74 – Destructive Gap Moe
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Alpha stared into the mirror at her reflection and muttered, "You can do this. It's not that hard. You just have to ask."

A soft beep echoed from nearby. The digital clock in the recording room signaling the turn of the hour.

Alpha frowned and pulled out her phone to check the time. When she saw it, she froze. "It's already eight AM?"

After singing and venting her emotions for a while, Alpha had taken a shower to relax. After that, she decided to rouse her morale by talking to herself in front of the bathroom mirror and practicing what she was going to say to her father.

That had been around four in the morning. But from the time, it seemed like four hours had passed in the blink of an eye.

And since she told Beta that she would speak with their father in the morning to make her request, Alpha couldn't stall- *practice* much longer.

Alpha bit her lip and stared back in the mirror.

Since she was going to make a request to join Project MirAIs and become an idol alongside Rin, Alpha had requested a cute outfit of her own to appeal to her father.

She... wasn't too sure of what exactly could be considered cute since she had only recently start to consider such things after meeting Rin.

"But... this doesn't seem too bad. Right?" Alpha muttered and glanced at her reflection.

Like always, her black hair was tied up with ribbons. However, unlike the glittering rainbow ones that her father had given her, Alpha had changed them to a pair of pure white ribbons.

Beta had said that it would compliment her hair and give her a 'lighter' presence.

Though what her sister meant by that, Alpha had no idea.

In addition to the ribbons, Alpha had also changed her outfit. Since the goal was to be an 'idol' like Rin, she had requested Beta to give her something fitting for the appeal.

The result of that was a one-piece and lacy black blouse with an attached skirt. To complement it, Beta had also provided a fluffy white bowtie, long fingerless gloves, and a pair of leggings.

Spinning around to examine herself, Alpha frowned and said, "Will this really be enough?"

She knew that her father would likely accept her request... But she didn't want it to be on the basis of it just being her request.

Alpha truly wanted to be of help to her father, so it was important to show that she had the qualities of becoming an idol just like Rin. However...

"Rin is still much cuter." Alpha sighed as she stared at her reflection.

The young woman standing in the mirror was beautiful, yes. The white ribbons also did a lot to contrast her dark outfit and highlight her beauty. But Alpha didn't think she was 'cute'. Not like Rin, at least.

The young girl who insisted on calling Alpha as her older sister had a bright charm around her that both drew the eye and lightened the air.

In contrast... Alpha acknowledged that she was beautiful. It was impossible to not be considering her father had meticulously crafted her form to be an ideal beauty. But whether because she was designed for combat first or simply because she was still becoming accustomed to expressing herself, Alpha thought that she was lacking.

Well, not in the chest area. At least there she beat out Rin... though she still lost to Beta there.

Alpha frowned, wondering just how the situation was going to go.

"Are you prepared, Eldest Sister?"

Alpha jumped and spun around, blushing. "B-B-Beta!"

The crimson-haired beauty was standing in the doorway. Like Alpha, she had changed from her usual attire. At the moment, Alpha's younger sister was wearing a cozy pink sweater and blue pants.

Alpha frowned and said, "Give me a warning before you suddenly show up!"

Beta smiled and said, "I will remember your request in the future, Eldest Sister."

"S-See that you do." Alpha nodded and then spun around with a huff to check her reflection again. As she stared at her face, she said, "...Do you really think this will be enough, Beta?"

Beta covered her mouth and let out a soft chuckle.

Alpha glanced back and narrowed her eyes.

"My apologies, Eldest Sister." Beta shook her head. "It is just... I did not think that Eldest Sister had such a cute side to her."

"C-C-Cute?" Alpha flushed and then turned around, brushing the sides of her skirt. "Do you... really think so?"

Beta walked over and took Alpha's hand in her own before staring at her eldest sister's eyes. With a smile, she said, "Have confidence in yourself, Eldest Sister. Father will not judge you for such a request."

Alpha nodded. "I know that he won't. But... what if he says no?"

"He will not." Beta's smile widened and she said, "Right now, Eldest Sister is being the cutest that you have ever been. And I am sure that even Rin would say so were she here."

"R-R-Really?" Alpha flushed and looked away. "But... I'm not like you or-"

"That is enough moping." Beta cut her off and then said, "We will let Father decide." Without another word, she started tugging Alpha along and towards the elevator.

"W-Wait a moment, Beta!" Alpha's eyes widened and she said, "I-I'm still not prepared!"

"You have been practicing this entire time, and you have even changed into that cute outfit. Waiting will only delay the inevitable."

The two arrived in front of the elevator.

"B-B-But-!"

Beta pressed the elevator button and then turned around to look at Alpha. "Eldest Sister. Do not tell me that you are... afraid?"

