Dominion’s End Volume 5: Zhanjiang Garrison
Original novel in Chinese by: 禦我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 4: The Clash of Ice and Lightning—translated by Miaka_Mei (proofread by Arcedemius; C/E edited by Elkin & lucathia)
“Shuyu, where you goin’?”
Cain faintly called out from behind me, but I simply couldn’t pay attention to anyone else. I was rushing at full speed, my mind filled with only thoughts of Shujun getting in all kinds of crises. She might be wounded, bleeding, or even…
I sprinted, ignoring the small voice at the back of my mind warning me that I should remain because there were hardly any JDT members left at the base, and that Dàgē was with Shujun—but then, why was she throwing so many lightning bolts?
Although I’d always said that Shujun’s ability was frighteningly powerful, her strength was in her fine manipulation of her power. If I had to honestly gauge her power, she wasn’t weak but she wasn’t that much stronger than the other JDT members either, particularly after their pace of improvement skyrocketed after they truly understood the strength and importance of special powers.
Shujun would have to go all-out to produce such a large cluster of lightning. She wouldn’t have done such a thing if she hadn’t truly been in danger, because I had warned her over and over again to exert the barest minimum amount of energy to defeat the enemy. You’ll never know what kind of aberrant you’ll meet around the corner of the next street. One must never exhaust one’s energy unless absolutely necessary.
Nevertheless, regardless of how many excuses there were, there was actually only one underlying reason—the person that I care about the most is still Shujun. Even Dàgē is placed at the back, not to mention the others in Jiang Dominion.
I came across many civilians while I ran madly; each and every one of them looked at me in astonishment. If this went on, my pretense would soon vanish into thin air. Using my remaining rationality to force myself to rush to an unoccupied area, I spent a few seconds to kick away my shoes and fling off my outer-shirt.
The outfit was custom-made. Its lining was made of black and shiny fabric; as long as it was crumbled into a ball from the inner side, it would look just like a trash bag. If I were to throw it away at the roadside, no one would want to pick it up.
I was currently dressed in pure white clothes made from butterfly silk. Only the neckline and the side of my body had some decorations.
My right hand lightly touched my cheek, forming an ice mask. Five layers were compressed instantly to reduce the level of transparency in order to conceal my face. I then formed ice blades on the soles of my feet, and swiftly glided far away.
After gliding out of the town, I was lucky to find a sports car immediately. I frantically drove at full throttle to the outskirts of Lan City. The number of abandoned cars had started to increase in this area, so it wasn’t a good place for entry. With the loud noise of the car, I could attract and get surrounded by aberrants, which would further delay the journey.
There were lightning bolts flashing from time to time in the far distance. The flashes of lightning were no longer as frightening as the ones at the beginning, but this made me feel even more panicked. Does this mean that Shujun is no longer able to release such large energy bursts?
I got out of the car, formed ice blades again, and rapidly glided while disregarding all obstacles in front of me, stepping on the surfaces of various high buildings using the stickiness of the ice. Consuming crystals had drastically increased my body’s jumping power, allowing me to jump straight from one building to another. Luckily, Lan City was a megacity with high-rise buildings.
However, there were times when I couldn’t get to the next building. Gazing at the place with lightning flashing occasionally in the distance, I hardened my heart, and ignored the height of approximately ten stories beneath my feet. I swiftly ran, jumped out, and formed a thin layer of silk-like ice pieces in midair. They shattered upon being stamped, but they had at least served as a lever for me.
Piece by piece, I made my way over, but I was still gradually falling, and would very soon be unable to reach the next building. How much longer would I be delayed after this fall? Even if I have expended a lot of time and risked my life to rush into the city, there’s no guarantee that Shujun could hold on for so long! She might have already…
I steeled myself, and further compressed the ice pieces that I was stomping on. I didn’t do this in the past because the duration was too short. Standing for longer than even a split second on a piece of ice in midair would lead to a fall, but during that time, I had to also use the force from stomping on it to propel myself further. There was literally only a split second of time for me to compress the ice. It could also be said that I had to complete the compression from the very moment the ice piece was formed.
The double-layered compressed ice piece still broke when I stamped on it, but it was enough for me to maintain the height. Even if I couldn’t move up, I was at least able to sustain the height.
Only now did I realize that the ice piece needed to be sufficiently compressed to serve as a lever. No wonder I hadn’t been able to advance higher on the ice pieces no matter how hard I’d tried. I was only now able to barely sustain the height. If I could compress a few more layers, moving up would no longer be difficult.
But, back then, the Ice Emperor had never mentioned this little trick… Ah! Could it be that he had already regarded compressed ice as normal ice, so he didn’t even think of passing on this little reminder?
After finally getting a hold of this little trick, I became even quicker in moving across and over the high buildings. But I was still not satisfied. If I was a bit stronger, I could directly make a path of ice all over the sky, and would have already found Shujun…
A lightning bolt surged from the ground and sparked electricity, right in front of my eyes. There was no longer anything blocking the way.
