The Fire Dragon, finished off by Diniel’s arrow, fell to the ground and started dispersing into light particles. Confirming that it was no longer moving, Tsutomu called out to Diniel next to him.
Not particularly impressed, Diniel’s voice was as uninterested as ever.
“Way to go!”
In stark contrast, the three others were so happy that they jump-hugged one another and all fell to the ground. They stayed lying down there, relieved that the long battle was finally over.
“Uh, Amira, are you alright?”
She was gasping for air, apparently having spent all her energy with her scream earlier. Unlike Camille, she could only hold her <<Dragon Form>> for a short time, and even though <<Medic>> could recover her from fatigue, it was not perfect.
Daryl was sweating all over, practically dripping a waterfall onto the ground, and Hannah was convulsing badly from overworking her wings. While waiting for the three to catch their breaths, Tsutomu went over to collect the Colorless Magic Stones that the Fire Dragon had dropped.
“S-Sir Tsutomu! We won!”
Daryl walked up to Tsutomu, his bangs soaked with sweat and fluttering in the wind.
“We sure did,” Tsutomu replied and handed him a towel.
“Thank goodness! Now Sir Garm won’t be angry at me!”
The towel, being so good at absorbing water, was almost immediately soaked with sweat.
“Hannah, can you stand?”
“Can’t… even lift… a finger…”
“Doesn’t look like Amira’s getting up anytime soon… Daryl, I know you’re probably tired, but could you carry her? And Diniel, could you help Hannah–“
“Nah… How about she carries me instead?”
At Tsutomu’s request, Diniel reluctantly put away her bow on her back and carried Hannah in her arms like a knight carrying a princess… While Daryl carried Amira on his back as if they were professional wrestlers. The Absolute Helix team then proceeded to leave the sixtieth layer.
While they attracted some attention back in the Guild, the team opted to immediately return to their Clan House. Ollie, in the middle of doing laundry, came running down from the second floor to greet the five of them.
“Man, I’m spent…” Hannah whined as she limped toward the living room after Diniel placed her down.
“Sorry to burst your bubble, but we’re having an evaluation meeting first. I’d like everyone to look back on the operation while it’s still fresh in our minds. You can get some rest after that.”
Told so by Tsutomu, Hannah reluctantly nodded.
Amira, while seeming to have recovered her strength somewhat, did not look like she would last much longer either.
After wiping off their sweat again, everyone gathered in the living room, dropping themselves down on the fluffy sofas. Hannah, apparently the most exhausted of the bunch, was about to fall asleep, but in the end managed to keep herself awake.
Ollie served everyone a glass of cold lemon juice. Hannah held hers carefully in both hands and slowly sipped it down, letting the sour taste soak into her tired body. Amira chugged hers down immediately and asked for a refill. Diniel showed no signs of fatigue whatsoever, and it was the same for Tsutomu as he placed a blank sheet of paper on the table.
“First of all, good job out there, everyone. I think we did quite well, considering it was really the first time our party was in a prolonged battle.”
The battle had lasted approximately three hours. With this being the first time two of the team members had ever fought the Fire Dragon, one could consider the victory being achieved quite quickly. Generally speaking, the final results were not bad.
“I’ll start with stating how I felt. If you happen to have any comments, do feel free to state them.”
Tsutomu tapped his pen on the blank sheet of paper, and the four others nodded. He proceeded to write Dinie’s name at the very top of the sheet.
“For Diniel… I have nothing to comment on. I couldn’t find any point that needs improvement on your part.”
Diniel’s performance against the Fire Dragon was the highlight of the fight. Not only had she shattered the monster’s forehead gem right at the start, but she had also carried out her role as an Attacker perfectly. It was without a doubt that she had dealt more damage than Amira.
