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Chapter 54

Plague Doctor
     Chapter 54: The Sacrifice To The Banyan Tree

    The strange light and shadow illuminated the ancient giant banyan tree as well the silhouettes of people kneeling and worshipping around it.

    Gu Jun felt as though he was right next to the banyan tree, but his "angle of view" could see the 360-degree situation around the banyan tree. There were about fifty people who were kneeling, all clad in the same attire.

    It was a long black gown with some weird embroidered patterns and looked like a costume from the Republic of China. However, the attire gave off an unknown sense of danger.

    Where is this? And when? Gu Jun wondered, thinking that the vision's visual range was somewhat limited, and further away was just a hazy, out-of-focus, low-lying building. Was that Gurong Village? Or the origin of patient 25 on the operating bed?

    He wanted to take a closer look at the banyan tree, but all he could see was the lush foliage spreading outside. The thick branches drooped to the ground, as though absorbing some sort of energy from the earth.

    "Why?" Gu Jun wondered. If the patient with the Banyan Malformation Disease was the direct point of contact with this vision, what does this scene have in common with their preparation to perform the surgery? What was the common singularity?

    At this time, he could vaguely hear the sound of someone struggling and howling. "Ah, AH." Was it patient No. 25's cries?

    Suddenly he seemed to see something. Four people in long black gowns pushed a strangely constructed wooden prison cart to the banyan tree. The wood of the prison cart was engraved with intrinsic patterns everywhere. Some of the ficus roots of the banyan tree were wrapped around in a strange ring. There was a wooden frame in the middle of the prison cart.

    

    Gu Jun's heart suddenly thumped, and his headache became more intense. The image of the vision was greatly distorted.

    A man was tied to the wooden frame on the prison cart. His torso and limbs were tightly bound in a spread-eagle way as if he was affixed to an operating table. The man wailed and moaned in pain. The vision suddenly enlarged, and Gu Jun saw that the man's tongue had been sliced off.

    Those fanatics pushed the prison cart round and round, and the people kneeling on their knees did not move or even lift their heads.

    Gu Jun's heart tightened, having a vague premonition of what was about to happen. The common singularity with this scenario.

    They pushed the prison cart to the side of the banyan tree, stopped, and another person, who was also wearing the eerie long coat, approached. It was only that his coat was dyed bright red. The man in red carried a machete in his hand, walked to the side of the prison cart, and swung the machete towards the prisoner's right upper limb. KACHA. Splinters of wood mixed with bits of blood and flesh flew out. Then, the man proceeded to the left upper limb.

    Hoarse screams that seemed to come from the depths of hell resounded, but the sound of the machete falling continued mercilessly.

    Gu Jun also felt an acute pain that struck all the way to his bone marrows, and the vision became more and more unstable, jumping blurrily. He saw the machete dripping with blood as those lying on the ground suddenly chanted collectively, and made an indescribable eerie noise.

    He saw what the man in red was holding. It was a strangely malformed banyan tree branch. Every leaf in a densely packed bunch was painted with some black text. It was unclear what language it was. The man in red was holding onto these branches and pierced them into the man's wounds where his limbs were severed.

    Amidst the tragic wailings, the man "transformed" into a monstrosity. He bore a human torso and head, but all his limbs were banyan branches.

    Gu Jun's headache seemed like it was about to split apart. He then saw the men in black rising from the ground one by one. They walked to the banyan tree, then to the sacrifice on the prison cart.

    On the other hand, he felt as though he was gradually growing more distant and fading out of the illusion. But suddenly…

    He clearly saw the appearance of the man in red. The face was withered and abhorrent, looking almost like a skull. It left a feeling of intense repulsion.

    It was the "receptionist" of the Lai Sheng company who was following him. It's that guy!

    "AH!!!" Gu Jun couldn't help but utter a hoarse and frantic yell, feeling something exploding in his heart.

    Those in black were all from Lai Sheng Company. This was their organization. They formed these secretive associations and engaged in these crazy ceremonies and sacrifices to fulfil some crazed purpose. Are Mom and Dad one of them? Are they over there?!

    For some reason, the age depicted in this vision felt extremely ancient as though it happened before the establishment of the Republic of China.

