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A Time Traveller's Guide To Feudal Japan Chapter 62 - Tortured Souls

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"An investment eh?"

The master mused.

"Very well. But if we are to do it, then I will not allow half-heartedness. We must devote all our efforts into making this work. Jikouji, I'll leave you in charge of it, as young Miura needs to concentrate on getting his men ready for the upcoming war."

"As you wish."

Jikouji bowed lightly, as they heard another door burst open.

"f.u.c.k!"

They heard the axe wielder curse, as everyone crowded round to observe what was inside.

The small body seemed to be that of a young boy. But judging by how thin he was, and the lack of any kind of movement, he appeared to be dead. That was not the chilling part, however. What caused them to back away in horror were the numerous cuts that decorated his limbs. These were not random cuts either, they were cuts that specifically targeted the tendons, so that even if he were to ever escape, he would not be able to move his limbs.

The wounds have become crusted with clotted blood, so it seemed he had survived the ordeal of having the tendons sliced. Perhaps it would have been better had he died? The lad likely thought so. The pain he experienced was unimaginable.

Gengyo moved closed, placing two fingers on his neck, struggling to feel a pulse. The skin was cold to touch, like that of a dead man, but he felt the faint pressure of a heartbeat. And then the boy's head moved, and he stared up at him with pleading eyes. He opened his mouth to speak, but no words came out.

"Sorry, I can't hear you."

The young man apologised, despite his intense focus.

The boy opened his mouth, and apparently repeated the same set of words, as the movement of his mouth was the same. Gengyo stared, and attempted to decipher his lip movements.

"Please… kill… me…"

He thought he saw, and looked down to the boy who nodded slowly. There was a sinking feeling of guilt in the young man's stomach. Whilst it wasn't his fault, he regretted that he would not be able to help the boy further. Alas, fixing so many severed tendons was out of his field of expertise, and the other doctors of that time would have had no chance as well. The boy would have to live the rest of his life, in pain, as a cripple. Perhaps he might gain a degree of movement in his arms and legs, but he would never be able to hold a hoe again.

"Niwsan… May I borrow your wakizashi?"

The master knew what his intentions were, and he didn't like it in the least.

"Wait, lad. He's still alive. He'll be able to recover to a degree."

Gengyo shook his head.

"He would live the rest of his life in excruciating pain, unable to work for his food. It is kinder to take his life now, as he wishes it."

"Is that really what you want?"

Nakatane asked to the boy, who nodded slowly in reply.

"Very well… here."

He drew his wakizashi reluctantly and handed it to the young man, who handled it carefully, as though it were a bowl of boiling water.

He approached the lad, and knelt down in front of him, putting a hand upon his shoulder.

"We'll take you back to your family after this, okay? I'm sure they've been very worried about you."

Again, a slow nod.

"I hope the G.o.ds take pity on you in your next life, and do not force you to relive anything like his again."

He spoke as he drove the short wakizashi through the boy's chest, puncturing his heart. His eyes left Gengyo's and he glanced down at the blade, noting the pool of blood. A second later, his eyes clouded, and he was dead.

He carefully slid the blade out from the boy, and cleaned it on a sc.r.a.p of the young lad's clothing, before handing it back to Nakatane.

The air around them was heavy, as they had all watched the scene with great reluctance. It seemed the more doors they opened, the heavier their hearts became.

"Continue."

He said to his men, a little despondently. They returned to their tasks, but without the same vigour as before. No one wanted to witness what was behind the next door.

But regardless of their wishes, the next door was open soon enough. They heard a very human yelp of surprise as the door swung open, and they rushed forward, hopeful.

From the ceiling hung a man who had his hands strung up by a pair of chains. He was topless, and his torso was littered with scars and fresh cuts from whiplashes, and knife slashes. Judging by the age of some of the wounds, he had been here quite a while.

But when he looked at them, his gaze was not that of a tortured man. It held an intensity that one would struggle to find even amongst the living. Gengyo met his gaze without a trace of agitation, before he turned to observe the rest of the room.

In the corner, a most disgusting sight had escaped their notice. There sat crouched a small man, with well-muscled arms, clutching onto a rusted blade as he held his head into his chest in fear.

It didn't take less than a second to connect the dots, as the young man strode over, wretching the blade from his grasp with one fluid movement, and hauling him to his feet in another.

As he was made to stand up, there was a distinct jangling sound, attracting their attention to the set of keys that hung at his waist.

"So… this is your doing."

It was not a question.

