around and swim back toward the shore. It's a very weird effect, but that's how different from a real beach that this Imaginarium fantasy environment is."
Smurfette seemed to understand that. "Okay, so what if I want to smurf off in the opposite direction...you know, smurf inland, like Brainy's smurfing right now?" She pointed in the direction where they both saw Brainy venturing aimlessly into.
"The very same thing, Smurfette. No matter how far Brainy goes inland in the same direction, he will only find himself heading back toward the beach, which this smurf can sense will confuse his own sense of direction in here."
Smurfette almost felt like giggling at that thought, but restrained herself from doing so. "And if I want to smurf along the beachside, what would happen then? I would just smurf back here like I had smurfed off in Brainy's direction?"
"Actually, you wouldn't, Smurfette," Empath answered. "You would simply appear on the other side of the beach setting, meeting whatever Smurfs appear there."
Smurfette stared into the distance where the beachside itself disappeared into the far horizon. "Funny, I can't smurf any Smurfs on the opposite side of the beach from here, Empath."
"You won't be able to, Smurfette, because the Imaginarium only lets you see as far as you can visibly see in reality," Empath reminded her. "But believe this smurf that the effect is there. Allow this smurf to demonstrate that."
Empath found a conch shell in the sand that he picked up and threw it fast and hard, straight into the distance that Smurfette was looking into. Both of them saw the shell disappear into the distance.
"Well, it sure can travel pretty far the way you threw it, Empath," Smurfette commented.
"OUCH!" they heard another Smurf far from where they were standing on the opposite end of the beach yelp. "Who the smurf threw a conch shell at me? Was that you, Jokey?"
"Honestly, I didn't, but it sure was funny!" Jokey chuckled.
Empath and Smurfette looked back at the Smurf holding his head, being the accidental victim of Empath's testing the Imaginarium fantasy boundaries. "That's incredible," Smurfette gasped.
"This smurf doesn't think he would wish to know who really threw the conch shell, Smurfette," Empath remarked, finding himself hunching his shoulders in guilt and shame.
"Don't worry about it, Empath," Smurfette said, turning Empath's attention away from the unfortunate scene. "He'll smurf over it like it was just an accident. Now you smurfed me that there are boundaries as far as smurfing on the ground in this fantasy, but how about smurfing off the ground? Would I be able to fly around like you do or would I be smurfed down here like every other Smurf?"
"This isn't reality, Smurfette, this is the Imaginarium," Empath told her. "If you wish to experience the power of flight similar to this smurf's ability, all you have to do is imagine yourself flying, and the Imaginarium will let you do so in the fantasy setting."
"Really that simple?" Smurfette asked, unsure of whether that was true. "Okay, let me smurf it a try." Empath stood back and watched Smurfette concentrate on that thought, and soon she found herself floating off the ground, getting higher and higher. She was astounded by this discovery. "Empath, look at me...I'm smurfing it. I really am flying on my own in here." She then started to head straight for the sky, feeling pleased about herself.
"Just be careful, Smurfette," Empath warned. "There are also boundaries that exist up there as well."
But Smurfette went too far up into the sky too fast, and just before she nearly disappeared from Empath's sight, he could see the sky vibrate like it was made of tent fabric. Empath decided to join Smurfette where she was up in the sky and found her still floating, but feeling a little dazed.
"Now this is too weird," Smurfette commented, shaking off the effects of the impact with the boundary she found in the sky. She touched this invisible boundary and found out how much it was like tent fabric. She then looked down and saw herself so far high above everyone else's heads, she nearly panicked from the sight. Suddenly she found herself falling.
"Empath, help me...I'm falling," she screamed.
"Don't worry, Smurfette, you can't get hurt falling in here!" Empath called out to her.
Soon enough he saw part of the shore react to Smurfette's impact as if she fell onto a giant air-filled pillow, cushioning her fall. He flew down and saw Smurfette slowly picking herself up from the ground after it had stopped bouncing her around in the spot where she landed.
"Are you all right, Smurfette?" Empath asked out of concern.