    The bunch of new questions flooded every drop of Gu Jun's blood. At the same time, he also had some abominable answers.

    Lai Sheng Company was an organization of lunatics. The Banyan Malformation Disease was related to Lai Sheng Company, and was highly likely a kind of artificially created disease!

    Suddenly, the vision dissipated like a receding tide. Gu Jun suddenly saw the bright modern operating room surrounded by light from the shadowless lamp.

    "Second assistant? Second assistant?" The voice of Zhu Ruiwen grew louder and louder, and Fu Fang's face was a little nervous. Seeing Gu Jun finally responding, he asked again, "Are you all right?"

    The first assistant Zeng Jianguo, third assistant Li Hualong, as well as anaesthetist, Yan Haizhe, and a group of nurses all looked at Gu Jun.

    Just now, this rookie suddenly seemed to be in a trance. There seemed to be some daze, confusion, and pain on his face.

    This situation was not uncommon in the operating room of the Phecda Department. No one wanted to lay blame on him, but couldn't help feeling a little disappointed. Primary Surgeon Zhu also said before, "Gu Jun, the little guy, has higher talent than me. You cannot view him with ordinary eyes." But now, he seemed to be no different from ordinary people.

    "Do you want to take a break outside first?" Zhu Ruiwen asked hesitantly. The operation was about to start, and other groups were also in progress. Where could he go to find a second assistant? Zhu Ruiwen had also just become a primary surgeon. When faced with this situation, he was at a little loss with what to do.

    "I'm fine." Gu Jun sucked in a few deep breaths. He stabilized his body so that he didn't let his hands, which needed to be sterile, to touch the bed, table, or operating table. "Everyone, I'm really sorry. I lost my composure a bit, but I'm all right now."

    His scream in the vision just now was like a crazed howl in a nightmare. Others could not hear it, but he vented the grievances in his heart.

    Patient No. 25 on the operating bed was still yelling, but the nurse covered his eyes with a sterile eye mask so he had quieted down compared to before.

    Gu Jun looked at the patient, and his face regained its resoluteness and calm.

    "Well, okay then." Zhu Ruiwen nodded thoughtfully. After all, the training exercises of jinmenken thoracotomy were just exercises. They had to give this rookie some time to adapt.

    Watching the tragic death of animals and watching the tragic death of a fellow human being were two vastly different concepts for humans.

    Looking at the corpse of an already-dead patient and looking at a struggling patient on the verge of death were similarly two very different things to a doctor.

    No matter how aberrant Gu Jun's talent was, he still lacked psychological experience. However, when Zhu Ruiwen saw that he was indeed okay, he didn't let Gu Jun go out to rest and decided to observe the situation first. However, Zhu Ruiwen signaled to the circulating nurse using his eyes: once any abnormality was found with Gu Jun, she was to immediately notify him to deal with it.

    "The patient has already experienced delirium. Let's quickly proceed." Zhu Ruiwen took the scalpel and refocused on the operating table again. Everyone also got back in action with renewed vigour.

    Gu Jun cast his wild thoughts aside. Calm down. Don't think about anything now. Let's finish the operation first.

    He watched as Primary Surgeon Zhu and First Assistant Zeng made an incision with intense focus. He banished his thoughts about the patient's cries of pain and made his brain ignore it.

    The primary surgeon and first assistant made a posterior incision (between the neck and shoulder blade), slicing apart the patient's posterior muscle, and separated the posterior flap. As they were cutting, they also proceeded with hemostasis. At this time, they cut the latissimus dorsi and trapezius muscles. Blood was surging out relentlessly, and Zeng Jianguo seemed to be too busy to cope with the situation.

    "Hmm." Zhu Ruiwen turned his head slightly to look at the second assistant, Gu Jun, and the third assistant, Li Hualong. Finally, he shouted, "Second assistant, come and stitch the wound to stop the bleeding."

    After all, there would be 19 surgeries in the next three days. Their team needed an excellent second assistant.

    The operation was only in the first phase of making an incision. It was still early. If Gu Jun was not up to the task, then he should be replaced early.

    With everyone's eyes focused on him, Gu Jun stepped forward. "Okay."

    He approached the operation area which was closer than before. The shoulder area of the patient's malformed left upper limb had already become a twisted gory mess of flesh and blood.