I hurriedly looked down to find any trace of my little sister, only to find an unfamiliar man standing at the edge of a huge pit. There was actually a person lying at the bottom of the pit. I wasn’t sure if the person was alive or dead. Fortunately, that body shape and hair color was nothing like Shujun’s. That’s a man… It can’t be Dàgē, right?
The man at the edge of the pit lifted his right hand over his head. His palm was actually releasing blue-white lightning that was gradually getting compressed into a ball. As the ball of lightning would very soon be flung down into the pit, my heart lurched. I hastily shouted, “Stop!” and rushed over, but I was still too late to stop him. I could only look on helplessly as the lightning ball dropped into the bottom of the pit, and the body of the unknown person was charred black.
Could it be Dàgē?
I charged into the pit. My heart was already half frozen, but the other half still had some rationality. Dàgē is so strong. He was even the Ice Emperor, one of the strongest elites in the other world. How could he just die like this? It’s absolutely impossible!
Even if the hair color of the person lying at the bottom of the pit is somewhat similar to Dàgē’s, i-it’s not like I see Shujun anywhere!
Or maybe she has already…
The mere thought that Dàgē and Xiǎomèi might have suffered something made my heart hurt so much that I was almost unable to breathe. Although I felt that something seemed off, and I was unable to rid myself of that nagging suspicion, I had to first turn this c-corpse over… turn this person over for a better look—
I suddenly saw a flash of lightning in front of my eyes. I was actually unable to react at all, and had only avoided it by relying on my body’s instincts that took me out of the pit with a leap. The pit was once more bombarded by countless strikes of lightning.
I lowered my head in a daze. The bottom of the pit was left with only scattered charred remains of the body. You couldn’t tell it was a human unless you looked closely. This time, it was no longer possible to recognize the true identity of that charred corpse.
Contrarily, this actually calmed me down. He couldn’t possibly be Dàgē. There’s no way that my family’s dàgē would die in such a way!
After calming myself down, I realized that I might have misunderstood something. Shujun wasn’t the one who had emitted the lightning; it was this man. I didn’t expect that there would be another person beside Shujun who could emit such powerful lightning in the present time.
It was precisely because it was nearly impossible that I had instantly thought of Shujun when I saw the cluster of lightning.
Despite knowing that this was the truth, I still felt lingering fear inside my heart. After all, my arrival had brought about too many changes.
Originally, Dàgē should have been the one to support his whole mercenary troop. Consequently, he would have acquired many experiences, and gone through numerous life and death crises. But everything changed after I recovered my previous life’s memories. Although it had led to Dàgē eating crystals ahead of time, this could have also caused him to lack too many experiences in facing danger.
While Shujun would have… already ceased to exist, right?
I was just afraid of God wanting to take away such a nice little sister, so even though there was very little possibility of this happening, I still felt extremely angry. Lifting my head, I glowered at the man who had impatiently flung around his lightning. He even shot a sudden lightning bolt at me for no reason. I dodged, while not forgetting to strike back with a large ice knife.
“This is… ice?”
The man used lightning to split the throwing knife into two. He looked at the pieces of ice on the ground with slight astonishment. Shortly afterwards, his mouth slightly quirked up in a smirk, and he mockingly said, “It’s just ice.”
What a good person. Just three words, and I already felt like making an ice sculpture out of him. Then let’s see if he can still say “It’s just ice!”
“Why did you stop me?” The man confusedly asked, but he didn’t really sound like he cared about the reason.
I pointed at the pit, and angrily demanded, “Why did you attack him?”
The man raised his eyebrows. “You know each other?”
Of course I don’t! Suppressing my rage with great difficulty, I carefully inquired, “Is he an over twenty year-old man, dressed in a long, black trench coat with a golden pattern, and a gun hanging on his waist?”
The man said in a nonchalant manner, “More or less.”
More or less, my ass! My heart almost jumped out of my chest. If I hadn’t realized that the man was answering with utter carelessness, I would have really been scared to death!
“Answer the question seriously!”
The man smiled instead of getting angered. “Then let’s see if you have enough qualifications to make me serious!”
Sensing his hostility, I immediately crafted ice blades on the soles of my feet and froze ice up to my knees to form a pair of ice boots.
There was a mèimei with lightning attribute at home for testing experiments, so my understanding of the lightning ability wasn’t shallow. Ice isn’t actually a good electrical conductor. As long as I’m covered with a layer of ice, the injury inflicted by lightning will be lowered by twenty percent. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but sometimes that tiny bit of injury could decide one’s life or death.
In the short moment when I was forming the boots, the man didn’t idly wait for me to equip myself for battle. His first attack was throwing three fist-sized lightning balls at me. The balls didn’t move fast, but gave me a bad feeling. I immediately glided back, far away from those three balls.
From afar, the three balls exploded in an instant, forming a large cluster of lightning. If I hadn’t avoided it, I would have suffered numbness all over my whole body by now.
Obviously, there would only be numbness since I had my special ability to protect my body. If it was an average person, they would have at least suffered third-degree burns.
