Chapter 1:

Prologue: Heart to Heart

Why Can't I Pick Up Girls?

I died.Bookmark here

When I realized where I was, a room with red walls and chairs, there were so many others with me. Some unfortunately young, some old - they all have different expressions. Most of all the younger faces were scared and extremely sad while many of the older ones were relieved. Some were very quick to tell each other what happened and others wanted to keep that a secret.Bookmark here

“How did you die?”Bookmark here

I don’t remember, but I clutched at my heart. It must’ve had something to do with my heart though because they seemed satisfied.Bookmark here

They left well-enough alone. I didn’t know how long I was even there. Time meant nothing to this area. Did my family mourn my death? Did I have a family? I barely recognize myself in any of the mirrors they had around. The only thing I recognized was my soul - I knew I was me even if I was losing myself. In the end, I only had myself - that’s all we have, don’t we?Bookmark here

Perhaps the reason why I waited so long was to reflect on my life - and I did. Eventually, I remembered what my life was like at certain points but it was mostly a big blank. I didn’t have any friends I could confide in. I’m assuming I wasn’t close to my family either. There’s a computer screen in front of me and that was my home. I remember that much.Bookmark here

I don’t remember the warm kisses of my mother. I don’t remember the warm touches of my father. Did I have siblings?Bookmark here

But then I realized I was being directed somewhere else. Suddenly, I’m reminded of those government buildings I saw on my computer screen back then.Bookmark here

I would say that I noticed ‘people’ around me but that would be wrong. It looked like they were fading away. Children, adults, and all kinds… but they all were fading. From existence, from this plane, I don’t know what that meant… but they were fading.Bookmark here

The desks they sat at were shrouded with a veil that should’ve been penetrable but it wasn’t. I couldn’t see what those ‘people’ were talking to. However, it’s best to say that the desks look more like an oversized wardrobe with a clear screen than an actual desk. But I’m assuming those are desks in this afterlife.Bookmark here

“Come along,” the voice rang out. “Don’t dawdle and don’t stare. No one likes to be stared at.”Bookmark here

I guess that’s true. The comment made me pay more attention to the fact I was doing just that. The person’s voice was extremely light and sweet. I couldn’t tell if they were feminine or masculine but I suppose it doesn’t matter - at least in this afterlife, they have been the kindest thing to me.Bookmark here

Once we arrived at their desk, they placed me down in the seat and it was my turn to look through the veil. Now I could see who spoke to me.Bookmark here

If I had any breath, it would be taken away. Before me, someone I thought to be a woman was behind the desk and through the thin sheet called the veil. I tried to look around the veil but a force stopped me. It seemed that it was a common thing for souls like me to do.Bookmark here

“Please don’t look around the veil.” It was a familiar voice. How come I didn’t see them before?Bookmark here

Now I followed the protocol to get a better look. For my sake, that’s how I saw her.Bookmark here

In my eyes, she was beautiful. She was someone who I thought was exactly my type: A soft face with large white-trimmed glasses with sure eyes - hers was light green - behind them with long light purple bangs that made sure her forehead was hidden. It relaxed on a shoulder but it didn’t look out of place. Her hair looked soft to rake fingers through without breaking it and at the tips, there was a hue of green that seemed to be the same color of her eyes.Bookmark here

Behind her head was a large ribbon that seemed to hold together a bun of her light purple hair tightly but comfortably. Her pale skin allowed me to see how deep of blush she had on and something that could only be described as planets and stars on her cheeks. They mesmerized me… but then I shook my head quickly.Bookmark here

“My name is Pumoria. I am an Ethereal. This veil is for your protection; my aura is too strong for regular human souls such as yourself to handle it on your own.” She started to talk after she brought out a book from under her desk. It surprised me. I wanted to keep staring at her beauty. “Let’s see. I have gotten your name from the Others, so please give me a moment to read through your past before you fade completely.”Bookmark here

While she looked through that book of hers, this gave me a chance to pick up where I left off.Bookmark here

Thankfully, I’m not bound by society’s rules anymore so I continued to gaze at her.Bookmark here

Soon, I noticed that she had pretty lips that glowed with possibly expensive lip gloss. Her earrings are cute and stylized to be little hearts that hung from her seemingly human ears. I edge lower and notice her wings - they look somehow familiar, like something I’ve watched before, but they remind me of cute angel wings. But there’s no way she’s an angel - whatever is an Ethereal is, it sounded more important than being an angel.Bookmark here

