Dominion’s End Volume 6: The Unknown Elite
Original novel in Chinese by: 御我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 4: Failed Negotiations—translated by lucathia, Miaka Mei, raylight, Elkin & Dahlys (proofread by elisa & Minthe; C/E edited by lucathia)
I popped up from the bed, in disbelief that I had slept so soundly in the apocalypse. If an aberrant were nearby, I wouldn’t even have known how I’d died—wait, this is my room. Jiang Shuyu’s room.
After looking around and finding not even the slightest hint of danger, I sat sluggishly on the side of the bed and used both hands to hit my cheeks. With a loud “slap,” my chaotic feelings gradually began to calm down. Immediately afterwards, I began to carefully recall the past I had dreamed of.
It turned out that Wei Xiaogē had given his full name from the start. Only, everyone had called him Wei Xiaogē, and I had also followed suit. Sometimes, for the sake of teasing him, I would switch to calling him baby bro Wei—Wei Xiaodì.
However, Xia Zhengu had disliked Wei Xiaogē from the start. It was just that Wei Xiaogē was powerful, had joined the team for a long time, and hadn’t committed any big mistakes. If Xia Zhengu were to want to chase him away, who knows how many of the team would want to leave with Wei Xiaogē!
Several times, when I spoke with Wei Xiaogē, Xia Zhengu would use that as an excuse to blow up. Later on, in order to avoid bringing trouble to Wei Xiaogē, I no longer spoke with him in private. And so, I forgot his full name, “Wei Mingyun.”
Even so, Wei Xiaogē didn’t skimp on helping me out. He repaid the debt of saving his life over and over again. It was as if to him, he was never ever going to be able to repay the debt in full.
When I recalled the “life debt,” I felt uneasy. If I don’t go and save him this time around, will Wei Xiaogē actually die in that shelter?
The door was suddenly opened. I looked over. Xiao Sha came in with a kettle. When he saw that I was awake, he froze, then relaxed and said, “So, you’re already up. I’ll get some food for you. Eat up, and then you’ll have to hurry and—”
I stared blankly at Xiao Sha. Xia Zhengu’s face suddenly appeared in my mind. In that moment, he was yelling.
Those high officials of the Shangguan family live in luxury, eating and drinking their fill…
I yelled. Xiao Sha startled so hard that the kettle fell on the ground. He immediately drew his dagger and looked around, thinking there was an enemy.
I finally figured it out!
In my previous life, I learned from broadcasts that there was a shelter nearby outside of the city. We fled the city with our lives on the line to seek shelter. The shelter used to be a military camp—the Shangguan family’s military camp!
I didn’t know how many times Xia Zhengu had yelled in front of me, “Shangguan trash,” or “lazy Shangguan asses.” The surname was so unique. How could I have taken this long to remember!
Probably because there were too many people and things Xia Zhengu always complained about. They were just like those mistresses, so numerous that I couldn’t even remember their faces, let alone their names.
Thinking it over carefully, this life’s Guan Weijun lived in Lan City, while in the previous life, I had also lived in the city. I grew up, went to school, and got a job all in the same city because my mom wasn’t willing to leave the city where she and her late husband had so many memories. I wanted to keep Mom company, so I had stayed in the same city the entire time.
Even though the name of the city wasn’t the same, and this life’s Guan Weijun wasn’t me, my mom was still the same. Just like in the previous life, she definitely didn’t want to leave. Also, Guan Weijun looked rather dutiful. Like me, she had probably also chosen to keep her mother company.
Going by that, Lan City should be the big city that trapped me for so long in my previous life!
If “history” doesn’t change, then Lan City’s aberrants will join forces and attack the Shangguan family’s military camp. The shelter will get breached. Last time, many people died…
When exactly did it happen?
I really couldn’t remember. There were too many experiences like this in the apocalypse. We would find shelter and live in peace for a few days, and then we would be forced by aberrants to flee again.
This had happened not too long after the apocalypse had started too. Afterwards, I went through ten years as Guan Weijun, then eighteen years as Jiang Shuyu. All in all, that was nearly thirty years, so my memories were all fuzzy and mixed up. I couldn’t tell them apart, wait—that was definitely something that happened at the start of the apocalypse, and it happened before the second black fog too. It definitely happened before a year was up!
