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Chapter 38

Plague Doctor
     Chapter 38: Appraisal Room

    Larbre Studio  Larbre Studio

    When Gu Jun heard Professor Qin, he was already mentally prepared. The question was what did the state know?

    3

    He knew that amongst the judges, Professor Qin was the one who valued him the most. He was about to ask further, but before he could, Professor Qin sternly said, "I can't say anything more. You can go in now." After saying that, Professor Qin and several other judges left. Gu Jun sighed softly and walked back inside.

    Everyone shot him envious gazes and thought that Professor Qin had given him some pointers.

    "Did something happen?" Wang Ruoxiang's thoughts differed from the rest, and she delicately thought to herself. Recently, she had developed some understanding of him, and she saw how Gu Jun's complexion had changed slightly after being called out.

    "It's nothing." Gu Jun merely shook his head in response.

    Next, the staff immediately brought the nine of them into the elevator. Arriving at a corridor on the second floor, there was a small sign, "appraisal room", hanging outside the office door at the end of the passage. Before they could even sit down on the waiting chairs, the staff told Gu Jun that he was the first to be evaluated.

    Gu Jun didn't have much time to think. He could only walk up and push open the office door, and enter the office. The other students watched as he closed the door behind him.

    

    This room was cramped with no windows at all. As soon as Gu Jun walked in, he saw a chair in front of him, and three judges were sitting behind a table. There were two men and a woman. All of whom were middle-aged. They were expressionless and giving off a cold aura that sharply differed from those of the corpse guides. Their sharp eyes seem to be able to pierce right into one's soul.

    A camera was placed in the corner, and a TV screen hung on an adjacent wall. Above the chair, an unlit fluorescent lamp hung from the ceiling.

    "Hello, professors," Gu Jun greeted the three people. There was no plaque placed at their desk, hence he didn't know how to address them.

    "Student Gu, please take a seat," said the man sitting in the middle. His face seemed to have lost all its collagen, with extremely deep grooves and wrinkle lines were carved into it. The woman on the right wore glasses. She had an angular facial shape and small beaded eyes. On the other hand, the man on the left has the typical features of an ordinary Chinese face, indistinguishable from the masses on the streets.

    They were all holding a pen with a folder of documents placed in front of them. Those should be his personal details and a questionnaire for his evaluation.

    Gu Jun sat down on the chair. The camera lens and the lamp were facing to his side, giving off an invisible sense of pressure.

    The lines on the face of the man in the middle twitched, and he sternly asked, "What can you tell us about your parents?"

    "..." Gu Jun swore inwardly. The state should have known fully about his background, but now he decided to throw all caution to the wind and could not help but uneasily let out a sigh of relief. He was tired of hiding the truth. Gu Jun started speaking, "My parents were scientific researchers and died in a shipwreck accident, but I always suspected that their deaths were not so simple. Their employer, Lai Sheng Research Co., Ltd, had some eccentricities. Therefore, I decided to conduct my own personal investigations into them, but my search yielded no results."

    He had already imagined such a situation in his mind. Since he decided to confess, then he should not hide anything. Else, he would appear to have ulterior motives if he was exposed. He repeated himself, "A man had been following me recently. I suspect that he is from Lai Sheng, but I don't know what his purpose is. I hope you can help me solve these doubts."

    The three reviewers were all staring at him, their eyes not moving away from him at all. At the same time, their pens were scribbling something in the folder.

    "What do you know about Lai Sheng?" the man asked again.

    "Practically nothing, but now, I feel that they are... some sort of secret organization." Gu Jun answered truthfully.

    "What makes you think so?"

    "A hunch, I guess," said Gu Jun.

    They didn't say anything else and continued to write inside the folder. The angular-faced woman then asked, "You have a brain stem tumour at the advanced stages, so why did you decide to participate in the competition?"

    "I wanted to enter the inner circle of this business." As Gu Jun spoke, he grew more and more composed. They know everything, that's good. "I think the affairs that my parents were dealing in are related to this circle."

    "Why?" the woman asked again.

    "During the deep-diving project to Longkan, I heard what Li Yuerui and the rest talked about some sort of news and inner circles, as well as strange rumours about Longkan. Afterwards, mysterious whirlpools really appeared on the seabed. My parents vanished there. A few days ago, I was convinced that there was indeed a mysterious circle in the world when I witnessed the malformed remains of those suffering from the Malformed Banyan disease. This contest was the best way for me to enter."

