197 – Testing things out with Gen 1
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"Wow!" Shu spun around, her eyes wide, and said, "Mister Smith! How rich are you?"

John chuckled. "Money isn't an issue."

Titor swept his arms out, causing his lab coat to flutter, and said, "But of course! The one who opened Pandora's box and reclaimed hope in the midst of despair... How could such trifling things as monetary concerns bother my other half?"

John sighed and then took a look around.

After grabbing the new members of Project MirAIs, John took them up the elevator to one of the many remaining empty and unrenovated floors in Myth Inc. HQ.

Well, while the floor was unrenovated, it wasn't completely empty. Not anymore.

Which reminded John that he should really use more of the empty space. Maybe make a proper central lounge area for the girls to hang out and just get to know each other. And then stairs between multiple levels to add more room... Maybe one for each generation?

Food for thought.

But in any case, the current floor was setup to give each of the new members a chance to showoff their main talents.

In one corner of the room, there was an area sectioned off with a long wall mirror to allow for dance practice. There was also built-in speakers with an integrated music player on the wall to select whatever song the user wanted to dance to.

In the next corner, clockwise from the dance area, a small kitchen was prepped. A tall steel refrigerator filled to the brim with fresh ingredients, a long countertop with a sink integrated. Sparkling stainless steel cutlery, a sleek oven and stove top, along with pots and pans.

After that, there was a corner filled with various martial arts equipment. Swords, polearms, other weaponry. Various punching bags and dummies... essentially a full training area.

And in the last corner, there was a mini art studio. Oil paints, propped up canvas, brushes and other material. And then in case that wasn't enough, there were a few art tablets as well, ranging from handheld to a giant one that looked more like a TV with an extendable stylus in the shape of a brush.

At the moment, the group was standing in front of the elevators in between the kitchen and dance area.

John and Titor were standing in front of the girls, while the girls were lined left to right. Shu, Yuri, Suzume, and Chihiro.

Yuri glanced over at the kitchen area and then blinked. Turning back to John, she said, "We're on like the tenth floor. How did you even get all of this equipment up here?"

"Magic."

Yuri snorted and shook her head. "Fine. Don't give me a real answer."

Titor laughed and threw his left arm over John's shoulders. "The lord and savior spoke the truth and none believed him. It seems so too here, my other half."

John smacked Titor's arm away and then glared at him. "Are you seriously going to talk like that the entire time?!"

How? Why? That guy *had* to be dying of cringe!

Titor let his arm fall down and smirked. After that, he stuck his hands in his pockets and turned his chin up, looking down at John. "What's wrong, my other half? Are you upset? Embarrassed? Or does the light shine too brightly upon the dark history of your past?"

John closed his eyes and took a deep breath.

Dammit. He should never have decided to go with John Titor. John Smith was already the name a famous Anime time traveler, so he could have just- Ah. But if he went with that guy, then Titor would have been deadpan and sarcastic instead. And dealing with someone like that, especially a version of himself who would definitely dial it up to eleven...

"Fuwhahaha!"

...Note to self. Bring Amadeus next time instead. Or at least have her nearby to smack Titor in the head.

John sighed and then opened his eyes. When he did, he saw Chihiro walking over towards the art studio.

She adjusted her glasses, a bright glint in her eyes as she took everything in. "Impressive." Walking over to the paints, she checked all the labels and gave an approving nod. After that, she looked at the giant drawing tablet and said, "I didn't think they made tablets this big."

Titor walked into the center of the room and threw his arms out to the side, causing his lab coat to flutter. After that, he stared at the ceiling and said, "This world has yet to see my true prowess! Yes! For a great scientist such as I, for the one who replicated the Holy Grail protocol and improved upon it with the Soul Photon Incarnation-"

"What Titor's trying to say is that he's a big tech guy." John turned to the girls and said, "He's pretty good at it too, so if you ever need anything, bug him about it. Or grab Amadeus and get her to bug him."

Titor froze and then he slumped over, letting out a deep sigh. Shaking his head, he looked back at John and said, "Did you have to steal my thunder, my other half?"

"Shut up. You stole my precious honeymoon time with Yue, so we're even."

Titor straightened and then put on a serious face. "Hey! That wasn't my fault!" He pointed at the sky and said, "That bastard keeps trying to ram drama down our throats! Blame him!"

John nodded, glaring at the sky. "I will. And I do." He lowered his gaze and said, "But you allowed it to happen by messing with the Gate protocol and making a wish on that monkey paw."

"How was I supposed to know it was a monkey's paw?!"

"Um..." Suzume spoke up, glancing between John and Titor. "...If it's not too rude... What are you two talking about?"

Titor cleared his throat and averted his gaze.

John sighed and said, "Nothing important. Just a mutual acquaintance who likes making us sweat. But anyway, I set up this floor-"

"*I* set up this floor."

