"You should join Mirage," they said. "No producer micromanaging every inch of your personality," they said. "Being a vtuber is fun," they said.
...okay, maybe they were half-right? they don't condition you into an exhaustively focus-tested idol archetype mostly meant to appeal to whoever the target audience of "Meganekko Maid Cafe Mutiny: Season 21" was. They do, however, give you a corporate-issue fursona.
Your name is WOOLHELMINA and even if you have an abstract awareness of it you can't remember a time when you weren't a sweet sheepgirl with an affinity for cute puzzle platformers and, occasionally, indie soulslikes with names like "Nyorge Orwell's ANIMAL HARM" and "BAASPHEMOUS." And to be honest, you're kind of okay with that? You have friends. You have people who value you, not just the disposable hyper-curated fantasy AKB102 saw fit to sand your self into. You have stability. You have an employee discount on fluffy froufy coffee drinks.
You also have GRASS-FED BEEF with a fellow Mirage girl and she is just the WORST.
The Mirage Fanwiki entry for Rosette begins with a declaration that she is, and i quote, "a horrible lazy dipshit gremlin wolfgirl. terrible taste. just an absolute garbage dog with extra steps. literally the worst. i love her??"
It is safe to say that you, in fact, do not love her.
She keeps threatening to "devour you with a dozen love bites, if she catches you" when you play Ibex Legends! She teases you like oooh, look at this poor naive little lamb who didn't even push for a not being prey clause in her contract and calls you "baaabe" and "pawrincess" and occasionally "franz foodinand" in the Mirage groupchat! She is the WORST.
So maybe it doesn't need to be said that you are not exactly brimming with joy when the shadowy council of Purrducers announce the "Woolhelmina x Rosette vs. Kemohno Friends" Ibex stream. (The Kemohno Friends are an Extremely Online mongoose-and-snake pair whose energy can best be described as "...and so they were both tops." They're nice to you! They don’t get lost in their own kayfabe! They're very very competitive, but only with each other! They aren't who you're worried about!)
"....eyes front, franz foodinand.” You can hear the lowercase, somehow. “Baavrila Princip could be lurking around any corner! You don't want to be responsible for World War Fun, do you?"
"P--pay attention yourself! I'm not the one who ended up with her head stuck in a bag of animal crackers last time! And--and, besides! I don't even like these games most of the time! You know--"
maybe the mask drops a little.
tiny wobbly strained voice. "....they stress me out...."
"Hn." There's this little half-growl half-purr, one of those noises Rosette just makes after long enough in Mirage's care.
Your aim's a little shaky and you tried putting a six-times scope on a scattergun and everything just feels so overwhelming--
A DM in the corner of your eye.
[Seven Sheep Slowly Slipping Sometime Soon.]
it doesn't feel like the picture those fics paint, sagging eyelids and this sudden sharp blow to your volition. everything just--
everything softens. recedes. cozy constricting warmth and your awareness of the world gently narrowing to a very fine point. a reticle, a 900p square, a voice in one ear.
a steady stream of chatter in your ear and it's easier to hear the tone than the words. all this gloating for the audience about how it was worth it trading "meat pics" for one of your trigger phrases, but--there's a kindness to it. underneath the hungry hungry heel act there's a warmth you can lose yourself in.
....did I mention that Ibex has an amazing tagging system?
she calls out one item after the other, gears you up properly bit by bit. emotes like little morsels of praise each time, buoying you.
the circle shifts and shrinks. not long now.
the rest is maybe a blur. You're not sure what happened, but--but in the end, even if your head's a swirl of fuzzy floaty half-asleep afterglow you're There enough to register that--oh.
that's your character sitting on the Macaron Throne. (In Rosette’s lap.)
there's something you only half-register as you're coming up, some snarl in your ear about how 'I'm the only one who gets to eat you, little lamb," but what you hear underneath is--
love, pure and sweet. love and pride and little fleeting hints of a tone like distilled adoration and
under her breath, before the stream cuts for the night--
“good girl. ♥”