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Chapter 2

Plague Doctor
     Chapter 2: Hands of Dexterity

    Larbre Studio  Larbre Studio

    A throbbing pain pulsated through his head as Gu Jun felt his consciousness spiralling around aimlessly and unceasingly. His mind was shrouded in a daze, as if he was chained into a different dimension and unable to free himself.

    [Host details: Gu Jun

    Host's ability list: 0 (Your abilities would determine your chances of triumphing over multiple challenges that are to come. Please strive to obtain more and better abilities.)

    2

    Mission Log: Currently accepted mission 0

    Achievement List: Currently gained achievement 0

    Other Functions: Locked]

    Hmm… What is this? A system?

    

    Intrigued, Gu Jun concentrated. He willed his thoughts in an attempt to execute commands. Perhaps, he could tap into various menu options that were in front of his eyes. As expected, the other functions bar was locked. On the other hand, a plethora of data was neatly presented within the Host's Details section. Every number was highly precise, extremely close to the recent results he got from his diagnosis.

    The mission log had the 3 missions introduced earlier. What about the ability list? He clicked on it…

    DING DONG! A message notice popped up immediately. "The Host does not possess any abilities! Please proceed to collect your Newcomer's Package!"

    Without delay, his mind tapped into the Achievements List.

    DING DONG!

    A message popped up. "The Host has not attained any achievements! Please proceed to collect your Newcomer's Package!"

    Perplexed, Gu Jun's head turned around, his eyes scanned, scrutinising his surroundings. There were no signs of any value or health and power bars hovering around. However, his instincts as a seasoned and holistic pay-to-win gamer blared loudly inside his head. Somehow, he knew what was going on deep within his heart. Without delay, his thoughts flickered and collected his Newcome's Package.

    "You have opened the Newcomer's Package, a random ability has been unlocked! Please have a look!"

    [Host's Ability List: 1

    Hands of Dexterity

    Rarity: ★ (From Lowest to Highest, 1★ to 10★)

    1

    Maximum Level: 3

    Current Level: 1 (0/5000 Proficiency)

    Introduction: Regardless of the situation, your hands will be steadier. As a doctor, a pair of calm hands is indispensable to any form of emergency or operational procedures. As one of the more common skills, the potential of the Hands of Dexterity is not high. At its maximum level, it is comparable to a seasoned surgeon's skilled hands.]

    In the next instant, an explosive pain burnt through every inch of nerves on his hands. The pain was excruciating, as though every cell on his hands were burnt into ashes, and were then rebuilt by a merciless frost.

    AHHH! However, before a pained screech was about to escape his mouth, the pain vanished. In its place, a snug and cozy warmth washed over his arms, relieving the sore and spasming muscles like the first breath of spring.

    He opened and closed his hands… there did not appear to be anything different about them.

    "Hands of Dexterity?"

    Needless to say, Gu Jun was crystal clear about the importance of a pair of dexterous hands for a doctor, especially the surgeons. To achieve a steady composure in the most strenuous and high-pressure situations, one must not only have exceptional talent, but also have the resilience to grind and refine their craft.

    In retrospect, he did not lack talent. It was just that he had wasted away several valuable years to refine his medical skills. Now, his skill was mediocre at best, insufficient to even cleanly execute a trapped rat.

    System? Abilities?

    New discoveries swirled inside his head. Gu Jun muttered to himself in his heart. There could only be two possibilities. First, this was reality. Secondly, this was a figment of his imagination. If so, he could only conclude that the brain stem tumour had benefits to an individual's creativity. After all, such inconceivable thoughts had never been possible for him.

    If this is real? Then there are so many questions.

    "How did the system get awakened? Is it due to that rock pillar? Is this related to the research that my parents are involved in?" he frantically interrogated the system within his mind.

    "System does not have a conversation function." Alas, all he heard in return was a robotic reply.

    "When the system ledged onto me, what were the images I saw?"

    "System does not have a conversation function."

    "ARGH! Could you say something else?"

    "System does not have a conversation function."

    Regardless of whatever question from Gu Jun, the system only had one thing in return: "System does not have a conversation function."

    From the looks of it, the system was an Artificial Intelligence.

    Taking a deep breath, Gu Jun calmed himself and ceased his torrential questions. "I see. Basically, finishing a mission would reward me with a prize; like some medication. With that, I can treat the brain stem tumour and potentially live my life normally again. Perhaps, I could even raise my abilities and branch into other skills."

    As the thoughts ran through, his mind leapt with excitement. During the past few months, he had never experienced such adrenaline through his veins.

