Chapter 3

It was the beginning of yet another cold winter day, when Empath finished making Smurfette her new snowsuit.  She greeted Empath at the door of her house with his present to her, and then she went into the bedroom to try it on.  Smurfette had no idea how snug the outfit was until she put it on.  Meanwhile, Empath sat patiently inside her house, eagerly waiting.
She emerged from the bedroom to show off the bodysuit.  "How do I smurf with this suit?" she asked, feeling only a little embarrassed.
Empath couldn't stop looking at Smurfette the instant she emerged.  Apparently, she looked more beautiful in the bodysuit than in anything else she wore.  He didn't know what exactly to say.
"Well, judging from the eyes smurfing out of your head, I guess that means you like it, huh?" Smurfette mused.  "Frankly, I should smurf this a bit more often!"
"It's the pumps that make the bodysuit more attractive on you, Smurfette!" Empath finally said before he grimaced, feeling like he said something entirely stupid.
Smurfette didn't seem to notice that.  "So are we still on for smurfing down the mountains today, Empath?" she asked, going back into her bedroom to put on her boots.
"This smurf wouldn't miss it for anything, Smurfette," Empath answered.
"I was hoping somehow we wouldn't have the Smurflings along with us," Smurfette called out from her bedroom.
"This smurf made a promise to them that this smurf intended on keeping," Empath replied. "But as long as they don't smurf into any trouble, we should have no problem with their company.  This smurf is just not sure about trying out those things of theirs called snowboards, even though the Smurflings say it's a lot of fun."
"You never know unless you actually smurfed one of them!" Smurfette said as she emerged with her boots and her skis.  "Well, I hope you won't have any problem smurfing up with me going downhill, Empath!" she challenged playfully.
"It is not this smurf's place to brag about myself, Smurfette, but this smurf will provide you a skillful opponent to race you downhill."
"But what will I win if I beat you, Empath?"
Empath rubbed his chin in thought. "This smurf will come up with something!"
Suddenly they heard Harmony blowing his horn, summoning everybody to gather outside around the speaking mushroom.  Everybody in the village managed to drag themselves out of their houses to hear what announcement Papa Smurf had to make.
He finally came out to tell his message, smiling and eager.  "My dear little Smurfs," he started, "I know you've been patiently waiting to know what Handy, Miner, and myself have been smurfing over the past several days.  Well, your waiting is finally over, and now is the time to smurf you what my little secret project is."
Papa Smurf led all the other Smurfs to the basement of the meeting house, where they saw a dozen or so glittering crystals lined up against the walls, with an even bigger crystal in the center, each of them mounted on stone pedestals.  None of the other Smurfs were sure of what to make of this place.
"What the smurf is this place?" one of them asked.
"This is Papa Smurf's latest invention," Handy answered.  "It's called an Imaginarium."
"Actually, this invention was Homnibus' idea," Papa Smurf corrected.  "He had one just like this in his own hovel, and I thought maybe for days like this in the middle of winter we could smurf one of our very own."
"What does an Imaginarium do, Papa Smurf?" Empath asked.
"Nay, a better question for this, me fellow Empath, is what it canna do," Miner responded.  "It lets you see in reality the very things that only you can imagine."
"Actually, it does more than that, Miner," Papa Smurf added.  "Homnibus' version only allowed you to see what you can imagine.  This version lets you smurf things with the very things that only you can imagine.  It's the next best thing to actually being there!"
"Wow, like I can imagine that already!" Jokey snickered.
"But how does this Imaginarium work?" Smurfette asked.
"Why, it's very simple, Smurfette," Papa Smurf answered.  "Just imagine where it is you want to go and the Imaginarium will smurf you there.  Try imagining that instead of being in the village on a cold winter's day, you are at the beach on a warm summer's day, with cool breezes and refreshing waves for smurfing in."
Papa Smurf invited everybody to try imagining that very scene.  And as they imagined that, the crystals started to glow so brightly that it made the entire room disappear along with the crystals.  Then the glow subsided, and the Smurfs found themselves standing on the shore of a beach on a warm summer day -- just as they imagined it.
"Great Smurfiny Crickets, I don't believe it!" Tapper exclaimed.
"So this is what all the fuss was about," Duncan said, feeling the same way as Tapper in that moment.
The Smurfs were truly impressed by the result of this invention.  It made for a much-needed change of scenery from the drab snow-covered forest.  Some of the Smurfs felt so compelled to take off their coats, mittens, scarfs, and earmuffs to take in that warm sun, and some of them even undressed to their underpants so that they could go swimming.
Papa Smurf felt pleased that most of his little Smurfs had taken to this invention so quickly, or that he gave them something better than just seemingly endless cold winter days to look forward to.  Empath, Smurfette, and the Smurflings, however, just looked on without finding themselves being entirely taken in by the wonder of the Imaginarium.
"Well, what do you Smurfs think of the Imaginarium?" Papa Smurf asked, noticing that they were the only ones not taking a chance of undressing.
"Your invention seems very interesting, Papa Smurf," Empath replied.
"Smurfally awesome," Snappy shouted.
