Chapter 1064: Dad of the Year

After we returned back to my Admin Room, Dana immediately went to begin carrying out the instructions that I had given her while we were still at Sarah’s place. Meanwhile, I informed the others what the cost of ‘perfecting’ our Hyperlane Network would be. Once that information was out there, a somber atmosphere filled the room.

I let Terra know that I was planning for this to be a sacrifice worthy of being recorded in the Heroic Spirits, and Terra agreed wholeheartedly. After all, the primary condition was for one to sacrifice themselves for the sake of a planet or universe, even at the cost of certain death.

Thankfully, Dana knew who to tell this information to. Rather than putting this information out in front of the public, and having them put pressure on the Fallen Gods to protect them, she contacted them directly. For those she couldn’t personally inform, she sent the message via Leowynn, who was able to reach them with ease.

Now, it became a matter of waiting. There was less than one week before the first world would be in true danger, and it was time to see whether or not people stepped forward.

“You’re thinking about it, aren’t you?” Sprigga asked Giles, who stood with her atop the branch of a large tree. When they learned about the incoming invasion of memetic monsters, they hurried back to Earth. There was nothing that they could do for their daughters, as they didn’t have the ability to create the Hyperlane Network on their own.

At the same time, the groves that their daughters established were unlikely to draw the attention of those monsters for now, as their populations were far too small. The amount of information available from them would only be a fraction of what most occupied worlds could offer. However, Giles knew that would change as soon as these barriers were reinforced. At that point, even if the meal was small, they would be the most appetizing dish in the universe.

“If… and I mean if. If I accept this… I would ask that they make establishing those network nodes a priority.” Giles answered, nodding his head towards Sprigga. Neither of them wanted to see their daughters coming to harm, but there was simply no way to transport entire groves to a safe world at this point in time.

Sprigga reached out, lightly grabbing her husband’s wrist. She wanted to say that they could have more daughters, but she couldn’t. This threat would persist well beyond this incident. If they let their daughters go now, what would they do in the future? They still wouldn’t have the ability to establish the network, so how would they protect any of their future daughters?

Instead of saying anything, she stepped forward, giving him a tight embrace. “If this is your decision… I’ll support you.”

Giles gave a knowing look towards Sprigga, hugging her in return. “Support me, but don’t join me. Those girls will still need you to guide them.”

Sprigga hesitated, but merely nodded her head against his chest, keeping her eyes closed. Without letting her go, Giles focused on sending a message. Lady Jafer.

Is that you, Giles? Dana’s voice spoke back to her. She sounded tired, and Giles could only assume that she was dealing with a large number of communications at once.

That’s correct. If I volunteer for this program… I would like to make one request.

Tell me what it is, first. I can’t make any promises without hearing, but I’ll do my best if it is within reason. Dana replied, sounding slightly rushed.

Sprigga and I have several daughters that we scattered on habitable worlds. These planets aren’t currently within the Hyperlane system. If we cut off the food supply of these monsters, they will inevitably turn towards those lesser colonized worlds. That’s why… my request would be to have those worlds brought into the network as soon as possible.

There was a brief delay when Dana received this message, and her tone softened slightly. That I can do. No matter what, as long as you give me the coordinates for the planets, I’ll make sure that their systems are protected.

Giles nodded his head, a relieved smile on his face. What do I need to do, then?

Dana was swarmed with messages, ever since first sending out the information that the Keeper had given her. There was no shared network for them to communicate with and keep up to date on who had volunteered. Nobody knew if someone else had already stepped forward, and that made them less willing to do so themselves, believing that another would have already. If they came up late, they would feel humiliated.

However, there were still many that volunteered, but… under strict terms. For instance, the vast majority of the calls that Dana received said that they would only do it if they were promised that they would be preserved in the Heroic Spirits. Dana knew that these people weren’t thinking of this as a sacrifice, but rather as a way to be promoted in life, and so she rejected all of them.

Others took it as a reason to become emboldened, asking for what Dana considered even more ridiculous requests. If they were going to sacrifice themselves, they should have one last memory to enjoy. These people said that they would accept if they were allowed to have one last romantic evening with a member of the Greater Pantheon, or even one of the servants of the Keeper. Some even asked for the Keeper himself.

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These individuals were not just rejected, but their names were compiled on a list and given to Tsubaki, who seemed… quite perturbed by the report. Dana knew that Tsubaki wouldn’t stoop to killing these Fallen Gods. However… making their lives an eternal hell was definitely within the scope of what she was willing to do.

So far, not one person had come forward to volunteer without any conditions at all. There was a deadline of forty-eight hours before the first expected attack, and Dana felt as if that deadline was approaching all too rapidly.

