In Papa Smurf's laboratory, Nat was amazed to see Empath simply running his hands over all of Papa Smurf's books without even opening them up to see their contents.
"Holey hickory nuts, Empath, how are you able to smurf through all of Papa Smurf's books like that?" Nat asked, curious.
"This smurf has the ability to touch any object and be able to know what it contains, the exact age of the object, pretty much anything, Nat," Empath answered. "The only drawback is that this smurf cannot use this ability to study magic-based objects." He pulled out the book that he sensed contained Papa Smurf's notes about the Imaginarium, and opened it for Nat and himself to read.
"This is fascinating," Empath muttered as he pored through the notes. "The Imaginarium crystals are directly powered by using the mental energies of any being using them and converting them into magical energies that give physical substance to illusion. However, because these crystals are weakly structured, they can only provide substance to the illusions of only a certain number of people using them at a time."
Nat didn't understand what any of that meant, but he had a feeling that it was bad.
Empath and Nat met Smurfette and the other three Smurflings back in the meeting house, with Snappy and Sassette delivering the peanut butter and smurfberry jam sandwiches for everybody. Slouchy noticed that one of the Imaginarium crystals was starting to chip away. "Did you find anything in Handy's workshop, Smurfette?" Empath asked.
"Only design plans for how to smurf the Imaginarium, Empath, but not much else," Smurfette answered, feeling frustrated.
"Do not feel ashamed of your efforts, Smurfette, for at least you tried," Empath consoled. "This smurf read something in Papa Smurf's notes about the crystals themselves. They use the mental energies of our fellow Smurfs and convert them into magical energies to create these fantasy worlds that they are in."
"So how does that help us?" Smurfette asked.
"Yeah! Your powers alone can't smurf us into wherever it is the grown-up Smurfs are right now!" Snappy pointed out, his mouth full of peanut butter and jam.
"This smurf's minds-eye cannot penetrate into any of those worlds under this smurf's control alone," Empath admitted, "but if this smurf can start a mindlink using all of your minds, this smurf may be able to generate enough mental energy to enter into at least one fantasy world. With each Smurf we pull out of his fantasy world, his mind will join ours and we can increase our energies to enter other worlds."
"Oh, now I get it!" Snappy jumped. "We can slowly overpower the crystals and smurf every Smurf out of there!"
"But how long would that smurf us?" Sassette asked as she finished off her sandwich.
"This smurf honestly does not know, Sassette," Empath answered. "All this smurf does know is that if we do not try, all our fellow Smurfs will be trapped in their fantasy worlds forever."
Smurfette sighed. "Well, I can't smurf of anything else we can do to save them! I'm willing to smurf your idea a try, Empath!"
"Count us in, Empath," Slouchy added.
"Yeah, let's smurf those grown-ups we can save their blue tails," Snappy shouted.
Empath could feel the enthusiasm building as Smurfette and the Smurflings decided to go along with his plan. He just wished he could temper their enthusiasm somewhat because this wasn't a surefire plan to rescue their fellow Smurfs. Unfortunately, time was not on his side, nor on anyone else's.
"Just clear your minds of any thought, except for what we need to do," Empath instructed. "This smurf will guide you all through the rest."
Smurfette and the Smurflings did exactly that. Though somewhat impatient to get into those fantasy worlds, they did their best to control their excitement and blank their minds to the task at hand.
As they did, they could hear Empath as well as each other, speaking as if they were one voice in one mind. Smurf us into the first world that the Imaginarium took us.
Their minds joined, Empath could feel his minds-eye getting stronger with the increased power. The Imaginarium crystals glowed brighter until the room disappeared…
...and the first place they entered was the beach, where Papa Smurf had first led his little Smurfs into when he showed off the Imaginarium.
Empath, Smurfette, and the Smurflings looked around, but there was no sign of any other Smurf anywhere. "So where is everybody?" Snappy asked.
"Smurf away from me, already!" a familiar voice shouted, sounding flustered.
The six of them saw Papa Smurf running away from the fantasy female beings, who just can't seem to get enough of giving him their undying affections. As amusing as the situation had seemed, Empath refrained from laughing because he knew the immediate danger of the Imaginarium.
Papa Smurf managed to stop and catch his breath when he saw Empath, Smurfette, and the Smurflings. "Thank smurfness you're here," he said with some relief. "I never expected the things I imagined in my Imaginarium to be more than I could smurf to handle."
"Papa Smurf, what happened to all the other Smurfs?" Smurfette asked.
"Come to smurf of it, I have no idea what could have happened to them," Papa Smurf answered, scratching his beard. "Some time ago, a few Smurfs started to leave this fantasy, and I just thought they needed to smurf a reality break or something. And then I think more Smurfs started leaving here, until finally there's only me left."
"Unfortunately, Papa Smurf, none of the other Smurfs were outside the Imaginarium when we have returned," Empath stated. "We came in here and found that the crystals have been overcharged with too much energy."
Papa Smurf looked incredulously at Empath. "Too much energy? This is a very bad situation we are in, for the Imaginarium crystals are only able to smurf reality to a certain number of fantasies at the same time. If all my little Smurfs are off in their own fantasy worlds, they could overpower the crystals and cause them to completely fracture!"