I didn’t expect that lightning could be used in such a way; it was basically a hand grenade. Although its speed wasn’t very fast, it was more useful than Shujun’s lightning whip in dealing with a large quantity of enemies. Just one of those could wipe out a bunch of people. Its high efficiency was simply beyond question.
This man was truly a cut above the rest. His ability in utilizing lightning should be above Shujun’s. But I was obviously referring to combat ability. In terms of housework, I’m positive that he wouldn’t be able to power the air conditioner while sleeping.
I called out the ice dagger, which was miserably short. You needed to be extremely close up to the enemy in order to inflict damage with a weapon like a dagger. However, it was extremely difficult to get close to a lightning user. Putting aside other uses of lightning, he only needed to spread a web of electricity as a defense to limit my moves, leaving me with only a single option: forcefully breaking through in a head-on match of power against power.
The enemy evidently understood this point. The corner of his mouth quirked up and he released two balls of lightning and let them hover in mid-air, one in front and one behind him. If I dared to approach him, he’d likely instantly blow them up. Even if it couldn’t injure me, it would hinder my movement.
I immediately glided to his side, shooting out knives like they were free of charge. He couldn’t actually keep up with my speed, but could somewhat perceive the fluctuation of energies, instantly emitting lightning and knocking down the ice knives.
Still, I didn’t actually throw out ice knives every time. Sometimes, I charged up Xiaorong instead, who was hiding under my clothes, and sometimes I was just bluffing. Before I arrived, my opponent had already been fighting for a long time. The ground was littered with charred corpses that weren’t just limited to the one at the bottom of the pit. No matter how strong he was, there was a limit to his strength. He’d topple over sooner or later if he continued burning up energy like this.
I was kind of exploiting my enemy’s weakness. However, I too had used up quite an astonishing amount of energy for the sake of time, making my way over as if my life depended on it. Plus, this was Lan City. I wasn’t even clear about which area I was in, so I shouldn’t exhaust all of my strength in this battle.
In fact, I was slightly hesitant. If this was merely a misunderstanding, it seemed unnecessary to fight…
The enemy suddenly flung up his hand. A bloody scratch appeared on my cheek. If I hadn’t reflexively evaded, my head would probably have exploded!
He actually pulled out his gun, using bullets to supplement his special ability’s weaknesses. Fine, I was currently still afraid of bullets. An instantly formed ice wall wasn’t enough to fully block the bullets. Even if it could reduce the force, I’d still get injured, although it wouldn’t be a fatal wound.
But I was referring to average guns. The gun that the man was holding on to seemed anything but ordinary! Its outward appearance was clearly that of a pistol, but it was bigger than the average gun by one-and-a-half times. Even the silencer attached to its gun barrel seemed very unusual.
Was this gun modified after the apocalypse? If it was used before the apocalypse, just how many strong guys actually existed who could handle the recoil force from this kind of gun?
I dodged the gun, and the bullet pierced through the cement wall, creating a small hole. This is practically a mini bazooka!
He’s a gun expert, the same as my family’s mercenary troop. This kind of guy is more skilled in shooting than in martial arts. He might have a powerful special ability, but unless he practices martial arts often, it’s unlikely that he could effectively combine both skill and ability right upon awakening.
I had met a few of those kinds of people, but they didn’t end up very strong in the end. After all, there were not many true martial arts experts in the modern-day era. Granted that a champion of an athletic competition could fight two or three enemies at once, they could still get defeated and killed when they encountered a crook whose hands had been stained with blood. Practicing martial arts and killing someone were still essentially two different things.
It was only in the later stage of the apocalypse that there were some renowned experts in martial arts forms. The apocalypse truly did toughen up humans. After countless life and death experiences in the apocalypse, even an office lady could beat the crap out of five grown men without eating crystals if she were to return to pre-apocalyptic times. Like seriously, I’m not bullshitting!
This man was obviously not a martial arts expert, but a gun expert, which was why he had come up with the trick of using lightning as a hand grenade.
It was just like my family’s little housework expert, Junjun, who started using the lightning ability for electrical powering. It was the same logic; you could tell someone’s innate character from how they applied their ability.
The guy in front of me had most likely already gotten his hands dirty before. Assassin? Mafia?
His marksmanship was extremely accurate, but his agility was just so-so and wasn’t to the point of being very strong. He was most likely from the mafia.
I had ice walls to hinder the bullets and an incomparably sturdy body from eating crystals, but I still chose to dodge when confronted with a gun with powerful firepower. Even I would’ve ended up coughing blood and breaking bones in the face of such strong firepower.
The last time when I had gotten myself seriously injured in Lan City, I was lucky that Xiaorong was clever and had buried me with tree roots before I woke up. Otherwise, I might not even have had the chance to wake up, to say the least.
Compared with his lightning, this man’s marksmanship was far more accurate. I’m not even sure how he took aim. He was clearly unable to keep up with my speed, but all of his shots were very accurate. If it wasn’t for my strong instincts helping me dodge in time, who knows how many holes my body would have.
The accuracy of a gun expert’s instincts was truly frightening. Fortunately, its effects were drastically lowered when it came to lightning. He was probably still not experienced enough with it, and his speed of shooting a gun far exceeded that of emitting his ability. To improve, he would need to undergo long term training.
