I can say this because I’m an expert in pain endurance. A near-death level of pain really means a degree of pain that could cause death from shock.
This meant the pain had to be of the most extreme kind, not the silly kind like bumping one’s toe at the door and feigning severe pain while rolling on the ground in mock agony.
Also, near-death kind of pain could be induced only by skillful and detailed practitioners trained to harass the subject’s body.
I knew about the method better than anyone.
However, from the experience, I knew how frightening my self-harm would look to the others.
So, instead of doing it myself, I asked the group to torture me instead.
Maybe I would be able to learn a new method of torture.
I cannot hide my disappointment.
“Ah, is that not hurting you?”
“… I told you to do it harder. I won’t hit you back. I won’t. You are doing it because I asked you, so why are you so scared?”
While shaking, the Adventurer was trying to pull the nail out of my finger. I told him he didn’t need to worry about me hitting back. It seemed he was concerned I might get angry at him later for hurting me. He was probably worried that I might let out my frustration at him by attacking him later.
At the moment, I was sitting at a chair that I brought out of the inventory. I had my left arm tied to the chair’s arm rest.
Sitting in front of me, the Adventurer was fiddling with my hand.
Others were finding it difficult to watch, so they stood a little further away from me.
I told him he could hurt me at will. The Adventurer took a deep breath and started to pull the nails out of my fingers.
It doesn’t hurt so much if you pull the nail out so cleanly in one swing.
You should do it slowly in a mess with twists. Only then is the raw sensation of a nail being pulled out can be felt.
I didn’t know it would go this way. I might as well do this myself.
Still, the Adventurer knew the basics of the torture.
Before him, the Holy Knight brought out a punishing hammer or whatnot, which was the size of a little hammer used by a judge, and beat my wrist with it as if he was playing a game of whack-a-mole. Compared to him, Adventurer was doing a lot better.
After pulling out my nail, it seemed he gained a little confidence in this. He brought out sharp metal tool and tongs.
They didn’t appear to be for medical purpose. Instead… they appeared to be tools for opening a safe.
The Adventurer cut open the top of the finger where the nail was pulled. He put in the tong there and messed with my flesh inside for a while.
“Are you really… not feeling pain from this? How could you not even flinch? Do you have a problem in your nervous system…”
Normally, if someone was just enduring the pain, their elbows, legs, spine or toes would be wildly trembling if their finger’s flesh being dug out like this.
However, the pain resistance’s effect erased such secondary pains. It was because they could be hindrances to battle.
Of course, the pain itself was not erased at all.
Actually, because of the effect, my senses never became paralyzed from pain, so I could feel the pain more clearly.
I told the Adventurer to continue. I told him everything was going well.
It seemed the Adventurer was determined. He brought out a black wire from the bag.
He cut a segment from it to a short length and stuck it on top of the finger that he just cut open.
He carefully adjusted the location of the wire and called the mage who was watching in the back with a pale face.
[Are you asking me to use Blitz magic at that wire? Are you out of your mind?]
Why not? I think it is a great idea.
The Mage panicked apprehensively and hesitated. However, I explained that I consented to the Adventurer. I insisted. Thinking it could not be helped, the Mage stepped in.
“That is a special wire that will amplify the power of the Blitz magic. Adjust your power accordingly.”
It seemed the Mage was having a difficult time looking at my hand which was cut open with a wire stuck in it. After hearing the Adventurer’s explanation, she grimaced and used a magic spell.
She used a Blitz magic at the wire. My hand and arm flinched from the shock. Electrifying sensation flowed through my nerve and went all the way to my spine.
It smelled like burning flesh. I felt being stabbed by needles and compressed by a crusher. The pain was not just on my finger. It was on my elbow and riding all the way up to beyond my shoulder.
It even reached the tip of my head. I felt like I was being slapped to my senses.
I had experienced Blitz magic before.
During the day of great harmony last time, I had asked Lee Jun-suk to use Blitz magic on me so I could raise my Blitz and great magic resistance.
I didn’t get to earn Blitz resistance in the end, but…
Anyway, compared to that last time, I don’t think this was much more efficient.
I was about to ask if there was any other torture method. It was at that moment when I could hear a quiet scream.
[… Uuuu… Kuuuuuuu… St…. Stop… What… are you… doing…]
Is this the doppelganger’s voice?
It was not coming from my ears. It felt like the voice was echoing in my head.
The voice sounded like one of those distorted voices of criminals in a movie. It was muddling and unpleasant to hear.
“I think this is effective. Try making it a little stronger.”
[You… insane… human…]
This time, not just the parts around the arm, but my entire body shook violently.
For about half a second, my vision suddenly went white before slowly returning to normal.
As I thought, the Mage’s Blitz magic spells are more powerful than Lee Jun-suk’s.
[Kuuuaaaaa… This… This fool! Are you planning to die together!]
Who’s going to die with you?
I won’t die from something like this.
