Dominion’s End Volume 4: Battle for Lan City
Original novel in Chinese by: 御 我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 5: An Unexpected Encounter, Part Two—translated by Miaka_Mei (proofread by Arcedemius, Minthe & EvlNabiki; C/E edited by lucathia)
All the others were staring at her, their expressions so twisted that I didn’t even have the heart to look at them. I reckoned that among these sixty people, young and old, men and women, any of them were more fitting of the title “weak and delicate lady” than her.
Xiao Sha spoke with a hardened look, “More than half of you are men.”
“In the presence of a great hero such as you, each and every one of us is merely a woman!”
Hey hey, those thirty men or so behind you almost burst into tears.
Watching this familiar face in front of me laughing so brightly, I felt deeply disturbed. Had I really looked like this in the past?
No, no, absolutely not. At the initial stage of the apocalypse, although Xia Zhengu hadn’t started getting into casual relationships with other women, sticking to flirting at most, I still couldn’t laugh at all. Back then, I only remembered being terrified and panic-stricken regularly. Laughing was practically impossible, since I had to control the urge to cry almost all the time.
Now, Guan Weijun was here, and even Mom was here, but there was no sign of Xia Zhengu. I couldn’t figure out what was going on with this Guan Weijun. And the opposite side had a total of sixty people, far exceeding the amount of members of the Jiang Dominion. This was too dangerous, but Mom was among them… I tightened my fists.
“Shuyu, come over here.” Xiao Sha dragged me away. I obediently followed him to the side, and this “obedience” swiftly applied to someone else instead.
As if consulting his superior on what he was supposed to do next, Xiao Sha asked, “You’re really interested in bringing them back just like that?”
I frowned and shook my head. “I want to look into their background first. Do you think there’s something wrong with that Guan Weijun?”
“That woman is rather fishy,” Xiao Sha agreed. “She’s an ordinary woman at first glance, but her bearing and the thin calluses on her hands show that she has undergone training. But I don’t know what kind of training she has done. Her profession probably doesn’t rely on her fighting skills though. She doesn’t have our kind of vigilance where we’re constantly alert for people lurking in the corners. She’s just an amateur.”
Hearing what was said, I felt that it was far from good. This Guan Weijun had even received some training! What had I ever trained in during the past life? I’d probably only practiced my typing speed!
Xiao Sha walked a step closer, as if he were saying words of endearment, and quietly reminded me, “Shuyu, they’re watching us. You need to decide quickly.”
Knitting my eyebrows, I said, “We’ll follow the original plan to go to the shopping mall. They live in Lan City and even have women, so they’ll surely be clearer than you about its location. Let that Guan Weijun take the lead, and the others can help us carry the stuff.”
“They have too many people, so they won’t be able to move together.”
I thought about it and felt the same way. Sixty people painted too big of a target, even if the nearby aberrants were oddly few in number. Coordinating a smooth operation would be difficult with so many people. Otherwise, there was no need for Guan Weijun to go and blow up a gas station.
“Let the elderly, children, and wounded ones hide in a nearby safe place. The others will come with us.” Contrarily, I wasn’t worried about not being able to find shelter. Since that Guan Weijun was able to lead a group of people into fleeing to this place, finding a safe haven wouldn’t difficult for her.
Xiao Sha asked full of confusion, “Is there something you need from a shopping mall?”
“Yes, there’s LV, Chanel, BURBERRY, and other things.”
“Of course.” I pondered for a bit, and said, “Oh right, we still need sewing machines and needlework related stuff. With everything needed available in the shopping center, if we don’t go there, then where else are we supposed to go?”
Originally, I was thinking that we wouldn’t be able to carry much with just two people and four hands, but now that it turned into sixty people, even clearing out an entire floor was possible!
Despite his whole face and heart a storm of confusion, Xiao Sha still complied. He walked up to the group of people and asked, “Where can we find a shopping mall?”
Guan Weijun curiously asked, “Shopping mall? What for?”
“Supplies,” Xiao Sha answered briefly.
“You should look for them somewhere else after leaving the city.” Guan Weijun said with disapproval, “Lan City is just too dangerous. We should escape from here ASAP.”
