Yue woke up to a comfortable bed. Similar to the one she had in the hotel. However, she immediately noticed that her surroundings were different. Unlike the luxurious furnishing like the chandelier and gold-leaf ceiling in the hotel at Walt World, this ceiling was more barren, a plain white.
Just what happened? And where was she?
Thinking back, Yue could faintly remember going to sleep, and then-
Memories of a hazy dream. Living out an 'ideal' life with her husband who had eyes only for her. Having her true husband appear and affirm his love before pulling her out of her Heart Demon Tribulation.
Yue slowly raised her body and then shook her head.
To fall prey to such a simple heart demon tribulation after everything her husband had done for her, and then to have to have him enter it to pull her out... What sort of wife was she? To call herself that-
"Mom!" A worried young girl's voice.
Yue looked up, but before she could react, a pair of small but warm arms wrapped around her. Meggie.
"You're finally awake!" Omega looked up, her light green hair a frazzled mess and her golden eyes red.
Yue hugged her daughter and gently patted her back. "I'm sorry to worry you, Meggie."
"N-No." Omega sniffed and said, "I'm just... glad you're okay."
Yue nodded and then shifted her gaze to look around. "And where are-?" She paused seeing two people standing nearby.
A beautiful young woman with flowing crimson hair and bright orange eyes.
Beside her, another beautiful young woman with short black hair and crimson eyes the color of blood.
They were familiar. But they were also different.
First of all, they weren't wearing the usual martial uniform Yue was accustomed seeing them in.
The first woman was wearing a comfortable looking beige long-sleeved shirt with loose gray pants that had a checkmark.
The second was wearing comfortable clothes as well, a giant panda outfit that had a hood to cover her head. It was down at the moment though.
But that wasn't too striking. They had worn various outfits before in the past. Most importantly were their expressions.
A lively and teasing glint compared to the cold and calculating glare on the first woman.
A worried and soft gaze compared to the apathetic harsh stare on the second woman.
Beta and Alpha. John's first 'daughters' and Omega's older sisters.
Yue was quiet, unsure how to respond.
Did they know what she did? Did John tell them? Were they upset at her?
It was true that she ordered them to keep an eye on John by having them hide in his Heavenly Realm, but did they hold a grudge against her for that?
Beta broke the silence first.
Omega glanced back, hesitant. "Big sister Betty..."
Beta stepped forward, closing the gap, her eyes narrowed.
After staring at Yue for a while longer, Beta sighed and shook her head. "Honestly. And I had believed that Father was the hot-headed one in the relationship."
Beta smiled and said, "I am glad you are well. But please, do not do such a thing again. Father was... very out of sorts when he learned that you had arrived but could not find you."
Yue felt a pang of guilt. "That's... I understand."
Omega jumped up and blocked Beta from Yue. "So!? He's the one who left without telling us where he was going!"
"Perhaps." Beta looked over at Omega and said, "But is this the first time that Father has left for an extended period of time?"
Omega flinched. "T-That..."
Alpha sighed. "Could we stop this?" She smiled and said, "What matters is that we're all here together." She looked to Yue and said, "How are you feeling, Mi- Um... Mother?"
"Kuh." Yue clutched her chest.
"M-Mom!?" Omega immediately dashed over and grabbed her mother's arm, supporting her body. "What happened?! Did you suffer internal injuries? Is it the after effects of the tribulation? Is it-"
"N-No. I'm fine, Meggie. It's just..." She massaged her chest and looked at Alpha. "To think that your eldest sister could be this cute..."
"E-Eh?" Alpha blinked and stepped back, her eyes wide. "C-Cute?! M-M-Me?"
Beta laughed and wrapped an arm over her older sister's shoulders. "I told you, did I not? Eldest Sister is the cutest. Even Mistress Yue admitted it."
Yue rapidly blinked at Alpha's bashful behavior and then nodded. "Indeed. The cutest. It's definitely a good thing that Husband brought you to this world. Such a demeanor, appearance, and mannerisms would have sent the Three Realms into even more turmoil than when Beta was snatched away- Ah." She cringed and glanced at Beta.
Beta smiled and leaned back. "Do not concern yourself, Mistress Yue. The past is the past. Besides." Her smile widened and she placed a hand over her heart. "Father's overprotectiveness after that was adorable."
