Dominion’s End Volume 4: Battle for Lan City
Original novel in Chinese by: 御 我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 5: An Unexpected Encounter, Part One—translated by Miaka_Mei (proofread by Arcedemius & Minthe; C/E edited by lucathia)
“We’ll split up for the rescue. Gather them here, but only bring the quiet, obedient ones. Abandon them if there’s the slightest resistance.”
Xiao Sha nodded.
“The key point is not to push yourself too hard. If there’s something amiss, prioritize your own safety first. If you really can’t get away, then call out my name, and I’ll figure something out. I mean it.”
I couldn’t resist giving out the order thrice. I was worried that Xiao Sha wouldn’t want to endanger me, so much so that he wouldn’t even be willing to ask for help and would end up sacrificing himself. If the sacrifice was worth it, then so be it. But I really didn’t want him to die in vain when I could have saved him, simply because of some pointless misgivings.
Xiao Sha readily agreed, without any sign of struggle or hesitation. He didn’t look like he would insist on not calling for help and taking on the burden alone.
Running out of time, I quickly instructed, “You’ll save the ones who were running to the left and right, lead them here, and don’t go anywhere else. I’ll save the others.”
Only two people had run straight ahead, and the aberrants chasing after them were far greater in number. However, a portion of the aberrants got distracted because the person climbing the house was unceasingly throwing stuff to lure away the aberrants, so that group of people hadn’t been captured yet. However, they were unlikely to last much longer.
The house-climbing guy seemed to be in the most danger. The aberrants who had chosen to climb up after him had quite the skills, but that guy was surprisingly strong. He could actually climb up one building after another, crawling then jumping up and over. He didn’t look particularly robust, and yet he had so much strength. He probably possessed a strengthened body related ability, or had already eaten evolution crystals… Someone is really gonna die if I keep on letting my thoughts wander!
Xiao Sha had already jumped down, making a beeline for the two closest people. Seeing this, I followed him in jumping down, deciding to first save the two people who were running straight ahead. Their position was only about five meters away from death. If we don’t go now, then we won’t need to go later.
Forming ice blades on the soles of my feet, I slid along and up the sides of the buildings. Gliding over railings, smoothly grabbing and hopping up window sills, I quickly moved past the group of people down below. I then jumped down into a small, dead-end alley. Both sides of the alley had moderately high windows, and they even had sturdy metal bars across them.
Crafting an ice dagger in my left hand, I kicked off the wall with one foot, jumped up and chopped at the window’s metal bars, kicking it away with the other foot, breaking the window in half. At the same time, the sound of chaotic, panicked footsteps were closing in. I put the dagger away while rushing out of the alley and waved my hand toward the two people.
They were frightened out of their wits, and one of them had almost fallen flat. Seeing this, the aberrant behind them quickly put strength into his feet to pounce forward. I whipped out my arm and flung a knife at him, striking the aberrant’s knee, and he collapsed onto the ground. The two people didn’t look back for even a moment and hadn’t noticed what was happening. The one who hadn’t fallen down had continued running forward, and the other one who had fallen was quickly getting back up to flee.
This was quite the excellent character. No matter how cruel it seemed to abandon those who had fallen, with the aberrants behind them almost within reach, a single moment of hesitation could easily lead to the fate of getting eaten. Therefore, stopping was not that much different from wasting another life. You might as well make use of the time from someone else falling down and getting eaten, to speed up and continue fleeing. It could be that taking this chance could save your life.
“Over here!” I urged. “Come this way!”
The two people hurriedly rushed over but seeing that it was a dead-end, their faces darkened.
I quickly pointed at a window and said, “The window on the right! Hurry up!”
While they were busy straining themselves to climb up to the window, I turned around just in time to see an aberrant’s head turning to look in the alley. The moment he saw me, an expression wild with joy could be seen on his crooked and twisted, ugly face. He was most likely a human-turned-aberrant, being able to show such an expression.
