Dominion’s End Volume 2: Aberrant City
Original novel in Chinese by: 御 我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 7: Dàgē, Dàgē—translated by Elkin (proofread by Arcedemius & EvlNabiki; C/E edited by lucathia)
Traveling at night really was much more taxing than during the day. Along the way, I once again started accumulating a ton of evolution crystals, to the point where I had almost made up for the crystals that had been spent on that group.
I rushed onwards the entire night, and en route, I kept having to pause to fight or zig-zag quickly through streets in order to throw off large groups of aberrants who were on my tail. It really was dead tiring, but at least I made good progress. I’d originally estimated that I’d arrive home in the evening, but it wasn’t even ten in the morning when I caught sight of the district where our home was located.
The exhaustion, however, was nothing in comparison to my longing for my family. If anything, my pace picked up when I saw our district. Starving as I was, not having had breakfast, I still didn’t bother to stop for a bite. The faster I reached home, the sooner Shujun could prepare breakfast for me. No one likes rations! Even if those rations were prepared by Jin Feng, they can’t compete with Shujun’s home cooked meals!
I passed through a few more streets, so excited that I was practically skipping every step of the way. Then, finally, I spotted some familiar road signs. I just had to go two more steps, look left, and I’d be home sweet home!
One step, two steps, look left!
A cluster of huge ice crystals stood not far away, right where the house had once stood.
My mind blanked out, while my feet automatically broke out into a frantic sprint.
My home’s gone! Completely gone!
Uncle and Auntie?
I sprinted to the front gates. The outer walls were undamaged, but the only thing left of the house inside those walls was rubble. There was even a huge cluster of ice crystals standing in the middle of the ruins. What the hell? I don’t understand. Did these crystals fall from the sky and crush the house?
If this was ten years into the apocalypse, I’d understand. A very powerful ice user would be able to pull this off, but this was just the fourth month into the apocalypse! Even a tier-one user like me had no way of crafting such large crystals, much less smashing the house into smithereens. Just what tier do you have to be to create something of this scale?
“Dàgē?” I couldn’t help but yell at the top of my voice, completely ignoring any potential enemies lurking around.
There was no reply at all.
I walked into the walled enclosure, my footsteps dragging this time, and painfully forced myself to look around. I was terrified I’d see something I wouldn’t be able to accept. But aside from the ruins of the house, I didn’t see anything. I breathed a sigh of relief, then steeled myself and advanced toward the crystals.
These crystals are so huge that any one of them can brain someone… No, no, no! What am I saying?!
I circled once around the ice crystals but didn’t see anyone. Not even a single speck of blood was to be found. This was beginning to feel a bit strange. It was like the house was empty.
So it just happens that no one was at home when the ice crystals came smashing down, and the house became so unlivable that Dàgē and the others moved out?
No, that’s impossible. Even if Dàgē and the others moved, they’d stay nearby. After all, I haven’t returned home, so there’s no way they would abandon me.
As I pondered the matter with a frown, I scaled up the ice crystal. Just now, while examining the base of the ice crystals, I could tell there was a fairly large space in the middle of the crystals, so I figured I should get up there and see what was inside.
The crystals were both freezing and slippery, making it hell to climb. Thankfully, I was an ice ability user, but even so, my hands were so cold that they were fast becoming numb. Just how powerful does the ice user have to be in order to do this? How’s it even possible?
After an arduous climb to the top, I looked down and…
The person lying in the middle of the ice crystals was none other than Dàgē. He was quietly lying on the ice, eyes shut and showing no reaction whatsoever.
“Dàgē, are you okay?”
Still no reaction!
I hastily slid down along the slope of the ice crystals. Ignoring the pain as my kneecaps smacked hard against the ice at the bottom, I turned my momentum into a roll before scrambling toward Dàgē on my hands and knees. Then, I knelt next to him, not knowing what to do.
I called out again and again, but I didn’t dare to reach out to see if… he was still breathing.