Yue nodded, letting out a faint smile. "Yes. It had been quite touching."
The sight of John running through the heavens and laying waste to his enemies, overturning countless lesser Daos, conquering mortal realms to use as footholds...
A chime echoed in the distance. The sound of doors sliding open.
"We're back!" A bright and cheerful female voice.
"Sorry it took so long. A lot of the convenience stores were closed for some reason." A cool and mature female voice.
"I got you some ice cream, Meggie!" An innocent young girl's voice.
Omega's eyes lit up and she ran over. "Really?!"
Yue smiled at her daughter's actions, but then moved her gaze towards the speakers. There were three young women walking out of the... Elevator, was it? Yes, the elevator.
The first was the cool and mature beauty. The true face behind the stream that she watched last time. Long black hair, a well-trained body that was familiar with combat.
She was also wearing clothes that were quite similar to Beta's for some reason.
The second was a young woman that hadn't yet reached full maturity. Light brown hair a kind face and light brown eyes. She wore an outfit similar to Alpha's, only a tiger outfit instead of a panda.
And the last was Tsuki, wearing a pink sweatshirt and jeans.
Yue frowned, carefully looking over that mature beauty.
Was it because of the aftermath of the tribulation, the fact that she was exhausted, or that the world's laws were different? For some reason, Yue wasn't able to examine the karma of any of those girls, let alone the mature beauty.
However, her instincts were telling her.
The woman standing there... She felt something towards John.
And that other young woman as well, the one with light brown hair and bright eyes. Though, Yue got the sense that hers was more adoration rather than affection.
But the mature beauty...
"Oh? So you're that guy's wife, huh?" Asako walked over and eyed Yue just as Yue eyed her.
Yue straightened and showed off her ring. "I am." She narrowed her eyes. "Is there a problem?"
Asako frowned. "No. You're definitely beautiful enough... and that voice is almost like honey. And then your air... Damn. Did John really steal away a princess?"
Steal her away...? Well, her husband did kidnap her from the Celestial Jade Palace when her father forbade them from meeting after the first incident. But it didn't seem like that woman knew the details... so was it just her intuition?
"Oh! So you're Mrs. Smith!" Rin set her bags down and then bowed her head. "It's a pleasure to meet you! Mister John helped me out a lot, so I'm glad to meet the rest of his family!" She raised her head and smiled. "I hope we can get along!"
A bright and sunny ball of energy. One that Yue didn't quite know how to deal with.
Tsuki's sweet naivety and innocence, Yue could handle. But those kind and bright eyes were a bit...
"Mom!" Omega came over, holding out a pastry in the shape of a fish. "Try this! It's super yummy! Refreshingly cold, not super sweet, and then a flaky crust!"
Yue glanced at the offered treat.
There was already a bite taken out of it, and the faint cream around Omega's mouth showed the culprit.
An excited and happy expression. One that Yue had never seen before on Meggie.
Was it because she had met with her father again? The fact that she finally had a friend? Or that her older sisters were here and were also relaxed, letting her be more childish like she should be instead of strict like in the Three Realms?
"Mom?" Omega tilted her head. "Do you not...?"
"Thank you, Meggie." Yue smiled and then took a bite.
It was just like her daughter said. A cold and mildly sweet treat. A bit of flaky crunch from the crust, and then a creamy interior.
Delightful. Not perfect or excessively prepared like some of the dishes her husband had crafted, but it was still delightful.
Though... Was that because of the treat itself? Or the company?
"Do you like it?" Omega looked up, her golden eyes bright.
Yue swallowed and then nodded. "It was lovely, Meggie."
"Hey Meggie!" Tsuki tugged on Omega's arm and said, "Let's go play some games!" She pointed to the back of the room and said, "Miss Alpha said that we can use her Switch for a while!"
"I-Is that okay?" Omega looked at Alpha. "Biggest- I mean, Eldest Sister?"
Alpha laughed and said, "Go have fun with your friend, Meggie."
"Okay!" Omega smiled and turned to leave, but then she remembered the ice cream treat in her hands. "Oh! You can finish this Mom!" She handed it off to Yue and then dashed over to the back.
Beta glanced over and said, "Remember to wash your hands first!"