    Gu Jun's explanation was mostly true. Only that the sequence of events was somewhat adjusted, hence he spoke very naturally.

    "What did you see at the bottom of Longkan?" the man in the middle asked again.

    Gu Jun knew that he would definitely be asked this question, and gave a rehearsed answer. "It was extremely chaotic at that time. Outside the window was very dark, and the seawater was extremely turbulent. Afterwards, there were even many frightened fishes trying to escape, which cut off my vision outside." He then voluntarily fished out Li Yuerui's mobile phone out of his pocket and said, "This is Li Yuerui's cell phone. A while back, I received a package from Maldives. I wasn't sure what was going on, but I had a feeling that they had been captured by the secret internal department of the state after the competition yesterday. They should have sent out this phone right before they were taken away."

    "Hold on to the phone first. After the review, someone will find you for it," said the man.

    Gu Jun nodded and put the broken phone back in his pocket. As expected.

    "Did you think we would hire you after learning about your physical condition?" asked the woman asked.

    "Yes, because my condition is still stable. Perhaps I can still live for a few years." Gu Jun self-deprecatingly laughed at himself. "Can the department guarantee that we can still live for another two or three years?"

    Of course, the three did not answer. There was no trace of emotional fluctuation in their faces, but they continued taking records.

    "Why are you so familiar with that chest specimen?" the man in the middle asked again.

    1

    Gu Jun froze slightly. This problem was something he hadn't expected. Gu Jun immediately realized that since he had shown an apparent loss of composure, he should follow up with this reaction. He puzzledly gave an "Ah" in exclamation. "Familiar? What are you referring to? I studied medicine. When I touched its surface, I found that the surface was all dead skin. The chest wall was blocked by the lamellar bone and was even connected to ribs. My thought was to remove that bone first before I can enter the thoracic wall."

    The logic he gave seemed completely reasonable. Even without the incomplete anatomical reference, it was entirely plausible to happen.

    As the man recorded down his response, the woman took over the conversation again. "What are your thoughts towards the Malformed Banyan Disease and the Malformed Banyan? Please use a few words to describe your thoughts."

    Gu Jun remembered that he felt that the Malformed Banyan was strangely beautiful. Perhaps it was better to give the conventional response of saying it was "disgusting"? Or maybe not. He already had many suspicious points regarding the other party. If he gave an ambiguous reply to this question, then all the words he spoke so far might lose their credibility.

    After this thought flashed through his mind, he decided to speak the truth. "Horrifying and twisted, but exquisite and gorgeous."

    4

    The three interviewers still remained expressionless. At that time, the woman picked up a remote control and pressed it a few times. The lamp above the chair lit up, and an overwhelmingly blinding light shone. Gu Jun could only narrow his eyes, feeling intense discomfort...

    "Student Gu, please look at the screen," said the woman.

    Gu Jun narrowed his eyes and saw some eerie images playing quietly on the screen. Severed human fingers, swarms of worms, a lighthouse by the sea at night, dry swathes of forests in the mountains... The more he looked, the stronger the sense of oppression in his heart grew.

    In the next ten minutes, Gu Jun didn't know how many different images he saw, and the sense of oppression gradually morphed into depression and restlessness.

    He suddenly heard an unfamiliar voice. It was the man on the left who had not yet spoken. There was no trace of emotions in his voice.

    "Classmate Gu, I will ask you some questions next. You only need to answer with one of the three answers: A for yes. B is between yes and no. C for no. You can only answer within 5 seconds. Regardless of whether you have answered or not, I will ask you the next question after 5 seconds. "

    Gu Jun heard this and immediately understood the purpose behind this: psychological assessment, it was a personality test.

    In order to woo girls in the past, he had picked up some knowledge of medical psychology. The choice of A, B, and C should be following the model of <<Cattel's Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire>>. He would be graded on his response, and his score would be tabulated to determine his personality type.

    Gu Jun suddenly felt that this was the real purpose behind the interview. His life experience and illness were not the focus. The state was more concerned if he was "safe" to be used. If his psychology and personality were deemed unsuitable for this kind of work, it will definitely not work out.

    "Do demons exist on earth?" the man on the left asked the first question.

    2

    5 seconds, 4 seconds, 3 seconds, Gu Jun still remained silent...