Chapter 81: Surgery inside the Underground Tunnel
Every step of the underground tunnel was three meters long, one meter wide, and half a meter tall. Each step was a giant stone slab; it was the same material that built the high walls. The stone surface was covered with a strange dark red pattern. It looked like blood capillaries. The steps led underground. The walls on the side were of the same stone material as the ceiling above them. There was no trace of dirt or sign of any living plants like lichen. It was as if the underground tunnel was carved out from the stone layer. Each stone was in itself a complete entity, but if that was the case, how could they keep the surface of the stone so even? It was as if the stone steps were made by nature.
The Demon Hunters stayed ten meters near the entrance after they entered. In other words, once they covered the range of ten steps, they were just close enough to the surface to see light. Some guarded the entrance, while others guarded the tenth step. Xue Ba was on the tenth step. He aimed his flashlight deep underground. All they could see was the steps that stretched endlessly downward, and the most visible bottom was blocked off by the ceiling that sloped down. They did not carry any equipment that could allow them to examine their surroundings. However, to conduct an operation on Lin Mo, the patient, the two doctors and the nurse had to remove their heavy protective gear, or else they could not carry out any detailed handwork.
“Uncle Dan… I…” Earlier, the team had placed several boxes of equal height on the fifth step. Then, they laid a deep gray sterile mat on it before laying Lin Mo on top of it. Lin Mo’s face was pale as sheet of paper and his voice was weakening. The morphine was taking its effect. His mental state was still passable. Several antibiotic drips were already injected into the back of his left arm. A sniper rifle was laid next to the step, and the medicine was hanging on the barrel. The blood packs were thawing out, and they would be used later. Uncle Dan, Gu Jun, and Zhang Huohuo were as ready as they could be. They first used mineral water to cleanse the wounds—the water that they used to wash their hands was collected in the protective gear. If necessary, it could be used as drinking water. Then they put on sterile scrubs, mask, gloves, and caps. Even though this was not enough to ensure sterility, they had done everything they could to prevent pollution.
“My personal suggestion is double amputation.” Uncle Dan was not a pessimist, but he really did not have much confidence in Gu Jun’s suggestion this time.
Lin Mo looked at the rarely serious Uncle Dan and turned to look at the determination shining in Gu Jun’s eyes. He smiled bitterly. “I know some medical knowledge; I know the state that I am in. I know how precarious this is. If I’m infected, it’s over for me. In that case, I’d rather take this risk. Who knows? There might a chance for success…”
“Okay then.” Even though Uncle Dan frowned, he chose to respect the patient’s wishes. He turned around to ask out of respect, “Captain Yan, what do you think?”
“Lin Mo has every right to decide own fate,” Xue Ba replied. “One hour is not long. In fact, ten minutes have already passed. Get moving.”
The other team members looked at each other silently. Actually, none of them supported Gu Jun’s idea. This was so difficult. Could Uncle Dan manage it? Furthermore, Gu Jun was just a rookie who had recently risen to G Grade. Even though he was extremely talented, what was talent without experience?
Gu Jun nodded at Lin Mo. He did not give an empty promise but offered something cliched. “I will try my best.”
He changed his thought and accepted a system quest in his mind.
Difficult Quest: Complete two-star surgeries (success) within three days with personal contribution totaling over 150 percent. Reward: one Carlot Scalpel
One of the reasons Gu Jun insisted on this operation was an aid provided by the system: the review of success or failure in the surgical job list regarding specific operation. So far, the mysterious power that was the system had the ability to determine accurately whether a surgery was successful or not. This provided him with extremely important information at times like this. If the result was a ‘failure’ after the operation was over, they would hurry to amputate the right leg.
Due to the urgency of the situation, with Uncle Dan leading the operation, the four team members put on their masks and aimed the flashlights from four sides around the body part about to be operated on. It formed a simple surgical light. It decreased the influence of shadows, providing passable conditions for a field operation. Lou Xiaoning, Yang Henan, and other marksmen had to guard the two ends, remaining alert for battle.
“You guys still have forty-eight minutes,” Xue Ba shouted as he glanced at his watch. He was not giving them pressure, but he knew how important precision of time was. Gu Jun opened and closed his hands. The feeling of the rubber gloves around his skin helped him get into the mental state. He felt the stone around him shifting into the plain walls of a surgical room. A surgical light hung above them, and below the patient was an electro hydraulic surgical table. No matter how harsh the conditions, this was still an operation.
Zhang Huohuo had already prepared surgical materials like mineral water and disinfectant by the side. Uncle Dan first asked for a stitching kit and directly stapled the muscles of Lin Mo’s left leg together to minimize bleeding. Since this leg was to be amputated no matter what, Uncle Dan left it after that. He turned to focus on the right leg with Gu Jun. The injuries on the right leg were lighter. Of the right leg, there were only four bite marks of the worms on both front and back upper calf; the injuries were more serious on the lower calf and feet. There were more than ten visible wounds there.
Uncle Dan, who had less experience with this kind of operation, was responsible for the upper calf. Gu Jun, who had just conducted the same operation the previous day, was responsible for the lower calf and feet. Two operations were going on at the same time. Water was very precious, but the wound had to be cleaned before the operation. The two doctors used as little water as possible.
“Cotton ball.” Gu Jun accepted the sterile cotton from Zhang Huohuo. He bent over to wipe away the bloody water. Using the lighting and hooks, he could see the worm-like young parasites inside the soleus muscle. They hooked themselves onto the tissue like maggots. They wiggled minutely as they chomped on the surrounding tissue. Some had already embedded half of their bodies into the flesh.
This scene caused the members who held the flashlights to frown. These creepy crawlies were drilling into their hearts.
“These are indeed the young of subterrain giant worms,” Gu Jun said with a hint of joy at seeing these ugly things. This proved that it was really a subterrain giant worm that had ambushed Lin Mo. These young parasites splattered out from the worm’s mouth. At the beginning, they were not mobile, so Gu Jun did not need to worry about finding them in deeper tissue. They had not formed sacs either, so he needed only to clean these parasites on the surface away.
“Surgical scissors please.” With the tool, Gu Jun reached into the wound and pulled out a worm. He placed it inside the stainless-steel container at the side. The slick feeling as he let go of the parasite told him that the parasites had not sunk themselves into the flesh. Most of them could be directly removed without much force. This was good, very good. After picking out one, he proceeded to grab another. Those who had fixed themselves half into the tissue had to be torn out along with the muscle.
The other members watched closely. They saw Gu Jun very expertly pull out or cut out the parasites, and then they turned to observe Uncle Dan. They were immediately confused. How come it felt like Gu Jun was moving faster than Uncle Dan? Was something holding Uncle Dan back?
“Eh?” Uncle Dan stole a glance, and he was also shocked. ‘This kid… how is his surgical skill so good?’