It was so cold that my entire body was frozen stiff, and even my heart felt like it was turning to ice. I’d probably die if I stayed here any longer, and this was coming from an ice user!
My eyes stung with heat.
What happened? Dàgē, how can you collapse? How’s it possible? Jin Xiaoyue said you were meant to be the Ice Emperor! You would’ve become the Ice Emperor, but because I called you back, your ice ability turned into healing, and now you’re lying here…
The stinging heat never managed to spill down my face, turning into frost instead. I lifted a hand to rub my eyes. I couldn’t afford to turn into an ice sculpture. I still hadn’t found Shujun, Uncle, and Auntie. After rubbing my eyes, I lowered my hand, planning to check whether Dàgē was breathing.
Instead, I saw him staring at me.
My mouth fell open. A surge of relief came over me.
Dàgē’s opened his eyes, and he’s looking at me!
He suddenly snapped a hand around my neck and squeezed. Instantly, an unbelievable amount of ice energy starting pouring into my neck. Even as an ice ability user, I couldn’t hold up against the onslaught of energy, and even the air in my lungs started freezing over. The agony of suffocation immediately swept over me and, not wanting to be killed by Dàgē’s own hands, I frantically kicked at him.
But he caught my leg easily with his other hand, and again, I was assaulted by another wave of ice energy, the biting cold so terrible that I wanted to scream. But my frozen throat could no longer produce any sounds.
Dàgē, do you want to kill me? Why? Do you really… want to strangle me to death?
Dàgē gazed at me, his face filled with fury, but slowly the anger receded to be replaced by confusion. Suddenly, a look of shock flashed across his face and he asked, not quite daring to believe himself,
I’d long lost any strength to respond.
He looked at his own hand and quickly let go of my throat. Warm air rushed into my frozen throat, and for some time, I could do nothing but curl up and cough non-stop. As I did that, Dàgē patted my back, panicking.
“Shuyu, is it really you?” He paused and asked again, at an utter loss, “Is it you?”
No shit, Sherlock. Who am I, Shujun?
Finally, once my throat felt a bit better, I lifted my head. Dàgē was staring at my face in a daze, looking like he hadn’t seen how handsome his dìdi was in eight hundred years.
“Shuyu?!” he repeated again in a shout, looking dumbfounded.
Dàgē, what the hell? First, you strangle someone until they lose their voice, then you keep yelling at them for a response. I rolled my eyes, rasping a “yeah.”
Dàgē reached out, and I scuttled backwards in alarm, my hands wrapped protectively around my throat. Don’t come strangling me again. My throat’s gonna freeze for real!
He froze, not seeming to understand why I was avoiding him. His face even lit up with rage for a moment. But then his gaze shifted to my hands that were protecting my throat, and the rage once again turned into guilt.
Dàgē withdrew his hand and kept his distance. He just frowned, thinking for a moment, then suddenly asked, “Shuyu, who am I to you?”
…Did this Dàgē get so cold his brain stopped working or something?
“Dàgē.” I was extremely troubled. Dàgē can’t have lost his memories too, right? No way. He called me Shuyu, so he knows who I am.
“What’s our dìdi called?”
Holy shit, Dàgē’s really lost it? He’s turned Shujun from a girl into a boy!
When I didn’t respond immediately, Dàgē growled, “Answer me!”
Sensing the extreme drop in temperature, I had no choice but to respond hoarsely, “We only have a mèimei, called Jiang Shujun.”
“What do you normally call her?”
He’s asking these questions to check my identity? Did someone pretend to be me?
Dàgē halted his line of questioning and just stared at me. I really didn’t know how to describe the expression he was wearing. It was like he’d lost his whole world, only to rediscover it again. He relaxed completely, and tears even started brimming in his eyes, shocking me so much that my mind went blank. But before I could snap out of my daze, Dàgē had leapt forward and hugged me tightly to his chest, so tightly that my injured throat started aching.
