Dominion’s End Volume 6: The Unknown Elite
Original novel in Chinese by: 御我 (Yu Wo)
Prologue: Murder your way forward—translated by Simone (proofread by Arcedemius & Trespasserby; C/E edited by lucathia)
Just as night fell, a white fog spread. Visibility was less than three meters, but fortunately the ground was a smooth asphalt road. Otherwise these conditions would cause most people difficulty even with walking.
Footsteps could be heard not far away.
I hid in the grass beside the road without a sound. Although the trees on both sides of the road were scarce, after the end of the world, plants grew wildly, and weeds like this were found everywhere. Although they did not grow into a vast grassland, they turned the whole world into a ruin overgrown with weeds. With such bad visibility, spotting anyone in the underbrush was not easy at all.
However, even though my movements were absolutely silent, I still attracted the attention of my opponents. They were a total of five people in black camouflage clothes, armed to the teeth. They held guns and carried at least two or three pockets worth of ammunition.
Suddenly, one of them halted and turned his head to look in my direction. I bided my time, not worried in the least.
“What?” the person next to him asked. “What is it?”
The man frowned and said, “Just thought something moved over there. You didn’t sense anything?”
The other four shook their heads.
“It’s not that I don’t sense anything. There’s just too much going on,” one of them admitted. “I can sense something fishy in all directions.”
As he said so, the rest of the people immediately looked at one of the roadside trees. From freely swaying in the wind, it turned completely still, as the entire tree became rigid. At first glance, nothing seemed amiss, but compared to the swaying trees and grasses on either side of it, there was definitely something wrong.
The five pretended they had not seen anything, their mouths twitching.
After the end of world, it wasn’t strange to see all kinds of things move. Even if you paid attention to everything, it wouldn’t be enough to take note of it all.
Then again, why did Xiaorong actively attack aberrants and occupy a small town back then? This was really puzzling, but I feared that I’d have to wait until he had evolved to be able to speak before that riddle could be solved.
The five men were still scanning their surroundings for a bit, but unfortunately for them the mist was too thick. Combined with the dense grass, they couldn’t see much, and on top of that, the disorder around them became more and more intense, until it was apparent the “presence” around them was getting impatient. The five were too scared to stop again and hurried away.
I followed. Even though my movements were light, the others’ vigilance was at a professional level. They looked back several times along the way. It was only because of these post-apocalyptic times that any sounds or activity along the way could be more than just me. They could keep looking, but there was too much that was wrong, too much for them to do anything about it. They could only see if there weren’t any big obstacles and leave.
When they were far enough away from the main troops and were turning back, I saw my opportunity. The person walking behind the others had fallen a few steps behind because he was looking in the direction of some noises.
At that moment, I had already created ice skates under my feet. They were no longer like ordinary ice skates: the blades were 1.5 times longer than the soles of my feet, and they were as sharp as knives. If I slashed someone’s neck with these ice knives, it was sure their head would roll.
I had not only created ice knives; the ice also covered my legs up to my knees, forming a pair of ice boots. The smooth surface would easily cause various attacks to slide off, and it couldn’t be broken through. On the sides of my knees, ice horns extended outwards. These horns did not only function as weapons, but also shielded my knees, and because they extended outwards, they didn’t hinder my movements.
Finally, these boots were made of no less than three compressed layers of ice, so that they could even resist ordinary bullets.
I had made ice boots before, but only for gliding, and the focus had been on the ice blades under my feet. The boots had just been decorations made to deter the enemy. But now, I needed strong armor able to withstand bullets, so I had perfected the boots until they became warrior boots with true defensive power!
Of course, I hadn’t studied boots so thoroughly myself before. I had specifically asked Uncle to design them. Fortunately, Uncle gave me a lot of details, as I learned from him that a smooth surface actually works even better for blocking attacks.
Apart from the ice boots, I also changed my mask, expanding it to cover as much as 80% of my face. I made the number of compressed ice layers even higher than the boots. After all, my head is very important.
If there had been more time, I would have extended the mask to cover the back of my head, changing it into a helmet. The more I cover, the better!
After all, this time the plan really was a bit daring.
If Dàgē had known in advance that I would dare to do such a thing, he wouldn’t have let his dìdi go home to hold off the attackers for a while. He probably would have broken his dìdi’s legs before he could take a step out the door.
