Ever since Polaris had been allowed to stay in the Smurf Village following his exile from Psychelia, Empath had allowed his friend to stay at his house. Even though Polaris was grateful that Empath had accomodated his own living space for him, he had some difficulty getting used to Empath's own living habits, which were surprising only because they had both previously lived in Psychelia with only a year's gap between them. Basically, Empath was somewhat messy and picked up after himself only when he felt it was necessary, which wasn't very often. Polaris preferred things to be nice and neat, and he didn't appreciate having to pick Empath's clothes off the floor all the time. Another bone of contention was that, unlike most Smurfs who preferred to dress up in a nightgown when going to bed, Empath actually liked to dress down to his underwear, and sometimes even to his "smurfday suit". Polaris thought he had gotten used to seeing Empath in "half-dress", but apparently sharing the same mushroom house with him meant that he had to see a bit more of Empath on display than he was comfortable with.
Fortunately, Empath had chosen to turn his art studio upstairs into another bedroom, just for himself, leaving Polaris the downstairs for his own sleeping quarters. This allowed Empath to have some privacy and Polaris some breathing room. But Empath knew that he couldn't keep sleeping upstairs when winter comes, since the only place that had a fireplace was downstairs. He hoped by then Polaris would be more comfortable with the idea of sharing one room to sleep in for the cold seasons.
Right now, Polaris was busy tossing and turning in his sleep that night. It wasn't because he had trouble trying to fall asleep in the Smurf Village, since he knew from Empath's experiences that he had shared the same feeling of disconnection from the tranquility of being linked to the collective consciousness of the Psyches. It was because of Elatia...the first female being he had met that seemed to have an active interest only in him, even though she was nothing more than a creation from his own mind. Yet Elatia felt like more than just a creation, and Polaris can't figure out why he had this feeling about her...or even for her. Finally, Polaris decided that he really needed to talk to his best friend, the only friend he ever really knew in this world, about that feeling.
Even though Empath appeared to sleep very soundly as Polaris entered the room, he sensed that his friend was awake and opened his eyes to see him standing by his bed. "This one wishes to speak to you about something, Empath, if you'll excuse the timing and this one's presence in your sleeping quarters," Polaris requested.
Empath yawned as he looked earnestly at his friend. He wrapped a blanket around himself as he allowed Polaris to sit by him on his bed. "It's okay, Polaris. We're not in Psychelia anymore, so you don't have to worry about disturbing this smurf's sleep. What do you wish to talk about?"
Polaris seemed embarrassed to say what was on his mind, but he had to say it. "This female being in the Imaginarium, Elatia...this one can't help thinking about her now. Even as this one tries to sleep, the image of her keeps coming into this one's mind. This one feels compelled to meet with her again, and this one doesn't even know why."
"Maybe you've fallen in love with her at first sight, Polaris," Empath suggested. "This smurf knows that Psyches don't have a need for feeling love for somebody, at least in Psychelia, but here in the Smurf Village and pretty much anywhere else, it's just something most people can't live without. They just have a need for somebody that they can share their selves with completely for all time, and sometimes it just takes one look at a certain somebody, and...well, that's how it could happen!"
"You mean, when you first saw Smurfette, you felt this...compulsion to be with her, this 'love at first sight'?" Polaris asked.
"That's exactly how this smurf felt, Polaris," Empath answered. "Only this smurf felt so insecure around Smurfette, this smurf just didn't know exactly what to say to her. It took a while for us to be comfortable enough with each other to say something appropriate. But even though Smurfette initially reacted to this smurf as if this smurf was trying to turn her away, she was always on this smurf's mind, and one night the desire to be around Smurfette felt so...overwhelming that this smurf had to work on my paintings to control that feeling. Simply put, falling in love is the most wonderful and sometimes the scariest feeling you could ever have."
"It's just this 'falling in love' with something that may have been created from this one's mind in the Imaginarium, this fantasy female being, that concerns this one, Empath," Polaris said, looking down at the floor as if he was even ashamed to tell his friend that.
"Polaris, there's nothing wrong with having a fantasy about a female," Empath told him. "It's just your mind's way of interpreting what your physical self is trying to tell you. Maybe being disconnected from the link of the Psyches is making your innermost desires, the ones the Psyche Master has been making you suppress, come to the surface."
"You're not suggesting that this one really wants to be a savage being?" Polaris asked, staring at Empath with a little disbelief in his eyes.
"That isn't what this smurf is saying at all, Polaris," Empath explained. "No matter what the Psyche Master may tell you, deep down inside we're all in need of basic things in order to survive — air, food, water, shelter, protection, companionship. And being denied any of those will make you desire them even more, sometimes by force. But before it even gets that far, this smurf would suggest that you take whatever this fantasy female is giving you — a chance to really interact with a female — and just go along with it as far as you can reasonably take it. You can't hurt a fantasy female's feelings, and she'll never refuse anything you ask of her. You could learn a whole lot more about yourself and about how to interact with real females through her."
Polaris nodded, seeming to understand. "This one will allow you to continue your resting period for the following day, Empath. Again, this one apologizes for disturbing you."
Empath yawned again. "You are my Psychelian brother, Polaris, and you are my friend. This smurf would gladly give up some sleep to help you out with your situation. Rest well...this smurf will see you again in the morning."
Polaris headed back downstairs as Empath went back to sleep. "Rest well, fellow Empath."
Polaris woke up early the next morning and entered the Imaginarium. "Please bring this one to the beach scene," he requested.
The Imaginarium room changed into the beach scene that he was in during the Summer Solstice celebration, with the sun still hanging in the sky at the same position. Already he could see Elatia wearing a swimsuit standing there with a surfboard, waiting for him.