“Xiao Yu?” Xiao Sha looked at me in confusion.
My face was pale as I looked back at him and asked, “Xiao Sha, what month is it right now?”
Xiao Sha frowned, but he still gave it serious thought and answered, “Around mid-February to early March. I don’t remember the exact date, but it should be around then.”
There are only three months left until a full year of the apocalypse will be up…
Will the aberrants join forces and attack the Shangguans’ military camp again?
Even during a life-or-death situation, the Shangguan family was still sending some of their troops to attack our Zhanjiang Garrison. I was certain that this hadn’t happened in my past life. Could their loss of military power result in speeding up the breach of the shelter this time?
After all, they’d be short four hundred soldiers—Oh no, shit! Don’t tell me I killed off Wei Xiǎogē during the night raid?!
As the terrifying thought crossed my mind, I hastily asked, “Xiao Sha, have you heard about someone named Wei Mingyun?”
Xiao Sha shook his head in bewilderment.
Now that I thought about it, at that time, Wei Xiaogē was still very young. He probably hadn’t even graduated from military school. There was simply no way for him to accomplish any big achievements that could make Xiao Sha take notice of him.
Still, Wei Xiaogē had become a whole lot stronger afterwards. Although Xia Zhengu had robbed him of a huge amount of evolution crystals, he had still managed to become one of our strongest elites.
That’s the reason Xia Zhengu grew to hate Wei Xiaogē. Xia Zhengu was intimidated by him, yet he didn’t dare to kick him out because he was afraid that many people would leave with him. Killing him wasn’t a good idea either. Wei Xiaogē wasn’t an easy target to kill.
Everyone already knew how much Xia Zhengu hated Wei Xiaogē anyway. If anything were to happen to Wei Xiaogē, he would be the first person to be suspected!
Wei Xiaogē had privately rescued quite a lot of people, yet he had never demanded them to return the favor. He was young, good-looking, and carried himself with a boyish charm he had yet to grow out of. Women were attracted to him or treated him with motherly care, while men weren’t too hostile toward a big kid like him. Wei Xiaogē could basically attract both men and women. Considering his overwhelming popularity with all, who knew how many people had been secretly eyeing him.
Xiao Sha suddenly said, “Xiao Yu, now isn’t the time for you to be daydreaming. The Shangguan troops have already reached the outskirts of Old Town.”
Upon hearing this, I immediately returned to my senses. Xiao Sha picked up the kettle from the ground. He checked to see that it was still half full before handing it over to me.
I drank the sweet honey water as I listened to his report about the current situation.
“You’ve slept for a day. During that time, we’ve been force-feeding you with some evolution crystals.”
No wonder my wounds have healed so quickly, though there’s still some pain and aches here and there. Anyhow, you’re considered healthy as long as you still can move around during the apocalypse.
“Shangguan Chenhong arrived later than expected. They have been staying at the outskirts since they arrived here. It’s likely a result of your raid—they’re hesitant about attacking because they don’t have enough information on us.”
I quietly nodded my head. Although the desired outcome had been achieved, I wholeheartedly prayed that this raid hadn’t killed a person who shouldn’t be killed. Despite my two lifetimes, this was the first time that I had mercilessly killed so many people. But as a result of that, fear engulfed my conscience, and my stomach churned with tense cramps. I was horrified at the thought that I had possibly caused my past life’s savior to die at the young age of eighteen.
“They want to negotiate first, so Cain told me to come over and check if you’re awake.”
I couldn’t help asking about my little sister’s whereabouts. Her èrgē has passed out, yet Shujun isn’t by my side. This is just too strange. My heart wouldn’t feel at ease until I got to the bottom of it.
“She’s outside. Cain is having her on standby because her powers are very useful for both defense and attack. Almost no one can defend against it.” Xiao Sha then added, “She’s placed at a very safe location. It’s easily guarded and hard to attack. Yunqian is also with her. They’ll attack only when it’s dire.”
I nodded and said, “I’ll go after I change my clothes.”
When it came to negotiations, I definitely wasn’t as well versed at it as Cain and the others. But I was useful for other things like being a readily available, dangerous weapon of murder. And because of that, I couldn’t keep up the pretense of a delicate pretty boy.
Xiao Sha nodded and left the room first.