Gliding with ice blades underfoot, I instantly rushed straight toward him. He even looked at me with his eyes wide open, a dumbfounded expression on his face. A flying knife stabbed into the space between his eyebrows and mushed up his head. At the same time, my hand hadn’t forgotten to excavate his chest for his evolution crystal. In no more than three seconds, the crystal was dropped into the silver wine flask.
Shooting out more flying ice knives to impede the other aberrants, I suddenly felt it was quite a pity. Fortunately, they were tierless ones, so leaving them behind wasn’t much of a loss, and in any case, what the city lacked the least was aberrants.
Turning around and walking back into the alley, I leaped up to the window. The two people were already gone from sight, but they probably hadn’t run far.
“Come out. I’ll take you guys somewhere safe. My…” I paused, feeling that it could help lower their wariness, so conveniently changed the “companion” identity to suit. “My boyfriend is really powerful, so let’s meet up with him.”
The two poked their heads out from the kitchen. Both of them were youngsters. At first, they were staring at me with their eyes wide open in a strange look. But upon seeing my face, their expressions immediately showed a sense of realization, and they even nodded heavily! Can you not use such a thorough set of expressions to convey your inner voices? Even I could read your thoughts!
“Hurry!” If we don’t hurry up, perhaps they might even say “with this face of yours, even I would be okay with it.”
I walked to the side of the main entrance and pulled it open a small crack to look outside. There was no movement out there. This was quite strange, as Lan City was way too peaceful right now. This kind of quiet did nothing to ease one’s heart but rather felt like the calm before a storm, which was more dreadful than these small-scale fights. A few little waves wouldn’t be of much significance, but a large storm could capsize this boat of mine.
Turning my head back, the two looked reluctant and hesitated to move forward, so I spoke with irritation, “You don’t even have any supplies with you. Don’t tell me you’re afraid that I’d commit sexual assault on you? If you drag this out any longer, it will take even longer for me to save your comrades. They might have already lost their lives while you’re wasting time!”
Hearing this, both of their expressions instantly changed. Glancing at each other, they quickly followed my lead as one. Luckily we didn’t encounter any aberrants, so I was able to continue with my “delicate pretty boy” act.
Returning to the original rendezvous point, a man and a woman were already waiting there, but there was no sign of Xiao Sha’s whereabouts. He probably went to save the ones on the other side.
Seeing how they were so excited to the point of almost hugging each other, I didn’t explain anything, only saying, “Wait right here.” If they wished to leave, then they could feel free to do so. Although the Jiang Dominion was lacking people, we would never cry or beg others to join us.
In order for me to act out a “weak pretty boy” instead of jumping out from the window, I purposely chose to walk to the staircase before jumping. Pulling myself up to the side of the window, I glanced around at the buildings and saw that the house-climbing person wasn’t that far from here and had already distanced himself from his previous location. Right now, the aberrants had long since reached where he had been and were only a balcony’s hop away from him.
He was fleeing while grabbing pots from the balconies and hurling them toward the aberrants and even managed to hit quite a few of them. Although they hadn’t instantly died from the hit, their skulls had been cracked open, causing a drastic decrease in their movements. This precise head-shot and strength are pretty good.
I immediately decided to save him right away. As for the one in the sewer, I’ll rescue him last. Earlier, none of the aberrants had jumped down to chase after him because they had been lured away by everyone else. Although hiding oneself in a sewer didn’t guarantee one’s safety, there was nowhere safe within the large city. We could only hope for good luck.
It was just that for me to save the house-climbing guy, I might not be able to maintain the image of a “frail pretty boy.” But now’s not the time to worry so much! Just from the fact that he’d been smashing things to attract the aberrants’ attention, I instantly wanted him!
After pondering for a while, I charged to the side of a building that the person was already on the verge of jumping over to, then climbed all the way up. When I reached the appropriate floor, I kicked the window into pieces to enter, then rushed toward the side of the room with the balcony.
The timing was just right, as he was throwing a flower pot in the other direction right then. He practically crashed into my chest with his back. The force was so great that it knocked me back several steps, directly ramming me against the balcony’s railing. Fortunately, I don’t have breasts in this lifetime, or else my cup size might have shrunk by two with this crash!
