Dominion’s End Volume 4: Battle for Lan City
Original novel in Chinese by: 御 我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 7: Tier Two Duel, Part Two—translated by Michimochi (proofread by Minthe & Trespasserby; C/E edited by lucathia)
After communicating with Xiaorong and confirming that he knew what he needed to do, I jumped straight out of the window and formed my ice dagger in midair. Semi-transparent branches shot out. I was pushed right at the cocoon. Since I hadn’t mastered this move yet, my face almost crashed into it. Fortunately, I pulled the ice spear out in time and used the force from the push to pierce right into the top of the cocoon.
I drove the spear head in and felt satisfied but immediately met resistance. I tightened my right hand around the handle, then grabbed the ice dagger on my thigh with my left hand and stabbed it right in the same area as the spear head.
With this stab, the blade sunk directly into the cocoon, but that was as far as it went. If only I could summon the spear, I would have been able to jab directly into the aberrant’s skull. But I couldn’t, which sucked, and no matter where I stabbed the ice dagger, it wasn’t like I could hope that the aberrant had plastered his face against the edge of the cocoon. That kind of posture would be way too uncomfortable.
I pulled the ice dagger out and jumped upward immediately. After landing on a branch, I jumped again, this time even higher. I formed a thick slab of ice above me and flipped around in a circle, my feet pointing up, head pointing down. I kicked the thick ice heavily. Using the rebounding force, I flew downward like a cannon. Halfway down, I twisted my body up again, then landed right on the spear. The whole shaft sank in, piercing into the cocoon. However, it couldn’t withstand the force. First, it bent. Then, the entire shaft splintered.
The giant cocoon vibrated violently. Looks like I got a direct hit. Nice. I was really getting worried that the aberrant inside might not be all that big, so the spear wouldn’t be able to reach the target. Since there was such a huge reaction, I must have successfully pierced it, and it wasn’t some insignificant, small wound either.
I immediately grabbed the remaining ten centimeters of the shaft. In one breath, I released a great amount of ice energy, so much that I didn’t even have the energy to spare to deal with the caterpillars that were rolling over to me. Fortunately, I had Xiaorong with me. A great number of icy branches shot outwards all at once. One by one, the branches sent the thorny caterpillars flying.
I could even feel Xiaorong’s grievance and pain, but there was no way to comfort my friend. I could already feel something obstructing the ice power that I had just forced into the cocoon. I had to focus on increasing the ice energy I was sending into the giant cocoon.
By now, the vibration from the giant cocoon was so violent that I could have been shaken right off, but it wasn’t much of a problem to me since I had my ice ability and Xiaorong’s branches. Unless I were mortally injured and had no choice but to let go, if I wanted to stay on top of something, no one would be able to move me, not even half a step.
At the same time, I didn’t want to be injured heavily just for the sake of staying right where I was. So when I felt the cocoon’s inner energy about to erupt, I hastily retreated away from the giant cocoon.
At the same moment, icy branches shot out and entangled with the white silk not far away, pulling me over at the same time. However, the force was too great, and I flew past where I wanted to be. I grabbed both the ice and silk to pull myself back in place. I needed to practice this move more, or I’d eventually end up tragically smacking into a window.
I was positioned on top of the giant cocoon. All below me were those colorful caterpillar balls. They all came rolling toward me wildly. Even those who didn’t have claustrophobia would feel claustrophobic from this.
The icy branches shot out continuously at those caterpillars, but they didn’t have enough offensive power. The strikes hardly killed any of them. Some of the large caterpillars just flinched for a moment before rushing forward again. I jumped to a different spot, still keeping my eyes locked on the giant cocoon. I had no time to deal with these caterpillars.
“Xiaorong, bear with me. Help me take care of those bugs.”
I sent over more of my ice energy to Xiaorong. He was unafraid of my ice energy and could even use it within a certain limit.
I didn’t really understand what was going on with us. Xiaorong was a bit like a parasite… Oh wait, this way of describing him isn’t quite right. After all, he spent most of his time in his pot in the room, not on me. So if I really had to put it into words, he was more like a… summoned beast?
The icy branches grew more and more dense. I let Xiaorong off of me before he extended further to avoid having a bunch of branches wrapped around me, hindering me in my fight.
I’ll let Xiaorong deal with those caterpillars. I stared at the giant cocoon. That giant cocoon was twisting madly. Something inside wanted out. It wasn’t the right time, so it had a very hard time coming out.
