383 – Life Counseling – Shu
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"The beginning?" Shu tilted her head and said, "Do you mean from when I first met you, Mister John?"

John nodded and said, "There's fine. Or you can start with earlier on if you want." He shifted Aurora in his lap to make her more comfortable before saying, "Again, this is just to get to know you better."

"Um... Okay." Shu paused to think for a bit.

John gave her the time to collect her thoughts. In the mean time, he leaned down to whisper to Aurora and said, "Now you be quiet, sweetie. Daddy's working."

Aurora puffed her cheeks, but she nodded and then leaned back, chewing on her pacifier.

After a few moments, Shu nodded and said, "Well... Um." She laughed and scratched the back of her head before saying, "I guess I should start with how I ran away from home?"

John paused. "...Really now?"

That would explain why Shu seemed to have so many odd jobs listed on her resume when she applied...Shu nodded. "Mmhm. Gramps wanted me to settle down and inherit the dojo, but I didn't want to so I ran away." She laughed and said, "It was really easy, too! Those old farts had been slacking too much, so I just kicked them around for a bit and then ran off."

John blinked and then said, "I... see."

Aurora gave John a look, as if to say 'these are the people you hire?'

John decided to ignore his daughter and focus on Shu. "I won't be getting any angry phone calls or suspicious people roaming around the office any time soon, will I?"

Shu waved her hand and said, "Don't worry about it, Mister John. I called Gramps after I started streaming and said I was becoming a movie star like Bruise Li." She laughed and said, "The old man was so excited about having our turtle style on the big screen that he accidentally hung up. Twice!"

John blinked.

Turtle style... Like a certain 'Master Master' who lived out in the middle of an ocean somewhere?

"...You wouldn't happen to know a secret energy wave technique that was named after a famous Hawaiian King, do you?"

"Hm?" Shu blinked and then said, "No. The Black Turtle and Dark Warrior styles both focus on cultivating the physique. Like this." She casually flicked her arm.

The moment she did, a sharp 'swish' echoed, like a blade cutting through the air.

John ignored the piercing gaze that he felt from Aurora and then nodded. "Of course. That makes sense..."

Not!

He knew that people could get to ridiculous levels of power in this world. If that wasn't possible, Shin Seiryuu and the yakuza wouldn't have such a stranglehold on Japan.

But it was one thing for a crazy sociopathic bastard who spent every waking moment of his life training to have that level of power.

For a young girl who was just 17 to have such a trained physique...

...Did someone from the Three Realms accidentally fall through a crack here in the past and drop a cultivation manual?

It was impossible to reach foundation establishment in this realm because there wasn't really any qi or spiritual energy to cultivate, but technically, physique training didn't need that...

Shu laughed and said, "I think you've been watching too much anime, Mister John." She shook her head and said, "Energy techniques... If something like that was possible, then that yakuza guy would have ruled the world by now, wouldn't he?"

"True." John nodded and said, "If someone could do that here on Earth, nobody would be able to stop them."

"Right?" Shu laughed.

John laughed as well.

And Aurora gave a pointed look towards her father.

Shu smiled and then grabbed a soda can from the cooler sitting next to the table in front of her. Cracking it open, she said, "Can you tell me a bit about yourself, Mister John?" She took a sip and then said, "I'm still really impressed that a foreigner can speak Japanese so good!"

"It's speak Japanese 'well' Shu." John shifted Aurora to a one-armed hold and then grabbed a soda for himself. He cracked it open with one hand before taking a sip. "And telling you about me... Mm."

John reflected on the very long and colorful life history he had for a moment before saying, "How about you tell me what you want to know? If we start from the beginning for me, we'll be here for the next decade."

Shu's eyes sparkled and she said, "Wow! You've got that many stories?"

John chuckled and said, "All the shenanigans I've been up to since arriving in Japan could probably fill a twelve volume light novel set by itself. If we include all everything I've ever done..."

He paused to think about it and then said, "...I think it might be twice the length of One P- I mean, One Chunk."

"Longer than the pirate manga that's been going for over 25 years?!" Shu gasped and said, "Now I *really* want to know, Mister John!"

John laughed and said, "Maybe I'll write a web novel about it one day. Those are popular now, right? But anyway..." He sipped on his soda one more time before setting aside. "What do you want to know, Shu?"

Shu frowned, wrinkling her forehead as she stopped to think. But then she said, "Well... How *do* you know how to speak Japanese so well?"

"Easy answer. I'm a super weeb- Ah, I guess it's super 'otaku' here? Weeb's more of an overseas term."

Shu gasped and jumped out of her seat. "Eh?!" She pointed at John and said, "You? An otaku!?"

John chuckled. "Incredible, I know-"

"But you're super attractive! And rich! And independent!"

"Yes, I'm-"

"You have beautiful children! A super beautiful wife! And a job!"

"Hey now, not all-"

"And you're not fat! Or creepy!"

"...I think you should stop there, Shu. Some people might drop dead from hearing your complaints."

Shu blushed and then cleared her throat.

Aurora giggled, causing her pacifier to fall out of her mouth.

John grabbed it before it hit the ground and handed it back to Aurora. After that, he said, "Anyway, I can speak Japanese well because I was a super otaku and also spent a lot of time learning other languages."

