320 – A Wiser Man
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orz Writing is being hard again. Well, just gotta keep chugging along until the rusty pipe flows clear...

"Well," John said. "That went well, didn't it?"

Kai let out a deep sigh and took a long sip from his cup of coffee. "I suppose. At the least I'm not hated."

John's office.

After explaining the situation more and clearing things up with the girls on how things would work, they were set free to do their own thing while John and Kai had a meeting.

Kai set his cup down and stared at John. "I'll ask again. Are you certain you want to trust me with this?"

John stared at Kai and nodded. "I trust you. After meeting them in person and seeing how they rely on you... I don't think you're the sort to give anything but your full potential, right?"

"...True. I'm just..." He sighed.

"Don't worry. If you really start to tank things, I'll step in and save you again."

Kai shook his head and gave John a wry smile. "You know. You really should decide whether you want to be an omnipotent being or a normal person."

"Why not both? Just a normal person with special powers and a normal family life. That's the goal."

"...I think that's impossible."

John shrugged. "Maybe. But I'm slowly getting there now that... Well, it just is."

Kai tilted his head. "Now that what?"

"Better to not jinx things. But anyway." John laced his fingers together and said, "You understand your job, right?"

Kai nodded. "Help the girls prior to each stream, moderate the chat according to their personal standards, and then after the stream do a debrief and help address any concerns."

"And are you going to be enough for it?" John frowned. "I know you managed three girls before and four isn't much different, but..."

Kai waved his hand. "Don't worry about that." He gave John a pointed look and said, "You convinced them in the end."

"Did I?" John laughed. "I was worried that I scared them off from the pressure."

"Then next time don't take less than five minutes to cook what people order and make it seem like you've read their mind long before they showed up."

John chuckled. But then he turned serious and said, "Seriously though. I'm counting on you. I've got plans for the girls developing a self-sustaining support network and I'm working on pulling in community managers... since my CFO and COO seem to be preoccupied recently. But I need a couple of weeks for that."

Kai nodded. "Leave it to me."

"Good. I will. And feel free to bring Elise and Tsuki over too. Meggie's been burning with embarrassment about not being able to apologize."

Kai laughed. "I will."

"Great."

"..."

"..."

"...Is there anything else, John?"

"Yeah. If you could, take the girls out to do normal stuff sometimes. It's not healthy being cooped up and grinding day in and day out. Speaking from personal experience. And you can coordinate with Takashi on that."

"Understood."

"..."

"..."

"...Are you always this awkward? No wonder Sakura's been-"

Kai coughed and stood up. "Thanks for the coffee, John. I'll be on my way then."

"Don't forget to touch grass every now and then too, Kai."

Kai waved his coffee cup and then walked off.

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

A recently renovated office in another part of Myth Inc. HQ. One just for Kai after he agreed to work as a manager for Project MirAIs and take care of the Prodigy girls.

He sat behind his desk and sipped on another cup of coffee while he reviewed the debut streams for each of the girls at 4x speed.

Personally, he would have preferred a glass of wine, but it was still far too early in the morning to drink. Not only that, but it wasn't good to have the girls see him drunk. Or be in anything other than his optimal mental state.

He learned that lesson the hard way with Mystic Bouquet.

But in any case...

"Hm." Kai set his coffee down and muttered, "What a strange mix of talents."

An artist, a *martial* artist, a chef, and a shrine maiden turned idol.

The theme of Prodigy was a good one, but he could see where the problems were. Like John said, the group wasn't very cohesive.

...No. It was, but there was one person who was rocking the boat.

Kai tapped his fingers on his desk and muttered, "Technology really is just an amplifier, isn't it?"

John was right. The basic principles were the same. Even while they were 'streamers', the problems that the girls faced were the same that idols did.

And this one in particular...

It was just like the debut for each of the girls in Mystic Bouquet. While they hadn't streamed it, there was a meet and greet. And inevitably, one girl had more attention than the others because of her natural sex appeal. And that girl also caused a bit of a rocky start because she got arrogant over it.

Then to solve this...

*ding*

A soft chime. The sound of the elevator arriving. Shortly after, the doors opened and three women walked out.

Sayuri, Yura, and Sumire.

Sayuri walked forward, glancing around the room. "It sure is weird being in this place again and have it be so different, Boss."