"It's like so gnarly, Pappy," Sassette chirped.
"It's okay in my book," Slouchy commented, feeling a bit unsure.
"At the very least, it looks, feels, and smells like we are at a real beach!" Nat pointed out.  "It just doesn't smurf like the real thing!"
"Well, it's only as real as you smurf it to be, my little Smurflings," Papa Smurf reminded them.  He then turned in another direction.  "Ah, yes, I do believe our welcoming committee is here to smurf us around!"
Every Smurf still on the beach watched as a dozen or so beautiful female Smurfs -- obviously creations of the Imaginarium -- approached them, wearing floral wreaths and grass skirts.  They gave each Smurf a floral wreath to wear and a kiss, which excited them beyond how they were when they first saw them.
Duncan chuckled. "Well, this certainly was worth the wait now, wasn't it, my dear boy?" he told Tapper as he received a floral wreath and a kiss.
"I surely wasn't expecting something like this being possible, my fellow Duncan, not even in my wildest imagination," Tapper responded.
"This is one invention that I'm going to enjoy very much, if you know what I mean," Duncan said. "Now if you'll excuse me, I have a pretty lassie here to entertain."
"Just be careful with your form of entertainment," Tapper called out as he watched Duncan head off with the female Smurf that gave him the floral wreath.
The Smurflings found this to be amusing, but Empath and Smurfette noticed that, besides the fact that they all had different hair colors and styles, they all looked like Smurfette.  Empath could sense Smurfette's hackles rising.
"Well," she fumed, "I never smurfed so violated like this in my life!"
"Smurfette, these female Smurfs aren't even real," Papa Smurf tried to tell her, even as one of the fantasy females placed her floral wreath on him.  "There's nothing in here that can smurf any harm to any Smurf, and besides nothing smurfed up in here can be smurfed out of the Imaginarium because it would simply vanish."
Smurfette didn't seem convinced.  "You know, I'd rather be smurfing down the slopes with Empath right now than engaging with this fantasy world," she announced, turning her eyes toward Empath to avoid seeing the fantasy females.
"This smurf shares a similar sentiment, Papa Smurf," Empath seconded. "Is there a way to leave these fantasy worlds in the Imaginarium?"
Papa Smurf seemed a bit disappointed that Empath and Smurfette were thinking of leaving the Imaginarium, but it sounded like these two wanted to spend some time together with each other and it wasn't his place to interfere with that.
"All you have to do is just smurf of the exit and the Imaginarium will smurf you back into reality, Empath," Papa Smurf answered.
"Sounds simple enough," Empath nodded. "This smurf hopes that you and the other Smurfs will enjoy yourselves here, Papa Smurf."  Then he and Smurfette both thought of the exit and they instantly disappeared from the beach scene.
That left the Smurflings standing around, unsure of what to do until they saw a good deal of the male Smurfs doing things together with the fantasy female Smurfs.
"Now that I smurf of it, this scene is getting a little too steamy in here," Slouchy commented.  "I think I'd rather chill with Empath and Smurfette."
"Yeah, me too, Slouchy," Sassette seconded.  "Come on, Nat, let's go get our boards and join Empath and Smurfette!"
"I can't believe you three don't want to stay and smurf out what's going on in here!" Snappy pouted, feeling like he's the only one who wanted to be inside the Imaginarium.  "It's just so incredible what you smurf with your own imagination!"  Then he realized that he was really speaking to no one and that his fellow Smurflings had disappeared from the scene.  That made Snappy decide what he really wanted to do.
"Hey, Smurflings, wait up for me," he called out as he followed after them.
Papa Smurf and Brainy watched as the Smurflings left the Imaginarium.  "Well, of all the Smurfs who would be impressed by this wonderful invention of yours, which I knew all along that everybody would be, the Smurflings just don't seem to appreciate it," Brainy fussed.  "I mean, what Smurf really wouldn't want to be in here than out there in the cold like Empath, Smurfette, and the Smurflings?"
Papa Smurf sighed.  "Brainy, as a once-famous Smurf had said, you can always lead a Smurf to water, but you can't make him swim in it!"
"Really, Papa Smurf?" Brainy asked, totally caught by surprise.  "I wonder what famous Smurf really said that?"

Empath and Smurfette were outside the meeting house when they saw the Smurflings also leaving.  Apparently, they also felt so eager to leave, though Snappy seemed to have tagged along because he didn't want to be without his fellow Smurflings.
"The scene on the beach was smurfing to be too hot for us to handle, Empath," Slouchy reported.
Empath understood.  "Well, the grown-up Smurfs need to have their fun, even if it is something they imagined that the Imaginarium is making into reality," he told the Smurflings.  "It's time we had some real fun on the slopes!"
"Just don't fly off without us, Empath," Snappy warned, as he and the other Smurflings quickly ran to their treestump playhouse to get their snowboards.
Smurfette watched the Smurflings run off before she turned to Empath again.  "So how do we smurf to the top of the mountain with our skis, Empath?" she asked playfully.
Empath smiled.  "You ever heard of a ski lift before, Smurfette?"