From above me came the choked words, “Thank god, I thought I was too late and I wouldn’t make it in time again, and I would fail to save you and Shujun again…”
He suddenly stopped, then pushed me back a little and asked hastily, “Where’s Shujun?”
“Isn’t Shujun with you?” I was becoming more and more confused. What’s with Dàgē? There’s something seriously wrong with him. Don’t tell me a psyche-type aberrant’s messing with him again?
Dàgē mumbled in a daze, “Shujun’s with me?”
“Dàgē, where’s Shujun? And the others?”
I was really becoming very worried. After I discovered Dàgē was still alive, I didn’t think I needed to worry about Shujun. With Dàgē’s overprotectiveness, he’d definitely die before and not after Shujun would. So as long as Dàgē was still breathing, Shujun had to be alive and well. But there was something severely wrong with the current situation.
Dàgē frowned, asking, “Shuyu, which year of the apocalypse is it?”
I blinked before replying, “It’s just four months into the apocalypse. How’d you come up with ‘which year’? Dàgē, what’s the matter with you?”
“Four months?” he mumbled, baffling me completely. Then, he said with a frown, “So Shuyu, you didn’t turn into an aberrant right at the very start? But that’s not right, I should still be in Oceania at this point in time. Why are you saying that Shujun’s with me?”
W-who turned into an aberrant? And… Oceania?
I stared at him speechlessly, suddenly realizing that there were white streaks in his hair. Although he hadn’t changed much in terms of looks, his hair had grown much longer. It hadn’t even been ten days since I was snatched away by the bird, so it was impossible for Dàgē’s hair to grow this long!
It was Dàgē but not Dàgē at the same time. He had ice powers, and he had been in “Oceania”—no way, he’s the Ice Emperor, Jiang Shutian?!
Holy shit! Is this really possible—why not?
I’d not only changed over worlds but also changed into a whole new body, transforming from Guan Weijun into Jiang Shuyu. In contrast, Ice Emperor Jiang Shutian was the real deal in his original packaging! He’d only crossed over into a different world, a way simpler situation than mine! So far, I had yet to figure out whether I’d crossed over into a new universe, reincarnated, or simply had mental issues.
As I stood there, my mind blown by the shock, Dàgē suddenly sat heavily on the ground. The surrounding ice crystals started falling apart and melting, which was good, because I was freezing my butt off. But without the ice cluster, the ruined house showed signs of collapsing. I had a very bad feeling when cracking and splintering sounds came from below my feet, but it was too late.
The ice ground completely disintegrated, sending the two of us plummeting into the basement.
I was already injured in my throat and foot, and this was now followed by a pummeling from the falling ice pieces. I fell and landed in such a terrible position that the only way I could’ve been worse off was if I had face-planted into the floor. As I lay there on the floor, crushed by the weight of countless pieces of ice, I wanted to beat up Dàgē.
Thankfully, the ice melted very quickly, leaving me drenched from head to toe in ice melt. I even took a few gulps of the water to slake my thirst.
That said, I wasn’t cold. Or rather, what had made me freeze earlier wasn’t the ice but the ice energy, and Dàgē no longer emitted so much ice energy. He’d probably dialed it back because he saw his dìdi was about to turn into an icicle?
Pushing aside the remaining ice pieces, I croaked, “Dàgē?”
He was lying on the floor, motionless. I quickly scrambled over and was on the verge of checking whether he was breathing, but thankfully, Dàgē opened his eyes in time to stop freaking out his dìdi.
“Dàgē, are you okay?”
He shook his head, looking at me apologetically as he said, “Shuyu, I’m sorry. In order to go back to the past, I had to use too much energy and couldn’t control it too well.”
“Go back to the past”? I see. Even if it’s the Ice Emperor, he wouldn’t have been so powerful at this stage of the apocalypse. He must’ve already lived in the apocalypse for quite a few years, so he’s not only switched worlds, but also gone back in time.
