Meinya passes through the altar's membrane first, followed by Riko, Reg, and then Nanachi. The altar suddenly begins to descend into the sea, in response to Riko rubbing Prushka's stone. Nanachi warns her not to touch it again while they are moving. The group seas a massive sea creature pass by. The altar then passes through a layer that appears to be nothing but piles of bones and corpses. Riko happily states that they are now beginning their Last Dive. The descent takes longer than expected, and after watching Meinya relieve itself, Riko admits she has to do the same and isn't sure if she can wait. Reg encourages her to do it at once, since they have no idea what awaits in the 6th layer, and the scent of incense from the altar will mask the smell.
The altar lands in the 6th layer and the group finds the ruins of a city. Lyza's notes only help so much, since they are focused on the creatures and food sources, rather than where to go. Nanachi offers to take the lead, since she can see the force field and asks Reg to guard their rear. They take some Mizoujack eggs for their next meal, but quickly have to flee when a geothermal erupts, peppering the landscape with explosive, poisonous gas. Riko cooks the eggs, whose contents oddly still move even after being cooked twice, but the taste meets the group's approval. Riko realizes that she has tasted something similar at the orphanage, and that Nat really liked it as well. This prompts her to tell Nanachi about her friends on the surface. Nanachi says that while they can't meet again, sending letters is still an option. Riko and Nanchi both write letters, while Nanachi draws a group picture. They design an info vessel and release it into the air, but it is soon snatched up by a large, flying creature. Reg notes that the bird repellent doesn't seem to work there.
The group makes a camp and sleeps. Nanachi wakes up first, and sees that someone has drawn marks over Riko and Nanachi in their group drawing. Also, Prushka's stone is missing, even though Riko was wearing it. Nanachi is amazed that someone was able to get the drawing from the creature that stole it, evade Nanachi's ability to read the force field, slip through Reg's arm trap, and steal Prushka's stone without being noticed. Nanachi and Reg determine that the marks were made with iron and grease.
Reg is able to detect Prushka's scent and follows it. Meinya finds two small animal corpses that have been stuffed with hair. Reg is horrified when he determines that the hairs came from Riko and Nanachi, and must have been taken while they were sleeping. They remain determined to recover Prushka, and keep following the trail, finding large footprints that lead to an entrace within a massive tree.
Character Appearances Edit
references to previous chapters