101 Origin of the Illness

    Chapter 101: Origin of the Illness

    Inside Gu Jun's buzzing mind, the clues that he had obtained chained up to reveal the cold hard truth.

    Who knew how many centuries ago, the Son of Steel Freud Landon had dissected the abnormal creatures at the collapsed Rikers city. After that interaction, his belief and conviction were shaken. Something momentous probably happened, and that caused him to choose to commit suicide. But just as he was dying, the servants of the Great Old Ones appeared to offer him a new life as a demon.

    Landon accepted the offer and became the Son of Misfortune. Sometime after that, he returned to Rikers, created the Malformed Banyan Disease, and probably did something else. Was that why the name Son of Misfortune became known in the foreign civilization? Was that what caused the apostates to make the pilgrimage to worship him? They abandoned the Goddess of Life and turned to worship the Great Old Ones, the thing inside the banyan tree, the demon inside it.

    On Earth, the Afterlife Cult somehow managed to get their hands on these few ancient records. That was probably the origin of the Afterlife Cult. They followed the instructions on the papers to conduct the summoning. Gu Jun himself was made the vessel for the Son of Misfortune, but the process was not entirely successful. Throughout the years, the Afterlife Cult had been lying low. Due to the recent activity in abnormal energy, the Afterlife Cult had found a breakthrough. They brought the Malformed Banyan Disease back on Earth, and that greatly increased the power of the Son of Misfortune. However, the real purpose of these apostates was to claim the power for themselves. The fact that they dared do so proved that something had probably happened to the Son of Misfortune, something that prevented the demon from taking vengeance on these apostates. In fact, the apostates had almost succeeded, and they would have if not for the arrival of Landon, the Son of Steel.

    Gu Jun gleaned the general truth but still could not see through the layers of shadows surroundings the copse of banyan trees. There were still many mysteries surrounding this, mysteries that had been washed away by time.

    'Landon, what is your real goal? To devote yourself to darkness in search of light? But I believe you didn't predict the change that would befall you either, did you?'

    Then, Gu Jun noticed that Xue Ba was leaving to get Uncle Dan, so he called out to stop him. "Captain Xue, I'm fine."

    Xue Ba halted, and Lin Mo looked at Gu Jun with worry. Gu Jun shook his head and said, "I'm fine. I believe these four pages record the origin of the Malformed Banyan Disease."

    "That appears to be the case." Lin Mo sighed. The man's eyes were conflicted. The human understanding of science had been fully undermined at that moment.

    "What about the fifth page?" Xue Ba furrowed his brows. Right then, his main concern was still the exit. Gu Jun heeded the order and turned to the last page. It was the only page without a signature. In fact, even the handwriting was completely different. It appeared to be some kind of spell...

    "I believe this is the incantation for some kind of spell. I don't know how to read it. How about you call Uncle Dan over? I believe this is the spell to summon the Malformed Banyan Disease."

    After hearing him say that, Xue Ba and Lin Mo asked him why.

    "Hasn't Phecda been investigating how the Malformed Banyan Disease started?"

    As a G-grade member, Gu Jun did not know all the information, but the Medical Department must know something.

    "The disease exploded at different villages but the villages adjacent to the source were all fine. They did not fall to the spread of the epidemic like a normal disease would. However, all the villages with records of the disease share a similarity. They have an ancient banyan tree planted in the village's vicinity. Now look around you."

    The 'banyan trees' around them looked like many-limbs giants.

    "This is the propagation center of the Malformed Banyan Disease," Gu Jun said darkly. That was the answer he had obtained from the parchments and his own deduction. "Using this spell, every single banyan tree can be projected to a 'banyan tree' in a different world, causing them to create the Malformed Banyan Disease. That's how the epidemic in the Eastern Villages began."

    He had another darker thoughts that he did not share. 'Did the Malformed Banyan Disease only spread among the foreign civilization and Earth? Could this nightmare have visited other worlds as well?'

    "Then, all these trees carry the Malformed Banyan Disease?" Xue Ba's jaw tightened. This was not good news.

    Lin Mo posed a question. "But how come the people from Lai Sheng Company did not appear to fear getting close to them? Are they immune to the disease?"

    "I have no clue, but this place is the source. I can feel the abnormality coming from the trees..." Gu Jun took a deep breath to silence the dark intention in his mind. "If we do not level this place, a second wave of the epidemic might occur in our world. By cleansing this place, the Malformed Banyan Disease shall be cleansed."

    By burning these carrier banyan trees, manually destroying the infectious humanoid banyan trees, there would no longer be any new epidemic outbreaks, and they would have cut off any possible contact with any other carrier trees. Theoretically speaking, that would cleanse away the trace of Malformed Banyan Disease. Xue Ba's beard shook slightly. Cleansing the Malformed Banyan Disease was a result that the Demon Hunters had not even considered achieving before they started this mission.

    "The way to leave this place is not recorded on these parchments, but I believe there should be a path nearby," Gu Jun added, and that was based on his sense of familiarity regarding this place. "Remember the Action Department's latest operation? I believe the members of Lai Sheng Company escaped to this place through another tree hole tunnel."

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    "Wait a minute..." Lin Mo had a new question. "If we destroy these banyan trees, won't that destroy our exit as well?"

    "That is entirely possible." Gu Jun nodded. "The path is connected through the sensory space and time wormhole between two banyan trees. I don't know how to explain the working theory behind it."

    "But if we level this place, how are we supposed to return?" Lin Mo was confused.

    "We can light the place up right before we leave." Gu Jun already had a draft in his mind.

    Xue Ba nodded silently. He chimed in to say, "Ah Jun, you'd better get some rest. I will take some people to explore the surrounding."

    "No, I have to go with you." Gu Jun stood up. His face shone with determination. "None of you will be able to find it; only I will be able to sense the tree hole path."

    Perhaps he was the only one in the world who would be able to do so without the use of a spell. That was because he was the vessel for the Son of Misfortune.

    "Fine." Xue Ba did not understand it fully, but he knew that Gu Jun was not boasting. If he wanted to follow, then so be it. Xue Ba gathered the team and announced their plan. Uncle Dan was worried about Gu Jun, but he had no grounds to stop him. They were all going to die from dehydration if they did not find the exit soon.

    After quickly preparing themselves, Xue Ba, Gu Jun, and Yang Henan each stepped into protective gear. They took two rifles and one sniper rifle. They headed in the direction where the leader in red had come from.

    With the rest of the team watching, the trio stepped on the decayed black mud and walked into the maze-like banyan tree forest.
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