136 – Pretenses and affection
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The streaming studio of Myth Inc. HQ, on the top floor. Around 4:00 PM.

Alpha sat in a comfy black beanbag, holding her laptop and watching her father's stream.

*And that's all from us. Thanks again for helping me find Yue everyone. And be sure to watch Alfi's stream two hours from now!*

In the stream, John smiled and waved. Yue noticed and did the same.

*Yes! Please, come watch our dear daughter's performance as-*

*Yue! You're not supposed to say that!*

*E-Eh? But is Alphy not-*

*CUT!*

The stream feed suddenly cut off, replaced again with the cute thumbnail of a chibi John and Yue leaning against each other on a couch.

Alpha sighed and shook her head. "Papa... you should have told Mama ahead of time."

It was essentially an open secret that 'Alfi' was really John's daughter. But it was still important to avoid confirming things... at least that was what Beta had told her.

But now Mama had gone and said that on stream...

"Well. It shouldn't be too much of a problem."

'Alfi' was definitely not her father's daughter. And Alpha was different from 'Alfi'. Just a tiny bit, but enough to not be a complete lie to say otherwise.

A sigh echoed from beside her. Meggie, sitting on a light green beanbag pushed up against Alpha's. "Dad's an idiot. If he was going to do that with Mom, he should have explained more ahead of time." She frowned and then hopped off the beanbag, shaking her head. "All he made Mom do was look like an imbecile."

Alpha closed her laptop and stood up as well, carefully setting it down behind her on the beanbag. After that, she turned to Meggie and said, "I don't think so. If anything, it made Mama look cute."

Like how Mama fumbled around at the end trying to catch all of the CapsuMon. How she kept blushing at all of Papa's words and how she had eyes only for him...

Alpha smiled, remembering all of that, and then placed her hand over her heart. "I'm glad too. For Mama to not care about how she looks like to others and love Papa so much... It makes me happy."

Meggie glanced over at her older sister and then looked away, scoffing. "She should care. Even if Mom's happy right now, it still doesn't erase what Dad did."

Alpha sighed, staring at her youngest sister- No, her 'baby' sister.

Despite how mature she acted, Meggie still got swept up in her emotions. And it seemed like she was still stubbornly clinging onto that grudge against their father.

"Meggie."

"What?" Meggie looked at Alpha and said, "Don't tell me you're going to try and convince me to forgive Dad. Because I won't."

Alpha shook her head. "No. I wouldn't do that. That's something you and Papa have to sort out for yourselves."

"Good." Meggie nodded. "And I will."

Alpha walked over to Meggie and pulled her into a hug. "But I do want to tell you that we're family. And even if we hurt each other sometimes, in the end we're still here for each other. Okay?"

Meggie tensed and then looked away, huffing. "D-Dumb big sister. I know that." She glanced at Alpha, her eyes a bit red, and then looked away. After that, she mumbled, "You don't need to tell me that again."

Alpha gave Meggie a light squeeze and said, "I just want you to know that you're appreciated. And that I love you."

Meggie squirmed, looking away from Alpha. "T-That's... Dummy! You don't say things like that so casually! That's how Dad got in trouble!"

Alpha held her sister close and shook her head. "I know. But I'm not saying it casually." She looked down and smiled. "You're my dear baby sister. And..." A guilty look crossed her face as she said, "Before, I was too preoccupied with my own emotions to notice how sad and lonely you were. But it won't happen again." She moved her hand and patted Omega's head. "If you ever want to talk or play, just come get your big sister Alphy, okay?"

Meggie looked up at Alpha and then sighed. "...You're an idiot too. Just like Dad."

Alpha nodded. "That's right. Big Sister's been a big idiot to you."

"Dummy." Meggie shook her head, burying her face in Alpha's shirt. "You aren't supposed to agree with me."

"But it's true."

Meggie broke free from the hug and turned away. As she did, she quickly brought her sleeves to her eyes, brushing away her tears.

Alpha pretended not to notice and then picked up her laptop, walking over to the main streaming computer.

Betty said that she would be busy with her projects... Something about a bedwarmer and rearranging her room to temporarily store Meggie's belongings. And also about her new story.

Apparently, Betty wanted to make something in secret to surprise Papa and Mama.

When she tried to explain it to Alpha, Betty had gone into a lot of detail about different fates, changing world events, and multiple 'endings'... but Alpha couldn't follow it.

Her younger sister had been really excited about the project though, so Alpha was happy for her.

...Even though she was confused about why Betty kept talking about how great it was that she managed to get such a cozy and useful bedwarmer to decorate her room with.

"Big sis- Ah, I mean, Onee-chan?"

Alpha blinked, brought out of her thoughts by Meggie's voice.

Meggie had returned to Alpha's side, her eyes back to normal and her composure regained.

Alpha smiled and said, "Big sis is fine, Meggie."

She shook her head. "No. If that girl calls you Onee-chan, I'm calling you Onee-chan! You're my real Onee-chan, unlike her."

A possessive and childish declaration. One that made no real sense. But it was cute.

Alpha nodded. "Okay. But then..." She placed her finger on her chin and smiled. "If I'm your Onee-chan, you're my imouto. Okay?"

Meggie flinched and grabbed her chest. Then she blinked and stared at Alpha, her eyes wide.

Alpha gasped, quickly stepping forward. "Meggie! What's wrong?"

"Stop!"

Alpha did.

Meggie shook her head and stared at Alpha with a strange look. She frowned and then said, "...No wonder Dad calls you his Magnum Opus. Big- Onee-chan is very formidable. Too formidable. To be capable of rattling the core of one's being through words and actions..."

