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Chapter 23

Plague Doctor
     Chapter 23: The Clinical Skills Competition

    Larbre Studio  Larbre Studio

    The gentle orange sun peeked through the horizons, bringing a warm light across Eastern City. While the sky still held remnants of the darkness of the night, all of the teacher-student groups participating in the Frontier Cup representing Eastern University had already gathered.

    For this competition, the venue was not at any of the universities. Since some time ago, the organisers had informed the various schools of this arrangement and how their teams would be received and brought to the venue. At the same time, they had been instructed not to bring phones, cameras, and any other image capturing devices. Should they still decide to do so, it would be temporarily confiscated upon reaching the venue.

    2

    Despite the instructions, Gu Jun had brought his and Li Yuerui's phones along. Sliding them into leather covers, Gu Jun handed it indifferently to the guard at the entrance. He was not worried that the government was looking for him and knew that the phone was with him. Should they be after this phone as well, they would have long found their way to his doors.

    After an extensive screening of more than a hundred professors and students, the crowd was boarded onto 3 large buses and moved to an unknown location.

    While these 3 buses were ordinary, the crowd management personnel were peculiarly carrying themselves. Clad in a full suit, they paced the area with their cold and solemn expressions. Their sharp eyes scrutinized every detail like a soldier. From the looks of things, even the intellectually undistinguished student could tell how this season's competition was not as simple as those in the past.

    Along with his small group of 6 students, Professor Gu boarded the bus in front.

    As they boarded, a perplexed and surprised chatter broke out within the other groups who had first boarded. "Isn't that Tycoon Gu?"

    

    1

    Like wildfire, the astonished observation spread throughout the entire bus. Everyone had realised that Tycoon Gu had a spot in this prestigious competition.

    In fact, the name "Tycoon Gu" had quite a considerable fame within the university. The news of his rigorous training in the past 2 days had swept across his batchmates. Never had they expected it to be true. In their minds, they had questioned Professor Gu for his decision.

    Did old age rust and chip away Professor Gu's brain?

    How dare he let his own biases get the better of him on such a momentous occasion! The presence of Tycoon Gu here just dropped the standards into the abyss!

    "Haiz, he probably is just taking him along to take a look…"

    "If not for Professor Gu's upright morals, I would have believed that Gu Jun had bribed him."

    1

    Needless to say, the suspicions and gossips by the students were all soft and whispers. It was clear that it was not wise to tease a renowned professor.

    Facing these rumours and gossip, Xu Hai, the team's "Gossip King", had long heard them. Being a good teammate, he had made it known to the rest. Together with Zhang Haoran and He Yuhan, they were annoyed and took offence at all the malicious remarks.

    Hmph! Let these people look down on Gu Jun. Let them underestimate him! When the time comes... hehe hehe hehe

    2

    "How's your condition?" Wang Ruoxiang turned around and asked Gu Jun, who was sitting in the back seat. Compared to yesterday night, his complexion looked much better.

    "No problem." Last night, Gu Jun fell into a deep sleep and recovered much of his stamina. This morning, he also took the mysterious medication. His body and mind were very sharp and clear and at its peak condition. He narrowed his gaze onto Wang Ruoxiang, inspecting her physique. To his surprise, he saw thin arms and legs. There was not a trace of any strong muscle.

    Perplexed, he asked, "Are you really a black belt in karate or were you kidding?"

    "I'm serious." She waved her hand and sent a crackle as it whipped through the air. "If not for medicine, I would be a professional by now."

    That had Gu Jun stumped and at a loss for words. Beside him, Cai Zixuan also lamented. "Class monitor, you remind me of Mulan, a woman in a man's clothing."

    2

    With the chats limited to murmurs, they stopped after a few words. It was especially uncomfortable with the curious gaze from the other teams, scanning them from top to bottom.

    Seconds morphed into minutes. Sometime later, they arrived at a small stadium just as they expected. There were security personnel guarding the doors and throwing a cold atmosphere to the teachers and students. Immediately, a serious expression paralysed their faces.

    Gu Jun and his team followed Professor Gu down the vehicle. They quickly saw the other buses, which were carrying the teams from Qingyun University and other schools, coming in.

    The moment Eastern University students met the eyes of the Qingyun University students, sparks of rivalry crackled. It was as if enemies met. Both were coming from the base of Mt. Qingyun, setting a deeply rooted feud which spiralled into hate.

    "Huh, are those people from the mountains?"

    "What? Those are the students of Eastern? You meant East-West, right?"

    While they may be metres apart, it didn't stop them from slurring at each other. Of course, most of it was for the youngster's fun. Everyone still put in the effort to straighten their backs and raise their heads. This would accentuate the majestic white coats on their bodies. They could not allow the other teams to look down on them. As for the teams from Jihua Medical and Dongyang Medical, the students had unanimously agreed that they were only here to make up the numbers.

    The teams from Eastern and Qingyun Universities had garnered tremendous attention. It was especially so for the special teams marked as "School Teams". These students were handpicked by the top professors and recognised by the student body for their exceptional talent.

