63 – Debut Prep
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Beta adjusted her smartglasses and then picked up her drawing tablet, staring at the design.

Since Eldest Sister insisted on becoming a member, it was essential that the proper debut materials were prepared. While her singing still needed plenty of work, Eldest Sister was... passable, at least. Thus, the only remaining steps were to gain Father's approval and complete Eldest Sister's model.

To that end, Beta had taken over her father's office and to work on designing her Eldest Sister's model and attire while leaving that Seiryuu woman alone to peruse the contract.

Beta yawned and moved her stylus to her tablet. But then she noticed that Hana's stream had changed. The gameplay was gone and the energetic girl had taken center stage, with her room filling the screen.

"Hm?" Beta focused on the display in the corner of her eyes, causing it to fill her vision. "Hana is reading Superchats already?"

Did that much time pass?

Beta frowned and checked the time.

1:30 PM.

Beta's frown deepened and she turned her gaze back to her drawing tablet. Staring at the design there, Beta sighed. "Perhaps I was a bit too enthusiastic..."

The backstory for Alpha was going to be her true backstory, only adapted to suit the fact that it was John Titor instead of John Smith who was her father.

A combat automaton developed for John Titor's protection before he perfected his time manipulation abilities. Having seen Hana's performances and streams, she decided to help support the project by joining it herself.

To develop the model, Beta had cross-referenced a great deal of Earth's futuristic fiction.

Conveniently, there had been a game called Near Automata about artificial lifeforms roaming a ruined world.

Using one of the main characters in that game as a reference point, Beta gave her Eldest Sister's model a lacy black blouse, skirt, boots, and leggings. Of course, to emphasize that she was an automaton rather than a pure human, Beta left a few marks visible on the model's skin.

A circular ball bearing joint barely visible at her shoulders. A faint hinge at her elbows visible from the front and back... In short, her Eldest Sister's appearance before their father retrieved the heaven-defying items that served as their current cores.

Beta sighed and said, "I only hope that Father will allow it."

Eldest Sister had seemed truly excited at the prospect of joining Project MirAIs alongside Rin. And it was the first time that she struggled so earnestly to achieve something.

Beta would feel terrible to dash her high spirits. "...Perhaps I should speak with Father beforehand?"

Eldest Sister insisted on asking herself, but she wanted Beta to come along as moral support. Of course, she did not say that in so many words, but Beta knew her sister's heart well enough to discern her intentions.

Before then, it would be prudent to inform her father of Eldest Sister's wish. And also to persuade him in the event that he disagreed.

If he did, Beta could always threaten to reveal to Mistress just how many women that her Father had involved himself with...

At that time, a soft chime echoed. The elevator.

"Hm?" Beta glanced at the elevator and frowned.

Eldest Sister was still practicing, so that couldn't be her. And Father was having fun streaming old games and showing off, so it was not him either. Considering the building was also locked down and covered in restrictive formations to prevent unauthorized entry, the person must be...

The elevator doors opened and a female voice immediately called out. "You've got to be fuc-"

Beta looked up.

Asako flinched and took a deep breath before saying, "You've got to be screwing with me!"

Beta tilted her head.

The Seiryuu Heiress had changed into the clothes Beta left her. A loose, baby blue blouse, a comfortable pair of gray sweatpants, and then cozy slippers.

Beta had thoughtfully crafted them to provide maximum relaxation for the Heiress while she recovered, but it seemed that she did not realize the careful consideration.

Asako walked over to the desk and dropped a stapled stack of papers onto it. "An idol?! That's the job you want me to take? And dancing? Singing?!"

"Virtual idol." Beta adjusted her glasses, idly glancing at Hana's stream in the small display within the frames before shifting her gaze back to Asako. "I am aware that it may be unexpected, but it is also profitable. Moreover, you will not be an idol in the ordinary sense of the word, but rather-"

"I read the damned fine print!" Asako slammed her hand on the table. "But that doesn't change anything!"

Beta was quiet and then said, "How are the clothes?"

"H-Huh?" Asako blinked and said, "They're fine, but-"

"And your stitches? Any pain or pulling?"

"N-No?"

Beta adjusted her glasses and then narrowed her eyes. "And you are complaining? You are alive, healthy, and safe. To repay that, all that we ask is that you help by becoming one of our talents. And even then we do not ask much."

"B-But-"

"You come from that side, so I am certain that you are aware of typical idol contracts. Are you not?"

Asako slowly nodded. "Yeah. I've read a few..."