Even Shujun was a lot faster than this man in emitting lightning. She was only losing out in terms of energy output, agility, and battle instinct, but there was no need to rush that. She could only slowly accumulate energy and battle experiences.
I darted past two bullets, but after he added a web of lightning, I couldn’t get any closer than three meters to him. He knew he’d be badly disadvantaged if I were to close the distance, so he repeatedly stepped backward while firing bullets nonstop. Still, he wasn’t recklessly firing and every shot was accurately aimed. The reason the bullets failed to hit their targets, though, was entirely down to me and not him.
I flung out an ice knife while dodging at the same instant, the bullet and ice knife striking together and sparking a dazzling light.
Taking advantage of the dazzling light, I instantly pressed closer toward the man, certain that he wasn’t able to see me at all. But his reflexes were too strong; he lifted his gun and aimed precisely at my forehead, even releasing a large amount of lightning.
His battle sense was too powerful, and he could completely read my next steps. Fortunately, I wasn’t half bad either. I tilted my head to dodge the muzzle and instantly covered my whole body in layers of ice. Although I couldn’t escape unscathed and the lightning both stung and numbed my skin, it was still tolerable.
I jabbed the ice dagger at his chest, but to my surprise, he evaded in the blink of the eye. That speed was on a whole different level to what he had shown up until now. I couldn’t help wonder if he had two abilities, with the other one being speed. Or perhaps, his lightning ability could be used to help him speed up?
Shujun hadn’t shown this trait so far, but it was also possible that I didn’t understand how it could be applied. From the middle to later stages of the apocalypse, people developed entirely different fighting styles even with the exact same special ability.
But in the next heartbeat, he fell back to his original speed. If he hadn’t and had continued using that kind of speed to fire at my head at close proximity, even if it didn’t kill me, it’d still deal a serious blow to me.
He didn’t seem able to maintain that speed for long and could only use it for a short burst. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have let go of such a good opportunity.
Even if he didn’t have such fast speed, my distance was too close. Plus, I had thought that this one strike was bound to succeed and had slightly let my guard down. He easily sent out a bullet after dodging, while I only managed to evade by a hair’s breadth. The bullet grazed my shoulder. Blood oozed and spurted out. Luckily, I had the layers of ice for protection, so my shoulder blade shouldn’t have cracked.
He had hidden his secret, explosive speed. Fortunately, I too had my own hidden trick. After striking with the dagger, two long twigs shot out from my chest.
He hadn’t anticipated this at all. He dodged and fired off shot after shot; however, even if he had an extraordinarily strong battle sense and relied on his reflexes, he was only able to move a few steps away, barely avoiding harm to his vital parts. The twigs had still managed to pierce through his arm but were then snapped by a bullet.
I inwardly snickered. A tree being able to talk wasn’t really much of a big deal in the apocalypse. If Xiaorong were to give birth one day, I might even be able to calmly deliver the baby.
Right now, the man with a hole in his arm could still retreat backwards while casting a huge net of lightning. The deadly net immediately burst open, giving me no time to retreat, and I could only manage to instantly freeze ice against my skin for cover.
Fuck. Me. Even with ice as protection, I still felt like I had been cooked medium rare. Lightning really lived up to its reputation, a perfect demonstration of the saying that “the best defense is a good offense.”
Enduring the numbing pain all over my body, I speedily closed some of the distance between us. But here, the lightning was so powerful that it could zap an ordinary person to death immediately, and even I wouldn’t be able to shake it off if I advanced any further. So I simply went down on one knee, and sent a carpet of ice rushing straight toward him from my hands touching the ground.
With the earth grounding it, his lightning couldn’t completely shatter my ice. I waited until the ice carpet was right before him before shooting out dozens of icicles that were as dense as a thicket.
Startled, he hurriedly drew the lightning back to him and increased its strength. Even then, he couldn’t smash all of the ice thorns, and two of them cut past his thigh and calf. Unfortunately, it was his calf that was more seriously injured, so there wasn’t much bleeding.
By then, I’d already reached him. Ignoring the extreme numbing pain, I stabbed at his chest with my dagger. He parried my dagger with his gun, instantly holding the two of us in a deadlock. This guy was in no way weaker than me, but unfortunately for him, I had no intention of fighting him head on and kicked sideways at his calf.
But in my intense focus, I’d completely forgotten about something else. He forcefully twisted his gun, breaking the stalemate, and pointed the muzzle of the gun at me. A bullet shot out…
I forcefully twisted my body at an impossible angle to dodge the shot, then bent at the waist and somersaulted backwards. In an instant, I put some distance between us.
Luckily, I never abandoned training my flexibility and nimbleness. Back when I was Guan Weijun, I hadn’t eaten many crystals so my strength was lacking, and I’d evaded countless sure-death situations by relying on my agility. In this life, even if I no longer lost out on strength, I was still unwilling to give up my past battle experiences and continued using flexibility and nimbleness to develop my combat style.