    The school team for Eastern was led by Professor Yu Shaowei, and the team from Qinyun was led by Professor Feng Jing. Both of them were highly respected and critically acclaimed surgeons and clinical medicine experts. They had even sat as the jury for many clinical skills competitions.

    Compared to Professor Gu, they were quite a few notches higher.

    Regardless of what competitions these two teams were placed into, they would no doubt be the best of the best.

    "Rascal," Professor Gu said to Gu Jun. His old wrinkled face held a tinge of self-deprecation. "I brought you under immense pressure. Today, you have to prove to them that I was right about you!"

    "I will." Gu Jun nodded solemnly. Today, he came here to be at the top.

    It was a magnificent sight as hundreds of teachers and students from the top medical schools walked into the stadium. However, they had no idea, even now, as to how the evaluation of the competition will be.

    When they entered the stadium, they saw that the vast area had been emptied. Apart from the few surgical tables, experimental tables, tables and chairs placed in the middle, there was nothing else. There was no big banner cheering them on or a single soul as a spectator. This vast emptiness set a balling uneasiness within the students.

    The organising committee slowly ushered each team to their seats. The Eastern at the right, and Qingyun University on the left. Qihua took their place at the back, and Dongyang sat at the front. The rest of the schools were split, filling up the empty spaces. Within a few minutes, the crowd had settled.

    Within Eastern University's seats, the team that Professor Yu had chosen are at the front-most seats, leaving Professor Gu and his team at the back.

    "Will there still be a speech from the chairman of the competition?" Xu Hai whispered. He Yuhan joked back, "Probably? Didn't the higher-ups look highly about this event?"

    Indeed, she was logical. However, some part of her wished it was untrue. After all, a momentous event such as this would have brought together several prominent figures. She had not come here to endure the torture of waves after waves of dull and dry speeches.

    "I don't think so," Gu Jun said. "This is an emergency."

    Emergency? Xu Hai and the rest snorted. What? How could it be so severe?

    Unexpectedly, Gu Jun was spot on. Immediately, a young man took centre stage, acting somewhat like the emcee of the event. Holding the microphone, he addressed everyone, "Welcome, distinguished professors and students. Please welcome our judges for today."

    With a massive round of applause, tens of ladies and gentlemen walked in clad in similarly regal white coats.

    They were men and women, both middle-aged and elderly. While the emcee called them professors, all of the crowd threw confused glances at each other. Being medical slaves, all of them present were proud to say that their combined knowledge would cover all of the vast and noteworthy figures within the medical world. Yet, none of them recognised any of these professors that will act as judges.

    With his focused eyes, Gu Jun scanned every single one of their faces, etching it deep into his memory.

    These people were from that mysterious industry. He could sense an ominous aura from them.

    "I believe you have all heard that today's competition is especially to select a group of new medical talents. However, I'm not sure if you understand the meaning of this sentence." The professor chairing the jury was named Qin Chengye. He said with a microphone, "You will soon understand."

    1

    Professor Qin was well into his silver age with a head full of white hair and a pale face almost as white as paper. Covered with old age spots, he looked more than seventy years old; more senior than Professor Gu and the other professors.

    However, when Professor Qin's eyes swept, everyone felt a sharpness that was visible to the naked eye. This was a strength that the young people did not necessarily have. With such eyes, they could easily judge by themselves that this man was, without doubt, an expert within the experts in the medical field. He was likely a god-level surgeon having been through several hundreds of surgeries.

    Professor Qin's eyes repeatedly swept across the students sitting in the front row on all sides. Evidently, he had been notified that they were the best amongst the students present.

    Feeling the immense expectations in the eyes of Professor Qin and other judges, the "school team" students' faces tensed more seriously and felt the great mission they were bearing.

    "Usual skills test." Professor Qin continued, "like intravenous infusion, tracheal intubation, the 4 thoracentesis. All of these would be tested. You can send anyone from the team for these. However, we will not be testing them this morning. Today, we have something special arranged for the morning. Now, the country is in dire need of your talents. None of you will be left doing nothing. The question is, where should we position you. Let me tell you, anyone who distinguishes themselves would start at the highest possible starting point."

    The message was clear. This morning's test was the aim of the entire competition.

    Slowly releasing his tight grip, Gu Jun told himself, I need to find a way to stand out amongst everybody.

    Wang Ruoxiang and Cai Zixuan have also steeled their own determination. No one wanted to become another Tom, Dick, or Harry.

    4

    "Let's begin." Professor Qin's gaze swept across the students again. "I hope that among you, we can pick two or three people."

    What?!? This time, a huge uproar blazed within the audience. Many students couldn't digest that last statement properly. The most elite medical students in Eastern Province had gathered together. Yet, he just wished to select two or three people?

    As Professor Qin finished speaking, a team of staff pulled the next test out of the aisle. Immediately, screams and shrieks pierced through the uproar from the audience.

    When Gu Jun saw the thing, his heart raced, and his eyes widened several sizes.