He said uncomfortably, “Shuyu, I’m from the world ten years into the future. I’m not your current Dàgē.”
No, your Majesty, Ice Emperor, you’ve completely gone into the wrong world. My Dàgē’s already turned into a healer, so even ten years from now, he won’t turn into a master of ice!
“I found an… ability user with power over time, and forced him to send me back. But I never imagined that the process would be so difficult. I had to use up all my energy to avoid being torn to pieces.” Here, he looked at me again and asked, “Do you believe me, Shuyu?”
“I do.” I nodded, saying, “Dàgē’s hair wasn’t so long.”
He gave a laugh and said sorrowfully, “I’ve already forgotten how long it was back then. I’ve even forgotten that you look even better than you did in my memories.”
I blinked. So this means he hasn’t seen “Jiang Shuyu” for a very long time? Then what on earth happened to the original Jiang Shuyu? Wait, didn’t Dàgē just say something like “Shuyu, you didn’t turn into an aberrant right at the very start”?
Could it be the original world’s Jiang Shuyu had turned into an aberrant right at the start of the apocalypse?
I was a bit shocked, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. If that world’s Jiang Shuyu had been knocked out by the falling tile and hadn’t woken up, it wasn’t strange if what woke up after the descent of the black fog was already an aberrant.
Dàgē suddenly grabbed my hand, promising, “Shuyu, don’t worry. This time, Dàgē will definitely protect you two!”
I nodded. Dàgē had already always been protecting me and Shujun. But Dàgē, the you in this world isn’t in Oceania but in Asia. Oh, wait, I mean Meisia. Habit is hard to change.
What do I do with two Dàgēs… Eh? Hang on a sec, isn’t it good to have another Dàgē?
And this Dàgē is even the Ice Emperor from ten years in the future!
Holy shit, the Ice Emperor from ten years later has now appeared in year one of the apocalypse! I was stunned by this revelation. W-we can just go directly conquer the world now! Humanity can flourish in the apocalypse too!
I was so moved by this that I snatched up Dàgē’s hand. I had everything figured out now. The more Dàgēs the merrier. Forget two, I’d be even happier if you gave me eight or ten Dàgēs.
I wanted to explain about this world’s Dàgē, for example, his current location, so Dàgē could have some mental preparation, but… Wait, this Dàgē’s also a Dàgē too. I’m starting to confuse even myself. Anyway, let the Ice Emperor know that we’ll be seeing his other self, then take him to find the others, then we’ll team up and go conquer the world!
But talks about the future could wait. The surroundings weren’t conducive for conversation. The ice melt was filling the entire basement, and the water had already reached my waist. If this continued, the basement was going to turn into a swimming pool. Let’s get out of here first.
Wait! The basement should be stuffed with resources, so how’s it turning into a swimming pool?
I finally noticed that the basement was empty. There was no sign of supplies to be seen anywhere, save for a few lonely boxes here and there. I couldn’t tell if they had anything in them. On the wall were a few lines of text, but because of the cracks and damage to the wall, many of the words were missing.
XXyu, wX XXX XXX looking for you. Xf you come back XX yourself, XXXX east XXXX XX XXX first go to Luo’an City. If XX XXXXX find XXX you, XXXX district XXX next stop at tower’s XXX.
Despite the many gaps in the message, I could still guess the overall meaning. Fortunately, the keywords were all there; otherwise, I’d really cry in despair. It was impossible to pick up a phone in the current world and call them to ask where they were.
I see, so Dàgē and the others went to find me, and they even abandoned the base in their search for me. Given the circumstances, it was extremely likely that I would have already met my end in that bird’s stomach. If not for Jin Feng and her gang shooting down that bird, I’d be dead by now.
In order to find his dìdi who in all likelihood had been devoured by the bird, he had abandoned the security of the base and charged in the direction where the bird had gone. He was dragging a whole bunch of people to their collective doom. Mercenaries, you guys shouldn’t follow your boss so blindly, okay? Try and dissuade him from this suicide run?
