Part 3

The following day, Empath met Tapper inside the Imaginarium for something important.
"What you are about to enter, my fellow Empath, is a fantasy setting based on the Song Of Solomon," Tapper said. "Here, you will be playing the part of King Solomon, who is smurfing out the Shulamite girl. Now, the important thing is to learn everything about the character from the setting and try to smurf within the character as much as possible so you will discover the cues you will need to find the Shulamite girl and to marry her."
"This smurf feels rather uncomfortable with the idea of playing a polygamist, Tapper," Empath said. "This smurf does not want to do anything that would make Smurfette think that this smurf has made myself impure."
"I'm not saying that you should defile yourself even with the imaginary wives of your character, Empath," Tapper said. "However, you should treat these wives in the same manner as you would treat Smurfette as your wife, with utmost care and respect. You are, after all, going to be playing a king, and most importantly, the king of Israel who serves the Almighty night and day in all things."
"This smurf understands and acknowledges, Tapper," Empath said. "This smurf is ready to begin."
"Then I will leave you to start the fantasy setting," Tapper said. "When Smurfette arrives, I will smurf her what she will need to know."
Empath nodded with acceptance. After Tapper left the Imaginarium, Empath stood before the main crystal in the center of the room. "Imaginarium, take this smurf to the start of Tapper's fantasy setting," he requested.
The crystals shone bright until the entire room disappeared in a white flash, and then suddenly Empath found himself lying down on a luxurious bed in a chamber that looked like it belonged in a grand palace. He looked at himself and saw that he was dressed in a fine linen nightgown with a gold sash around his waist, and wearing a gold star-patterned hat with a crown. Next to him on either side were two female Smurfs that were sitting on the bed, looking down upon him.
"Good morning, your Lordship," one of the Smurfettes said. "How did you sleep last night?"
Empath decided to play along, at least until he can get away from the multiple wives and concubines in the story. "Oh, well, this smurf slept like a king. This smurf appreciates your company."
"You are the king of Israel, my lord," the other Smurfette said. "We are here to serve you as we would serve Jehovah God, as your humble servants."
"Is there anything you need from us, my king?" the first Smurfette asked.
Empath got himself up from the bed. "Well, this smurf would like to be dressed in his royal vestments."
"Of course, your worship," the second Smurfette said. "The master of the wardrobe should be appearing soon."
Soon a Smurf resembling Tailor wearing royal court robes appeared. "I believe that this is the time for my king to be properly dressed," he announced as he carried the king's vestments.
"This smurf appreciates the honor," Empath said as he received the vestments.
"Oh, please, your lordship, let us do the honors of preparing you for your day," the first Smurfette said, taking the vestments from Empath.
"That would not be necessary, my servant," Empath said. "This smurf is quite capable of dressing myself."
"But you are our king," the second Smurfette said. "We insist that you let us treat you with honor and respect as we would our God."
Empath sighed with resignation, realizing that this is part of playing along with the fantasy setting's character. He allowed the Smurfettes to remove the nightgown and to dress him in his proper royal robe with a gold sash and a cape. He felt rather uneasy with the attention his fantasy setting servants were giving him.
Empath then saw himself in the reflection of a mirror in the bedroom. He saw that he truly looked the part of a king, even more of a king than he saw how Brainy looked when he was King Smurf, or how Dreamy remembered being king of the Pookies.
"You have both done a fine job," Empath said to the two Smurfette servants. "This smurf greatly commends your efforts."
"You deserve our best, your Highness," one of the Smurfettes said as they both bowed down before him. "We are yours to do whatever you wish from us."
Empath stepped out of his bedchamber and entered the grand hallway of what he assumed was King Solomon's royal palace. Even though he was playing the part of a king, he felt rather humbled by the appearance of the very palace that his character was supposedly living in.
"You have awakened from your bedchamber, Your Highness," a character who resembled Polaris Psyche that was playing a royal adviser greeted him. "How was your resting period?"
"This smurf is amazed to have gotten any sleep with all these wives and concubines at this smurf's beck and call, but this smurf has slept remarkably well given the circumstances," Empath replied.
"This one is here to make sure you will attend the morning sacrifice at the Lord's temple, and that you will bring the required daily sacrifice," the royal advisor commented.
"Then this smurf trusts that you will fill this smurf in on what is required for this smurf to make the daily sacrifices that will be pleasing to the Almighty," Empath answered.
"That is what this one is assigned to do, Your Highness," the royal advisor said, nodding without smiling. "This one will take you to the royal stables where you will receive the animals from your stable hands."
"Then, by all means, lead this smurf to the stables," Empath said as he followed the royal adviser.

Later on, Smurfette appeared outside the Imaginarium, where she found Tapper waiting for her. "You've actually smurfed up the scenario, Tapper?" she asked.
"I have created it to the best of my ability in trying to smurf it to be as accurate as the Almighty would have wanted it, though I may have smurfed some artistic license in some areas, and hopefully I will be forgiven for that," Tapper answered.
"So where will I appear when I start smurfing the scenario?" Smurfette asked, sounding curious.
"You will be playing the Shulamite woman, Smurfette, and as that character you will obviously be playing a Hebrew peasant woman in that particular culture," Tapper said. "Don't be surprised at where you will find yourself, is all I will smurf you."
"I'm ready to smurf this a try," Smurfette said, sounding eager. "Thank you for smurfing it up for me."
"It's always a pleasure, my dear Smurfette," Tapper said as she gave him a kiss on the cheek that made him feel a bit rosy.