I shook my head and said, “Other kinds of supplies are a different matter, but there isn’t much food left outside. It’s already been looted.”
Guan Weijun was stumped. “There’s nothing left?”
“Small quantities can be found, but if you want to fill your belly for a long time, then I’m afraid that it’s not possible.”
I intentionally looked at the group of people behind her. Worry and anxiety filled my eyes, my concern genuine, as the amount of food that they would consume was truly not small in number. Even though the Jiang territory had a large amount of supplies, we shouldn’t be sitting around at home, eating away our resources. It seemed that, apart from organizing manpower to search for supplies in the city, we ought to start farming as soon as possible.
Even though most of the plants that I was looking for hadn’t fully undergone evolution yet, plants at the current stage were still not strong enough, so they could be planted and would be edible as long as we were careful not to let the slightly stronger plants continue to grow, along with harvesting them all before the arrival of the black fog.
Guan Weijun frowned deeply and spoke with slight unwillingness, “Fine then. Let’s make a trip to the supermarket.”
“Ordinary supermarkets are easily ransacked, while shopping malls have underground floors for the most part. I think that a large majority of people wouldn’t dare go down there.”
Stunned in realization, Guan Weijun muttered, “That kinda makes sense. Hey guys, do any of you know where the closest shopping mall is?”
She actually turned her head around to inquire from the others. A woman not even knowing where the nearest shopping mall is, are you sure this is okay? What happened to your annual celebratory shopping frenzy?
When the other women heard the words “shopping mall,” they became unusually excited and bantered back and forth, chatting among themselves.
“Nearby? How about Huanzhou Department Store?”
“Huanzhou is already outdated. We’ve gotta go to Dizhi. That’s the latest shopping mall for upper-class women!” Another woman passionately said, “In the past, I only shopped at the gourmet food street at the lowest floors. I didn’t dare to stroll around the upper level’s exclusive stores.”
“But Dizhi is farther than Huanzhou! Two streets away.”
“I remember that Dizhi has a very big supermarket!”
Xiao Sha promptly decided, “Then, Dizhi it is! The elders, children, and injured will stay. The rest will follow.”
As he finished speaking, he shot me a glance. I gave a slight nod, but at the same time, caught sight of Guan Weijun curiously looking at us. I hastily shifted my expression, to appear docile and wary of strangers while hiding myself behind Xiao Sha. I was starting to feel frustrated at myself for easily breaking character. Fortunately, my appearance was good enough to pose as a delicate and pretty boy, or else my guise would have long since been exposed.
“Can we leave behind some youngsters?” Guan Weijun calmly requested, “I’m just worried that these elders, weak women, and children might not be able to cope with emergency situations.”
Upon hearing this, Xiao Sha glanced over everyone, chose five people among those that had blown up the gas station, and spoke in a commanding manner, “You guys will remain here.”
The five were stunned. They actually turned toward Guan Weijun to seek her opinion. They agreed to stay behind only after she nodded… Among women surviving the apocalypse, was the “me” in my past life the only one who was such a terrible failure?
After thinking for a while, I was still worried about leaving Mom behind. So I simply took out a pile of short knives, daggers, darts, and such from the jacket, then tossed all of them to the five people. Although I still had the gun that I had picked up, it would be hard to predict what would happen from shooting a gun in the middle of Lan City. Before getting a clear understanding of their capability, it would be best not to hand it over to them for now, so as to not let them overreach.
“You can use these.”
Everyone stared at me with their faces saying, “What the hell.” I pointed at Xiao Sha with an innocent look. “I’m only helping him carry them. They were so heavy!”
A look of realization dawned upon their faces. “No wonder you were carrying such a long rail but weren’t even using it. It wasn’t actually yours.”
This… I just didn’t have the chance to use it. Can’t you see that the style of this rail doesn’t exactly match the other weapons made of excellent quality?
Guan Weijun picked up those weapons for a closer look, and actually smilingly said, “My god, are you actually filming a movie? This isn’t some plaything that you could randomly find. They’re all the real deal. Are you some kind of hit-man or something?”