I really wanted to yell at them for being a bunch of idiots, but the warm feeling in my chest said otherwise.
Even if all the bad luck in the Jiang family was concentrated in me, I’d still accept this life.
A hand settled on my chest. What now, Ice Emperor? I looked up nervously, but instead of the craziness I’d expected, I saw a face that was frighteningly pale. There wasn’t a trace of color in his face.
He sent me flying with one push, a gentle motion that didn’t hurt. I sailed upwards, out of the hole that was the basement, and landed on the surface on my backside. Before I could figure out what was going on, an astonishing sight unfolded before my eyes.
A huge rush of cold air exploded from the sunken pit. It was ice energy, so powerful that the water vapor in the air froze. The surroundings fogged over with white mist, and a film of frost formed over every surface. It was like standing on a snowy mountain.
It was so cold I couldn’t feel my nose anymore. To avoid losing a nose or an ear the next second, I had no choice but to drag my injured leg and move away from the pit. In any case, this power came from the Ice Emperor himself, so it shouldn’t hurt him.
As it turned out, moving away was the right decision. I had barely made it to the outer walls when it happened. The surrounding white mist began to spiral into the pit, the vortex slowly transforming into an ice tornado that reached up endlessly into the sky…
I stared, stupefied. I didn’t know what was going on or what to do. What was more, I didn’t dare to get any closer. The energies were terrifying. Even standing at the outer walls, my nose felt like it was about to fall off at any moment. But I couldn’t bring myself to move further away. If anything happened, I would rush in and help… And what, help the Ice Emperor?
Ahem, it’s so cold that my brain has stopped working.
After standing for a while, I really was starting to turn into an icicle. Just as I was about to throw in the towel and beat a retreat, the ice tornado drained away into the pit of the basement in the blink of an eye, like it had been sucked up through a straw. Then, a calm settled over everything, as though nothing had ever happened. A calm so great that even the house had disappeared like it had never existed.
My heart suddenly squeezed. A good home had vanished, just like that. It was true that we’d eventually have had to leave; after all, there wasn’t much potential for growth in the suburbs, so we could hardly settle here. But I’d never imagined that our departure would be so abrupt, or that we wouldn’t even have a single brick left of our house. That terrible tornado of ice energy left only dust in its wake.
Thankfully, we’d only lost the house. Everyone was still alive, so there was nothing worth mourning.
I limped forward. I had to check on the Ice Emperor’s condition. This happening to him so suddenly was bad news. Battling his way physically across time and space must have taken a lot out of him.
I walked to the lip of the pit and first carefully inspected my surroundings. One lone bolt of ice energy from the Ice Emperor was probably enough to turn me into dust.
When nothing happened, I braced myself and looked down the pit. A roundish crystal stood there, but the Ice Emperor was nowhere to be seen.
“Dàgē?” I called out but no one responded, so I jumped down.
This thing looks like it’s… an egg?
I must’ve made some very strange expressions as I stood there. At first, I’d thought that I could come home to happily complain to Dàgē and then enjoy Shujun’s meals. Instead, I’d discovered that the house had been ventilated by ice crystals, scaring the wits out of me, but as it turned out, no one was home. Then, just when I’d thought I’d managed to find Dàgē, he had ended up being a Dàgē from another world. And as I was luxuriating in the fact that one Dàgē wasn’t enough while two Dàgē was just perfect, and was happily plotting to conquer the world, something immediately happened to the Ice Emperor.
And now, Ice Emperor Dàgē is an egg.
Is it normal for life to be so unpredictable?
I poked at the egg experimentally. It was a bit cold but nothing happened. Not knowing what to do, I started to eat my food. I really was famished, and besides, I could watch to see if anything happened while eating. In any case, I didn’t know what was going on, so I didn’t want to do anything rash. Not to mention, the Ice Emperor was way above my level. He only had to flick a finger to kill someone, so he was definitely not someone I would want to experiment on.
