Shiroe's exposes about NPCs in the game of Elder Tale, how they were once regular pieces of game design that could give the players items, quests and information. However, he notes that the Catastrophe might have changed these characters. During the dialogue, an apple farmer (presumably an NPC) studies an incoming rain cloud.
Through telepathy, Serara informs Marielle that she is safe with Shiroe and friends, bringing the Guild Master to tears in relief. Serara apologizes if she had worried them before ending the call. She asks Shiroe if they really are safe, and he and Nyanta console her: they had crossed the Lyport channel, and there are no Griffins that could allow anyone to catch up to them. Serara feels flustered and again thanks the group for saving her, only for Akatsuki's stomach to growl. Naotsugu doesn't waste the opportunity to taunt her for it, leading to the two of them to bicker once again.
At camp, Akatsuki chops firewood, and Naotsugu asks Shiroe, who is setting up a tent, just when he had been so interested in camping. Shiroe replies that he had read about it, though it appears to be much easier in the game than it would be in real life. Naotsugu remarks that you never know what skills would come in handy in this new world.
Real Food Preparation
While gathering firewood, Serara and Nyanta encounter a wild deer, prompting Serara to note that there are animals within the game besides monsters. Nyanta sees this prey as a great opportunity to display his skills, which puzzles Serara.
With the camp all set up and the sun set, Naotsugu celebrates the accomplishment by sitting back and relaxing while Shiroe notes that if it were still a game, relaxing would have been done by simply logging out and going to bed. Naotsugu replies that since there isn't anything they can do about it, they should try to have fun doing it the hard way regardless. However, their food is still tasteless. This is once again heartbreaking to the trio and Akatsuki takes note on how long Nyanta and Serara have been gone. This is soon forgotten however, as the smell of cooked meat causes Naotsugu to jump to his feet. Shiroe and Akatsuki notice this too and follow the trail of the scent deep into the forest.
They come across Nyanta and Serara standing around a cobblestone stove with venison kebabs. The three take a bite out of the kebabs and, to their delighted surprise, the food has real taste. The three beg Nyanta for more, causing Serara to compare them to baby birds chirping at a feeding mother. Shiroe asks how Nyanta was able to accomplish this miracle, in which he responds that since ingredients like fruits, spices and raw meat are found to have taste, the only way to make proper food is to mix these ingredients and cook them, rather than use the game interface. Shiroe and Naotsugu demonstrate that whenever they try to prepare meat, it still turns into a bland paste. Nyanta explains that this because they don't have a subclass as Chef, revealing himself a level 90 Chef.
Honored by this, Akatsuki decides to properly introduce herself as a level 90 Assassin. Nyanta expresses his impression of her prowess and Akatsuki compliments him back, prompting Naotsugu to ask why Akatsuki hadn't greeted him with the same praise as she did Nyanta. Akatsuki responds with insults causing Shiroe to laugh. Nyanta tells him that he has good companions and then asks Serara to introduce herself to the group as well. Serara does so and apologizes for her poor healing skills, Naotsugu disagreed, saying that it was more than enough. She thanks Shiroe in particular for saving her, causing him to become flustered. Nyanta explains that Shiroe gets embarrassed easily, and Naotsugu asks Serara whether she gets the most love letters in her class or not. Before she can answer however, Akatsuki knees him in the face. But what hurts Naotsugu more than the hit to the face was the fact that she stole his meat while doing so.
Serara asks how long Nyanta and Shiroe knew each other, and the former answers that he, Shiroe, and Naotsugu were all a part of the Debauchery Tea Party. Akatsuki recognizes the name and is surprised to find that Shiroe and Nyanta were members. When Serara asks if it was a guild, Shiroe and Nyanta explain that it was less a guild and more of a hangout of friends that liked adventuring together for fun despite a few of them being part of different guilds. This reveals to Akatsuki just how Shiroe, Naotsugu and Nyanta had managed to get their hands on such high level equipment and how they were able to work so well together. When Naotsugu asks if she ate too much, Akatsuki denies this, but exclaims her disbelief that Naotsugu could have possibly been a part of such a legendary party.
Upon traveling closer to Akiba, Serara swoons over Nyanta, thinking of him as a handsome middle-aged man who is in great shape and always willing to help, but worries about her own shape as well. Shiroe, Akatsuki and Naotsugu notice this immediately and mutter how obvious her feelings are. Naotsugu wonders if she's into middle-aged men but Shiroe only dismisses Nyanta as an adult, though Naotsugu finds the meowing to be a little annoying at times. Akatsuki remarks that Serara has good taste, shocking both men. Shiroe asks if she likes Nyanta too, in which she praises his swordsmanship. Worried that she might have offended Shiroe, Akatsuki praises him as well. When he asks if she's consoling him, she replies with an embarrassed "Nope".