Smurfette entered the Imaginarium and said, "Please smurf me into the Song of Solomon scenario that Tapper has created."
And suddenly with a flash of a bright light, Smurfette found herself dressed in a robe and shawl, standing in what appears to be a simple abode made of earth materials. The furnishings in the room looked rather primitive and a bit less cozy than her own bedroom in the Smurf Village.
"Well, if the Shulamite is supposed to smurf like this, then I might as well just smurf the role," Smurfette said to herself.
"Salome! Where are you?" a voice that sounded like Papa Smurf called out.
Smurfette watched as a robed figure that resembled Papa Smurf had entered the room. "Papa!" she exclaimed.
"Why aren't you out in the vineyards collecting grapes like you're supposed to?" Salome's father asked sternly. "Your brothers have been smurfing all the work, and you're just smurfing your days in your room smurfing Lord knows what."
"Oh, well, I didn't know that was supposed to be my job, Papa," Smurfette responded. "I'll get smurfing on it right away."
"I know you're a grown Smurfette, but you have responsibilities to your home and your family, Salome," her father said. "Someday you'll have to settle down and marry one of the people in the village, and you will provide your husband with a loving family."
"But Papa, I don't know if I want to be married to any of them," Smurfette said.
"It's what we smurfed you to be, my young dear," Salome's father said. "I have already smurfed with the other fathers in the village, and they are willing to present their sons so that you will smurf for yourself which one is the right one to marry."
"But when is it going to be that these...sons of the other villagers will be presented, Papa?" Smurfette asked.
"It will be in a few days, Salome," her father answered. "But in the meantime, you must continue with your chores and smurf your brothers a hand in the vineyards. They can't keep smurfing all of your work."
"Oh, very well, Papa," Smurfette replied, seeing a basket nearby and picking it up before heading for the door.
"Don't worry about your future, my child," Salome's father told her in an assuring voice that sounded much like Papa Smurf saying the same thing. "In time, the Almighty will bless you with sons and daughters of your own to smurf care of you in your old age."
Sons and daughters, Smurfette thought to herself as she went into the vineyards with her basket. She could imagine what it would be like to be able to give Empath children if that was what he desired. Being a mother to Baby Smurf seemed very easy compared to being a mother to a child that she herself would produce.
"We were wondering when our big sister is going to smurf out here and smurf some work," a voice that sounded like Snappy said in an impatient tone. "We've been smurfing this for hours."
Smurfette saw what appeared to be Salome's three brothers and her sister in the form of the Smurflings. "I'm sorry, but I don't even remember any of your names," Smurfette said.
"I'm Akan, and these are Adna and Asher, and your sister is Eden," the one who sounded like Snappy responded.
"What were you smurfing all by yourself, Salome?" Eden (who sounded like Sassette) asked, sounding curious.
"I was just getting ready for my day, Eden, that's all," Smurfette answered.
"You sure were smurfing a lot of time getting ready," Adna (who sounded like Slouchy) said. "I bet you were smurfing of your beloved again."
"You know of my beloved?" Smurfette asked.
"That's all you ever really smurf about nowadays, Salome, this beloved of yours," Asher (who sounded like Nat) said. "How he's going to smurf you off your feet and smurf you into his palace to be his queen."
"But what makes you think he's going to smurf somebody like you?" Akan said. "Look at you...you're a peasant who smurfs all her time smurfing grapes in the vineyard to make wine. And because of that, your skin is so dark, just like ours."
Smurfette looked at her hand and realized that it had turned a dark shade of blue like her character's siblings. "Great Smurfness!" she exclaimed.
"Good luck having the king of all Israel marry you," Adna said as the three brothers left the vineyard laughing to themselves.
"Oh, don't mind what they smurf, big sister," Eden said when she was alone with Smurfette. "They're just jealous of you because there's no other Smurfette in the village who's just as beautiful as you. And you know, I feel jealous of you because I only wish I were as beautiful as you right now."
"You'll become beautiful, Eden, I promise you," Smurfette said. "I just can't stop thinking of my beloved, because he's so radiant and smurfy, the best Smurf who stands out among ten thousand."
"I know he must be really handsome and all, but couldn't you be happy with any of the Smurfs in the village, who are probably just as handsome as he is?" Eden asked.
"He isn't like any of the Smurfs in the village, and that's what's making me so lovesick for him," Smurfette said. "One of these days, I'm going to meet with the king of Israel and I'm going to marry him."
"I hope so, but I only hope that it will make happy, Salome," Eden said, sounding concerned. "With all those wives and concubines that he smurfs, I don't know if he will ever smurf any time with you."
After Eden had left the vineyard, Smurfette was all to herself playing out the role of her character. It was unbearably warm, and she couldn't think of keeping herself in her robe for too long while she was tending to the grapes.
"Tell me, O you whom I love, where you feed your flock, where you make it rest at noon. For why should I be as one who veils herself by the flocks of your companions?" she asked.
Then in response, whether from inside her head or from the Imaginarium fantasy setting itself, she heard: "If you do not know, O most beautiful among women, follow in the footsteps of the flock, and feed your young goats beside the tents of the shepherds."
"Who's that?" Smurfette asked, wondering where the voice was coming from.
"I have compared you, my love, to my filly among Pharaoh's chariots," the voice continued. "Your cheeks are lovely with ornaments, your neck with chains of gold."
"We will make you ornaments of gold with studs of silver," a chorus of female voices joined in.
Smurfette didn't know where the voices were coming from, but she felt attracted to whoever it was that was calling her. She was wondering if this was truly King Solomon speaking to her, praising her for her beauty.