Dominion’s End Volume 4: Battle for Lan City
Original novel in Chinese by: 御 我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 7: Tier Two Duel, Part One—translated by Michimochi (proofread by EvlNabiki & Lala Su; C/E edited by lucathia)
By the time we returned to the mini storage, it was already very late. There was no need for discussion. Everyone automatically understood that we were going to stay here for the night. The dark was definitely not the best time for the living to be active.
Upon returning, Guan Weijun ascertained everyone’s well-being. She then went to the side with Zhang Jing and Tai Wen for a private discussion. The topic was probably the distribution of crystals. Those two seemed to be her right- and left-hand. I didn’t know how she was going to distribute them; there were five crystals, so it was best to give them all to one person. One person could hardly feel any effect with partial consumption. But at the end of the day, the distribution itself was always the difficult part. One wrong move, and just a few crystals could shatter the team’s harmony.
I scrunched my brows and watched Guan Weijun. She placed the crystals in Tai Wen’s hands. I couldn’t really tell from my angle, but it seemed to be all of the crystals…
“Please don’t be afraid of my Xiao Jun.”
Startled, I looked back and saw Mom looking at me with uneasiness. She even anxiously explained, “You probably saw Xiao Jun’s strength, right? She’s actually a good girl. She’s just… just a bit tomboyish and learned a bit of boxing. I don’t know how her strength became so powerful…”
I looked back on how Guan Weijun could use her bare fists to smash brains into pulp all over the floor. And this much power was before she even ate any crystals! But to me, that scene wasn’t gruesome. I just found it regrettable. If I had been that strong in my last life, maybe Mom wouldn’t have passed away so early on in the beginning stages of the apocalypse.
I couldn’t compare to her. No matter who this Guan Weijun was, she was stronger than me.
I didn’t know why, but I kept thinking about the fact that she was stronger than me. A feeling that made my heart pound erupted toward the surface without anything holding it back. I just had this violent surge of… What is it? I couldn’t put my finger on this type of feeling… Guilt? Shame?
“Xiao Jun has saved many people along the way. She is a very good kid. She is definitely not a bad person. She would never hurt anyone, only monsters. Don’t be afraid of her. A-And don’t hurt her.”
She was so nervous that she was about to tear up.
All of a sudden, there was a sour feeling in my heart. The Mom before my eyes was still Mom. She hadn’t changed, from appearance down to personality. It was just that the child she loved so dearly wasn’t me anymore.
I knew that I shouldn’t be complaining. I had lost a mom but, hey, I had gained Dàgē, Xiǎomèi, Uncle, Auntie, and even the whole Jiang Dominion. I pretty much hit it big, right? But how can I use quantity to compare something like this?
“Y-You believe me, right? Xiao Jun really isn’t a bad person.” Mom looked anxiously at me. If I said a word of disbelief, she might really burst into tears while pleading.
I smiled and said, “I think she’s great. You have to be stronger in order to survive in this kind of world.”
After hearing this reply, Mom was finally relieved. She murmured, “Exactly. Being stronger is a good thing…”
She looked at Guan Weijun, her gaze an odd mixture of relief and reluctance. This attitude was all too familiar. I instantly recalled Dàgē’s face, despite the difference in gender and appearance. He often used that expression to look at me, too.
Guan Weijun was arguing with Tai Wen at the moment. As I thought, she really did want to give all of the crystals to Tai Wen. Just as Mom said, she was a good person, who was strong and had good leadership skills. Moreover, she hadn’t blindly let Xia Zhengu catch her eye.
Mom worriedly watched as Guan Weijun and Tai Wen quarreled. We could vaguely make out what they were saying, like how the crystals could make people stronger, how Tai Wen thought that it should be given to Guan Weijun, and how the latter insisted on having Tai Wen eat them. I didn’t know the exact reason, but this probably had something to do with their abilities. Tai Wen’s ability might be really useful.
Mom grumbled, “What’s this Tai Wen insisting on not eating them for? Don’t tell me, he actually wants to make Xiao Jun stronger and have her protect everyone? She is just a girl…” After listening to them for a while, she changed her mind. “Then again, Tai Wen is right. Xiao Jun always likes to rush out in the front. How would she be okay if she’s not stronger?”
Seeing how conflicted and worried she was, I couldn’t help but say, “Once you get out of the city, it won’t be as dangerous anymore. You could all come back with me. Our people are very powerful and can protect you.”
