Dominion’s End Volume 1: Raining Stars at World’s End
Original novel in Chinese by: 御 我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 10: The Operation at the Police Station—translated by Elkin (proofread by EvlNabiki, Trespasserby, C/E edited by Raylight, lucathia)
Everyone had gotten off the minibus, so I collected myself too and followed them—after all, I promised myself that I wouldn’t make a fool of myself anymore!
The minibus had been parked a little distance away from the police station, probably to keep the sounds of the motor from startling the aberrants in the police station.
I felt a little uneasy as I gazed at the cluster of buildings not far from the police station, so I asked, “Is this close to the city?”
“You can say this is on the outskirts of the city,” Xiao Sha replied.
I hesitated a bit before nodding and keeping my silence.
Urban areas were extremely dangerous because there were simply too many people in cities to begin with. Naturally, this meant that the humans-turned-aberrants were so numerous that they were impossible to defend against. But the wilderness wasn’t safe either—animals and plants turned aberrants were even more dangerous. So the suburbs, where there were the fewest humans, plants, and animals, were actually the safest place.
I’d originally wanted to hole up in the suburbs for a year and a half and only go out hunting nearby. Only after we had eaten a year’s worth of crystals and were strong enough to protect ourselves would we consider the next steps.
However, from the looks of things, this initial plan was a joke. The more you ate low-tiered evolution crystals, the smaller their effects became. Since the suburbs were safest, with the fewest people, plants, and animals, it was also the hardest for any strong aberrants to develop. There was no way we could get enough high-tiered crystals.
Besides, the most impossible hope in the apocalyptic world was safety.
Given my current progress, ordinary crystals had little effect on me. By the time I’d had ten or so more of them, they would have no effect on me at all.
Which means the only choice is to go hunting in the city for tier one aberrants, or even tier two or three ones…
Ten years into the apocalypse, many suspected that the Ice Emperor, one of the twelve elites at the time, had already exceeded the eighth tier.
Of the twelve elites in the world, only three were human.
Looking at the distant cluster of buildings, an indescribable feeling welled up within me.
In my previous life, the city was the stuff of my nightmares. Even though the journey out of the city would only take a little over an hour by car, in the apocalyptic world rife with aberrants, it had become a seemingly never-ending path. We only managed to escape after an immeasurable amount of time and countless deaths of companions.
And now, I was actually deliberately going into the city for a hunt. My emotions were in complete turmoil, and naturally, fear was in the mix. After all, no one knew better than me how terrifying aberrants were—but there was a trace of excitement too.
In the past, aberrants would send me scurrying in fear like a rat, to avoid getting swallowed in one gulp. But now, I was going after aberrants like they were the rats. I’m going to make them into my evolution chow!
I looked over at Dàgē. He looked like he had something to say, but the words caught in his throat the moment he saw me turn my head, and he swallowed them back.
“Dàgē, what’s up?” I asked in confusion.
Dàgē gave a chuckle as he replied, “I originally wanted to tell you to be careful, but seems like there’s no need.”
“Why?” My confusion deepened. Granted, telling me to be careful was a little pointless, since I was absolutely confident that I wouldn’t lose to any person in the merc troop—except for Dàgē. Instead of telling me to be careful, such words were probably best directed to the others. But isn’t it the most natural thing in the world for a big brother to be worried about his little bro?
I felt a little miffed at losing a chance for him to express his worry for me.
Ceng Yunqian draped an arm across my shoulder and gave me a meaningful look as she said, “Going by your expression just now, it should be the aberrants who should be worried, so why would Boss still need you to be careful?”
Come again? What expression? The bad habit of showing all my emotions on my face had carried over from my previous life into my current one, and it really was very hard to change.
“Your killing aura just now wasn’t half bad at all.” Xiao Sha remarked with a hint of praise, “Doesn’t lose in the slightest against us mercs.”
Guan Weijun’s already lived through ten years of the apocalypse. If we really had to have a competition on who has more blood on their hands, I’d win hands down.
“That’s enough joking around. Concentrate.”
