Chapter 63: Blueprint and Diary (2in1)
"There is a monster before me. I can smell its… stench. My stomach is twitching. These… monsters have dominated our city, and they bring only destruction. People always say, if our… civilization is taken over by these evil creations, that is the most preposterous thing… because that means that there is no divinity. Or perhaps it has never been divinity, and it has always been these demons who have been walking among us.
"I always… believed that these monsters are not, as we imagine… beasts. I have communicated multiple times with this monster. The intelligence that it shows can rival my own. If it… can put away its prejudice toward me, perhaps we can have a deeper conve… (the blueprint is lost here).
"I have conducted an autopsy on it and realized how… advanced its bodily structure is. Ugliness and beauty are defined by us; similarly, I believe we are as ugly in their eyes as they are in ours. But to be fair, their bodies are more… I cannot lie to myself. Others call me ‘the Son of Steel', but now I suspect whether our resistance is meaningful or not. Is what it said correct?
"They are better than us?
"They are better than us?
"They are better than us?
"They are better than us?"
Gu Jun could understand about seventy to eighty percent of this note, and the parts that he could discern, he could guess the meaning. The more he studied it, the clearer the image of the underground lab in his mind became. It reached a point where he could hear the lost and anxious mumbling of the man who wrote the note…
"Looks like this blueprint is not of this world," Gu Jun murmured to himself. "Or at least not of this century."
Invasion of the cities, harbinger of destruction—clearly, this man's civilization and race had been brought to its knees by these monsters, and these monsters had already arrived in this world. There was probably quite a number of them. After all, he had personally dissected one of their chest specimens already.
"The underground lab still uses oil lamps, and the paper itself is some kind of lambskin paper… The technological level of the world in the note should be somewhere near the post-industrial era of Europe? Even though a homo sapien's physique is not as strong as these monsters, with our current high technological level, Phecda still has a chance of eliminating them." Gu Jun ruminated over it. A Gatling gun could unload more than one thousand bullets per minute, the lamellar bone of these monsters would not be strong enough to resist an attack like that. But then he was reminded of the Malformed Banyan Disease. Even the strongest gun needed someone to operate it. If there was an epidemic, it would be scarier than a monster invasion.
Gu Jun looked through the blueprint for several times before putting it away. Then he turned to the three pages of diary. As he studied it, he mumbled internally, filling in the terms that eluded him with his own guesses.
"Rose Year 21st October—Raybundy Pedra.
"It has been raining heavily today. People say the year of the rose is always spared of heavy rain, but recently, things have been going awry, and this change in the weather is the least of our worries. The range of hemoptysis has spread again, from Buren to Elly; it has spiraled out of control. The first recorded case has appeared in our city of Sar as well. This news makes me nauseous, but that is not how I am supposed to respond. I am a graduate from the Kingdom's Highest Medical Academy, Carlot Academy. I have studied all known medical technology and mastered the various theories behind the working of the human body, all that not for me to cower before a kind of disease.
"People always place such high hopes in the students of Carlot Academy. They believe we are emissaries sent to earth by the goddess. We know about the truth of life and use our brilliance to bring light to this foolish world. For that, we are given the best of the Academy and the unconditional trust of the people. But now, after Buren and Elly, these two busiest cities of the Kingdom have been turned into a living hell. The people have awakened, and we too have awakened. The students of Carlot are not emissaries of the goddess but toys barely deserving the attention of a demon.
"Is that the truth? I hope I can retain my conviction as long as I can, but even during my process of education, I was never the best. Among our year group, the best student was none other than Freud Landon. He always got the most praise and was well loved by everyone. Landon is exceptionally gifted in the field of autopsies. During our first autopsy class, our hands were shaking, but the scalpel was like an extension of Landon's fingers. Due to his steely determination and because the scalpel was made from steel, I called him the ‘Son of Steel'. That eventually became his nickname.
"Landon and I are good friends. Even though he has all the reasons in the world to be arrogant, he is incredibly humble and humorous. People say Landon is born for big things. His way of thinking and ability lives up to the name of being a goddess' emissary, and perhaps he will bring the next big change to the world of medicine.
"After graduation, I returned to my homeland, Sar, while Landon stayed at the national capital where the Academy was situated. I did not expect that time when he came to bid me farewell would be the last time we'd ever meet.
"This morning, I received some secret news. The ‘Son of Steel' Freud Landon has committed suicide. He used the surgical knife to cut his throat. The public is still clueless about this news. If this is leaked, it will be such a huge blow to them…
"Landon left behind a note. According to rumors, it did not contain much. It was merely a writing of his thoughts and the information that he had gathered from the ruin that was once the city of Riker. With regards to the reason behind his suicide, I was not told. My guess is because he cannot suffer those monsters and the spread of hemoptysis anymore. If the Son of Steel has lost faith, what can I do? After all, I am far from the best."
"Phew." After finishing the first page of the diary, Gu Jun took a deep breath and walked out from the bedroom to grab himself a drink. This so-called work treatment diary was completely different from what he anticipated. But as a medical student, he could feel the great pressure underneath Raybundy's seemingly stable handwriting. Pedra must have been flipping through the diary, but since he could not come up with any valuable diagnostic content, he wrote down that instead.