Mom looked at me. She neither confirmed nor turned down going. She just smiled warmly and said, “It’s great that there are people protecting you.”
With this one sentence, my tears almost gushed out.
“I’ll protect you. This time, I won’t ever fail again.”
Mom didn’t seem to hear me clearly. She asked in puzzlement, “What did you say?”
I held back my tears. Finally, I made up my mind to bring these people back. I didn’t believe that this ordinary, sweet-tempered mom filled with motherly love would raise some kind of evil, sinister kid. Even if that soul inside of her was that bastard Xia Zhengu, he would be nurtured into a sweetheart!
At this moment, Guan Weijun huffed, “If you won’t eat them, then I’ll just throw them away! Whoever wants to eat them will eat them!”
With no other choice, Tai Wen could only obediently take the crystals and swallow them.
Watching this scene, I could only smile bitterly. Powerful and righteous, how much more can she knock me down?
I picked up the silver flask and grabbed my mother’s hand. She was shocked and looked at me bemusedly. I poured out all of the crystals into her hand. There weren’t that many. Five to be exact.
Mom blinked, somewhat overwhelmed. I smiled at her and said, “For you. I don’t need these.”
She opened her mouth and seemed too embarrassed to take them. But when she turned to look at her daughter, she couldn’t bear not taking them. Finally, she said shyly, “Thank you.”
I smiled and nodded my head. I watched as Mom rushed over and gave Guan Weijun the crystals. The three people on that side were shocked as they listened to her explanation. Then, they turned to look at me.
Guan Weijun revealed a brilliant smile. “Thanks! I knew you just like to act haughty but you’re actually a big softie. You’re a good kid.”
… Is it too late to take those crystals back?
I turned away, my face expressionless. Xiao Sha sat leaning at the outermost part of the warehouse. It was a good spot for keeping watch. We had no intentions of giving the lookout to a civilian. We might as well just skip organizing who would keep watch. Xiao Sha and I were enough. The others just needed to worry about eating and sleeping.
Xiao Sha tossed me a glance. “Made your decision to bring them back?
I sat down and asked without answering, “What are your thoughts on them?”
“There may be sixty people, many times the number of the JDT, but they are just ordinary people. We are mercenaries. We’ve got both guns and abilities. They are not our opponents at all, so if you want to bring them back, it isn’t that much of a problem.”
Yeah. Bringing them back isn’t the problem. How to support them is the big question.
“Can you bring them back by yourself?”
Xiao Sha looked over with a frown on his face.
I explained, “I wanna take a look at the giant cocoon. He’s in the midst of advancing to tier three. This should be his territory, so there aren’t that many aberrants roaming around here. Before getting into his transitional stage, he would have either driven away or eaten all of the fairly powerful aberrants in the area. We must either take the opportunity to finish him now, or we’ll have no choice but to take a detour around him to enter Lan City in the future. We can’t afford to take on a tier three aberrant.”
Six months into the apocalypse and he was already becoming a tier three aberrant. Even if this thing didn’t survive into the later days of the apocalypse, he would definitely be dominant for a long time. If we let him successfully rise to tier three and dominate this area, he would be the most terrifying hurdle stopping us from conquering Lan City.
Xiao Sha opened his mouth, but I cut him off to say, “Even if I can’t win, I can always find ways to escape. But if I have to look after someone, then it’s hard to say if I can escape. If you want to come with me, you have to at least reach tier one, but you haven’t gotten past that threshold yet.”
He bit his lips, his face showing his reluctance. He asked, “How do I train to be as strong as you?”
I thought back to the Ice Emperor’s training. I couldn’t shake off the frustration I felt, like I was overlooking something, but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was.
I had an Ice Emperor who had bullied me and helped me raise my tier, but I couldn’t say this out loud. I could only answer helplessly, “I experienced the apocalypse for ten years in my dream. I knew how to use my powers since the beginning. Ever since the apocalypse started, I’ve almost died several times and also found my way from Zhongguan City. All these are unreasonable, hellish training. It’s natural to be a bit stronger.”
Xiao Sha was silent for a bit before he said, “Then, I will venture into the city alone in the future.”
I blanked, but Xiao Sha’s expression was very calm. There was no changing his mind. In all honesty, I didn’t have the right to make this decision for him: to survive comfortably or to struggle between life and death in order to become stronger.