Dàgē’s smile vanished and everyone sobered up from the mood of good humor. Even that cheeky Cain now looked every inch the stern, disciplined soldier, so much so that I couldn’t resist sneaking a peek at him. In response, he threw me a playful wink. A leopard couldn’t change its spots—I really had to keep a close eye on this fella. If he ever dares to bully women in the future, I’ll be sure to beat him until he can’t get up any more!
“This mission isn’t the same as any we’ve done before. Based on Xiao Sha’s estimates, just the first floor alone may have over twenty aberrants. If we let them swarm us, we’ll all die! So in the following operation, if anyone creates even the slightest of commotions, I’ll personally kill them!”
Here, he gave me a cold glare and said severely, “Shuyu, the same applies to you!”
In that instant, the hair at the back of my neck stood up, and I almost raised my ice staff defensively to my chest—it was only through sheer willpower that I suppressed this impulse. I’d finally managed to smooth things over with Dàgē. The last thing I wanted was to make him think that I was still wary of him.
Under Dàgē’s orders, the mercenary troop assembled into two lines, each raising their guns and aiming alertly to their left or right. Everyone had decided on entering through the back door, which was hanging open from its hinges and thus making it unnecessary to consider whether to bash it down or pick the lock.
I quietly followed at the back. This mercenary troop’s teamwork was very good. Every person had their own position and assigned tasks, so there wasn’t much I could help out with. Perhaps it would take working together many, many times before I’d finally have my place in this troop.
I observed every move they made. Cain and Zheng Xing were at the forefront, leading the way. They were armed with the heaviest firepower—Cain was holding onto a machine gun, the one that the previous mercenaries who attacked us had used, while Zheng Xing was also using a light machine gun, probably a weapon that the JDT had originally brought along with them.
Behind them was Jiang Shutian, wielding a Desert Eagle. This type of gun had a very powerful recoil, but in exchange, its firepower was pretty good. After eating so many evolution crystals, Dàgē should be able to fire one single-handed with no problem whatsoever.
Lily and Ceng Yunqian were holding onto one automatic each, with the difference that Ceng Yunqian also had a sniper rifle slung across her back.
Xiao Sha and I were at the back of the formation. He also only had a single automatic, and he would periodically check behind him for any unusual activity.
Aside from that, everyone had knives at their waists or strapped to their calves. Xiao Sha even had a whole circle of knives wrapped around his waist.
I suddenly felt a little depressed and really wanted to get hold of a gun. Everyone had guns but me, and I was even wielding a long staff. Not only did I not fit in, I looked like some person from ancient times who had crossed over into the wrong era.
“Aberrant,” Lily suddenly said in a low voice, “at the very end of the corridor.”
It was only after she pointed it out that everyone else spotted it. The aberrant was still quite far away from where we were and was crouching down in the corner. It was even screened by a potted plant. If not for Lily’s tip, we would have probably gone a long way down the corridor before seeing it. By then, the aberrant would have noticed us long since.
At the beginning stages of the apocalypse, enhanced vision was quite useful. But in a few years’ time, humans and aberrants would be able to detect each other’s presences long before coming in sight. At that point, guns would have outlived their usefulness, and enhanced vision would also become worthless.
I was a bit worried for Lily.
But she didn’t quite warrant any worry yet. As she walked up to the front, she pulled out a cylindrical item. It was a silencer. She attached it to her handgun and fired without a hint of hesitation. From where we were standing, I could only see a large leaf being blown off the potted plant. It seemed like the aberrant behind it had fallen over as well.
Then, Xiao Sha dashed ahead. I caught a glimpse of a shadow flickering down the long, long corridor like a flash of lightning, all the way to the back of the potted plant. There, he whipped out a knife and stabbed down at the aberrant’s head.
Dàgē’s threat to personally kill anyone who made a sound finally made sense. I had been wondering what on earth he had been going on about when everyone was armed with guns. Just one gunshot was more than enough noise. So they had silencers… and Xiao Sha.
“Shuyu,” Dàgē suddenly turned back to look at me, “you think you can handle being the lookout at the back to see if there are any aberrants sneaking up on us? That way, Xiao Sha can be up front to quickly eliminate the aberrants ahead.”