“Xiao Jun! What nonsense are you saying! He must be a martial art expert!” Panicking, Mom turned to look at Xiao Sha as she explained, “I’m so sorry. My daughter has no filter and is always babbling whatever comes to her mind. Please don’t take offense.”
Mom’s brilliant skill in lying through her teeth hadn’t changed. What kind of great martial art expert would carry a whole bunch of murderous weapons while running about all over the place? What “martial art?”
Guan Weijun was still brightly smiling as she said, “Our great benefactor wouldn’t mind the words of a nobody like me. You’re just being paranoid, Mom! ”
Xiao Sha only glanced at her indifferently, not inclined to say anything, thoroughly acting out the role of a cool expert.
Seeing that Xiao Sha really didn’t show any sign of caring, Mom let out a sigh of relief and wearily spoke to her daughter, “Xiao Jun, at times like these, how are you still so merry like this? You grew up so carefree, but I really have no idea where this personality came from.”
She really is thoughtless. I inwardly nodded in agreement. It’s already the end of the world, yet she’s still so happy. If she isn’t putting on an act, then she’s just a silly and naive person!
Just what kind of person is this Guan Weijun? I was still unable to figure it out. She didn’t appear to be a simple fool. She could even command a full operation, yet she wasn’t someone with deep and profound thoughts. Actually, she’s probably just an overly-optimistic person.
However, I still had my doubts. Can she really be a good leader with such traits?
Xia Zhengu had also had a passionate and excitable temperament. Among a group of fugitives surrounded by a spiritless atmosphere, he appeared unusually eye-catching. Even though he often had rotten ideas, among a crowd of people who didn’t even have the guts to speak their minds, his action of repeatedly saying phrases like “Believe me, I’m definitely right,” forcefully and with conviction always easily lured others into following him.
I looked at Guan Weijun, a hint of killing intent rising within me. If this fellow was Xia Zhengu… No, it can’t be. Xia Zhengu didn’t have this kind of personality. They’re different. I don’t even feel the slightest familiarity from her.
After this, Guan Weijun arranged everything, while Xiao Sha only suggested a few ideas. Sure enough, that woman wasn’t any sort of pushover. She took out a map and led everyone to the nearest warehouse.
It was the headquarters of a mini storage. A single aberrant was at its doorway, seemingly guarding it, and looked very weak. Xiao Sha busted its head with the strike of a single dagger, easily earning the veneration of everyone. Apart from this, not even a single mouse could be found; however, there were numerous locks.
This group of people seemed to be accustomed to this type of thing, as the old and weak ones hid themselves, while the youngsters hid in the outermost area, looking very alert.
Guan Weijun spoke with one of the young men who was staying behind. “Tai Wen, my mom will be in your hands. As we agreed, I’ll help everyone out of the city, and you guys will take good care of my mom. If she loses even a single hair, I’ll beat you to death.”
Mom was standing to the side, looking somewhat apologetic, and advised, “Everybody has been very good. Xiao Jun, you shouldn’t be bullying these youngsters all the time.”
What “youngsters?” The one called Tai Wen even looks older than Guan Weijun by a few years!
“Don’t worry, Weijun.” Pushing his eyeglasses, Tai Wen said, “Unless I die, nothing will happen to Auntie. But if I really do die, don’t forget to take care of my wife.”
Guan Weijun responded very naturally with “of course,” then smiled at the woman behind Mom. “In any case, your wife and my mom will be together.”
Hearing this, Tai Wen finally nodded in relief.
“Let’s go.” Guan Weijun spoke to Xiao Sha, “We’ll quickly leave after getting the supplies. I can’t handle Lan City anymore. If it wasn’t for the right opportunity, we wouldn’t have been able to leave at all. Although you’re quite strong, you still shouldn’t look down on this place.”
Xiao Sha nodded indifferently and said, “Lead the way.”
Guan Weijun didn’t say anything further. She led the twenty young people, her commanding aura not losing to Xiao Sha’s, not to mention the past life’s Xia Zhengu.
My mind was in great turmoil. Seeing my own face on someone who was doing all kinds of things that were unlike me, yet was even a lot stronger than my past self… Wait a second, if this Guan Weijun is someone who is able to lead and convince others, then she’d most likely think nothing of Xia Zhengu, right?
