Chapter 149, An Elf’s Weakness
“Hey, that looks nice.”
Although Diniel already had a winter coat over her green shirt to prepare for her foray into the Snow Field layers, she was looking enviously at the fluffy earmuffs that Hannah was wearing.
Considering how long and pointing Elves’ ears were, earmuffs would not help Diniel much.
Regardless, she wanted something like what Hannah had on, since the tips of her ears were getting freezing cold right now.
“…You might want to ask the workshop later, see if they can make one that you can wear.”
“It’s so cold, I’m gonna die…”
“Oh yeah Well, we do have some hand warmer packets — want to use them for now”
Diniel looked at Tsutomu with her usual sleepy eyes…
…And then she sneezed.
Feeling that Diniel definitely needed more thorough protection from the cold, Tsutomu handed her a few more packets for her to use as a stopgap measure.
The inside of the packets of white cloth was a flattened Fire Magic Stone caked and some finely ground Colorless Magic Stone powder, with a thin wooden plate separating them in between.
The Fire Magic Stone had been adjusted such that, when the plate was crushed and the Colorless Magic Stone power came into contact with it, it would gradually emit a moderate degree of heat.
Only Magic Stone craftsmen approved by the nobility had permission to manufacture Magic Stones into different forms, such as a flat board or fine powder.
Dungeons had existed in this world for hundreds of years now, so it was only natural that human civilization had a long history with Magic Stones.
Tools for manufacturing Magic Stones were quite expensive, however.
This was because the nobility and certain circles of craftsmen had a monopoly on the relevant technology.
As such, using those tools too liberally would eat into the Clan’s budget, potentially bringing them down into the red.
Although the packets helped Diniel warm her frozen fingers, her breath still was condensing in the air, she was still shivering pretty much everywhere else — and her skin was turning dangerously pale despite her already having quite a thick coat on.
Tsutomu expressed his worry, but she insisted that she would be fine for a while, so the team resumed their exploration.
However, in the battles immediately after, she moved slowly and missed several of her shots.
Seeing that, Tsutomu decided to have the team pull back for now.
We just have to find better ways to help you with the cold.”
Since Elves generally lived in the mild climate of forests, Diniel was suffering most badly from the coldness of the Snow Field layers.
For her safety — not to mention the safety of others from the increased risk of friendly fire, Tsutomu took off his jacket and let her wear it on top of what she already had, and instructed the team to head back to the Black Gate so that they could leave.
“Think you’ll be okay, Diniel” Hannah asked.
“I need some sleep right about now.”
“Don’t do that! You’re gonna freeze to death!”
And so Hannah pulled Diniel along the rest of the way with her warm hands.
Bridkins and Cynokins, like Hannah and Daryl respectively, were not bothered much by the cold and can manage with light protection.
Humans and Dragonewts, like Tsutomu and Amira, were pretty much the same, and were generally fine with just a coat, gloves, and boots.
For an Elf like Diniel, however, general cold protection was not enough; without using warmer packets to keep her body heat up, she would have difficulties performing at her proper level.
Tsutomu thought to himself how much of an oversight on his part this had been, and the team headed back to the starting Black Gate and teleported back to the Guild.
After spending a while resting in the indoor-heated Guild, Diniel’s pale skin gradually turned back to its natural color.
Relieved, Tsutomu went on to search for additional cold protection goods, sending Diniel back to the Clan House and letting the three others continue exploring on their own.
For the next six days, Diniel was not allowed to do any serious exploration, and instead got to try and get accustomed to the cold by testing out various winter gear.
In the meantime, the four others explored the Snow Field layers without Diniel.
Eventually, the solution she reached involved wrapping heat packets around her limbs, putting some under her stomach wrap, and wearing knitted woolen yarn covers over her long, pointy ears.
With her full winter gear, she finally conquered the cold air of layer seventy-one, and was able to accustom herself to the snowy ground and make the necessary adjustments to her regular fighting style.
This measure required a lot of Gold and effort to maintain, however, as the packets had to be replaced regularly due to their limited duration.
