122 The Patients Tongue

    Chapter 122: The Patient's Tongue

    Gray clouds hung low in the night sky of the Eastern State. From the fall of night to morning, the number of people on the street had drastically decreased. Even though the internet access was heavily monitored, the mass media in the Eastern State had already reported, and the citizens had received news on their phone, regarding a new strain of flu that had exploded around the Eastern State. It was highly infectious and had a high fatality rate. Should they suffer from symptoms like soreness in the muscle, loss of focus, and insomnia due to nightmares, they were asked to report to the nearest medical personnel immediately.

    Due to the severity of the news, most people had secluded themselves at home and avoided going to crowded places. This meant that a death-like chill shrouded the once bustling metropolis. When Gu Jun arrived at Phecda's Medical Department in the city, it was already around midnight. After one and a half months, he was finally back to this familiar place. The various floors of the building were still lit up like daytime. Along the way, he saw many colleagues hurrying back and forth. No one was chatting, and none even dared to share a look; it was as if they could not see each other. Seeing the confusion on Gu Jun's face, Prof Qin leaned in to explain. Phecda had banned its members from interacting with each other unless it was directly related to work.

    There were already three reported cases within the medical department. They were not anyone Gu Jun was familiar with, and they were all research members of the psychology group working on studying the Nightmare Illness. Due to the time constraint, Gu Jun made his way to the psychology floor before going to meet up with any of his old friends. When he first joined Phecda, he often spent his time training on this floor, but at the time, there had definitely been no unfamiliar faces from the Action Department patrolling the floor and the mist of despair that hung in the air.

    "Currently, we are monitoring ten patients here," Prof Qin said.

    "The other patients are situated at the other isolation camp." Yao Sinian confirmed with a nod.

    They entered the building and passed through many security checks before they arrived at the Nightmare Illness Research Center that was situated at the 12th floor. The scene when they arrived did not suggest that it was close to 1 am. From the corridor to the many offices, people were busy with their tasks. There were members from the Medical Department and Scientific Research Department. They were attempting to gain an understanding of this disease from the angles of neurology, psychology, and psychiatry. But from the pleats of brows on their faces and the lack of mirth in the room, it appeared like progress was lacking.

    "Elder Qin, Leader Yao." The leader of the psychology group, Tang Zhifeng, rushed over. He was surprised when he saw Gu Jun because he knew Gu Jun. Tang Zhifeng was one of the judges back during the medical skill competition, and he showered Gu Jun's mental acuity with great praise. Tang Zhifeng was also privy to the situation where Gu Jun was suspected of being the 'thing inside the banyan tree' and was escorted away by the Abnormal Energy Research group. From there, the gossip had festered like crazy. It mainly regarded how the rising star was actually a wolf in sheep's clothing, and thus, everyone showed open suspicion with regards to his appearance there.

    Instantly, the two guards from the Action Department opened the door and went in to order the patient to follow the rules before letting the doctors in. Once the patient saw the group of doctors, faith filled his face. He appeared like he wanted to say something. Gu Jun's heart squeezed when he saw the panic in the patient's eyes and his open desire for life. The man was only several years older than him. One should not have to face death at the age of twenty-five.

    "Ah." The patient only dared to make a groan. The rule was that the patients were barred from speaking. They were only allowed to speak in response to the questions from the doctors. And they had to speak slowly. Any breach of the rules would be punished with a shock of an electric taser.

    "Nice to meet you. Do you mind opening your mouth for us?" Gu Jun heard Prof Qin say that as the latter took out a small flashlight and shone it inside the patient's mouth. The patient cooperated fully. He sat up in bed and lifted his head, opening his mouth wide.

    Before the light shone into the mouth, Gu Jun's heart sank like the pathological phenomenon before him had weighed down on his heart. The patient's tongue had shrunk beyond belief; it was at least half its normal size. It was curled into a strange ball, and the tongue had a curious black hue to it and gave off a strange smell that reminded him of a dead body. Speaking of which, one of the first signs of putrefaction was tongue atrophy, and this patient was suffering from the same thing.

    "That's enough," Gu Jun said evenly as he nodded at the patient.

    "Ah, ah..." The patient mumbled a few choking sounds. It sounded like he was pleading. The group headed out after that. By then, the patient had climbed out of bed. He stood beside his bed, watching the doctors walking away, abandoning him to his fate. The loss and bereavement in his eyes could not be understated.

    "Tongue atrophy is the shared similarity for all new patients in the initial stage of the Nightmare Illness." In the corridor, Prof Qin briefed Gu Jun. "And the patients reported experiencing dry mouth, a feeling that will not go away even after drinking a lot of water. It might be a damage to the nerves. But at this stage, the patient is still able to process information quite capably. They will only get rather anxious and agitated."

    Tang Zhifeng then sighed. "This patient said he was infected after reading his friend's WeChat message. His friend is quarantined here as well, but he's at the middle stage already."

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    Gu Jun could only listen quietly. He was not brazen enough to promise that he would be able to save them. He did not trigger any abnormal feeling when he was with the patient earlier.

    'Patient's Condition: Early Stage'
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