Pick Me Up Infinite Gacha! (Novel) Chapter 195

Chapter 195 - Black Seed (3)

The next day, in the afternoon.

I received a situation report inside the headquarters provided by Delphine.

"There's a fortress here, built by the Order's Army."

Adele pointed to one side of the map spread out on the table.

I squinted. A square-shaped wooden structure stood in a hollow flanked by cliffs on both sides.

"As you can see, if we fail to pass through this place, we won't be able to descend to the underground of the floating island where the key is located. According to the exploration, there are a total of 3,000 stationed soldiers. The height of the walls is 8 meters, and they've also dug a moat. It's incredible to think they built this fortress in just a month."

Adele rested her chin on her hand with a serious expression.

She was giving me a briefing in advance for the strategy meeting that would take place tomorrow morning.

She was quite considerate.

'A fortress.'

If previous missions focused on defense, it seems this time we're on the attacking side.

We must gather all the keys before the egg hatches.

It'll be a real headache if that thing wakes up.

"I heard you'd assist us. That would be a great help, really."

Adele looked at me with eyes full of admiration.

This man was the second son of the Ladasteri Family, a branch of the Asynis Family, and one of the key members of the current contingent staff.


It was the surname of the 4-star knight, Shay, whom I had devoured when I first arrived.

Out of curiosity, I asked if there was a woman named Shay in the family, but Adele shook her head, saying she hadn't heard the name.

'There's only one possibility.'

It seems that when chosen as a hero, Taonier's memories are either erased or overwritten.

Not only Shay, but this was clear if you think of Nerissa, who was said to be Pria's maid. Pria didn't recognize her at all.

'One 4-star hero and one five-star remain in Taonier.'

So, the man before me was a likely candidate for a 4-star hero from Taonier.

He was said to be the most outstanding among the branch family members, excluding the main family heir.

And the five-star candidate wasn't hard to guess either.

Delphine Von Asynis.

I recalled what Adele had said about her.

'The strongest in the empire.'

Although families like Halgion, Lantia, and Steinberg had diluted their bloodlines over generations, Asynis had almost retained its pure lineage, so their strength is on another level.

If Delphine had been in the battle on the 40th floor, the tide would have changed long before.

'Is that girl a five-star candidate?'

Well, I'll find out eventually.

I listened to the rest of Adele's explanation.

Our role was simple.

While the main force attacks the front of the fortress, we would flank and infiltrate the interior, disorganizing the formation and opening the gates. It was a classic but effective tactic.

"Once the fortress is breached, elite troops, including Her Highness the Princess and the Captain, will immediately infiltrate the Cult's stronghold. It would be appreciated if the heroes could join the main force and help clear out the remaining forces."

"Clear out the remaining forces?"

I continued speaking.

"Are you saying we should stay behind in the fortress?"

"That's right."

Adele nodded.

"There will be fierce resistance from the Cult members underground. We don't want to assign such a dangerous role to the heroes. We have our pride, so we're not going to leave everything to them."

I crossed my arms.

The meaning was clear. Once the assault on the fortress ended and the infiltration for the key theft began, we were to retreat from the front.

'That's a bit troublesome.'

It would be fine if they could obtain the key on their own, but then there would be no reason for them to have summoned us.

Definitely something will go wrong somewhere.

For now, I decided to remain silent.

There's no need to create unnecessary conflicts.

If things get tough, we can intervene then.

At that moment, no matter what they say, we can simply do our job.

"This time, I don't intend to show the same misfortune as before. If the Captain were here..."

"Is he that strong?"

"You'll see."

Adele looked at me with pride in her eyes.

Well, if she's said to be the strongest in the empire, she must be strong. Since this guy has seen me fight, Delphine's power doesn't seem to fall behind mine at all.

'I'm looking forward to it.'

There will be a chance to see it at some point.

What skills she has, and if she has elements that would qualify her to join the heroes in the Lobby.

If she meets my expectations, I plan to actively recruit her. It's easier to tackle missions with a hero than with a mere NPC.

"By the way, where are your companions? I understand they're not outside the headquarters, and they're not here either, right?"

"They've returned to where they originally were. They'll come back when the operation begins, so don't worry about it."

"They've returned to where they originally were...? Do you mean another dimension?"

"Something like that." Adele closed her mouth with a stiff face.

She must know that we're not ordinary beings.

Appearing and disappearing suddenly, changing each time they see us.

'Returning to where they originally were.'

It's not exactly an excuse. It's the truth.

When Group 1 entered the exclusive headquarters, the mission status was updated. The time ratio between the mission and the Lobby was fixed at 1:1, and the heroes could also enter and leave freely.

So, I stayed behind to relay the situation, while the other members returned to the Lobby for the basic briefing and combat preparation. Anything even turned off the game completely.

Probably, the group members are discussing with Edith.

Since other groups will also participate in the assault on the fortress, Edith's first attack squad is expected to be part of the main force, supporting large-scale battles.

I looked toward a corner of the headquarters.

It seemed invisible to Adele, but an oval-shaped dimensional door emitted blue light.

Through it, I could return to the Lobby.

'This is a strange mission.'

Most Pick Me Up missions are simple in content, such as subjugation, survival, offense, and defense. Missions with such complex twists are rare.

Looking back, this account has always been like this.

Survival missions appeared on the 5th floor, corpses resurrected on the 10th floor, immune monsters appeared on the 20th floor, and suspicious stages like hunting at sea emerged on the 35th floor. Even compared to Niflheim, it couldn't be considered normal.


I shook my head.

Even I couldn't interfere with the mission's format.

If there's no other option but to carry out the mission, there's no need to unnecessarily overthink.