Even the Ice Emperor had given his guarantee and said that I was well honed in my skills. Keep up the good work and there would be great prospects for the future!
When I heard that, I was so overwhelmed with pride! But, the Ice Emperor had added another explanation: the other side of the coin was that I was not very good at fighting with enemies at close combat, and would subconsciously choose to dodge. Even if I was stronger than the enemy, I still wouldn’t choose a direct confrontation. Too cowardly. Must be changed!
Thinking back to just now, I had at least resolutely braced myself and rushed toward the lightning webs, even clashing with the enemy’s gun using the dagger, forcing a deadlock. It can be considered as having improved, right?
The result of the direct confrontation wasn’t so bad, though the bullet had grazed my left arm in the end. As one could expect from a heavy firearm, a mere graze had caused me to lose a piece of flesh. If this was before the apocalypse, there would probably be a permanent scar on my arm as big as the rim of a cup. But after the apocalypse, and having eaten a lot of crystals, it was possible to completely recover until there wasn’t even a scar left.
If there’s anything good about the apocalypse, then it would be the evolution crystals, far better than steroids or antibiotics. There were people who had some misgivings about what would happen to humans after eating so many evolution crystals, but it was very clear what would happen to us if we didn’t eat crystals. We would get eaten alive by aberrants. Thus, no one would choose not to eat them.
After surviving up to ten years of the apocalypse, I was actually somewhat clear about the aftermath of eating many crystals.
In the end, the humans were no longer human, and the aberrants were no longer aberrant.
“You’re pretty strong.”
He put away his previous ridicule. His expression looked a lot more serious now.
I sized up the injuries on both sides. My shoulder and arm were grazed by bullets, and my whole body had been electrocuted, stinging with pain and numbness everywhere.
Meanwhile, his major injury was his lower leg with two cuts oozing with blood. And there was another one when we were fighting at close quarters; that kick had clearly landed on him. His lower leg bone should have at least cracked, and could possibly even be broken.
He slightly dropped the muzzle of his gun. Upon seeing this, I hesitated a bit before putting away my battle stance, but obviously, I’d only made myself seem like it. If he really wanted to fight again, then I would be ready anytime!
“Awesome fight!” He raised his eyebrows, and said, “I just don’t know why we started fighting.”
I frostily said, “With the way the world is, do you honestly think it matters why we started fighting?”
He doesn’t want to fight anymore. Although I looked like I had heavier injuries, my wounds didn’t hinder my movement, and I’d be able to move normally as long as I ignored the pain. But his leg didn’t get off lightly either, and damage was done to his bones, so there was no way he could move like he had.
His skill and speed were basically inferior to mine in the first place, and his leg was even injured. The next time I sneak up on him, that would most likely be the death of him!
He is already an arrow at the end of its flight.
I was finally able to get a clear view of the state of our surroundings. He hadn’t only dealt with just one or two, but probably a bunch of people. It was just that he had originally roasted the surrounding area into a mess, so I hadn’t immediately noticed the several scattered, charred remains of bodies.
Granted, I had used my powers to madly rush here, but the opposite side had evidently used up a lot more.
“It’s not important.” He coolly said, “But you look like you didn’t want to continue fighting.”
I was speechless. Although the other side purposely twisted the story, as it was obvious that he was the one who really didn’t want to continue fighting, it was true that I didn’t want to continue the fight. This battle was simply meaningless. Just as I was about to say that I was the one in the wrong…
He suddenly held his gun up, and I hurriedly adopted a battle stance.
He then hollered, “Over there!”
Confused, I hesitated for a moment. Although I suspected that it was a trap, I had definitely noticed some movement out of the corner of my eye. I instinctively stepped backward and immediately, two holes erupted in the ground where I had just been standing. If I hadn’t retreated in time, my feet would have been shot.
A long-distance firearm with such formidable power—a sniper rifle?
All kinds of firearms had appeared today. Based on the Jiang family’s bad luck, it wouldn’t even be strange to see a tank opening fire. I better get the hell out of here ASAP.
I ducked behind a pillar and looked over my shoulder. That man was also hiding behind another pillar. We looked at each other, and it was immediately obvious to both parties that neither wanted to fight.
I hesitated for a bit, and spoke to him before getting out of here, “Sorry about today.”
He raised an eyebrow at me. “You owe me one.”
I had no choice but to nod. I only had myself to blame for getting the wrong idea about him. Although I didn’t know who his opponents were, it really was none of my business and I was the one who had barged in on him. That said, his rudeness in speech and sudden attack were also one of the reasons for my misunderstanding.
After reaching an understanding, both of us ran in opposite directions. This way, the hidden enemies would have to split up to chase after either side, or we’ll have to try our luck on which side the enemy would choose to pursue—well fuck, I really hate having to rely on luck!
I sprung up along the wall, and climbed up to the fifth or sixth floor, breaking and entering through the window. The man obviously didn’t have the ability to climb up the walls as I did, so he charged into another building. If the enemies in hiding still choose to chase after me, then, then… the Jiang family is so formidable and powerful, we just have to have a weakness, right?
