Dominion’s End Volume 6: The Unknown Elite
Original novel in Chinese by: 御我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 8: Sudden Death From Above—translated by Miaka_Mei, lucathia & Elkin (proofread by Arcedemius; C/E edited by lucathia)
I made sure to be as quiet as possible, silently making my way toward Shangguan Chenhong’s group. Fortunately, there was a mountain forest behind the base. I wouldn’t be easily detected when moving through the forest.
The enemy stopped in front of the back entrance before splitting into two groups. Shangguan Chenhong had four people standing by his side, while the rest spread out in a clear search for me.
Just how much do they underestimate my strength? Even if they didn’t go up the walls and see the frozen horned mice shish kebabs, shouldn’t they at least take me seriously for ambushing and killing fifty of their men?
Shangguan Chenhong probably thinks that I wasn’t alone in that night’s ambush. He even has a dozen fully armed elite soldiers under his command. Maybe that’s why he’s acting so carelessly… Hmm. If he didn’t encounter a tier three like me, perhaps it wouldn’t be careless of him. Having powerful firepower and energy guns, and a body strengthened from eating crystals, it’s more than enough to let him do whatever he wants in the early stages of the apocalypse.
At least, it’s sufficient enough until the arrival of the second Moment of Judgment.
After the second Judgment’s arrival, the aberrants’ strength increased. Although humans grew stronger, the aberrants gained a bigger leap in strength. The disparity between the strong and the weak became even larger. It was even more difficult for humans to survive.
After waking from a night of torture and agony, humans had to deal with even stronger aberrants. Supplies were getting scarce, and the winter was growing colder. Suicide rates peaked during the first few months after the third Moment of Judgment. The good-hearted ones would blow their head off while committing suicide, so as to avoid harming others after waking up and turning into an aberrant.
They killed themselves because all hope was gone, right?
Despite how harsh the apocalypse was, if there was some hope in staying alive, most humans would want to keep living. Not to mention my people, we’re definitely tough enough!
If people were given a little bit of hope…
I took a deep breath, not wanting to think about things so far into the future. Let’s deal with what’s right in front of us first. I tapped my chest with a finger, and let Xiaorong’s branches creep along the ground in that direction.
The enemy had more than ten people, and they were moving separately. If I wanted to fight it out, it wasn’t impossible to win as long as I played some tricks, but my aim was to take Shangguan Chenhong hostage and then “reason” with Zhu Yuanzhou. Killing more people would only deepen their grudge. That wouldn’t be good for anybody. We might as well use them to fight off the aberrants.
Let’s just have Xiaorong drag Shangguan Chenhong over. Once I’ve got him in my hands, the enemy would have no choice but to listen to us.
To avoid attracting attention, Xiaorong stuck close to the ground as he slowly made his way over. However, the longer he extended his branches, the thinner my chest armor became. Looks like Xiaorong isn’t strong enough. I’ll have to feed him more crystals after this. I can’t lose my armor every time Xiaorong extends his branches. That’ll be too disadvantageous in battle.
The branches finally reached Shangguan Chenhong’s feet. I lifted my crystal energy gun, planning on setting off a series of loud noises as a diversion so I could drag him over in one go. Translucent branches gently wrapped around Shangguan Chenhong’s ankle. He was wearing army boots, so his ankles were covered. As long as we don’t grab him too tightly, he shouldn’t notice—
But Shangguan Chenhong suddenly dropped his head to look at his feet. Damn! He must have eaten plenty of crystals. Even if he didn’t have battle experience and didn’t know how to use his ability, his constitution must have gotten a boost, allowing his intuition to become sharper.
As someone who possessed an army, Shangguan Chenhong had definitely eaten more crystals than Xiaorong. I, Èrgē, was too useless. I’d have to try even harder after this to feed Dìdi and Mèimei. As for Dàgē, he should fight for his own crystals. After all, he was already tier two and even claimed he wouldn’t eat crystals won by his dìdi. So he should try his best on his own.
Shangguan Chenhong’s face paled. I could only order Xiaorong to drag him down right away. Then, I lifted my gun, about to shoot to divert everyone’s attention, when a huge black shadow suddenly appeared. It stepped right on Shangguan Chenhong, who had been dragged to the ground. Two long arms swung in a crisscross. The soldiers on both sides screamed and collapsed.
