Chapter 5 – Phalaris’s Bull ▼ ▼ ▼ ▼ ▼ ▼ (Part 1)
Indoors that is just like concrete pasted and deteriorated by time.
Parts of the walls and ceilings are broken, in the corridor that is half destroyed, Junpei was walking there. While receiving the damp wind that comes through the holes in the walls, he let out a deep sigh.
Before he was able to reach this building, he had picked up the letter that seems to come from an individual like Ossan, but……
ーーit was dyed with blood, so he couldn’t read most of the words.
Iron maiden, pear of anguish, head crusher……within the words that can be barely be read, these torture device are lined up, but……anyways, it is not something good.
Indoors that reeks of rustーーno, Junpei whispered while looking around inside.
Just as Junpei has said, inside the building is divided by corridors and steel bars.
The number of cells is tens, or maybe reaching over a hundred, there is quite the distance from end to end of the horizontal building.
*KatsunKatsun*, Junpei’s leather boots echoes throughout the corridors.
Observing left and right, he found out that mostly two-thirds of the rooms are free, and on the remaining one-third, the skeleton that seems to be the owner of the room have remained there.
Glaring, Junpei stared at those corpses intently.
It is common to have their teeth and bones of their fingers be crushed or lost, and stains that seem to be dried blood have spread inside the room.
「Torture……huh. Well, that Ossan wouldn’t fall to such things though」
He thought of the blood-stained letter that he picked up earlier, and remembered the names of the torture devices.
「……most probably, if someone fails here, they’d probably be worse off than dying」
He remembered having his leg get cut in the cannibal village, getting his arm devoured by Cerberus, and having his stomach get cut open in the fight against Satori, he laughed wryly.
「If it’s possible, those kinds of things……I really hope I can be excused from that」
Normally, there are two kinds of tortures.
First is torture to make someone’s mouth open.
It is unknown in the modern times of Earth, but at the least in the past, it is proven in history that criminals and prisoners of war are tortured.
And the other oneーーpleasure torture.
And speaking of the modern times of Earth, will it be a crime done by an individual who is extremely sadist……and, Junpei who was thinking of that while walking, he stopped there.
It was because four meters ahead to his right side, he found a place that is splattered with fresh blood that even stained the corridor.
Junpei cautiously advanced, and peeked into that prison cell.
ーーa man who seems to be in his thirties, is sitting while laying his back to the walls.
The change of colors to black by oxidation can’t be seen, it was really clear red. That only means that the horrible thing was just done from a moment earlier.
The cause of bloodーーthe man’s right hand, it was as if it was crushed by a pressing machine from the tip of his finger to his elbow.
「Oi, you……are you alright?」
When Junpei called out to him, the man answered while catching his breath.
「Yeah, I’m alright……well, meaning that I’m still alive」
「……who has done this to you?」
The man shook his head sidewards, and answered without strength.
「……you better leave here quickly」
「You saw the ones inside the prison right?」
Together with a sigh, the man continued.
「Able to reach this floor……the meaning of that, you probably know right?」
「It’s not needed to be said, everyone, all of them were strong. However, all of the guys that were caught……they died of torture. No one, no one was able to escape from this prison……it’s the end when you get caught. On top of that, this place serves as a safety area……as long as there are food and water, you aren’t going to die that easily」
After getting silent for a while, Junpei confirmed his left and right. There’s no presence of anyone.
He looked at the blood and meat chunks, the room that is filled with the smell of the rotten finger, and Junpei opened his mouth.
「Helping to escape……is there anything that I can do? I’m not planning on taking risks……but it would be the best if there are no risks」
To those words, the man made a dumbfounded expression.
「Normally……the moment that someone knows what kind of facility is this, they would want to get out of here as soon as possible though」
“Haha”, Junpei laughed with no strength.
「The boss of this building……I don’t know if it’s a human or a monster, but I want its experience points and drop items. Even if I can’t defeat it by myself, it might be possible with someone else……also, you……I might have you as my companion while traveling」
“Anyways”, Junpei continued.
