At a hotel a few blocks away from Myth Inc. HQ, around dinner time, a young Asian woman walked into the lobby tugging a rolling suitcase behind her. Wearing a fluffy brown fox-ear headband and a matching tail tied to her waist, she looked around with a frown. But as she did, she caught sight of a young man standing off to the side of the lobby with his own suitcase.
The young man looked up and smiled. Brushing a strand of his curly hair out of his eyes, he smiled and waved. “Foxy.”
Foxy walked over and said, “Sorry I’m late. The flight got delayed a bit. Something about a freak winter storm?”
Orca smiled and said, “No problem at all. It has not been long since I arrived.” He held up his phone and said, “I was simply checking in on Garbage before you walked in.”
“Oh yeah!” Foxy pulled out her phone as well and opened up the secure chat app John sent them. “What’s that guy doing right now?”
>StraightGarbage: Ugh. I’m getting grilled here.
>StraightGarbage: Hey! You two better not be getting all buddy buddy without me!
>StraightGarbage: Oh. Right. You guys are probably in the air right now…
>StraightGarbage: Lucky bastards. My overprotective big sis wouldn’t let my fly over. It’s only like a two hour flight from Osaka to Tokyo anyway… It’s not like I could have gotten into much trouble.
>StraightGarbage: I wonder if we get a nice hotel? Mister John said we get housing and stuff, so is he gonna cheap out?
>StraightGarbage: …I’m so bored.
>JohnSmith <ADMIN>: Alfis_Couch has joined.
>JohnSmith <ADMIN>: Alfis_HotCocoa has joined.
>JohnSmith <ADMIN>: Alfis_Knight has joined.
>JohnSmith <ADMIN>: Don’t get too excited. I’m just setting things up right now. Haven’t given the three their phones yet since we’re running orientation.
>StraightGarbage: Hey! You can’t just favor your daughter’s fans!
>JohnSmith <ADMIN>: Well then have your sister drive faster to get here. And stop sending so many messages. If you’re that bored, go look up the terms and conditions on what can be included in channel memberships.
>JohnSmith <ADMIN>: And stop acting like an Aussie when you’re a true-bred Nippon.
Foxy snorted and said, “Looks like Garbage is having fun.”
Orca chuckled and put his phone back in his pocket. “And it seems like Mister John is quite busy.” He looked back to Foxy and said, “If those three are anything like they are in chat, they must be a handful.”
Foxy leaned against the wall next to Orca and said, “Probably. But ‘Mister’ John, huh?” She hummed and said, “I guess we should be a bit more formal… Ah!” She pointed at Orca and said, “Wait! Since when were you so good at Japanese?! You’ve been using Keigo this entire time!”
“Is that what it is called?” Orca shrugged and said, “My father suggested that I review and practice this manner of speaking before I arrived in this land. The people of Japan are said to be particular in their decorum and if we are to represent Queen, it is essential to abide by such customs.”
Foxy shivered. “Could you not? Hearing a real life prince talk like that when it should be the other way around is giving me heebiejeebies.”
Orca adjusted his dress shirt, casually flashing his rings, and said, “A prince I may be in my homeland. However, here I am but a simple servant.”
Orca laughed and said, “Fine, fine. I’ll speak more casually.”
Foxy let out a sigh. “Thank god. Any more of that and I would have pounced on you.” She rummaged around her bag for her passport and muttered, “Stupid Orca and your stupid, sexy looks…”
Orca smiled and said, “I appreciate the compliment. You aren’t half bad yourself, Foxy.”
“Only not half-bad?!” Foxy zipped up her bag and said, “I will have you know sir that I have over ten thousand followers on LonelyFans! And my pics get millions of views!”
Orca casually moved away from the wall and grabbed the handle of his bag. “Lonely men and children will flock to any half-decent beauty, particularly one that bares it all for the world to see. I don’t particularly look down on such women… but it’s a bit much to be bragging about it, don’t you think?”
“Hmph.” Foxy crossed her arms and said, “You can only say that because you were born rich and handsome.”
“This is true. Unfortunately, because I was born rich and handsome, mundane things are difficult to perform.”
“Oh yeah? Like what?”
“Like checking into a hotel.” Orca pointed at the front lobby and gestured towards the staff who were giving him wary and nervous looks. “…Mind being a lady and helping this poor prince out?”
Foxy snorted. “Mind being a prince and paying for dinner?”
Orca held out his hand and nodded. “Deal.”