He… No, this is actually a she!
I was stupefied as I gazed at her. Although she was wearing goggles, and her figure was covered by a jacket, this appearance was definitely not a man’s.
At this moment, she turned around and seemed like she wanted to punch me but stopped halfway. I took this opportunity to pull her into the building, while turning and shooting out two ice knives, striking down the two pouncing aberrants.
The woman looked at me, but I couldn’t see her face clearly because of the goggles—Wait a second, could these be… night vision goggles? The more I looked, the more I thought so. Goggles shouldn’t be this big, and they also didn’t seem light-weight.
Noticing her alert stance, I quickly shouted, “Let’s go! We’ve already rescued your friends except the one in the sewer. Let’s go find him, quickly.”
The woman was stunned. Then, the position changed into her pulling me while running. She shouted, “Over here!”
She ran to the first floor while dragging me along. Instead of looking for a manhole to jump into, she ran toward a nearby building. Knocking on the door of the security room, she softly said, “Zhang Jing, it’s me.”
A head appeared behind a desk. He didn’t seem very surprised. The moment he saw her, he quickly stood up and came out of the security room, then quietly stood beside her with an expression of happiness after surviving a calamity.
“Where to next?” The woman asked while turning her head.
With just a single sentence of, “Follow me,” I led them toward the promised gathering place—the sixth floor of a building. It was just that I couldn’t leap onto roofs and vault over walls. I had to properly walk down the road, in order for me to maintain my image.
Returning to the sixth floor, Xiao Sha was already inside. He was sitting on an armchair and had even opened up a drink. But he was looking rather anxious for some reason. The others were standing behind a long sofa, not daring to even take a seat, looking like they were preparing to flee at any moment.
I hurriedly called out, “Chen Sha, I’m back!” and Xiao Sha finally responded.
Xiao Sha instantly stood up. Glancing over with that anxious expression, he tried to cover it up with his cool and detached nature, but his stride was somewhat hurried as he walked over. Standing in front of me, he sized me up from top to bottom. Only when he didn’t detect any injury, did he finally return to his indifferent attitude. Xiao Sha’s acting skills are truly top notch! When I reach home, I’ll acknowledge him as my master and seek his knowledge. As long as I can master this skill, I’ll no longer need to worry about failing to act out the “frail and delicate pretty boy!”
Taking the initiative, I threw myself at him for a hug, and said, “Don’t worry, I’m completely fine.” I continued to whisper in his ear, pretending to say words of love, but I was actually giving out orders. “Go find out who’s the mastermind behind their operation.”
“Okay.” After softly agreeing, Xiao Sha pushed me away. “That’s enough. Don’t make a fuss.”
I complied and obediently stood behind Xiao Sha to watch the play.
His sharp pair of eyes swept a glance over everyone as he coldly uttered, “Who ordered you to blow up the gas station?”
I counted a total of nine people present.
“It was me.”
The woman that I brought back unexpectedly moved forward. She still had night vision goggles on, causing her facial features to be obscured. But she didn’t look very old. The leader of this group of people is actually a young woman?
This was rather impressive. Except for women like Jin Feng with extraordinary backgrounds, it wasn’t easy for a woman at the current stage to be able to command a group of grown men.
She walked in front of Xiao Sha, taking off her night vision goggles without the slightest hint of hesitation, and revealed the face of a young woman.
Staring at her, my eyes rounded in astonishment and my breath stilled. I was at a loss for words.
The woman happily smiled as she spoke, “Thank you for saving us. I thought most of us were gonna die, but who knew there would be a knight in shining armor! We’re truly grateful to our savior. However, this great benefactor, could you please finish what you started and help us find the others?”
Upon hearing this, Xiao Sha knitted his brows and said, “You’re the one in charge of leading them? What’s your name?”