I took out of the wardrobe a brand-new white shirt made from butterfly silk. The shirt I had worn during the raid had most likely been reduced to a tattered, bloody garment. Besides, I still had a mountain of butterfly silk from last time. Even if I used it like disposable clothing, I could still use it for a long period of time.
Just as I was about to put on my clothes, something plump and round suddenly pounced on me, sprawling flat against my chest, stretching longer and finally turning into a transparent vest. The whole process only took a few seconds. This was the result of practicing again and again.
“Jiang Xiaorong.” I silently pondered for a while, and carefully said, “There might be a great battle after this. If we really can’t win it, then you may flee. Regardless of what the Ice Emperor did to make you faithfully obey my words—basically, you don’t need to sacrifice your life because of this. I’m giving you the permission to flee. Do you understand what I’m saying?”
I vaguely felt that Jiang Xiaorong was a little confused and did not fully understand me, but I simply had no time to slowly explain it to him. If it came down to it, I would simply take him off and toss him aside. In the midst of the chaotic fighting, I believe no one would be so free as to bother an ice crystal vest.
I took a deep breath, and ice crystals started to spread upwards from the bottom of my feet, forming a pair of ice boots. Then, I put on an ice mask to cover my overly youthful and pretty face, tightly pursed my lips, and put on a face of indifference. Once again, I took on the cool appearance from the large-scale night raid two days prior.
The moment I stepped out of the room, I saw Xiao Sha standing outside the door. He handed over the items in both hands together, which were jerky and evolution crystals. As expected, these were the two things I needed the most right now.
I’ll reject the jerky for now, since it won’t be filling, and instead will make me crave more food. Now isn’t the time to be eating, so I’ll put it aside.
I swallowed the evolution crystals in one shot, and then summoned my hoarfrost dagger. I couldn’t resist trying to summon the Ice Emperor’s spear again, but the ice spear still refused to come. However, the large ice pattern on my right hand still continued to radiate cold air, which was vastly different from before, when it had been still.
I wasn’t too surprised by that. It looked like things were definitely different once you hit tier three, though I still couldn’t summon the Ice Emperor’s spear. Perhaps it was because tier three was just the threshold to the realm of the elites, and it was far from enough.
I wonder how many more tiers I have to go before I can see the Ice Emperor’s spear again. Tier five or six? Regardless, there will definitely be a day I can materialize the Ice Emperor’s spear again!
“Stand back.” I warned Xiao Sha.
Xiao Sha opened his mouth, but before he could speak, white vapor had come out from his mouth. His expression changed, and he instantly moved back several steps. Noticing that something was off, he instead jumped onto the ceiling and held onto the wall light. It was a close shave, for the ice on the ground had nearly frozen his leg.
With my icy aura, I decided it was time to be a killer weapon.
Xiao Sha personally led the way, but his whole body was tense, and goosebumps emerged on his skin. Most likely, this was the first time he had felt cold since the winter began.
Many tents were set outside the mansion, and the civilians were all gathered within the walls of the mansion. Most of them were whispering to each other in unease, but a small portion of them looked calmer and were even helping to maintain order. Thinking about it, I believed those should be Guan Weijun’s people.
Everyone’s reaction upon seeing me was the same—they stopped all movements and speech, and stared at me with widened eyes.
The kids looked extremely excited, but their mothers grabbed and held onto them tight, not allowing them to run off.
Fine, I get that I look like a magical warrior who has walked into the wrong dimension. But the style of this ice armor is just like that, half-translucent. I don’t want to focus too much on my appearance just for the sake of looking a little more high-tech.
One must know that every moment counts in a battle, and every bit of power is precious. It is necessary to be able to forge the most useful armor in an instant, so as long as it wasn’t too hideous for the world, that was fine with me.
When I walked past, the crowd all shivered, evidently feeling the cold. I quickly picked up my pace and walked faster, so that the kids wouldn’t suffer side effects from freezing.
I did a sweep of the area, and then realized that the civilians would sneak a look at the mansion from time to time, their eyes full of desire to go in. I immediately asked Xiao Sha with a lowered voice, “Who’s guarding the mansion?”
“On my side, there’s me, Zheng Xing and Lily. Most of the people in your troop stayed. Chen Yanqing, Su Ying, Gao Yun, and such. On Guan Weijun’s end, there’s Tai Wen and Zhang Jing.”