If nothing happened, then I’d have to find a vehicle to transport the egg. Just the thought of having to travel with an egg that was half as tall as a person was enough to give me a headache! Thankfully, just when I was finishing off my meal, the egg started to rock.
I stared blankly as cracks appeared on the surface of the ice egg. Realization started to dawn that maybe I should get out. If another ice tornado comes whipping out…
Shit! I’ve got to get out!
Just as I was about to rush out of the pit, the egg exploded. I instantly leapt and scrambled my way up, literally shooting out of the pit. I didn’t even dare to pause and grab my backpack that had been by my side. I was terrified that a moment’s delay would doom me to the same fate as the house, and I’d become a pile of dust.
Once again, I sprinted for the outer wall, prepared for explosions, tornados or earthquakes to strike at any moment. I spent a good ten minutes there, heart pounding. But when nothing happened and my worries about the Ice Emperor trumped my fears, I couldn’t resist running back to check on him.
I looked down into the pit. The ice egg was already gone, leaving behind scattered bits of ice. But more importantly, there was someone looking up at me from below.
I goggled. He… he…
“Mommy?” came the high pitched voice of a child.
…No, it’s your dìdi.
I stared at him. He stared back up at me with wide eyes and, suddenly, I felt guilty. Leaving a child in a pit had to be child abuse.
But is he really a child?
I hopped down into the pit. I didn’t dare touch the child and just looked him up and down from around two paces away. The child was covered in clothing too big for him. If anything, he was almost drowning in the pile of clothes and couldn’t move. And the clothes were the Ice Emperor’s.
Adding on the fact that his face was a chibi version of Dàgē’s, there was no denying the reality before my eyes.
“W-what do you remember?” I asked cautiously. Even if this child’s super adorable, he’s still the Ice Emperor. Control your hands! Don’t pinch his cheeks or ruffle his hair!
The little Ice Emperor stared at me uncomprehendingly and replied, “I remember you, Mommy.”
Like hell I’m your mother! You’ve even gotten the genders mixed up! You don’t remember anything, do you!
My future Dàgē had turned into an egg, and the egg had turned into a three-year old child. These changes were crazy! And even crazier was the fact that this child’s ice energy was even lower than mine.
My expression darkened. How did humanity’s flourishing future in the apocalypse vanish again? Ice Emperor, whatever happened to protecting me and Shujun?
Clinging onto a shred of hope, I asked, “But you remember your name, right?”
The child looked down, pondering. Just as I thought that not all hope was lost for humanity, he lifted his head, asking me in return, “Mommy, what’s my name?”
“Call me Dìdi. No, wait, call me Gēge!” The idea of a three-year old calling me ”Dìdi” was just downright weird, but being called ”Mommy” was even weirder! So in comparison, being called ”Gēge” was much better.
The child tilted his head, not quite understanding, and he just asked insistently, “Mommy, my name.”
“Your name is Jiang Shu…” I frowned. Using ”Jiang Shutian” was a bad idea because it was too easy to mix the two of them up. Once I found my real Dàgē, how was I going to address them if they both had the same name? So I changed my mind mid-sentence. “You’re Jiang Xiaotian!”
“Okay, I’m Jiang Xiaotian.” Xiaotian nodded with a glowing smile. I really wanted to tweak his tender cheeks!
So even someone as mighty as Dàgē was still an adorable doll when he was three. It was really hard to imagine that he would turn into the mighty, buff, and heroic Dàgē a few years down the line. Unbelievable.
I finally couldn’t resist, and I pinched those rosy cheeks of Xiaotian’s. I really pinched them! Dàgē’s cheeks! Ice Emperor Jiang Shutian’s cheeks!!!!
“Mommy, I’m hungry.” The child looked up at me, and I became awash with guilt.
