Dominion’s End Volume 6: The Unknown Elite
Original novel in Chinese by: 御我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 7: This Time, Seize Control! Part One—translated by Taffygirl13 & Elkin (C/E edited by lucathia)
Originally, I had wanted to immediately discuss the tunnel-digging speed with Zheng Xing as soon as we stepped inside the mansion. But it was filled with people and instantly all their gazes pointed toward us. Their eyes were filled with earnest hope, as though I would declare something like “I’ve knocked out all the aberrants hahaha” with the air of an overlord.
As I was feeling awkward, Tai Wen strode up and asked, “Is the situation outside all right?”
Under everyone’s expectant looks, I could only steel myself and maintain a cool, blank face while replying in a commanding tone, “All of Jiang Dominion’s people, follow me upstairs. Tai Wen, you too.”
Tai Wen nodded and turned to tell Zhang Jing, “Keep everything here in order. Make sure not to let anyone irrelevant enter through the front. If you really cannot hold them back, give a warning shout.”
Zhang Jing nodded furiously.
I led Yunqian, Shujun, Lily, Zheng Xing, and Tai Wen up to the second floor, then swiftly removed my ice mask and turned to inform them, “The aberrants have retreated for the time being, but the situation is still far from good. Zheng-shū, do you have any way of digging a tunnel from the mansion courtyard to the forest in the back mountain? Distance-wise, it just needs to go from the mansion to my courtyard house, but don’t create entryways yet. Those aberrants might circle around to the back mountain. If they find the entrance beforehand, we’ll be in trouble.”
Zheng Xing furrowed his brows at first, but he seemed to think of something as he nodded and replied, “I’m not familiar with tunnel architecture, but we can ask your uncle for some thoughts. This would need some time, as well as a large amount of crystals to supply energy. But as long as there aren’t any issues with the architecture and I work through the night, I should be able to dig one to the forest by tomorrow morning.”
At this, I bluntly stated, “Then go find my uncle to start on it now. Bring my aunt along with you; she can sense the aberrants’ location. You can rely on her directions to build the tunnel along the areas with fewer aberrants. Don’t forget to keep the locations of the entrance and exit hidden.”
Zheng Xing left per the command.
I continued on to the rest, “Once Zheng-shū’s tunnel is deep enough, Lily and Zhang Jing will lead the citizens in the mansion to hide inside the tunnel. Keep everything under control, and make sure there is no noise.”
Tai Wen’s people were quite disciplined and would likely be able to stay quiet and still. However, the two hundred citizens outside the mansion were a mess, and if they were allowed inside the tunnel prematurely, the situation would be uncontrollable. If anyone caused a commotion inside the tunnel and drew the aberrants’ attention, we would be doomed. That was why we could not let them in yet.
Lily replied with an “all right” and did not appear to be dissatisfied in any way. This reassured me significantly. While Lily’s individual combat capabilities were excellent as always, and giving her a gun would ensure she would be in no way inferior to the soldiers on the city wall, it was ultimately just an extra gun, and she would at most be someone more accurate than the others. It would be better to let her lead an escape. After all, Zhang Jing was young; having him lead an escape on his lonesome and making critical decisions on the spot was truly too much of a burden on him.
I turned to look at Tai Wen while stating, “You will come up to the city wall with me. How long are you able to maintain your ability right now?”
Tai Wen considered the question and answered, “If it’s just one layer and I have replenishing crystals, sustaining it until tomorrow won’t be a problem. If it’s two layers, I’m afraid it will only last four…no, six hours. If it’s three layers, ten minutes─thirty minutes!”
I nodded, completely understanding why the times coming from Tai Wen’s mouth were so different. Ten minutes was per usual activation; thirty minutes would be betting on his life.
If I think about it, Dàgē should be arriving by the day after tomorrow latest, and there’s a higher chance that he’ll be here by tomorrow evening. And the people here that can guard the wall are me, Cain, Xiao Sha, Yunqian, and-and Shujun…
I glanced at my younger sister. The latter’s eyes had been sparkling ever since hearing that she was not included among the people entering the tunnel. As her brother, I could only grit my teeth at this and fight back my worries. Shujun’s ability was too useful; I could not have her retreat into the tunnel first simply because I was afraid of her getting hurt.
Don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid. I, her èrgē, will be on the city wall too. If we really can’t hold our defense, I’ll guard her as she retreats, even if I die!
“Shujun, you need to follow Yunqian closely. Both of you will wait for my orders before making a move.”
I looked over at Yunqian. Her water ability was very compatible with Shujun’s lightning. With their combination, one plus one was definitely greater than two. It was a hard to come by support for defending the city.
Upon noticing my gaze, Ceng Yunqian immediately replied, “Don’t worry, anyone that wants to harm Shujun will have to step over my dead body first!”
I nodded as I pondered over any usable resources that I might have missed.