It’s then I realized what was in this Pumoria’s background - it seemed like a large purple moon. Rather, it seemed to be more of a painting of a moon. Do I remember the moon being so bright like that? With my machinery, the moon’s glow always strayed away from my window. I remember feeling like it tried to come in but I just never let it.Bookmark here

A pang of guilt hit me but I continued to look more.Bookmark here

Around her neck was something that would be a white fuzz choker that sat protectively around her neck. She was able to breathe fine and talk fine so I assume it didn’t bother her. When I finally got past her shoulders, with her flowery outfit, I noticed she didn’t have any human breasts which shocked me - but then again, should it really? This woman, rather, this being in front of me is a holy creature and I may have just damned this fading soul to hell. My one shot and I already blew it.Bookmark here

“Ah,” she finally stated. She smiled with her sleepy-looking eyes as she turned from the book to me. “It says here that your occupation was ‘internet troll’. Hm, that sounds rather interesting. What sort of things do you do?”Bookmark here

Quickly, I tried to make up some stuff. I’m surprised someone like her wouldn’t already know it but I need to give her a better impression.Bookmark here

“O-oh,” I could hardly recognize my own voice, “we used to hunt down people and make fun of them. Sometimes we call them out on their lies and their prostrating. Other times, we do it just for the lo--laughs. The laughs, yeah. It’s a crude job but someone had to do it!”Bookmark here

She seemed rather fascinated by this as evidenced by a glow that I saw in her eyes.Bookmark here

“I see, I see! That sounds very adventurous! Usually, with your type of past, we give you types of souls a chance to become an adventurer or even a simpler life. However, because your occupation is unlike anything I’ve personally seen before, I think I’m going to make a special request for you.”Bookmark here

Huh? What is she talking about? Cause I’m not even sure what this place even is - I thought this was an afterlife?Bookmark here

“Is that okay? Do you have any special requests before I start writing it up?”Bookmark here

“Wait, wait - you said your name was Pumoria, I think - I don’t even know what’s going on! I was waiting in the red room but suddenly I’m here! I don’t know what this place is!”Bookmark here

“Oh dear,” Pumoria said as she pushed up her glasses from the middle. “That’s my bad! Let me explain to you where we are! I’m sorry - I haven’t worked in a while! I had to help out an oracle recently - he was murdered so we had to make sure that his soul was at its proper place before I could come back. I’m the Supervisor for Oracle’s Souls after all.”Bookmark here

As she cleared her throat, I started to get worried, or it’s better to say - excited. Maybe that’s the path she wanted to put me through? Oh, being an oracle sounds cool since these beings called Ethereals seem to take care of them after death. Whatever life I had on Earth are fading from me anyway, and I wanted to create a new life that had new friends… and a loving girlfriend.Bookmark here

That’s what I wanted.Bookmark here

“Welcome to Ethereal's Eternal Haven. I am your assigned Ethereal, Pumoria. You are a fading soul and are a prime candidate to leave the cycle of Earth’s reincarnation. My job is to make sure you are reincarnated into Lopki, a world created by us for people like you - to live in a happier realm than what was once your life on Earth.Bookmark here

“As an Eternal Spirited, you are no longer allowed to return to earth. There’s a chance you might never remember your past life or even this moment, but if it means your happiness, then it’s well worth it. If you remember your past life, you will not remember this moment. Just like on Earth, you have free-will on Lopki. Please abide by their societal rules and laws.Bookmark here

“Currently, Lopki is stuck with past technologies but we are working on improving that. Please do not worry about such things as that’s not your destiny. Your destiny is stated as follows:Bookmark here

“To create a new life with new friends and a loving family. If you have any questions during the course of your new life, please wait until after you’ve gained your memories and travel to a local Ethereal shrine. My name will pop into your mind and I will do my best to guide you. I cannot give you any direct answers about life and death. I cannot give you dates about anything that’s to happen.”Bookmark here

After she finished her spiel, she let out a sigh and she smiled, as though she’s proud of herself. The now-familiar twinkle appeared once again and she seemed to await my reaction. The only thing I could think of doing was to clap.Bookmark here

We ended up discussing more what it meant to be an ‘internet troll’ and I’m not sure if I even got it - but she seemed to understand okay. After that, she placed a piece of paper through the veil and a pen and told me to put down any specific requests.Bookmark here

The only thing I remember putting down before things went bright - to have a loving girlfriend.Bookmark here

To Be Continued…Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.