"This smurf knows that, Papa Smurf," Empath replied. "That's why this smurf is using the mindlink to smurf into your fantasy world, and right now we need you to link your mind to ours so we can get all the other Smurfs out of their fantasy worlds."
"Well, I know I'm not all smurf about smurfing my mind with yours and my little Smurfs' to smurf anything, Empath. But right now, anything is better than being smurfed in here with these...females," Papa Smurf remarked, feeling a bit disgusted when he saw his fantasy female figures coming toward him again.
"You've certainly smurfed my mind on that, Papa Smurf," Smurfette said.
"Just allow your thoughts to connect with this smurf, Smurfette, and the Smurflings, Papa Smurf," Empath instructed.
Papa Smurf let out a deep breath and closed his eyes as he joined hands with Smurfette and the Smurflings and focused all his thoughts into those of the other Smurfs. Soon he could hear their thoughts and feel Empath's mental energies getting stronger.
Smurf us into the fantasy world that Brainy is in right now, the seven Smurfs said in their thoughts, speaking communally as if with one voice.
As the Smurfs concentrated on this thought, Empath's star mark began to glow and then the entire room changed from the beach setting to that of the Smurf Village on a warm sunny day. Every Smurf opened their eyes and saw where they were now.
"I wonder what kind of fantasy Brainy's been smurfing," Nat said out loud.
"Knowing him, it's probably one where he's smurfing his brains out to everyone and they're not smurfing him to the village limits," Snappy suggested.
"Your attempt to lighten the mood with humor notwithstanding, Snappy," Empath responded, "that would be this smurf's guess as well."
"Actually, this smurfs more like Brainy is being King Smurf again," Smurfette stated when she recognized some elements in this fantasy that seemed very familiar to her.
Papa Smurf frowned. He remembered the time when Brainy was King Smurf and found himself disappointed that he caused the entire village to turn against itself and acting like humans while he was gone.
"I'm going to have a good talk with Brainy and the other Smurfs about these fantasy worlds of theirs," he said with some restrained anger in his voice. "That is, if we can smurf ourselves out of the Imaginarium before the crystals shatter!"
Brainy was relaxing on a royal
chaise lounge, listening to one Smurf reciting the creative works of famous Smurf philosophers and being fanned by a few other Smurfs while the Imaginarium version of Smurfette fed him ripe smurfberries. This was the way he had meant to rule as King Smurf while Papa Smurf was away gathering important ingredients, and now he was able to experience the ideal kingdom he would have ruled.
"You know, my fellow Smurfs, I'm
reminded of the time I met with Smurfette when she was going to smurf a very
creamy smurfberry dessert that Greedy had smurfed just for her," Brainy
started to regale to his fantasy servants as he was relaxing. "I decided
that if any Smurf is going to smurf the best dessert around, it was going to
be me, Brainy Smurf, genius extraordinaire. So I smurfed up to
Smurfette and told her that she shouldn't be smurfing such a dessert because
it was going to make her girlish figure look so unsmurfy. So out of
the kindness of her heart, she smurfed her dessert over to me, and boy, did
I ever smurf a fast one on her!" He snickered mischievously at the
memory of his tale. "It's a good thing the real Smurfette isn't here
to hear me smurf this tale to you Smurfs, because if she were here to hear
this, she really would be..."
He found himself rudely awakened when the real Smurfette tugged him upright by his ear.
"Smurfette!" Brainy greeted sheepishly, trying not to think of how much his ear was hurting. "I was just smurfing of you right now!"
"I can smurf that you have been, Brainy,
and thanks for smurfing me about that time you smurfed that dessert from me," Smurfette snapped, noting with disgust his Imaginarium-created servant. "Right now, we need you to help smurf everybody out of the Imaginarium before its crystals shatter completely."
"You mean every Smurf is off in their own fantasies right about now?" Brainy asked, totally blown away by what it could imply. "Well, since that's the case, could you smurf me a few more minutes so I can smurf myself a good back massage?"
"We don't have a few minutes for anything," Smurfette sternly warned. "Empath has to smurf everybody out of their fantasies right now or else we'll be smurfed in them forever."
"You know, Smurfette, maybe being smurfed forever inside your fantasy isn't such a bad thing after all," Brainy tried to convince her. "Just think about it!"
"Think about this, Brainy!" Smurfette said sharply as she suddenly grabbed Brainy by the ear again, making him yelp in pain.
Empath and the others were waiting outside King Smurf's castle in Brainy's fantasy world when Smurfette emerged, dragging Brainy with her by the ear. The Smurflings were amused by how Smurfette was able to get Brainy to come along with her. Papa Smurf was staring at the Smurflings, trying to keep them from laughing at the scene.
"The next time you want me to smurf out of my fantasy, Smurfette, you only had to ask me nicely," Brainy complained, soothing his hurting ear.
"Just remember that feeling the next
time you want to smurf a dessert away from me, Brainy," Smurfette shot back
as she let go of Brainy's ear and joined the other Smurfs.
"We need to join our minds together and concentrate our thoughts so that can we get all our fellow Smurfs out of their fantasies," Empath reminded Brainy.
Brainy sighed. He closed his mouth and opened his thoughts to the other Smurfs as together they vanished from his fantasy world and reappeared in the next.