I stared at them in shock. The four soldiers were either missing limbs or their entire head. Even if they hadn’t died from losing an arm, they had no way to fight back after losing so much blood.
This huge entity that had appeared out of nowhere didn’t have wings and clearly couldn’t fly, yet he had descended from the sky… Could he have leaped here? But how far had he jumped to reach here? I hadn’t even detected his presence before now. The aberrants of the current time shouldn’t know how to conceal themselves yet. I couldn’t help but feel chilled. What if this thing is aiming to kill me?
No, no, I shouldn’t fall into my bad habit of underestimating myself again. This thing was weaker than me. He wouldn’t dare to make me his target. Rather, he had thrown himself at Shangguan Chenhong and his underlings. These people had eaten a bunch of crystals for nothing. They hadn’t developed their abilities much. Without enough firepower, to powerful aberrants, they were practically walking supplements.
These four people had heavy firepower, enough for them to bulldoze their way through the beginning stages of the apocalypse. However, this aberrant in front of me was definitely already tier two and wouldn’t lose to my dàgē in capability. His speed and jumping power were shocking. Coupled with the surprise attack, he was able to exterminate all four people upon their first meeting.
As for Shangguan Chenhong who was pressed below the aberrant’s foot, I couldn’t tell if he was dead or not from my angle. However, this aberrant was huge. From my estimation, he had to be over three meters tall. Even though he looked slender overall, compared to the soldiers near him, his arms alone were thicker than the soldiers’ thighs.
Getting stepped on by something so large didn’t bode well for Shangguan Chenhong.
The aberrant had caused too much of a commotion. The people searching for me in the vicinity all rushed back. Seeing such a huge fellow, they immediately fired a bunch of bullets, but the aberrant leaped with his long, skinny legs right into the sky, dodging all of the bullets.
As he dodged, he also sprayed thorn like objects below. Fortunately, his aim wasn’t great, so only two people got hit, and it wasn’t even fatal.
The soldiers fired to force the aberrant back while they rushed to Shangguan Chenhong’s side. He wasn’t moving at all. It was clear that things weren’t well.
Shangguan Chenhong lay on the ground. His chest was complete paste. I couldn’t even tell if his upper and bottom halves were still connected or not. He was clearly already dead. The soldiers all had poor complexions.
At this time, the aberrant landed on the ground and shot a bunch of thorns over. The soldiers lifted their guns to fire back. Someone shouted, “Let’s go.” They fired as they retreated toward the base, leaving behind the people whose arms had been severed at the start. However, those two people’s blood was all over the ground. They didn’t have more than a few minutes left.
Hey hey, you dared to come assassinate me, a tier three, yet you’re fleeing so briskly after meeting a tier two aberrant. An aberrant’s appearance was still more imposing after all. Even though I had hidden my face and worn a full body of ice armor, my thin figure still wasn’t imposing enough.
They had run off, but I couldn’t. This huge aberrant could easily leap over the base’s walls. I had no choice but to get rid of him. In fact, it would have been easier to get rid of him if I had stepped out and stopped those soldiers so they could support me with their firepower. However, I didn’t trust those people. Who knew whether or not they would fire indiscriminately? I would worry a lot less if they scrammed.
After that aberrant landed, he turned to flee and did not seem like he planned on entering the base. He didn’t even want the flesh of the soldiers around him. All he held was something scarlet in his right hand. I recalled Shangguan Chenhong’s chest… Heart?
He was definitely, thoroughly dead.
Earlier, Xiaorong had switched to the aberrant’s ankles when the aberrant landed on Shangguan Chenhong. But then the aberrant jumped right into the sky. Xiaorong almost wasn’t long enough. My ice armor had completely vanished, leaving behind a branch no wider than my pinky hooked to my waist.
I grabbed onto Xiaorong’s branch, tugging on the huge figure, preventing him from fleeing.
“Hold on for a bit. Don’t let him escape.” After giving the commands, I was still a little uneasy. I added on, “If you really can’t hold on, you can let go. Don’t let yourself snap.”
Xiaorong… can do it…
I could hear Xiaorong’s dissatisfaction. My little brother was such a stubborn tree.
