Chapter 150, The Main and Secondary Parties
After the day the three new members arrived, Diniel resumed exploring with the main team with her anti-cold gear in order, and they managed to reach layer seventy-three after about a week.
In the meantime, the three new members moved the things they needed into the Clan House and made adjustments to their equipment.
On Silver Beast’s side, Misil’s Adventurer Job had skills that nullified environmental effects, which enabled his Clan to progress down much faster than their competitors; now they were already at layer eighty.
The Snow Field’s layer boss was the Winter General, a three-meter tall humanoid clad in ice armor.
Its appearance was reminiscent of a Japanese samurai, complete with an over designed helmet and a katana as its sidearm.
When the main Silver Beast team challenged the layer boss, Lorena and one of the Tanks were almost instantly decapitated by its first attack, a swift horizontal slash.
Misil was able to put up a good fight, but since the team’s Healer had been killed right off the bat, things naturally got worse and worse until they were wiped out.
The spectators were excited about the newly discovered layer boss, talking at length among themselves about it.
Amidst this, Melchor, the elderly master martial artist and leader of the nobility’s private military force, immediately posted a request for a party to take him all the way down to layer eighty.
He was not particularly interested in the Dungeon itself, but rather the new, powerful humanoid monster — And he had had the same reaction, and also posted the same request, back when he saw the Rotten Swordsman on the Monitors for the first time.
Getting wind of this from some mentions of it in the newspapers, Tsutomu gave it some careful thought as he looked at the request paper posted on the Guild’s bulletin board.
[I wouldn’t mind carrying him, but…]
Melchor’s latest layer progress was forty-one, and his numerical level was low, so the process was bound to take a great deal of time and effort.
The reward was quite handsome, naturally, but whether or not it would be worth the difficulty was another matter.
Still, one of the Clan’s new members, the Channeler Korinna, had just about the same progress as Melchor, so Tsutomu figured that this could be a good chance to boost both of them together.
Besides, he could use the reward money to fund some extra anti-cold gear, too.
Ealdred Crow and Silver Beast were likely to be stuck at layer eighty for a while, so there currently was no need to rush their exploration.
Tsutomu’s plan was to catch up after Ealdred Crow reached layer ninety, so there was no problem as long as they did not fall too far behind.
[Which members should I pick for this job, though Sir Melchor is probably an Attacker, and Korinna needs the progress… Xeno hasn’t beaten the Fire Dragon yet, so he should be in, too.
So, one more Attacker and Tank each, huh…]
Leleia the Spiritualist had already defeated the Mount Golem during her time with Ealdred Crow, so she could immediately explore the Snow Field layers.
Perhaps it would be nice to have her start exploring the Snow Fields with this job, too.
[Hmm, what about Amira I do want her to get more practice.
Diniel’s not good with the Snow Fields yet, so maybe she should take it slow for now, and let the others train until they can work with her.]
Last time, Diniel had been able to go beyond layer seventy-one thanks to extra anti-cold gear, but according to the Monitor broadcasts from other clans, the deeper layers were even colder.
As such, it probably was better for everyone to spend some time getting used to the Snow Field layers, and also to get better at fighting in general so that they could operate effectively with Diniel.
Moreover, both Paladins and Channelers had some skills to help counteract environmental effects.
Get Xeno down to the Snow Field layers first, and he could help Diniel fight with ease down there as well.
[So maybe Hannah should stay with Diniel and get both of them accustomed to the Snow Fields.
She’s an evasion-based tank, after all — Korinna probably has never worked with one yet.]
Even Tsutomu himself had a hard time keeping up with Hannah’s speed, so perhaps it was better for Korinna to team up with standard Tanks first.
Tsutomu did think that, due to the nature of the Jobs, Channelers had good compatibility with evasion-based Tanks, but as it turned out, getting her to test things out with a regular Tank seemed to be an important step of the process.
[All things considered, Daryl and Diniel should be added to Melchor’s group, then… And Leleia will work with me and the remaining two.
Yeah, that sounds good — Daryl and Diniel will probably help make things go much more smoothly.]
Daryl had been showing even greater improvements after his blunder against the Mount Golem, and while Diniel had a surprising weakness against low-temperature environments, she still was pretty much the best Archer around.
With those two on the task, the team was sure to have no issue carrying their client down to at least layer seventy.
Perhaps their progress would then be halted by the Mount Golem, but the members could be switched accordingly if the situation called for it.
[Okay, now I just have to discuss this with everyone and decide on the final lineup.]
Since the recruitment period still had three days to go, Tsutomu told the Guild staff member that he might accept the job.
Returning to the Clan House, he first discussed it with Diniel and Daryl.
“Sounds good to me,” Diniel agreed immediately.
After all, this would enable her to avoid the Snow Field layers for a while, not to mention the fighting on earlier layers being a cakewalk in comparison.
Daryl, on the other hand, got teary-eyed and his ears folded down even more upon hearing Tsutomu’s explanation.
“Does that mean… I’m being dropped down to the secondary team”
With Daryl looking as if he was about to break down crying, Tsutomu hurried to add more to what he had just said,
“No, no — I’m not moving you anywhere! And I’m not saying that you’re weak, either! You’re the best Tank we have now, so be more confident in yourself!”
“I mean, I’ll be assigning you to Sir Melchor’s job because of how good you are.
We can’t fail this one, and I know you’ll get it done — and besides, everyone’s getting themselves accustomed to the Snow Field layers, so we won’t be making much progress on that front for a while anyway.
I’ll help everyone catch up on the layers they’ll miss too, so there’s no need to worry about that, either.”