"Okay!" Omega nodded and then changed directions, heading towards the bathroom instead.
Yue took a bite of the treat her daughter gave her and took a look around the room, now that she had the opportunity to do so.
It seemed to be... Not quite a proper bedroom, but one converted to suit.
There were a few cabinets, a room off to the side leading to the bathroom, and then a window into a sectioned off room with strange equipment.
Yue was sitting on a comfortable silk bed, but it was out of place from the rest of the furnishings. A lounge chair that seemed to also function as a bed, a refrigerator, a table and some wooden chairs... In short, it appeared similar to some of the lower tier hotel rooms that she noticed back in America.
But that wasn't to say that it was completely impersonal.
A few printed drawings were clumsily taped in the background here and there, sketches of a cool and silver-haired beauty with burgundy eyes. There were also some figurines that looked similar to the golems her husband liked to build in the past as well, along with other various knickknacks.
Yue nibbled on her treat and then looked at the other girls in the room.
Beta had taken up a spot on the wall, looking at something on her phone. Meanwhile, Alpha and the other two girls... From what Yue could glean from their conversation, it seemed their names were Asako and Rin? The mature beauty was Asako and the bright girl was Rin.
In any case, those three had gone off to a corner and were talking about collaborating on something. Blocks, zombies, skeletons... destroying the world and seeds?
Was her husband recruiting mortals to extend an empire or something? It wouldn't be the first, but...
No, no. She had to be misunderstanding something.
Yue nibbled on her treat again, just taking in the atmosphere.
It was... nice.
A soft chime from the distance. Once again, the elevator doors opened.
And once more, a beautiful woman walked out, adjusting the strap on her purse. Light brown hair and matching eyes, similar facial features to Rin, but sharper and more world-weary. "Alright. Now where exactly is John's... wife?"
Sakura stared at Yue and blinked.
Yue stared back. "Can I help you?"
Sakura blinked again, her eyes going to the ring on Yue's left hand. Then to her face. Then to her body... and then her belly. Then her eyes widened and she covered her face. "Well... That definitely explains the comment John made a while back about learning his lesson..."
Yue tilted her head.
A battered and destroyed office. There, in the middle of a pile of broken chairs and tables, Kai was passed out, bruises covering his entire body and his clothes torn up and ragged.
John brushed off his suit. "This guy really is stubborn, huh? Not just in charging ahead, but in blaming himself too." Looking at Kai's unconscious form, John sighed and rolled him over before tossing down some formations to heal him up.
Light flickered around Kai's body and then his wounds visibly began to heal.
Seeing that, John nodded and then walked over to his window, staring over the Tokyo cityscape to reflect.
"The Rothschild family and Tsuki..."
An overseas family that secretly controlled all the wealth in the world... or at least a substantial portion of it. In the past, Kai saved their heiress from an assassination attempt, leading to a whirlwind romance and Tsuki. But in the end, he left them behind to find Sakura and failed both women.
That family wasn't a problem right now, but considering future events...
"Toby. You know what to do, right?"
Shadows gathered and a tall man emerged behind John. A shaved head, foreign features, and a crisp suit... a hitman agent without a number, Toby Reaper.
He adjusted his gloves and said, "I do, Employer. Convenient accidents, I presume?"
"Of course. And find a way to arrange it so Tsuki gains the inheritance. It's the U.S. so there should be some way to arrange trusts and estates for her. I'll talk to Bai and Qing later to give you the relevant information."
Toby left, stepping back into the shadows and melting away.
"There's one problem solved..."
Like this, Kai wouldn't go on a rampage and then lose himself on the deep end if people tried to do something to Tsuki... who was pretty much the only tie keeping him back at this point.
John had forcibly applied 'Talk-no-jutsu' on his friend, but the guy was as stubborn as he was, so it wouldn't stick very long. And it'd be annoying to throw hands every time... not to mention the bad look it'd give to the kids.
"Darn." John clicked his tongue and said, "Should have used that line on him."
Maybe for next time.
John pulled out his phone to check the time. "Let's see..."
10:30 PM. It seemed like they'd been brawling for about a half hour. And from what John could sense, Yue seemed to be up and the rest of Project MirAIs had returned. Sakura was there too.
In short, a good a time as any for a proper sitrep with his wife and co.