I laughed. “Fine, my Xiaorong can definitely do it.”
In order to avoid my little brother becoming a naked tree without any branches, Èrgē had to quickly finish the battle.
Earlier, against the ten or so soldiers with heavy firepower, I acted cautiously. But when it came to aberrants, for some reason, I was a lot more confident. After all, the current aberrants wouldn’t play any mind games with you. They fought you right away. How can a tier three possibly lose against a tier two?
Especially me, who had gone through the Ice Emperor’s training. If I really were to lose, I wouldn’t have to imagine how the Ice Emperor would scold me if he were still alive. I would hang myself from Xiaorong’s body!
With the addition of Xiaorong’s power, I could fight against the aberrant. He couldn’t even get away and actually swung his sword back, clearly trying to sever Xiaorong. I quickly threw out three ice blades, barely managing to knock his sword astray—wait a moment, since when did aberrants have swords?
No wait, it was actually a thorn, and the shape wasn’t exactly the same as a sword. However, the way the aberrant held the thorn was so similar to how swords were held that I thought it was a sword. The sight was very familiar, and that tall, slim figure…
The moment recognition struck, I was only stunned for a second before I immediately dashed toward Asura. I still couldn’t summon the ice spear, but the hoarfrost dagger was getting more and more presentable. Even though Asura was tall, he still wasn’t sturdy. From some angles, a layer of his skin was reflective. It could be a shell or scales and could probably block some attacks.
Currently, there were few aberrants sturdier than the hoarfrost dagger. One strike might not cut him, but I can follow that up with a second. I don’t care that you’re tough, only that the layers are too thick. After all, with the length of the hoarfrost dagger stuck inside, it would be an injury that couldn’t be immediately healed.
I have to get rid of Asura before Thirteen also jumps out!
I rushed forward and yelled at the same time, “Xiaorong, bind him!”
The branches that had only been wrapped around Asura’s calves suddenly became a wide net, firmly wrapping up Asura’s entire lower body. Asura was really too big. If Xiaorong tried to wrap his whole body, his branches would become too thin and wouldn’t be strong enough. Wrapping up half was just right. Xiaorong could restrict his motions while not becoming too thin and brittle.
My Xiaorong-dìdi was truly becoming more and more dependable. I didn’t even have to tell him what to do.
Asura wanted to use the “sword” to cut Xiaorong, but my Xiaorong was really smart. He immediately tightened his grip, his branches sinking into skin. If Asura wanted to cut him, he would be slicing up his own skin, while my Xiaorong could move. Whether or not he could cut the branches was up for debate, but he would definitely injure himself. And yet, there was no way he could easily break Xiaorong off with his bare hands.
Even though Xiaorong couldn’t give Asura any more trouble either, this was enough. Leave the rest to Èrgē!
I rushed over following Xiaorong’s branches. I planned to get rid of this guy in one go, however, with only three steps left, a sudden pain seized my head, causing my sight to turn black. I could only retreat immediately and shout at the same time, “Xiaorong, come back!”
I was still too late. As expected, Asura was never far from Thirteen.
I clenched my teeth and endured the headache, trying my best not to show that anything was off. Face ashen, I turned toward the forest. A person stood there. At first glance, he looked like a normal person, but a long, thick tail dragged behind him. The shape of his hands and feet were odd as well. He didn’t have nails either. Instead, what took their place were sharp claws. He didn’t wear shoes. The claws on his feet were even larger than before and resembled animal claws even more.
No wonder the Ice Emperor said that Thirteen didn’t have weapons. If these claws on his hands and feet continue to develop, why would he need other weapons? A single claw could dig someone’s heart and guts out.
Asura walked over to Thirteen, a heart held between two long fingers. He passed the heart to the latter. The “small heart” wasn’t all that small once in Thirteen’s hands. It was just that Asura was too big, so a regular human’s heart appeared small.
Thirteen was in no hurry to eat the heart. His eyes fixated on me. Without even turning his head to speak to Asura, he said, “Drag the two bodies of food on the ground over. Those are good.”
I really didn’t want Asura to eat “good” food. However, it didn’t seem like I could deal with the current Thirteen and Asura on my own.