I nodded, promising seriously, “Sure, not a problem.”
Actually, I could dash ahead to quickly eliminate aberrants, too, and I’d definitely do it better than Xiao Sha.
Firing out ice knives, rushing ahead, freezing shut its mouth, busting its head with the ice staff—this can be done all in a breath’s time, and 100% guaranteed death for the aberrant!
But seeing as I’d just joined the troop, I shouldn’t be thinking about aiming for the heavens and becoming one of the main fighters. I was better off if I just stayed at the back, accumulating trust and confidence among the troop.
The troop continued to advance, and I followed at the back. Aside from keeping an eye out, there wasn’t much to do.
Although none of them had practiced their powers much, just the mercenaries’ quality and weaponry were evidently quite adequate when confronting the existing aberrants that were still quite brainless.
Dàgē seemed intent on clearing out the place, so we went into every single room. First, we would let Lily use her gun and silencer to kill aberrants that were clustered together, and then everyone would spread out to deal with the remaining scattered aberrants. This was done not with guns, but knives.
This surprised me a bit. In my previous life, at times like this, no one dared to engage in close combat with the aberrants.
But with a little thought, it became obvious why that was the case. At the time, everyone around me was an ordinary person. At most, they were police officers or soldiers, but they were definitely not as professional as mercenaries. Furthermore, we still hadn’t figured out what was going on at the time, and we were all afraid that we would become “zombies” if we got bitten, so of course we didn’t dare get close. But now with my advice, everyone knew that being bitten wouldn’t turn you into an aberrant, so naturally they weren’t as scared.
One, two… six… ten. I silently counted the number of aberrants and breathed a sigh of relief. Judging from how many aberrants were still around, the probability that there was a tier one aberrant around feeding on them was quite low.
Even if one really did appear, with me and the mercenary troop, it wasn’t something we couldn’t handle. I was just worried that before we could react, the tier one aberrant would have already injured someone first. If it was the sneak attack of a speed-type tier one aberrant, even I wouldn’t be able to intervene in time.
Opening a few doors, putting down ten aberrants—it all went smoothly, without a hitch, and I didn’t need to help out in the slightest. The original tension and alertness also started to fade. Perhaps this police station operation was much easier than I’d anticipated.
Soon, we arrived at a set of double doors. Judging from the size of the doors, the inside would be the main office area. Dàgē raised a hand to stop everyone. Then, with a single gesture to Xiao Sha, Xiao Sha moved forward to gently ease open one door. A quick look and his face turned a little ashen. He indicated an amount with his hand—over ten aberrants!
Dàgē’s expression darkened, and he turned to ask me, “Xiao Yu, how many can you kill?”
I blinked and replied, “As long as there aren’t any tier one aberrants, I can probably kill twenty before running out of energy.”
If it was a tier one aberrant, I would only be able to engage one, and there would be no guarantee that I’d be the one coming out on top.
“…” Everyone gawked at me wordlessly.
Even with Dàgē’s strong mental resilience, he also started a little. Then, he actually had the gall to propose, “Then go in and deal with those aberrants. The others will observe.”
Dàgē, isn’t your resilience a little too high?! Are you okay with pushing your little bro into a pile of aberrants just like that? Have you even considered the possibility that I might have blurted out that number on impulse? Youngsters nowadays are ignorant and hate to lose, you know?
I glared accusingly at Dàgē. This is an absolute violation of the labor laws—how can he make me go up against twenty of them by myself?!
Dàgē just arched an eyebrow at me and gestured at the door with the Desert Eagle in his hand. He didn’t even need to open his mouth for me to know what he was saying—come on, go!
I’ll definitely tell on Dàgē once I’m home with Junjun. That’s right, and I’ll be sure to tell Uncle and Auntie too…
As I grumbled inwardly at Dàgē, I stepped forward. Xiao Sha, who was by the door, moved out of the way but didn’t go far. He just stood to one side, his eyes boring into me, as though he was afraid he’d miss out on any move I made.