I took a deep breath and said, “You decide on your own later. If I haven’t come back before dawn, help me take them back first. I’ll catch up. Just remember this. It doesn’t matter if anyone dies, including Guan Weijun. Only, Guan Weijun’s mother cannot die!”
“All right.” Xiao Sha said lightly, “But if I arrive at the base, and you still haven’t caught up by then, the boss will definitely enter the city to find you.”
I know. Junjun will follow right behind him, too.
“I will definitely catch up. But before I do, don’t meet that Shangguan Chenyang. I don’t trust that guy. His change was too great. His psychology might have changed too.”
Like that brainwight, who went as far as eating people. But then again, this person was related to Xiao Sha after all. Xiao Sha might want to bring him home.
Unexpectedly, Xiao Sha agreed with an “mmhm” and said, “He might have been driven out of the Shangguan family because of some other reason. It wouldn’t just be because his appearance has changed too much. His transformation is unique, which would make the Shangguan family want to confine him rather than allow him to run off.”
He frowned. “The Shangguan family is in the southern part of Lan City. They’re another potential danger to us. When I go back, I’ll tell the boss everything about the Shangguan family so that he’ll be prepared.”
Your relationship with your family sure is horrible. That “wouldn’t-it-be-better-to-just-kill-the-whole-family” type of expression is way too X-rated!
Xiao Sha glanced over and asked, “How am I supposed to explain to Guan Weijun why you’re missing?”
“Say whatever, like ‘I got so scared that I ran back home’ or something.” It was a very unconvincing excuse. Although I wanted to hide my real strength, faced with the problem of a tier three aberrant, something like hiding my real strength wasn’t as important anymore.
I got up and dusted my butt off, getting ready to leave. If I could resolve this before dawn and return, I wouldn’t need to find any excuses.
Xiao Sha hummed in acknowledgment, then asked unwillingly, “Shuyu, just how strong are you right now?”
I chuckled, then took off my flip-flops, stuffed them into his hands, and materialized ice blades below my feet. I didn’t answer. Taking on ten of you is as simple as eating crystals. This kind of thing that will topple other people’s motivation is best kept to myself, or else if everyone in the Jiang Dominion ganged up on me, should I beat them all up? Freeze them? Or beat them up, then freeze them?
With a burst of force below my feet, I no longer masked my strength. I zoomed out in a flash. Dark streets swiftly passed by. With every push, I glided for at least thirty meters. Next, I twisted my body and skated onto the side of a wall. Relying on the momentum to rise upwards, I began “climbing” the building. Sliding, jumping, sticking close, flipping—with merely a few moves, I had climbed to the top of a twelve-story building.
However, I still felt crappy. If the Ice Emperor were here, he would be even more disappointed. He always said that gliding would be enough to let me travel to every corner of the world. With the adhesiveness of the ice and the power behind the legs, what place would be out of reach? At most, add a little jump…
The Ice Emperor had painstakingly taught me a long list of things. But this little lady… Ah, no, this young lad still can’t manage it! Previously, the best result had been losing all my energy after skating up to the fifth floor, almost falling on the ground with a “bang.” Fortunately, my hand grabbed the awning in time. The next day, my thighs were even as sore as hell!
There were a few aberrants at the top of the building. When they saw this fresh lump of meat, they excitedly threw themselves over one-by-one until I smashed the head of the first. They widened their eyes that were akin to beacons, then immediately fled every which way, but unfortunately it was too late. Ice blades shot out explosively…
I had just accepted sixty people, so crystal accumulation needed to be taken seriously. Even if I didn’t need these crystals myself, these tierless crystals would still be beneficial for other people.
The silver flask constantly jingled with each crystal placed inside, a symphony to the ears. I really loved this flask that Jin Feng had given me. The size was perfect. It was practically made for storing crystals! After this, I definitely had to use ice to strengthen the flask, or else I’d be devastated if it broke.
Standing on the high-rise, I looked in the direction I wanted to go in and jumped off. The target was the building over. Naturally, it was not a jumpable distance. I couldn’t even touch the wall of the building. I made a slab of ice in midair and stepped on it. The slab fell instantly. I relied on that rebounding force and took another hop, but the distance was still not enough. I had to make another piece; yet again, almost there. One more time…
In the end, when I was five stories away from the height I wanted to reach, I slammed into a glass window of the building with my face plastered against the glass. I silently vowed that before I perfected this move, I wasn’t going to use it in front of anyone.