I clenched the ice dagger, staring fixedly without letting my eyes wander. Suddenly, a caterpillar broke away from Xiaorong’s barrage. It threw itself at me but was slowly freezing in midair. Although it was not completely iced over, it could hardly move. With the added mass of the ice, the caterpillar’s original momentum from its jump was no longer enough, and it dropped downwards before it could reach us. In the end, it barely managed to hook onto a bit of white silk, but it wasn’t enough to hold its weight. It slid for a distance before falling the rest of the way.
The white cocoon stretched into an oblong shape. The topmost portion became thinner and thinner. I could vaguely make out the shape of the aberrant. It actually had a human face, but a much bigger one, about three times the size of my face. The eyes were startlingly huge. It didn’t seem like it had a nose. Just as the cocoon stretched until it was about to break, I jumped straight down, aiming the ice dagger directly at the right eye of that face.
Riiip—the cocoon broke and a face emerged. The facial shape was round at the top and pointy at the bottom. It still had a nose, just that it was only a tiny protrusion with two skinny lines for nostrils. The sides of the eyes glittered with different colors of the rainbow, and seemed to be made up of small, fine scales. The eyes opened, revealing pitch black pupils. The mouth cracked open, exposing fine sharp fangs, and let out a piercing cry.
The ice dagger only managed to stab him between the eyebrows.
While the aberrant hadn’t even opened his eyes yet, I had caught him off guard and the ice dagger had already pierced him. He had nevertheless felt endangered and had instantly twisted his head, causing the dagger to sink in between the eyebrows. It went in about five centimeters deep. If this were just an ordinary aberrant, just this depth and some ice energy would have been enough for his brain to become frozen tofu. However, this aberrant was gigantic, with a protruding forehead. Five centimeters was like a bargain sale for this big guy.
I sent in ice energy without stopping. However, it didn’t even take a second for an alarm to go off in my head. I jumped back right that instant. A light, colorful fog came shooting out from his mouth. If I had stayed where I was, it would have directly hit my face.
Taking advantage of my retreat, the aberrant shot out from the top of the giant cocoon. His body was thin and long from the tight fit, but once he left the cocoon and stretched out his gigantic wings, his body appeared incomparably gigantic.
Yet, I was ecstatic. There was a tear in one of his wings, extremely close to the thorax. That would definitely affect his flight mobility, or he might even be unable to fly at all. Although this fellow was currently hovering in the air, he was swaying very badly.
This aberrant must have formed from a human. Even though the figure was gigantic, he was at least three or four meters tall. Those four pieces of butterfly wings were even more humongous. Even the insect-like abdomen was huge. Instead of a thorax, the middle portion was actually a human torso, with all four limbs present. Without the wings, the whole body was slim and long, and the arms and the legs even more so. The soles of the feet were slender and sharp, definitely not suitable for long walks.
From the upper torso, you could tell it was female. The bust was so disproportionately large, plus that elongated abdomen and the whole nest of caterpillars protecting her while she advanced to the next tier meant she was definitely the queen, responsible for production—Off with her head!
So long as she was dead, even if I couldn’t completely annihilate the rest of the caterpillars and another butterfly queen emerged among them, they would lose this advantage. As the humans and other aberrants advanced their tiers in the later stages, it would not be so easy for them to spread their influence.
The queen fluttered and quivered. She was furious and distressed. The rainbow fog gradually dispersed as she flapped her wings. Even if I didn’t know what effect the fog had, I couldn’t let her have the upper hand. I held my breath and charged forward.
I stepped onto the white silk and drew out a layer of ice under the soles of my feet as I glided downhill. The white silk transformed into an ice slope. Next, I added ice spikes below my feet to ascend. It was a similarly easy feat. These white threads were a strength and a weakness at the same time. She probably didn’t have enough time to complete her transformation, or the silk should have the effect of obstructing foes. But as of today, I benefitted from this opportunity.
As I jumped, the butterfly tried flapping farther to dodge out of the way, but with one flap, she bared her fangs in pain and instead dropped down a bit. I can’t miss this chance. I leaped forward. The moment my skin brushed the rainbow-colored fog, it stung intermittently. Oh, come on! I can’t even let it touch my skin?
I immediately wrapped my skin with a layer of ice. It was a thin layer at first, but I didn’t expect the ice to be melted in an instant. By this time, I had already jumped right in front of the opponent. I reached out to grab the other’s arm. The pain unexpectedly returned. This time, it was no longer a sting, but a freakin’ burn!
The layer of ice was not enough to block the fog. I had no choice but to release ice energy constantly to protect my whole body. However, by now, I had lost the opportunity to seize the aberrant, and the butterfly flew away from me. She perched on the white silk and used those slender feet and hindwings to hook onto the thread, supporting her gigantic body.