After around the halfway point of the fight, Hannah and Amira had started to collapse due to their lacking stamina, and Daryl had been on the verge of being overwhelmed by his workload multiple times. Whenever that was about to happen, Diniel would pull the Fire Dragon’s aggro to her, acting as a temporary evasion-based Tank to support the three others. She was able to do that because she had already gone against the Fire Dragon hundreds of times prior, learning all its telegraphs and tendencies.
At one point, Amira had slowed down and an almost-fatal wound due to overusing <<Dragon Form>>, but Diniel had managed to dish out enough power while waiting for the former to recover. Whenever the team’s performance came up short, be it in offense or defense, Diniel would pick up the slack, and since she had known when to relax, she had never exhausted her stamina. It could be said that she had contributed the most to the team’s victory today.
“Daryl… For the first time fighting it, you did well. The very start was a bit rocky, but you managed well enough after that passed.”
“But I’ve noticed that you would stop moving whenever you see someone collapse. You’re THE pillar that holds the party together, so I’d like you to have some more awareness.”
“Y-yes. I’m sorry…”
“Now, you could afford to be more confident — we’ll always support you, after all. I’m carrying out a semi-support role for a reason!”
“Y-yes, of course… But do you think I can really be THE team’s pillar…?” Daryl replied, his voice lacking in confidence, his black-furred ears dropping down.
He had all the skills needed to be the tank, but did not quite have enough pride. Although he would occasionally get overly confident, his true feelings would also pop up every now and then — especially the thought that he would always be inferior to Garm in every way.
“Well, you can work on it over time. It’s not something that comes to you immediately, after all.”
“Yes, I understand!”
“Next, Hannah — you could afford to go heavier on the offense.”
“Uh, s-sure thing.”
Hannah was visibly tense as she waited for Tsutomu to continue, apparently knowing well herself what her shortcomings during the battle were. Tsutomu, although reluctant, proceeded to jot down his notes on the sheet of paper.
“You carried out your evasion-based Tank role very well. Your overall flow wasn’t too shabby, and you were especially good at reading the telegraphs for breath attacks. As for other issues, the main thing would be stamina, I suppose.”
Limited stamina — that was the glaring issue that had surfaced during today’s battle.
It was not that Hannah herself lacked stamina. Having been a fast-moving Attacker for Ealdred Crow, she had as much as any serious fighter would. However, even being on Hannah’s level of endurance was still not enough for the evasion-based Tank approach.
Thanks to Tsutomu’s support, she had had an easier time managing her stamina, but as everyone already knew, the fatigue-alleviating <<Medic>> was not perfect. Moreover, Hannah could not be expected to keep her mental energy in good balance just yet.
Having to attack and defend at the same time was sure to eat up a lot of energy, and Hannah had been fighting with this style for only two months. It could not be helped that her movements were not perfect and completely energy-efficient.
From around the halfway point to the end of the fight, her lack of stamina had caused her to start losing the ability to make decisions, and she had ended up being grazed by the Dragon’s fire breaths several times. Despite being familiar with its movements due to having fought it dozens of times before, Hannah was still unable to dodge its fire breath attacks reliably.
“You were moving faster than usual — too excited to fight the Fire Dragon, I assume. It seemed that you were already at your limit by the halfway point, so try to manage your energy better next time.”
“Got it, Teach.”
“Hannah, you’re not good at slacking off. You should learn from me.”
Diniel had saved Hannah many times during the fight, and even covered for her by temporarily acting as an evasion-based Tank herself, so Hannah had nothing to say back. All Hannah could do was scowl at Diniel — her last little once of resistance against the way of the slacker.
“Your skill patterns were a mess toward the end, and it seemed like you weren’t listening to my instructions. You were too tired to hear me properly, I assume?”
“I’ll admit, that’s exactly it…”
“Well, don’t worry about it. If anything, you’re doing well for someone who’d just started fighting like this for two months. Just keep up the good work, and you’ll be fine. I’ll see if I can fit in more <<Medic>> casts for you, too.”