Asura alone might be okay, but I hadn’t even sensed Thirteen’s presence. He was standing right in front of me, but if I were to close my eyes, I still might not be able to detect his presence. Is it because he’s far more powerful than me, or is this an ability of psychic type aberrants?
No matter what the reason was, Thirteen was indeed worthy of being known as the king of aberrants in the last life. The speed at which he was improving was no joke. If he hadn’t shown himself and instead struck me from the shadows, he might have succeeded.
I really shouldn’t have let him go back then. No matter how despicable the MORC were, I should have taken revenge by my own hands and not let such an extremely dangerous aberrant go, hoping that he would kill any MORC members on sight.
It was my fault. I had just regained all my memories, and my head had been muddled when I saw the Ice Emperor shatter into pieces of ice. With such a huge shock, I had actually chosen to let Thirteen go to cause trouble for the MORC… It seems that today I’ll have to pay for the mistake I made back then.
The Jiang Dominion and all my familiar people are right beside me. The cost can’t include them!
Besides, I had guessed that the aberrant tide must have had a psychic type aberrant controlling them. Could it be… I narrowed my eyes dangerously and asked, “You—”
I flinched, almost thinking it was Shujun. My heart had nearly been about to jump out. Fortunately, I realized this voice was very young. It couldn’t be my little sister.
A girl poked her head out from Thirteen’s trench coat and stared at me with wide eyes.
I was stunned. I recognized her right away and tried calling out, “Beibei?”
Beibei’s eyes shone and she shouted, “Gēge recognizes Beibei? It really is Gēge!”
I hadn’t thought that Thirteen still had Beibei with him, and she looked like she was being taken care of. Thirteen clearly didn’t care much about his own clothes and was wearing a random red trench coat, while the legs of his pants were even ripped!
Beibei, on the other hand, was wearing a black cloak, a fluffy jacket, along with ankle boots. Even though she wasn’t as clean as the girls before the apocalypse—her sleeves and pant legs were a bit dirty—she was still a lot cleaner than 99% of the kids out there in the world now.
It seems like Beibei is doing well. I let out a sigh of relief. At least my decision back then hadn’t harmed her.
An aberrant was actually able to raise Beibei so well. He must have spent a lot of effort. I hesitated. Maybe I could try communicating with Thirteen? If the aberrant tide really does have to do with him, then we might be able to get through this crisis without complications.
But come to think of it, why did Thirteen kill Shangguan Chenhong? Does he have a grudge against him, or is it simply because the other person is a great supplement, so he wants to eat him?
The latter sounded quite possible. I really had no comment on how Shangguan Chenhong had made himself into a walking supplement.
Beibei beamed brightly and looked up at Thirteen, saying “Daddy, we finally found Gēge so we can go home. I’ve saved up so much candy for Gēge to eat!”
They even have a home? I was stunned. But before I could figure out how exactly aberrants could have a home, I heard a hubbub coming from within the base. Evidently the huge commotion here had alerted the others.
Thirteen glanced at the base, obviously having noticed the hubbub as well, and said, “Jiang Shuyu, come with me.”
Come? I almost lost my composure. An aberrant asking me to go with him? Is he grabbing me as takeaway to eat at home? Even if Thirteen had become much more powerful, I wasn’t a pushover either. Don’t even dream about using me as takeaway for the family!
I let Xiaorong materialize full body armor once again, and tightly gripped the hoarfrost dagger in my hand, raging, “You wanna eat me? Let’s see you try!”
Thirteen just shook his head, replying, “Come with me, won’t eat you.”
Wanting to take me away without eating me? My frown was as deep as Thirteen’s. I was completely at a loss of what this future aberrant king wanted to do. To resolve the biggest question at hand, I asked, “Were you the one who brought over that aberrant tide?”
Holy fuck, my luck as Jiang Shuyu really was absolute shit. Just one brain fart was enough to trigger divine retribution. I’d only let Thirteen go for a few months and he was here knocking on the door with an army. What happened to killing the MORC people?
Beibei wanted to run over to me but was firmly held back by Thirteen. She didn’t mind though, and just happily shouted at me, “Don’t be scared, Gēge, and come with us. Daddy has a lot of servants who can protect Beibei and Gēge! And we have a lot of yummy candy to eat too!”