In addition to abilities, the firepower of the troops could not be looked down on either. Based on combat power alone, we might actually be able to deal with over two thousand aberrants. Unfortunately, the two thousand figure was just an estimated number from what I could see. Based on the style of commands on the other side, it was likely there were many aberrants hiding that had yet to appear. Moreover, the minute there was any large disturbance, the surrounding aberrants would be drawn over.
That had been the case in my previous life. Every time we had thought we’d finally fought the aberrants back and survived once more, we’d weakly collapse onto the ground. But before we could even cry over our survival, an even deeper despair would follow…
“Shuyu? Are we heading up to the city wall now?” Tai Wen shot me a puzzled look.
I took a deep breath. Calm down, calm down. If we really can’t hold up, Tai Wen’s ability can buy time and we can fully retreat to escape through the tunnel. Worst case, we can still engage in guerilla fights in the forest while fleeing. No matter what, we can drag things out, and Dàgē will definitely make it back in time!
In my past life, I had been so weak yet had still managed to stay alive for a decade. There was no reason that in this life, I wouldn’t even survive up to the second black fog after rising to third tier!
“Remember to call me Ice Spear outside.” I put on the ice mask and shouted, “Everyone else, follow me. We’ll show the aberrants outside just how formidable humans are!”
The moment we stepped out, my face mask nearly split from my anger.
“Dad, Dad, it’s me, hurry up and open the door or else I’ll be eaten by monsters!”
“Xiao Yu, my precious son, it’s Daddy. Come open the door and let Daddy in!”
A woman was sobbing “Daddy, save me”, while the man beside her was sobbing “Son, save me.” Although they were calling for different people, their crying faces were identical. There was no mistake—they were definitely blood-related siblings!
I touched my face and found that the ice mask had not split. With a flick of my hand, I cast an ice pillar out at each person, blasting them ten meters away to instantly silence them. This was nothing like how in comics, people could just brush off the dirt on their butts and stand back up perfectly fine after being sent flying countless times. A force that could blast someone out ten meters would definitely break several bones, and it wouldn’t be strange if it directly killed them.
“Anyone else that dares to make any noise will be killed without exception!”
The area was dead silent. I swept a fierce glare around, causing everyone to lower their heads in fear of meeting my eyes. Their bodies trembled in fear, and they no longer carried an air of defiance to keep speaking out.
Being a merciless person is really useful!
From now on, I’ll maintain this persona even if I’m dying. Even though it’s a bit regretful that I, the great Ice Spear master, didn’t receive the name of Ice Emperor, I think it’s actually a good thing now that I think about it. No matter how much I madly race down the path I make from mercilessly stirring up trouble, I won’t be sullying the Ice Emperor’s name. This “Emperor” title can just be left for Dàgē to use in the future.
I peeked inside the gate. It was completely still inside. Elder Li seemed truly ruthless this time and didn’t cave to his son and daughter’s tears.
To my side, Yunqian sighed quietly with admiration. “After wearing that mask, you’ve become a lot more brutal in your ways, and even your voice sounds different, all icy and cold. It’s completely different from your real self. Are you sure you don’t have a split personality or something? If it’s this drastic, you might really be able to pull off this trick. I’d originally thought that you wouldn’t last even three days in for this ‘masked man’ game before you slipped up.”
On my other side, Tai Wen couldn’t help but nod in agreement, though I wasn’t sure if he was agreeing to the fact that I had split personalities or that I wouldn’t last three days in the ”masked man” game.
Junjun retorted with indignation, “No way my èrgē’s got split personalities. He’s always been this brutal. It’s just that Yunqian-jiě has never seen how awesome my èrgē is. Even Dàgē is scared of him!”
Yunqian had a look of utter disbelief on hearing those words.
Junjun immediately embarked on telling the legend of her èrgē. “Y’know, there was once when Èrgē was super duper mad at Dàgē. He smacked the table, scaring Dàgē so much he fumbled his rice bowl. It dropped and shattered everywhere!”
Yunqian asked curiously, “What on earth did Boss do? How’d Shuyu get so mad that he smacked the table?”
“Dàgē got shot in his right hand but he insisted on doing missions abroad even though he hadn’t healed up. He even said he was just in charge of commands so it didn’t matter that he couldn’t move his right hand. So Èrgē got so mad he smacked the table and yelled, ‘You wanna try not being able to move your whole body?!’”
Yunqian suddenly remembered. “Oh, that time. Boss could only eat by holding chopsticks with his left hand and would frequently drop veggies and rice everywhere. So he even dropped his rice bowl. But back then, Shuyu wouldn’t have been able to make Leader completely unable to move, right? But now he can do it easily.”
No no no, it’s not that easy now either. Why am I being made out to be some super elite fighter?
Her comment made Shujun very unhappy, and she snapped back, “If Èrgē says something, he can do it! Back then, Dàgē had left quite a few a tranquilizer guns at home and only Èrgē knew where they were hidden.”
“…Fair enough, that’s pretty ruthless! No wonder Leader passed command to Cain for that mission. I’d thought he’d finally felt confident in Cain’s abilities back then.”