Alpha froze.

Afraid? Her? The ruthless Chaos Maiden that had cut down all the enemies standing before her father and forcibly quelled rebellions?

Of course she... was.

Right. She was afraid.

Alpha lowered her gaze and then nodded. "I am afraid. Battle, combat, even horrific creatures that defy comprehension. Those things don't scare me, Beta. But having Father disapprove..."

A sharp gasp.

Alpha looked up. "Be-?"

Before she realized it, Beta pulled her in for a tight hug.

Alpha froze before flushing. "B-B-Beta?!"

Beta stepped back, a faint flush on her face as well. "M-My apologies, Eldest Sister. Just... Cute. You are too cute right now."

Alpha's flush turned into a deep red blush and she said, "E-Even so! Hugging me like that..."

Beta made a strange noise and then frowned. "...This is unfair. The gap is too strong."

Alpha blinked. "What are you talking about, Beta?"

The elevator chimed and the doors opened.

Seeing that, Beta walked in, pulling Alpha behind her. She pressed the button to head to John's office and then said, "It is something that you need not be concerned of, Eldest Sister. But rest assured that you are at the pinnacle at the moment in terms of cuteness. Father will not be expecting it and cave shortly."

"Y-You think so?" Alpha raised her left hand and started fiddling with her ribbon.

Beta noticed and then firmly pursed her lips, as if trying to restrain herself.

Seeing that made Alpha worried. But Beta had never lied to her before, so Alpha decided to believe her younger sister. And it was true that she was a better judge of these sorts of things...

The elevator chimed again and the doors slid open.

Her father's office.

The curtains were wide open, letting in the sunlight and revealing the Tokyo cityscape illuminated by the morning rays.

And there, sitting behind his desk while talking on the phone, was her father.

John was preoccupied at the moment, his phone stuck between his shoulder and his right ear while he was typing at the computer. "That's right. The primary operating principle behind the technology is a wave resonance from using crystal quartz and an algorithm to approximate the intersection between light and sound waves as well as the delay in the return in order to determine a synchronous motion by the user. It's a bit high-end for a normal phone, but we have custom hardware that we hand out to our talents in order to ensure that it's possible- Ah." He looked up and said, "I'll call you back in a bit, Sakura. My lovely daughters have arrived."

John ended the call and placed his phone off to the side. After that, he waved. "Morning Alphy!"

Alpha flushed and shyly waved her hand. "G-Good morning, Father."

"Hm?" John blinked, suddenly freezing at her response.

Alpha flinched, wondering if she did something wrong.

At that time, Beta stepped forward and said, "No greetings for me, Father?"

John blinked and then gave Beta a blank look and said, "You literally just left a few minutes ago, Betty."

"True. But even I can get jealous, you know?"

"Then it's a good thing that you just bought all of those-"

Beta quickly coughed, flushing red. "I-In any case, Eldest Sister has something to discuss with you." Saying that, she quickly shoved Alpha forward.

"E-Eh?!" Alpha stumbled and then found herself standing in the middle of the office, facing her father.

John stared back, an amused smile on his face.

From behind, Beta nodded and said, "Go on, Eldest Sister. Do not be shy."

That was easy for Beta to say...

Alpha took a deep breath and then stared at her father.

The scenario was one that she was accustomed to, but also one that was different.

In the Three Realms, she had seen her father from across the desk plenty of times before, and he had always stared back with a similar expression.

Like then, he was the same. But he was also different.

His harsh jade eyes were a subdued blue hue. The austere robes and domineering spiritual pressure was gone, replaced by a neatly tailored white dress shirt and black pants. Not only that, but the smile that had always carried a bit of a condescension was different, genuine instead of mocking.

It should have been inviting. Compared to the harsh and aloof father she was used to, the man sitting there was completely different. Warm and amiable.

But that made it even harder for Alpha to approach.

The eldest of John's daughter fiddled with her bowtie, fidgeting in place.

Father seemed so relaxed... If she requested this of him, wouldn't it mean that he would need to do more work? And from the phone conversation, it seemed that he was already preoccupied. So then...

"Ah." John spoke up and then got out of his chair.

Alpha panicked and quickly waved her hands. "Father! You don't need to get up! It's fine if-"

"Now, now. I can't have my lovely Alphy panicking like that. Here."

Before Alpha could react, her father had taken her by the hand and moved her around the desk to sit in his chair. After that, John moved to the other side, taking the place where Alpha had been standing.

With a smile, he said, "That's better now, isn't it?"

Alpha stared at her father and then frowned. "...You're treating me like a child."