Her blood dripped, and even that had a multicolored sheen. As it landed on the white silk, a wisp of smoke rose from the stain.
It looks like I couldn’t let that blood touch me either. It might even be more dangerous than that multi-colored fog.
Glancing at my arm, where I had felt a burning sensation earlier, I saw that the affected skin was red and discolored. At present, my biggest weakness was that my physique was not tough enough. For humans, unless one had a body-strengthening ability or the like, it would be hard for one’s physique to surpass an aberrant’s.
This was one of the reasons human beings were crushed by aberrants in the apocalypse. In the first phases, abilities were practically worthless, but physical-strengthening abilities had their obvious advantages. Once the aberrants seized the advantage by devouring human flesh and blood, the speed of their evolution far surpassed the humans. How could humans not be crushed by them?
In the future, I’ve got to think of a way to overcome this weakness. But for now, I’ll just spend some ice energy to cover my body. Even if I wasted some energy, the aberrant’s energy capacity was far greater than mine, so I could only accept this loss. Otherwise, the multi-colored fog would continue to burn my skin, and I wouldn’t last long. I didn’t have a way to take care of the aberrant instantly either.
Fortunately, I had landed the first two critical hits. Those wounds on the wing and the forehead were not trifles, or else I would only have been able to run with my tail between my legs. As of now, I still have a chance!
I tightened my grip on the ice dagger. Actually, the butterfly’s blood had gotten on it, but there was no damage to the ice dagger. Even if the ice dagger looked just like a piece of ice, it was a weapon formed out of the Ice Emperor’s body!
I enveloped my whole body with cold air. As I carefully observed the aberrant, the butterfly was not in a hurry either. She fluttered her wings. The multi-colored fog became thicker and denser. Luckily, it was far from Xiaorong, or he would have turned from semi-transparent to rainbow-colored.
The butterfly’s eyes may have been huge, but after she experienced almost getting blinded as she came out of the cocoon, she was on guard. It wouldn’t be easy for me to use the ice dagger to stab her eyes to reach the brain. If I missed, considering how much her forehead protruded, she would attack me before I could even stick it into her brain. She didn’t need to hit me in the head either. All she needed was to pierce the softest stomach area and dig out my innards, and I would be dead.
The temples, the lower jaw, or the cerebellum… The butterfly suddenly twisted her head to look to the side. A bunch of caterpillars came crashing at her. She dodged one, but another came flying at her.
The banyan tree was going wild. His branches were shrouded in a layer of ice, so he was no longer afraid of the thorns on the caterpillars. The branches exploded into action, whipping and whacking here, there and everywhere. Now that’s what I call having fun! Although the mid-sized to large caterpillars would not die from this, they wouldn’t be able to get close to him either. The two sides were in a deadlock.
But Xiaorong knew that I didn’t care if the caterpillars died or not. As long as they didn’t hinder my battle, a deadlock was fine. Now that he saw that I was in a tough spot, he even had the insight to throw the caterpillars over to disrupt the fight. This tree is now the baby brother of my family. Anyone who bullies him dies!
The butterfly was furious because of her own caterpillars. There were hundreds of caterpillars. It was a spectacular show as they came flying over one by one. The thorns of the caterpillars plus the throwing speed meant that the butterfly wasn’t unscathed. She screamed and the caterpillars stopped, no longer rushing toward Xiaorong.
Idiot! I rushed forward and shouted, “Xiaorong!” The banyan tree transformed entirely back into branches and wrapped around my body. I borrowed the branches, formed ice blades, used the white silk, and even formed ice slabs in midair. I glided and climbed and was pulled, my movements extremely quick.
I wrapped Xiaorong’s body in ice energy once again. Thin and long branches shot out. Just as we were about to catch the butterfly, she blew out a wave of multi-colored fog. Simultaneously, I let out a burst of ice energy. Xiaorong couldn’t bear such a strong wave of ice energy, but that was okay. It would still work if it surrounded him without touching him. As long as this could block that rainbow fog from burning him, all was well.
The butterfly leaped and dodged most of the branches. However, a few still hit her body. She repeatedly used her hands to grab the branches and sprayed colored fog with her mouth. Under my command, Xiaorong didn’t continue wrestling with her. He retreated when he was grabbed. However, another branch coiled around her without her noticing. The more she wanted to get rid of those branches, the tighter the branches got.
In the end, she flew upwards, ignoring the pain in her wings, wanting to fly upward at all costs. Stupidity was truly a disease. One could not expect much from a butterfly’s IQ. Xiaorong took the chance to bind her with even more branches. She had already had one wing damaged before this. Now, with the addition of the branches, she immediately plummeted.
