Pick Me Up Infinite Gacha! (Novel) Chapter 185

Chapter 185 - Only Once (9)

It was a single blow.


In the silence of everyone, I sheathed my sword.

Shhh. Blood spurted like a fountain from the giant's neck. My sword had split a huge steel axe in two and then severed the guy's head from his body.


The headless body of the guy swayed and then fell to the ground.

"Eh, then......"

"I won."

"Ah, yes. Han Israt wins!"

The referee raised my hand.

I wiped the blood off my sword and stepped down from the stage.

The blood seeping through the cracks of the floor gradually turned into light and disappeared.

This guy would resurrect in the stadium's locker room shortly afterward. That's why I could cut him without remorse.


In the midst of the silence, Aaron exclaimed.

Don't embarrass me. I chuckled briefly and entered the hallway connected to the locker room.

Blood dripped along the path I walked.

I entered through the door marked with a sign that read 'Competitors' Locker Room'.

I collapsed on the couch in the corner and took out a recovery potion.

This was the last potion I had.

'Clavicle, ribs, lower abdomen, thigh, calf.'

All the troublesome parts were injured.

Every time I applied the potion to the wound, intense pain surged.

If I hadn't learned regeneration and hardening skills, I would have been unable to fight long ago.

The competition I just had was round 32.

To win the individual tournament, I have to win four more times.

"......You're impressive."

I looked beside me.

A man in Niflheim uniform was looking at me.

Ah, this guy.

He's called the reincarnation of the Demonic Swordsman.

"I saw the match through the video in the locker room. An impressive swordsman."

He approached me.

I nodded half-listening.

By the way, speaking of the video, as I turned my head, there was a large TV on the wall of the locker room.

"I am Niflheim's top apprentice, Vanil Nortsev. You are......"

"Han, from Taonier."

"Taonier. So, are you from Aaron's Lobby?"

"That's right. Originally, I was part of our group."

"The level difference among members of the same group is noticeable."

Vanil said this with an expressionless face.

"I even watched the Battle Royale final. It was commendable. How about it? Would you be interested in joining Niflheim? I've heard that you also come from an external education, you must be well aware of Niflheim's excellence. I will consider proposing it to the director when I return."

What fantasies he's spouting.

I silently bandaged my wounds.

"Do you think we're similar."


"It's not something innate. People who have a different caliber than others, like Lord Lidigyon."

Vanil grasped his sheath.

"If a rabbit eats meat and a lion eats grass, would the world work properly? It's the same with people. Everyone lives according to the caliber they have been given."

His eyes narrowed when he mentioned 'rabbit'.

I knew exactly who he was referring to, so I couldn't help but laugh.

"Go away. I'm not interested."

"......What a pity."

Then, an announcement was made looking for Vanil in the locker room.

It seems it was his turn to compete. Vanil told me that if I changed my mind, I should let him know, and then he left the locker room.

'Rabbits and lions.'

I have no intention of blaming him.

To him, that was simply natural logic. Aaron, who is desperately trying to rise without being a suitable 'caliber,' must seem like a rabbit trying to eat meat.

'How did Aaron do?'

He was the only one left in the competitors' locker room.

I downed the last recovery potion in one gulp and checked the notice board on one side of the locker room.

The tournament matches were updated in real-time on a holographic screen.


Aaron's name was there.

It seems he wasn't eliminated from Group A.

I finished first aid in the locker room.

The bleeding stopped and my condition improved, although it would be difficult to fully recover today.

The side effects of Exceed would continue for a few days. With this penalty, I had to win the individual tournament.

When I felt somewhat better, I left the locker room.

Most of the competitors were watching the matches on-site.

It would be better to analyze the opponents.

I decided to go to the stadium to watch the matches.

Just then, Vanil was knocking down his opponent.

This time, he did it with his bare fists.

I watched Vanil turn his back as if it were natural and headed to the second-floor stands of the stadium.

According to the scoreboard, the next match was Aaron's turn.

Aaron was descending the stands with a spear, heading to the stage.