In long battles such as the inevitable layer boss, she may even freeze to death if things got too hectic for her to replenish her supplies.
[Okay, out of all things, I did NOT see this coming.]
Tsutomu got quite a headache from discovering an Elf’s unexpected weakness.
In terms of fighting, Diniel had been a force to be reckoned with, so it was disappointing that she could not be relied on as much for now — but Tsutomu knew not to blame her for this, and neither did the other Clan members.
“Hah, you can just sit back and relax,” Amira said, fully intending to provoke Diniel.
“I’mma do your whole job for you.”
At least try to sound a bit annoyed, dammit.”
And so Diniel’s straightforwardness ended up annoying Amira instead.
As for Daryl, he was totally up for the temporarily increased responsibility, as he was eager for a chance to make up for his failure on layer seventy.
“Well, you can leave it to me!” Hannah said, also intending to provoke — as apparent from how full of herself she looked.
“Oh, but I wouldn’t mind getting shot by you, y’know”
“Don’t get cocky, bird girl.”
In response, Diniel jumped over her and tickled her sides.
“Huh! Wait– Ahahaha–! S-stop it–“
“S-sorr– Ah, sto–“
Tsutomu was relieved that the others were not particularly bothered by Diniel’s weakness — and then he snickered upon seeing Hannah go out of breath from all the tickling.
And then Hannah promptly twitched and rose up from the carpeted floor like a zombie.
“Hey, Teach… Did you laugh just now”
“You’re lying through your teeth!”
Hannah flapped her wings and jumped at Tsutomu, and proceeded to tickle Tsutomu’s sides.
Then the day came for the new members to join the Clan’s ranks.
Everyone waited for them at the Clan House, while Tsutomu went to pick up the three new arrivals at the Guild.
Leleia the Spiritualist and Xeno the Paladin were already waiting at the Guild’s entrance.
Leleia was standing around with her usual, perpetual serious expression.
Xeno combed up his short, silky silver hair and cracked a smile that exuded an aura of confidence.
“There you are, Tsutomu! Oh, I mean — I also just got here myself!” Xeno greeted Tsutomu in an exaggerated manner, extending his hand out for a handshake.
“You and I, we are of the same breath, my man!”
Tsutomu forced a smile and reluctantly shook Xeno’s hand.
Leleia followed suit, offering a handshake, which Tsutomu also accepted after a little chuckle.
“Now, we’re only missing one…”
“H-hello…” A timid-sounding voice greeted Tsutomu from behind just as he was about to look around for the last new member.
The woman, whose cream-colored hair was held together behind her with a hairpin, was named Korinna.
She was a Channeler formerly belonging to White Strike Wings, a Clan known for having offense-oriented White Mages among their ranks.
Looks like everyone’s here now, so let’s get straight to business.”
“So you two are fellow additions to the Clan Pleased to make your acquaintance!” Xeno said and proceeded to roar with laughter.
Leleia and Korinna nodded to him.
“N-nice to meet you, too.”
Tsutomu proceeded to show them the way to the Clan House.
Ollie came out to welcome them, and after introducing themselves, they walked through the living room and up the stairs to the second floor.
Since Leleia and Korinna wanted to live here, they were shown their rooms first, and then they went to meet with the other Clan members, who were already waiting in the living room.
Daryl and Hannah were excited, while Amira and Diniel were the same as they had ever been.
“Looks like everyone’s here.
These three will be joining us today.
Please introduce yourself.”
I am Leleia.
My level is 61.
My Job is Spiritualist, and I will be joining as an Attacker.
Pleased to make your acquaintance,” Leleia said and bowed.
Daryl and Hannah promptly gave her a round of applause, then Diniel and Amira followed suit.
Leleia raised her head, then turned to Amira for a brief moment before standing upright.
“As I recall, Leleia, you are confident in your skill with the sword as well, yes”
“Yes, I am.”
Leleia nodded firmly.
Her Job was the Spiritualist, which excelled at long-ranged attacks.
