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Chapter 32

Plague Doctor
     Chapter 32: The Dark Basement

    Larbre Studio  Larbre Studio

    A strangely shaped kerosene lamp hung on the dilapidated wall. The lampshade was stained with old bloodstains, tainting the dim lights crimson.

    This was a small basement with a low-lying ceiling, and there was a lot of debris everywhere. Some of the rotten wooden floors were bent downwards, seeming as though a single step would break the wood. There was a long wooden table in the middle of the basement. The light of the candle flickered, reflecting the morbidly turbid colour of the desktop. Layers upon layers of dirt accumulated and permeated every granule of wood, thus causing the table to look like this.

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    In the centre of the table, there seems to lie a corpse of an alien creature. A repulsive stench seemed to tower towards the heavens, and there was a faint figure standing by the table.

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    Gu Jun wanted to take a clearer look, but the phantom lights and shadows grew erratic and illusory. What he saw in front of him was the dissection table, and he was back in the gym.

    "The tissues of this lung seem to be bird airbags." Wang Ruoxiang's tone had an unconcealed surprise, and her eyes widened. "It's just bigger."

    "This is so strange." Cai Zixuan wrinkled his slightly reddened eyes. His words were the reflection of the sentiments in the hearts of the professors and students in the audience. The situation on this dissection table was being displayed on the big screen.

    There were six enlarged membranous sacs outside the lung. All were connected to the bronchus, and the capsular walls were covered with capillaries, showing the vitality it once had.

    

    Gu Jun looked at the airbags and excitement surged in his heart. Such a structure was truly miraculous.

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    Humans always claimed to be the spirit behind all things. The human body was indeed exquisite and wondrous, but it was not perfect. Instead, it had many defects. Some organ structures were not more natural to use than other species on Earth.

    The lung was one of them. The human lung was a two-way organ: air would enter and exit through the same path, and it also does the work of exchanging and storing gas. This made the newly-entered air diluted by residual hypoxic air in the lungs, which was extremely inefficient. The bubble wall was still very fragile, prone to emphysema.

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    But the lungs of birds were different. It had a front airbag, lung and rear airbag, each of these three parts having a clear division of labour. The lungs were only responsible for letting air through. In this way, fresh air could continue to come and go to the lungs at a constant speed. Oxygenated air would pass through the lungs with a single breath, maximizing efficiency. This was the so-called "double breathing" of birds.

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    As a result, birds could fly for an extended time and could reach higher altitudes than humans.

    Humans may be able to argue that "different species have different needs", but this humanoid on the dissection table had the lungs of a bird.

    "Remove it and take a look." Gu Jun refocused his mind, holding a scalpel in a pen-style gesture. He leaned down to cut off the pleura, nerves, and blood vessels connected to the lung, as well as the tubes attached to the surrounding parts one by one. There were still the lung roots and ligaments, a pile of tissue.

    Because this was not drawn on the incomplete anatomical reference, he had to be careful in every operation. He could not afford to cut just any tube. This was not just because Professor Qin was staring at them, this was also a requirement for the completion of the anatomy mission.

    After Gu Jun had removed the lung, he would then dissect it with Wang Ruoxiang and Cai Zixuan.

    Everyone could observe in more detail now. The more they looked, the more they were surprised by this lung. Every artery and vein seemed to meticulously follow an exquisite and gorgeous plan.

    "This creature should be able to climb higher and dive deeper than anything else," Cai Zixuan said emotionally. "This lung is simply too efficient."

    "I want this kind of lung too," said Wang Ruoxiang. "It'll be perfect for a singing competition."

    Soon, she'll want the heart of this creature more.

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    After dissecting the lungs, the three move to the mediastinum and then the pericardium. Gu Jun then cut the large blood vessels with a scalpel in the pericardium and took out the heart. This heart was one size larger than the human body. Although it was now a dead mass, it must have been beating with strength when it was still alive.

    They continued to observe and dissect the heart and grew even more surprised.

    The human heart was also imperfect, especially with a rather ridiculous defect - there was only a single artery supplying blood to both areas of ​​the heart. Taking the right atrium and right ventricle, for example, only the right coronary artery supplies blood. If this artery was blocked, the right atrium and right ventricle would become hypoxic, which would be followed by myocardial infarction and a heart attack.

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    Whether human beings were created by the creator or had gone through an evolution, this shameless design had to be poorly rated.

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    It must be made known that there was no need to be heterogeneous. Many mammals of the same species, such as dogs, had multiple blood vessels with different paths to supply blood to their hearts. If one was jammed, the other could be used to supplement blood. Even if dog lungs weren't good, dog hearts were.

    "There are four separate coronary arteries supplying blood to each of the four heart chambers." Wang Ruoxiang counted, exhaling shakily. "This will definitely increase longevity."

    The professors and students who were looking murmured excitedly, and each let out a sigh.

    Professor Qin and the other judges had a serious expression on their face. These strange and wondrous organs were not something commendable in their eyes.

    "Professor Gu, could this be caused by human disease?" Xu Hai perplexedly asked. Zhang Haoran and He Yuhan couldn't figure it out either. Was this still a disease?

    "Students, I don't know." Professor Gu sighed sincerely. There was some confusion on his old face. What have I been studying for so many years?

    On the other hand, Gu Jun continued to bury himself in work, dissecting these coronary arteries one by one.

    Each time he cuts off a piece, his heart sank a little heavier, gradually empathising with the feelings behind the notes on the incomplete anatomical reference. He was both amazed by the structure of this creature and feeling panicked by his own delicate structure. There was no defect in the lungs and heart, could there be a defect in other organs?

    What about its brain?

    The reason why human beings could rule over other species and suppress predators like tigers and lions were due to their superior intelligence.

    What level of intelligence does this creature have?

    If the human body had no advantage and the brain had no advantage, then...

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    In his subconscious, complex emotions entangled and intertwined with each other. Gu Jun's head suddenly felt a sharp pain, and the illusions of light and shadow flashed before his eyes again.

    He felt like he had arrived in the dark and narrow basement again, and a murmur hovered beside his ears, speaking in that strange foreign language.

    Although it was still a little vague, he could see it more clearly this time. On the dirty long wooden table, there laid a humanoid corpse with murky dark skin and long limbs. The chest had already been dissected, and the slab of bone was thrown aside. The dim light of the kerosene lamp and candle illuminated the bloody scene.

    There was a rusty iron plate beside the table, and a heart was placed on top of the plate. Blackish-red blood flowed from the plate, tracing a path across the table, and dripped onto the floor.

    Gu Jun vaguely saw that the faint figure standing at the table was holding something like a pen. It was leaning over a stack of yellow parchment on the table, seemingly writing something. It was the dilapidated piece of incomplete anatomical reference! In this vision, the reference was still completely new.

    The man was drawing a structure on the paper while making reference to the body on the table. He was making annotations and scribbling notes.

    He murmured while writing. Gu Jun couldn't understand his face nor could he understand the words the man was muttering, but he could make out the surprise, anxiety, panic, and daze in the man's voice.

    As the man scribbled down notes, his posture grew increasingly stiff and his tone more and more deathly. He repeated his words slowly over and over again, as though he was going to die.

    When he murmured for the fourth time, that was when he wrote the fourth paragraph on the map.

    Gu Jun felt a sudden aching in his heart, as though he could suddenly understand the sentences, and know what the four repeated lines of foreign text at the end of the note meant.

    "Are they better than us?

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    Are they better than us?

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    Are they better than us?

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    Are they better than us?"

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