Pick Me Up Infinite Gacha! (Novel) Chapter 198

Chapter 198 - Black Seed (6)


A drop of water fell from the tip of a stalactite.

I looked up. Through a hole in the ceiling, a faint light filtered in.

The temperature was surprisingly cold.

Cold enough to feel it if you weren't properly bundled up.

I sat on a rock jutting out in the corner of the cave and drank a potion.

It was the second potion.

With that, I had exhausted all the healing potions I had.

But, perhaps due to keeping Exceed activated for too long, the stabbing pain surging from within me persisted.


I glanced to the side.

In front of the lake in the center of the cave, Priacis was sitting, huddled up.

"The expedition..."

"Probably annihilated," I replied shortly.

There's no point in hiding the truth.

The Asynis Army sent to the floating island to retrieve the key was completely destroyed.

Including Delphine and other important officers, they all died, and the remaining forces at the camp were also massacred without finding a leader. Now, effectively, we had no forces left.

'This is troublesome.'

I brought the empty potion flask to my mouth.

Somehow, the escape mission was a success. Scouting the camp, planning accommodations, having searched escape routes beforehand was of great help.

On the Floating Island of Asrank, there's an underground tunnel system as extensive as the surface.

One of those hundreds of entrances was on a cliff. However, since the cliff with the cave was so steeply cut, I had to demonstrate an almost acrobatic climb from thousands of meters in the air.

I put down the potion vial.

Although I escaped successfully, I couldn't return to the Lobby, and the portal didn't open either.

I was still stuck here.

'Is it still a personal mission?'

I looked to the right.

Where the mission objectives window should appear was empty.

Neither the floor count nor the objective notifications appeared.

Although I've faced unknown missions several times before, it had never been to this extent.

Even the 'Stage cleared' message didn't appear. Now I don't know what floor I'm on or what kind of mission this is.

What's going on?

I bit my lip.

Three creatures worthy of being bosses appeared at the same time, and an egg of the Fragment Series, which would normally appear above floor 80, was revealed. This goes beyond a difficult level of difficulty.

It could be considered a bug.

'We... will overcome...,' I remembered what Persephone said.

Overcome. Freeing all those suffering.

If this situation was intentional, then it's definitely irregular.

'This is a headache.'

Nothing has improved.

Bringing Lobby members is impossible.

Communication also doesn't work.

It seems I have to continue the mission this way.

Without receiving supplies like potions.


I held my throbbing head.

I need to organize what I need to do and establish priorities.

There's no time to dawdle.

If the creature inside the egg wakes up, the situation will worsen significantly.

Time is not on my side.

I compiled the information I got from Delphine, Adele, and Priacis.

Although the mission window didn't appear, I could determine an approximate objective.

Collect the last fragment of the key somewhere underground and return the egg to its original location on the surface before it hatches. The time limit is before hatching.

'The problem is...'

We can't confront them directly.

I can't guarantee victory against any of the three.

It was fortunate that there were only bosses. Since they have thousands of soldiers under their command.

On the other hand, I... can't even summon members of Group 1.

Surely they also know the mission objective.

So, instead of pursuing me directly, they must be waiting for me somewhere suitable.

The urgency is mine.


A sigh naturally came out.

It's been a while since I felt like this.

'There's no solution.'

We can't confront them directly.

I can't call for reinforcements.

Then what am I supposed to do?

A suicide charge perhaps?

'If only we had remaining forces...'

If there were survivors from the expedition, I could use them as a distraction to infiltrate.

But seeing the camp's situation, the probability of survivors is practically zero.

The enemy force consists of thousands of well-trained soldiers and three monsters that exceed standards.

And on our side... only a 4-star hero and a non-combatant NPC.

'I wonder what Anything would think if he saw this.'

If he logs in at night, he'll also understand the situation.

How badly the mission is going.

Then he could send a bug report to Mobius.

Even in my document, which analyzed hundreds of missions, there was never a case like this.


My instinct as a Master tells me that this mission has no chance of success.

'Damn it.'

I gritted my teeth.

So am I supposed to die here?

When have I calculated success probabilities before acting?


I turned my gaze.

Priacis's hunched shoulders in front of the lake tightened.

"What should we do...?"


"If the expedition was annihilated, can we still retrieve the key?"

"We'll only know if we try."

"I'm useless. I'm sorry."

"Don't just sit there. It's not over yet. We have to try at least."


This is true.

I approached Priacis.

Priacis was crouched down, hugging her knees.

Her small, white hands were trembling.

"I'll go out. Stay here. If something happens, scream."

"Where do you think you're going?"

"We need to eat."

It's quite cold inside the cave.

Looks like we'll need firewood too.

Priacis nodded slightly.


I half-drew my sword.

The blade had a clear crack.

A replica of Bifröst. It seems to have worn out quite a bit in combat.

'Even this won't last long.'


I sheathed the sword and jumped to the top of the protruding rock.

Jumping from rocks and stalactites, I exited through the hole in the ceiling.

Immediately, a dense forest appeared.

The northwest area of the Floating Island.

Leaving behind what's to come, I decided to do what I could, one by one.

This mission will be a prolonged battle. To maintain my condition, I first need to establish a camp where I can rest.

'Find food and firewood.'

It's not a difficult task.

I grabbed a handful of stones from the ground.

Just then, a rabbit trying to jump over a tree root caught my attention.

Shortly after.

I threw a net to the ground.

Inside the net, there were two rabbits, a squirrel, and a sparrow.