John laughed. "You'll have to excuse me, Alphy. I didn't expect you to be this cute today so I can't help it." He shook his head and said, "It's a good thing you didn't act like this when you were smaller. I don't think I could have handled fighting off the entire world trying to kidnap such a cute girl."

Alpha flushed and then narrowed her eyes. "Stop teasing me, Father!"

"Fine, fine." He waved his hand and then pulled over a chair from the side of the room before sitting down. After that, he glanced over at Beta. "Did you want one too, Betty?"

"No. I am fine like this, Father." Beta smiled. "But thank you for asking."

"Alright." John turned back to Alpha. "Now... You wanted to ask me something, Alphy?"

Alpha froze.

It was true that her father's actions had helped alleviate her tension a bit.

But even so...

"Don't worry. I won't judge. I mean, just earlier your sister asked me if she could buy-"

Beta coughed and then narrowed her eyes. "Would you like some more hot coffee, Father?"

John choked on his own spit and then said, "Phrasing, Betty!"

"Phrasing? What in the world do you-" She paused, tilting her head to the side as if thinking. And then she turned a deep shade of red. With a huff, Beta crossed her arms and turned her head to the side. "Father. You are a pervert."

John held up his hands. "I'm just saying that people will get the wrong impression. And I don't want people to think that we're like-"

"Father. Stop."

John cleared his throat. "Right. Um... Yeah. Let's just stop there."

Alpha glanced at her father and her sister's brief exchange and then laughed. But realizing that, she quickly brought her hand up to her mouth, covering it. "S-Sorry. I didn't-"

John waved his hand. "Relax, Alphy. No need to walk on eggshells around me. I mean." He pointed to Beta and said, "Your sister Betty over here's already scolding me left and right."

"Again." Beta tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear and said, "Someone has to."

"Right." John nodded and then turned his attention back to Alpha. "So just relax and be yourself, Alphy. Laugh when you want, cry when you want... Hell, yell at me and call me a pervert like your sister if you want."

Beta narrowed her eyes again. "When you speak like that, Father, you are only digging yourself a deeper hole."

John coughed. "The point is... I'm not going to get upset at my cute daughter just because she isn't formal like in that stuffy old place. So..." He smiled and leaned forward, "Tell your dad what's on your mind."

Faced with such a warm gaze, Alpha couldn't help but avert her eyes. As a result, she found herself looking at Beta for guidance.

Beta stared back with a soft smile and gave a short nod, as if indicating for her to go ahead.

Seeing that, Alpha took a deep breath and then looked at John. "Father."

He nodded. "Yes, Alphy?"

"I... Um..." Alpha frowned. "That's to say..."

It was a simple request! Just a short sentence!

Then... why was it so taking her so long to say the words?

Even so, her father didn't seem to mind.

Waiting there with that warm smile, John nodded and said, "Take your time, Alphy."

She nodded and took another breath. After that... she decided to get it over with in one blow. Just like combat. Right, this was just like in battle. A preemptive strike to end it on the first encounter.

Looking at her father straight in the eye, Alpha took a deep breath again and then said, "C-C-Can I join together with Rin?!"

"...Eh?"

Alpha froze, suddenly realizing what she blurted out. And then she turned a deep red, quickly jumping out of her seat. "W-W-Wait." She flailed her arms, as if that could wipe out her words. "I-I-I didn't mean that!"

John frowned, placing a hand on his chin. "I... suppose it's better than you getting dolled up to ask to date a guy. I was a bit worried but if it's Rin..."

Alpha started hyperventilating. "F-F-Father. T-T-That..."

Beta sighed and said, "You should stop teasing her, Father. Eldest Sister is not accustomed to it."

John chuckled. "Right. I guess it is a bit too mean."

Alpha blinked and then she crossed her arms. With a small pout, she turned her head to the side and said, "I hate you."

"Grk." John froze, clutching his heart. "I always made fun of those guys in the past... but I get it now. The power of gap moe is too dangerous."

Beta nodded in agreement. "Yes. The gap is indeed a lethal weapon. It appears that Eldest Sister's destructive nature does not change that easily... and is more adaptable than expected."

"Eh?" Alpha blinked.

John coughed and then leaned forward. "Don't worry about it, Alphy. Now, I'm guessing you meant that you wanted to be part of Project MirAIs, right?"

"A-Ah." Alpha nodded. "That's right. I-I've been practicing hard at singing and dancing! I won't be a burden, I promise! A-A-And I'll work super hard so that-"

A thud. John collapsing onto the floor, face down with a faint smile on his face. 

"F-Father?" Alpha's eyes started to spin and she looked at Beta. "B-B-Betty! What do I do?! Father's-!"

Another thud. Beta collapsing onto the ground, also with a faint smile.

"B-Betty?!"

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