A renaissance of creativity. One where anyone could fulfill their dreams by doing what they loved and sharing it with the world.
It had already begun with the start of UTube and streaming. But now with the advent of Project MirAIs, the MIRAIZ app and streaming service, as well as the massively popular VRMMORPG <World Line>, practically anyone could make a living as a content creator.
The next tech bubble. A digital gold rush.
And the man behind it all was John Smith. A name as generic as could be, but a man anything but with all of his accomplishments.
"That's why we're here today, folks!" Poppy Gloria stood up and clapped her hands. "Give a round of applause for our guest, the man, the myth, the legend... John Smith!"
John waved as he slowly turned around, looking at the surroundings.
A flashy studio with expensive cameras and lighting. A set with comfortable couches and decor fit for a television talk show. And a live studio audience standing and applauding as John walked on from off-stage.
John flashed his best winning smile as he waved at the audience.
The audience applause instantly ramped up in volume.
"WE LOVE YOU JOHN!"
A few middle-aged housewives as well as some university-aged young women.
"YOSH! ALFI'S PAPA! GOOOOOOOOO!"
A group of completely shredded athletes wearing white headbands and waving flags with a chibi Alfi.
"THANK YOU FOR SAVING OUR IMOUTO!"
A group of university students and high school students in the middle of the audience, holding a banner that said 'Thank you John!'
"GIVE QUEEN A RAISE!"
And then a group of people that looked like either ex-yakuza, wannabe yakuza, or general misfits shouted from the back.
Of course, that was only audible to John. To everyone watching at home, John was sure that it just sounded like a roar of applause.
'A lot's changed, huh?'
There were a few fans of the Prodigy girls mixed into the audience, but they weren't as passionate as the Prototype fans.
John saw a few people wearing Tsubame's lucky charm merch hanging around the corners of the audience. There were some people with Rhea's abstract 'modern art' t-shirts. Some people repped Kuromi with her training hoodies. And then there were fans of Miya... carrying life-sized cardboard cutouts and body pillows of her?
'I guess Yuri does give off the most waifu appeal when she's streaming as Miya...'
He shifted his gaze away from the audience and then walked over to Poppy, holding out his hand. "It's a pleasure to be here, Poppy."
Poppy shook his hand and said, "Please, the pleasure's all mine, John!" She gestured towards the chair and said, "Make yourself comfortable, because we've got a hot seat for you tonight with heavy hitting questions."
John chuckled and sat down. "Well, I'll see what I can do."
Poppy took her seat and waited for the applause to die down. After it did, she looked at John and said, "You've been quite busy recently, Mister Smith."
John waved his hand and said, "Just John's fine. I might be in the limelight right now, but at the end of the day, I'm just another guy, you know?"
Boos immediately echoed from the audience.
John held out his hands and said, "What? It's true. I wake up, check on my baby girl and cute wifey, call my daughters, go do some work, and then try and have as much family time between the craziness that seems to have crept into my life with recent events."
Poppy laughed and said, "Well, John. I think most of us just find it hard to believe that such an accomplished man like yourself lives like us mere mortals."
John shrugged and said, "I guess that's true. People always want to believe the story instead of the reality... But enough about me." He gestured around the set and said, "You've been busy too, it seems. A proper set, live audience, and even a whole studio streaming to the world... I would have thought you'd want to live a quiet retirement life like Pewdi- I mean, PewPewPie."
Poppy laughed and said, "Well, I'm a sucker for drama. And with all the drama going on in the world right now, I couldn't just sit back and watch, could I?"
"True, true." John smiled and said, "Some people get the content creating out of their system, but others can't breathe without it, right?"
"Oh?" Poppy leaned forward and said, "You speak like you have experience, John... Is it because of your cross-dressing history?"
John furrowed his brow and said, "Okay, that was ONE time. And my lovely eldest daughter's been having a bit too much fun throwing her dad under the bus, so don't take what she says too seriously."
Jeers and boos echoed from the audience again.
Poppy laughed and said, "Well, it seems like our friends here don't quite buy it, John."
John sighed and said, "The story of my life..." He paused and then said, "Which, come to think of it, probably wouldn't be taken seriously even if I published it..."
"Oho?" Poppy raised an eyebrow and said, "Do we have a teaser for the Life of John Smith in the works?"
John shook his head. "I'll think about it." He chuckled and said, "The world might not be ready for that just yet."
Maybe when Titor finished Project Babel and started introducing the idea of isekais being real to the public as a whole...
Poppy sighed and brushed a strand of her sandy blonde hair out of her eyes. "That's a shame. I think the world wants to know more about the mysterious Mister Smith." She looked towards the audience and said, "Don't you agree?"
An immediate roar from the audience.
"SPILL THE BEANS!"