As if worrying that Xiao Sha wouldn’t believe her, the woman nodded heavily and said, “My name is─”
“Guan Weijun,” I inadvertently blurted out the answer.
This face in front of me couldn’t be more familiar. I could recognize it even if it were turned to dust. Having worn it for thirty-five years in my previous life, how was it possible not to know it?
She looked at me, suspicion clouding her face as she asked, “You know me? But that’s impossible. If I had seen you before, then I’d never be able to forget you.”
Of course, no one could forget this face of mine. If I had seen “Jiang Shuyu” in my past life, I’d never fail to remember such a good-looking boy.
Even though I had already met “Ice Emperor Jiang Shutian,” and encountered the Thunder God’s biological younger sister Jin Feng, I still totally didn’t expect for “Guan Weijun” to actually exist. And the main question going through my mind was, just who is this woman?
If she is the actual Guan Weijun, then who am I?
Could it be like a situation similar to the Ice Emperor and Dàgē existing at the same time? Don’t tell me that this woman is actually me?
“Shuyu?” Xiao Sha frowned and asked, “You know her?”
I shook my head. It wasn’t exactly an answer, but more of trying to shake away the confusion filling my head.
Guan Weijun threw me a glance, seemingly not wishing to inquire further. She continued asking Xiao Sha, “Can you follow us─”
No! Who cares who Guan Weijun is… There’s an even more important question!
I anxiously asked, “Mom… I mean your mother, is she still alive?”
My heart was pounding. In the past life, Mom was gone very early, but I no longer remembered the precise time. Back then, we couldn’t even manage to flee, and each day dragged by like a year. With such a poor perception of time, if it wasn’t for the clear difference in seasons, perhaps I wouldn’t even have been able to determine the year.
Guan Weijun stared at me in shock and said, “You really do know me? My mom is with the other group.”
“Xia Zhengu is leading the other group?” I coldly smiled. “Well, this is quite rare. He was always the one in a hurry to court death. Then again, it was his only strong point. He was actually willing to leave with the others this time?”
Guan Weijun frowned and asked in confusion, “What are you talking about? I don’t understand what you’re trying to say. You’re quite the strange guy. I don’t have time to talk to you. Regardless of whether you guys will come or not, we have to meet up with them. They’re just old people, young women, and children, and my mom is also among them, so it’d be really bad if they encounter a monster.”
I remained silent for a while, but Mom was indeed more important. I couldn’t save her in the past life, so was it possible for me to make up for that in this lifetime?
I turned my head, staring at Xiao Sha. I pleaded, “Chen Sha, since they’re elderly, weak women, and children, we should also go take a look.”
Xiao Sha frowned, seemingly displeased as he said, “You’re always soft-hearted.” He turned toward the nine people and said, “Hurry up already, before I start regretting this!”
Seeing that Xiao Sha had agreed, the nine were exhilarated. Not wanting to waste any more time, Guan Weijun quickly took the lead. Looking at this situation, she might really turn out to be the leader.
Watching the back of the woman standing at the forefront, my heart was in a great mess.
What the fuck is going on with this situation! Is she really me?
But I can’t remember anything about blowing up a gas station, and she doesn’t seem to know Xia Zhengu. But how is this possible? Or perhaps she thinks I’m too dubious, so she pretended not to know him?
“Shuyu, are you okay?” Xiao Sha softly asked, “What’s the matter?”
It was difficult to talk in a whisper, so I simply told him, “You just need to properly put on an act. I want to observe things first. If there’s no problem, then we’ll bring them back to Old Town.”
“Bring all of them?” Stunned, Xiao Sha said, “There are only nine people here, while the other group has at least fifty people.”
I nodded. If we’re taking them, then we’d have to take all of them. All nine people here are at the prime of their life. At a single glance, you could easily tell that the other group was definitely their family members, and that was why they were willing to blow up the gas station to assist with their escape. If we were to take them in, then we had to take each and every one of them. It would not be possible to only take the nine of them.
Xiao Sha seemed to come to an understanding on his own and asked nothing further.