「It’s not a hundred percent good will. I also have a lot of self-interests」
「……I see, you can also think of it like that huh. It’s my first time experiencing that, honestly, I’m a bit surprised」
“I don’t know how to treat the boy in front of me”, the man was having an expression like that.
And, after thinking about something for a while, across the prison barsーーhe pointed the lever that is placed on the wall behind Junpei.
「Can you pull that lever for me? The torture that is being done here, normally it’s inside my own roomーーwell, it’s being done here. Torture devices can be brought inside here」
「Tooth picker, flesh presser, pear of anguish, head crusher……well, comparatively light tortureーーtorture that doesn’t affect lives, it is being done here」
Junpei almost collapsed in his place.
Pear of anguish, it is a form of torture that destroys human organs by expanding its pyriform after inserting the tool inside the vagina or anus, or maybe to the mouth.
Junpei had once experienced losing his arm and leg in battlesーーthat is why, he was able to understand the horrible meaning of the words the man had said.
「And, when large-scale tortures will be done, I will be taken to a hospital room. During that time, it would use that lever to open and close the entrance」
「I mean, oi, please wait a minute……large-scale torture, you mean……?」
「Iron maiden, there’s also a lot of other ones, things like Phalaris’s bull……」
And there, Junpei asked the man.
「Yeah, it looks like you don’t know. Really……it’s a vexing equipment」
「In short, it’s a mold of a bull made of metal. However, inside that, a person is just fit, to be put inside that」
「Inside the mold, a person……will?」
「Right. Meaning, a person will be put inside the bull, and below it……well, the stomach part. That would be put in flames」
「……just like steaming?」
“Un”, the man nodded.
「……right, it’s steaming……however, it’s not something kind enough that you can pass if like normal steaming」
「Do you know the general cause of dying by getting burned? Most of the time , you will lose your consciousness because of the smoke before burning to death. Or maybe, you will die because of breathing in heated air. That’s why, the pain……it’s less than what you can imagine」
「The bull has a mouth. No, specifically speaking, there is a breathing opening for humans inside that mold. And that mold is connected to the mouth of the bull……rather than heated air, you will be able to breathe in fresh cold air inside the scorching hell. Being trapped inside the mold, having hot temperature to one’s stomach, what do you think would a person do?」
Junpei was appalled, got his breath taken away. Confirming that expression, the man continued.
「Right. Just as you’d guessed, scorched inside, unable to breathe in smoke, and also unable to breathe in heated air……you’ll be able to breathe in using the breathing opening. There’s nothing as cruel as this right?」
Junpei got silent, and honestly said his impression.
「……continuing living. And as the result of that, meat is scorched, the time that someone can experience their bones getting burned is extended……you’re saying that it’s hard to even lose one’s consciousness right? It’s what you call……a living hell」
「And, the breathing opening tube that is connected to the bull’s mouth, it has the same shape with instruments like trombones you know.……it is normal to have your meat get scorched, the human, inside the bull, they would scream out with tears, or wail right?」
「Meaning, that wail would echo inside, you can hear it like a bull getting choked. I mean, the thing that is made that you can hear it like that, that’s the thing called Phalaris’s bull」
「……really……what a nice hobby」
“On top of that”, the man smiled wryly.
「The bull inside this floor is special you know. The speed that it burns, and the speed of the regeneration inside the safety area, their speed are almost the same you know. It seems like it’s hard to die by getting burned」
「……really……what a nice hobby」
And, talking up to that, the man asked Junpei as if he had remembered.
「……can you pull the lever now?」
Junpei shook his head sidewards together with a sigh.
「Haa? Don’t you know that I already know that you’re a perverted bastard that likes getting tortured? Most probably, it’s a situation that if I pull the lever, some kind of trap will get activated and I’ll get caught right? If that is so……unfortunately for you. Too bad, I’ll escape from here using my maximum fighting speed」
「There’s a lot of reasons, but……why, can you clearly tell『all of the guys that were caught……they died of torture』?」
“Ahh”, the man shook his head sidewards as if he had given up.
「I thought that I had mimicked acting injured very well though……it’s true that I had said that wrongly」
「There’s also other reasons you know?『It’s my first time experiencing that, honestly, I’m a bit surprised……』, it’s also unnatural that you said that, with that, my doubt changed to conviction」
“In the first place……”, Junpei continued.
