133 – Family Dynamics
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Around 3 PM. After a few hours wandering around the Roppongi Hills mall and shopping, the Smith family returned to Myth Inc. HQ with armfuls of shopping bags.

Or rather, with John carrying armfuls of shopping bags. He carefully maneuvered himself inside the door to the building and then walked into the lobby before setting the bags down on the ground. Afterwards, he sighed and muttered, "Even as a transcendent, being the only guy when girls go shopping is a hassle, huh?"

Omega walked in after John, carefully cradling a tower of boxes in her arms. The Zbox Series Z, PFV, a limited edition Monster Slayer Mintendo Switch... and then a stack of various games for each console. She glanced at her father and then huffed. "Tired already, Dad? We barely did any shopping!"

John laughed. "Don't mind me, Meggie. Your old man is just getting a bit too old."

Omega rolled her eyes and said, "Very funny. Don't think that gets you out of carrying our bags in the next shopping trip."

Yue walked in after Omega, carrying a few bags of clothes in her right hand. Seeing the slight fatigue in John's face, she smiled and said, "I thought you said you would be happy to carry our bags for us, Husband?"

"I would be. And I was. Until you guys went all out when I said we didn't have a budget." John glanced at the pile of bags lying on the ground... or rather, the mini mountain that was as tall as he was, and said, "I'm surprised no one questioned how we fit all of that into the car on the way back."

Beta walked in cradling a box-set of Shounen manga under her left arm. As she did, she said, "I believe that is because everyone pitied Father too much to question it."

Alpha walked in last, the door closing behind her. As she did, she looked at John and said, "Papa. Next time, let me carry some too, okay? It makes me feel bad having you carry everything when I'm barely holding anything." For emphasis, she held up the single bag she had, one with miniature figurine kits.

John waved his hand and said, "It's fine. Just some mental fatigue. It'll take more than some shopping bags to tire me out."

"Oh?" Omega looked over and said, "Okay. Then next time, we're going to the arcade and Daddy's going to carry all of my winnings. Okay?" She let out a sweet smile. One paired with a wicked glint in her golden eyes.

John shook his head and said, "First of all, no. I am not letting you clear out an entire arcade. It wouldn't be fair to the other kids. Second... You do realize that we don't actually have a place to put everything yet, right? I mean, the office is fairly big and I can store things in a pinch, but it'd defeat the purpose of having everything if you don't have a place to show it." He paused. "Unless you want a room to yourself? We repurposed one floor for apartments, so that would work, but-"

"No!" Omega shook her head and quickly moved to Alpha's side. "I'm sharing a room with big sister Alphy!"

"M-Meggie?" Alpha's eyes widened before a smile crossed her face. "I-I don't mind. In fact, I'm happy you want to. But..." She looked at the pile of clothes and the consoles that Omega bought. "...I don't think there's enough room for everything."

"...There isn't?" Omega frowned, lowering her gaze.

Beta walked over and patted Omega's head. "Worry not, Meggie. I have plenty of space in my room. We can store your extra belongings there while keeping your essentials in Eldest Sister's room."

John nodded. "That sounds like it'd be the best... Wait." He blinked and said, "Isn't your 'room' an entire underground floor? Why not just bunk with Alphy and Meggie? It shouldn't be too hard to add a few beds and partitions, right?"

"Ah." Beta frowned. "That may be... Well, I would have to arrange quite a few things. Like my bedwarmer, sheets, collection... and there are quite a few things that are... Well..." She flushed.

Omega blinked and looked to Beta. "Is it that much of a problem, big sister?"

"Not... particularly? But..." She glanced at John and said, "I believe there are a few things Father and Mistress- I mean, 'Mother' would object to you seeing."

John frowned. And then he remembered what Beta asked him to buy last time and groaned. "Please tell me you don't have a giant collection of various... memorabilia lying around in the open."

Yue placed her bags on the ground and then tilted her head, looking at Beta. "Memorabilia...? No, something I would object to Meg seeing?" She frowned and then her eyes widened, blushing. "Betty!"

"What?" Beta averted her gaze and said, "I-I have my needs too! And do not get me started on how often you and Father-"

"Ooookay." John quickly stepped between them and crossed his arms. "That conversation's over."