After saying that, Xiao Sha gestured for the military men standing at both sides of the door to open it. They turned, and I then noticed that there were two members of the Ice Spears among the people guarding the door—Peng Weijie and Huang Guanlun. The former had thought that his ability was vibrating objects, and as for the latter… If he still can’t find his ability, I’m going to blast him away—and I mean it literally! It’s easiest for one’s ability to manifest when they are on the edge of life and death.
The two of them recognized me from the icy aura, but seeing that I was wearing a mask, they understood that I did not intend to reveal my identity, so they were trying hard to pretend that they did not know me.
“Tell Tai Wen that I’m going to the outer walls. Also, have him be ready to use his power at any time.”
Xiao Sha relayed it to Huang Guanlun, who immediately nodded and answered, “Yes.”
While we walked out of the mansion, Xiao Sha explained more about the current situation. He seemed perplexed as he said, “Shangguan Chenhong came over personally. In the past, he wouldn’t come out to battle with the troops. I don’t know if this means his power is really strong, and that’s why he dared to come along.”
I thought about it for a bit, and then said, “He probably thinks that the mission to attack our base this time will be an easy one and wanted to get the credit for it. After all, they have more than four hundred fully equipped military troops. At present, even the aberrants would choose to avoid them.”
Xiao Sha gave a “hmph” with a dirty look.
I sounded out the idea, “If I can seize a chance to kill off Shangguan Chenhong, would that help the current battle?”
After all, they were still relatives, so I was worried that Xiao Sha might still mind. If I killed him, would it cause a rift between us?
As for Xiao Sha’s elder brother, Shangguan Chenhao, I absolutely wouldn’t kill him unless I had no other choice. Even if Xiao Sha kept claiming that he didn’t care about him, that didn’t seem to be the case in reality.
Xiao Sha pondered and said with uncertainty, “I’m not very close with Shangguan Chenhong. I just know that he is rather bold and would openly oppose Shangguan Chenhao. But he’s not the type to lead his troops into battle, so he’s probably pretty useless on the battlefield. He might have some use if we capture him as a hostage though.”
Capturing him alive was harder than killing him. I’d first need to hide to see whether he would carelessly walk up to the front of his troops, or should I charge out and directly commence with the killing?
I’ll leave it to Cain to decide!
After washing my hands of the hot potato, I temporarily retracted the icy air to let Xiao Sha set up a hidden passageway.
An area with the mansion at its center and extending outwards by two streets’ width on all sides had become completely surrounded to be like a circle, not unlike a small city lake.
Buildings had been completely sealed up and abandoned cars were piled up on the streets. If I could get an earth power user to fill them out with earth, it would become an extremely basic city wall. As long as the enemies didn’t have rule breaking things like missiles, it should be more than enough. Sadly, I already knew that our opponents had a weapon that was just a hair below a missile.
In fact, if a metal user and an earth user worked together, it would be even easier to build. A powerful metal user might even be able to twist the cars into metal pieces, which was the perfect construction material!
Unfortunately, we didn’t have any metal users in the JDT. Although our newer members, Ding Jun and Wen Jianuo, were metal users, Ding Jun had eaten very few crystals and also had only trained for a short period of time, so his abilities were too weak to be of much use.
Wen Jianuo’s ability was to transform parts of himself into metal. Although I wasn’t sure if he could control metal in the future, it was definitely a no go for him right now.
Just now, Xiao Sha had described how the Shangguan family was only stationed outside the small town. However, when we arrived at the temporary city wall, we could hear movement outside of the gate. We exchanged glances, then used our own ways to scale the city wall without alerting anyone, and silently surveyed the situation outside the wall.
Once on the wall, I immediately looked all around us. Xiao Sha seemed to know what I was looking for and explained, “They’re not here. Shujun and Yunqian are hidden at the sniping point at the building behind us.”
I relaxed. I was only able to observe the situation once I had confirmed my mèimei’s safety.
Outside the gate, Wen Jianuo was facing off with a man in a woolen coat. Neither of them seemed to have any weapons on them and had only brought a person each. Lin Zuojun, a guy with teleportation powers, was standing behind Wen Jianuo.
We also had others hidden on the walls on our side, every one of them aiming guns toward the enemy.