    I'm not done with living yet. I still have to uncover the truth! Looks like I only have 1 choice, finishing Missions and saving my own life!

    Immediately, his eyes whipped to the three missions that were presented in front of him.

    The NORMAL mission was to successfully save a patient in an emergency situation by today. If he had been working in a hospital's emergency department, it would not be that much of a problem, but…

    The DIFFICULT mission was a full dissection of three human remains within three days. The extent of the difficulty would depend on the time constraint and the dissection's criteria. Not to mention, where would he find corpses in the first place?

    Most peculiar of all, the ABYSSAL mission was to dissect a zombie within a week…

    Zombie?! WTF?! Where in the world am I supposed to find a zombie from?

    At that moment, his consciousness slowly trickled back into his body. Gradually, the dense haze shrouding his mind cleared up, and he could slowly perceive his surroundings. Once again, the frenzied and maniacal screams mercilessly pierced his eardrums.

    PENG!

    A massive crash rudely shook Gu Jun back to reality, springing him back into his senses. He immediately realised how the submarine was spiralling out of control, as though they were trapped in some sort of underwater whirlpool.

    Amid the turbulence, a figure was slammed around unceremoniously. That man was Li Yuerui. He had previously removed his seatbelt, his only source of support, and was now in chaos. With every crash, a pained shriek echoed within the enclosed area.

    The gigantic underwater tornado struck from an unknown location, engulfing their comparatively minuscule metal vehicle.

    Around them, a howling rumble echoed and filled the gaps between Li Yuerui's pained cries. From the noise, it was impossible to distinguish if it was the sound of crashing waves or the furious bellows of an ocean demon.

    "Ah…" A befuddled gasp escaped Lin Xiaotang's mouth and her eyes widened in shock. Everyone noticed the befuddling scene outside, which was illuminated by the submarine's searchlights.

    A spectacular school of deep ocean fish had swarmed the sea around them. It was chaos outside as these deep ocean creatures wiggled their fins in a frenzy, scurrying about as though they were escaping from some unknown peril. Yet, they immediately realised their struggles were in vain and they had nowhere to go.

    All of these fishes were inhabitants of the underwater trenches and accustomed to darkness, so just what sort of monstrous existence could throw them into such mass hysteria?

    "My gods… it's real… the rumours were real…" a frightened whimper escaped through the small gaps between Wu Dong's tightly shut mouth. This thick and brawny man had curled up in fear on his seat, trembling and whining as horror paralysed his mind. "I shouldn't have come. Shouldn't have come here."

    Not only him, the old captain's and his three crew members' faces were drained of any colour. This catastrophe was unprecedented even in their long years of sailing.

    BANG! Another turbulence struck without warning. At that instant, Li Yuerui catapulted backwards, spiralling straight towards the ceiling. Instinctively, his right arm reached out, attempting to cushion the impact. Then, a hair-raising scream pierced through the tense atmosphere. His arm seemed to have been broken, crimson beads of fresh blood trickled down from the sleeves of his shirt.

    "Save… me…" Li Yuerui barely managed to cry out in a flattering tone between the heavy wheezes.

    "NO ONE UNBUCKLES THEIR SEATBELTS!" At that moment, the captain kept his composure. He bellowed as his years of experience as a leader sprang into action, "KEEP YOUR BUTTS ONTO THE SEAT AND DON'T MOVE!"

    As the horrors unfolded, Wu Dong kept himself curled up. His trembling became increasingly uncontrollable. It was unclear if it was the submarine that was vibrating or just his body that was shaking due to intense fear.

    On the other hand, Lin Xiaotang had already been overwhelmed. She was whimpering and mindlessly calling for someone to help Li Yuerui. However, she was so soft. She might as well have not said anything.

    In her mind, she recalled the times when she mocked those idiots for screaming on the bungee jump and the moments when she felt smug for not only being unafraid, while enjoying the adrenaline rush. Her smugness had all vanished now. Her body refused to obey her, and she felt like she was trapped in a never-ending nightmare. She wanted to scream from the fear and panic, yet not a single sound escaped from her widely gaped mouth.

    While the others were thrown into pandemonium, Gu Jun sat calmly on his seat and was assessing every change. With his sharp eyes, he quickly realised how tightly packed the seats were to each other. They were almost stuck together. He could easily reach the other from his position.

    Silently waiting, he watched Li Yuerui's movements. As the next turbulence sent him flying, Gu Jun flew into action.

    At breakneck speed, his hand shot out. In that one motion, he could feel the distinct effect of the Hands of Dexterity. His right hand was faster, more stable than usual. With a swift action, he erupted with power and precision, literally grasping his target single-handedly.