Why is she trying so hard to fly? As the branches tried to pull her down, the butterfly continued to flap, regardless of the piercing pain. She hissed sharply as her blood spurted. Xiaorong was in a bad shape as well, his branches twitching. The corrosiveness of that blood was too powerful. Even my ice energy couldn’t block it.
I slid along the branches and jumped on the butterfly. I ordered Xiaorong to retreat at the same time. We weren’t too high up. If he dropped straight down, the white silk below us would guarantee his safety.
To ensure I wouldn’t be shaken off, I could only use both hands and feet to climb on the butterfly’s damaged wing. She tried to scratch me over and over, and she even spewed the multi-colored fog again. This time, the fog was so thick that it had become gooey.
Making use of my agility, I climbed around her, never letting that multi-colored fog hit me. If that fog were to hit me directly, this life would be over.
Even though the fog didn’t hit me directly, the thick fog still made me feel pain all over. I used the ice energy to forcefully block it while I held the dagger in my hand and stabbed at the butterfly. I could feel resistance, as if I had stuck my hand into a sponge. I could feel the burn, as if a thousand needles had been pierced to my bone marrow, but I couldn’t let go even with the pain that made me want to cry out. If I let go, she would fly right off and maybe even abandon these caterpillars. Everything would be ruined!
This aberrant was truly at the top of tier two. She was able to waste this much energy, filling the sky with colorful fog. It was like a watercolor palette had spilled across the sky, and even this hadn’t made her hit her limit. With such endless energy, I must have her crystal!
We were locked in a stalemate in midair. Ignoring the burning sensation, I slashed left and right. I could hardly injure her with the fog gathered so densely around her head. Thus, I started stabbing elsewhere. As her resistance evidently weakened, I chose to slice into her other wing, the unharmed one.
Dropping from midair, we crashed onto the white silk, bouncing away from each other. I wanted to find my balance, but a strand of white silk had caught my left foot. I was careless. I had to twist all around before I could find my balance. A surge of pain seized my whole left thigh. I placed my hand over my leg and layered ice over the entire leg. The ice would work as a temporary cast for now.
I looked down. The butterfly’s fall was more severe than mine. She was way too big and was also surrounded by colored fog. The white silk couldn’t catch her. She fell straight to the lowest parts of the white silk and even squashed many of her own caterpillars on her way down. Finally, she lay on the ground shrieking. The caterpillars rushed toward her to protect her, not wanting to give up at all.
I staggered for a bit but forced myself to ignore my injured left leg. Facing the swarm of caterpillars, I summoned Xiaorong and once again charged over using various moves. I slew all the way up to the butterfly. Although there were still many caterpillars behind me, that no longer mattered.
I breathed heavily and dropped my head to look at that butterfly. She looked up. The fog had weakened a lot. I could see her inky black eyes staring right at me, and I could even read the despair in them.
“In the next life, ask to be smarter.”
The ice dagger pierced downwards—tier two crystal obtained!
Yet, this was not the finale. I twisted back. The crowd of caterpillars did not scatter despite their queen being dead. They transformed their anger into high speed rolling, surging from all sorts of directions.
I gave a cry of “Xiaorong!” I could feel my eyes burning as I faced the never-ending caterpillars.There was no end to killing these caterpillars. My body had long been numbed by pain.
Finally, I stabbed one last time, yet I didn’t hit anything. My consciousness came back to me. I was standing among countless caterpillar corpses. Not even one was left alive.
I let go of a deep breath, my body so heavy that it was like I was carrying a mountain. I opened my mouth, wanting to let Xiaorong down, but I spat out a mouthful of blood.
I wiped away the blood and saw my arm covered in a rainbow of colors. The colors were even darkening, almost blackening. No, I had to gather some crystals and gobble them first; otherwise, I would die. These tier zero crystals barely had any effect, but fortunately they were all over the ground. All I needed was to gobble up more…
I squatted to dig up the crystals when suddenly a pair of gigantic feet landed in front of me. I looked up. A lizard-like aberrant opened its mouth, dripping a stream of saliva, as if it was in front of a piece of beef steak.
While the butterfly fought with me, a sneak was actually trying to get one over us both. Unfortunately, it was just a creature who had barely reached tier one. It was totally looking down on me.
I was so angry I laughed.
Cold air exploded from me. Xiaorong’s branches shot out in every direction, spreading out like a dragnet over the entire place.
I roared, “A tiger that leaves the mountain can be bullied by a dog, but you shithead of a mouse think you could make a move on me?”