If she didn’t take a liking to him, then that means they hadn’t dated at all, so Xia Zhengu obviously wouldn’t be here!
Sure enough, I’m the only one who was blind! What do I do, my mood just got even worse…
“Why do you keep on staring at me?”
Stunned, I lifted my head. Guan Weijun had somehow ended up in the middle of the group and was walking beside me.
She tilted her head and laughingly said, “Although you’re very good-looking, and I’m also fond of your looks, I don’t like the young ones. Plus, you’re also the great hero’s little boyfriend. I don’t want to be sent to hell so soon, so it’s no use even if you like me!”
What the fuck are you talking about? She actually thought I would want to hook up with “myself”? Just from looking at my face, I couldn’t even bring myself to drop a kiss, not to mention the many more explicit things after that… The mere thought caused my face to instantly darken. This situation is too horrifying. It must never be allowed to happen!
“Weijun-jiě, quit messing around before someone gets angry.” A young man worriedly looked at Xiao Sha, who was at the front.
I glanced at him and noticed that he was the one who had run into the sewer. Guan Weijun seemed to have called him “Zhang Jing”? He didn’t look very old. He was probably a university student who hadn’t entered the workforce yet.
Guan Weijun smilingly said, “It’s fine. Shuyu won’t mind.” She glanced over and curiously asked, “You’re Shuyu, right? I heard our benefactor call you that several times. You’re truly the most beautiful boy I’ve ever seen.”
Guan Weijun’s smile was exceptionally manly. I blankly stared at her, a familiar feeling suddenly flashing through my mind, but I simply couldn’t grasp it…
“You sure get easily distracted when you look at me!” She said while frowning, “I’m begging you, please don’t cause our great benefactor to get jealous and slaughter me.”
Once she said that, even Zhang Jing who was still beside us started to get nervous.
I quickly said, “Chensha wouldn’t do that. He trusts me.”
Guan Weijun confusedly asked, “I’ve been hearing you call him ‘Chensha,’ but it couldn’t mean ‘dirt,’ right?”
“It’s the chén from xīngchén, stars.”
She “oh”-ed, and said, “I had wondered why the parents would name their kid ‘dust and mud.’ But even if it just sounds like it, it still doesn’t sound nice. This naming skill is just too lacking.”
Chénshā (辰沙), chénshā (塵沙)? Compared to Xiao Sha’s eldest brother’s hào (brilliance), or that shadow guy’s yáng (vast), the word shā (sand) was truly inferior.1 It seemed that, despite being born from a large clan, Xiao Sha’s life was so miserable that he’d been picked up by Dàgē from a dark alley. He had probably been despised ever since birth.
“Shuyu!” Xiao Sha suddenly shouted, his hand waving me over.
Noticing that his expression seemed amiss, I frowned and quickly walked to the front. Not needing to hear his next words, I had already lifted my head to look toward a certain spot.
In the distance, there were ten large buildings grouped together to form an arc. All of them had been completely and tightly wrapped by white string-like substances. Those string-like things had numerous black dots moving around them, but the distance was too great, so I couldn’t determine their actual form. In the middle of the arc, there was a white cocoon, but it was located too far away and was between the buildings, making it appear very small. However, its actual length and width should at least exceed three meters.
“We noticed this thing a long time ago.” Guan Weijun stepped forward and advised us, “Don’t get too close. There are too many monsters over there, probably a colony of spiders. We just need to maintain a certain distance. There are actually a lot fewer monsters in this area than in other territories, which was why we managed to break out from here. Just a little bit more, and we could have succeeded.”
There was a little bit of dissatisfaction in her tone as she reached the end of her sentence. She didn’t sound happy to go to the shopping mall, but I completely ignored her comment, as I was very clear about what was currently happening in front of our eyes. That thing was progressing to the next tier.
This was a colonization which would later give rise to the “ruler” of a colony of aberrants. The possibility for it to be a colony of spiders wasn’t low. Although other aberrants such as humans, mice, or dog-like aberrants were the most common in cities, the mutation of other body forms occasionally occurred. I had even heard of crabs occupying the inland cities and towns. Those were most probably seafood from restaurants that hadn’t been slaughtered in time.