After convincing myself like that, I finally felt a lot better.
When I’d dashed into the building, the bullets had smacked into the wall, narrowly missing me. Fortunately, I had been fast enough.
No civilian picking up a hunting rifle could pull off this kind of marksmanship, and not even the mafia could. You’d have to be a professional killer at the very least to have this kind of marksmanship; otherwise, you’d have to be…
I knitted my eyebrows, instantly remembering Wen Jianuo and the others. Have the soldiers already degenerated to the level of randomly opening fire at other humans? Probably not yet?
As I was mulling over the question, an indistinct sound came from behind and I abruptly turned around. A few human shadows were at the doorway, but before I could tell who they were, they had opened fire. Their guns weren’t as good as the other guy’s, but they were using selective fire guns and there were a lot of them. Even if one or two guns couldn’t put a hole in me, dozens of guns could still turn me into a honeycomb!
I had no choice but to jump out of the window, taking several bullets in my back. When I landed, I became a target for snipers again. I didn’t know how many people were hiding inside the large building behind me, and could only brave through the rain of bullets, escaping into the streets and dashing into another large building.
I had actually jumped straight into the enemy’s hideout. This luck—it’s simply illogical!
It defies all logic!
Being shot at for no reason pissed me off big time. I ducked into another building and scoped it out to make sure that no enemies were hiding within before I had the peace of mind to finally hunker down and observe the outside situation.
After lying in wait for a while, someone finally appeared. These guys were really cautious and didn’t seem like assassins from their numbers. They might actually be soldiers?
I stopped my racing thoughts. No matter who they were, these guys looked anything but ordinary. I might get discovered if I wasn’t careful enough. Their number was many and they even had heavy firepower, while I was in a dangerous zone like Lan City and had injuries all over my body. There was no need for me to go head-to-head with them.
With peace of mind, I quietly waited for them to disperse, but ultimately discovered—they really are soldiers!
I mean, fair enough, neither me nor the guy just now seemed like normal civilians, but that doesn’t mean you have to hide and snipe at us?
Don’t tell me they mistook us for aberrants? Hm, it’s actually quite possible. Me and that guy just now didn’t seem very human-like as our progression was indeed a bit too advanced.
I scrunched up my eyebrows while watching their movement. There were approximately twenty people. Every one of them was dressed in a complete military outfit, and they seemed to be better equipped than that group of people with Wen Jianuo. Five of them were carrying a long case, probably loaded with a sniper rifle, while about ten others had hand-held repeater firearms with one or two pistols hanging on their waist. They had pockets all over their body, completely loaded with magazines.
Their strong firepower was truly over the top. It was no wonder that aberrants didn’t dare to come to them. Aberrants at the current stage have very strong innate intuition, and with no shortage of weak humans, it wouldn’t be hard to get their stomachs filled. There was really no reason for them to face off against this bunch of humans.
Aberrants hadn’t come to find us when that guy and I were fighting. It was most likely because of this same reason. But if we had fought until we were heavily injured, would a fisherman1 swoop in to catch both of us?
I was really reckless this time. Even if it was because of my worry about Shujun’s safety, for me to come over without covering up my tracks at all might unexpectedly bring about danger…
Weren’t these soldiers a living example of it? If not for my fight with that man, we wouldn’t have drawn such hostility from them. No way would they open fire if they encountered regular civilians!
Among these soldiers, there was one person who was always standing in front of everyone, looking pretty much like the leader. He had dark bronze skin but didn’t seem particularly special. His full set of equipment didn’t seem much different from the others, at most only having an extra gun. He was quite tall, but still couldn’t be compared to Wen Jianuo who was as tall as a mountain—
Suddenly, he turned around and looked straight toward my position with a frown. Just when I started to feel nervous, he actually shifted his line of sight, as if not having noticed my existence.
That person had several red scars, some dark and some light, stretching from his left forehead to under his eyes. They seemed to be burn scars from an explosion. The wounds weren’t mild, so he was probably lucky that he had been able to keep his left eye.
He had deep wrinkles in his forehead and crow’s feet around his eyes; you could tell from his face that he wasn’t a young man. He was probably around forty. But he might not even be that old. His scars, dark skin color, and wrinkles might have made him look a lot older than his real age.
The man spoke to the two people next to him. But they were too far away and had their voices lowered, so I could only make out the words intermittently whenever they spoke passionately and raised their voices.
“Were those really humans?”
Well, of course. Genuine and authentic! One even looks very handsome!
The scarred guy started swearing the moment he opened his mouth, “Motherfucker! The hell’s that shit! The next time we see that shit, fuck, get the two of ‘em and cut them in half to see what the hell they’re made of!”
Insulting someone’s mom right from the get-go and swearing furiously in every sentence was probably a force of a habit for him. That said, his blustering and fearless attitude was quite effective on the others—the dozen-odd soldiers relaxed visibly after hearing their commander’s explosion of expletives.
“Those were basically monsters…”
“If they were human, how is it possible for them to be so strong?”
“It’s a pity that we let them get away…”
Upon listening, I couldn’t find any useful information from their conversation, other than their fear toward me and that guy.