Foxy grabbed it and said, “Don’t regret it now, Hubby~!”
“…Hold on. I may have miscalculated-“
Before Orca could finish, Foxy started dragging him to the front desk and said, “Staff-san! We’re here to check-in!”
In the same hotel, within a fancy suite Knight and Couch sat across from each other at a table. Both of them had the same pose, hunched over with hands laced together and covering half their face. The infamous ‘Gendo’ pose.
A tense silence passed between the two before Knight spoke up. “To think that Alfi’s Papa was that formidable…”
Couch gave a curt nod and said, “I know.”
Another tense silence. The two staring at each other with a shared understanding that didn’t require words, simply contemplating the last few hours.
That silence was broken by the sound of a keycard sliding through the lockpad outside, followed by a soft ‘click’ as the door unlocked.
Knight glanced over, eyes narrowed.
Couch glanced over as well, her gray eyes glimmering with anticipation.
And then Hottie walked into the room. Flicking on the light switch, he noticed Knight and Couch sitting across from each other and paused.
The three superfans of Alfi stared at each other without a word.
And then Hottie let out an exasperated sigh, running his right hand through his silver hair. “Please tell me that you two have not been sitting here this entire time in the dark staring at each other.”
Knight glanced at the bag Hottie was holding in his left hand and said, “Do you have the rations?”
Hottie shook his head and walked in, setting down the bag of McRonalds on the table between Knight and Couch. As he did, he said, “There is dedication, there is roleplay, and there is delusion. Honestly, I thought that you two would be able to tell the difference.” He pulled a chair over to sit at the edge of the table between Knight and Couch. Once that was done, he grabbed a burger from the bag and started unwrapping it. “How am I a more rational person than you adults?”
Knight pulled out a BigRac from the bag and then opened the box. As he did, he said, “To be rational is to accept the inevitability of reality. Why would we do that when to stand by Alfi’s side is to defy the heavens?”
Couch pulled out a half-pound burger with cheese from the bag and said, “What Knight said. Alfi-sama is a goddess. As her most devout followers, we must throw rationale to the side and pursue excellence in every aspect.”
Hottie took a bite from his burger, staring at Knight and Couch. After swallowing it, he sighed and said, “I can see why Mister John is so worried. At this rate, people might really think that Alfis are a real cult.”
Knight waved his burger and said, “We are a sect, not a cult. There is a distinct difference.”
Couch nodded and said, “Yes. A sect working for the betterment of humanity as a whole so that Alfi-sama is not lonely in her eternal life.”
“…” Hottie let out a deep sigh and muttered, “Well. This explains why I’m the team lead.”
Knight let out a deep sigh as well and said, “Regrettably.”
Couch leaned back and placed her feet on the table, angrily tearing into her burger. “Why is it you anyway, Hottie? Looks aren’t everything… Just how did you cozy up to Alfi’s Papa so much?”
“…You see, the reason that you can’t understand that is exactly why I have that job.” Hottie shook his head and then said, “Now.” He put on a serious expression and said, “I have news about Alfi-sama.”
A blur of motion. Burgers being devoured at record pace.
And then Couch and Knight were sitting again in that Gendo pose, staring at Hottie while emitting a strange pressure.
Hottie resisted the urge to let out another sigh. ‘It’s a good thing that I dyed my hair silver already. At this rate, that might become natural…’
Setting that somewhat morbid thought aside, Hottie placed his burger down and said, “We’ll be meeting with Alfi-sama and the rest of the Prototype girls tomorrow to sort out exactly how we can help. But until then…”
Sharp tension in the room. A mutual understanding between all three of the Alfi superfans.
“I see.” Knight stood up and cracked his knuckles.
“So it’s like that.” Couch stood up as well and cracked her neck.
Hottie finished his burger and then brushed off his hands, looking at the other two in front of him. “That’s right. The person who gets to greet Alfi-sama…” He took a step back and clenched his hand in a fist.
Knight took a step to the side and flexed his body, balling a hand up into a fist as well. “The one who will receive her favor…”
Couch swung her arm out and shouted, “Will be me!”
At that time, a soft ‘click’ echoed as the door unlocked.
The three of Alfi’s superfans paused and slowly turned towards the door.
There, a young Japanese man wearing a blue dragon hoodie walked in. “Yo, Orca, Foxy, you in- grk.”
The young Japanese man… No, ‘StraightGarbage’ frozen in place as the door slowly swung shut behind him.
“…Please don’t kill me?”