116 – What it means to be a father
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The streaming studio at the top of Myth Inc. HQ. 5:30 AM. Sunday, November 24th, 2024.

"Where is everybody?" Asako took a look around the room and said, "Is it always this empty when they stream?"

Beta adjusted her smart glasses, idly examining something on it before glancing over at Asako from her place at the streaming setup desk. "No. But the others are busy. Also, it is still quite early in the morning."

Asako rolled her shoulder and said, "I guess so. Would've thought your pops would be up at least."

"Father is... preoccupied at the moment." Beta responded while typing on the keyboard, adding tags and descriptions for Asako's upcoming stream.

"Mm." Asako glanced back. "That family stuff you mentioned last time?"

"Yes. And speaking of family..." Beta looked over at Asako and said, "Have you gone to see your father yet?"

Asako froze. Then she crossed her arms and scoffed. "That bastard? Why would I want to see him?"

"Because today is the last day he will be on this Earth."

Asako blinked. "Wait, what?"

Beta stopped typing and said, "Did you not know?"

"Of course not!" Asako threw her hand to the side and said, "I've been stuck here this entire time! How the hell was I supposed to know that?!"

"Ah." Beta frowned. "That is true... my apologies."

"Dammit...!"

Beta glanced at the time and said, "Would you like to reschedule the stream? I am sure my father would not mind. He is doing something at the same time..."

Asako bit her lips and then shook her head. "No. It's fine." She spun back around and stared into the wall monitor.

Aoko stood there, the cool blue-haired beauty mimicking Asako's actions.

'Father', was it?

Asako narrowed her eyes and the expression was matched on Aoko's face.

That man... he was never a father. Caring for nothing more than himself and his own 'strength', even killing her mother for no reason...

"Who cares if that bastard dies."

Right. She wouldn't give a damn if that bastard was killed off in a ditch somewhere. It was because of him that the whole city had been in the yakuza death grip and so many lives had been ruined. Someone like that deserved to die.

"...Even so, you should say that to his face." Beta adjusted her glasses and said, "You will regret it later if you do not."

"I won't." Asako shook her head and said, "Like I said, that bastard deserves to die."

"If you say so."

"I do say so. And what the hell? Aren't you supposed to be calming me down before my stream or something?" Asako turned around to glare at Beta. "What if I mess up now because of you?"

Beta shrugged. "It would be a pity. But I suppose that would simply mean your talent goes that far... and that my father misplaced his faith in you."

"Tch." Asako spun back around and said, "That's a low blow. And weren't you the one who gave me the wrong contract to sign?"

"True. That was indeed my mistake. But you were the one who signed it knowing full well the scope of your duties."

"...You're lucky I like you, Betty. Otherwise I would have punched that pretty face of yours by now."

Beta laughed. "Is that not what you said before in our spar? I do believe I was the one who obtained the upper hand in that situation."

Asako flushed. "Only because you did that weird stuff! Honestly, where were you even touching?!"

"A full medical examination was necessary."

"Like hell it was! I'm fine!"

Beta nodded. "So it would appear."

"You...!" Asako paused and then let out a sigh. "Dammit. You're doing it again."

"What, might I ask?"

"Distracting me! Tch." She turned back towards the monitor and said, "You, John, and Alphy too. All of you guys are too nice for your own good."

"Mm... I would not say that I am nice, but I agree with you about Eldest Sister and Father. Now." Beta turned her attention back to her computer. "Should we do a practice run first?"

"Yeah, yeah. Might as well... Damn. Still can't get used to this thing." Asako stared at Aoko's form and said, "How'd you even make something like this in the first place?"

"Trade secret. Now... From the beginning. What was your intro again?"

"...God, I hate you."

"Well, if you want to start like that-"

"Oh shut up, dammit! Fine! 'Ao are you?!' There, happy?!"

"...A simple hello to everyone would have sufficed, but if you wish to act cutesy-"

"Goddammit!"

-----AI|IA-----

An isolated solitary confinement unit in the middle of the Tokyo detention center, deep underground.

Seated in a quiet and padded room, a single man with long, wild black hair and a supremely honed muscular body sat down on the floor.

Shin Seiryuu. The infamous yakuza leader and patriarch of the Seiryuu Alliance that held Japan in a deathgrip for the past few decades. The only reason that the yakuza organizations persisted until the current day.

A barren room. Although he was allowed three books, Shin had declined them all and simply sat there in silence. But then again, he had become long accustomed to such situations, so it wasn't a hassle. Instead, it was welcome.

As a result, he was left alone with his thoughts. Time to reflect on his past. And to stew in his emotions... or rather, the emotions he was forced to experience.