I had actually scared the soldiers! I once more regretted my impulsive actions. Fortunately, I had remembered to put on a mask; otherwise, I’d have to get reincarnated again to successfully act as a frail and delicate pretty boy.
The scarred guy frowned deeper, as he continued to listen to the person talking beside him. That person had a calm expression on his face and had spoken a lot. The scarred guy even seemed very serious when that person was talking. Unfortunately, he was talking in such a low voice that I couldn’t even hear a single word.
Upon listening, the scarred guy’s eyebrows formed a wrinkly trench, while the person beside him excitedly agreed, “He Jiu, you’re right. We need to keep this a secret! If those old Shangguan bastards found out about those two monsters, who knows what kind of fucking orders they’re gonna give us? They might order us to sacrifice our life and limb while not allowing us to touch even a hair of those monsters!”
The moment these words were spoken, the look on everyone’s face turned very unsightly… Wait a second, Shangguan? My face changed. Could these guys be from Xiao Sha’s family?
They actually had such powerful firepower. Xiao Sha had mentioned that someone in the Shangguan family had military ties, but he had also mentioned there was an intense internal power struggle. He said something like, “Chenhong, who’s pro-military, is getting the upper hand.” Oh, that’s it. Could that scarred guy actually be Shangguan Chenhong?
I looked at the scarred guy and felt like that wasn’t the case. From the use of the word “pro-military,” even if he was a ranking soldier, he didn’t sound like someone who would lead troops running around in the dangerous apocalypse.
Nonetheless, it was clear to me that the guy before my eyes was a seasoned soldier, whether it was due to him leading a group of soldiers into Lan City, or the scars on his face.
All of the soldiers looked at the scarred guy. But he seemed to be thinking so much that he got lost in thought, completely ignoring them. That He Jiu shouted a few times and even raised his voice to the point that I could hear him.
“Commander Tang Liang!”
The scarred guy whose great name did not match his appearance at all finally reacted. He started with a “fuck” before saying, “Tell the lads to get the hell outta here. I knew something was fishy. Let’s bail before we get majorly fucked!”
Hearing that, He Jiu immediately obeyed without question, even though the surroundings were serene.
I frowned. Have I been found out? Does this Tang Liang have a very strong innate intuition, or does he have some sort of ability in that area? For example, he could have a psychic ability like my family’s Auntie who could sense living things. If she hadn’t eaten a lot of crystals, she’d simply seem like someone with a slightly stronger intuition.
But this world must really be something if a big hulking guy who swears like a sailor has psychic abilities…
In the few seconds that I was engrossed in deep thought, these soldiers had already started to retreat. I weighed up on whether I should give them a hard time to get revenge for just now, and kill two birds with one stone by cutting down some of the Shangguan family’s men and even out the numbers a bit. If they really wanted to fight us, they could give us a hard time just using a battle of attrition with their numbers.
But before I could act, all the manhole covers on both sides of the road suddenly blasted into the sky. A black tidal wave gushed out, and I had to take a closer look before realizing that these were the horned mice that I had encountered when first entering Lan City!
These soldiers didn’t know what the black tide was. They frantically fired to try and stop the black tidal wave, but it had no impact. To be more precise, they killed a lot of them but there were so many more that were still alive.
The horned mice rushed past the soldiers who were firing like crazy, their eyes bloodshot. They fired as if the bullets were free and unlimited.
But something was wrong. The current horned mice were easily frightened, so loud shooting sounds should be enough to scare them away. To be more exact, these mice shouldn’t have appeared in the first place. The battle between me and the lightning guy, or the later loud shooting sounds were both enough to make them go into hiding.
Something’s super screwy! When the horned mice swarmed past the soldiers, they didn’t even bother to tear off morsels of flesh, as if they were in such a hurry that they didn’t have any time to eat…
The most urgent situation in the apocalypse is—running for one’s life!
Right as I realized what was going on, the scene of those soldiers running for their lives while not forgetting to fire back unfolded before my eyes. They would occasionally pull at their comrades to prevent them from falling into the horned mice tide and getting gnawed full of holes.
I suddenly remembered the basement of the MORC, and those soldiers lying all over the ground, especially Blackie. I had originally thought of taking him with me. Who would have imagined that, no sooner had I turned around and the person was already dead…
“Run! Something bigger is coming!” When I heard this, I realized I had shouted before my brain had even kicked into gear.
Those people were stunned. However, regardless of whether they believed me or not, they were completely stuck in place and couldn’t step anywhere, as horned mice were everywhere beside their legs. If their feet were to stamp on the ground, they would likely hit a horned mouse and get their skin torn off, and after taking a few steps, they might not even be able to walk any longer.
My saint complex had already kicked in, so I might as well complete the act. I rushed straight out and froze over a large path of ice.
“Run! Hurry up and run!”
Everyone looked at me in shock. The scarred guy, Tang Liang reacted a lot better than the others. He fiercely fired at the ground filled with horned mice, attracting the soldiers’ attention, then furiously roared, “Still not running? You wanna wait to get fucked?!”