    On the other hand, Lin Xiaotang and the others screamed as another forceful jerk struck. Through their narrowed whimpering eyes, they saw Li Yuerui's 175cm body flying horizontally and zooming across with tremendous force.

    Just as they had believed that the crash was imminent, Gu Jun caught Li Yuerui! He then threw Li Yuerui onto the empty seat next to him and pulled the seat belt buckle together. Within the blink of an eye, the man was secured into his seat.

    What a mysterious ability.

    "Brother, thank you. Thank you..." Li Yuerui slumped in his seat, grinning in pain. His voice was trembling, "You saved my life. You're fucking amazing."

    Now, Gu Jun could be sure. His mind was entirely healthy. The system truly existed! From his extraordinary control over his hands just now, he was confident that the Hands of Dexterity were not a figment of his imagination.

    Taking a deep breath, he rid his mind of these thoughts. He carefully supported Li Yuerui with his hands, keeping the injured man stable. While inspecting the injury, he asked, "What's your name?"

    Through all the tumbling and spiralling, the submarine was still vibrating as it moved. However, the old captain had already regained much control over the ship, slowly surfacing. Yet, getting from the deep tranches up to the surface would require another hour. Seeing the dire situation of Li Yuerui, emergency medical treatment was crucial.

    "Me? I thought I told you… Li Yuerui…"

    "What's your favourite food?"

    "There are plenty of…"

    "More specifically?" Fishing out his phone, Gu Jun turned on the flashlight and shone it straight into Li Yuerui's eyes.

    "Hey…" Li Yuerui instinctively tried to avoid the blinding glare.

    "Don't move." Gu Jun stopped him before he could run.

    The seasoned movements and unwavering confidence had everyone's jaws dropping.

    This guy is a doctor?

    Turning around, the sight in front of the old captain had sent his heart thumping away. Beads of sweat had formed on his forehead as his mind ran through everything he knew, trying to find a way to save this man. His colleagues and him were all divers and sailors. Their medical knowledge barely scraped the surface of emergency procedures. What's more, accidents had never occurred underwater. Facing this, their logical mind knew to keep calm, but their imagination ran wild which caused their hearts to tumble and pound violently.

    Seeing that Gu Jun was about to do more, the old captain could not help but shout, "Mr Gu, please do not be rash. Let us wait for the ship doctor on the surface!"

    "I'm an eight-year medical student specialising in Clinical Medicine at Eastern University!" Gu Jun blurted out suddenly, and his heart shuddered.

    Right, my name is Gu Jun. I am a medical student enrolled in the prestigious 8 years Clinical Medicine course at Eastern University. A man who is set to become a doctor was not some snobbish Tycoon Jun.

    Gu Jun raised a brow, opening the missions list in his head.

    [NORMAL mission: Successfully rescue an emergency patient today. Mission reward: 1 box of human brainstem tumour-targeting drugs, which can extend the host's lifespan by five days.]

    Accept Mission.

    [Mission Accepted!]

    "Specifically, what type of delicacies? Can you name them?" he asked gently again, ignoring the others' flabbergasted looks.

    "Savoury crepes, steamed chicken, roast duck…" Perplexed, Li Yuerui honestly listed a lot of food, "roasted spring chicken, braised pork, braised duck, brown sauce chicken, ham, century egg…"

    "Nice." Gu Jun gripped his fingers onto Li Yuerui's left wrist, accurately testing his pulse. He muttered to himself, "Fast heart rate, normal breathing, clear-minded, accurate answers, round eyes and pupils, reactive to glares and light. Preliminary findings point towards normal lung and heart functions. No clear damages to the neurological functions."

    Hearing the long ramble of medical terminology, the old captain was forced to swallow his doubts. Lin Xiaotang stared at Gu Jun as her eyes brightened with hope. Her liveliness gradually returned.

    "That's great, doctor! Dr Gu!" On the sides, the initial inspection had brought huge relief to Wu Dong. Tears of joy immediately clouded his eyes.

    1

    Thank gods, this Gu brat really seems to be a medical student.

    At this moment of life and death, having a doctor was as though having miraculously drawn a life-saving straw. This supported and boosted their optimism and courage.

    Still, eight-year medicine course at the prestigious Eastern University?! All the students there were all insanely smart geniuses.

    While they were all dumbstruck, Gu Jun reached into Li Yuerui's shirt again, groping around.

    "Brother, why are you touching me?!" The sudden molestation had taken Li Yuerui off guard.