Gu Jun looked at the sky out the balcony; the dropping sun was red as blood. There was an origin to this foreign language. It appeared to have come from another world or another civilization. Time to continue reading. He sipped on the water and turned to the next page of the diary.
"Rose Year 8th November—Raybundy Pedra.
"In just ten days, Sar has succumbed to the disease. My hometown, Sar, has the privilege of being named the home of flowers. People here live a peaceful life. It is not as busy as the capital, but it is not as cold as a machine. The people of Sar take every opportunity that they can grab to make new friends, so in the end, everyone at this city is a friend of one another.
"During the blooming season of every year, people pluck the fresh flowers in their garden to give to each other. Even the most deplorable homeless beggar on the street will be surrounded by the floral bouquet during blooming season. Flowers like autumn flowers, golden flowers, soft fragrance flowers, lilies, and moondrops…
"Of course, in the year of the rose, the bright rose blooms beautifully in every corner of Sar, and it adorns the hair of every citizen. I once had such deep love for this culture unique to Sar, but now the only thing that I have for it is hatred. The pure joy of the past has been turned into deeper pain in the past ten days.
"The first to die was Uncle Johnson. He had a shoe store on Autumn Flower Street. Whenever I passed by, he would kindly ask me about my latest update and promoted the new shoes that had arrived at his store. Uncle Johnson had not been to any places with recorded outbreaks. In fact, he had never left the city of Sar in his life, but somehow, he was infected.
"This is how it all started for the victims of hemoptysis. It starts with edema in the lungs, which causes the function of the lungs to weaken… (the content here cannot be derived)… collapse… collection of blood in the oral cavity… Finally, the blood will leak out from the skin near the chest, and that is where the victim's life ends.
"Oh, great and holy doctors from Carlot!
"We still cannot tell whether this hemoptysis is a kind of virus or a parasitic disease. We have no clue about the method of its transmission, whether it was aerial or through ingestion… It… We are helpless.
"A few days ago, Mila died, Carter died, Austin died, Tony died… All the friends I have known passed away one after another. All the roses in the city withered, but the city is still painted red by the blood of the victims.
"Then, there were my parents… They died in my care. I am now very worried about Linda. She has shown signs of coughing today. Please, not her, no…
"Goddess of Life, if you are really there, I beg you."
"Phew…" Gu Jun finished the second page and screwed up his brows to flip to the third page. This page was dated Orchid Year 5th February, if the assumption was the Year of Orchid was following Year of Rose, and one year comprised of twelve months, then one year had passed between the two entries.
"Orchid Year 5th February—Raybundy Pedra.
"It has been three months since Linda died from hemoptysis. I have been unwilling to think about this, much less write anything. I got to know Linda in our youth. She did not come from a great background, the daughter of a blacksmith. When I first encountered her on Lily Street, I succumbed to her charm; I fell deeply in love with her. She wore a normal white long dress, and she was as pretty as a nymph, her smile pure and insincere. Later, I found out she was the big sister of all the children on Lily Street. She spent her time keeping the children occupied all day so that their parents could go about their day jobs. This was the personality that drew me to her. When I first encountered her, I knew nothing about her, but I decided I would take her as my wife.
"My pursuit of Linda was very successful. Even though I was not as brilliant as Landon, there were points about me that Linda admired. During the few years I spent studying at Carlot Academy, we maintained our correspondence through letters. I knew she had her worries that I would choose to stay at the capital after graduation, but she never expressed it because she was afraid that it might hold me back from pursuing a brighter future.
"But the truth was, my heart had never left Sar, had never left her.
"After Linda's first symptom surfaced, the progress was fast. She passed away on the fifth day. I was unable to make her stay any longer, not even for a few days. After Linda died, so did all my hope. How the world ended up no longer meant anything to me. My despair was different from Landon's. I have read his suicide note. He had a more admirable pursuit and a more admirable reason behind his self-destruction. But I'm only a mere human. My parents, my old butler, my aunt, my friend, my lover… if any of them were still alive, perhaps I could still hold on, but they have all left.
"Linda's death made me understand something. There is no divinity in this world. Even if there was, it has been beaten by the demons. Because a God would never let someone like Linda die in such a disgraceful manner! The last thing that she told me was, ‘Raybundy, I am sorry that I cannot hold on until our wedding'. We planned to have our knots tied in December of the Rose Year.
"Death is the return to the embrace of the goddess, an ascendancy of life? I do not believe in that at all. This world is turning into a broken ruin, but what is there to be sad or fearful of?
"All of my sadness and fear has dissipated with Linda's passing. I do not fear the collapse of this world. I fear that Linda might be bullied in the abyss of hell, or what if there is something worse after death? I am also concerned about all my family and friends. Their bones have melted, and their hearts will never beat again, but… they are still spreading the seed of disease, using not any virus but their death.
"Father, mother, Landon, Linda, please forgive me, please wait for me.
"Because I, Raybundy Pedra, will embrace death with you."