I took a breath and glided quietly over to my opponent. Though I still alarmed him when I reached him, the noises from before had perhaps been too much and he was already numb. He turned around to check, but was too slow. When he suddenly saw me, he was shocked and opened his mouth to warn his companions, but it was too late.
I grabbed his throat and froze it in an instant. It took only a second to freeze his brain as well, my ice powers meeting no resistance whatsoever. This person didn’t understand powers at all. This fact was reassuring.
I let go and, in the instant before the body hit the ground, glided forward, coming up behind the next two men walking side by side. I was about to grab the back of their necks, but they were on guard and suddenly turned around. I didn’t cower, but instead took another step forward. If I could grab their throats, that would be even better than the back of their necks.
This time it didn’t go so smoothly. After all, I wasn’t dealing with civilians without combat ability. One of them froze to death right away, but the other immediately took a step back, causing me to grab a fistful of air. He lifted his gun, pressed the muzzle against my chest… and froze!
I didn’t need to touch anything to make it freeze. Contact just made freezing easier and faster, without any delay. Even if I couldn’t touch anything, it would only be just a fraction slower.
I shifted sideways to avoid the muzzle, reaching forward with my free hand again, moving swiftly like I was spearing a fish that had escaped the net. I was very close, so the delay was negligible. My opponent didn’t even have enough time to lift his gun again, as his upper body had already become an ice sculpture.
To be on the safe side, I used a lot of energy. Obviously, it was too much. The previous battle with Jin Zhan made me overestimate the resistance of ordinary people against powers.
But I didn’t have time for remorse, so I went straight to the two people in front of me. I had just killed three people in the blink of an eye, and the final two only reacted when I created the half human ice sculpture, turning around with a sweep of their guns.
I shot my ice knives forward, forcing them to throw themselves out of way. I rushed to one of them. After only a flash of faint blue light, I already held an ice dagger in my left hand.
The dagger the Ice Emperor had gifted me was no longer like a piece of ice. It was almost a complete dagger, though slightly thinner, and the frozen emblem now stretched from the handle to halfway down the blade.
When I had tried it out in front of everyone, Guan Weijun had watched with bright eyes and shouted, “What a beautiful hoarfrost dagger!” It was a pretty good name, so I unapologetically started to use it, regardless of whether it was more suitable for the Ice Emperor’s dìdi to name his dagger.
With a swipe of the hoarfrost dagger, I cut off half of the gun barrel, and the other half froze. If he dared to shoot, the gun would explode, taking him with it.
Seeing the frozen barrel, my opponent’s eyes widened in alarm, and he immediately dropped it. He tried to draw a pistol from his pocket, but before he could touch the holster, his whole body went rigid. Not a second later, his head fell to the ground with a heavy thunk. It didn’t even roll, as the entire head had already become a ball of ice.
After cutting the gun, I had seized the chance to land a kick, and the ice knives under my feet had streaked across my opponent’s throat. My current strength was enough to cut off any body part.
As for the last person…
While I had moved quickly a moment ago, killing four people with the speed of a lightning strike, I now looked back with what could be called leisure. Transparent branches were wrapping around the remaining person, creating a grotesque posture. At first glance, it looked a bit vulgar, but if you took a closer look, your mind would go numb.
His face had turned blue and his tongue was hanging out, but within such a short amount of time, the cause of death couldn’t have been suffocation, but merely a broken neck.
He hadn’t even dropped his gun, but was completely entangled by the translucent branches.
Most crucially was the branch disabling the gun’s trigger. I remember explaining that, even specifically getting a gun to demonstrate it¬—trees were really hard to teach.
“Xiaorong, come back.” I said.
The transparent branches withdrew all at once, and finally a chubby little thing ran out. At first glance, it looked like a ball, but it turned out to be a tree.
Jiang Xiaorong, why did you develop into the shape of a cactus? You’re obviously a banyan tree!
With his short tree-root legs thumping the ground, Xiaorong ran to my side, slow but full of energy. I picked him up, gave him a crystal as a reward, and tried to ignore the corpses on the ground.