I let my son become hungry. What a terrible mother I—waaaaaait, I don’t have any sons! No wait, wait, wait, I’m a guy, and just eighteen! Why’s this child calling me Mommy? Don’t tell me that he’s imprinted on me because he hatched from an egg?
“Mommy, I’m so hungry!” Jiang Xiaotian butted his head against my waist with a reproachful look. This also happened to be the only movement he could make since he was trapped by the clothes wrapped around him.
Whatever, it’s just something he calls me. I better get the child out and feed him something first.
I fished the child out of the pile of clothes, leaving only the vest for him to wear as a robe. Then, I started preparing food for him.
After eating meat and crackers, and having a drink, Xiaotian wiped his mouth and said, “Mommy, I’m still hungry.” I took out some cookies, but Xiaotian shook his head. “I don’t want those.”
“Don’t be picky in this day and age!” I said huffily, “I’m so sorry that I can’t find McDonalds so you can eat junk food.”
Xiaotian pointed at my waist where the hipflask hung, the one that contained evolution crystals.
I have a feeling that this child’s going to be hard to raise.
I silently took out one crystal, and Xiaotian swallowed it in one gulp. Then, he reached out for the hipflask and tipped the whole thing into his mouth.
You think these are chocolate candies? My heart ached at the sight, and I had the sudden impulse to grab the child and give him a good spanking. But when I saw him swallowing ravenously, I suddenly remembered what the Ice Emperor had said: ”I used up all my energy to avoid being torn to shreds when I was travelling through space and time,” and I kept my silence.
He was greedily grabbing for these crystals that weren’t even tier one, and he’d even transformed into an amnesiac child, so there was no way he had gotten stronger. Just how low have the Ice Emperor’s energy levels fallen to?
I quietly watched Xiaotian finish off all the crystals, then asked, “Xiaotian, are you full yet?”
Jiang Xiaotian patted his tummy, looking a little puzzled, then shook his head.
“No worries, I’ll go hunt for some crystals for you to eat.”
The moment I finished speaking, I frowned. To me, these tierless crystals could only be used for healing, so to the Ice Emperor, they probably really were on the same level as chocolate candies. But even tier one crystals probably weren’t much help either.
But no matter what, I had to think of a way of feeding this tiny little Dàgē.
He had thirsted to save his younger siblings, to the point where he had even come up with such an unreliable method as going back to the past. I could only sigh hopelessly at Dàgē’s persistence.
I scooped up Jiang Xiaotian into my arms. Even if he couldn’t turn back into the Ice Emperor, I’d just raise him as my dìdi. There was nothing to lose from changing from a trio of siblings to a quartet.
Xiaotian happily squirmed in my embrace, shrilling non-stop, “Mommy, Mommy!” Another headache came on. It’s not so bad if you call me “Daddy,” but what’s with this whole “Mommy” business? Dàgē, were you really that blind when you were little?
“Call me Gēge!” Xiaotian looked at me blankly. Then, I compromised and pleaded, “Or at least call me Daddy.”
“Mommy, are you hungry?” Jiang Xiaotian asked me in all seriousness. “You look different from Daddy. Xiaotian wouldn’t mix you up.”
You do have it mixed… Wait, I think I really do look like Mom? Thinking back to the full family portrait I had seen, Dàgē and Father looked like they were cast from the same mold, while Shujun and I both resembled Mother, save for the straight nose that was like Dad’s.
No wonder. The three year-old Jiang Xiaotian didn’t have any concept of having younger siblings. At that time, Shuyu and Shujun were probably some unborn spirits floating in the ether, so he only had Daddy and Mommy. And I looked like Mommy, so I naturally became the mother.
Oh well, what’s the point in fighting with a three year-old? At most, once I find Dàgē and Shujun, I’ll pass on the title of “Mommy” to Shujun. She’s definitely more motherly than me.
Hugging onto Jiang Shutian, I thought back to the message that Dàgē and the others had left.
East, Luo’an City.