The corner of my mouth twitched. We’re surrounded by an aberrant swarm, and our fate is hanging in the balance, but you two are still happily gossiping about Dàgē’s rice bowl and Èrgē’s ruthlessness. Is this okay?
Junjun, ever since the apocalypse, you’ve become corrupted… No, my Junjun’s as laid back as before the apocalypse. She’s always been very happy-go-lucky and saying that even if the skies fell, as long as Dàgē and Èrgē were there, there was nothing to worry about.
It’s just that your èrgē never imagined that his own sister would be chilled to this extent. This really is—pretty good? Even the apocalypse can’t stop my mèimei from living her days in joy and laughter.
I fought to suppress the smile that was tugging at my lips and said coldly, “Let’s go. What do you think you’re doing, gossiping about Leader behind his back!”
Even though I was overjoyed, I still had to tell them off and maintain Dàgē’s dignity, so that his first title would be some kind of emperor. He definitely couldn’t become like me, where the “Ice” part was there but the “Emperor” part was missing.
We had returned to the top of the city wall, to be greeted with a peaceful scene. The enemies still hadn’t attacked. Chen Yanqing even had time to greet me, but to maintain my persona, I had no choice but to glare at him while looking him up and down. Seems like his injuries aren’t too bad anymore.
Looking back over the wall, I frowned. Why is there still no movement? Do the aberrants have something else up their sleeve?
I circled around the city walls quite a few times but couldn’t spot anything out of the ordinary.
Wen Jianuo asked quietly, “Ice Spear, do you think that they got scared off by you?”
I frowned as I replied, “No, with so many aberrants, there’s no way they can just leave like that.”
I’d never heard of any aberrant swarms in my past life that would just retreat after one wave of attack. Even if they couldn’t win, these aberrants would throw down countless corpses and only leave when their numbers were so low that they could no longer sustain attacks on the city.
Furthermore, this was the first year into the apocalypse. The aberrants mostly had no intelligence at this stage and were completely ruled by their instinct to feed. There was lots of “food” in the base, so much that they wouldn’t be willing to leave.
Unless the lead aberrant commanding the aberrant swarm was more powerful than expected and was able to order the aberrants to listen to its orders, or even override their primal instincts to feed…
I toyed with the idea but ultimately eliminated it from the list of possibilities. If there really was such a powerful aberrant, it would have done something when I was showing my powers.
Wen Jianuo nodded his agreement and suggested, “Why don’t you go sleep a bit? It’s going to be wild afterwards, and even if the aberrants back off, some people will start acting. So we’ll need to rely on you to seize hold of Shangguan Chenhong in order to have a chance of victory,”
True. If the aberrant swarm really backed off just like that, we would have another problem on our hands instead.
“It’s fine. I’ve slept for an entire day and I’m not tired at all.” I pondered, but still uneasy about it all, I said, “I’ll go patrol at the back of the mountains. You guys should watch out, and if there’s anything–”
The thought struck me, and I didn’t finish the sentence. If there were issues, they would shoot, and I’d be able to hear the gunshots clear as day even from the back of the mountain. There wasn’t any need for them to contact me some other way.
I looked at Junjun. Without me here, it’s too dangerous to just leave Mèimei here on the city wall—
Junjun immediately said, “I’m staying. If anything happens, I’ll shoot lightning at the sky. You’ll definitely be able to see it, Ice Spear.”
I opened my mouth to speak, but lost to the firm look in my sister’s eyes. Your mèimei is becoming independent, Èrgē, you must stay strong!
“Be careful.” I couldn’t help but shoot a meaningful look at Ceng Yunqian. Of course, she already knew that she had to protect Junjun and didn’t need my constant reminders. If you continue like this, you’ll become the naggy and overprotective Èrgē. Stay strong, self!
“You be careful!” Junjun pouted and said softly, “If it’s not losing your memory, then you’re injured or missing somewhere. I’ve been waiting at home like a good girl, not making people worry like Èrgē.”
“You’ve even lost your memories? Man, your life sure is interesting. This explains a lot.” Wen Jianuo shook his head as he remarked, “If you were any weaker, grass would have grown over your grave by now.”
I totally agree! His comment completely resonated with me. With a life like Jiang Shuyu’s, can I even survive if I’m not strong?
However, this was the worst thing to say in front of Junjun, who in a fit of rage shot out a bolt of electricity the width of a finger. Even if Wen Jianuo’s reactions weren’t slow and he immediately reacted, changing into his metallic body to receive the blow of electricity, it didn’t help him. He still got shocked until he was practically vibrating across the ground.
The lightning princess howled, “My èrgē will never have grass growing over him, never!”
All the people in the city looked over, gawking at Shujun with surprise. None of them could believe that such a gentle looking girl could zap the tall, burly Wen Jianuo until he was shaking all over.
I really wanted to cry. I thought my acting was passable, but my sister completely revealed my identity in a second.