John walked over to Kai and scribbled out a note before tossing it on the ground next to him. After that, he conjured a pillow and blanket, tossing the latter over Kai's torso and tucking the former under the unconscious man's head.
"You owe me for this. Again." John muttered and headed towards the elevator, calling it to head upstairs. After the door opened, John walked inside and reached over to press the button towards Alpha's room.
And then his phone rang.
John blinked and looked at the caller id. "Qing?"
That was weird... Did something go wrong with the stream?
He frowned and answered the call. "Yeah?"
"Master John. This is urgent. I've distracted them now by leaving them alone with various snacks, but I'm afraid it won't be much longer."
John blinked. "Wait, what? Who?" He narrowed his eyes. "Cultivators?"
"No. I'm afraid- H-Hold on Miss! That's not-!"
The sound of things getting knocked over, someone falling to the floor, the phone clattering against the ground, and then...
"Big brother! Where are you? Your pet dragon brought us shopping but he won't tell us where you are!"
*Because Master John is in a delicate situation at the moment!*
John blinked, having to take a few moments to process the voice. And then he sighed. "Daji. And let me guess, Zhaojun and Xuannu are there too?"
*Damn. He caught on fast.*
*I told you that we should have just rented a room for ourselves...*
John sighed again. "Put Qing back on the phone again please."
"But big brother-"
"Good heavens... How do you handle all of these women, Master John?"
John stared off into the distance, remembering his long, long, long years at the Three Realms... and the many beauties that weren't quite as amicable as the three who followed him back.
"Practice, dedication, and drawing very clear lines. Now, could you find those three a place to stay for the night?"
"...I do believe they have already insisted on my apartment flat."
"Remind me to give you a raise and-"
"It's already been done. But I appreciate the gesture, Master John."
*May I talk to Senior Brother?*
"Ah. It appears that Miss Zhaojun wishes to speak with you. Should I...?"
The sound of a phone shuffling around, and then a clear and beautiful voice called out. "Senior Brother. It's been... a long time."
A faint smile crossed John's face. "It has, Little Zhaojun... Though I guess you aren't too little now, are you?"
Faint laughter, a delightful sound like charming bells. "Indeed. But you can always call me Little Zhaojun, Senior Brother. I will never mind... But how is Senior Sister? All of us were concerned that something might have occurred with what happened in the Three Realms..."
"Yue's fine. Though I do need to have a private chat with her before you guys show up. I think she'll be fine, but..."
A sigh from the other side, and then another voice. Low and somewhat sultry. *Let me speak to him.*
More shifting on the other end of the line, and then the low and sultry voice called out. "Is that girl still clinging onto you?"
John frowned. "At least call her by her name, Xuannu. I get that you don't like my wife, but you owe her and me that much respect."
"...Hah. This is why she's still like that, you know?"
"Nothing. We will stay out of your business for a few days to let you settle your affairs. But then we expect to get a full tour of your new abode and to meet with all of our cute nieces again."
*Yes! How's my beautiful Betty? Did she write any new books yet?*
*Yes, and how is Alphy? You have been treating her well, right, Senior Brother?*
"Quiet you two!"
*My apologies, Dark Lady.*
Xuannu sighed and said, "Well, take care. Comfort that girl, make sure to pamper Meggie for a while, and then be a proper father for once, alright? ...Unless you want more of my guidance after all this time?"
"Hard pass. But thanks, Xuannu." John smiled. "I appreciate your understanding. All of you."
*No problem, big brother!*
*Yes. That will never be a concern, Senior Brother.*
"Yeah, yeah. Go act lovey-dovey already with that uptight princess. Goodbye."
With that, the call came to an end.
John shook his head, slipping his phone back into his pocket. "Those three never change, huh?"
He smiled and then pressed the elevator button towards Alpha's room.
As he did...
"...Now. To explain everything to my beloved wife... And figure out how to break it to her that she's been pregnant for a few months now... And convince her that wasn't the reason why I left."
Well. At least this problem was reasonable... And in the worst case scenario, he could always do some cooking.
Pregnant women were fond of sweets, right?
...But they were also extremely temperamental due to hormonal changes.
And considering that his beloved wife wasn't always very good at being in touch with her emotions-
Ah. That explained... quite a lot about the past few weeks...