Yura walked in after Sayuri and said, "Yeah, Oppa." She looked at Kai and said, "Did you think you'd be back here again?"

Kai chuckled and said, "Of course not. But life takes interesting turns."

Like a random omnipotent being showing up in his life to grant his every wish... And only because Kai had the reckless bravado to ask him to be a friend after showing up with Tsuki out of the blue.

Sumire followed after the others and let out a bright smile. "Well, whatever the case, you seem happy, Uncle Kai."

Kai paused to think about that and then smiled. "I suppose I am."

The ones he wanted to save the most were alive and well. The mistakes he made, he was given another opportunity to fix.

"But enough about me." Kai stood up and then waved towards the chairs he already set up across his desk. "Have a seat."

They did.

After that, Kai said, "Now, we talked about it a bit before. But the job that you girls will be having is..."

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

2 PM. Friday, December 27th.

As usual, Prototypes did their streams, with Aoko taking the morning slot, Hana at noon, and Alfi slotted for late in the evening.

It had been a while since any of the Prodigy girls had streamed and social media was buzzing about whether they were actually going to be a thing or if it was a publicity stunt.

So it was decided that they would be streaming before Alfi. The promised collab stream.

But before then, Kai decided to have the Prodigy girls do a bit of team building before then and brought in some help to do that.

So, back in the Prodigy studio...

"Oh my god!" Shu's eyes widened and she said, "They're actually here!" She pointed in front of her and said, "The Charming Lily, Sayuri! The Beautiful Rose, Yura! And the Lovely Violet, Sumire!" She clasped her hands together and said, "I'm a big fan! I've watched all your concerts!"

Sayuri let out a genuine laugh and said, "I'm happy to hear it. Right girls?"

Yura nodded and smiled at Shu. "Yeah! It's been a while since we met any fans, so... I'm happy."

Sumire smiled as well and said, "I'm happy too. Thank you for supporting us. Really."

Shu smiled back.

Chihiro nodded and said, "I'm not as big of a fan, but I really enjoy your music. 'Love like a Rose' is my favorite."

Yuri kept looking at the girls and then sending Kai pointed looks. "...I still can't believe you kept this a secret."

Kai chuckled. "Well. There's a lot that I kept close to my chest."

After that, Suzume stepped forward and looked at the girls from Mystic Bouquet. "Um... I don't know much about you. But it seems like you're our Senpais in the idol business too?"

Shu turned on Suzume and waved her hand. "They're not just Senpais, Suzu-chan! They're Dai-Senpai! The best idols there ever were!"

Sayuri's ears turned red and she said, "I wouldn't say that..."

Yura blushed and started fidgeting. "Y-Yeah. We weren't *that* great..."

Sumire smiled and said, "Oh stop being so modest, you two." She looked at Shu and then gave a grateful nod. "I'm happy for your kind words."

Shu let out a happy squeal and then froze, forcibly standing still to calm herself down.

Kai looked at the two groups interacting and let out a soft smile.

This was good.

His girls had been weighed down a lot with the thought that they betrayed their fans with the scandal. And there wasn't any way to bring them to meet any of their supporters without drawing all of the negative press or haters.

Did John know about this?

Shu was a super fan. Chihiro enjoyed their music. Yuri knew about them and didn't believe the way the scandal was printed... and Suzume was someone who never even heard of them, so could treat them as an ordinary person instead of someone to admire.

A peaceful scene. The girls from Mystic Bouquet finally being able to let go of a bit of their worries. The girls from Prodigy finally having proper mentor figures instead of being left out to their own devices.

It was great. And Kai would have loved to have it go on a bit longer. But first...

Kai clapped his hands and said, "Alright, girls. There's a lot of work to do before the stream starts. So... Let's get to it."

Another chance. A path to a bright new future for everyone around.

Kai smiled and said, "The stream's in three hours. Before then, we need to run through what you girls have planned and see how you play off each other. Then we'll pair off and see how that goes..."

Suzume quietly raised her hand.

Kai blinked and looked at her. "Yes, Suzume?"

"...What plan?"

"..."

Kai let out a deep sigh and rubbed his face.

Dammit, John. Do you even know the first thing about running an idol group...?

Probably the Prodigy collab stream next chapter and then a surprise Alfi/Aoko stream collab after that. We'll see how it goes. Thanks for reading!

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