The soldiers snapped out of it and immediately jumped onto the ice path. One person even almost stumbled, but quickly regained his feet then started sprinting madly.
I suddenly felt a bit regretful. They were soldiers with such a good foundation. If the Shangguan family really had ill intentions toward the Jiang Dominion, then this action of mine was the same as letting the tiger return to the mountain. While these guys were on top of the ice path, I’d only need to use a trick or two to throw them straight into the swarm of horned mice…
But in the end, I still couldn’t bring myself to attack. After all, no matter how much we fought among ourselves, wasn’t there only one human nation that survived to the end?
Even if I killed all of my enemies and became an existence like the Ice Emperor, humanity would only have three of the strongest elites and we would still be living in a difficult world after ten years of the apocalypse. Most importantly, there was an unknown crisis after ten years…
Maybe if I saved more people, a few elites might emerge from them?
While I was hesitating for a moment, those soldiers had already run quite a distance away. They were pretty fast at running away. If I didn’t attack now, then I wouldn’t need to attack at all… then so be it!
I took a deep breath. If the Shangguan family really wants to fight us in the future, then bring it on! Sending someone to become food for aberrants, even helping to increase the aberrants’ strength, is something I really can’t do!
That Tang Liang suddenly lagged behind the other soldiers. He didn’t speed up to escape, but paused his footsteps and turned to look at me with a fierce-looking face. If I hadn’t known that it was impossible, I’d have really thought that he wanted to turn back to kill me.
In an instant, alarm bells started ringing wildly in my head. Without even turning, I forcefully leaped to the side as a huge, long, linear, black shadow brushed past me, grazing my arm.
After evading it, I looked at my arm. There were red and swollen streaks—it was evidently poisonous. I then lifted my head.
This is… a nine headed…
I nearly blurted out “dragon,” but I really wasn’t unlucky to the extent that even a legendary creature had appeared. This is probably… an earthworm? It looked like a multi-headed earthworm, at least.
Half of the earthworm had rushed out of the sewage hole. Its body was a bit bigger than the manhole. Its plump skin was dripping with transparent mucus, each and every one of its segments folded. Its anterior diverged into several more “tails” which was slightly thinner than the body part. Its posterior had no heads and was simply one round end, but it was actually wiggling around just like a headless neck moving on its own.
The fuck, even a snake looks cuter than that!
But there was no limit to how disgusting the apocalypse could get. This thing yawed open its jaws, which were bigger than its body, and the mere sight of its two rows of densely packed teeth gave me goosebumps. It didn’t matter whether this thing was a snake, an earthworm, or a great white shark—the most important part was that one of the heads had suddenly stretched out about seven to eight times in length until its skin was stretched taut and smooth. It took a large bite of the horned mice then instantly shrank back. There were the sounds of crunching and chewing, as blood spurted out of the corners of its mouth.
At this moment, another head suddenly shot out, astonishingly fast and nimble like a snake. I twisted my body, but to my surprise, it followed with a twist of its neck at a ninety-degree angle. The densely packed, sharp teeth were quickly closing in on me. Unable to evade again, I could only stretch out a hand to slap its face away, and used the force to propel myself the other way.
A stab of pain came from my hand. I looked to see that it was red, swollen, and disgustingly covered in mucus.
I quickly froze ice over my hand. As the cold numbed the pain, I flicked my wrist, throwing off the mucus and the ice layer. My slap to its face seemed to have ignited its anger as all of the heads turned to look toward me, even though I couldn’t really make out whether or not it had eyes.
The heads pounced over all at once. There was no way I could dodge the attack so I simply formed a large ice wall. The heads smashed apart the wall. The first few heads that had rammed into the wall seemed dented and writhed on the floor, seemingly in pain.
Taking advantage of the window when the heads had knocked themselves silly, I rushed over and directly chopped off those few indented heads with my ice dagger. They weren’t hard to cut—its outer shell didn’t seem very hard and while it was tough, I could still cut through with my ice knives.
Should I leave, or take this thing’s crystal?
While I was still hesitating, the earthworm abruptly shot into the air. It squeezed its whole body out of the sewer, even splitting open the manholes to make a huge hole. Its body gushed endlessly from below, and its proportions were nothing like the exposed upper part…
So the part connected at the base of those heads isn’t the body but is still a part of its neck. Its full form was like a huge tree branching out endlessly from the bottom to the top. It had only exposed the very tips of its branch, while its real body was completely buried inside the sewer, and it only exposed its true self after I had thoroughly pissed it off.
Calling it a nine-headed earthworm was an insult. There were at least ninety-nine heads standing straight up like snakes, as if Yggdrasil were standing before my eyes.
No wonder the horde of horned mice had been running so fast that they couldn’t even bother with a meal!
All of the ninety-nine heads looked toward me and grinned, exposing its sharp and dense teeth… Shit!
I formed ice blades on the soles of my feet, broke into a run, and glided away. Behind me, countless giant jaws lined with sharp teeth were in mad pursuit, and an enormous body steamrolled over everything in the streets…