Chapter 99, Absolute Helix, Roll Out
Now that Absolute Helix had two additions to their ranks: the Bridkin Tank Hannah, and Camille’s daughter Amira. They moved into the Clan House, and a few days later, it was the day for everyone to resume exploring God’s Dungeon.
In the early morning, Tsutomu spent his time in the Clan House’s living room, looking at everyone’s Status Card copies side-by-side.
Daryl’s level had risen significantly since their first meeting, from thirty-one to fifty-two, and being a Heavy Knight, his role was Tank. His VIT rating was a B+, and thanks to three months spent training with Garm, he was able to wield a tower shield reasonably well. According to Garm, Daryl had a tendency to stand around waiting for instructions, but that would be a non-issue if Tsutomu only paid attention to him and his actions.
Having gone through Garm’s strict supervision, Daryl was now quite courageous, and no longer faltered in the face of monsters. As such, he could be expected to effectively carry out his Tank role.
Diniel was a level-seventy Archer, with the role of Attacker. Back in Golden Tune, she had been a member of the main party, and was one of the most skilled among them, boasting a strategic mind and high adaptiveness — she may very well be considered the very best Archer in the scene, as far as ones from major Clans were concerned. It could be considered a blessing and a half that Absolute Helix had her as a founding member.
Although she had a tendency to slack off, she knew well where to put the effort in, and where she would not need to. She had never been seen cutting corners where things truly counted, so there likely was no need to worry.
As far as Daryl and Diniel were concerned, there were no particular issues — both were skilled and reasonably effective. Tsutomu put away the two’s data sheets and proceeded to look at the rest of them — the two most recent additions to the Clan.
Hannah, although small by Birdkin’s standards, was level sixty-two, which was fairly high, and her Job was Boxer. As an Attacker, she had been on the standards of Ealdred Crow’s first and second reserves despite her level, but ever since switching to the Tank role, she had not been performing well at all.
Although Hannah had been ridiculed as a ‘Feather Tank’ by those around her, Tsutomu had welcomed her into the Clan, with the intention to help her realize her potential as a Tank.
Boxers had access to <<Combat Cry>>, and Birdkins had a race-specific skill called <<Feather Dance>>, which reduced monsters’ attacking accuracy. The plan was to turn Hannah not into a Tank that relied on VIT to defend head-on against monsters’ attacks like Garm and Daryl, but a Tank that took advantage of a high AGI rating to dodge attacks — in game terms, an evasion-based Tank.
Currently, the standard Tank role was largely an imitation of the most well-known top figures, such as Garm, who had stood out the most during the Fire Dragon battles, and Ealdred Crow’s Bittman, who had started becoming more and more famous. The idea of evasion-based Tanks, on the other hand, had not popped up yet. As such, Tsutomu figured he would ask Hannah to be the trendsetter for this combat style.
The major issue, however, was that Hannah had become a Tank due to her admiration for Garm’s exploits, meaning she may very well be against the idea of being a high-evasion unit. Tsutomu had already told her that she could not Tank the same way as Garm did, but had not been able to provide her with detailed explanations on his plans due to fear of information leaks. And so, in order to prevent that, he had included clauses in Hannah’s contract that prevented her from disclosing any details related to evasion-based Tanks, just in case.
The worst that could happen was Hannah leaving the Clan, in which case, there would still be many candidates to recruit as a Tank. As such, Tsutomu was not too worried about the success of Hannah’s case.
Tsutomu proceeded to look toward the last data sheet, detailing Camille’s daughter, the red-haired Amira. Her level was the lowest among them, being only at forty-six, but she possessed the <<Dragon Form>> unique skill. And since unique skills were rare and so immensely useful, even if an individual had one, they would be greatly desired by the major Clans.
But despite that, Amira had not received any invitation from the bigger players. When Amira’s Clan had disbanded, one would expect her to be swarmed by invitations, but all that had gone to her were the mid-tier Clans.
The reasons were, needless to say, her uncooperative behavior and sailor’s mouth, as seen time and time again on the Monitors. And although she had access to <<Dragon Form>>, she was not yet able to use it anywhere as well as Camille. Once she transformed, she would lose control of herself, and would attack anything that moved, seeing them all as monsters. It was impossible for her team to stay coherent.
Moreover, even when she did not transform, Amira had shown not even the slightest hint of having a cooperative mindset, and had very little respect for her companions. Furthermore, her party members, despite being treated almost like trash, dared not to state as such to Amira herself. There was no way the Clan could have lasted long under such an excruciating state.