Shu's eyes sparkled and she said, "Is it true that you're a super secret eminence in the shadows ruling over the international criminal underworld then?!"

"What? No!"

"Aw..."

John shook his head and said, "Where did you even get that idea?"

Shu leaned back and said, "Well, Loreowl made a big thread about you on Readit. It's really convincing, you know?"

John blinked and said, "I don't know." After that, he shifted Aurora around again and grabbed his tablet.

Note to self. Check the Red- Readit thread on me to see what nonsense that crazy owl has been ranting about.

John set the tablet back down and said, "Anyway, I'm not an eminence in the shadows ruling over the international criminal underworld."

Shu frowned and said, "...But there are pictures?"

"And pictures can be faked."

"Oh. Right." Shu sighed and said, "It would have made it much more exciting if you were though..."

Aurora giggled again.

"Hush, you." John grabbed Aurora's pacifier and shoved it back into her mouth.

Aurora puffed her cheeks, but then obediently leaned back against John's arm.

Shu hummed and said, "Then what did you do before coming to Japan, Mister John? I mean, you made enough money to give me a huge tip even before Project MirAIs was big, right? Are you like a secret royal prince or something?"

"...Maybe I should just hire Loreowl at this point."

That guy seemed to be good at convincing people of the wildest theories...

"But no." John chuckled and said, "I've just got another boring answer for you. My money's made through various smart investments in things like cryptocurrency, stocks, venture capital, and various patents."

Mostly stocks. And boy was that annoying to bypass. The number of super precise thresholds that he had to balance against in order to not trigger the automatic reporting system and red flags for insider trading...

Crypto was soo much easier to spoof money with.

Well, that and opening up various rare mineral mines that John privately seeded with high quality ores...

Aurora seemed to have gotten bored at the conversation and drifted off to sleep.

Seeing that, John shifted her to make her a bit more comfortable. After that, John looked at Shu and said, "Do you mind if I ask you some stuff now, Shu?"

"Oh!" Shu gave a thumbs up and said, "Ask away, Mister John!"

"How've you been recently? Any problems with the streaming or any general concerns?"

Shu blinked and then leaned forward, resting her chin on her right fist. "Hm... Not really? The membership streams have been going well." She laughed and said, "People love superchatting to control the combat bots in the movies we make."

"Oh yeah. You were planning to make some classic martial arts type movies, right? Did you need some help with that? Or some stunt extras?"

Shu shook her head and said, "Nope! The bots Mister Titor gave me are super good at that! And they can even do the awesome holographic thingy to look like real people, so it's great!"

"I-I see..."

Darn. And here John was thinking that he could have the chance to show off a bit again. It had been a while since he did some basic martial arts, so it'd be fun...

Hm.

Well, Myth Incorporated WAS an entertainment company.

Maybe he should just start filming some classic wuxia and xianxia films?

Wait.

That's a BRILLIANT idea!

John quickly grabbed his tablet and then started furiously writing his ideas down.

Since he was one-handed at the moment due to holding Aurora, he started writing in Chinese... well, technically the Three Realms version of Chinese.

Fortunately, he was used to rapid writing due to that one chuuni phase in the past where he thought it'd be fun to make flashy attacks by scribbling Chinese characters in mid-air.

"M-Mister John?" Shu looked concerned and said, "D-D-Did I say something wrong? W-Why are you writing so much?"

"Ah." John finished his notes and said, "Sorry about that. Just had a great idea for a personal project."

"...Really?" Shu eyed the tablet and said, "...It's not a report to fire me or anything?"

"Fire you?" John frowned and said, "Why would I do that? You're doing a great job."

"Phew!" Shu laughed and said, "Sorry. I was just worried." She scratched the back of her head and said, "I'm a bit clumsy, so it wouldn't be the first time."

"Well, you don't need to worry about that, Shu." John set his tablet aside and said, "The only reason I would fire you would be if you went out of your way to expose who your coworkers are out of malice." He paused and said, "Even then, I'd first run some damage control and talk to you to find out why before I fire you."

Shu smiled and said, "You're a great boss, Mister John!"

"I mean, I have nothing to lose, so..."

Shu laughed.

...It wasn't a joke, but John smiled and went along with it.

Shu stretched and said, "Anyway... is that it, Mister John?" She pulled out her phone to check the time and said, "It's been a while now, hasn't it?"

John tapped on his tablet to check the time as well and said, "Not that long. We've still got over half an hour left... Unless you have something you need to head out early to do?"

"Oh! No, no." Shu looked at Aurora and said, "I just thought you might want to put Aurora to sleep."

John shrugged. "It's fine. Aurora probably appreciates the time away from her mom anyway."

"Eh?" Shu frowned and said, "But don't babies like being with their mom?"

"Of course. But my lovely wife is a bit too affectionate." John reached down to poke Aurora's nose and said, "Isn't that right, Aurora?"

Aurora wrinkled her nose and then turned around, covering her face with her hand.

John chuckled and then looked back at Shu. "Anyway, don't worry about it. We've still got time to chat if you want to."

"Ooh!" Shu's eyes sparkled and she said, "Can you tell me about the time you dressed up as a lady to save your sister then? Alphy-senpai said it was a really interesting story!"

...

Alphy, sweetie. Papa loves you, but could you please stop throwing him under the bus...?

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