"Phew, that hero called the reincarnation of the Demonic Swordsman is incredible. I don't see the limit of his ability."

The spectators beside me began to chatter.

"Who is that man? It's the first time I've seen him."

"They say he's from Niflheim, just like the swordsman."

"Oh, so is that man also impressive?"

"No, he's ordinary. He doesn't dominate his opponents like the swordsman. He doesn't seem to fit well in Niflheim. Betting on that man is a losing bet. Although he's lucky in the draw, he will surely be eliminated in the semifinals."

As I listened to the eliminated heroes in the qualifiers, I chuckled and looked at Aaron. Aaron, facing a dual-sword swordsman, attacked with his spear, both stabbing and striking. His opponent, wielding two swords, also challenged him.

"He's nothing special."

"Right? It's not impactful. It's not entertaining to watch."

The spectators whispered among themselves.

I suppose so. Aaron didn't dominate his opponent, and his fighting style was neither fast nor flashy.

The techniques Aaron used were simple thrusts and strikes.

Very basic movements that any beginner with a spear could perform.

He moved mechanically and cleanly, but there was nothing more. Aaron didn't use advanced techniques that encapsulated the deep principles of weapon handling.

"He's boring. Who are the other favorites to win?"

"There's a Mad Dog."

"Mad Dog?"

"After a massacre in the Battle Royale, he joined the individual tournament. They say he split his opponent's weapon and head in one blow. He seemed to be in bad shape, but that madman is a beast... ugh!"

A spectator who made eye contact with me got scared and fled as if escaping.

"What, what? Let's go together!"

Suddenly, the two seats beside me were empty.

Is this the same hero? I clicked my tongue and looked away.

No, I tried to look away.


Someone was sitting there.

As if he had naturally been there all along.

He had a small, childlike body, and wore a hat pulled down to his mouth.


The boy, arms crossed, muttered as he watched the stage.

"I've told you several times. It seems my words don't reach you."

I narrowed my eyes.

'This kid is...'

"So soft, without spirit. You don't even have pride. You should receive five hundred lashes. What's the use of just trying hard? You should stab those pigs with the spear."



The boy lifted one side of his hat.

His violet-colored eyes shone brightly.

"Do you understand why I'm here?"

I didn't say anything.

"I can't stay long. I'll probably get a slap from the Mist Girl. So I'll be brief."

The boy moved his lips.

<Aaron is......>
The whisper continued for about 5 minutes.

After finishing his message, the boy smiled widely.

The moment I blinked, the boy's figure had disappeared.

I looked toward the stage.

Aaron was pushing the tip of his spear against his fallen opponent's neck.

It was the result of a battle that lasted about 15 minutes.

"Heh, I lost."

"Good effort." Aaron helped his opponent up, waved to him, and then stepped off the stage.

No one cheered for him.

"The next match!" The referee in the center of the stage announced.

"Round of 16 of Group G! Han Israt from Taonier! Zardi Northright from Lersundi!"

It's my turn now.

I stood up.

<All participants of the individual tournament, please wait in the competitors' locker room from the quarterfinals onward, as a large number of spectators are expected in the stadium.>

The stadium announcement echoed throughout the place.

I leaped over the fence separating the stands from the stage and ascended to it.

A knight with shield and sword emerged from the opposite aisle. A typical swordsman and shield-bearer type.

"You're seriously injured. Withdraw. I don't like fighting the weak." The knight looked at me and said that immediately.

Without saying anything, I drew my sword.

"Though it goes against my principles, there's no other way. I'll take your circumstances into account and..."


The blade of the sword widened.

With Bifröst transformed into a large sword, I lunged towards my opponent.

"The beginning has not yet been signaled...!"

The knight, though surprised, raised his shield and adopted a defensive stance.

My forceful strike caused the shield to sink deeply, and the knight staggered back several steps.

"Wait a moment!"

The referee's whistle sounded after that.

Now it should be fine. I planted my front foot on the ground and pounded the large sword several times with all my weight.

Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!