"LORE DUMP! LORE DUMP!"
...Was that last guy Loreowl?
Needed to bring that guy on board soon to help with the lore videos for the girls...
John smiled and said, "Maybe soon. I'll see if I can convince the wifey for some cute family streams every now and then to reminisce about the past."
Roaring applause and cheers.
"YUE FOR THE WIN!"
"LADY YUE! LADY YUE!"
John kept smiling with a perfect poker expression.
...Were those guys alright? Maybe they'd been exposed to Alphy's Dao of Destruction (Moe edition) too much...
Project MirAIs was an idol group, not a cult...
Poppy waved the audience down and then turned her attention back to John. "Well then... since we've made you promise that..." She pointed to the camera and said, "Clippers! You know what to do!"
John groaned and said, "Clippers..."
"Hm?" Poppy looked at John and said, "You got something against clippers?"
"Generally, no." John shook his head and said, "They save me a lot of work from having to manually make clips for the girls on their channels. We've even recently hired a few of the more popular ones onto the staff for official clips, like Statz, Vtube Rengoku, Vcap Clipz, and some more." He sighed and said, "It's specifically the ones that clip things out of context with clickbaity titles and lewd thumbnails. I mean, I respect the game, but it's definitely annoying. Not to mention unethical with the younger girls like Hana."
"Aaah." Poppy nodded and said, "Sadly, that's the way the algorithm works."
John sighed again and said, "Sadly, yes. Human nature hasn't changed at its core in this world. There's always the good with the bad. But on the bright side." He smiled and said, "There's been a lot of good coming about from all this." He glanced at the crowd and said, "I'm sure I don't need to mention it, right guys?"
Cheers erupted from the audience.
Poppy laughed. After waiting for the audience the quiet down again, she said, "Project MirAIs *has* made quite the storm, hasn't it? VTubers have become a household name, everyone from a high schooler to their grandma is streaming... and all of it because of you, John." She leaned back and waved her hand. "How do you feel about this now that we're a few months in? It'll be February in a couple days, so can we have a reflection from Myth Incorporated's infamous CEO? Any highlights? Struggles? Favorite and worst moments?"
John paused to think about the question.
A few months... compared to all the time he spent in the Three Realms, it was nothing at all. Even less than a blink of an eye.
On the other hand, more had happened in the past few months than he expected.
Saving Rin from her desperate situation.
Starting Project MirAIs on a whim after picking up the failed idol agency from Kai and thinking about a way to protect Rin from the troubles an ordinary idol would have.
Obviously, there was reuniting with Yue and finding out that she was pregnant. But there was also seeing his other daughters gradually unwind and become their own persons.
Then there was that yakuza stint, the new girls, all the shenanigans Titor pulled...
"Honestly, hard to say." John laughed and said, "I could probably fill a whole book series about everything that's happened, so..."
Poppy rolled her eyes and said, "You keep teasing us about these books, John. One of these days you might just have some angry fans line up at your door demanding you to write them... And I'll be standing right there in front."
Poppy waved her hands and said, "Fine, fine. Then how about this? What was it like behind the scenes of Aoko's infamous bet that turned to almost three days of being live?"
Laughter echoed, along with cheers from the audience again.
And then it abruptly ended when the TV shut off.
Meggie turned to glare at the person responsible and said, "I was watching that!"
John tossed the remote on a nearby table and said, "Stop watching old news rerun on TV and get ready, Meggie."
Meggie huffed, but grudgingly got out of her seat.
The living room in the Smith Family home. A nice Western style house with two levels, as well as just the right size for parents, an infant daughter, and a teenage daughter in her rebellious phase.
Pink sakura and peach blossom petals drifted past the windows, signifying spring had come. And even if they didn't, the warm sunlight shining in as well as the lack of snow outside would have made that obvious.
Despite that fact, Meggie kept wearing her favorite black oversized hoodie and jeans outfit. And at that time, she tucked her hands into the front pocket of her hoodie and said, "Do I really have to go? We're rich, right? Do I even need school?"
John summoned a mirror to check on his black suit and then adjusted his tie. "No." He glanced over at Meggie and said, "But do you really want to disappoint your mom after she went through all the trouble of not only sacrificing her cuddle time with Rory, but also opening up a whole high school just for you?"
Meggie rolled her eyes. "Come on, Dad. We both know that it was opened so that Rin and the other girls could go to school together, not me."
John blinked and turned to look at Meggie.
"W-What are you giving me that look for?" Meggie huffed and said, "I'm not wrong!"
John shook his head and said, "You're giving either me or your mother a lot more credit than either of us deserve if you think it's for them and not for our adorable teenaged daughter who kept implying that she wanted to go to school with her bestie for the past few months."
Meggie's face turned red and she said, "I-I was fine with going to an ordinary school! You didn't have to open a special academy!"