Omega frowned. "Why? I want to know what they're talking about, Dad! And what memorabilia?"

"You'll find out when you're older."

Omega huffed, stomping her foot. "That's what Mom told me last time! How much older do I need to be?! I'm already over ten thousand years old!"

John nodded. "True. Then... when you're as big as Betty and Alphy."

Omega scowled. "Whatever. Keep your secrets!" She huffed and then walked towards the elevator.

Alphy followed after her and said, "Don't feel too bad, Meggie. There's a lot of things that Father doesn't let me know about either."

"Yeah? Like what?"

"Like what it means to dual cultivate." Alpha frowned. "It's supposed to make you really strong, but Papa never explained it."

Omega blinked. "Huh? But isn't that super basic?"

"Is it?"

Omega nodded. "Mmhm. Mom told me about it. She said that she did it a lot with Dad."

John's eyes widened and he turned to Yue.

Yue blushed and started to sweat, averting her eyes.

"It's when you-"

The elevator doors suddenly opened, interrupting Omega.

John let out a sigh. Especially when he saw that the elevator wasn't empty.

Rin stepped out of the elevator, but when she saw Omega and Alpha she came to a stop. "Eh? You're back already?"

Asako walked out from behind Rin. Looking at the pile of bags in the middle of the lobby, she whistled and then looked to John. "They really worked you hard out there, didn't they?"

John shook his head. "Not really, but I appreciate the sentiment." He gave the two a once over and frowned. "Heading out?"

Rin was wearing a beige coat and had her bag with her, while Asako had changed into a dark blue long coat, carrying her keys on a lanyard.

Seeing that, John frowned and said, "Did you need me to come with you? Or an escort?"

Yue cleared her throat.

John glanced over. "What?"

Yue sighed, shaking her head.

Asako laughed and said, "You need to keep yourself in check more, 'Mister Smith.' But we're fine." She smiled and said, "I'm back in top form, so I can handle a few creeps. Not that we'll meet any." She tilted her head back to Rin and said, "Rin's mom wants us to have dinner back at her place and to spend the night."

Rin walked forward and grabbed Asako's right hand. "Yeah! Aneue and I are having a sleepover! Ah!" Her eyes widened and she turned to look at Alpha. "But we'll make sure to watch your stream too, Onee-chan!"

Omega bristled at that and grabbed Alpha's right hand as well, snuggling up to her. "Yeah? Well, I'm having a sleepover with my *real* Onee-chan too! And I'll watch her stream live!"

Rin's eyes lit up and she smiled. "That's great! Make sure to support Alphy well! She gets shy when she sings, so make sure to cheer her up!"

Alpha blushed and said, "T-That's only because I'm not as good as you, Rin."

Rin shook her head. "Onee-chan's voice is great! You just need more confidence." She turned her gaze back to Omega and said, "So support your big sister well, okay?"

Omega huffed. "Don't worry about it. I will!"

Asako pulled out her phone and checked the time. "We should probably get going, Sis." She put her phone back and said, "Your mom could probably use some help setting things up."

Alpha's gaze sharpened at that and she looked between Rin and Asako, muttering, "Sis?"

Lost in thought, Rin didn't notice Alpha's gaze. "That's true... Mom tends to overdo things." She frowned and said, "It still hasn't been too long since she got better... We should make sure she doesn't overwork herself."

Asako waved at John and everyone else before saying, "We'll be off then. Take care, you guys... Ah." She looked at John and said, "Also, Sakura said that she sent Kai off with Tsuki earlier for family time, so don't worry about them."

John nodded. "Thanks for the heads up."

Rin waved and said, "Bye! See you all tomorrow! And it was nice meeting you, Miss Yue, Meggie!"

With that, Rin and Asako were gone.

The moment they left, Omega huffed and opened the elevator. "Come on, Big si- Onee-chan. Let's go have some fun with my new games."

"Ah. Yes." Alpha nodded and followed after Omega, though she seemed a bit lost in thought.

Omega looked out from the elevator at Beta and said, "Big sister Betty?"

Beta shook her head. "You two go first. I will follow shortly."

"Don't take too long or we're starting Marlo Party without you!"

Beta smiled.

The elevator doors closed and then Alpha and Omega were gone.