「It’s a set up that an adventurer had experienced meeting another just like this, but left behind unable to be saved right? For something to happen like that, ever since you met me……you were really, casual. If there’s the possibility of getting saved from the days of getting tortured, as long as it’s not someone abnormal, it’s normal that they’d desperately hold on to that right?」
As if to ignore Junpei’s words, the man pleasantly smiled.
「…………………is Phalaris’s bull right?」
「Ah? What did you say?」
「I said, the main dish is Phalaris’s bull right? Ahh, of course, I’m talking about your torture full course?」
Suddenly, *Gakon*, the sound of the lever getting pulled from top to bottom.
Before Junpei who had turned around, a man that completely had the same face as the man in the prison cell was standing, and he was holding the lever.
In an instant, the corridor’s floorーーit disappeared.
Free fall starts inevitably.
After a breath of panicking. While falling, the voice of the mean reaches his ear.
「My skillーー【Double】’s ability. An inferior copy of the owner can be freely placed……and be controlled. It’s surprisingly convenient……and also has high rarity you know?」
He heard the man’s voice, and Junpei ordered the situation in his head.
After spitting that out, Junpei let himself to the fall.
*Pochon*, *Pochon*, the water drops from the ceiling, it continues to fall two meters down with fixed intervals.
When he noticed it, Junpei was being tied up in a chair in a dark, dim basement.
His surroundings were filled with reeking rotten oil and the thick smell of iron, the floor is covered with thick layers of dried blood.
Countless bones are being hanged by the ceiling, and horrendous numbers of torture devices are being displayed like a collection on the wall.
Iron maidenーーI don’t know what the names of the things other than that, but anyways, large equipments were polished to its shine.
Junpei felt cold chill taking a glance at the room.
ーーthis place, is no doubt a living hell.
It’s dangerous to not escape immediately.
For the meantime, he use【Appraisal Eyes】to the chains that bind his arms and legs, then spat out.
「Well this is……really a VIP experience huh」
Item Rank ▼ ▼ ▼ Legendary Class
Characteristics ▼ ▼ ▼ Chains that are made with materials that passed down from the mythological era. Orihalcon can be found rarely on heritages of ancient civilizations. It is a material that is like called strengthened ceramic in the modern times, it is very hard yet light. However, because of its hardness, it cannot be processed by normal artisans.
The man who is crossing his arms in front of Junpei, talked to him with no expressions.
「Ahh, forgive me for the late introduction. My name is Jyr. This is the face of the man that will make you experience things worse than death. You should remember it. By the way, my level has exceeded 2500. Either way, I am not someone that you can do anything to」
「Thanks for being polite……」
「And then……it’s about, why I’m doing something like this……right」
「I didn’t ask something like that though……」
Ignoring Junpei’s words, the man started to talk casually without expressions.
「Prisoner of time……well, dragons, or maybe gods, it’s different from those, but……I had stopped being a human for just a little bit. The moons and years that I had lived is very long……although I said that, it’s only tens of thousands of years though. I can’t even move from this floor……that’s why I got crazy a little bit. Escaping from the dragon’s nest, being able to run alive to the lower floors……and then, well, I’m just lucky, that’s all」
「……in short, for passing time?」
「That’s right. To live tens of thousands of years……inside the labyrinth, especially here, there’s no entertainment at all」
To those words, Junpei somehow got convinced.
For example, whatever he says to that shota God, it’s impossible to convince him.
Most probably, this man’s crazy hobbies, might just be an abnormality of the mind that that God had passed.
If that is so, just like the God, the psychopath in front of him, is also impossible to convince.
「It’s just, there’s something that I’m curious about」
「About the dragon, I can see that you know about it somehow. Above that, I want to ask……」
「Don’t you think that it’s strange?」
「That is a prisoner of time, and it’s utmost desire is its own death」
「Yeah, probably so」
「And he was released from the prison of time」
Thinking for a moment, Junpei nodded.
「It’s true, it might be like that if you say it. While experiencing that, why are they continuing trying to clear the labyrinth……」
“Un”, the man nodded.
