When her vision returned from being filled with bright light, she was at a buffet venue under the blue sky. It looked as though the assembly had already started, as there was a red werewolf filling its mouth with meat, as well a gold skeleton that was laughing while drinking black tea.
There was a black dragon in the distance gulping down alcohol out of a barrel, accompanied by a unicorn jeering it on.
At first glance, there were a lot of races intermingling, making quite a peaceful scene.
However, each and every one of the people there were dungeon cores.
Although there were quite a lot of people in the form of a human, the majority were using mimicry to take human form.
Rokuko, like every year, quietly walked to a corner.
… This year was outdoors, so she really didn’t feel like eating. That’s because without there being any walls, she didn’t feel like she was actually in a corner.
While moving towards the corner, a large snake, large frog, and large slug each about the size of a human turned up in front of her.
“Hoooh. If it isn’t 695. What’re you doin?”
“Gue gue gue gue, rather, you’re still alive eh?”
“You didn’t come last year and your DP was 0, so we thought you died, haha.”
“Si-650, 651, 652… L-long time, no see.”
“Haaaah!? Add the ‘No.’!”
Bang! No. 650’s snake tail make a loud noise, causing Rokuko’s body to once again stiffen up.
Incidentally, adding [No.] was a form of honorific amongst dungeon cores. Rokuko absolutely didn’t want to use it for those guys.
“W-what, w-we’re part of the same 600 series, so isn’t it, alright?”
“Huuuuuuuh? I can’t hear you. Gekokoko… What’s this lowest ranked 695 saying?”
As though to block Rokuko’s path out, Core 651, the large frog, went around her right side behind her.
“Yeah yeah, aren’t you a cheeky one?”
Core 652, the large slub, placed his hand (?) on Rokuko’s shoulder.
This was the trinity, a three-way deadlock… Rokuko felt gooseb.u.mps all over her.
The large snake brought its face close to Rokuko, its tongue slipping in and out of its mouth.
“Shaaa… Fufufu, how ’bout we move over there for a bit?”
“N-no! Let go—”
“It’s alright, alright I say~. Not like you’ll die, geko geko geko!”
“Nooow~, how about you come with us?”
The place they gestured was the place that Rokuko was originally heading to, but her reason was very different from these three that wanted to take her there. That’s why she was quietly heading there—to avoid being found by this kind of people.
They were trying to take Rokuko, but no one cared… After all, it was nothing but a struggle between those in the lower rankings.
Like they wouldn’t worry about ants crowding around toffee dropped on the ground, the majority of dungeon cores there didn’t bother paying attention to Rokuko and the other three.
“Oh, you alright here?”
Just then, a red salamander appeared.
Dungeon Core No. 112, Ontentoo.
The dungeon core of a fifty-one floor dungeon that practically filled an entire mountain, [Flame Cavern].
Fully enjoying a slow life with his red dragon wife that was his master, even if he couldn’t be called top-class, he was a firmly middle-ranked dungeon core.
He was also part of the 100 series, so he was their senior.
“D-Dungeon Core No. 112-sama!? What business do you have with us?”
“Aah? … Ah… Ah. Nothing for you guys. You there, 695. Come.”
“Eh? U-um, this person?”
“What, are you complaining? You, what’re your number?”
“Si-650! E-e-excuse me, No. 112-sama, I’m a fan!”
Because the snake didn’t have a hand to shake, he held out a tail.
However, Ontentoo ignored him and talked to Rokuko.
“Right. Well 695, let’s go.”
Taken by Ontentoo, Rokuko was released by the three’s encirclement.
Core 650, still holding his tail out, was utterly surprised.
… While getting rid of the slug’s mucus with [Cleanup], Rokuko addressed Ontentoo, who was silently walking in front of her.
“U-umm, No. 112… sama?”
“Aah!? Stupid, I don’t need somethin’ like [No.] or [-sama]. Raaather, when’d you turn into a yesman?”
Turning around almost with a roar as though he were about to snap at her any second, Ontentoo brought his face near her’s.
As a senior, Ontentoo’s name was somewhat known. That’s why for a little while now since he took Rokuko people had been staring their direction.
“B-because, a low-ranked dungeon like me… surrounded by three people, I couldn’t talk back.”
“Haah? Ah, ah. Right, right.”
Ontentoo poked Rokuko with his fire-tipped tail that was characteristic of salamanders.
It was obvious that he held back with it, but even so it was still considerably painful for Rokuko. And a bit hot. He had just helped her so it’s not like she could say anything though.
“Kukaka, you shouldn’t say something like that. You defeated me!”
“… That was thanks to Kehma, not me.”
“Kakaka! That’s not wrong, honestly isn’t bad… but it’s true that you won. Doesn’t a core’s abilities include their master? In other words, for me, the power of my beloved wife is included!”
People around them heard their conversation.
“… Defeated him?”
“Against No. 112…?”
“695… the lowest rank did?”
Such lines could be heard coming from their surroundings.
In particular, people questioning just what sort of dirty trick she used could be heard, but since they really had used an unfair trick, she couldn’t even say anything. The dungeon battle itself used irregular rules in the first place.
“… Kehma said that was a tie you know?”
“Then do you want to try switching offense and defense next time?”
“Sorry, but I decline… ah, I can make it from here. Thank you for the help, No. 112.”
With that, Rokuko started to leave. However, Ontentoo stopped her.
“Well, hold up. [Father]’s greeting will be soon. How about we get something to eat until then? The meat here’s pretty good you know?”
“Ah, good. It’s here this year again… Even though dungeon cores don’t actually need to eat to live.”
“There’s no trash or poison mixed in at this table so don’t worry. Or do you not trust me? Oooh? I’m your benefactor you know?”
“… Uu. T-then I’ll take a little.”
Rokuko timidly bit into the meat that Ontentoo held out for her.
The instant she bit into it, the meat’s juices spread throughout her mouth, wrapping her tongue with the rich flavor of the meat.
… She didn’t know what kind of meat this was, but it was amazingly delicious. Rokuko believed that its flavor would be a hit with Meat.
“Ou, you’re getting messy. [Cleanup].”
“Om, nom. T-thanks.”
“Kakaka! You’re welcome.”
After a while of Rokuko eating her fill, a voice echoed through the area.
[Yo, my adorable children. Is everyone doing well?]
Looking up into the sky, there was a single man projected on a huge monitor floating in the air.