According to what Tsutomu had heard through word of mouth, right before the Clan’s disbandment, Amira had been the only one fighting against the Shell Crab during their final attempt, the other party members simply looking on from afar. Amira had collapsed once her <<Dragon Form>> wore off, and was then killed, without anyone to revive her. Their Shell Crab attempt ending in failure, the Clan had disbanded right then and there.
[I know she’s supposed to have learned her lessons, but there’s no telling whether or not that’s true…]
Tsutomu had never wanted to let such a potential sabotager into the Clan, but this was Camille’s request. This world being one he wanted to get out of, he did not want to form too many close relationships with its people, but it was too late when it came to certain people such as Garm, Amy, and Camille. He could no longer ignore those three, at the very least.
After he was done reviewing everything, Tsutomu put the data sheets away, disengaged the energy spheres that he constantly had levitating around him, and started making breakfast.
For starters, he fried five servings’ worth of fried eggs and bacon, and prepared some toast and orange juice. Then, he set the table, put the plate of toast in the middle, and poured the juice into the cups. For the past two weeks, everyone had been doing their share of chores around the Clan House. With the Clan activities starting in full soon, however, they would not have the free time to do that anymore. Tsutomu had already gone and hired a housekeeper to take care of things, and they were scheduled to start working tomorrow.
Just as Tsutomu finished his preparations, he heard someone coming down from the second floor. It was the young-faced Cynokin, Daryl, whose stature was much taller than Tsutomu’s, lured down by the smell of the freshly-made breakfast.
“Sir Tsutomu! Good morning!”
“Good morning, Daryl.”
“Wow! This looks delicious!”
Tsutomu, seeing Daryl wagging his black tail, cracked a dry smile while placing the five cups of cold juice on the table. Daryl sat down on the large sofa to Tsutomu’s front-left and looked curiously at the cups.
Once everything was ready, Tsutomu sat in a chair and sipped from his cup, and Daryl did so as well. Then, once Daryl finished his orange juice, he turned to Tsutomu.
“It’s almost time for us to explore the Dungeon, isn’t it? I’ll admit, I’m quite nervous…”
“No need to worry — today will be just for warming up. We’ll only go as far down as the Beach layers.”
“Is that so? I’ll do my best!”
Daryl clenched both his fists as if to psyche himself up, then proceeded to eat his breakfast. Being a big eater, Tsutomu had made his serving quite large. Tsutomu was half happy, half sad that he would be free from breakfast-making duty tomorrow, because even though it was tedious work, it had been so nice to see how much Daryl would enjoy his cooking.
As Tsutomu proceeded to eat, while still looking at Daryl wolf his share down, he heard the sounds of more people coming down the stairs. The first one was Hannah, the peculiar Birdkin with wings on her back rather than as her arms. She walked to the living room, her blue hair still ruffled, and when she noticed that two others were already there, she greeted them with a pose that almost resembled a salute.
“A good mornin’ to y’all!”
Tsutomu, seeing that Daryl and Hannah were on the same wavelength in terms of enthusiasm, nodded and then turned to the third person to arrive, Amira, who now tied her long red hair in a ponytail behind her. She bowed her head slightly, sat down in the vacant seat on the side opposite to Daryl, and immediately began to work on her breakfast. Hannah sat down next to Daryl and started to discuss some Tank-related topics with him. Amira said nothing to anyone as she gobbled up her food.
At some point, Diniel finally came down, rubbing her still-sleepy eyes. She sat down in the free space next to Amira and yawned. She then held a hair tie with her mouth, tucked her blonde hair behind her back, and tied it up into a ponytail as well.
Having lived together for almost a week, the Clan members were finally getting used to how things went around them. Amira had not been talking much nowadays, and Diniel had always been a woman of few words. As such, most conversations were carried out by Daryl, Hannah, and Tsutomu. And with Daryl and Hannah being the high-energy duo who had hit it off almost immediately, their conversations were never interrupted, so there had never been a moment of awkward silence around the dining table.
“As I said yesterday, we’ll be starting our Dungeon exploration today. Are you ready?”
The two Tanks raised their hands, energetic as elementary school children; in contrast, the two Attackers were lethargic. Amira reluctantly nodded and crossed her arms, while Diniel only nodded. In the latter’s case, she was acting as she had always been, but Amira’s recent disposition was a far cry from the last time Tsutomu had talked with her at Camille’s house.
Although Tsutomu had concerns for every single member, each in a different way, today was the day for them to start getting used to working together. At the Beach layers, he could observe how things would go among the party, point out their issues, and fix them along the way.
Tsutomu, being the first to finish his breakfast, put his dishes in the sink and waited for the others. Diniel was next, handing her dishes to Tsutomu while holding another slice of bread in her mouth. Then, once everyone was done and their dishes put in the sink, Tsutomu led the members of Absolute Helix out of the Clan House, heading for the Guild.