Hearing Tsutomu’s full explanation, Daryl seemed reassured — at least enough for him to dry his tears.
To his side, Diniel proceeded to whisper to Tsutomu,
“You’re so good at convincing people to get what you want, you know that”
“Hey, don’t say it like that.”
Tsutomu turned to Diniel and called out her joke, but then she simply looked back, her gaze not averting one bit.
The two proceeded to engage in a staring contest, and after a while, Tsutomu let out a little chuckle at Diniel’s perpetual poker face.
“You laugh at people right in front of their faces Rude boy.”
Well, anyway… I guess I can’t really call this temporary division something like main and secondary parties.
All of our Clan’s members are excellent at the things they can do — we all have our strengths and weaknesses.
There’s no way to tell who’s objectively better or worse.”
Like me not being good with cold places.”
I’ll be more careful with my wording from now on — so don’t worry, Daryl.
And I DO mean what I just said, you know.”
Daryl, seeming not so depressed anymore, wiped his eyes with his sleeve.
Tsutomu took another look at Diniel’s face and ended up chuckling again… and she promptly grabbed him and threw him at a sofa.
Afterwards, Tsutomu told the other Clan members about the request, and stressed the point that there were no significant differences between the two teams of this Clan due to everyone’s outstanding strengths.
Since there were no plans to add any more members after Garm and Amy, Tsutomu also thought of organizing a periodic rotation of different party compositions after all the members had advanced to the Snow Field layers.
“Heh, I suppose I can let Leleia hog the glory this time.”
“Mister Xeno, your lowest layer progress is fifty-nine, isn’t it” Leleia asked, truly curious.
“You can’t even head down to the Snow Field layers yet.”
[Don’t take him so seriously, please…] Tsutomu thought to himself while looking at Xeno laugh.
He immediately proceeded to the Guild and signed up as a candidate for the request, submitting a set of documents detailing the four participating members.
He also asked if there were other parties applying, and the best candidates seemed to be Ealdred Crow’s fourth and fifth reserve teams, so the chances seemed to be leaning in Absolute Helix’s favor.
And sure enough, three days later, Tsutomu received a notice that his team had been selected.
From this point on, the Clan would operate in two separate groups: the mission team would be taking Melchor to layer eighty, while the exploration team would focus on conquering the snow field layers.
The mission team consisted of Melchor, Daryl, Diniel, Xeno, and Korinna — with the respective Jobs of Boxer, Heavy Knight, Archer, Paladin, and Channeler.
Roles included two Tanks, two Attackers, and one Healer.
The exploration team consisted of Tsutomu, Amira, Hannah, and Leleia — White Mage, Greatsword Fighter, Boxer, and Spiritualist; one Tank, two Attackers, and one Healer.
“All right, you’ll be working separately from me for a while.
Start by planning things out, and see how it goes from there.”
Daryl and Diniel nodded without thinking anything in particular.
Amira had initially been against Daryl being assigned to the other team, but reluctantly agreed to it after hearing Tsutomu’s explanation.
Hannah and Daryl proceeded to fist-bump each other, resolving to each do their best.
“You two as well — Xeno, Korinna.”
“Hmm, but of course,” Xeno replied, overconfident as ever.
“I-I’ll do my best!” Korinna pumped up both her fists.
All in all, Tsutomu thought there was nothing wrong with Korinna, while he had at least a few points of concern when it came to Xeno.
Not that Tsutomu expected Xeno to act up in the presence of a distinguished figure such as Melchor, but just in case, he told Daryl to report to him without hesitation if something were to happen.
“Just… mind your manners, Xeno.
If you’re disrespectful to Sir Melchor, you’re out of here.
“No need to worry.
I know how to conduct myself.”
“…Sure hope so.”
As overconfident as Xeno was, he was not that big of a fool — and his sincerity displayed in his apology articles had been noted by Tsutomu.
And so, after that little warning, the four went over to the Guild to get started with the mission.
[Now then, I still have my own division to deal with…]
Amira needed to practice her control, and Hannah had to improve her evasion-based Tank proficiency even further.
And then there was the deal between Leleia and Amira, who had never once made eye contact with each other, as far as Tsutomu could see.
“All right then — everyone, gear up.
Then we’ll talk strategy and Leleia’s Spiritualist skills, and after that, it’s straight to the Dungeon.”
Looking forward to working with you all — Mister Tsutomu, Miss Hannah, and Miss Amira.”
The four proceeded to head back to their rooms and prepared their anti-cold gear, then gathered back in the living room for a little meeting.
“Hannah is our only Tank this time, so I’ll be playing that part for a bit, too.”
Due to the absence of a second Tank, Tsutomu had to partially carry out that role while still being a Healer.
Leleia did not quite understand what that entailed, however, so her reply was a slight bit delayed.
“Hannah will pair with Leleia, and Amira with me.”
“Got it, Teach! Looking forward to seeing what you got, Leleia!”
“Likewise, Miss Hannah.”
“Ah, just my name is fine — same for everyone else.
Make it easier for call-outs and stuff, too.”
Leleia bowed to Hannah… which came off more like a knight bowing to greet a child.
When Tsutomu started talking to Amira, she narrowed her eyes in frustration.
“So… you can’t do the same stuff as Daryl, yeah”
“Of course I can’t.
Just try to work with me here, alright”
“…Tch, fine,” Amira groaned, her face twitching as she reluctantly agreed to Tsutomu’s instruction.
Leleia took a sidelong glance at them, then proceeded to discuss various things with Hannah.
With the briefing over with, the four of them went to layer seventy-one and worked on their coordination.