Well, as expected, it was a tomato festival.

It felt very lycopene.

The sandwich with lightly smoked salamander ham and tomatoes was delicious.

The tomato omelet and tomato salad were also delicious.

There were no particular problems with the conquest of the third stratum either.

It feels like the increase in monster levels due to the stratum movement isn’t something to worry about.

And sure enough, as we headed to the new area that had been newly created, we once again found ourselves in a strange space along with the emergence of a strange enemy.

It was a monstrous snake whose name was『Item: Armor』 with『Brilliance of Astonishment』.

The monstrous snake, which jumped out from between the forest-like dense trees, was easily chewed up by Natsumi’s fluffy army.

There was no time to even be surprised.

However, in the middle of our exploration, we encountered a monster called the『Jewel Turtle』, and the tension was on the high, mainly the girls group.

With its shell composed of various ores, amethyst, lapis lazuli, malachite and agate, it was a rather gaudy huge turtle.

We had a hard time with the urgent mission that was to defeat it without damaging its shell.

Turtle is an ingredient with solid substantiality, so it was a sweet catch in a double sense.

For example, in the olden days, the green turtles were sold in large quantities at temple festival stalls.

They are cute little turtles the size of a 500-yen coin, but they are a pretty aggressive alien species.

They are needlessly overflowing with vitality, so they multiply like crazy in the rivers and ponds where they are dumped.

In terms of size, they can also easily go over 30 centimeters.

Cracking their shell is a bit of a pain, but as long as you remove the mud, it is a protein that can normally be eaten.

It doesn’t really matter, but even after removing the head to drain the blood, the turtle would still struggle for about an hour.

We’d also stumbled upon the snapping turtle from time to time, but this guy is more delicious.

And then, this one would struggle for about half a day even after removing the head and draining the blood.

I think we shouldn’t release creatures with such strong life force into the nature of Japan.

We also stumbled upon a crocodile once, but its meat quality was similar to chicken tenderloin.

I remember being relieved when it ceased moving easily after removing its head.

Well, what awaited us, who had secured prey in such a manner, as we returned to the interception base was an unexpected piece of bad news.

「What? One of Black Honey’s conquest units was wiped out!?」

I don’t know who said that line, but I think we, who have just returned from the dungeon, are all shaken.

The only members of the Black Honey Club that I’ve actually seen fighting are Doggy-senpai, Kaoru-senpai, and Tetsuro-senpai during the morning training.

However, there is no doubt that their combat abilities, which are trained through the dungeon battles, are top ranked in the academy.

For the time being, disarming our equipment and sitting down in the living room area of the main building, we decided to have a short break.

「Well, calm down. It’s not unusual for even an A or S rank club to get wiped out in a dungeon, I suppose.」

「… Now that you mention, that’s right. My senses have also been turning somewhat strange lately, though.」

「Especially in a raid quest, I suppose. There are death traps that slaughter the first timers as well as Balance Breaker monsters, after all.」

I’ve heard in class that there are monsters with extremely lethal attack methods, such as the Poisonous Snake King (Basilisk) and the Poison Queen Bird (Cockatrice).

We haven’t encountered any yet, but it seems that there are also suspended ceilings, pitfalls, and forced transfer traps.

It’s said that these highly lethal, or in other words, deadly, death events don’t appear in the normal dungeon, strangely enough.

「But you see… Some of the Black Honey members who have returned from death have yet to wake up….」

With a worried look on her face, Mikan-senpai looks back at the Black Honey lodging house.

「We don’t really know about it, but is that kind of thing not unusual?」

「… That’s…」

「That’s only natural, I suppose. The dungeon is safe and secure, and the academy is responsible for guaranteeing the safety of its students. There is no way such a thing is true.」

As if interrupting Otoha-senpai, who shows a pained look at Seiichi’s question, Rinko-senpai asserts as such flatly.

「Touma-kun and the others’ senses are by no means strange, Otoha. The ones who are strange and out of the ordinary are us, who have been tainted by this academy, I suppose.」

What Rinko-senpai is referring to is the promotional line from the academy’s pamphlet.