When they were, Beta walked over to the pile of bags and waved her hand, sending the ones that weren't Yue's into a spatial pocket. After that, she looked at John and said, "So, Father." She shifted her gaze to Yue and said, "What are you and Mi- Mother going to do now?"

"Hm..." John shifted his gaze to Yue and said, "There's a bit of downtime before Alphy's stream, so I was thinking that I'd do one ahead of time to show your mother how it works."

Beta blinked. "You mean... you plan to make Yue a member of Project MirAIs as well?"

Yue's eyes lit up. "Husband. Do you mean-?"

"No!" John immediately pulled Yue close and hugged her, as if trying to protect her from the world. "Let my beloved wife become an idol? Have who knows how many men and women lust over her beautiful self? Think they have a chance to be with her? I'd rather fight the Realm Source again with nothing but my bare fists!"

Yue turned a deep red and then buried her face in John's chest out of embarrassment.

Beta rolled her eyes. "That is going to happen regardless the moment that Mother appears on screen, Father. Moreover, there is another problem."

John blinked, carefully releasing Yue.

Yue stepped back, still blushing.

John frowned and said, "What other problem?"

Beta pointed to Yue and then to John. "Father. Tell me... did you not think that Mother might appear to be a bit too young to be with you?"

John blinked and looked at Yue.

Yue stared back.

John frowned and placed his hand on his chin to think, his eyes slowly scanning his wife's appearance.

Yue was beautiful.

Delicate facial features that looked chiseled from pure white jade. Light green hair that was ethereal and natural. Pure green eyes that flickered like emeralds. Soft pink lips.

A modest chest-size, but one that stood out when taking into account her slim figure. Soft curves that were both pure but enticing...

And altogether, someone who looked no older than eighteen at best.

"Huh. That is a problem."

"What is, Husband?"

John's frown deepened.

His wife was beautiful as she was. But she definitely looked too young to be with someone who was supposedly nearing his forties, if not past that like John was on paper.

If John remembered right, on paper Qing made it so that she was 29 and Meggie was 10 so there'd be nothing wrong with legal issues there. But first impressions were definitely a thing, and considering everything...

"Husband?" Yue looked up at John.

John shook his head. "It's fine." He looked back at Beta and said, "Even if I get the reputation of a scoundrel, it doesn't change the fact that I love Yue the way she is." To emphasize, he pulled Yue in for another hug and lightly kissed her forehead.

"You...!" Yue huffed and pulled away, covering her face. "...Meanie."

John smiled and then glanced back at Beta. His face turned serious and he said, "Having her change her appearance just to avoid trouble is something I won't allow."

Beta sighed. "I should have known Father would say something like that." She shook her head. "Well, Father knows best. Though." The elevator chimed and opened. Walking inside, Beta turned around to look at John again before shifting her gaze to Yue. "Remember to be mindful of how your actions impact Mother's reputation as well. Such a young and peerless beauty being beside one such as yourself... should be fine, but..."

Yue stepped close to John and shook her head. "It's fine, Betty. No matter what, I won't be a bother to your father. And..." Her face dimmed before resolve entered her eyes. "Even if I'm seen as a despicable woman and cursed by the world... I-If your father still accepts me, I won't leave him."

Beta stared at Yue for a moment and then quickly pulled out her phone, furiously typing something.

"B-Betty?" John blinked, shifting his gaze to the phone and trying to see what she was typing. "What are you-"

Beta noticed and immediately pulled her phone up to her chest. "Nothing Father. Enjoy your time with Mother. I will see you later at Eldest Sister's stream."

With those words, she was gone.

And then it was just John and Yue.

John sighed. "Sometimes, I still don't get Betty... But Yue." He shifted his gaze to his wife and said, "What was that about becoming a despicable woman?"

"A-Ah." Yue averted her gaze. "That... Nothing. Just... my honest thoughts."

John shook his head. "You'll never be despicable in my eyes, Yue."

"...Then you might be blinded by love..." Yue whispered.


Yue shook her head and smiled. "Nothing, Husband. Now, would you mind telling me a bit about what you plan to show me?"

"Oh, right!" John nodded. "I'll explain a bit more of the streaming when we start, but basically I wanted to show you that game I talked about a long time ago. You know, the one about catching monsters in capsules? You see..."