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Chapter 5

Plague Doctor
     Chapter 5: Eastern University, School of Medicine

    1

    Larbre Studio  Larbre Studio

    As the cool breeze of spring melted away, July came with the warm, scorching summer sun. Under the cocktail blue skies and the glimmering yellow sun, the same Eastern City remained.

    Eastern University's School of Medicine was situated in the bustling Qingyun District, north of the city. Right beside the "Tallest Peak of Eastern Province", Mt. Qingyun, the prestigious century-old Eastern University School of Medicine stood. This school was just like Mt. Qingyun, standing as the best amongst other schools and boasting world-class facilities: A faculty of elite professors. Every student graduating from this school would be the creme de la creme of their generation.

    As expected of a top-notch institution, students were still gathered even during the summer break, engaging in the array of events and enrichment arranged for their further development. On the sun-baked pathways, students, city-dwellers, vehicles and even tourists roamed.

    "Profound Knowledge, Benevolence for the World" The majestic words of their school vision were engraved onto a towering stone pillar beside the school gates. Looking at these words, Gu Jun muttered to himself, striding confidently through the gates.

    A different emotion swelled in his heart as he passed the gates for the first time in 3 months. 3 days had passed since the disaster underwater. Yesterday, he hopped onto the earliest flight back to Huaxia's Eastern City the moment the cruise docked at the Maldives.

    When the clock ticked to 00:00 hours, his missions had refreshed again. However, owing to different circumstances, they were all seemingly impossible. Without a single accepted mission, he nonchalantly strolled back into school grounds. After all, the plethora of medical facilities presented sufficient opportunities to complete them.

    What's more, he had to test the potency of the drug he received. To do so, returning to school was inevitable.

    

    In the streets next to the school gate, there would always be a few stalls of mobile hawkers selling various snacks. Being only seven in the morning, Gu Jun hadn't had breakfast yet. Walking towards a stall selling local Eastern Province snacks, he asked the old hawker, "Uncle, 1 pancake, please. WeChat Pay?"

    "Yes, yes." The old man pointed to a small QR code sign hanging on the front of the cart. His old face was full of pure smiles. "Five dollars per pancake."

    6

    "Okay." Gu Jun took out his phone and scanned the code to pay, then watched the old man make pancakes.

    The uncle was already in his silver age with hair as white as snow. However, his hands were still dexterous, full of attention, and his eyes were bright with focus. As he wrapped the pancakes, he smiled, "Boy, Let me give you more fillings."

    "Thank you." A simple gesture filled Gu Jun's heart with warmth.

    Not long later, the pancake was fresh out of the oven. Passionately, the uncle handed it over, the same warm smile on his face. "Eat it while it's still hot."

    Taking it over, Gu Jun took a huge bite. Immediately, hot juices spurted and covered his mouth. Yes, it was scorching hot, but it was delicious. Even the chefs on the premium cruise could not compare.

    1

    Perhaps, this is the taste of home. Even if the world outside is turbulent and messy, returning to Eastern University is equivalent to returning home.

    1

    "Boy, are you a student of Eastern University?" The uncle asked. Seeing the gentle nod, an enthusiastic thumbs-up was raised. "Good! Being a doctor is great! This is a huge contribution to the country. You are a pillar supporting society!"

    Pillar of society… Such high praise. Looks like this uncle is a fervent supporter of Eastern University.

    Gu Jun sniggered to himself, "Uncle, you are exaggerating. Actually, er…"

    Breaking into a broad smile, the uncle's white teeth glistened. "No. not at all. The people I respect the most are doctors. Medicine is good!"

    "One can distinguish himself in every trade." Finishing the rest of the pancake in one mouth, he praised, "Just like your craft, your pancakes are superb!"

    That one sentence struck a chord with the uncle, who broke into a peal of euphoric laughter, "HAHA, this old man like that! Come, let me give you 1 fried fritter!"

    Receiving the fritters, Gu Jun still sept the QR code, paying a dollar for it. Somehow, he felt as if he played right into this old uncle's hands.