I gripped the ice staff in my hands. I couldn’t help but be a little nervous. Although I’d said that I could fight up to twenty, that was under the condition that they weren’t all coming at me at once. I needed a little time between each in order to pull it off.
Previously, when I was out hunting aberrants by myself, I’d fought no more than five in one go because of my cowardice. I’d never had the experience of fighting ten-plus on my own.
I should’ve said five! I regretted it so badly. That’s why you should never boast about your abilities, or you’ll end up in my situation where you’ll have to fight over ten aberrants!
Next time, I’ll know better. Whenever I’m talking about my own abilities, I’ll always divide by five!
I pushed lightly on the door and observed the situation inside.
On the left, close to the door, were five aberrants. They were crouched in the corner, fighting for food. I couldn’t tell if they were eating a human or an aberrant. In the middle of the room, there were six aberrants meandering around the office desks aimlessly. On the right, by the wall some distance away, there were a few sleeping slumped against each other, probably because they were nocturnal aberrants. As they were all piled together, I couldn’t tell if it was a group of four or five.
The situation was much better than I’d expected. These aberrants were largely split into three groups, and each group was a little distance from the others. The nearest group was eating, and the farthest group was even sleeping, so really, the situation was much better than it could’ve been.
I pulled away from the doors and said softly, “Dàgē, if I’m acting alone, it’s impossible to avoid making any sound, you know?”
I didn’t expect Dàgē to actually nod and say, “We’re almost done with the clean-up anyway. Just don’t raise too much of a fuss and attract aberrants from outside.”
Hearing that, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at him. Of course I didn’t want to create a commotion, but the problem was that I had no way of knowing how the aberrants would react. There were so many aberrants there, and some were quite far away, so it was impossible to wipe them all out from the get go. If they start howling, what can I do?!
Looks like Dàgē is set on wanting me to fight those ten-odd aberrants by myself. And he even wants me to keep the noise levels down! Hmph!
As I frowned in thought over how to defeat the aberrants, Dàgē didn’t hurry me, but at the same time, he didn’t say things like “If you don’t think you can do it, then never mind.” He really is planning on sending his little brother to his doom… Fine, if the condition is not to raise “too much of a fuss,” then I can still manage somehow. And anyway, “too much” is a matter of personal judgment!
Everyone looked on in incomprehension as I took off my shoes and socks, and gently pushed open the doors while completely barefooted.
Even if the others were just going to watch from the sidelines, I was still going to make them act as a distraction. Although they wouldn’t do anything, just having so many people standing at the door would be enough to scare the aberrants and delay their rush at me.
The aberrants wandering around in the middle were the first to look over. But because they were some distance away and it didn’t immediately click in their heads, they just came to a halt, first looking at me, then at the group of mercenaries standing at the door. As expected, they didn’t dare to act carelessly.
But I wasn’t planning on dealing with them first. They were moving around in twos or threes and were clearly less inclined to forming packs than the groups that were eating or sleeping, so they were the least dangerous of the lot.
I first glided toward the aberrant group that was eating in the corner. Yes, glided.
I’d already created ice blades beneath both feet, like those of ice skates. But just those two blades of ice alone were not enough for me to glide smoothly—I had to create a layer of ice below the blades to act as the gliding path.
This layer of ice couldn’t be too thick, or I’d run out of energy very quickly, and it needed to be no more than a few centimeters in front of my feet. Otherwise, the aberrants would be able to guess where I was gliding to by just looking at the path of ice. These details were very finicky, and although I’d already practiced this for quite a while, I hadn’t used it in combat until today.
If I really do fall over, I don’t believe that Dàgē won’t come rescue his own dìdì!
“Xiao Yu, you rock!” Ceng Yunqian threw me a few words of praise from the doorway where she was lounging oh so casually.
But it wasn’t that I rocked. This was called “knowledge equals power.” When I first saw the Ice Emperor’s fight, he had also fought in this gliding manner. The differences were that I was nowhere as fast as he was, and that the Ice Emperor had glided through the air. He hadn’t seemed to care how much energy he expended as he wove paths of ice and snow through the skies, paths that glittered like layers of crystals and rainbows—a truly breathtaking sight.