Beta picked up the papers and said, "Did we ask you to pay for your training lessons? Did we ask you to pay for accommodations? And what about withholding your earnings?" She flipped to a certain clause in the contract and said, "'The talent shall retain 90% of the talent's earnings and be paid the current average salary for a worker in Japan. What income is withheld will be used to directly pay the talent's taxes and reinvested in the company's ability to provide for all of its talents.'"

Asako flinched. "I-I get it! It's a great contract. But-!"

Beta took off her glasses and set them to the side. "But what?"

"...Am I really girly enough to be an idol?" Asako crossed her arms, lightly brushing her muscles, and said, "I've never sung, danced, cooked, or done anything like that. Hell, I drift cars and beat up people in my spare time. Even in karaoke, I sound like a dying duck more than a girl, and my speech is rough." Her face fell and she said, "I get that you're doing all of this for me and I really want to pay that man back, but someone like me as an idol..."

Beta blinked and then she let out a long sigh. "Every time, Father. Every. Time..."

"H-Huh?"

Beta smacked her hand on the desk.

Asako jumped. "W-What are-?"

"Listen." Beta stood up and said, "You are a woman. One that my father has specifically chosen to hire for his company."

"Y-Yes?"

Beta crossed her arms and said, "My father is an incorrigible lady's man who draws all sorts of beauties. Among them are those that have incited wars, heaven-defying geniuses, and unique existences that would instill fear in even a great immortal."

"U-Uh, I don't-"

"Be silent."

"Y-Yes Ma'am!"

Beta sighed. "I still do not understand Father's reasoning, but he chose you out of countless other woman to work with us despite your past history and baggage. He even personally set out to retrieve you and requested that I heal your wounds. Do you know how many times that has occurred?"

Asako shook her head.

"Twice. The first was for Mistress. The second was you." She paused. "...And that will likely cause trouble later on when she returns... but I suppose that is a problem for Father to deal with. In any regard." Beta stared back at Asako and said, "My father has chosen you to work with us. That means that he respects your capabilities. Not only that, but as one chosen by my father, you can be certain of your beauty."

Asako blinked. Then she blushed and looked to the side. "R-Really?"

Beta nodded. "Of course, you are nothing compared to Mistress, myself, or Alpha. But we are exceptions among exceptions to the extent that even the celestial bodies would be envious of our beauty."

Asako furrowed her brows. It seemed like she wanted to retort about the arrogant-sounding statement, but after staring at Beta for a bit, she shook her head. "I guess that's true. You and that Alpha girl are really pretty..."

"Mm. Now come. You must be hungry." Beta walked around her father's desk and started walking towards the elevator. "Since you are still reluctant about your new job, I suppose I can delegate some interim duties until we polish your singing and dancing skills."

Asako nodded and followed after Beta. "I'll do whatever's necessary. If that man believes in me that much, I'll work as hard as needed!"

Beta blinked, staring at Asako.

She paused and tilted her head. "Did I say something wrong?"

Beta furrowed her brows. "No... But you reminded me of someone for a brief moment."

That reaction had been similar to Rin. The spirit in her words as well as the expression.

"Huh?"

Beta shook her head and opened the elevator. "Just a stray thought."

Asako nodded and entered after Beta.

Beta tapped the button to bring them to the lounge where some meals should have already been prepared.

A soft chime echoed, like usual, and the elevator began to move, heading down.

As it did, Asako shifted in place. "Uh... Miss Beta?"

Beta glanced at her. "Yes?"

"T-This... Um... I don't want to be rude, but..."

Beta rolled her eyes. "Out with it."

"...Do you know if that man's single?"

Beta narrowed her eyes.

"N-Not the foreigner! I mean, not your father! I'm talking about the man who saved me! U-Um, spiked black hair. A serious and se- Manly face. A suave voice... That guy!"

Beta blinked.

The description didn't sound familiar... Was it one of her father's shadow servants?

If so, then the woman had no chance, despite her seeming affection.

However, if Beta could redirect the attraction away from her father...

Beta nodded. "He should be. Of course, I doubt that he would be interested in a woman as coarse as you despite your beauty."

"O-Oh. I thought so. Guys like that are always-" Asako blinked. "W-Wait!" She quickly moved and grabbed Beta's hands, clenching onto them like a lifeline. "H-H-He's single?!"

Beta narrowed her eyes.

Asako flinched and stepped back. "Sorry. But... He's single? Really? You're not lying?"

Beta shook her head. "I am not lying. Though I must inform you that a relationship between you and someone like him-"

"It doesn't matter!" Asako pumped a fist in the air and said, "I have a chance! The world finally threw me a bone!"

"..."

Again, Father truly picked up women with excessive personalities, didn't he...?

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