I looked at Beibei. So she’s completely accepted Thirteen as her dad? Even though she was little, she should be able to recognize people. Don’t tell me she’s forgotten her real parents in just a few months? Though that dad who vanished when danger struck isn’t worth remembering anyway.
Besides, even though Thirteen still looked human, the other aberrants definitely did not. As for servants, they were in no way human! Asura was a three meter tall giant, and there were a lot more aberrants that looked so horrific that they would freak out a hundred little girls. How could she even dare to look at such servants!
There’s something distinctly off about Beibei, but let’s put that aside for now. No matter how strange the behavior of a little girl who had been raised by aberrants for a few months was, it wasn’t entirely unusual. What was truly weird was Thirteen’s behavior…
He doesn’t seem hostile? I asked tentatively, “Thirteen, can you not attack the base?”
Thirteen replied simply, “Yes, come with us.”
“Is your goal killing me for revenge?” I asked uncomprehendingly. Why on earth is he so insistent on taking me away? But it doesn’t seem like he wants revenge from last time.
Beibei quickly said, “Gēge, Daddy won’t eat you. Even though he carelessly lost you, I scolded him already. Don’t be scared of Daddy!”
Huh? I was completely lost. Did Beibei go stupid under Thirteen’s care?
Yet Thirteen nodded in agreement.
I really couldn’t figure out what Thirteen wanted, but the situation seemed like it could still be turned around. Thirteen led this aberrant tide. I wasn’t confident I could win. If there was some other way to resolve it, that would be amazing.
The noise coming from the base was growing louder, and the running footsteps seemed like they had almost reached the gate.
“Jiang Shuyu, come now!” Thirteen insisted stubbornly.
“No!” I was firmer than him. “Go wait in the mountains. I’ll come tonight. There must only be you and Beibei there. If there any other aberrants, I won’t come.”
Thirteen blinked and said, “Asura is here too. If you don’t come, I’ll come to get you.”
I tried to negotiate, “No Asura…”
Halfway through my sentence, I heard Cain call out anxiously.
The heavy gates of the base were slowly being opened. Thirteen’s expression changed and his feet clawed marks into the ground. He looked at me, his original easygoing stance tightening up in an instant, ready to spring into action any time.
Seeing that, I really didn’t want the negotiations to fall through. An aberrant tide was hard enough to handle as it was, and what was worse was that Thirteen was leading them. I reluctantly promised, “I’ll definitely come tonight. Make the aberrants back away from the base, or else how can you guarantee they won’t eat anyone with how much food there is here?”
Thirteen said uncaringly, “There’s lots of food. They’ll eat somewhere else.”
My mouth twitched. Certainly, the apocalypse had just started and there were plenty of humans and plants to eat. An aberrant by itself might get hungry, but an aberrant tide would eat wherever it went, as nothing could stop it!
“You will come?” Thirteen asked to re-confirm.
“Yes!” I promised.
Thirteen nodded and picked up Beibei. She thrashed around anxiously, screaming “Wait, bring Gēge!” But Thirteen didn’t nod anymore and just left with Asura without even looking back.
Once again, I was looking at an empty forest, with a frown so deep it could squash an apocalyptic mosquito!
The moment the base’s gate opened, Cain rushed over, looking me over to make sure that I was unharmed. Only then did he relax and immediately roll his eyes with a helpless expression.
I’m the victim, okay?! Shangguan Chenhong was the one who came to kill me, and Thirteen’s the one who came to capture me.
“You dared to kill him!”
An anxious, furious roar sounded from the entrance, alongside footsteps of a large group and the clinking of metallic weapons. It was obvious these visitors did not have good intentions.
I turned to face the newcomers, replying coolly, “I didn’t kill anyone. I have zero interest in digging out people’s hearts, okay! Go ask the soldiers who ran away, why they left the base and what just happened here. Don’t even try to pin this on me. The aberrants have surrounded the mountains behind us, so if we start infighting, we’re just asking to be eaten!”
Zhu Yuanzhou was absolutely furious, but when he heard my words, he did turn to look at the soldiers who had escaped. When he realized that they did not dispute what I had said, his expression sank.
“What on earth happened?” Cain anxiously leaned over, his eyes flicking back and forth, almost like he couldn’t believe that I was unscathed.