Of those that had conditions, only one was a condition that Dana found acceptable. When she heard a knock on her door, she already knew who to expect. “Come in.”

The door opened, and a golden sylvan entered. Her eyes were slightly swollen and wet, and she hugged a black sphere to her chest. Dana knew that this sphere was the life core of Giles, she could sense the pure void energy radiating from it.

“Can I… stay with him, just a little while longer?” Sprigga asked softly, her shoulders trembling.

When Dana saw that, she couldn’t hold it in anymore. She couldn’t make a widow suffer, seeing how much she loved her husband, just to make this all seem like a sick joke later. Giles had already made his sacrifice. As far as she was concerned, she was allowed to tell Sprigga.

“You can, but… there’s something that I have to tell you.” Dana said, pulling up a seat for Sprigga to sit next to her. The sylvan looked at her for only a moment before sitting down, never letting go of the sphere.

“Nobody else has volunteered, have they?” She asked, causing Dana’s brow to twitch slightly.

“Oh, they have, but not with acceptable terms. But that’s not what I wanted to talk to you about.” Sprigga gave her a brief glance again, the only sign Dana was getting to continue. “Many people have volunteered, under the condition that they would be reborn as part of the Heroic Spirits. Hell, some asked to be made part of the Greater Pantheon. But that defeats the entire purpose of the Heroic Spirits in the first place.”

“The Heroic Spirits isn’t for those that want to give up on this life to live out a grander tale where they can be above everyone else. It’s for people that give up their lives to protect the world, to protect what’s precious to them. Those are the people that the Keeper wants in his Heroic Spirits.”

Sprigga’s breath hitched at that. For the first time, her focus was entirely on Dana. “You mean…?”

Only allowed on

Dana’s smile softened, and she nodded her head. “He didn’t ask to be let in. He didn’t even think about it. All he wanted was for you and your daughters to be safe. For that, he was willing to give up everything. That’s the type of person that the Keeper wants.”

Sprigga shuddered, hugging the sphere against her chest a big more tightly. “How long… how long will it take before I can see him again?”

Dana paused, thinking that question over. “That depends how long it takes him to adapt. Once he has fully adapted, he will be allowed to create a mortal incarnation. This is done by choosing a new life to designate as his host. Just like everyone else, he’ll start as a newborn, but as long as you are willing to wait for him…”

“I’ll wait…” Sprigga nodded her head, gently stroking the orb against her chest. “Even if the stars die out, I’ll wait for him.”

Dana couldn’t help but chuckle. “I doubt it’ll take that long, but I get the point. Most people I’ve heard about adjust within a few months. After that, he’ll either let you know where he’s being reborn, or he might choose to wait until his incarnation matures to come and surprise you. That is entirely up to him.”

Sprigga gave another nod. Her eyes were still puffy, but she was no longer fighting back the same, intense grief as she had been before. “But… if nobody else volunteers… what are you going to do?”

Dana let out a huff when she heard that. “I’d like to have more faith in people, to be honest. However… since the beginning, I’ve made plans. In truth, we don’t need one Fallen God for every universe. We just need one Fallen God.”

“The networks connect like that?” Sprigga asked in surprise, but Dana shook her head.

“No, they don’t. But… if we have one Fallen God’s pure life core, created by willing sacrifice… there’s not an easy way to say this, so I’ll just say it. If we have that…” Dana pointed at the sphere in Sprigga’s arms. “I can replicate it using the Digital Conversion system. Replicating a single entity’s life core is infinitely easier than any of the other methods I had that could save a universe.”

“However… I would prefer to have your consent to do this. I’m not objectifying Giles. The sacrifice that he made was incredibly noble. I do not want to deny this in any way. If other people volunteer without secondary motives, I will allow them to do so. Otherwise… replicating his life core is the only solution to save people.”

Sprigga hesitated when she heard this. On the one hand, she knew that this was what Giles himself would choose. It cost them nothing, and would be able to save countless lives. The only issue that she had with the plan was the fact that it treated him as if he were an item. That felt… wrong on so many levels to her.

Regardless, she could understand Dana’s perspective. The stronger a person became, the less they were willing to give up that strength, even if it was for the sake of others. That was why nobody had come forward to volunteer, even among Leowynn’s church which boasted the greatest number of Fallen Gods.

In truth, many of them simply didn’t volunteer because they were certain that someone else from the church had already done so. Even if they were willing to make the sacrifice, they wouldn’t step forward under that belief. Originally, Dana had planned to send out a second wave of notices as the deadline came closer, if nobody stepped forward. If she had to ask again, those people who were under that false assumption would realize that wasn’t the case, and be motivated to volunteer.

Thankfully, it looked like Dana didn’t have to do that anymore, as she saw Sprigga nod her consent for her plan.

- my thoughts:
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