Plague Doctor Chapter 102
Chapter 102 The Way Back
Silence. There were no traces of any beasts, no cawing of crows. Other than the sound of the footsteps sinking into the putrefied mud, there were no other sounds. Gu Jun looked around as they moved. The banyan trees there were different from the ones on Earth. Their trunks were larger and their branches more twisted. Their bark was black in color with white spots that looked curiously like livor mortis. The twisting branches bridged the neighboring trees together, forming a complicated and grotesque net.
The trio made their way through the gaps, being as careful as they could not to come into contact with any part of the banyan trees. Sometimes, however, the gaps were too small, so some brushing was inevitable. Whenever that happened, Gu Jun felt like there was a chill wind rushing into his heart. Wailings of pain, horror, and pleading weaved intermittently around his ears.
"Its you, the thing inside the banyan tree"
"Let me go!"
"Ah, I beg you!"
It felt like countless victims who had died from Malformed Banyan Disease were looking at him. Every leaf seemed to take on different faces. They came from different worlds, different civilizations.
The banyan trees grew lusciously, their leaves blotting out most of the sky.
"Hmm." Gu Jun trained his focus. Seeing that Xue Ba and Yang Henan had not said a word, he knew that this was only happening to him. He needed to suppress the dark energy in his heart while trying to sense a way forward. "This way."
Xue Ba and Yang Henan followed beside him. They were also looking around with alert. Other than the treacherous journey, there was no other blockage in their way. The three of them trekked carefully for around three hundred meters before they saw a very large banyan tree. It was about as large as three or four other normal banyan trees combined. Furthermore, there was a naturally hollowed out tree hole at the bottom of the main trunk. This was the only tree hole that they had encountered so far.
"This is it," Gu Jun said darkly. As he glanced at the tree hole, that feeling of dj vu hit him again. Was this the tree that he had been deposited in when he was worshipped at when he was young? Perhaps that tree was connected to this one.
Xue Ba and Yang Henan were studying it from afar. They were curious about why they did not see any glow from inside the tree hole.
"Captain Xue, what is your plan now?" Gu Jun asked.
"If this is really the exit, we will all retreat to regain immediate communication with the headquarters to ask for back up." Despite his appearance, Xue Ba was a meticulous planner. He could discern the real meaning behind Gu Juns enquiry.
"Ah Jun, I know you want to destroy this place and close all the channels between the two worlds. But now that we have found a new wormhole and a spell that can create channels between these banyan trees, we cannot waste the value this place presents to Phecda. Those dead bodies, the shrine, these trees," Xue Ba said with as much sincerity as he could salvage, hoping to persuade Gu Jun. "This whole world requires more exploration. Only then we can solve more problems. Our mission has already been completed. The decision on how to deal with this place should be left to the superiors."
Yang Henan nodded in agreement. "Thats right. Recently, there have been too many abnormal energy activities. No one knows what will happen. Phecda needs as much information as they can get."
"Yes," Xue Ba said. "If this new path has no volume capacity, then this place will turn into our new headquarters by tomorrow. More than ten thousand colleagues will set up camp here."
Gu Jun merely grunted a reply. He had no comment regarding Xue Bas proposition. Gu Jun knew that arguing with them was pointless because they were not privy to certain information that he had, and he could not reveal it to them either. This was already a desecrated world. Even with his limited knowledge, he understood that the Malformed Banyan Disease was not the worst thing that could happen. Hemoptysis, that was an illness that wiped out an entire civilization. If it was given a chance to spread to Earth, it would truly mark the end of the world.
Before they had enough power, it was better not to open the Pandoras box. Like Sodom, despite all their glory, even a furtive glance could bring about self-destruction.
"In any case, we should gather everyone here for now." Gu Jun started to form a plan in his mind. "Currently, this tree hole is still closed. With my stamina and mental state, I can only open it once. I cant predict what will happen after that, so all of us need to stick together. I believe that this tree is not contagious, but for the sake of security, perhaps everyone can put on the robes left behind by the members of Lai Sheng Company. Perhaps their clothing has some warding effect."
Gu Juns words were like the gospel. They removed their protective gear and had Gu Jun carry it back to the shrine. Even though the three hundred meters journey was not long, due to the complicated geography and the possibility of encountering illusions, only Gu Jun would recognize the way back. Gu Jun repeated this journey seven times. Each time, he led two people in protective gear. Gao Mingpeng was the last to leave the shrine. The whole Demon Hunter team was finally safely reunited before the giant tree. They had the stretcher, sixteen comparatively well-preserved robes, the tissue from the dead bodies, and the skull of the leader.
With regards to the other tools, weapons, and explosives, they listened to Gu Juns advice and left them behind.
"In my current state, I cannot guarantee that the path will be able to support so much weight. So, the less we carry, the more stable the path will be," Gu Jun explained as he took out the five pages of ancient papers and the scalpel. "I need these to cast the spell."
Everyone believed that Gu Jun was not part of Lai Sheng Company. Furthermore, they had no choice but to believe Gu Jun.
"I will stay behind to stabilize the channel," Gu Jun explained further. "The other side of the channel should be connected to a banyan tree around the Eastern State. After you enter the tree hole, do not turn back. Keep moving forward until you reach the exit. Wait for me. Ill be joining you soon."
Xue Bas jaws tightened. He looked at Gu Jun deeply. "Ah Jun, I hope you know what you are doing."
Gu Juns heart skipped. So, Captain Xue has managed to guess what Im planning after all. Oh well"
"I do." Gu Jun nodded heavily. "I am the only one who knows what to do. I will start the spell now."
With one hand holding the Carlot Scalpel to suppress the dark emotions and his other gloved hand pressing against the banyan tree, he tried to communicate with it. He uttered in the foreign language, "Open, existing channel. I demand that you open!"
This was not the spell recorded on the paper. That was probably used to summon the Malformed Banyan Disease, and that was not what Gu Jun was trying to do. His mental and physical energy rapidly drained. Thankfully, a blurry light soon appeared in the tree hole, and the channel was activated. Due to the presence of the Son of Misfortune, opening the channel was as simple as opening a door, but the darkness within his soul appeared to have deepened.
"Be careful, and dont push yourself too hard," Xue Ba told Gu Jun before he grabbed the gun and led the two other marksmen ahead. "Lets go!"
Lou Xiaoning and Zhang Huohuo walked in the middle. Lin Mo was carried on the stretcher. Uncle Dan brought up the rear. In the long robes, they shot Gu Jun an appreciative look before they departed. Then, they turned to walk into the light inside the tree hole.
"Ah Jun, you have to come out of here alive." Uncle Dans round face wiggled with mirth. "If you do, I will take you to enjoy the more sensual pleasures of life."
"Thats a promise." Gu Jun nodded with a smile. "Uncle Dan, weve already found the exit. Dont make it sound like this is our last farewell; youll jinx it."
"When youre right, youre right, kid. Okay then, see you on the other side."
Gu Jun watched as the last member, Uncle Dan, disappeared into the tree hole. Then, he sighed in relief. He turned to head toward the shrine, determination lining his face. If Phecdas superiors were given the choice, they would definitely keep and preserve this place.
But ruination was this places only fate. It had to be destroyed.
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