“Shuyu,” Xiao Sha called out.
“Hm?” I absentmindedly answered, my eyes still looking at the big cocoon hanging in the air.
“The quantity is a bit too much.” Other people were still around, so Xiao Sha could only speak vaguely, yet his eyes were filled with worry, as if afraid that I’d instantly rush over.
I dropped my eyes. I did feel the sudden, undeniable urge to just rush ahead and ambush that aberrant by myself. It was in the midst of leveling up and had quite the powerful might, with numerous aberrants protecting it. So who would believe that it was just a tier two? It was highly likely to be tier three. With such a high-leveled aberrant, would I be able to raise my tier if I ate its evolution crystal?
Dàgē had already reached tier one, but he was still quite a distance away from reaching tier two. But if he had this evolution crystal, he might even leap to tier two…
“Shuyu.” Xiao Sha pulled on my arm, worry clouding his face.
I stared at Xiao Sha, my heart thinking of Mom who was still waiting at the mini storage. I could only sigh inwardly and indirectly reply, “I’m not afraid. You don’t need to worry.”
Hearing this “don’t worry,” Xiao Sha finally heaved a sigh of relief. Nodding his head, he still didn’t let go of my hand. It seemed that I’d had too many precedents of sneakily running off, so no one would believe me even when I promised to be sensible and not act impulsively.
“You guys are so close.” Guan Weijun said with admiration, “So much that the mere sight of it causes me, this single dog,2 to want to look for a boyfriend. Great benefactor, if you ever change your sexual orientation and start to like women, remember to look for me first!”
Xiao Sha and I looked at her. Does this mean that she wishes for our break up? Can this woman be any more airheaded than this? Even her companions have a look of “I’m done with this,” having resigned themselves to their fate. It seems that she often does this sort of airheaded thing.
Guan Weijun seemed to realize that she had said the wrong thing and burst into laughter. It wasn’t an awkward laugh, but more of a “my words were too funny” kind of laugh. This woman’s scatterbrained nature seemed to be a special ability of its own.
“Chensha, where’s the shopping mall? We should quickly grab stuff and leave.”
I pretended to be afraid as I urged him on. I was worried that if we stayed here any longer, I wouldn’t be able to resist rushing in and cutting down that big cocoon. An aberrant that was quickly rising to tier three was just too attractive. My eyes would unconsciously drift away, and my mouth would unintentionally start watering. It was better for us to quickly leave.
Xiao Sha stared at Guan Weijun, and the latter answered, “We’re almost there,” and quickly led the way. There were no aberrants along the way. I started to feel suspicious, but upon seeing the big cocoon, I finally understood.
She purposely chose to walk near the big cocoon but far enough not to alert those black dot territorial protectors, which was why nothing happened along the way. No wonder she could lead sixty people out of the city, and all the others placed their faith in her. She possesses quite the high ability.
But this kind of capability requires time to nurture. If everyone refused to listen to her instructions at the beginning, then her capability would have been useless, since she would have been unable to utilize it to the best of her abilities. For a woman bringing along her mother, how did she make so many people obey her?
I looked at Guan Weijun who was leading at the front. She better have a good reason to convince me. Otherwise, I’d still take her back, but I wouldn’t mind locking her up for a lifetime!
Alert, Guan Weijun suddenly turned around. Her eyes were unusually sharp, making her appear unlike a woman.
Feigning ignorance, I tilted my head with a smile, stunning everyone present.
Why do I feel like something’s off…
1 Chensha: Xiao Sha’s name is Chensha (辰沙), with Chen (辰) coming from xingchen (星辰), which means stars. All of the mentioned Shangguan family members so far share the “chen” part of the name. However, combined with sha, Xiao Sha’s name sounds the same as chensha (塵沙), which means dirt/dust/sand. Sha (沙) by itself means sand, while the other members of the Shangguan family have more impressive names, such as Chenhao (辰皓), with hao (皓) meaning brilliance, and Chenyang (辰洋), with yang (洋) meaning vast.