When I was Guan Weijun in my past life, it wasn’t that I hadn’t killed anyone, but rather it hadn’t even taken long before I had been forced to kill someone. I vaguely remembered that it hadn’t even taken a year…
“Don’t eat me…”
I abruptly opened my eyes, gasping, and my pulse quickened like my heart was about to explode in my chest. I looked around in panic, but there were no ugly, twisted monsters in sight, just darkness.
When my eyes adapted to the dark, I finally remembered where I was. I was hiding in a closet to sleep, although I couldn’t be sure I was able to avoid those monsters. It was not seldom that monsters dragged people out of various nooks and corners. However, when concealed, you could be a little more at ease.
Even if in such a small space you can only sleep curled up and sleeping like that makes your back sore every day, most would still not choose to sleep on a soft bed. After all, lying on a bed is definitely more conspicuous than curling up in the wardrobe.
In this darkness, there was only me.
What about Xia Zhengu?
Where did mom go…
I felt my eyes suddenly throb as I recalled the heartbreaking events of two days ago. I used my last bullet to save Xia Zhengu, but the bastard ran to save Xiao Qi, and my mother was stormed by the monsters…
My heart ached. As it turns out, such intense sorrow actually physically hurts!
I wiped my tears, and I had to work hard not to cry too much. If I couldn’t hold back the sounds of my own sobs, it would be terrible. Our current world couldn’t even tolerate a little cry!
I also couldn’t lament my own stupidity. Mom couldn’t be by my side anymore. Only my boyfriend Xia Zhengu was left. In the past, he was good to me, even though I found him a bit childish. He would often ask how I was doing, and sometimes he was too clingy.
Though he was still clingy nowadays, most of the time he was clingy with Xiao Qi!
I wiped my tears. Even when I refused to stay in the same room with Xia Zhengu, the guy still did as he pleased, offering an offhanded explanation and apology. When he saw I refused to forgive him, he actually really left, taking Xiao Qi with him! Could even half of his apology be sincere?
Only shortly after the world had changed, Xia Zhengu’s patience had dropped down to almost zero, while his self-confidence grew close to bursting. Just because he was decently impressive among this small group of ten people that had been randomly thrown together, his ego had swollen until it couldn’t be contained. The apocalypse really does put one’s character to the test…
My thoughts came to a sudden halt as I heard a soft noise from outside. It sounded like footsteps. It seemed there were multiple people there, but they were being very quiet. Nowadays, no matter how coarse or blunt people were, they had all become quiet with their movements.
I held my breath, not daring to make a sound, but as if guided by fate, they unlocked the door and came in. The sounds of the footsteps definitely sounded like those of someone wearing shoes. They were people, not aberrants.
I breathed a sigh of relief. Without warning, the closet door was pulled open. My eyes widened. The man in front of me almost jumped with fright.
While I was still figuring out how to react, the man already showed a sardonic smile.
“Yo! Come look! There’s a chick here!”
My face blanched. The tone of the man made me think of the cries for help of women I had heard while on the road, the cruel scenes that I occasionally glimpsed…
It was too late to be scared. He had already pulled me out of the closet and covered my mouth with his big hand, threatening, “Don’t make a sound. If you attract monsters, I will feed you to them with a push. Have you ever seen someone being eaten? They will eat your flesh while you’re still alive. They won’t bite you to death. You’ll perish from the pain.”
Hearing this, my heart trembled. Is it true? Is this how mom felt in her final moments? Had she perished from the pain?
“Hey, so be quiet and obedient and let me have a good time. Then, I might give you a few cookies to eat.”
Suddenly, he threw himself upon me. Caught off guard, I was thrown to the ground, and while still at a loss, I felt a stinging pain in my back.
In a flash, I was wide awake.
Only when I recovered my senses did I smell the stench. I looked down and saw that the other person had buried his face in my chest, gnawing and biting. Since it was so cold nowadays, I wore a lot of clothes and it took him a while to tear them open. I really couldn’t say how long this guy had gone without washing his hair or what had sprayed onto him, but the smell coming from his hair wasn’t any better than that of a rotting corpse. It was enough to clear my head in an instant!
Even when facing those monsters, I hadn’t sat quietly and waited for defeat. How could such stinky scum scare me? How could I let him do what he wanted?
What’s more, the stinging pain in my back just now was… a knife.
Drawing the knife from behind my back, I reflexively thrust it into the other person’s back, not forgetting to pull it out again.