The enemy was even more extreme. There were close to a hundred men standing in four rows behind the man in the woolen coat, and I counted thirty to forty AK-47s and M4 carbines among them. If this negotiation fell apart and a shootout started, my Ice Spears’ captain would turn from man to mincemeat in an instant, without any hope of finding any piece of him, not even a palm-sized piece!
Wen Jianuo heading out to negotiate must have been arranged by a certain someone.
I scanned the surroundings and soon located Cain, who was standing beside the gate. He wasn’t far from Wen Jianuo, and could immediately reenter the gate if he just turned around. At the same time, it was a good spot where he was close enough to hear the negotiations.
Seeing as Cain had it all planned out, I could only remain hidden and focus my entire attention on the negotiations. The moment I saw something even the slightest bit off, I would be able to jump in to save my captain. As for Lin Zuojun—heh, guys who can teleport can damn well save their own lives.
“Xiao Yu,” Xiao Sha whispered, “The man wearing the woolen coat is Shangguan Chenhong.”
“He has some balls to stand out here,” I said dryly. This wasn’t courage but the fearlessness that came with real power. Anyone could tell that there was a gulf between us in terms of firepower and equipment.
Xiao Sha seemed very confused and theorized, “Maybe his ability is blocking or dodging bullets. Otherwise, there’s no way he would be standing at the front. Any who get to positions like his are very careful with their lives.”
This was possible. It was a pity that I didn’t have enough time to train Wen Jianuo; otherwise, a guy who was able to transform his body to metal was an anti-bullet shield perfect for blocking bullets for us. In fact, you might be unlucky enough to get hit by bullets rebounding from his body.
“May I ask why you have come to our Zhanjiang Garrison?”
Wen Jianuo’s tone was extremely harsh and completely expressed his dissatisfaction. He really was very ballsy for a man facing countless AK-47s and M4 carbines head on.
Shangguan Chenhong didn’t immediately reply. He looked Wen Jianuo up and down and drawled, “Your posture is not bad. You must be a soldier? It’s one thing to desert the army, but you’re even planning to take over and rule the territory?”
My expression darkened. This bastard immediately started trash talking the military the moment he opened his mouth. It wasn’t even a year into the apocalypse. For guys like Wen Jianuo who had proven to be good soldiers, he might still consider himself as part of the army. I would cry if my captain really “returned to the army.”
Wen Jianuo’s expression froze for a moment before a cheeky grin spread over his face once again. He said, “I do indeed live here, but I wouldn’t call myself the ruler of this territory. Just like everyone else, I’m only doing what I need to survive. After all, what squad is there for me to return to now? Everyone’s doing their own thing.”
Shangguan Chenhong rebuked, “Who says you don’t have any squad to return to? I am Major General Shangguan. State your military rank, soldier!”
“My rank is ‘cannon fodder.’ I just got careless and failed to die.”
The corners of Wen Jianuo’s mouth turned upward as he talked, but that obviously fake smile sent shivers down my spine. If I hadn’t happened to be in the right place at the right time, with Dàgē at my side, it would probably have been impossible for me to tame this fellow.
Er, actually, have I truly tamed this guy?
Shangguan Chenhong’s face darkened as he chided, “It seems that you’re set on betraying us! You were the one who ambushed us, weren’t you? Laying your hands on a comrade, can you even call yourself human?”
Wen Jianuo scoffed, “And who exactly did I betray? The guys in Zhi Bei can’t be contacted at all. Who died and made a monkey like you king, anyway?”
Shangguan Chenhong was furious at being compared to a monkey.
Wen Jianuo angrily refuted, “You’re even blaming me for taking the initiative? Don’t tell me, a group of fully armed soldiers just happened to pass by? Territory is obtained on a first-come-first-served basis. It took us a lot of effort to take over this place and constantly defend it from frequent monster attacks coming from nearby Lan City. We finally managed to construct some semblance of fortification after so long, yet you want to take everything away from us with a single order? Comrades? Bah! You people are even worse than the monsters!”
“Hmph!” Shangguan Chenhong’s pride didn’t allow him to attempt defending himself, so another person stepped forward instead. This person wore a military uniform with many badges on it, and he appeared to be older than Shangguan Chenhong. He was probably in his fifties, but his attitude was far less overbearing.