Smurfette was unharmed, but she felt a bit frustrated about her brief flying experience in the Imaginarium. "I think I'll settle for smurfing on the ground for the time smurfing, Empath!"
Empath agreed. "Let's get some barbecued chestnuts before Greedy eats them all!"
"...and, baby, you better believe I'm back — back in the Smurfland Groove."
Tapper was busy serving his many different flavors of seltzer, including his popular smurfberry fizzy, at the refreshment stand on the beach. He was keeping company with Sweepy and Barber while watching an ensemble music band, featuring Sloppy on the guitar, Orbit on the keyboard, and some other Smurf on the drums, playing a selection of tunes with a dozen or so Smurfs gathered around listening to them playing "Smurfland Groove". Then Sweepy noticed Brainy coming along in his direction toward the refreshment stand.
"So how goes the exploration of the beach smurfery, my good Brainy?" Tapper asked as he saw Brainy approach his counter, looking upset.
"You'd think that this Imaginarium fantasy environment would provide enough of an environment so that I can smurf a bit more than just this beachside, Tapper," Brainy groused. "But everytime I smurf off in that direction, away from the beach, I end up finding mysmurf smurfing back here in a straight line."
"Well, at the very least you can't complain about smurfing lost in here," Tapper commented. "Nor can anyone drown out there by smurfing toward the ocean. I just do wonder, though, what may happen if Smurfs end up preferring to smurf on this kind of beach instead of a real one, even with the threat of sunburns and other unsmurfy outdoor hazards."
"Right now, the only hazard I'm trying to avoid is running into Clumsy all the time," Brainy griped. "I'm trying to smurf up some exceedingly brilliant chess moves that I want to smurf on somebody so I can put it in my latest book, Brainy Smurf: The Chessmaster. And all Clumsy wants to do is smurf for seashells, even if he couldn't smurf them out of here."
"Hey, Brainy!" Clumsy's voice called out from the far side of the beach. "Look at this weird seashell I managed to find. Boy, I can't wait to smurf this in my collection!"
Tapper looked on in amusement. "I think you'd better find yoursmurf a good hiding place, Brainy, because I believe your friend Clumsy is smurfing this way!"
Brainy gulped when he saw Clumsy approaching, carrying a seashell in front of him. The last thing he wanted to do was to keep telling his friend that Imaginarium-created seashells can't be taken out of the Imaginarium fantasy environment. He took a bottle of Tapper's lemon-flavored seltzer and ran off in another direction, with Sweepy and Barber chuckling.
"Uh, Tapper, did you just see Brainy smurfing around here?" Clumsy asked as he approached the refreshment stand.
Tapper shrugged his shoulders. "Sorry, my good Clumsy, Brainy just upped and left before you had a chance to smurf him."
"By the way, I just smurfed into that Polaris Psyche, and he's smurfed himself a girlfriend over there," Clumsy reported. "She sure seems pretty for someone he smurfed up!"
"A girlfriend, eh?" Tapper wondered. "I didn't even know Empath's friend was interested in females, though from what Empath smurfed me of what smurfs on in Psychelia, the males and females don't smurf together for anything except smurfing what the Psyche Master wants them to smurf."
Just then, another Smurf by the name of Wooly — a Texan-sounding Smurf who enjoys wearing a cowboy hat and boots even on a beach setting — approached Tapper's refreshment stand. "Howdy, Tapper...you got some of that rootin'-tootin' root beer to smurf out the fire from Greedy's smurfecued chestnuts?" he asked.
"Aye, Wooly, you've smurfed to the right place," Tapper answered, pulling out a bottle of root beer from behind the counter and uncorking it. "Though I wasn't quite expecting you to be smurfing on the beach when you'd be more at home smurfing out there with the wild toads."
"Well, partner, even a rough-and-tumble Smurf like me's gotta smurf something new," Wooly answered, taking off his boots and draining the water out of them before puttting them back on. "Swimmer's been smurfing me how to ride a dolphin. Boy, those things sure can smurf through the water, but they just aren't as rough and wild as them wild toads. Anyway, I see that our pale-smurfed newcomer's got himsmurf a fine young thing over by that mushroom umbrella."