I had gone to great lengths to acquire this knife. It wasn’t just a fruit knife from any retail store. In this small group, formed ad hoc, some turned out to already have a hobby of collecting weapons. They even took us to a well-known weapons store to have a look.
Unfortunately, the store had obviously been searched several times already, and only a few knives remained. I grabbed this one as soon as I saw it. Because it was a small knife, only slightly bigger than a fruit knife, the others turned up their noses at it and didn’t try to snatch it away from me.
Though it was small, after sharpening it, its edge and durability were better than those of the others, which really surprised me. I didn’t tell anyone of this fact, but silently stashed it behind my waist.
A fountain of blood spurted from the back of my opponent, turning my whole field of vision red.
Terrified, I pushed him aside. I even had to wipe my eyes to see clearly again.
The man was twitching in pain, reaching out like he wanted to touch his back, but he was in such pain he couldn’t reach it. The sea of blood on the ground expanded with an astonishing speed, reaching my feet in an instant.
I was so scared that I retreated until my back pressed against the closet, and I couldn’t move back any further. There was still no escaping the sea of blood, creeping closer, spreading further and further…
I didn’t dare to move. I didn’t dare to watch at all, but my eyes widened even more. I watched the man struggle for a few seconds and then gradually fall still, until only his body twitched involuntarily. His eyes were wide, staring up like it was not the ceiling he was seeing, but some place far, far away…
“Hey, there seem to be others here. Don’t overdo it—”
A person walked in, saw his companion lying on the ground, stopped talking, and looked at me in disbelief. It was probably because I was petrified that he seemed to decide that the murderer could not be me. He pulled out his gun, first checking the door to confirm there was no one behind it, then searching every corner of the room, his gun raised.
He has a gun …
I clenched the knife in my hand. Fortunately, because we couldn’t turn on the lights, the room was very dark, and he didn’t see the knife in my hand. He probably thought that his companion was killed by someone else. My state of fright must have made me seem too stupid, and I was a woman as well…
He turned his back to me, his whole body tense. The hand with which he was holding the gun even trembled. It seemed that the dead man on the ground not only scared me, but also him.
The room was very dark, and he obviously couldn’t see clearly; otherwise he wouldn’t have taken so long to realize that there wasn’t anyone else in the room.
But I could see clearly. I didn’t know why, but recently my eyesight seemed to be getting better and better. Even if darkness still made things more difficult, I could see better than others.
I suddenly calmed down and stood up, holding the blade tightly.
He had a gun. I only had a knife. I only had one chance. If I lost, the price might be my life …
I held my knife and looked down at the blood on the ground, with only the sound of my heartbeat in my ears. Only when I heard Xia Zhengu’s voice did I come back to my senses, looking over at him and Xiao Qi, who followed along behind him.
The two both took a step back.
I didn’t fully understand.
“Are you all right?”
It was Xiao Qi who asked. She looked at me differently than before.
Previously, she stayed close to Xia Zhengu, always hiding her shame, but as life got harder and harder, her shame gradually disappeared.
Instead, she wore an expression that said she’d fight me to the end.
Until now. Her expression had changed again, but she hadn’t changed back to being ashamed, and she wasn’t trying to fight me.
She looked at me with wide eyes, her expression actually a bit excited, just like when she was looking at Xia Zhengu.
I raised the hoarfrost dagger. The translucent blade had turned slightly red, but was very pale. It was unlike that time when my knife had been covered with blood, becoming so slippery it was almost impossible to hold on to it.
Not long after I killed that person, I learned to wrap my hands and knives tightly with strips of cloth, so that I wouldn’t lose my grip on the knife.
This was not necessary anymore, as the ice dagger could be firmly frozen to the palm of my hand.
Even if in my previous life I didn’t have the advantage of being reborn, it wasn’t long until I killed an aberrant for the first time, or even a person. Although I may not have been the first out of that group of people, in the midst of other citizens I was definitely not the last.
From the start, I haven’t actually been that weak, have I?
It was just that during that life, Mom died too early, Xia Zhengu’s behavior worsened day by day, and as the days passed life became more and more meaningless. What point was there even if I strove to survive and even become stronger?
However, even during that hopeless apocalypse, I still lived as many as ten years. As for this life, with my family, an established base, and even team members that I could trust, this time…
Together with my family, we will all live a hundred years!