He explained, “We never planned on fighting you guys. We just wanted to incorporate you into our army. We have many arms and soldiers, but we haven’t got a good military base. Our military camp is being used to house civilian refugees as well, but the few houses we have are far from enough for all the refugees. They’re forced to live in tents, but now that the weather has gotten colder, more and more people are freezing to death.”
The old soldier sighed.
Wen Jianuo sneered, “Spoken like a true hero, but I used to be a soldier, you know? If we hadn’t ambushed you and killed off a few dozen of your men, would you even have considered talking to us in a civilized manner like you are now? I’m afraid that your so-called ‘incorporation’ involved massacring all of us if we refused to surrender, without giving us a chance to discuss terms! And even if we surrendered, several of my closest brothers and I would have been executed. You wouldn’t even have had to come up with a plan on how to kill us quietly. All you’d have to do is send us to fight the monsters. Even if we survived a few attacks, we’d probably be severely wounded and out of commission!”
The old soldier immediately replied, “We wouldn’t do that sort of thing! We are in great need of talent and would never sacrifice our soldiers for no reason. You might not be able to trust others, but can you not even trust your comrades?”
Wen Jianuo raised an eyebrow and loudly said, “Of course I trust in the brothers and comrades I have here. Right now, we don’t have any officers who have never seen battle giving us silly orders either. As for you people? When a superior officer says ‘Even if the monsters are eating people everywhere, we shouldn’t kill them, and should instead kill other people to steal their territory,’ you’re still here following orders. Tsk tsk.”
Having been suddenly coldly mocked, the old soldier felt so awkward that he couldn’t respond right away.
Shangguan Chenhong finally lost his patience and angrily yelled, “We gave you an easy way out, but it looks like you’d rather do things the hard way!”
Wen Jianuo sensed the hostility in his voice and immediately swung into action, his body turning into a metallic silver-gray color.
At the same time, there were the sounds of a gunshot followed by a bullet hitting metal.
The old soldier cried out in pain and grabbed his left arm, having been unfortunate enough to be hit by the reflected bullet.
Holding a gun, Shangguan Chenhong roared, “Fire! Kill this man and we no longer have to negotiate with him!”
“Stop!” shouted the old soldier. He gritted his teeth in pain and growled, “He is not their leader. We can’t kill him!”
Before the soldiers could decide which order to follow, a wall of flame leapt up in between the three men and the soldiers.
I immediately leapt off the city wall and glided toward Shangguan Chenhong. This was the golden opportunity to capture him. Before Shangguan Chenhong could react, I was already right in front of him. He had only just begun to raise his gun.
I raised a hand and fired off an ice blade, planning on freezing the gun, but Shangguan Chenhong exploded when it hit!
A man had just exploded, but instead of blood and flesh splattering all over the place, there was only a mass of…paper? I reached out to grab the white stuff floating in mid-air, which turned out to be confetti. A gun lay in the middle of a pile of confetti on the ground. Just what is going on?
The old soldier groaned and fell to the ground, unmoving. He had fallen unconscious.
My head tightened and my danger instinct made me throw out a hand to build an ice wall within the wall of fire. Almost simultaneously, the guns roared.
“Everyone retreat behind the walls!”
After shouting that at Wen Jianuo and the others, I grabbed the old soldier on the floor and started my retreat behind the wall as I built ice wall after ice wall to block the never-ending bullets.
It wasn’t just the enemy shooting at us, our side was firing back at them as well. The space between us became a storm of bullets as both sides exchanged fire. Although we had fewer people, we had the advantage of the city wall. Even if the metal and bricks couldn’t block all the bullets, it provided cover from their line of sight. Furthermore, they reduced the impact of the bullets, so for our side that had strengthened our bodies after eating crystals, as long as a bullet didn’t hit a fatal spot, it wouldn’t be fatal.
Then, I spotted them taking out familiar looking guns with my keen vision. Crystal energy guns!
I roared, “Cain, burn that way!”
Cain didn’t question me in the slightest and shouted, “It’s too far. Xiao Sha, give me a hand with some wind!”
Then, he clapped his hands together and spread them outwards. A ball of rolling flames emerged in between his palms, and as he pulled his hands further apart, the fireball became larger and larger, to the point where even I could feel the heat from how far away I was standing.
When the fireball was half the height of a person, Cain lifted his hands. The ball extended upward continuously to form a fire dragon in the sky, and with the help of a wild gust of wind, the fire dragon leapt at the enemy.