「Right, that is rightーーI had doubts about that ever since……in the first place, why is this world using status, or maybe, why does this world, have a labyrinth that has difficulties to the extreme ignoring all of the living things including the Demon King……I think of that strange」
And as if he had remembered, the man warned Junpei.
「Ahh, you better not think of biting off your tongue. Even if you do that, you know that it’s useless here right? After all, as long as it is not an injury that your organs had splattered outーーyou will regenerate」
And then, the man held Junpei’s hand that is being tied on the wrist to the armchair.
「Oi……what are you doing?」
He answered to Junpei’s words without expressions.
「It looks like, you……don’t have interest in dressing up」
Looking at Junpei’s appearance, the man narrowed his eyebrows.
Inside the labyrinth where the utmost goal is surviving, there is no way for the culture of decorating develop.
Saying the accessory technologies here in Japan, it is close to the ones within Jomon period.
Junpei’s clothes are simple ones that he got from the cannibal village.
To make the man named Jyr dubious, well, there’s no helping it.
「Well, whether or not you are interested in fashion……that doesn’t matter huh」
“Anyways”, the man continued.
「This isn’t something you can experience normally」
The thing that the man took out from his waist, are a total of ten awls.
「Don’t worry, what I’m going to do right now is simple manicure……it is only, a little bit of appetizer for the full course」
The man made a wink without breaking his expressionless face.
The man who took Junpei’s middle finger, he stabbed the awl that he is holding in his hands to the gaps of nails and finger.
While holding in the screams that are flowing out desperately, Junpei only thought.
ーーwhat should I do……what should I do……so that I can survive……from this situation……?
All of his left and right fingers, all of them are pierced by awls.
Next, the man took out a candle, and lit its end.
「Oi……what are you gonna do?」
「Eh……? Even if you ask me “what”……」
The man was only expressionless, and he answered without emotions.
「The heated wax, I’m only going to drop it to the awls though? Ahh, of course, while it is being pierced to your fingers」
Junpei went pale.
「Well now, cry me a good voice?」
Every time the wax of the candle drops, just like the man had requested, screams echoed throughout the basement.
The roaring screamsーーit was not something that can be played with human voices.
Tears, snot, saliva.
And after a few minutes, his brain couldn’t process the pain anymore.
The result, as a way of running away, it chose to lower the consciousness level and thinking level to the lowest extremes
Meaningーーhe stopped thinking.
Being tied up on a table that has wheels, *GoroGoro*, he was being taken away.
It was shaking up and down, and when he noticed it, he almost bit off his tongue.
The place that Junpei who was having a vague consciousness was taken to while being tide up to the pushcartーーthere was a golden bull that is being placed there.
When he was thinking of that as if it has nothing to do with himself, the man’s voice reached his ears.
「For two days, good job. You’re the first one who didn’t pass out with tooth remover-san’s torture……well, enough of that. Come now, this is the Phalaris’s bull that I had talked about on the first dayーーit’s the real thing」
To the man who explained that without emotions, Junpei answered without strength.
「Kill me……kill me please……please……kill me already……」
He was barely able to retain his will to survive in the first day’s blood manicure and candle attack.
But, however, in the second day’s tooth removerーーJunpei’s heart got broken.
The man’s tool is only pliers, it was a very simple torture.
However, it was the worst because it was the safety area. Teeth being crushed and repeatedly regenerate with no ends.
Even though he was toughened a little bit by his numerous experiences, Junpei was a normal person in the first place, on top of that, he’s only a high school student. It wasn’t something that can be endured with only that mentality.
「Kill me……kill me please……I’m begging you……please……kill me……already……」
To Junpei who was continuously whispering things, the man answered without expressions.
「I talked about my circumstances right? I had lived tens of thousands of years alone, and my thought process is broken. That’s why, things for killing time is necessary. And you are a toy」
“As a conclusion”, the man continued.
「Until I get fed up, it is impossible for you to be “released” through death. Well, so that you wouldn’t die……in that meaning, probably “taking care” of you is quite possible」
“Well then”, the man started to place firewood under the bull’s stomach.
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