I drew out an ice knife, picked one aberrant that still had hair and flung the knife at it. The knife directly penetrated the back of its skull, and it slumped down, half a hand still clenched in its teeth.
I was right. Aberrants that still had hair were likely not to have very hard skulls. In the eyes of someone who’d lived ten years in the apocalypse, that hair was a cover-up that screamed “look at me!”
Of course, the dagger coated in ice powers also helped a lot.
I arrived a moment after the dagger hit its mark. Stooping low, I struck out horizontally and stabbed the ice staff at the back of the skull of another aberrant. Pop! While the tip of the staff was blunt, I had built up enough momentum while gliding to penetrate the back of its skull. Then, I angled the staff upwards and destroyed its brain.
At the same time, I reached out to touch the aberrant lying on the floor. It was still twitching slightly, not completely dead.
Actually, if it were the average dagger, the aberrant wouldn’t have gone down so easily. Killing an aberrant required completely smashing apart its brains. One knife stab wasn’t enough to kill an aberrant, but because this was an ice dagger brimming with freezing energies, just one touch was enough to cause injury, not to mention having the whole thing stuck into your brain. Rather than saying that the aberrant fell to the knife stab, it would be more accurate to say that its brains were frozen, and it was directly sent into “hibernation.”
Gripping the ice dagger, I twisted the handle and completely mashed up its brains. Then, I yanked the dagger out, but instead of stowing it away, I stabbed it toward the aberrant at the side. My other hand moved at the same time, and I jabbed the staff into that aberrant’s mouth. It was in the middle of opening its mouthful of shark-like teeth, staring at me in astonishment as if it hadn’t known how to react.
This shark-mouthed aberrant’s skull looked pretty tough. Although it wasn’t impossible to crack it open like a watermelon, doing so would create too much noise. Though it probably wouldn’t attract aberrants from outside, it would wake up the sleeping aberrants jumbled up in a pile farthest inside. If those aberrants came at me all at once, I’d have no choice but to yell, “Dàgē, help!” so I couldn’t just break open its head.
I attacked the aberrant with both hands. Actually, doing so involved a certain amount of risk, but I had no choice but to attack this way, or I’d simply not have enough time to deal with the aberrant.
Although I’d managed to execute both attacks, I wasn’t celebrating. Catching them off guard was the easiest way to win—and now that I’d killed two aberrants in a row, the rest had had enough time to react. The next one wouldn’t go down so easily.
Although my dagger had flashed out like lightning and the aberrant looked surprised, it managed to roll to one side to dodge the strike. Fortunately, it was still hanging on to the piece of meat in its mouth, so it wasn’t able to let out a cry. It seemed intent on keeping the meat gripped in its jaws, but that suited me just fine.
The dagger strike failed, but the ice staff succeeded in entering that shark mouth. It went right through the roof of its mouth and into its brain.
I heard Dàgē’s urgent cry and felt a strong gust of wind coming at me from the side. However, I didn’t have any time to evade, and a slap directly struck my face—but only succeeded in shattering the layer of ice that had frozen over my skin.
Aberrants that were quick enough that their blows were unavoidable never had much power. After the slap shattered the layer of ice, the remaining force wasn’t enough to hurt me.
Fortunately for me, Jiang Shuyu’s ability was ice; and even better was that Guan Weijun had seen the Ice Emperor’s battle. Come to think of it, perhaps the reason I’d had enhanced vision in my previous life was to observe that battle.
I let go of the ice staff and grabbed at the hand that had hit my face, giving the dagger that had previously failed a success in yet another head strike!
Then, I leapt at the group’s final aberrant and finished it off without much difficulty.
Although I had done a lot, due to the speed I was moving at, the whole process didn’t even take ten seconds. After dealing with the last aberrant in that group, I immediately glided toward the wandering ones.
Although I knew every second was precious, I couldn’t help but turn my head and sneak a peek at Dàgē. He deliberately kept a stony face, despite the chuckling that came from the others around him.