Ice Emperor, where’s the promised hop, step, and jump to the clear blue sky? How come I just fall right down? How do I ignore gravity’s force?
Time was short. I had no choice but to advance upward through the “normal” way of gliding, jumping, and climbing.
Not long afterwards, I arrived at a street not far from the giant cocoon. I suppressed the freezing air around me and slowly headed over. The black dotted guards on the ground became clearer and clearer, but they were not the spiders I had envisioned. Guan Weijun had thought that they were spiders probably because she had been too far away, and these white silk threads would have given anyone the impression of a spider’s webbing.
But in reality, these black dots were… caterpillars.
They came in all sizes, from as big as a human’s head to as long as two meters. Fur grew on the side of their rough, fat flesh—or were they thorns? Those thorns came in many colors. Caterpillars of various colors crawled everywhere. Some rolled themselves into a ball, then rolled swiftly on the white silk. So, rolling should be its main way of movement.
In addition, some areas of the silk had eggs spread all over them. It was just that they weren’t very big, and they were white too, so they were hard to see from afar.
Looking at this, I could feel my scalp tingling. If this giant cocoon leveled up to tier three and these eggs hatched, this neighborhood would fall in as ghastly a situation as having swarming locusts passing through it. It was just that this time, the ones swarming the area would be caterpillars.
Ice was disadvantageous against these kinds of aberrants. Fire users would be able to deal with these bugs with ease. But no matter what, I had made up my mind to defeat the aberrant in that giant cocoon. This was no longer a matter of a detour. With so many aberrants roaming about, they would expand outward wildly. They would need so much more “food,” and Old Town was the nearest large town nearby!
So instead of waiting for this tier three aberrant to bring his huge army, why not take his life when he’s still a tier two!
I fixed the ice spear on my back and from among the curved buildings, I picked the closest building to the giant cocoon and climbed up from the far side of it.
I slid down to a window entangled with white silk. I transformed a piece of ice and threw it on top of the white silk, but these white threads were not sticky like spider webbing. They were more like silkworm threads. Therefore, these silky threads were not sticking on the walls of the building but were secured by breaking the windows and wrapping around the pillars of the building.
Trying to cut them with just an ordinary ice knife did not work. Adding more force into the action only broke a few strands. They were not any thicker than strands of hair, but they were tougher than expected.
I thought for a moment but still didn’t materialize the ice dagger to test it. The ice dagger’s energy was very high, so it would catch the cocoon’s attention.
Now, the question was: should I go directly up to the cocoon or eliminate his minions first?
If I couldn’t defeat the giant cocoon fast enough, I would be surrounded by the giant cocoon and the caterpillars, but I could possibly deal a heavy blow to the cocoon first.
If I took care of the caterpillars first, I would have to spend a lot of time to deal with such a large number. During this period, wouldn’t the giant cocoon detect me? If he discovered this danger, would he come out straight from the cocoon, or would he find some way to speed up his advancement to tier three and then emerge?
There were too many uncertainties. I couldn’t decide which of these assumptions was the correct one, so I picked the most favorable option.
After thinking it over, I took off my jacket and dress shirt, leaving only the white tank top. A layer of strange, half-translucent chest armor protected my chest. I patted my chest and whispered, “Xiaorong, can you help me?”
The armor wiggled. Thin, long branches spread out, gently caressing the ice patterns on my arms. Ever since the Ice Emperor transformed into weapons, Xiaorong had become semi-transparent and was able to perform simple communications with me. Well, it was more me talking to him one-sidedly. He couldn’t use any words to reply, but I could feel his changes in emotion.
“Xiaorong, I can’t fly, and the Ice Emperor’s way of moving around is too hard. I can only rely on you.”
Forming ice paths everywhere would consume too much energy. I couldn’t afford that right now. It was too difficult to hop to the skies, too. I hadn’t mastered it, so it was impossible to use it in actual combat. In contrast, the other side had his white silk. Even if he couldn’t fly, he could still move in midair. That would not be in my favor. I had to think of a different solution.
Fortunately, while the other party could shoot silks, my side had branches!
As the branches stretched longer, they began to wrap around my arms and legs. I moved around and discovered that they wouldn’t affect my movement. Xiaorong is so capable! When we get back, I’ll definitely get Dàgē to accept you.
Looking at the giant cocoon, I made my decision. No matter what, this thing was a real threat. I had to deal a critical strike as my first order of business.