Around 1 PM.
John leaned back in his chair, staring at the ceiling.
After a few more hours working, Qing Long called it a day and left for his apartment to peruse his new tablet.
That left John alone in his office, as well as with his thoughts.
The prep for Asako's debut was complete now. The model, the stream layout, even the schedule. All that remained was just going over everything with Asako... and actually getting to know her.
Ever since John picked her up that night, he hadn't really had a chance to sit down and have a proper conversation with her. Definitely something he needed to fix considering that she was going to be in a long-term relationship- Work relationship. That was the key word there. WORK relationship.
Anyway, since Asako was going to be in a work relationship with him, John needed to make sure to build the proper rapport so that things wouldn't get awkward later.
Well, things were already kind of awkward between them, but at least not *more* awkward.
Right, so there was that. Then when Asako made her debut, there was the collab stream to properly introduce everyone as a group and relax... Meincraft, maybe? He'd have to talk with the girls to see what they wanted to do about that later.
Afterwards, there was also the first concert to organize. They couldn't really rent a proper venue, and it wasn't good timing for it either. But they *did* have the streaming studio and John's magical powers of- Well, magical powers.
He could make and render better special effects than everyone out there, so that wasn't a big concern. But the group needed to practice too, not to mention the song selection process...
What else was there...?
Bai was taking care of the finances and tax stuff, so John didn't need to worry about that anymore.
Qing was taking care of the day-to-day negotiations and contract work, as well as all of their personal records, so John didn't need to worry about that either... Though the guy *did* say that he would need a few days to have a complete inventory of everything that needed to be fixed.
Still, things were going well on that end.
Titor... was still MIA. Apparently he was working on something big and revolutionary, but he was keeping it a secret for plausible deniability.
Slightly troubling, but since that guy was basically John, he wouldn't do anything to jeopardize their stay on Earth.
Betty was handling Rin's lessons for a bit again while John sorted out their business affairs, so that was settled. And Alphy was diligently practicing on her own, so that wasn't an issue either.
Asako... Well, he already covered what he had to do regarding her.
Then over all...
"I'm done for the day?"
There were a lot of things coming up the pipeline... but for the most part, it was finished.
The stack of paperwork he had backed up was taken care of by his new officers, and he'd done all he could do for now.
"Huh." John leaned forward again and then frowned. "How weird."
It felt off. Something was wrong. Things were going far too well for him-
That was his phone. And the caller id...
John's eyes widened and he quickly picked up. "Alphy? Hello? What's wrong? Did something happen? Are you alright?"
"E-Eh? No? I-I mean yes! I'm alright, Papa!"
John let out a sigh and then leaned back in his chair. "Sorry. Just a bit... Well, I guess it'd be the opposite of stressed?" He kicked up his feet on his desk and said, "Anyway, what's up? Did you just call to say hi?"
"Um... Not really? There's an officer who wants to see you."
John froze. "A-A... what?"
"A police officer. He says he really needs to talk with you and Betty said that it would be a good idea to meet him."
A police officer. That wanted to talk with John. And one that Betty said that he should talk to.
All sorts of scenarios started running through John's head at those words.
Did someone report him to the cops? Did they find out his involvement with Shin? Or did one of those touchy woman try to cancel him by filing a sexual harrassment report?
"Sorry, Alphy. I was lost in thought for a bit." John pulled his legs off his table and then stood up. "Where are you guys right now?"
"We're in the lobby on the first floor. But Papa... Is everything alright?"
John smiled and said, "It's fine, Alphy. But stay put, alright? I'll be right there. Love you." With that, John hung up and immediately left for the elevator. Walking inside and pressing the first floor button, he stepped back and crossed his arms to think.
Was it involving Bai? No, that guy knew better than to do that.
Maybe Qing messed up and raised some red flags? ...No. There was a reason why Bai called that guy a slippery snake. That wouldn't have happened.
Then... was it because of Rin after all? Did her neighbors actually report that incident from a while back after seeing her continually getting picked up and dropped off?
In that case... Maybe John should get going on hiring a legal team. Qing was good and all, but it would be best to rely on people that originally existed in this world with a proper background. It'd be bad if people started digging too deeply... Not that he doubted Qing's capabilities, but better safe than sorry.
And John *did* see a law office on his way back from Gotaku's headquarters. What were they called again... Fey and Co. Law Offices? No, it was Fae and Co. Law Offices. Also, if he remembered right, they specialized in defense... which he would definitely be needing.
The elevator chimed and the doors slid open.
John stepped out, mentally arranging his contingency plans... specifically planning for the worst case scenario of doing a time rewind and figuring out just what point would be the best one to return to.
He swept his eyes around the lobby, taking in everyone there.
Rin. Asako. Betty. Alphy. The two nameless shadow servants that were always lingering around the front entrance.
And then there was the police officer that Alphy had called him about.
But it wasn't a random person. Instead...
"Eh?" John blinked and said, "Officer Kimura?"
He chuckled and pulled off his cap. "It's Takashi, Mister Smith. And I hope you don't mind me swinging by?"
John shook his head. "Not at all. It's a pleasant surprise. I was actually on break anyway." He glanced at the girls and noticed that they were all carrying shopping bags. Shifting his gaze to Alphy, he smiled and said, "It looks like you guys had a fun time... Did you go shopping at the mall?"
Alpha nodded, hugging her bags close to her chest, and smiled. "It was. I... really enjoyed it."
"Yeah!" Rin chimed in and said, "We had a lot of fun shopping!"
Asako adjusted her bags, as well as a car-shaped box set of manga under her left arm, and said, "Well, it was definitely a learning experience..."
Beta took off her sunglasses, hanging them from her shirt. After that, she stared at John and said, "We should sort through our purchases upstairs, girls. I believe Father has some business to settle with Officer Kimura."
"Oh! Right!" Rin nodded and then picked up her bags, heading to the elevator. She waved at Takashi and said, "It was nice seeing you again, Uncle Takashi!"
Asako followed after Rin and nodded at Takashi as well. "Take care."
Alpha gave Takashi a polite bow and then followed the other girls.
That left Beta. After taking her own bags... and a conspicuously unmarked box set of manga, she glanced at John and said, "I hope that you settled your affairs properly the other night during your private time, Father. I would be... very upset if you had not."
John felt sweat gather on the back of his neck, but he smiled and said, "Don't worry about it, Betty."
"If you say so. Good day, Officer Kimura." Beta nodded her head towards the officer and then joined the rest of the girls.
The group crammed into the elevator and then headed upstairs... Probably to Asako's room.
That left John, Takashi... and the two security shadow servants still lingering around the entrance.
Takashi casually swept his gaze around the building before turning to John. "When you mentioned overseas business was successful, I didn't imagine that it was *this* successful." His eyes turned sharp and he said, "What exactly did you do again for a living?"
Dammit. John *knew* that guy's intuition was sharp.
That half-hearted backstory he gave Takashi at the start was coming back to bite him.
But who would have thought that John would run into the guy again so frequently? Really, it must be his luck that-
John's eyes lit up.
John shook his head. "My apologies. I should properly introduce myself. Here." He pulled out his business card and handed it over. "John Smith, CEO of Myth Incorporated... as well as the founder of Project MirAIs."
"Well." Takashi took the card and tucked it into his pocket. "I knew that much."
John blinked. "You... did?"
Takashi laughed. "Indeed. My daughter is a big fan of the group as a whole. She's also looking forward to seeing Asako's debut stream."
John nodded. "That's great. But Asako's going to be a bit different from... them."