Alpha blinked. "What?"

Meggie sighed. "And you aren't even aware of it. No, I guess that's why it works?" She paused and then said, "...Maybe I can learn this power?"

"Power? I'm not aware of it?" Alpha shook her head and said, "You're not making any sense, Meggie."

"Don't worry about it, Onee-chan!" Meggie smiled and grabbed Alpha's hand. "Now, you're streaming in a couple of hours, right? A singing stream? Can you show me how this all works? Are they illusions? Transformations? Can you turn me into that form too?"

Alpha smiled at Meggie's enthusiasm and said, "I'm not sure if I can give you your own model... That's something for Betty and Papa to do. But I think it should turn you into something automatically... Here. Let me turn everything on." She gently pulled away from Meggie and then walked over to the main streaming desktop.

A few clicks later and the equipment was up and ready to run.

Like usual, Alpha's form in the wall monitors turned into Alfi, the system automatically recognizing her. But for Meggie...

"Huh?" Meggie tilted her head and stared at her 'reflection' in the monitor. "This isn't me...?"

"Hm?" Alpha stood up and looked over. "What do you-"

And then she froze.

Meggie was right. The person standing behind the wall monitor wasn't an Anime version of Meggie, like the default for people without a model.

While there was a clear resemblance, the young girl standing there had light blue hair with green highlights instead of Meggie's usual light green with gold highlights. Her eyes were different too, a sharp and frosty blue instead of Meggie's warmer gold. And instead of the casual t-shirt and jeans Meggie wore, the young girl wore a billowing light blue robe, like the sort that female immortals would have worn in the Three Realms.

Not only that, but the young girl had wings. Delicate and lacy icy wings that looked formed from snowflakes, shimmering in the light.

Alpha frowned and walked over to Meggie's side.

Meggie turned to look at her, which caused the young girl to do the same with Alfi.

"Onee-chan...?"

Alpha shook her head. "I'm not sure what's going on either- Hm?"

A thought bubble appeared over the young girl's head. At the same time, she stopped mapping Meggie's movements and turned to look at Meggie directly.

"Eek!" Meggie screamed and then ducked behind Alpha.

Alpha froze as well, caught off-guard at the unexpected event.

The young girl lifted up her head and brought her right sleeve up to her mouth, silently laughing while looking down on the two.

As she did, words appeared in the thought bubble.

[So this is who I am to reflect? How amusing. To hide away in fear from such a simple act.]

Meggie read the words and then stepped out behind Alpha, glaring. "And who do you think you are to talk to me like that?"

[Me?]

The young girl flicked her sleeve, causing more words to appear in her thought bubble.

[I am Yukiko Yosei, the child of the great snow fairy Yue. Now, who are *you* to talk to *me* like that?]

Meggie crossed her arms and said, "What snow fairy Yue? I'm the daughter of the Celestial Jade Princess Yue and the Timeless Savant John Smith! Ex Nihilo Omega!" She raised her head too and looked down on the girl in the monitor, a smug smile on her face. "A better name than 'snow child bewitching spirit.'"

The young girl's eye started to twitch. [You...!]

At that time, the elevator chimed and then voices drifted out.

"Y-You mean that our child will come from... 'there?' N-Not simply appear in my arms?" Yue's voice.

"If it's a normal pregnancy... Though to be fair, I didn't know that's how things worked in the Three Realms. But considering what you told me... it's looking like a normal pregnancy?" John's voice.

"Y-You will be there with me then, Husband? Promise?"

"Of course, Wifey."

John and Yue rounded the corner, with John holding Yue in a one-armed hug on his right side and Yue looking slightly panicked.

When they did, four gazes suddenly turned to look. Alpha and Meggie, along with Alfi and 'Yukiko.'

"Hey, kids!" John smiled and raised his left hand in greeting. "How's my two lovely daughters- Hm?" At that time he noticed the anomaly in the wall monitor.

Alpha pointed and said, "P-Papa! I think the system has gotten possessed!"

Meggie crossed her arms and then glared at Yukiko. "Yeah! This upstart keeps looking down on us!"

Yukiko crossed her arms and glared at Meggie, words appearing in her thought bubble. [Upstart? Look who's talking, brat!]

"I am not a brat! I'm 10000 years old!"

[And I am eternally 16! Unlike this kid who looks like she's only ten.]

"You...!"

John looked at Yukiko and blinked. And then he let out a long sigh, facepalming. "Dammit Titor. Stop trolling the kids."

Yukiko looked to John and then laughed. Words appeared in her thought bubble again. [Fine, fine. But it's good for Meggie to get a taste of her own medicine firsthand, right?]

"You're not wrong, but you also spooked Alphy." John narrowed his eyes. "So stop before I drag you back and make you do an endurance stream again."

[Okay, okay. See you kids. Be nice to your dad... or the boogieman will get you.]

Yukiko waved and then slumped, as if her spirit left her body. But then she shifted, suddenly mapping Meggie's actions again.

Meggie glared at Yukiko, a wary look in her eyes. As a result, Yukiko did the same... which caused Meggie's eyes to get sharper. And Yukiko's eyes to get sharper.

And then John sighed. "Relax, Meggie. That girl's just a modified reflection now." He shifted his gaze to Alpha and said, "And sorry for the scare." He frowned. "...I guess that guy got too salty about me spending time with your mom and wanted to get back a bit."

Alpha let out a breath she didn't realize she had been holding and shook her head. "It's fine, Papa. I was just... surprised." She paused. "Though... Who's Titor?"

John blinked. And then he coughed and said, "A-Anyway... Let's get your stream prepped and do some vocal warmups."

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