I pressed in the wire deeper into my finger and said,
“Another shot. Make it a more powerful spell.”
The Mage hesitated for a moment before reciting the spell, and the doppelganger screamed.
[Kuuuuaaa! How could such a dumbass… How… What kind of God is… trying to have this lunatic as the Apostle!]
Why are you treating me as if I’m insane?
You are spoiling my mood.
[God of Adventure is agreeing with you.]
The Mage brought out a paper, wrote on it and showed the paper to me.
[I’ll shoot a really powerful one. You are going to be okay, right?]
I nodded decisively. The mage also nodded. She took a step back and started to recite the spell.
Considering that she had to recite a long spell, I was certain that this one was going to be a lot more powerful than the ones before.
[S… Stop. Are you intending to die too…]
The doppelganger kept on hissing at me to quit. However, I ignored him.
Meanwhile, the Mage, who had no way of hearing the doppelganger’s whispers, finished her spell and cast it.
Right after that, I lost consciousness.
* * *
I checked my surroundings as soon as I regained my consciousness.
I am safe.
I checked the time. About two minutes had passed.
It seemed I fainted for two minutes.
I had faint resistance, yet I was unconscious for two minutes. That meant it was a huge shock, something that would have left me unconsciousness for a very long time if I didn’t have the skill.
The Blitz spells that the Mage used before this one were strong, but they were not as powerful as this.
I did ask her to use a more powerful spell. However, compared to the spell before this, the last spell was at least twice as powerful.
If it was not me, anyone else would have definitely been dead or on the verge of death. The magic spell clearly had beyond deadly power.
Um… Was it a simple mistake?
I should ask later.
I untied the rope that was tying my left arm to the chair’s armrest. I opened the inventory to bring out a potion and drank it.
It looks like I won’t have to worry about the aftermath of the damage.
I got up and tried moving my body.
I feel light.
I brought out both Transmutable Thousand Arms from the inventory. I made one form a straight long sword and the other one into a shield. I looked to the front.
There was a bizarre looking monster.
It was about three meters tall with twelve tentacles on each arm, which were very unique.
Also, the face didn’t have eyes, nose, mouth or ears.
The tentacles on its shoulder constantly changed its length.
The tentacles’ tips had sharp claws on them. The doppelganger’s body and tentacles were thrashing around violently. Unlike their sluggish movements, they were very sturdy.
I also could see the people fighting the monster.
The Knight’s sword was blocked by one of the tentacles. Another tentacle came at the Knight, and he quickly retreated to avoid it.
The people were covered in dirt and blood. It seemed like they were being pushed back a little, but they were holding out pretty well.
The doppelganger must have left my body when I lost consciousness and started fighting the group.
I was probably defenseless while I was unconscious, yet I didn’t have any injuries. I think the group must have started attacking the doppelganger as soon as it came out and put distance between me and the monster.
As of late, I’ve been too easily overcome by gratitude.
I became too sentimental.
I summoned Talaria's Wings to enhance the combat strength of the comrades around me.
I stepped in right after.
“Hey. Were you guys able to hold out?”
“Does it look like we are all right? If you were just a little late, one or two of us would have died.”
The Mercenary complained. His forehead was gushing out blood.
The man sure love to complain a lot.
“Fortunately, the Holy Knight used a holy spell as soon as the doppelganger showed itself and dealt a great damage to it. Right after that, the doppelganger disengaged its spirit form and quickly manifested its physical form to enter combat. We fought hard, but the Holy Knight and the Mage were running low on mana, so we had been holding out by just the three of us. We still need a bit of time before the Holy Knight and the Mage could recover enough mana. I’m glad you woke up just in time!”
As always, the Knight was one magnificent obsessive compulsive explanation patient.
As for the Adventurer who was holding his stomach that was struck by the doppelganger… Um… I just don’t like that man’s face.
Sheepishly, the Holy Knight and the Mage waved their hands at me before closing their eyes again to focus on recovering mana.
Now that I think about it, other than with Idy, is this the first time for me to fight with allies?
I think this is also the first time for me to receive assistance in the combat situation.
I had participated in the Tournament’s group rounds, but I never fought along with the group members during that event.
I rushed forward and blocked a tentacle that was swung at the Mercenary.
A heavy shock along with the sound from the impact echoed in the dungeon room.
As I thought, those tentacles are moving with flexibility, but they were clearly durable.
With my gaze, I told the Mercenary to step back and said,
“Everyone, you held on well until now. I’ll finish this.”
There was the matter of the experience points, and I also found it easier to finish things by myself.
The three who had been holding the front line retreated. Having confirmed this, I charged in immediately.
The tentacles came at me at all directions.
I calmly examined the trajectories of the tentacles.
They were swung like whips, so I had to be very cautious about predicting their trajectories.
Considering my speed, there were three tentacles that were going to get in my way.
I could block one with my shield and keep on advancing. However, I have to fight off the other two.