That man, John Smith. If that even was his real name... Shin could still recall their clash. The impossibly vast power he had, the strength that went beyond common sense and defied the world itself.

In a single night, that man had taken everything Shin had accomplished and dashed it to the ground. His martial prowess, his control over the criminal underworld, everything.

-No. Perhaps not everything.

*What kind of father even thinks about hurting his daughter?!*

*A bastard like you committing so many atrocities? For what?! Strength is worthless without anyone to use it for!*

*You had everything! Everything! And you threw it away! Idiot!*

"Heh." Remembering the words that man literally beat into him, Shin couldn't help but laugh.

They were harsh words. They were also words that Shin couldn't refute.

"A father, was it...?" Shin muttered.

Perhaps in another life, if he had chosen a different path- No. There were no what ifs.

Since he had chosen this path, he would see it through to the end.

Such was the life of the one named Shin Seiryuu, the Azure Dragon that became the tyrant ruling over Japan from the shadows.

A knock on the door. And then it swung open.

Immediately, three people came into sight.

Two were armed men in full body armor, aiming guns directly at Shin's head.

A trivial act.

If Shin wanted, he could easily cross the room and wrench the guns away from them in a single breath.

But he didn't. That was the 'promise' that he made with that man.

Moreover, the sight of the last person gave Shin pause. "Officer Kimura, was it?"

Takashi Kimura walked into the room and shook his head. "It's just Kimura-san now... Though for a bastard like you, I'd rather you just not address me at all."

"Hm. I suppose that is fair. Speaking to the murderer of your friends and allies would be off-putting to any person."

"Tch." Takashi shook his head. "How did a bastard like you result in a sweet girl like Rin?"

Rin?

Ah, yes. He remembered now. That should be the name of his other child. The one forced upon that girl back then.

Takashi narrowed his eyes. "Don't even think about contacting her. Just quietly go to hell and pay for your sins there."

"How arrogant." Shin looked up at Takashi and said, "For a man who cowered before me for the past twenty years, you have gained quite a bit of courage."

Takashi clenched his fists, but then sighed and released them. Without saying a word, he reached into his pants pocket and tossed something over.

Shin caught it and then glanced at it. "...A phone?"

"Don't bother trying to contact anyone. We've already rounded up all of your supporters."

Shin laughed. "You make it sound like I would try to escape my fate. Am I a man who would go back on his word?"

"Yes. You are."

Shin chuckled. "I suppose my history betrays me. But then what is this for?" He waved the phone. "You of all people should know what I can do with the barest of resources."

"Then I'll throw your words back to you. Are you a man who would try to escape his fate?"

"...Touche." Shin turned the phone on and glanced at the screen. There was a single app installed, UTube. And there was an account already logged in. His name, Shin Seiryuu, but with different kanji. And clicking into the app, he saw that he had 200K yen preloaded. Shin looked up and raised an eyebrow.

Takashi turned his back on Shin and said, "The execution order has been passed and signed. They've even made an exception for you to have it done early today... Seven o'clock sharp."

"I see." Shin lowered the phone and nodded. "Is that all?"

Takashi turned his head back, looking at Shin with a mixed gaze. "...You're a bastard. A demon from hell. The worst scum on this Earth that I would kill right now if not for the fact that it would cause more trouble than it'd be worth. But..." He looked away from Shin and walked out of the room. "I'm not as cruel as you. At the least, you can wish your daughter well in her career on your way to the underworld."

Footsteps echoed, and then the door shut.

Like that, Shin was alone again.

"...Daughter?"

That officer's final words stuck with Shin, so he opened the app again. When he examined it further, he realized that the account was subscribed to a single channel: Aoko Ryuusei ch.

It seemed like the channel was made the other day and had a single video. Despite that, it had already reached 200K subscribers.

Curious, he clicked on the video. Since it was long, he randomly tapped in the middle of the video.

*Here's my basic biography! There's not much to tell, but I'm working hard to become an idol like Miss Alfi! Please treat me well!*

A familiar voice came out from the speaker. One that Shin knew very well, although it seemed that she was going out of her way to hide it and act cute.

"Heh. A bit of a drastic change, but... I suppose this suits my soft daughter more."

Shin shook his head and went back to her home page. As he did, he noticed that a stream was scheduled as well, something he missed the first time clicking through. One for 6 AM. And checking the time...

"5:55 AM, is it?" Shin muttered.

Five minutes until his soft daughter's next stream.

Just over an hour until his last breath.

Shin closed his eyes, remembering John's words to him. And then he shook his head and set the phone off to the side.

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