"You, too?" Clumsy asked, sounding curious. "Golly, I wish that I could smurf myself a girlfriend like that in here."
"It's not that you can't smurf that, Clumsy," Wooly said. "But there's something about her that seems different, like she wasn't anything that there Polaris has even imagined, if Psyches even have things like girlfriends in Psychelia."
"That's an interesting thing to consider, my friend," Tapper said. "Anyway, you're more than welcome to stay and smurf me company if you want, because I'm going to be smurfing this stand all day until the party ends."
"Naaah, thinking I'll be smurfing out of here soon because this party just isn't as rough and wild as I would want it to be," Wooly said. "Smurf you around, partner."
After Wooly left the refreshment stand, another Smurf that Tapper was familiar with, his friend Duncan McSmurf, arrived. "Laddie, you should have seen who Polaris Psyche is with today...this beautiful lassie who smurfs like Laconia, only with brown hair," he said excitedly as he grabbed a flavored seltzer to drink.
"You're only the third Smurf who has mentioned that fact, my fellow Duncan," Tapper said. "And you say that she smurfs like Laconia?"
"You've got to smurf her for yourself, Tapper," Duncan said. "Oh, what I wouldn't give to smurf in Polaris' shoes right about now, even if all they're doing is smurfing around with that fancy puzzle globe."
At this point, he could only wonder about Polaris and this mystery female being that would no doubt give any Smurf who saw them together something to talk about.
By the end of the day, Papa Smurf looked at his pocket watch — the only way he could tell time in there since the Imaginarium sun didn't seem to move across the sky like the real sun — and realized that it was time for the festival to end.
"Okay, my little Smurfs, it's time for sleep," he called out to whoever was left in the Imaginarium, since a good deal of them had already left beforehand. "We still have a busy day ahead of us tomorrow and I want you all to smurf a good night's sleep!"
The remaining Smurfs grumbled and groaned as they gathered their belongings and then disappeared from the beach setting, which still looked like it was set in the middle of the daytime. Soon only Papa Smurf, Baby Smurf, Empath, and Smurfette were left.
"Well, it's been the most interesting Summer Solstice I've ever smurfed, even if it isn't on a real beach," Smurfette commented. "Maybe next year, the weather wouldn't be so unsmurfy."
"At the very least, Smurfette, you don't have to worry about having towels to dry yourself off," Empath noted. "This smurf already feels as dry as before this smurf went into the water."
"And I don't have to worry about smurfpooing my hair after smurfing it wet with seawater, either," Smurfette added, straightening out her hair with a brush.
"That's the magic behind the Imaginarium, all right," Papa Smurf said, stroking his beard and feeling how dry his whiskers were now, even though he didn't go into the water quite as far out or as often as every other Smurf. "So where's Polaris Psyche now?"
"This smurf didn't sense him leaving the Imaginarium at any time, Papa Smurf," Empath answered. "He must still be in here, though this smurf isn't certain as to where."
"Well, he couldn't have smurfed off into a fantasy of his own, since the Imaginarium doesn't allow us to smurf more than one fantasy at a time anymore," Smurfette offered.
Then Empath saw Polaris in the same place where he last saw him, underneath the same mushroom umbrella, still playing his Psychelisphere puzzle, but now accompanied by a young female being. "Now this smurf knows what he's been doing all day," he said.
"Who's that female smurfing with him?" Smurfette asked. "I've never smurfed her before."
"This smurf doesn't recognize her, either, Smurfette," Empath replied, shaking his head. "She must have been created from Polaris' imagination, though this smurf had never known Polaris to be this interested in females to even create such a companion for him to talk to."
Papa Smurf was also slightly curious about this female being, too. "Well, I'll be smurfed!" he finally said, wondering about the meaning behind this. He let that thought go as he put his raincoat and his boots back on before picking up Baby Smurf. "Anyway, I'll be closing up my laboratory and smurfing myself and Baby Smurf off to sleep. Just make sure to smurf down the Imaginarium when you leave. Goodnight, Empath and Smurfette."