They were all either dead or unconscious.

The elastic net was an item I had prepared before the mission in case of a survival situation.

And on my left arm, I carried a bunch of firewood.

After covering the entrance with some grass, I entered the cave.

I stacked the firewood in a circle and rubbed two sticks together to start a fire.

Then I began preparing the animals for butchering.

"I'll help." Priacis approached.

"I can't let you work alone. I should at least do this much."


"Don't worry. I have plenty of camping experience."

Priacis smiled and opened the mouth of the net.

If she wants to do it..., I handed her a sharp knife.


Priacis skillfully killed the rabbit.

Soon, blood started flowing from the rabbit's neck.

'Maybe I should try too.'

I grabbed the sparrow by the wings and pulled it out.

It didn't die from the impact of the stone. It was just unconscious.

I decided to cut its neck first. I took out my knife, held it upside down, and then...


The sparrow twitched frantically.

Crack! Suddenly, the sparrow's body jumped like a fish, and red sparks flew.

'What's this?'

Clearly, it was unconscious.

I pressed on the trembling sparrow's neck.

Then I moved the knife...

<Wait! Don't kill me!>


<I'm telling you not to kill me! It's me, me!>

"And who are you?"

<The great ruler of ancient times, Halgion Syraos.>

"What a complicated name."

I moved the knife.


The sparrow opened its eyes wide and broke free from my grasp.

Then it raised its wings as if threatening me.

"Han, what's happening?"



I covered the sparrow's beak and lifted it.

It didn't seem like the time or place to talk. Someone might be listening.

I moved behind a pillar in the cave.

<How dare you!>

When I put the sparrow down on the ground, it fiercely beat me with its wings.

"Don't make this difficult."



The sparrow, hit by a peanut, rolled on the ground.

<......Your unpleasant character remains the same.>

"How did you get here? I didn't bring you."

I had told Iselle to watch him closely.

Surely, he was locked in the stable's henhouse.

<Hmph, do you think a simple cage could stop me?>

"Stop joking and talk."

<I have managed to overcome it.>
"Speak plainly, please."

This was also an unusual event.

He should have been locked in the Lobby.

<The barriers separating the tower and Taonier have weakened.>
"...What does that mean?"

<It seems there was a great commotion.>
The sparrow chuckled.

<Normally, there is an impassable barrier between the tower and this world. Don't you know? The tower, which belongs to Mobius, is a higher dimension than Taonier. That's why the flow of time is intertwined, and events repeat several times.>


<That difference has been reduced.>
The difference has been reduced.

"Do you mean they have physically come closer?"

<You can think of it that way. It's not incorrect.>

The sparrow nodded.

"Is that possible?"

<No, it's not. Just like you heroes can't escape the restrictions of your mission, monsters can't escape their fate either. That's how this place is designed. Originally, that is.>


The sparrow folded its wings and looked at me.

<Hehe, it seems you need my help.>

I couldn't deny it.

I didn't understand what was going on.

<Don't you wonder why Taonier is so difficult, why so many bugs arise in the missions, how the bosses were able to skip floors?>


<Hmph, I have come here to tell you. At the risk of my own safety.>

"How do you know?"

<I was in the same place as them.>
Said the sparrow.

<There is a place called 'the prison' in the tower's underground. Just like the tower locks up heroes, the prison locks up monsters. Monsters are bred there and summoned to the field when needed. After dying, they are regenerated.>

The prison.

It was the first time I had heard that term.

It was also new to me that there was another space below the Lobby.

But thinking about it, it makes sense.

If monsters are summoned to the field like heroes, they would need a place to stay.

<The prison is strictly divided by floors. Monsters from the upper floors can never come down. The opposite is also true. It's a prison from which there is no escape.>


<This is common in the 100 million Mobius accounts.>

I stood up.

Priacis was cooking meat behind me.

I headed towards a path in the corner of the cave.

'The common rules of Pick Me Up.'

Monsters are sacrifices for heroes to strengthen themselves.

They can't leave their assigned areas, and if they are common monsters, they can revive several times after dying.

Named exceptions, even if they revive, end up being devoured in the Dungeons of Advent.

Therefore, Pick Me Up missions almost always take the form of subjugation expeditions.

Although there are some variations, the goal is basically to strengthen oneself by killing monsters.

In a mission, monsters that cannot be killed or are impossible to defeat never appear.

I reviewed the Taonier missions I had experienced.


'Something is wrong.'

Taonier was out of sync.

<I'll tell you an old story.>

"Do I have to listen?"

<Of course. The answer is there.>
"Then speak."

I reached a place where no light entered.

I sat down, and the sparrow began to speak.

<Originally, Taonier was not one.>


<It was simply a chaotic space where four dimensional lines intertwined. The four dimensions were...>
"Halgion, Lantia, Asynis, Steinberg."

<Correct. I was, no, we were originally the lords of each dimension.>

The sparrow, the lord of Halgion, Syraos, folded its wings and sat on the ground.

Its eyes looked far away.

<We were all destined to disappear. The dimensional lines were intertwined, devouring everything in their path. We also had bad relationships. If left as it was, we would have fought until only one survived. Although the survivor would have also disappeared soon.>


<Then, a man appeared within the dimensional lines.>

Syraos continued.

<He was an ordinary, weak human man. He didn't even know where he came from or what he had done.>


<That man was the first emperor of the empire.>
The sparrow looked at me.

<I also detect... the same scent in you as in him.>

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