Dominion’s End Volume 2: Aberrant City
Original novel in Chinese by: 御 我 (Yu Wo)
Prologue: Behind the Door—translated by Elkin (proofread by EvlNabiki and Arcedemius; C/E edited by lucathia)
Aberrants like the five that had transmuted from humans into dog-shaped aberrants were actually quite commonplace. Of course, this was referring to my previous life. This was probably because the animal most people were familiar with was the domestic dog, so that was why so many people turned into dog-type aberrants.
Later, these aberrants would evolve into a tribe known as the Dog People. They were widely feared, not for their strength, but for their tendency to move in packs. Whenever you encountered them, there was never only one, nor was it just a matter of one or two dozen. There would at least be one or two hundred!
But I’d only ever heard about the Dog People. If I had encountered them back then, I would probably have become Jiang Shuyu much earlier. Then again, if Jiang Shuyu hadn’t been hit on the head by a tile, would he still have woken up as Guan Weijun?
In my original world, after Jiang Shuyu had been hit on the head, did he ever wake up…?
I snapped out of my reverie with Dàgē’s furious shout. Before I had the chance to turn and apologize to him, five shadows had already leapt right at me.
I blanched and slammed the ice staff to the floor. With a twist and somersault through the air, I dodged past the five streaks pouncing at me. I even managed to kick one of the aberrants, eliciting a yelp that sounded like “gau.”
Just when I was about to counterattack, gunshots suddenly rang out. I only had time to kick down one before the others slumped to the ground by themselves. Upon closer inspection, the aberrants either had busted brains or knives stuck deep in the back of their skulls.
I turned to look. Lily was embarrassed and still in firing position. She quickly hid the gun behind her, as if this would help hide the fact that she was the shooter.
To one side was the silent Xiao Sha. In contrast to Lily, he was extremely calm and had no intention whatsoever to try and cover up. In any case, there weren’t any excuses he could have made—the knives were already embedded in the aberrants’ heads, conclusive evidence of the culprit, so there was no point in arguing otherwise.
Dàgē glared daggers at the two.
“All right, I’m guilty.” Lily raised her hands in surrender helplessly. “I thought Shuyu was in danger. I never expected him to dodge so easily.”
“I owe him one,” Xiao Sha said simply.
After Dàgē finished glaring at the two, he narrowed his eyes dangerously as he turned them on me.
I stabbed the ice staff toward the ground, busting open the head of the still quivering aberrant, then mimicked Lily in raising my hands in surrender. “I was thinking about ‘the dream,’ so I spaced out accidentally.”
Dàgē growled, “You dare to space out when confronting aberrants? You’re never going out by yourself in the future! If you ever dare sneak out, then you can expect to be chained up for the rest of your life!”
I lowered my head in apology. Even without Dàgē’s scolding, I felt I was too careless. If Guan Weijun had dared to space out like this back then, forget surviving ten years, she’d have died a thousand times in one year!
“Do you hear me?”
“Yes!” I replied quickly. I’d nearly forgotten that the Dàgē right now wouldn’t be appeased by playing coy.
Dàgē’s expression was dark and stormy and unbearable to look at. My gaze darted around in every direction, and I almost didn’t dare to look him in the eye anymore. I had no idea how to apologize to make his expression look less intimidating. Dàgē, you’re scaring your dìdì to death!
Zheng Xing tried to smooth things over as he said, “Shuyu’s not a merc. He’s just eighteen, and he’s done well as it is. Boss, don’t be too hard on him.”
With that, Dàgē’s brows twitched together. Although he still looked extremely discontent, at least it wasn’t as terrifying as before. Dàgē then ordered everyone, “Pair up and search around. If you see any aberrant by itself, kill it immediately. If there are too many, come back and report to us.” Just when I was about to obey and start looking for a partner to pair up with, he said coldly, “What’re you doing? Do you want to be chained up for the rest of your life? Stay here and dig up the evolution crystals.”
For the sake of the rest of my life, I had no choice but to kneel down and start searching around in the corpses. By now, my autopsy skills were pretty good, and I could dig out the evolution crystals with two or three strokes without getting even a fleck of blood or flesh on me. In ancient times, Chef Pao Ding could butcher a cow easily because he knew its anatomy like the back of his hand. Well, now you had Xiao Yu who could dissect corpses easily too.
The problem with being skilled was that, after five minutes, I had nothing to do. I had a moment to think and ended up examining my ice staff—no wait, my ice spear… No, it’s an ice staff, all right. The temporary spearhead that I had tagged on had turned into a pile of shattered ice after the fight just now.
I knew it. I really should’ve reinforced a dagger. A spear’s spearhead had to be stronger than its shaft, since spears were often used for piercing attacks. There was no small number of aberrants with skulls as hard as rock, so if the spearhead kept shattering all the time, it was useless.
I looked up to see almost everyone had returned.
Zheng Xing was the first to report. “Boss, we’ve swept the entire first floor, but the firearms storage isn’t here. We think it’s in the basement.”