"Smurf well, Papa Smurf," Smurfette called out to him as she watched the village leader carry Baby Smurf away, vanishing from the beach setting. She found herself yawning. "Well, I would like to smurf you up on doing a little moonlight smurfy-dipping in here, Empath, but I've got a busy day tomorrow with the Smurflings and their schooling. I hope you don't mind my postsmurfing our little beach swim for some other time."
Empath nodded, not feeling disappointed in the least. "Whenever it is convenient for you, Smurfette, this smurf will wait for that. Right now, this smurf is going to talk to Polaris about his mystery companion."
"I hope you're not feeling jealous of him, Empath," she hinted mischievously. "Smurf you tomorrow morning!" She put her raincoat back on and also vanished from the beach.
Empath then turned to Polaris and his companion, who was now laughing at a comment Polaris had made while he himself remained as serious-minded as he was before.
"Empath," the female greeted as she turned to face his direction, watching him approach. "Come join us. Me and Polaris were talking about you."
Empath was surprised that an Imaginarium creation would be this independently minded enough to even invite him into a conversation. It was as if she was plugged directly into Polaris' subconscious, but even that wouldn't begin to explain how she acted.
"This smurf hopes whatever he told you was in good humor, Miss...?"
"Elatia," she responded. "He was telling me about the time you inadvertently rescued him from falling down a cliff by him grabbing your tail, but he didn't know it was your tail until later."
"This one was merely alluding to the fact of how this one found out about you being a Smurf after you had returned from your first visit to the Smurf Village, Empath," Polaris calmly explained.
Empath laughed a little uneasily, unsure if he really wanted anybody else to know about that incident. "So you two have been...talking to each other all day about...personal things?" he asked.
"He showed me how to play the Psychelisphere," Elatia answered. "It's a very interesting kind of game, even if Polaris calls it a meditational training exercise. I had gotten as far as level 69 when you came by this way."
"Okay," Empath said, rubbing his chin and wondering what was going on between Polaris and this creation that he didn't know about. "Well, this smurf doesn't wish to intrude upon this conversation, but this smurf must remind Polaris that he has a very busy schedule tomorrow."
Polaris nodded at Empath before he turned to Elatia. "Empath is correct, Elatia. Apparently, being in your company has distracted this one from knowing how much time had passed since this one had met your presence. This one hopes you are not offended by this one leaving."
"I'm not offended, Polaris," Elatia answered. "I just hope I was a pleasant enough distraction for you, and that you would come back here soon."
"This one would be honored to accept your invitation, Elatia," Polaris responded, kissing her hand to show his feelings for her. "May this one also hope to see you again."
"Anytime you want to, I'm always in here," Elatia called out as she watched Polaris walk off with Empath and then suddenly disappear from the beach scene.
"Polaris, this smurf is impressed by your first attempt to interact with someone other than this smurf," Empath commented as he and Polaris returned to reality.
"You are?" Polaris asked, sounding curious. "But...wasn't that...or rather, she...nothing more than just a creation of the Imaginarium fantasy environment that we were in?"
"Well, she seems to know you as well as every Smurf that was in the Imaginarium," Empath answered. "If she was a creation, you certainly interacted with her just as if she was a real person, and she responded to you and this smurf just as well."
"The strange part about it, Empath, is that this one didn't even try imagining someone like her appearing in that environment, like your fellow Smurfs imagined those fantasy female Smurfs," Polaris mentioned. "This one was so focused on the Psychelisphere puzzle that she seemed to appear from out of nowhere, not even from anywhere in my mind."
Empath shrugged his shoulders, unable to offer any insights at this time. "Don't worry too much about it, Polaris. As long as she remains an Imaginarium creation, you can always come back to her whenever you want to." He put his raincoat back on. "Let's go back to our house, where we can rest up and prepare ourselves for the next day."
Polaris decided to follow Empath as they left the meeting room. The rain outside was still pouring down, though not as heavy as they thought it would be. Hopefully, the weather will change sometime soon and the Smurfs can resume their regular duties outdoors.