"...Titor set up this floor for you all to show us your skills." John turned to look at each girl and said, "We're an idol company on paper, so there's going to be a minimum level of training in dance and vocal lessons later so we don't have the government after us, but otherwise I don't mind what you girls do."

Shu gasped and then said, "Mister Smith!"

John blinked. "What?"

She shook her head and said, "You can't do that! We're your employees, so you should tell us what you want us to do!"

Suzume looked reluctant as well. Fiddling with her long orange hair, she nodded and said, "Yes. I don't want to do something and cause a burden upon you... or upon the other girls..."

Yuri looked like she didn't agree either. She glanced at the kitchen, clearly wanting to try things out. But then she shook her head and looked back at John, guilt in her eyes. "Yeah. It's... This isn't really fair to you, J- Mister John. Especially after all the horrible things I did..."

As for the last member of Prodigies...

Chihiro adjusted her glasses and then looked back at her genmates. Staring at each in turn, she shook her head. "I don't know what's wrong with you three, but I'm going to take our boss up on his offer." She looked at John and then pointed at the drawing tablets. "These are mine, right?"

"Hm?" John nodded. "Yeah. Did you want to try them out?"

"Great. Then let's see..." She turned back around and turned on the giant drawing tablet.

Shu gasped and said, "Chihiro! You shouldn't just do that! It's rude!"

Chihiro tapped the drawing tablet. Seeing nothing happen, she picked up the giant stylus and extended it before using it like a brush to tap things on the screen. After opening a program and showing a splash screen with 'FotoShoppe' written on it, she turned to look at Shu. Frowning, Chihiro said, "You're the one being rude. If our boss is investing in us this much, we should be grateful and use it properly." She looked at John and said, "Right?"

John blinked and then placed a hand on his chin, frowning. "You know, Chi-chan... You're a lot different than how I thought you'd be..."

From the impression he got of her the last time he saw her, John thought Chihiro would just be a cold and shy girl. But it seemed like she just didn't have much interest or patience in useless things...

Chihiro shrugged. "I could say the same to you. For a crazy foreigner magnate that can afford to give us all above average working salaries as idols in training on top of the money we get from streaming, you sure don't act like one. You're way too normal." She tilted her head towards Titor and said, "You should act more like Titor. That sort of crazy is what people expect from a rich guy like you."

Titor burst out laughing before slinging his arm back around John's shoulders. "Did you hear that, my other half? She thinks that you're normal!"

"Anyway," Chihiro said. "I'm going to try out my new goodies. You girls stay humble and modest or whatever... I need to catch up on my commissions- Wait, auto stabilizers? Auto-shading?! What the heck are these plug-ins?!"

Titor pulled his arm away from John and walked over, a smug look on his face. "Yes, yes. Praise me more, Da Vinci- Ah, but allow me to show you. Those tools are but the tip of the iceberg for the breadth of resources I have bequeathed upon you."

Chihiro paused and stared at Titor. Adjusting her glasses, she said, "You are the cringiest person I have ever had the misfortune of meeting or hearing talk in person. But if you keep giving me gifts like this, I don't care."

"Wonderful! Then, allow me to turn you into a true Da Vinci- No, let me grant you wings to soar into realms that even she could not have dreamed of!"

"...Wasn't Da Vinci a guy?"

"I know what I said."

John rubbed his face, doing his best to ignore the second-hand cringe.

Except he couldn't, because Titor was basically him. Meaning that if he put his mind to it, John could and *would* act the same way.

Which made it more cringe.

"Um..." Shu spoke up.

John lowered his hands and sighed. "Yes, Miss Yozora?"

She glanced at the martial arts area and said, "Then... It's fine if we go try things out?"

John waved his hand and said, "Go crazy and have fun. I'll just be watching here to help you guys come up with ideas on how to stream doing what you like."

"Yes!" Shu pumped her fist in the air and said, "Mister Smith is the best boss ever!" After that, she ran over to the martial arts area, quickly pulling out a spear and swinging it around.

Yuri eyed the kitchen.

John shook his head. "Just go try it out, Yuri. Don't worry about the past so much, alright?"

Yuri glanced at John for a long while and then slowly nodded. "Then... I'm going. Don't get mad at me if I use up all your ingredients!"

"I won't."

Yuri stared at John one more time and then walked off.

As for Suzume...

"...Um, Mister John?"

John blinked. "Yes?"

"I heard from Miss Alphy that you're a good dancer. Since the others are busy... Would you dance with me? I'm a bit shy doing it alone."

John was quiet.

Since she acted so differently, John hadn't really registered Suzume's real nature. But that shy and polite request...

"...Guess I should take my own advice, huh?"

"P-Pardon?"

John smiled and patted Suzume's head. "Don't worry about it. Now come on, let's see what songs Titor loaded in this thing, eh?"

Superchat reading with Hana coming up next! After that, we'll be doing nothing but streams until the big concert, all collabs with Gen 0. :)

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