"Yes… but it was only on Todsama's orders! Though I don't forget to have fun now and then gehehe"

He spoke fervently, and manically, as though mad, and his nervous laughter at the end of his announcement only served to make Gengyo's rage boil over. He sent a fist toward the man's grotesque, sweaty face, hitting him hard and drawing blood, allowing the body to fall from his hands to the floor.

He then instead turned his attention to the man hanging from the roof. He was as thin as the other's that they had found, but he contained a degree more life. Loosening his sword from his scabbard, Gengyo struck out at the chains.

They were thick, and it required multiple hacks, but eventually, they snapped, sending the man plummeting to the ground, but now free. The young man caught him, and helped him stand, as he was unsteady on his feet.

"No. No! NO!"

The torturer muttered, growing increasingly agitated.

"You can't take my toy away! There's no one else that will give me such fun!"

Everyone turned to him, shooting him a look of utmost disgust. They each wanted to tear his head off right then and there, and there was a man among them who had the authority to do so.

The master stepped forward, brandishing his sword and swinging it toward the cowering man's head without mercy. He whimpered pathetically, raising his arms in the air in a futile attempt at stopping the downward moving blade.

CLANG

The blade did not meet it's intended target, as another blade blocked it.

Nakatane frowned angrily, glaring toward the wielder.

"Boy! What is the meaning of this?"

"Sorry, Niwsan. I understand - this is a man that deserves to die, more so than anyone. But it is not for us to take his life. He will be worth a good deal more to us if we allow the villagers to extract their revenge on him."

The master looked back from Gengyo to the despicable torturer, his grip on his sword tightening, before finally he sighed and sheathed his sword.

"Very well…"

He muttered despondently.

Gengyo turned his attention back to the injured man.

"Can you speak?"

He opened his mouth wide, and with a great effort, he managed to force out one word.

"Wat…er."

The young man nodded his understanding, and turned toward Yoritomo and Aritada.

"Take this man upstairs to where Kitajo went, and fetch him some water."

"Got it."

Aritada nodded, moving his arm under the injured man's shoulder, as Yoritomo replaced Gengyo and did the same.

He watched them go, before turning back to the torturer.

"On your feet."

The man whimpered, but did not move.

He raised a fist threateningly.

"I said, on your feet."

This time he was a little more compliant, and he slid up the wall reluctantly, shivering in fear.

The young man grasped the bundle of keys that hung from his waist and tore them from his clothing with force. He moved through his people, and toward the next door, trying each key in the beaten lock until one finally turned, and he pushed it open.

They were met with the skeleton of what seemed to be a man. A few tufts of hair still clung to the chalk-white scalp, but aside from that, there was not much to tell that he had once been living.

The stench was unbearable as well, so he turned away from the corpse for now, and moved toward the rest of the doors.

The scenes were just as unpleasant, and in the remaining four doors they found nothing but corpses. They had men fetch lengths of cloth from the upstairs, and they wrapped the bodies in it so that they could carry them. The corpses were placed in the throne room, and they each heaved a sigh of relief, glad to be out of that musty, h.e.l.lish bas.e.m.e.nt.

They had tied the torture's hands together with a length of twine, and forced him to move forward without a hint of sympathy.

They waited downstairs upon the throne's steps for the two men to finish the first meal that they had consumed in a long time. The mood amongst them was low. But how could it be otherwise? They had seen some of the most grisly sights that humanity had to offer. Even on the battlefield you could not find some barbarism.

"So how will we return the bodies now?"

Nakatane asked Gengyo, as it had been his idea in the first place.

"We won't. They will come and collect them."

"Ha? How do you propose that would come about?"

"We head to the centre of town, and start making a bit of noise. They are sure to come. Maybe it'll take a while, but curiosity will outweigh fear in the end."

The master shook his head.

"Everything seems so straightforward after you speak it. But you hold more secrets than you should. I've been wanting to ask you for a while - but did not want to call you out in front of your men - how did recognise that the brown powder was opium?"

The young man shrugged, as though it wasn't a big deal.

"I've seen it before. There are all kinds of people in taverns."

"I suppose…"

Nakatane responded, seemingly dissatisfied but he did not push him any further, for which Gengyo was grateful. It would be rather hard to explain that in his time every piece of information could easily be accessed instantaneously. And for a time he had held a curiosity toward the psychology of drug users, and in the process, he had ended up learning about the drugs themselves.

//Author's Note

The first scheduled chapter of today. The two bonus chapters will be released very shortly!

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A Time Traveller's Guide To Feudal Japan Chapter 62 - Tortured Souls summary

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