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Father

The dungeon cores all looked at the man that was displayed on the monitor at the same time. Naturally, this included Rokuko as well.

"Tou-sama... it's been two years since I've paid my respects to your countenance."

Other than [Father] and [Tou-sama], there were also people calling him [King] and [God]. The man had black hair and dark skin and was wrapped in a deep blue vestment. Although Rokuko said 'countenance', half of his face was hidden by an eye mask. None of his mouth was hidden, though, and he was smiling.

Not one of the dungeon cores here knew who he truly was.

However, at the very least, all of the dungeon cores here had been produced by him. This was an unshakable truth.

The standard leading theory was that he was [Dungeon Core No. 0] and all of the dungeon cores here were his [Dummy Cores].

Many of the dungeon cores that took human shape did so because he, as their [Father] had a human shape-or, at the very least, appeared in that form.

Therefore, Haku, who held a human shape from the start, was the object of envy of many of the dungeon cores.

... Another reason Haku lowered the ranking of Rokuko's dungeon was so that she wouldn't be targeted by others' begrudging.

[Oh, are there fewer of you? That's saddening. Maybe I should supplement it with some new children... What do you think, 1?]

"Sir! If father believes as such, should father not do so?"

The knight-formed Core 1 answered [Father]'s question. In this dungeon core assembly, the most influential person-excluding [Father]-was this person. The single-digit number wasn't just for show.

[Hmm. That's a boring answer. Is there any child that has another opinion?]

However, seeming as though Core 1's answer didn't satisfy him, [Father] asked the other cores for an opinion.

-However, no one said anything. No, they couldn't say anything.

Because if they did say something, that was the same thing as speaking out against Core 1. And to begin with, reproving [Father] was a very awful thing to do.

"Could I give my opinion, Otou-sama?"

Among them, a single core raised their hand.

Who? Who was so reckless-thinking that, everyone looked towards the person.

[What is it? 89, what is your opinion?]

[Father]'s voice rose as though delighted. Core 89... Haku smiled.

"Approximately seventy percent of the 600 series are still alive. It might be somewhat premature to birth younger siblings. Would it not be more acceptable to wait for them to decrease a little longer?"

"What's this [Betrayer] saying!?"

With a roar, a quaking voice shook the ground.

Core 5, a black dragon, interrupted the conversation between Haku and [Father]. However, [Father] gently chided 5.

[5. Right now, I am listening to what 89 has to say. You can speak afterwards.]

"E-excuse my impoliteness, dad! But!"

[Didn't I say I would listen afterwards? 5 is wise, so could you wait patiently for me?]

"Y-yes..."

Told that he could wait as he was wise, he would have to deny that if he flared up again. Core 5 could do nothing but withdraw.

Then, [Father] asked Haku again.

[Now, 89, how much do you believe the number of children should decrease beforehand?]

"When the number of surviving members of the 600 series drops below fifty person, I think. It has been similar to that until now."

[Indeed, that is an understandable opinion. Thank you for the consultation.]

"I am honored to hear your praise."

Haku bowed reverently.

[Next, I will hear 5's opinion. What is it?]

"Sir! Father, that 89 there is a [Betrayer] and hunts our brethren. Of the dungeon cores that, the majority are due to 89's guidance. That is likely why she has kept track of the fine details of how much dungeons have survived... she does not deserve having her opinion heard!"

[Hmph. 89, is this so?]

"Yes, I certainly am trimming away other dungeon cores so that I may live, Otou-sama. Is there a problem with that?"

Haku asserted herself, not shy in the least.

[None. Sacrificing others in other to live-that is the correct way. Huh? I get the feeling that I said that last year as well.] "It has been said every year, Otou-sama."

[That so? Well, even so, everyone here is my adorable children. Be moderate, alright?] "Yes, I understand."

Haku smiled.

Haku being disparaged as a [Betrayer] was a usual thing. [Father] lightly admonishing her was also a usual thing.

[So now, what is your opinion on birthing new children, 5?]

"T-that's... I think it's best for dad to do what he wants."

[Un, thanks. Maybe I should try asking some other children, too...]

