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Chapter 36

Plague Doctor
     Chapter 36: The People Inside The Church

    Larbre Studio¬†¬†Larbre Studio

    At the entrance of the morgue, there were two mobile stretcher beds. Gu Jun casually walked in and was suddenly greeted by a cold gust of air.

    Gu Jun looked around. This was actually the first time he had set foot in this place. It was not very spacious. The ceiling lights were dim, and two large stainless steel body refrigerators adorned both sides of the morgue. Each has ten mortuary cabinets and cabinet doors. They were firmly sealed, and it was a mystery if there was a body inside.

    In front of him, there were some tool cabinets, as well as a few mobile stretcher beds and a few blue medical screens. Apart from that, there was nothing much.

    Although the morgue was portrayed as a horrifying place in all kinds of horror movies, it was actually so small and nothing fear-inspiring.

    From the moment Gu Jun walked through the door, his heart sank. As he took a step closer to the left refrigerator, the sense of oppression grew even heavier with a trace of turmoil swirling inside. Warning bells were sounding in his heart, and he became more cautious. "I'm deliberately taking the initiative to trigger an unknown vision, I wonder if I can bear it?"

    It must be made known that after every vision, pain would explode across his brain nerves, and his whole person would feel utterly drained of mental strength.

    Gu Jun cautiously stopped his footsteps and opened the system interface to check the host's status. Both his heart rate and blood pressure were rising, which proved that triggering illusions did have an effect on his body. "Heart rate is 100 BPM, which is the borderline of the normal range. It's still acceptable for now." He continued to walk forward while paying attention to the heart rate indicator.

    

    3

    One step, heart rate: 115 BPM

    Two steps, heart rate: 130 BPM

    Three steps, heart rate: 145 BPM

    Gu Jun sucked in a deep breath. In the span of a few steps, his heart rate suddenly became too fast as though he did some vigorous exercise. These numbers were approaching the danger zone. His heart thumped violently in his chest, and a sense of deja vu plagued his vision. It was as if he had been here before, that this was not the first time this happened.

    Three and a half steps, heart rate: 150 BPM.

    The morgue was right in front of him. Although the sight had not turned into a vision yet, Gu Jun had a sense of certainty knowing what he was supposed to do.

    "According to the previous increase in heart rate, the vision should be about 160-180 BPM which is slightly dangerous. It may be a case of paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia1, but my heart has no history of diseases. For occasional instances of overclocking, it should be able to hold out even if it continues for a few hours."

    1

    Gu Jun gingerly raised his right hand and pressed his palm against the stainless steel surface of the mortuary cabinet. The skin of the palm felt a sudden iciness. The cold immediately wormed in flowing through the superficial fascia, deep fascia... piercing straight to the bone!

    1

    His heart rate was 185 BPM, and his heart thumped ferociously as though it wanted to jump out of his chest. He felt abnormal cramps and increased difficulty in breathing. The scene in front of him blurred and was illusory. Everything seemed to have gone far away, yet they seemed to be incomparably close as well.

    His inference was right. As long as the three conditions were satisfied at the same time, the corresponding hallucinations can be triggered.

    The chaotic bright and shadowy vision gradually stabilised and grew distinct.

    Gu Jun saw a majestic church located in an unfamiliar city somewhere. The church did not belong to any architectural style he was familiar with. It was carved out of huge rocks. Every pillar and every glass window was exquisitely crafted, the steeple towering straight into the sky. A flock of black birds flew past the majestic structure.

    How could it be a church? This was beyond anything he imagined, and furthermore, it was such a magnificent and huge church.

    He thought the three pages of diaries would take him to a hospital, morgue, or a place serving similar functions.

    "Why? What's the connection?"

    Fiercely resisting the acute pain in his head and heart, Gu Jun's consciousness gradually approached the church. He hazily passed the high, arching steps, walked through a row of exquisite statues, past the towering main entrance. He arrived inside the church and suddenly saw a scene that left chills running down his spine.

    Underneath the soaring vault, hundreds of thousands of faint silhouettes were present in the spacious church ground. All of them were prostrating on the ground, facing toward the seat of God right ahead of them.

    He saw... that some of those people had distorted limbs, some were lacking heads, some only left with a skeletal frame.

    2

    No matter whether they were headless or not, they were all deeply prostrating against the ground, utterly motionless. Their facial features couldn't be seen at all, but from their prone forms, a fanatical kind of piety, grotesqueness, and even madness, could be detected.

    "This is not a morgue, but here is..." Gu Jun suddenly came to a realisation, "the dead's resting place."

    He suddenly remembered the words of the dying man from Lai Sheng, "Death? No, you don't understand." The man's playful tone when using the word "death" seemed to portray an entirely different understanding of the concept.

    He remembered the Malformed Banyan, the dozen faces on the tree, were they really dead?

    "ARGH!" Gu Jun's heart twitched again, and could no longer withstand the impact of these visions. His palms pulled away from the surface of the mortuary, and the vision instantly dissipated like smoke. He was trembling all over, wheezing, and gasping for air. He tried turning around, but was unable to maintain his balance, unsteadily falling forward. His palms pressed against the surface again, but this time the ice-cold sensation had vanished, and no illusions appeared.

    The three pages of diaries in his mind also seem to lose a certain level of lustre. It appeared that the number of times a related object could trigger an illusion was not unlimited.

    These three pages of diaries were temporarily unable to trigger any illusions.

    "Next time, I must prepare quick-acting cardiac medications before triggering the visions." Gu Jun clutched his heart and leaned himself against the morgue for a while, waiting for his heart rate to slowly go down. He was exhausted, but he was unable to rid his mind of the vision from just now.

    "Where was that? What were those people worshipping? What kind of church is that?"

    Gu Jun thought about it for a while but were unable to figure anything out. Furthermore, this was still a morgue. After he caught his breath, he turned and quickly walked outside.

    "Could it be that the Lai Sheng Company and Malformation Banyan disease were related to the church?" Gu Jun thought while walking. "A church meant having a set of followers and a deity." A notion reared its head in his heart. "Could Lai Sheng company be a kind of secretive cult? Mom and Dad... could they be members of the cult?"

    The more he thought about it, the more of a chill spread throughout his body. Secret societies usually valued family inheritance from generation to generation.

    Could it be that I was predestined to be a member of Lai Sheng before I was born?

    2

    "Doctor? Are you a doctor?" the security guard uncle at the entrance asked loudly, interrupting Gu Jun from his thoughts. "What are you doing over here?"

    "I walked into the wrong place." Gu Jun didn't say anything further, merely hastening his footsteps and briskly walked out of the underground parking lot.

    He gazed at the pitch-black night sky, only sensing an oppressive solitude bearing down on him by the inky darkness. The multitudes of stars vanished to god-knows-where. The vision of the church seemed to linger at the back of his mind like a never ending nightmare. He gazed at the night sky for an answer, but the only thing he seemed to see was himself kneeling under the vault along with his parents and other pious disciples.

    Gu Jun sucked in a long, deep breath and mulled to himself for a long time. He took out his mobile phone and took a look. It was almost eight o'clock in the evening. Finally, there were some new updates on the WeChat group. Professor Gu, Wang Ruoxiang and Cai Zixuan had all ‘@' him and sent out the address of where the dinner was going to be held.

    "Roger, heading over right now." Gu Jun tapped his keyboard and sent the message in WeChat.

    He walked some distance to the street outside the square in front of the hospital's main entrance. He flagged down a taxi and got in the car to head to the restaurant.

    episodes of rapid heart rate that start in a part of the heart above the ventricles