Safe and secure, to whom were those words addressed, I wonder?

「Sigh, that’s blunt of you. Rinko.」

「It’s not a very optimistic situation, after all. Not regaining consciousness at the returning from death (respawn) of the fifth gate is the omen of『Lost』, I suppose.」



Compared to Otoha-senpai, who seemingly spontaneously half-rises to her feet, and Mikan-senpai, who shows a face like she is about to cry, we seem to be unable to keep up with the conversation.

「Err, what’s Lost?」

Mai, who crosses her arms on the table, tilts her head.

Sitting back down on her chair, Otoha-senpai shows an austere look as she scratches her head.

「Mai-chan… so is everyone else, but you mustn’t utter that word in the academy, okay.」

「It’s something akin to a taboo, right.」

「I wonder if they have yet to appear in Touma-kun and the others’ classes. The『Missing Person (Lost Man)』, I mean.」

What’s it I wonder, it’s a word that doesn’t give off much of a good vibe.

「Once a year has passed, I suppose one or two students will disappear from the class roster.」

「Like, expelled?」

「I guess it’d be better if it’s for that reason….. Well, there are a lot of rumors, you see…. Like they got depressed and ran away from the academy, or were eaten by monsters that emerged on the above ground, or couldn’t come back from the dungeon, and so on. In short, it refers to missing people whose reasons are not clear.」

Otoha-senpai, her fingers interlocked, warns us with a serious face.

「Once a person has been judged as a『Missing Person (Lost Man)』 by the academy, others are not allowed to search for their whereabouts. Regardless of how close a friend they were.」


「It’s the so-called regulation of freedom of speech and information manipulation. The safe and secure dungeon is actually full of dangers. That means we can’t say such a thing.」

I don’t completely not understand such circumstances.

However, I don’t understand why they would go to such lengths to make us challenge the dungeon.

「I don’t know how it actually is, but I suppose we can say for sure that this raid is more dangerous than we expected. I think it’d be better for Touma-kun and the other to not head for the dungeon anymore.」

◇ ◇ ◇

「Thanks for the food….」

Doggy-senpai, putting down her knife and fork, does a thank you greeting in a somber voice.

The feast laid out on the table is something Kurumi-senpai and the others had exerted themselves to make in an effort to cheer up the Black Honey members as much as possible.

Of the ten thick salamander filet steaks that had been stacked on a wooden plate for Doggy-senpai, only half of one is left.

It’s the Doggy-senpai who under normal circumstances would end up eating up all the dishes that were served to her, as many as there were.

I can tell how dispirited she is.

Not only Doggy-senpai, but the other Black Honey members are also in low spirits.

I guess that shows just how solid the solidarities between fellow club members are.

Of the original twenty members, three are nowhere to be seen.

With no abnormalities physically, it seems they are simply asleep in their beds in the lodging house, not waking up from their comatose state.

It may be inevitable that they are depressed, but they have to eat properly or they won’t be able to muster up strength otherwise.

In terms of nourishment replenishment is only a matter of course, but it also includes a secondary effect.

Actually, I only noticed during this raid, but the dishes made by Kurumi-senpai and Meiron-senpai seem to have a so-called『temporary strengthening (buff)』 effect.

Name, 『Kurumi Style Salamander Fillet Steak』


Increases the affinity of the person who ingests it for flame elemental spirits.

For a fixed period, increases resistance to fire (medium)

For a fixed period, decrease resistance to water (medium)

For a fixed period, increases strength (small)

For a fixed period, increases vitality (large)

「A dish made from roasted salamander meat. ※With an extra-large serving of garlic.」

As I happened to look at the dishes through the Interface in such a manner, I discovered that they were imbued with such effects, but I get the feeling my steak alone is different from the others.

The dinner ends up reaching its conclusion without any improvement in the heavy atmosphere.

It seems that the influence of Doggy-senpai, who is the mood maker, is big.

If we were to talk about our club, I guess she would be like Mikan-senpai.

And as planned, I ought to listen to Doggy-senpai’s complaints as a distraction.