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About 98.1% of people in this world could transform into animals called Pneuma. Over two millennia pass, people build and develop to live longer without knowing when death will come. A nation that isn't old is where it all began in Empyropia. Cover Illustration by Sa-Dui on DeviantArt

Scifi / Other
Kenya Nanjo
Age Rating:

1. Unconditionally_Ones Heart

“Carissa Kjellberg became the youngest officer in Empyropia.”

The news reporter announced as it got the attention of a particular man, watching his monitors while humming, then headed toward the fridge to grab a bottle of wine. Off went the lid. He stares at the foam flowing, then glances at the screen again. This time shows the new officer walking on stage as she receives her graduating medal, and at the bottom of the screen is her information. Age and name. The man wasn’t surprised but wasn’t expecting her to be this young, twenty-three.

People at her age, or younger, wouldn’t choose a cop as a career choice. Maybe those in their fifty or sixty, he’ll understand. Youngsters nowadays would want to experience what the world had to offer before becoming something, and he was once like that.

Thinking of the past and childish decisions he made caused him to chuckle, grabbing a wine glass and pouring in the liquor. He didn’t give himself a chance to sip it when a shuffling noise got his attention. Someone was in his home but didn’t seek who’s the intruder. The man stood still, then caught a familiar scent and grinned.

He whispered a name, “Bo.”

There lying on his kitchen counter is his buddy, in a way, greeted with the cup of wine in hand. What ze holds belongs to the man, somehow, taking it from his grip without his awareness.

“That’s a rare sight. The great Jamareo is drinking and all. I wonder why,” Bo mumbled, whisking and observing the liquid before jokingly taking a sip. That, however, made zir take it more than intended, causing Bo to cough and wheeze while sitting up. Ze tried breathing slower, then broke another cough and said, “That was a bad idea. I didn’t think...” Cough “... it’ll be that strong... Oh gosh, you’re such an idiot. My stupid self.”

Jamareo chuckled and took the cup back, refilling it. “I’m celebrating my sorrow while my significant other is somewhere.” A sigh slipped as he gulped the whole thing.

“Sheesh, you can’t be serious. It’s only been two days,” Bo said nonchalantly.

“Then...” Jamareo swishes his head side-to-side, thinking, then turns sharply at Bo with a big smile. “Enlighten me, my dear good friend.”

“Whether than her, you got your job.”

Jamareo froze, then frowned in annoyance at Bo’s bluntness but walked away while the bottle swung in hand. Wish his friend would think of something to distract him from his absent girlfriend, but no. Ze straight-up ruined Jamareo’s cheerful mood.

“Patrolling and managing my bars? That doesn’t sound bad, but... Boredom isn’t what I’m seeking. Pleasure is more fitting, something you understand with no excuses,” Jamareo said as he poured himself another glass, continuing into the living room that connected with the kitchen. Slump onto the couch.

“Oh, you poor old soul,” Bo cooed, sounding pitiful but not. Ze hopped from the kitchen counter to where Jamareo was sitting, behind the couch, and peered over him. “Age is really getting to you. Like everyone else.”

Jamareo glanced up at zir and laughed it off. “It’s too early. I need another hundred more years.”

“Don’t we both do?”

That’s true, their age isn’t far apart. Mid-seventies and early eighties, as to put it, with their long-run mutual relationship.

Suddenly, a loud static rings through Jamareo’s ears and clinch it, hoping that awful noise stops. A headache began to form, then grew more as he fought it, standing but falling, catching Bo by surprise. The wine bottle rolled through the floor, spilling, while Bo hurried to his side but immediately halted when a palm held in front of zir. Jamareo began regaining his composure as the pain lessened.

There’s some relief, then silence overbears them while the monitors run in the background. Jamareo’s hand twitches as he intended to shut it off, but Bo beat him, reaching for the remote controller and doing precisely that.

Bo was aware of his condition, but hard to predict. It comes and goes. “Want to get some sashimi? Hmm?” Ze tried to comfort Jamareo and helped him onto his feet. He didn’t reply but nodded.

Inspired by “Happy Tree Friends” and others that won’t be mentioned here. The cover was commissioned by Sa-Dui from DeviantArt, which was meant to be used for my other series on WattPad or Tapas. Also, like other platform sites. Instead of using this cover, I was having difficulty figuring out what to do with it. Some months later... I’m like, “Ey, let me write Empyropia.” Story and character planning already existed but were put aside until now.

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