Since she belonged to a knightly household, however, she had learned to wield swords from childhood and was quite impressive at it; she had even incorporated it into her fighting style.
She was so good at melee combat, in fact, that perhaps she would be more fitting as a Spirit Swordfighter — but such a Job did not exist.
It was quite rare for an Attacker to be able to fight both at close and long ranges.
“A versatile Attacker like you is sure to be helpful.
Because of our predetermined plans, we won’t be working together until we have all ten members, but we’re happy to welcome you.”
Today’s three new members were locked into the secondary team for the first six weeks, after which Garm and Amy would be joining Absolute Helix.
During that time, their activities likely would not involve anything particularly demanding.
This condition had been clearly written on paper and confirmed in advance, however, so there was no problem at all.
“Now then, you’re up next, Xeno.”
MY NAME! IS! XENO! A level-70 Paladin, entering your ranks with the role of Tank! And here I declare — one spot in the main party will be mine in the near future.
Nice to meet you all!”
Xeno’s hammy introduction caused Korinna next to him to look as if she was dealing with a madman.
Hannah and Daryl were taken aback, while Amira looked on as if she had found her prey.
Diniel, on the other hand, was the same as ever.
After finishing his introduction, Xeno looked curiously at Amira, noticing that she was staring at him with a predator’s glare.
“What’s this Someone is directing her passionate gaze at me, I see… Ah! Apologies, but I have long decided to commit myself to a single partner.
Unfortunate as it is, I cannot reciprocate any sort of feelings you may have for me.
I am truly, truly sorry.”
As Xeno combed his hair upwards, Amira stood from her seat with her sleeves rolled up.
“Tsutomu, can I kick this guy’s ass”
“No, you may not,” Tsutomu said, also looking annoyed while he kept Amira from starting a fight.
He proceeded to ignore Xeno’s comical winking and move on to the next member.
“Last but not least, Korinna.
Please introduce yourself.”
“Excuuuse me, Tsutomu! Do you not have anything to say about me! At all!”
Korinna,” Tsutomu repeated, visibly fed up with Xeno’s ear-grating persistence.
“Please introduce yourself.”
For a moment, Korinna seemed terrified as a little critter, but then she promptly looked ahead upon seeing Tsutomu’s face — a face that gave her no other option but to proceed.
“Ah… Yes, all right.
My level is 60 and my Job is Channeler, joining the Clan as a Healer.
I will do my best not to drag you all down — Nice to meet you all.”
Korinna bowed, albeit while looking quite lacking in confidence.
As a former Healer for the mid-tier Clan White Strike Wings, she was the one Tsutomu considered the most skillful Channeler among currently active Explorers.
Moreover, despite her looks and general attitude, she was in fact older than Tsutomu.
The Channeler Job was not so popular yet, but it enabled one to support their allies with a wide range of special effects, ones different from what White Mage could provide.
Still, their revival skill was more difficult to use than White Mage’s one, so not many Clans were willing to use them as their Healer.
Korinna’s current layer progress was forty-nine — in other words, she had yet to claim a victory against the Shell Crab.
Perhaps it was only natural, however, considering that White Strike Wings was quite lacking when it came to raw firepower.
“As you may already know, Korinna here was a member of White Strike Wings.”
“Ooh, that Clan, huh,” Hannah blurted out, sounding impressed presumably because she knew about the Clan mentioned.
They had once been known as just the weird Clan that used those with Healer-type Jobs in Attacker roles, but ever since the three-role composition gained popularity, White Strike Wings members were quickly in high demand.
This was proof that they were all capable of achieving excellent results when under favorable circumstances.
“Channelers work completely differently from White Mages, so go ahead and expect some cool stuff from her.”
“I-I’m not THAT good…”
Korinna, perhaps not accustomed to receiving praise, blushed and promptly cast her eyes down.
Her lack of confidence seemed to stem partly from the fact that, among her former Clan’s peers, she had relatively rarely gotten invitations from other Clans.
And so, with all three introductions out of the way, Leleia, Xeno, and Korinna were welcomed into Absolute Helix.