As Tsutomu wrote some more things down, he smiled — a truly childish, innocent smile, as opposed to his usual villainous-or-scheming ones. Hannah, seeing that, turned away and scratched her cheek, her eyes widened in surprise.
“Last but not least, Amira.”
With Amira herself knowing that, just like Hannah, her performance had been a mess towards the end, she looked up somewhat awkwardly.
“Same point as Hannah — your <<Dragon Form>> uses up too much stamina. And please stop charging in head-first by yourself. Maybe you were too tired to hear me, but you did that again and again, and almost got yourself killed each time.”
“But everything else was good, especially your coordination with Daryl — much better than before. Also, there’s nothing wrong with using your <<Dragon Form>> in itself, but I’d like you to transform a little less.”
“…What? You’re not messing with me, right?”
“I’m not. Your transformation is strong, sure, but there’s no need to use it all the time. It was especially clear in today’s battle that you’ve been using it too much.”
Amira’s repeated use of the <<Dragon Form>> was due to her thinking it was the only thing she could do. And while it was true that the transformation had great power, Amira’s natural abilities had also been improving greatly as of late, and her coordination with Daryl had been getting better and better.
“So, again, I’d like you to use it a little less. If you’re fine with it, of course.”
Amira did not seem fully persuaded by Tsutomu, but at least she seemed happy because of the compliments she did get. Tsutomu proceeded to look away from Amira, turning to everyone.
“That’s all from me. Do you have anything to add, Diniel?”
“Got it. Daryl?”
“I-I don’t have anything?”
“Reeeally? Nothing to comment on my support?”
“N-no, really! It was great!”
Daryl wagged his black-furred tail, his eyes sparkling. In addition to providing comprehensive support and healing to the four team members, Tsutomu had also kept up his buffing effects for Hannah and Amira despite their quick movements. His directions for everyone were on point, too.
On top of all that, he had also actively participated in the offense this time. Having two Tanks in the team meant that Tsutomu was able to move around relatively freely, and in turn able to attack the monsters himself. He had also landed attacks whenever possible during every battle before, but now he could afford to be much more aggressive.
Beginner Healers would not get any complaints as long as they carried out their roles of supporting and healing properly. For intermediate and advanced ones, however, those were not enough. Healer-type Jobs also had access to attacking skills, albeit in a small variety, so one should always strive to maximize the team’s damage output.
Still, they had to be careful not to obsess over their damage output so much, or else their support and healing might get disrupted. Intermediate-level Healers were sure to have an especially hard time balancing their usual roles and attacking.
When Tsutomu first appeared in this world, he had started out focusing on support and healing, only attacking on rare occasions. Now that he was used to how things worked, he was starting to focus on dealing damage and balancing things.
“You’re a strange guy, Tsutomu. Do you have two brains in your head or what?”
“I don’t. Trust me, you’ll just get used to it.”
“Really? I wanna see what’s in there, just to be sure.”
“…No, that sounds scary.”
With Diniel saying something so outrageous without skipping a beat, Tsutomu scrambled to dodge the topic, turning to Hannah and Amira to ask for their opinions. They did not seem to have anything to say, either. After folding his arms and groaning to himself for a moment, Tsutomu proceeded to write his own name on the paper and start detailing things out for himself.
“More <<Medic>> for Hannah, less <<Dragon Form>> for Amira. And then… I’ll try practicing my attack skills, I guess. Oh, I’d like to think of more ways to use <<Barrier>>, too. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with my support, but I’m not able to tell by myself how effective my healing is. Daryl, are you sure you don’t have any problems?”
“I’m sure! If anything, being healed immediately whenever I get hurt feels… kinda creepy, actually!”
“Ah, uh-huh… I see…”
Knowing that Daryl had not meant any harm with that last comment, Tsutomu ended up having a subtly bored expression, tapping his pen on the paper without anything to write down. After a little more discussion, the evaluation meeting ended. Hannah, who had fallen asleep on the sofa at some point unbeknownst to everyone else, was carried back to her room by Ollie.