When I returned a few minutes later after the regularly scheduled meeting, Rokuko and Soto were, of course, still in my room.
Soto was being hugged the heck out of by Rokuko.
Her name? Yeah, Soto’s fine, whatever. My boundless openness to things like this has no bounds.
“Ah, I’ll have to ask Ichika if [Soto] means anything weird…”
“Don’t worry about it, I did it while you were asleep, Kehma.”
Looks like Ichika came to my room during the meeting, so she took the chance to ask whether the name was weird. That’s good. Repeating the Meat tragedy would’ve been a mess.
Ah, my [Storage] is still open. Shouldn’t it have, you know, closed by now…? Does it have to do with Soto turning it into a dungeon?
“Do you want it closed, Papa?”
The [Storage] closed with a wave of Soto’s hand.
It felt awkward that I didn’t have to verify it, like my [Storage] wasn’t mine anymore.
“I’ll give Papa back the authority to open and close it too for now!”
“Oh, you can do that? Well, it was originally my [Storage] I guess—wait. While we’re on the subject… Soto. Where’d the stuff in my [Storage] go?”
“… Where’d it go?”
Teehee my butt.
“Thanks for the meat!”
“… There was food in it, true.”
“It was delicious!”
“But what about the orichalcum sword or my bombs?”
“They were great! Such exciting energy… fuhehe…”
“You enjoyed it huh~? Okay~ then~”
… She ate so many things!?
No, I mean, it might be natural since she’s a Dungeon Core and all, but still. I guess I should just be happy that she didn’t eat any of the Godly Beddings items…
Orichalcum took a good while to produce, but it wasn’t overly bad since we did have a system in place to produce more. I guess I could chalk it up to the cost of childbirth…?
Just then, the door burst open.
“Goshujin-sama, congratulations on the baby!”
Meat spoke with an excited—err, no, expressionless—face, but at least her tail was wagging back and forth.
When Meat saw Soto being hugged by Rokuko, she drew closer and bowed.
“Soto-sama. I am Goshujin-sama’s primary slave, Meat Blackdog. I am pleased to make your acquaintance.”
“So cuuuute! Give me your socks!”
Then when she processed what Soto said, she took off her maid outfit’s knee socks unhesitatingly. Her tanned legs exposed, she handed over the pair of knee socks to Soto.
“Fuhehehe, thanks~… om nom nom.”
Upon which Soto began to eat the knee socks. Ravenously.
“Oi!? Spit it out, spit it out!”
“So good~! Socks are the best! They remind me of what I ate in Papa!”
“I see, so you’re like Kehma there. Make sure to chew your food properly, alright?”
“It appears she inherited Goshujin-sama’s blood.”
Rokuko calmly took out replacement socks and handed them to Meat. Soto had eaten the one for her right leg and was beginning to eat the one for her left. This time she started from the thigh area and worked her way down.
I’ve never done that though!? Don’t physically eat the sock!
“It’s okay, Papa. I’m a Dungeon Core, so eating socks won’t hurt my stomach.”
“That’s not the problem here…”
“If you don’t give me permission to eat them… maybe I should tell Mama… about the [Collection] that was in Papa~?”
“[Collection]? What’s she talking about, Kehma?”
“N-Nothing, it’s nothing!”
Dang Soto, are you threatening me on your literal birthday!? Dungeon Cores are incredible.
I don’t have a choice but to accept you eating them if you’re willing to bring out the big guns like that! Damn it!
“B-But there isn’t any evidence of my collection anymore…”
“It’s alright~. I can reproduce anything I eat! Like thiiiis~!”
Before I knew what was happening, Soto was wearing the knee socks she’d just eaten. Seeing that they were sullied, you could definitely say that they were the socks Soto had just eaten.
“… Did you pretend to eat them and pull them out from somewhere.”
“Nuh uh uh. It’s the hero power I inherited from Papa—[Weak Replication]!”
Soto smiled in a way that reminded me of how Rokuko used to.
… Hero power? What’s with it being [Weak] and not [Super]?1 Just in case, I checked my brain for anything happening with my [Super Transformation] and—oh, it feels like it went back to Lv4. Did she absorb it? Is that even possible?
“I can duplicate things I’ve eaten before once per hour. The replica disappears after an hour.”
“That’s convenient… but why is it limited to things you’ve ate?”
“No idea! How would I know if Papa doesn’t even know?”
Uh, okay. As an aside, judging by how she had both knee socks, I guess she was able to replicate multiple things so long as they were part of a set unlike my own [Super Transformation].
“All I want to say is—Papa’s [Collection] was an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord! I won!”
… In other words, should could also produce orichalcum blades and gravity bombs. Although it would be hard to make use of base materials since they’d disappear within an hour, it was instead an [All-You-Can-Use Smorgasbord].
“… Alright. I’ll let you eat socks, Soto, but no more using my [Collection] as a shield anymore.”
Soto agreed with her hands in the air looking pleased.
Really, thinking about her future, it either frightens me or feels ominous. Either way, she’s definitely Rokuko’s daughter.
“By the way, Meat, how did you know Soto’s name? I hadn’t told you yet.”
“Ichika told me.”
Oh, right. I guess that’s how Meat knew to come in the first place?
“Still though, I wonder how I’m going to explain Soto to the villagers… my secret child maybe?”
“She looks like she could be Meat’s sister.”
“… My sister?”
Oh yeah, there’s that whole thing about Meat being treated as my daughter. The whole black hair thing.
“… Onee-chan! Wear black tights next time.”
“Tights? Alright, I will tomorrow.”
“Yay! White, white tights! Onee-chan would look so cute in them!”
Saying that, Soto hugged Meat tightly… I wonder why she likes white… maybe it’s an influence from the black wolf’s slime from the bombs?
“… Well, the villagers should accept it at that… the last barrier will be actually introducing her, I guess.”
“Oh, don’t worry for Haku Ane-sama, I already sent her mail.”
“I mean, when it’s for something as important as a daughter, wouldn’t she be angry if we kept it from her? … You think you could hide it from Dolche? And our next child?”
In that case, isn’t it better to just tell her?
… If we can reduce the damage as much as possible by letting her know in good faith… my victory condition is survival, after all. Let’s roll with it.
“By the way, uhh, what was Haku-san’s reply?”
“She hasn’t responded yet… oh, it just came in.”
Geh! I’m afraid, very afraid!
“So… what did she say…?”
“Fufufun, look, Kehma! Onee-sama’s blessing us, too!”
The mail definitely was saying that congratulated Rokuko and Soto.
… Yeah, it’s a blessing, but my name’s not mentioned anywhere?
“It said that she wants to see her in person and to meet up at [White Beach] tomorrow.”
“Uuu, can I run away?”
“Of course not? You’re Soto’s Papa, Kehma. It’s important for you to introduce her to Haku Ane-sama, so shape up.”
And that’s how that was decided.
Due to suddenly finding out that I had a daughter and that I would have to meet Haku-san about it, as expected, I only slept a mere eight hours that night.