A few energy guns fired our way, but I had expected that and had already built multiple ice walls to block them.
With the help of the gale winds, the blazing inferno of the fire dragon directly charged at the two rows of soldiers. What was scarier than the intense heat was that if they couldn’t hide in time, this dragon would twist and turn like a living creature and keep chasing after those people. They were forced to split up and hide to avoid getting annihilated in one fell swoop.
I spotted Shangguan Chenhong at the very back of those people. He seemed completely unscathed.
I really had no idea what this ability was that could let him suddenly switch from the very front to the very back of his troops, leaving behind some paper and a gun. It was quite unique and I had never heard of something like this in my previous life.
I looked down at the old soldier on the ground. The timing of him fainting was just too coincidental. Maybe turning a person into paper confetti had nothing to do with Shangguan Chenhong but was instead the old soldier’s power.
Xiao Sha also noticed Shangguan Chenhong and said coldly, “As expected, Shangguan Chenhong really isn’t the type to step forward to negotiate. He’s a coward.”
“Can we use this old soldier guy to threaten him?” I asked. With such a unique power and so many badges pinned in front of his chest, this old soldier looked like he was someone pretty important.
Xiao Sha shook his head and said, “No idea, I’m not that familiar with the people of the Shangguan family.”
You don’t know this one or that one. Don’t act like you’re not a Shangguan person and pretend that you’re from the Xiao family because you’re called Xiao Sha!
I bundled the old soldier with ice chains like he was a dumpling and had Xiao Sha keep an eye on him. This guy probably had a very unique power. If he turned into a bunch of confetti and disappeared as well, then we would have completely failed at capturing anyone. But killing him, well… it felt like such a waste. A unique power like this might only be found in this guy and no one else.
“Where are you going now?!” Cain bellowed, gritting his teeth as he controlled the fire dragon.
“I’m gonna grab a few of those crystal energy guns.” I pointed at the people holding onto the crystal energy guns. Knowing his observation skills, he should have long discovered the existence of those guns.
“Don’t bother.” Wen Jianuo immediately vetoed that when he heard me, “There’s only a hundred or so people there. The others might be advancing from another direction. Simple walls made from cars and earth aren’t enough to block them. When Cain’s fire dragon is almost used up, we should start retreating and use the traps on the way to fight our retreat back to the mansion. Only the reinforced walls of the mansion are enough to block their attacks. When they’ve reached the mansion walls, we can ask your little sister and Yunqian to unleash their ultimate skills on them.”
So the reason Shujun and Yunqian have been holding back is because they’re our secret weapon?
“Fine, then I won’t go.”
Cain and Wen Jianuo had everything sorted out, so I didn’t want to create trouble. I’ll help with the retreat, and at most after they released their ultimate skills, I’d go out and scavenge the leftovers. Crystal energy guns just needed some evolution crystals to be used, so in the apocalyptic world, they were much more practical compared to other weapons. It would be such a pity if we couldn’t get our hands on some.
The fire dragon stopped attacking. Sweat had beaded on Cain’s forehead—it seemed to have consumed a lot of his powers, but this wasn’t any surprise. Releasing your powers a distance away from yourself wasn’t simple, and if not for Xiao Sha’s supporting winds, his fire wouldn’t have burned for so long.
The moment the fire dragon vanished, the enemy launched a vicious attack. The crystal energy guns packed a real punch, and each shot would blast through the walls constructed of cars and dirt and reach the people hiding behind the walls. Those who were blasted either died or were incapacitated.
My ice wall was able to block the shots, so I went on full defense to save people a few times. As for the shots that would miss people, I ignored them all. There were quite a few crystal energy guns. It was too tiring to block all their attacks.
“Cain, we should retreat. It’s not worth wasting my energy to keep building ice walls.”
I wanted to save more than half my energy in case of an emergency. Even if I had evolution crystals to replenish my energy, I wouldn’t have time to slowly absorb them while fighting.
At Cain’s order, we started our retreat while still fighting. We didn’t have many casualties on our side, mostly just injuries, and I didn’t notice anyone who’d actually died. But the enemy’s soldiers had been dying and getting injured since the beginning. I didn’t like seeing that, but I wasn’t sure how Wen Jianuo felt about it.