"Now this is a change," she started. "And one that I like, anyway. You must have thought about me outside the Imaginarium, huh?"
Polaris was startled by the fact that Elatia just started to talk right away, he was beginning to wonder about her. "This one has been wondering about you, Elatia. You knew so much about this one and about the other Smurfs, and yet this one doesn't know a single thing about you."
"You know that I'm always here for you, Polaris," Elatia told him. "So while you are here, do you want to go for a swim or something?"
"Uh...this one would rather not, Elatia," Polaris said uneasily. "This one still doesn't feel very comfortable exposing myself to the elements...and to other people...no matter how much you wish to make me feel...comfortable...!"
"Oh, come on, Polaris," Elatia purred as she put down the surfboard and walked over to Polaris, carressing her hand on his shoulder. "You don't have to hide from me how you feel, and you don't need to hide how you look, either. There's no other Smurf in here, and besides I won't ever make you feel embarrassed. Just try to remove your shirt and you'll see what I mean."
Polaris sighed. He felt put upon to do this, and yet Elatia was right about not being any other Smurf around to see him underdressing himself. He pulled off his shirt and just stood there.
Elatia just looked at him from all around, smiling and thinking of something. "Okay, well, not bad for a start, but you could loosen yourself up a bit. You don't have to stand as if you're a soldier or something. Why don't you sit down and I can show you something to relax you?"
Polaris sat himself down on the sand, still feeling cautious about the whole idea. Elatia sat herself down behind Polaris and gently touched his shoulders as she started to massage.
"Your muscles feel so strong, Polaris," Elatia commented, "and yet so stiff. Sometimes you need some physical therapy to help you feel better about yourself."
Polaris felt his mind letting go of every thought he tried to hang on to, wanting nothing more than to feel the soft gentle touch of Elatia kneading the muscles in his shoulders and neck. His hair bristled as her hand lightly brushed over it, making Polaris slightly wince. Elatia didn't seem to mind his reaction, though.
Polaris soon felt himself searching for Elatia's mouth and kissing it. Elatia put her arms around Polaris as he did the same and they laid back on the beach together, never letting go or letting this kiss end.
Empath's personal journal, June 23.
This smurf has awakened to yet another rainy day, and has noticed that Polaris had left this smurf's house early. This smurf had assumed that Polaris wished to get started with the tasks he had been assigned by Papa Smurf in security details to prevent a possible Psyche invasion, but this smurf had not seen Polaris anywhere, and Papa Smurf was agitated by the fact that Polaris had not shown up in his laboratory for the discussion they were going to have with my presence included. This is the first time this smurf has noticed Polaris not being punctual for anything, if only because he had always been so in Psychelia since the Psyche Master demands everything to run on schedule. This smurf believes it may have something to do with what this smurf told Polaris about Elatia last night, and that he may have went inside the Imaginarium to interact with her again. This smurf must, for Polaris' sake and that of Papa Smurf, find out why he intentionally or accidentally missed his appointed duty for today.
Empath entered the Imaginarium and noticed that the crystals were fully charged, meaning that somebody was using it. "Show me where Polaris is right now," he demanded.
He found himself transported onto the beach scene, where he saw Polaris dressed down to his underwear lying down on the sand and embracing Elatia, who was wearing a swimsuit. He cleared his throat for attention.
Polaris stopped whatever he was doing with Elatia and saw who it was. "Empath, what are you doing here in this fantasy environment?" he asked.
"This smurf was going to ask the same of you, Polaris," Empath answered. "You had some duties to attend in the Smurf Village that you have neglected as the chief of security details and this smurf simply did not expect you to be fooling around with Elatia on the beach at this time."
Polaris looked like he had been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. "This one apologizes for not being aware of the time, Empath. This one was merely experimenting with the aspects of romantic relationships with females in here."
"It was just an honest mistake, Empath," Elatia responded, trying to vouch for Polaris. "Your friend simply wanted to know what it was like to be alone with a female and not be embarrassed by showing himself off in front of other people."
"Well, he could have chosen another time for doing so, Elatia," Empath shot back. "Your going along with his desires just simply wasn't helping him remember."
"Empath, you are being rude to Elatia," Polaris scolded. "She has been doing nothing to harm you in any way with her presence. You should apologize to her and...!"
"Polaris, Elatia isn't real!" Empath exclaimed. "She may look, feel, and smell real to you, but she is nothing more than a creation from your own mind in the Imaginarium."
"I beg your pardon?" Elatia snorted, taking offense. "I happen to be just as real as any of you. Even Polaris believes me, which was something I had told him before you showed up."
Empath realized he wasn't getting anywhere here arguing with what was nothing more than an Imaginarium-created being. "Remove Elatia from the beach setting," he announced.
Elatia looked at Empath with a feeling of betrayal before she vanished from sight.
Polaris wasn't very happy, to say the least. "You call yourself this one's Smurf brother and friend, and then you go and make her disappear because you cannot handle the fact of her real existence being here?" he glared.
"Polaris, she is just a creation!" Empath reminded him, sounding tired of having to repeat himself to his own friend. "You're letting yourself get emotionally involved with an artificial being to the point where you're confusing her with reality, and getting angry over something you can come back and make reappear at will."
"You as a Smurf should know about emotional involvement with beings, considering you have just interrupted this one's involvement with Elatia," Polaris countered. "This one should think that Smurfette would be enough for the likes of your savage mind, but apparently this one must be mistaken to believe that!"
Empath just watched as Polaris stormed his way out of the beach setting and away from the Imaginarium, angry that his own friend would do something that callous. He had never done anything before that would make Polaris react that way toward him, which in itself surprised him.