I gave a cold hmph and explained, “That guy wanted to kill me, but failed at a sneak attack. And when he was taking his troops back to the base, he was stupid enough to split up his crew to find me. I was still debating whether to punch him or leave him be and use some other entrance to the base, but then he got stomped to death by an aberrant that appeared out of nowhere. It even dug out his heart for a snack.”
Every word was truth and there was no need to lie. I just needed to conceal the fact that I knew that aberrant.
One of the soldiers heatedly shouted, “So you just hid and watched the aberrant kill someone? You intentionally let him die!”
I almost erupted in angry laughter at his words, and had to fight hard to maintain my cool facade.
Cain raged, “You wanted to kill Ice Spear, and still accuse him of not saving you guys! These soldiers couldn’t even protect Shangguan Chenhong even though they were standing right next to him, so what do you expect Ice Spear to do?”
Hearing that, Zhu Yuanzhou silently stared at the corpses strewn on the ground that were still warm. None of the surrounding soldiers could retort either.
But that person who had accused me just now protested again, “If you’re so great, how could you not have noticed the aberrants around us?!”
Cain just laughed. “So what if he noticed them? Wouldn’t it be easier for Ice Spear to get into the city if he just let the aberrants eat you?”
“Enough!” I snapped, “Are you all really planning to become aberrant food? You seriously want to kill me? Without me, how were you planning to deal with those horned mice that can burrow through the ground?”
Zhu Yuanzhou frowned as he responded, “I didn’t send anyone to kill you.”
I said in frustration, “I don’t care whether or not you gave the order, the ones who made a move on me were your people! Anyway, let’s talk once we survive the night! What we need to do now is get into the city ASAP. The aberrant that killed Shangguan Chenhong is pretty powerful, and who knows how many more are hiding nearby. Even if you want to die, I still want to live!”
With that, I snapped “let’s go” to Cain and quickly rushed back to the base to avoid getting stopped by anyone else. Cain immediately followed without a word.
Soon after we arrived at the base, Zhu Yuanzhou and his crew returned as well. They ended up dragging Shangguan Chenhong’s corpse along too.
The corpse was completely ripped into two pieces, and even his heart had been dug out by Asura. Even if these soldiers lost their minds and let the corpse become an aberrant, it wouldn’t matter too much, so I let them bring the corpse in.
Everyone’s expressions were dark. This wasn’t a surprise. Shangguan Chenhong was dead, and no matter how he died, they would definitely suffer the consequences when they got back.
Zhu Yuanzhou came over and said cautiously, “We can listen to your orders, but I will still lead my people. Once we’ve survived this disaster, we’re leaving.”
I chuckled coolly and said, “What, let you go so you can gather more people to try coming after me again?”
Zhu Yuanzhou said frankly, “I will definitely exaggerate how powerful you are so that the higher-ups will hesitate. I can’t guarantee that we won’t come again, but at least they should hold off in the short term.”
This was rather trustworthy. I wouldn’t trust him if he had guaranteed that he would never come back.
Cain took over the conversation and said suspiciously, “Shangguan must have more than four hundred soldiers, right? It shouldn’t be hard to gather another group, so how can you guarantee that your higher-ups won’t want to try again?”
Zhu Yuanzhou sighed and said honestly, “The Shangguan family is also in disarray. The world is in a mess, and everyone is still fighting for power. Don’t think too badly of Chenhong. He was a self-centered person with a bad temper, but he was the only one who took action. None of the others even want to send any soldiers, and are all just sitting around waiting to benefit without any effort.”
Ha, I can’t comment on the rest but the “taking action” part really was spot on. Before Shangguan Chenhong came to attack the JDT base, he even sent the shadow man to mess with Xiao Sha’s brother’s only fight troops. With the aberrants still circling outside like sharks, he even came to attack me. These actions were an absolute FAIL!
I couldn’t be bothered to listen to him trying to explain Shangguan Chenhong’s actions or respond, so I just ignored him and said to Cain, “Has the night shift been taken care of? We need enough people at hand and can’t slack off. It’s fine to let people who have no combat ability keep watch as well.”
“Ah Nuo handled it. He’s good at this stuff.”