My mana flowed into the long sword and I continued to charge in.
After that, when the tentacles came within my attack range, I calmly swung my long sword.
I swung my sword at each tentacle, one at a time.
The tentacles were as tough as iron. However, they were cleanly severed by my longsword.
From the left side, a tentacle was trying to hinder my advance. I blocked it with my shield and continued on.
The other nine tentacles won’t be able to trip me off.
I smoothly made my way to the doppelganger. It was within melee range. I swung my sword horizontally just below its featureless face, right at its neck.
Like that, the doppelganger’s head was cut. Green blood cascaded out like a water fountain.
The blood could be poisonous or acidic, so I jumped back to avoid it.
While I was jumping back, I changed the long sword’s form into a dagger.
The Transmutable Thousand Arms had a constant weight regardless of the shape, so the dagger had considerable mass concentrated on it.
As soon as I landed, I threw the dagger at the doppelganger.
The dagger pierced the doppelganger and nailed it to the wall.
The doppelganger was trying to use its tentacles to pull out the dagger. However, it seemed to have difficulty pulling it out.
Oh ho ho… How sad. You don’t have any hands.
Although I swung at its neck, its head was not cut off completely.
Watching the doppelganger, I changed the Transmutable Thousand Arms on my left hand.
First, I formed it into a straight sword.
No, this is not right.
After a few trials and errors, I formed a great sword similar to the one held by the Knight.
I held the great sword with both of my hands and applied mana by following what I learned from the Knight.
It was like this, right?
The sword started to resonate with a sound. It started to shine in blue light. In normal circumstances, pouring in enough mana into a weapon until my mana became visible like this meant that sword had an excess of mana. It would have resulted in unacceptable amount of waste in mana.
However, when I tried it using the method that the Knight taught, the mana excess was significantly reduced.
The mana was shining steadily. It gradually formed a shape and fluctuated around the surface of the sword.
It looked cool.
I know that sounds simple, but what else would I call cool if I don’t call this cool?
A sword of light has a mysterious magical power that compels the heart of a man. Although this one actually does have mana in it.
The scene was like something out of anime.
When the mana flowing inside the sword reached its maximum output, I clenched the great sword and took a stance.
Inside my head, another me was urging me to not to say anything embarrassing. However, my split romanticism personality didn’t stop me from saying the rest.
With all of my might, I swung the great sword. Afterwards, the reaction from the mana was so powerful that even I, the one who just swung the sword, had a hard time withstanding the shock. Along with wind like noise, the dungeon room was engulfed in blue light.
* * *
“Just where do you plan to use that? Just kill it quickly. That thing is a demon. If you are not up to it for some reason, then I’ll end it with a holy spell.”
No, I can’t let you kill it. I won’t get the experience points.
I was holding the doppelganger’s head on my hand. The Holy Knight looked at it and nagged me.
The doppelganger only had its head left, which lacked all facial features such as eyes, nose, mouth, and ears. However, the doppelganger was still alive.
“I was wondering if I could get information out of this bastard.”
“… No! Were you listening to what I have been telling you? That thing is a demon. What do you plan to do with information about demons and hell? It is dangerous, so you should stop!”
Is that something you should oppose so strongly?
I made an excuse by saying I want to learn about my past from the doppelganger.
After that, the Holy Knight allowed me to continue without much opposition.
“Now, why don’t you say something, demon.”
However, the doppelganger didn’t say anything.
The doppelganger was sensitive to pain, so I thought it would be easy to make it talk.
However, it never spoke, even when all of its tentacles and body were cut off.
“This is odd. Isn’t this bastard supposed to be weak against pain?”
“That’s probably only when it is in its spirit form and being a parasite in the host’s body. When it is in its physical form, it is no different from being in a combat form. It probably won’t respond to physical pain.”
“Physical form is its combat form? Wouldn’t its spirit form be more powerful?”
“No, that’s usually not the case. In the spirit form, it does not have the protective power of a physical form, so it becomes much weaker against attacks that use mana. It’s substantially damaged when it is subjected to attacks like a holy spell that directly deals damage to the spirit. Of course, the spell that attacks the soul is the doppelganger’s weakness. Anyway, because of that, when the doppelganger is fighting while not being inside a host, it turns into its physical form like this. I am not certain, but according to what’s been known, that’s how it is.”
Thank you for the magnificent explanation.
An attack that affects soul.
Would the soul steal work?
This is a power skill as well, so it could be considered a holy spell.
Let’s try it.
Until now, the doppelganger’s head had been quiet. As soon as I used the soul steal, the head started to cry in pain.
[Kuuuaaaa… God of Death! God of Death… Are you an Apostle of the God of Death…]
What? God of Death?
Was it the God of Death that gifted me with Soul Steal?
Before I could think more about this, I could hear a sharp scream from behind me.
I quickly turned to look. The mage coughed out blood and started to collapse.
What is this now?