On the fifth strike, the steel shield shattered into pieces.

And on the sixth,


The knight fell to the ground, blood spraying.

"Han Israt wins!"

The referee looked at me with bewildered eyes.

I don't enjoy fighting like this. If I prolong the battle, the side effects will worsen.

I shook the blood off the large sword and stepped down from the stage.

Shortly after, the competitors for the quarter-finals were roughly determined.

Aaron and Vanil were in Group A, I was in Group B, and the rest were elite 4-star heroes. With most of the minor competitors already eliminated, from here is where the real competition begins.

At 2 p.m.

The stands of the individual tournament stadium began to fill up.

The Battle Royale and the finals of the team tournament were over. The mini-games schedule had also concluded. The only thing left was the main attraction of the three major events: the final of the individual tournament.

<Phew, I barely won. I almost died.>

"If you won, that's what matters. Did any of our members get hurt?"

<Um, Kishasha a bit? It's not a big deal. We're heading to the individual tournament stadium now. I'm going to watch my brother compete. You'll win, right?>

"Don't talk nonsense."

<And, what about brother Aaron...?>

"He advanced. He's here with me in the locker room."

<Got it. Anyway, good luck!>

Communication with Jenna ended.

I tossed the drained communication crystal into the trash and looked around.

The locker room filled with competitors who would be up next. Aaron was sitting on a bench. He didn't have a tense or determined expression. He looked a bit apathetic as he toyed with his lance.


"Oh, big brother."

"Don't get up. Stay seated."

"How's your body?"

"Good enough to make it to the final. Worry about yourself."

Aaron smiled weakly.

"Are you here to cheer me on? Thanks."



"Do you want to be like him?"

I pointed to Vanil, who was warming up in a corner.

Vanil was moving a long sword very slowly. At first glance, it might seem like a meaningless hand game, but it was full of high concentration and technique.

"What do you mean?... I'm not sure I understand."

"Do you want to become a genius? Those who, with just one look, understand ten, and with ten, apply a hundred, boasting as if it were natural. Looking down on you for not being able to do the same."


Before Aaron could respond, I spoke.

"You won't be able to."


"You'll never achieve it. Mastery, union with the weapon, no matter how much they explain it to you, you don't understand. It sounds like nonsense, even watching it you don't understand how to do it. Why do you try to force yourself to grasp something that clearly isn't for you?"

Aaron lowered his head.




"Beat that annoying guy and make it to the final. I'll be waiting for you."


"If you say you can't, prepare to die. If you can't, make it possible. Find a way. Whether it's mixing sleeping pills in the water, smearing poison on your lance, or approaching him now and hitting him from behind, use any means to win."

Aaron bit his lip.

"Why did you tell me you wanted to be stronger? Was it just to follow me?"

"I, I..."

"Don't admire him. You won't be able to be like him. Don't think about following him. It won't work. You'll remain the same. Always the same. So... destroy him."

Like Muden did.

Like the one who, being thousands of times inferior, thrust his lance into the hearts of geniuses.


Aaron looked at me, unable to comprehend.

That's okay. You don't need to understand. Just remember one thing.

<Next match! Competitors, please proceed to the stage.>

"It's your turn."

Right on cue, the announcement was made.

Aaron stood up to compete.

"I'm not sure what you mean."

Aaron grabbed the lance hanging on the wall.

"Are you telling me to win?"

"You understood correctly."

"I'll do my best..."

"That won't be enough."

Aaron smiled bitterly, then firmly grasped his lance.

"I will win."

"Good. Return victorious."

Aaron bowed to me and then walked out the door.

After him, his next opponent walked out. I looked up.

The inert ceiling of the stadium caught my gaze.

<What a pathetic idiot.>
Muden's voice echoed in my mind.

"The time Aaron spent there wasn't 57 years."

Of course not.

The human spirit can't handle that span of time.

He reset himself dozens of times, recreating his personality to survive.

Yet, Aaron never lost his 'self'.

"What a monster."

I smiled.

And silently, I contemplated the time Aaron endured.

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