    4

    Waving goodbye to the uncle, he strolled down the pavements with the fritters in his hand. As he walked towards the laboratories, he passed an array of people, students, tourists, and parents.

    Within the northern sector of the school, while he was still quite a distance from the laboratories, an appalled voice called to him from behind, "Tycoon Jun?"

    Turning back, he saw a man scurrying towards him with his bicycle, "OMG! It's really you! I haven't seen you in several months! WeChat, phone calls, how could you not reply to a single one of them!!"

    This man was not short, but not tall either. A victim of early life receding hairline. His balding head accentuated his frail listless expression and pair of lifeless eyes. Worse still, the heavy drooping eye bags added several tens of years to his age, making him look as if he was in his forties. Not much younger than the cart vendor from just now.

    In reality, this man was only 21 years of age. His slowly receding hairline was a proud insignia of the "slaves of medicine", a consequence of the Everest-like pressure the young aspiring doctors faced and caused symptoms of early ageing.

    2

    This rascal, Cai Zixuan, was one of Gu Jun's roommates. Both of them were enrolled in the same 8-year course and specialising in clinical medicine. From the start, they got along on good terms. More accurately, Cai Zixuan was a simple man and was suffering endless "bullying" from Gu Jun. Wherever Gu Jun wreaked havoc, Cai Zixuan cleaned up his mess, sheltered him, and even lent his notes for Gu Jun to copy.

    1

    While Cai Zixuan never followed Gu Jun on his crazy antics, their friendship was still rock-solid.

    "Some stuff happened. Took a break from school. Today is my first day back," Smiling, Gu Jun updated his friend while giving him a light punch on the shoulder.

    When he was first diagnosed, he requested confidentiality from the affiliated hospital of Eastern University. Hence, few people from school knew about his illness. Only a few neurosurgeons of the affiliated hospital knew about his illness, but not his identity as a student of Eastern University.

    "Ouch!" Cai Zixuan rubbed his shoulders in pain and muttered softly, "Everyone thought you dropped out of school. There were even rumours that you've suddenly dropped dead at the bar and that your family was bankrupt. Argh! Whatever! As long as you are back. You probably have to take makeup lessons during this summer vacation. I'll lend you some notes. "

    "Nice! I want them all." Gu Jun nodded. In his heart, warmth sprouted and enveloped him. "What about you? What are you doing in school during the summer vacation? You failed a module?"

    Suddenly, the listless eyes glistened with vitality, Cai Zixuan's face seemed to drop a few years of age. "I was selected for the Frontier Cup Competition! I'm on Prof. Gu's team!"

    "WOW!" A surprised gasp came out. Genuine excitement for his friend surged onto Gu Jun's face. "Congratulations!"

    The Frontier Cup had been run by the medical school in recent years. Undergraduates conduct scientific research experiments during their summer and winter holidays. Every year, students of every major sign up and battle for the coveted spots, but only 60 people can be shortlisted. From those 60 slots, the five-year and eight-year courses would acquire half of those slots.

    In addition to building personal abilities and the development of interpersonal relationships, there would be even more benefits for participating students who made it to the list.

    The 5-year course undergraduates could secure their Doctorate's. The 8-year course students could attain the highest honours and reputations. Everyone wanted to get their hands on the scholarships.

    "I was so lucky! You know that I'm pretty apt at injecting hamsters with medication." Cai Zixuan was a man full of emotions. "Professor Gu's research was on photodynamic therapy for tumors. When he heard about my skills, he roped me in. Super lucky."

    As he spoke, he did not hold back anything. Unafraid of hurting Gu Jun's feelings or tearing apart their friendship. With his understanding of Gu Jun, he knew that the latter was uninterested in the Frontier Cup.

    "What a pillar of society." From the bottom of his heart, he relayed the old uncle's praise onto his friend. Only an ambitious and talented man like him could live up to such high praise.

    "Haha!" Cai Zixuan smiled happily, then remembered something. "Oh right..."

    This is what Gu Jun would care about.

    He lowered his voice, "We have a situation in the group. I think you need to know."

    "What?" Gu Jun asked.