From his expression, he looked very resolute and not at all swayed by the situation. However, this made me even more uneasy. Is he really okay with everything? He had clearly been the kind of guy who cared a lot about his comrades.
Equipped with knowledge of the terrain, we were able to smoothly retreat back to the mansion. Once we entered the walls, I immediately spotted Shujun and Yunqian inside. I didn’t have to worry about my xiaomèi as much now. Yunqian clearly knew how important Shujun was and so she would never put her in harm’s way.
Shujun immediately rushed over to touch and grab her èrgē, and it was only when she was sure that I was uninjured that she could relax and go back to Yunqian’s side. It seemed she had been ordered to stick closely to Yunqian, which was perfect and reassuring.
Tai Wen walked over, followed by Zhang Jing and my squad members, Diao Ming and the siblings, Xue Xi and Xue Huan. They were probably acting as bodyguards. After all, Tai Wen had just been an ordinary civilian when all this had started, working in a job that hadn’t required any high fighting power. Together with his very unique skill, it meant he needed good protection.
Tai Wen glanced at me. He was one of the people who had seen my ability and probably recognized who I was, but he didn’t say a single word and walked straight up to Cain.
“The civilians are all safe, but some people want to leave.”
Cain coldly harrumphed then said, “We already told them before. If you want to run, do it earlier. If you choose to enter the mansion, then don’t think about running. And now they’re making a fuss? Kill them!”
Tai Wen bit his lip. It seemed he couldn’t bring himself to do it.
Rather, it was Xue Xi who snickered, “No problem, sir, we were waiting for your word.”
They were not talking softly, and all the civilians hiding in the mansion walls could hear the dialogue clear as day. Everyone immediately lowered their heads, fearful of being noticed by Cain. They were terrified of the JDT and didn’t dare to protest.
Cain barked out a string of orders, and I finally understood what was meant by an “all-rounder” mercenary. No wonder Dàgē thought so highly of him. Even though he looked like an idiot, he was really reliable at critical times.
“Xiao Sha, wake up that old guy and find out his identity and powers. If he doesn’t talk, start slicing off parts of him! If we get sieged for too long, we can use his meat to eat hot pot!”
Cain’s words were hair raising, but I was pretty sure he just wanted to scare those restless citizens… right?! Anyway, I’ll eat any meat, just not human flesh!
“Wen Jianuo, keep watch from the wall. I’ll join you soon. If the gate gets breached, turn yourself into metal and become a steel gate!”
Wen Jianuo acknowledged the order and immediately turned to climb the wall without wasting a moment.
Finally, Cain started closely questioning Tai Wen, “How long can your powers last if the enemy is at our gates?”
Come to think of it, I wasn’t of much use standing here. I checked in on xiaomèi, making sure that she was sticking as close to Yunqian as possible. She was just shy of actually plastering against her. My little sister is such a good girl!
Then, I followed Wen Jianuo to the wall. Almost all the soldiers were gathered here. As professionals, they were holding onto guns and camouflage. The mansion wouldn’t go down quickly, but the problem was that we didn’t have enough ammunition.
Wen Jianuo first inspected outside the wall, ensuring that the enemy wasn’t daring enough yet to charge at us, before looking at me and saying, “If you want to conceal your identity, then come up with a codename. Otherwise, I don’t know what to call you.”
I almost blurted out “Call me the Ice Emperor,” but I didn’t have such thick skin. So I just said, “Let me think.”
Wen Jianuo nodded, then spoke to the soldiers manning the stations, “Shoot to kill anyone who approaches. Don’t get all soft hearted just because they’re wearing a uniform. They won’t do you the same favor. The military is now in anarchy and there is no more hierarchy! There’s so few of us who have managed to survive until now, so don’t get all soft and get killed.”
The soldiers nodded seriously.
After his speech, I couldn’t help but ask, “You’re really firm in your views. Are you really all okay with what that old soldier said?”
Honestly, the old soldier was very persuasive. No matter whether it was pulling rank, sympathizing with the civilians, or his promise to take Wen Jianuo in and not kill him, Wen Jianuo didn’t seem the slightest bit swayed by his words even until the end.
“What is there to think about?” Wen Jianuo scolded, “We’ve been saved by a kid like you so many times, and even showered in your blood countless times. If I can’t even pick a side like this, then what does that make me?”
“It makes you my squad’s captain!”