102 The Way Back

    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.

    "It's you, the thing inside the banyan tree..."

    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 déjà 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.

    Gu Jun merely grunted a reply. He had no comment regarding Xue Ba's 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 Pandora's 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 can't 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 Jun's 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 Jun's 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.

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    "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. I'll be joining you soon."
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