While spending the night within the cave, Naotsugu and Shiroe wonder how old Serara is while she sleeps. When Naotsugu is about to use Akatsuki as an example of someone who looks younger than she is, the Assassin punches him into a wall. Shiroe begins to compare her to a pair of twins named Touya and Minori and recalls helping them when they were still a very low level. Outside of the cave, the group marvels at the moon shining upon a lake while Shiroe explains that he wouldn't ordinarily complement people whom wanted help, but since the two were beginners, he felt as though it were his duty as a veteran player. He then describes the Teacher System, which is a temporary lower in stats to match those who the player wishes to help train. Shiroe explains that he had seen them after the Catastrophe, but hadn't spoken to them due to them being in a guild when he saw them. Naotsugu then asks him with utmost seriousness whether Minori was cute or not. Shiroe says that he has no way of knowing given that he had only heard her voice, but Naotsugu insists that he should have been able to tell some things from her voice. Akatsuki calls him out for being a pervert, prompting Naotsugu to bring up his "Open Pervert:Closet Pervert" argument. This causes Shiroe to laugh, but only momentarily.
People of the Land
Riding atop of the Griffins, Naotsugu alerts them that dark storm clouds are rolling in, and Nyanta suggests that they land to take shelter. They land in a small farming village within the south end of the Arb highlands. As they stroll through the town, Nyanta asks Shiroe if he's been in any guilds before the Catastrophe, however, Shiroe dodges the question and asks Nyanta about the Cat Food guild that he had been a part of. Serara asks what it's about, and Nyanta explains that the Cat Food guild was a guild that was made up entirely of Cat People, or Werecats. Serara thinks this is wonderful, but Nyanta explains that the house didn't fair well with the weather and was promptly caved in, the guild had disbanded shortly after that.
As it rains, they come across a Lander house, prompting the resident to approach them. The man introduces himself as village ombudsman Fedor, and leads them to the barn they may rest. Naotsugu finds great pleasure in sleeping in straw over sleeping on hard ground although Akatsuki berates him, saying that he'd take up too much of it. As Nyanta and Serara go to prepare dinner, Naotsugu and Akatsuki fight over the straw, causing Fedor to muse about how lively they are. They explain to Fedor that they will be traveling to Akiba, causing him to admit that the People of the Land travel very little; Naotsugu offers to share tales of their travels. Shiroe spots a couple of children in the entrance and nearly mistakes them for Touya and Minori. Fedor calls them in and they are revealed to be two more Landers named Mischa and Ivan. Upon seeing Akatsuki, they immediately find themselves swooning over Akatsuki, affectionately referring to her as a ninja. When Fedor remarks their like for her, Naotsugu explains that it is because they are all kids, causing him to be bombarded by shurikens.
Fedor tells them of when Mischa and Ivan were born where their father had to go to the market during a blizzard while he had to carry their mother to the doctor. With this, Naotsugu notes how human they feel with such detailed backstories and personalities. This causes Shiroe to grimly remark that since the People of the Land have names, personalities and memories while the players have incredibly powerful bodies and are basically immortal, it would only make sense to think that the People of the Land are the real humans while Shiroe Naotsugu and the rest would be the real anomalies. With thought, Naotsugu agrees, and notices that there seem to be much more Landers than before the Catastrophe. He then dismisses it as something he had never noticed before however. Serara and Nyanta return with a basket of fruits and vegetables and explain that they bought it from some of the neighboring houses. With the ingredients in their possession, Serara exclaims that they could possibly make cookies, causing Fedor and his grandchildren to wonder what they are. In time, Serara leaves out a plate of cookies that Fedor and his family proceed to contently eat. This however brings Shiroe to yet again think about Touya and Minori, which seems to trouble him.
Meanwhile, a small group of players march through the rain, having been nearly wiped out by Triffids. The leader of the group wonders why he has to babysit his team and blames the loss on them, while the Samurai Touya aids a wounded Bard Isuzu. The Leader shouts as them as they march, once again blaming them for their low levels, however Touya explains that it was in fact because the leader's level was too high, causing the Triffids to be drawn to him when they should be drawn to Touya as the tank. This has ruined their formation, leading to their losses, and he and comes to understand the Teacher System in doing so.
Once in shelter, Touya asks the Kannagi Minori about her wounds, who explains that she had been spending the whole day sowing them shut. Touya is greatly angered by this but Minori says that there is nothing else for them to do. The leader of the Guild enters the room to collect a payment for their meals, being that of a small loaf of bread. Touya tries to think what Shiroe would do in the situation but ultimately takes no action.
Now in Akiba, Touya and his guild traverse through the town when he hears Shiroe's voice. Peering through the crowd, he spots Shiroe being welcomed back by Marielle and the Crescent Moon Alliance. He thinks about approaching Shiroe, but is called by his Guild Master to hurry up. Obeying his orders, he turns his back on Shiroe, who in turn spots Touya with a determined expression...