Muttering as though bored, [Father] started looking for someone else to ask.

[Oh.]

His gaze swept towards Rokuko and stopped.

Rokuko trembled... Surely he wouldn't ask her. Surely.

[112, what do you think? Do you have an opinion?]

So that was it. He wasn't looking at her. Realizing that, Rokuko breathed a sigh of relief.

"Aah... right, huh, I agree with No. 5, father should do what he wants... yeah. If I had to say something, new kids popping up would be interesting? Well, I'll wait even if it doesn't happen right now."

[Heeh. Interesting, huh. That's good.]

Forcibly using polite speech, something he wasn't used to, Ontentoo sounded amusing in various ways. With [Father]'s laughing Core 5 sent Ontentoo a look as though to say [Good Job].

[Well, while we're at it, 695. What do you think?"

"... Haeeh!?"

Suddenly talked to by [Father], Rokuko turned rigid.

... While thinking that she'd love if he stopped with the surprise attacks, she spoke slowly.

"U-ummm... I-I, um, right now, I'm the lowest ranked, of the 600 series... so if I could have juniors, I would be happy, umm, I think... If I were surpassed, I think that I would have mixed feelings about it."

[Hahaha, mixed feeling, huh. People like you are alright, 695.]

Rokuko's face reddened up like a balloon. [People like you], in other words [like Rokuko], which meant that he'd watched Rokuko enough to have an impression of her.

Likewise, she may have simply stood out by being last in the rankings.

Contrasting Rokuko, Haku was smiling radiantly.

Rokuko let out her breath. Even though she knew she was tense, she couldn't help it.

He listened to several other cores after that. However, everything followed what Core 1 said in that [Father] should do what he wanted.

-I might not have stood out if I said something like that too?

Rokuko just now realized that.

[Un, how about we stop for this year? I'll think about it again next year.]

Saying that, [Father] clapped his hands.

The tension in the air gently relaxed.

[Alright everyone. If anyone has a question, demand, or opinion, feel free to say it during the feast alright? I can't interfere with you all much if it's not on an occasion like this after all.]

[Father]'s mouth formed into a smile. Just then, a single dungeon core-one in the form of a man in his prime-raised his voice.

"Ooh, our god! May I ask for this one's wish to be heard?"

[That was quick. What's up, 380? But first, I'd be happy if you called me dad.]

"That's impossible, for a diminutive child like me to.... I shall be god's servant till my last!"

[Aaah, un, so what did you want to ask?]

Core 380 knelt, speaking his wish.

"-! A miracle that displays god's power! I wish for the resurrection of the dead!"

[Oh? You can't? The revival of your favorite child, that is.] [1]

"The one this one wishes to be resurrected is his brother, Core 379! During the winter season, he fell into the wicked 89's machinations and was cast down by the evil god's vanguard..."

[Ah... 379 huh. You were the twin cores, huh. Yep, sorry, but that's no good.]

"Why!? Surely, with god's strength...!!"

[No good] was not [Can't]. There was a large difference between the two... With [Father]'s power, even if a core was destroyed, he could bring it back to life.

However, [Father] spoke heartlessly as though to warn Core 380.

[Because it is against the rules.]

Even [Father] appeared to be bound by some sort of rules.

[Aah, right! I'll make a monster that looks the same as 379. The child would be able to take human form the same as you. It'd use just a bit of DP, but it'd be a monster that you couldn't distinguish from you. 380 won't be lonely anymore with that right? You could produce as many as you want.]

Core 380 looked astonished for an instant before bowing in worship.

"That's... oh, god. This one wishes to express his gratitude."

[Yep, glad I could help!]

Core 380 touched his head to the ground, trembling.

Was he really happy?

Did he truly want to express his gratitude?

Rokuko didn't get it.

Footnotes:

Alright, so pronouns simply don't exist in this sentence and I'm not sure exactly what [Father] is implying here. I'm assuming [Father] was referring to some named monster that 380 summoned, revealing to readers that you can revive dead named monsters. However, I can't be sure myself. The raw, literally translated, simply says: "Oh? Huh, can't? Favorite child's resurrection."

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