Dàgē didn’t look surprised in the slightest. He just gave a nod and asked, “Any movement in the basement?”
“The door is closed, and we can’t open it.”
With that, Dàgē and the others exchanged a few looks like they were all in the know. I looked on in utter confusion, with no clue on what was going on, and instantly felt a little down as the outsider.
Xiao Sha explained quietly, “Yunqian can pick locks. The locks in this kind of police station aren’t a challenge for her. So if we still can’t open the door, it’s not a problem with the locks. It’s likely that there are heavy things being used to block off the door.”
I see. I glanced at Xiao Sha. The feeling of having him owe me a favor was pretty good. In the future, I had to teach him how to use his powers more. I had to make sure that Xiao Sha could never fully repay his favors owed to me!
“Is there anyone inside?” Cain asked with interest.
“Unlikely.” Lily shook her head as she responded, “It’s now three months into the apocalypse. How many supplies do you think there’ll be in the basement of a police station? With so many aberrants wandering on the first floor, it’s obvious that the people shut away inside didn’t make it out. So they’ve probably starved to death.”
Starved to death, they would have turned into aberrants.
Everyone lifted their guns into position, preparing for the next wave of attack.
We moved to the basement, where the entrance door stood. Given that we did not want to create too big a commotion, I had no choice but to push as hard as I could. I hadn’t realized just how many things might be piled behind the door. The door was really heavy. After pushing at it for what felt like half a day, I only managed to open the door by a crack. God, it’s so heavy I could die.
Yes, that was right, I was the one pushing at the door. Just now, when I had stepped up to help, Cain had given me a look of disdain as he flexed his biceps. That got me majorly pissed off. Don’t think Jiang Shuyu is a frail and delicate pretty boy from just his looks. With enough evolution crystals, even a pretty boy can turn into Superman!
I had immediately sent Cain, who was showing off his abs, flying with a kick. Then, the task of opening the door fell squarely on my head. Because the door was not wide, we could not squeeze in so many people to help push. So Dàgē had said, “Since you’re so strong, you push it open.”
Dàgē, actually, your didi really is just a frail and delicate pretty boy. I’ll never ruin my image again!
“Can’t push it open?” Dàgē shot me a look. “Don’t pretend to be weak. This is serious work.”
“I really can’t get it to open,” I replied with a grimace. “It’s stuck.”
Dàgē marched forward, and with one shove, the door that had refused to budge opened by another five centimeters. Dàgē, your power is healing, right? Right?
He gave me a taunting look, and I decided right then and there that I was definitely a frail, delicate pretty boy. I went to sit in the corner, pretending to be exhausted from pushing at the door. The others could try their luck at it.
Cain flexed his biceps some more and got the door to open by two centimeters while Lily easily got it to open by another four centimeters. Zheng Xing got the door to open some more, enough for a person to squeeze through.
It was only after Dàgē confirmed that there was no movement beyond the door that he looked over his shoulder and called out, “Lily, come take a look.”
Lily walked up and reported, “It’s a fairly large place. There are shelves on the opposite end that might hold ammo.”
Dàgē nodded, and immediately ordered the others to go search inside. He headed inside as well—except, before stepping through the door, his eyes drifted to Xiao Sha. Xiao Sha immediately came to a stop beside me and stopped following the group.
Dàgē, your eyes sure are expressive. I understood everything! Fine! I’ll keep a lookout with Xiao Sha while being a frail, delicate pretty boy.
Besides, this current room we were in could use some investigation too. It was too clean and neat, with absolutely no signs of any scuffles. It was as if aberrants had never touched this room for some reason. Or, someone had cleaned the place up.
Suddenly, we heard Dàgē’s loud roar from behind the door.
Then, the door slammed shut.
I immediately dashed forward and kicked hard at the door. But that damned door refused to budge, so it was obvious there was more going on than just the door being shut.
I glanced at the door. Unbelievably, I couldn’t hear anything at all. Don’t tell me Dàgē and the others were neutralized in an instant? Impossible!
This was no time to pretend to be a pretty boy any longer. I rammed against the door, this time using my ice powers at the same time. The door burst open. I ran inside, with Xiao Sha following closely behind me.
Looking around, I found myself in a large corridor with doors on both sides. The dimness was impairing my vision, making it difficult for me to see too far into the distance.
“Dà…” Just as I was about to yell, I shut my mouth again. I counted five shadows walking my way. I heaved a sigh of relief. The JDT were all present and accounted for.
But wait… what…
Cain and Zheng Xing walked to the left while Lily and Ceng Yunqian walked to the right, with Dàgē in the very middle. They could have all walked out of a magazine with how picturesque they looked, like they owned the place.
Each and every one of them wore an apron.
I’d already seen him naked before, and damn, I was his little brother, but I could not stop staring.
Because Dàgē was wearing a barista apron and nothing else, showing off his perfect abs.
Long live aprons!