"Well, should've told that to your mother, grandfather, aunts, and big sisters before then."
John chucked the mirror back into his Heavenly Realm and turned to look at Meggie. "Besides, it's already April. You've had over four months of playing around since you got here."
"Yeah." Meggie nodded and said, "Only four months."
John rolled his eyes and said, "That's more than the 104 days of summer vacation kids have back in my hometown before school came along to end it. Now come on." He gestured towards Meggie and said, "You can keep the sweater and be all edgy, but at least wear the uniform beneath it."
Meggie sighed and started walking towards her room. "Fiiiine. Stupid workaholic Dad..."
"Hey!" John frowned and said, "I heard that! And I resent that statement!"
Meggie stopped at her door and then turned her head back to look at her dad. "Good!" She stuck out her tongue and then walked into her room, slamming the door behind her.
"Teenagers, I swear... They think they can act however the hell they want with their parents because they're just a little bigger than they used to be."
Meggie opened the door again and glared at her dad. "I heard that!"
John stuck his thumb up and said, "Good! See how it feels?"
"Ugh!" Meggie slammed the door shut again and then walked over to her closet.
Where the hell was that damned uniform...?
John waited as he heard Meggie slam things around and curse, rummaging for her uniform.
...She'd probably take a while considering how messy her room was.
Since that was the case, John turned on the TV again, flipping back to the news section that Meggie was watching.
"They really rebroadcasted it, huh?"
It was an old interview with Poppy Gloria shortly after the Project MirAIs girls opened their memberships. Sort of a retrospective on the infamous 'John Smith' that came in like a bolt out of the blue.
Oh if only they knew...
But in any case...
John watched the interview play out and sighed. "Time really waits for no one, huh?"
Since that time, winter had turned to spring, the Valentine's Day and White Day chocolate incident occurred with the girls, and auditions opened up for the experimental male idol branch of Project MirAIs.
Though at this point, John wondered if they were still an idol company...
He shook his head and turned off the TV before pulling out his phone to check the time.
8:30 AM, April 7th, 2025.
The opening ceremony was at 10 AM, so there was still a bit of time.
In the meanwhile...
John swiped down on his phone to check his notifications.
There were a lot.
The usual business emails, texts, voicemails...
But there was also a stack of messenger notifications from someone that he hadn't opened quite yet.
[The 'MAD SCIENTIST' Sunnuvbeesh]
> Hey! Hey you bastard!
> I know you're reading these!
> Answer me, dammit!
> How tf did you know she was pregnant?!
> What do I even do?!
> Dammit, John, istg!
> Ama-chan's nauseous and throwing up all the time!
> WHY DOES SHE LIKE PICKLES AND ICE CREAM?!
John chuckled and slipped his phone back into his pocket.
At that time, Meggie opened her door and walked out.
Like John suggested, she was wearing a hoodie over her school blazer and skirt uniform.
It was a different hoodie though since the first one had been a slip-on. This one was a black zip-up hoodie with tiny CapsuMon decals all over.
Seeing that, John seriously stared at Meggie and frowned, rubbing his chin.
Meggie stared at John and then blushed. "W-What?" She tugged down the hem of her hoodie before saying, "I-I promised to match with Tsuki, okay?!"
A cute and very tsun response. Considering how she had also just been protesting about going to school but now was talking about matching with her bestie doubled-down on her tsun factor.
...And she was even wearing thigh-high stockings with a dress instead of pants?
Meggie stuffed her hands into her hoodie pockets and said, "S-Stop staring! I-I don't look that weird, Dad!"
John nodded. "Yes. You just look stunningly adorable in the best gamer girl way and I'm thinking real hard on whether or not I'm comfortable with that fact and the thought that my cute Meggie is likely to bring back home four different guy friends on the first day of school."
Meggie just had that female main character look and atmosphere around her.
Unique hair from the green and gold highlights. Unique gold eye color. Stunningly beautiful looks that were played down a bit because she didn't bother to style her hair or really coordinate her outfit.
A tomboyish personality with her tsun responses, but also a surprisingly girly side since she chose to wear a skirt instead of pants with her blazer...
John nodded. "Yeah... Might need to bring Kiri and the others back to introduce to your new friends..."
Meggie rolled her eyes and said, "Whatever. Let's just go already. I wanna grab a coffee before the opening ceremony."
"Of course, Princess."
"Could you not?"
"But it's the day my beloved Princess makes her debut to society. As a father, I have to treat you extra nice, don't I?"
"...I hate you."
"Those words hurt more than you know when you say them to a parent, Meggie. But it's okay. I know you really love me."
Meggie's ears turned a bright red and she started stomping towards the door. "Just come on already, Dad! Sheesh!"
John laughed and followed after her.