I nodded and turned to walk away, leaving Zhu Yuanzhou standing where he was awkwardly.
But Cain chased after me and asked quietly, “Do we keep digging the tunnel?”
I made an assenting sound. “Yes, but the exit can’t be at the back of the mountain. It needs to be even further away.”
Cain said with apprehension, “We won’t have enough time if we need to dig that far though? In order not to catch attention with the noise, Zheng Xing listened to your uncle and dug quite deeply, so the progress is slower than expected.”
“Do your best. I need to head out at night, as I’ve seen the aberrant that killed Shangguan Chenhong before.”
Cain balked and said through clenched teeth, “So what if you’ve seen it before? What can you even do out there? You’re not planning to assassinate it, right? Don’t be an idiot, there’s a ton of aberrants out there. Don’t go out to your death!”
“We can’t hold them off.” I said directly, “The leader of the aberrants is Thirteen, one of the future Elite Twelve. I met him before when I was carried away by the bird. Thirteen is different from other aberrants and still retains a bit of his humanity. I can talk to him, so maybe I can still turn this around.”
Cain was astonished by what I’d said, but he frowned and vetoed my decision. “Still no! If anything happens to you, and I knew about it, Boss is going to grind me down to bits even finer than sand. I’d rather fight to the death with the aberrants. Even if I get eaten by them in the end, I’d at least have my bones left!”
The horned mice outside aren’t picky eaters. Forget bones, they won’t even leave a single hair behind, okay?!
I continued to try to persuade him, “I’ve had some dealings with that aberrant. He won’t kill me.”
“What dealings can you even have with an aberrant? To become food in its stomach?”
Cain’s expression screamed “don’t try to trick me.”
I said helplessly, “It’s a long story, but it’s true he doesn’t want to kill me. I’ll go talk to him, and maybe we can get out of this alive.”
Cain immediately said, “Then I’ll go with you.”
I rolled my eyes at him and said irritably, “Don’t be a deadweight. If anything happens, I can probably still get away as long as you’re not there.”
Cain knew that was true, but he still pleaded, “Xiao Yu, nothing must happen to you, or Boss will kill me using death by a thousand horses!”
You mean death by a thousand cuts.
I sighed deeply and said, “I’ll pretend to go rest in my room and sneak out. Don’t let Zhu Yuanzhou find out that I’m not around. If I’m not back by sunrise…”
Cain’s bronzed face was completely sheet white.
I quickly changed mid-sentence, “That means I’m probably drawing Thirteen somewhere else. Take stock of the situation and be on guard against Zhu Yuanzhou. But don’t get into an argument with him. If things really don’t work out, immediately apprehend him as a hostage.”
I nagged at him endlessly in my anxiety. Suddenly, there came the long howls of the wolfmen from outside, but I didn’t hear or see any responding gunfire. The aberrants weren’t attacking, so were the wolf howls a signal from Thirteen for me to hurry up?
My gut feeling was that that was the case, and I was a little speechless at his behavior.
Hearing the endless howling, Cain tried again to dissuade me, wheedling, “Shuyu, don’t do it. Maybe Boss will be here soon. If he finds out that you went out by yourself for a meeting, I’m going to turn into sand in the wind…”
So annoying! I exploded, “I’m already tier three, one full tier stronger than Dàgē. Anything that can kill me will definitely devour you without leaving a trace, so you don’t even have to wait for my dàgē to grind you into pieces!”
Cain exclaimed emotionally, “Shuyu, you really are stronger than Boss! Normally you refuse to admit that, but Boss has always said that you are stronger than him. But Yunqian said special abilities didn’t count and Leader was stronger in a straight up fight, because he has been a mercenary for so many years, so he is much more experienced at fighting.”
I’ve had ten years of experience in the apocalypse fighting aberrants— No, wait, ten years of getting beaten up by aberrants. A momentary slip up would end in death, so it was much more harrowing than winning against mercenaries.
Cain was still absolutely over the moon, and I said a little embarrassedly, “Are you happy that I’m stronger than Dàgē?”
“Totally!” Cain almost cheered. “I won the bet. I finally don’t have to do the dishes, and Yunqian has to deal with them!”
…The next time we go into a city, we should really grab a dishwasher.