"All expedition officers will attend tomorrow morning's meeting. A place has been prepared for the heroes, so please feel free to share your opinions."

Adele finished speaking and left the headquarters.

I put my legs up on the table with the map of the floating island spread out.


Probably, I won't have the chance to express my opinion at tomorrow's meeting.

Whether we're benefactors or whatever, we're strangers from a suspicious place.

Delphine invited me to attend the meeting out of courtesy, but she couldn't afford to go beyond that.

If they favor us, there will surely be complaints among the officers.

For the morale and operation of the troops, we'll have to move according to the plans they decide.

'Pria is in the same situation.'

Her situation is similar.

Stripped of her status and expelled by the empire.

Although she's respected as a member of the royal family, she has no more authority. She doesn't even have a place at tomorrow's meeting, so she's almost like a decorative figure.

Well, I have no complaints.

After all, I won't be here for long.

It's just a temporary cooperative relationship.

Once the task is completed, we part ways, and if there's a need, we can rebuild the relationship.

I closed the entrance to the headquarters and returned to the table.

There was work to be done before morning.

'Where will the variable occur?'

Whether before the assault on the fortress or during the infiltration.

Depending on the situation, we'll need to establish our action guidelines. The actual forces we can command are Edith's first attack squad and our group.


I held a pen over the map.

And then.

The next morning arrived.

After a quick breakfast, I put on my armor and sheathed my sword. I'd like to let them figure it out on their own, but there are still some basic concepts.

I am the only assistant.

The rest of the members had agreed to meet with another group in the afternoon.

The meeting place was Delphine's three-story grand headquarters.

Not seeing anyone around, it seemed I was the last to arrive.


Two soldiers guarding the entrance blocked my path.

I showed them the pass I received from Delphine. After scrutinizing the pass and my face, one soldier said:

"Han Israt, right?"

"That's correct."

"Go in."

The spears blocking my way were withdrawn.

What's up with these guys?

I looked at their faces.

Both had strange looks in their eyes. Like a swamp.

Dull and solidified.

I entered the headquarters.

No one was inside the spacious interior.

Not even a mouse was in sight.

The meeting place was in a private room on the third floor of the headquarters.

I climbed the stairs to the upper floors.

The absence of anyone was still evident. The guard soldiers I had passed last time I was here, and the maids carrying tea and food, had cleanly disappeared.

And then.

A familiar smell reached my nose.


I quickened my pace.

Quickly to the third floor.

The smell grew stronger as I ascended.


A woman's loud laugh echoed.

"The strongest in the empire, huh? It's not that much, is it?"

I reached for my sheath.

Ready to draw at any moment.

I walked slowly down the hallway on the third floor of the headquarters, holding my breath.

"That supposed pure blood of Asynis, was this it?"


Blood spurted from a mass of flesh, presumably a human arm.

The blood stained the white carpet of the hallway red and flowed to my feet.


I pressed my forehead. Human corpses were piled up in the hallway.

None of them retained their original shape. It was impossible to discern their gender, build, or age. They were all chopped up as if they had been put in a blender.

In a corner of the hallway, I saw a familiar ring.

I picked up the ring. Covered in blood, the surface of the ring was inscribed with ancient letters: 'The Left Hand of the White Dragon, Ladasteri.'

I examined the pile of corpses more closely.

Among the mix of bones, entrails, flesh, and blood clots, I found fragments of silver armor.

It was clear to whom it belonged.



Not a single trace of resistance.

In an instant, along with everyone here, they were torn to pieces and died.

"Is that what you get for not listening when spoken to kindly? Did you abandon His Highness the Prince and cling to that traitorous woman?"

The woman's voice came from beyond the door.

Inside the private room on the third floor of the headquarters, where the strategic meeting would take place.

Silently I drew my sword beside the door and stood by the wall.

'All at once? Or slowly?'

I pondered for a moment before concluding it was insignificant.

The soldiers in front of the headquarters and the voice echoing outside.

You already know, right?

'Ah, damn it.'

That's how I am.

There's never an easy path.


I kicked the door open.

Broken pieces of wood flew as the door swung wide open, revealing the inside of the private room.

"Ugh, eh, eh..."

Someone was crawling on the floor.

Her clothes were almost completely torn, leaving her almost naked.

Half of her white hair was burned, and a bloodied face peeked out from behind a shattered mask.

It was Delphine.

"Crawl. Yes, keep crawling. Like a worm. Crawl in a pitiful manner! Ahahaha!"

Behind her, a woman in a deep blue robe watched.


[Matriarch of Steinberg]

[Persephone Ridel Von Steinberg Lv.???]

The woman's eyes, filled with madness, turned toward me.

Her lips, painted red, curved into a smile.

"Who do we have here? Our own hero."

The woman approached Delphine and made a slight gesture.

Delphine's body rose as if held by invisible hands.

"Just in time for the execution. You've arrived at the perfect moment, hero. The empire's loudest cry will die a pathetic death. It should be quite a spectacle."

"Let me go! You, I am an Asynis... Aaaaaah!"


One of Delphine's broken horns fell to the ground.

The woman who ripped it off with her own hands, Persephone, said:

"Our hero remains impassive even in this situation. Perhaps because you've experienced many fierce battles?"

'The Matriarch of the Steinberg Family.'

Her name tag appeared.

In her hand was a sharp fragment of the horn.

"Take a close look."

Persephone smiled maliciously.

And then.


She shoved the horn she held into Delphine's heart.


Blood spurted from Delphine's mouth.

At the same time, I rolled across the floor.


Delphine's body flew where I had been standing and crashed deeply into the wall.

"I command."

<That you die.>
Persephone pointed.


Delphine turned into a bloody mess.

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