I knew it. Dàgē is still the most anxious one about his little bro. He isn’t thorough enough in playing the villain.
Once I reached the wandering aberrants, I continued gliding and used my momentum to bust open one of their brains. The more I fought, the more I understood why the Ice Emperor had used gliding in his fights. Aside from the speed by itself, the momentum also increased the power of your attacks.
With that added force, my attacks became simpler. It was just that, with the added constraint that I couldn’t create too much of a commotion, I had to use the daggers for most of my attacks. It was only for aberrants with big enough mouths, and who just happened to be opening their mouths to cry out, that I would shut them up with one blow of the staff—or perhaps a more apt description would be making it so they would never be able to shut their mouths again.
I came to an abrupt halt mid-glide and leaned forward, whirling my leg around in a roundhouse kick. The ice blade under my foot left a bloody line right down the center of the aberrant’s face and sliced his nose off. Originally, I’d wanted to see if I could slash open his head, but that was too naïve of me—the ice blades that I’d created on the spot for gliding simply weren’t sharp enough.
I had no choice but to glide behind him and add a stab to the back of his head. I even twisted the handle two full turns to make sure his brains were thoroughly mashed.
Maybe I really should add a spear head to the staff. If I were holding onto a spear instead of a staff, my movements would have been much smoother. I wouldn’t be held back by the loud smack the staff would make on impact with an aberrant’s head, nor by the fact that I had to close with the enemy in order to attack with a dagger.
Six wandering aberrants ended up being too many for me to handle after all. Before I could finish them off, the sounds of combat had already woken up the last group of aberrants sleeping at the back. They quickly got up, totaling to five. These aberrants all slunk around on their elbows and knees, their movements just like a dog’s. However, their appearance was closer to a human’s, except that the joints touching the ground had become extremely large, and their jaws yawned wide open like a dog’s. They looked extremely odd, neither human nor dog.
They fanned out as they stalked toward me, planning to trap me in a circle. The situation was starting to look bad.
There were still three wandering aberrants, and although I wanted to strike first and deal with the three in front of me, I had the feeling that those five would attack right when I moved to finish off the three… No, I must be wrong! There’s no way they’d be so clever? These five shouldn’t all be tier one aberrants; otherwise, we’d already be dead meat.
Before I could decide on my course of action, the three near me had already leapt toward me. They were shaped differently from the dog aberrants—they were upright. Each aberrant looked somewhat different from the other. The only commonality between them was that they still retained their human forms; there weren’t many parts of them that had transmuted.
At this stage, I had no choice but to fight. I decided to throw caution to the wind and forget about “commotion” and whatnot. Just as I was about to crack open the brains of the leading aberrant, there was a light put, and a small spurt of blood burst out from between his eyes.
“Xiao Yu, don’t worry about these three. Deal with the five at the back.”
Thanks, Dàgē—but I’m still going to tell Shujun that you bullied me. At most, I’ll leave out Uncle and Auntie.
Since Dàgē had spoken, I wove around the three and rushed toward the five at the back. It was a no-brainer that these five were speed-type aberrants. They looked like dogs, so there was no way they weren’t quick.
Looking at them, I made up my mind. I’m going to fight it out with them!
I hadn’t dared to try difficult maneuvers in combat in the past, because if anything happened while I was by myself, then it’d be game over for me. But now that there’s a whole bunch of people here, including my own Dàgē, who’s watching over me like I’m a baby and who wouldn’t just stand by if anything happened, what better time is there to try out those moves that I’ve only dared to try during practice?
I cradled the tip of the staff, and like I was pulling on dough to make noodles, I crafted a spearhead that was about the length of my palm. Since I couldn’t bash in brains like watermelons, I had no choice but to pierce through them. The spearhead that was added on last-minute was definitely not secure, but with my momentum from gliding, it shouldn’t be difficult to split open their skulls.
Gripping my ice staff—no, wait, my ice spear—I made my decision. I will never run away, even if I can’t become the Ice Emperor, I’d—no!
I will become the Ice Emperor!