Contrarily, his trust only caused me to feel depressed. What “observing?” It was nothing but an excuse. No matter what, bringing back Guan Weijun and Mom is a must. And yet I can’t only take the two of them. Two women would definitely not agree to follow an unknown group, so I could only bring along everyone else. But what if these guys are really dangerous?
Whether or not the whole operation was truly planned by “Guan Weijun,” none of it felt like a good thing. If it was truly her, I didn’t remember being able to direct a bunch of people in this kind of operation during the first half year of the apocalypse. Even Xia Zhengu didn’t have this kind of power to rally up supporters!
If this operation wasn’t planned by the “Guan Weijun” in front of me, then who else was it?
This won’t do. I can’t just thoughtlessly bring these people home. That would be too risky.
Added together, their number could reach the sixties, which was multiple times more than the number of members of the Jiang Dominion. If they really did have any ill intentions, they could possibly harm our members. I’ll never let that happen!
In the past life, I was Guan Weijun. But right now, I am Jiang Shuyu!
After running for a bit, we had already reached the group. Their speed was truly too slow, several supporting the elderly and holding the young. Some of them were even injured. If Guan Weijun hadn’t led people to blow up the gas station, to lure or scare away the aberrants, they might not have been able to escape this city.
This also shows how terrifying this woman is. She could actually lead this group of people to escape to the border of the city.
From afar, I could see a familiar silhouette. I couldn’t resist walking faster. She seemed to have noticed me too, as her excited expression was plainly visible. Separating herself from the group, she hurriedly ran toward me. A few people noticed her action and looked over. They became excited and immediately followed in rushing over. They were evidently the relatives of those nine people.
As she got closer, I could see her face clearly—it was exactly the same as my memory’s. I couldn’t stop the tears from falling.
“Xiao Jun, Xiao Jun!”
Mom… Mom! I miss you, I miss you so much!
But Mom slipped past me, tightly hugging someone else. A familiar mother and a familiar daughter, yet the person that was within the mother’s embrace wasn’t me.
Looking at this scene, I felt somewhat befuddled and actually became unsure of who I really was. Could it be that I’m really just “Jiang Shuyu,” while “Guan Weijun” was nothing but a dream?
A figure rushed toward me. Feeling irritated, I wanted to knock them down and freeze the person into an ice block, but I stopped my hand just in time when I heard his familiar voice. Letting the person press my face into his chest, I grabbed his collar to wipe away my tears. We were surrounded by people hugging their lovers, relatives, and so on, so we weren’t being very conspicuous.
Luckily, Xiao Sha’s response was fast. Otherwise, with me alone staring blankly in place and my face stained with tears, it would be really hard to explain.
“Shuyu, what’s wrong?” Xiao Sha inquired, his voice worried.
I breathed in deeply, then briskly explained, “The ordinary woman that I appeared as in my dream, was that Guan Weijun. So I got a bit confused. Sorry, this won’t happen again.”
Xiao Sha was taciturn for a long time. He finally said, “That is considered a normal woman?”
Er, how would I know that this “Guan Weijun” would undergo some kind of deviation? In the past life, I was just an ordinary office worker. At most, I had only led everyone to flee when my boyfriend was heavily injured. I’ve absolutely never led something like a suicide squad to go blow up a gas station!
Turning my head to glance over, Guan Weijun was pulling Mom’s hand, and the two were looking at me and Xiao Sha. Mom’s face even carried a trace of embarrassment. Clearly, she was not used to looking at two gay lovers.
“The two of you have such a good relationship!” Guan Weijun praised, “No wonder, since your little boyfriend is so good-looking, paired with you, this great hero. Truly, a talented man and a beautiful man, a match made in heaven!”
Stop sucking up to people using my face…
Xiao Sha coldly spoke, “Quit bullshitting. Just what are you trying to say?”
Blinking her eyes, Guan Weijun gently spoke, “Well, the thing is, this little woman has a teeny-tiny, small request. Mister lord savior, could you please escort these few weak and delicate ladies out of Lan City?”