Dominion’s End Volume 2: Aberrant City
Original novel in Chinese by: 御 我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 5: The Phoenix of Good Fortune—translated by Elkin (proofread by Arcedemius; C/E edited by lucathia)
After eating the evolution crystal, I could finally take it easy, lie back, and relax. Even if I recovered too quickly, it might be because one particular evolution crystal was especially powerful. It has nothing to do with me, okay?
Lying there on the bed was extremely dull, and I really wanted to secretly slip out of bed and walk around to exercise. However, a certain somebody kept staring at me relentlessly, so I had no choice but to just lie there like a good boy.
I said expressionlessly, “Can you please stop staring at me?”
He replied with a bright smile, “Nope. Dàjiě wants me to take good care of you!”
I looked him over. Ben was a fourteen year old youngster who was fairly short. Fortunately for him, he wasn’t too skinny or frail—if anything, he looked like he carried a bit of bulk. His somewhat dark skin and sunken eyes marked him a possible mixed blood, but his extremely local accent suggested that he had grown up in this country.
Although he called Jin Feng “Dàjiě,” there was no way he was her little brother. Feng had mentioned that she only had an older brother, Jin Zhan, and a little sister called Jin Xiaoyue, making her the middle child. Her family structure was identical to mine… No wait, what am I talking about? Feng’s a girl and I’m a guy, so how can we be the same? We both just happen to be part of a trio of brothers and sisters.
Pretty much everyone here called Feng “Dàjiě,” and this wasn’t in the sense of “older sister” but rather, “big sis,” the head of a syndicate or organization.
So the Thunder God was part of the triad, while Dàgē had his own mercenaries to lead. I wondered about the Flame King’s background. He probably wasn’t ordinary either. No wonder they could become rulers in the apocalyptic world—they already had established footholds in the world, so how could us commoners possibly compare?
Actually, that wasn’t quite true. There were plenty of people with extraordinary backgrounds, but in the end, only three of them had become humanity’s elites. Anyway, all hail dàgēs! Regardless of whether it was my dàgē or Jin Feng’s, they were both awesome!
“Besides, your expressions are pretty fun. It would be a waste not to watch!” Ben remarked in amazement, “No wonder Dàjiě likes you so much. You’re good looking and interesting. If I were a girl, I’d also kidnap you to be my trophy husband.”
I immediately wiped the emotions off my face. “I wasn’t kidnapped.”
Ben burst into hysterical laughter. He was clearly pulling my leg just now. It was obvious he didn’t believe me, but I couldn’t care less about that. In any case, people here viewed me as the boy toy that Jin Feng had taken in under her wing—and it was true. Jin Feng was giving me food, water, and evolution crystals, and in return, I lay on her bed and rested my body. If that isn’t being a boy toy, what is?
At night, Jin Feng would come back to the room and even sleep next to me. If I weren’t so grievously injured that all she could do was stroke my face and ruffle my hair, we’d have to censor what was happening!
“Xiao Yu, you’re almost done recovering from your wounds, right?” Ben asked with a grin.
Like hell I am! I’ve only been resting for six days! Let’s see you go fight a tier-one bird and get bashed by another one. I guarantee there won’t be anything left of you to bury!
But I was indeed much better. My recovery speed was much faster than I had expected, and that was all thanks to the evolution crystals that Jin Feng had fed me. By now, any evolution crystals that were lower than tier one didn’t help much in making me stronger, but they were more than up to the task of acting as healing remedies.
“You should be calling me Xiao Yu-gē,” I said with dissatisfaction.
Ben glanced at me and gave a cold sniff. “I’ll only call Jin ‘Gē’ and Feng ‘Jiě.’ I don’t give a crap about anyone else!” Then, he added with a wide grin, “But, if you actually got together with my dàjiě, then I can compromise and call you brother-in-law.”
“What about Jin Xiaoyue?” I was extremely curious about this girl who seemed to have reincarnated as well. I’d originally thought that since she so strongly objected to me, she would come rushing in to give me a huge scolding, but in the end, I never saw hide nor hair of her. For the past six days, the only people I’d seen were Ben and the people delivering the food.
Ben’s smile stiffened and, scratching his head, he remarked, “I’ve never really spoken to the Missus. I mean, I’ve only ever seen her a few times. If not for this situation, a well-educated university student like her would’ve never come to our gang. Besides, Missus was always weak and sickly, so Jin-gē forbade her from coming over, because he thought that us gangsters would freak her out.”
Weak? Sickly? That sure wasn’t what she sounded like that day. Although she definitely had the bell-like voice of a girl, she was shouting pretty loudly without a trace of fragility anywhere to be heard… Wait, if she’s like me and reincarnated once, is she still herself?
Thinking back to the conversation that day, I suddenly felt that this Xiaoyue was probably no longer the Xiaoyue they’d known. But while I had come clean to Dàgē and Shujun, Jin Xiaoyue had chosen to hide it, using amnesia and dreams as cover ups.
No wonder Jin Feng had already trained herself to be even stronger than the mercenaries at this stage of the apocalypse. With tips from Jin Xiaoyue and the support of the triad, she probably ate more evolution crystals than our mercenaries. I mean, she even had enough to feed her little boy toy, though she probably hadn’t reached tier one yet. I had to wonder how fast Jin Zhan had progressed.
Just as I was pondering that question, the door opened. I looked over with a little suspicion. It wasn’t meal time just yet—could Jin Feng be back? Even Ben, who was sitting to one side, stood up with a smile, evidently thinking the same thing as me.
But instead of a well-endowed, cool woman, we got a big, buff Hulk instead. Hulk was both tall and wide, with huge, bulging muscles. On first glance, you’d have mistaken him for a walking mountain. Even I was turned off by how much muscle there was, and this was coming from someone who could drool at the sight of my own dàgē’s biceps.
This muscled guy was too eye catching, so it was not until he stepped into the room that I spotted another man standing next to him. He looked much more normal, a bespectacled man with a cold expression. When he stared at me, he made no effort whatsoever to hide his look of disgust. There was even some hatred mixed into his expression.
I frowned. I’d gotten quite a lot of cold looks this past little while, aside from Jin Feng and Ben. Everyone serving my meals had given me varying looks of disdain, but never to the extent of hatred. I mean, what is there to hate about a boy toy who is so badly injured?
It might have been a different story if they knew that I was eating evolution crystals, but Jin Feng had specifically told me not to tell anyone else about it. She’d even banned the doctor from coming to check on my injuries, and she’d personally helped me change my bandages after she returned each night, all to conceal the fact that I was recovering way too quickly from my injuries.
Back then, Jin Feng had said, “It’s not a big deal if they find out, really. It’s just a pain in the ass if some of the guys start kicking up a fuss. Anyway, if you feel like something’s not right with your wounds, let me know and I’ll get the doc to look at you.”
But no doctor visits was exactly what I’d wanted, so I’d immediately sworn to her that I would never let the cat out of the bag. Jin Feng had ruffled my hair then and just said, “Good boy.”
That had troubled me greatly— so I wasn’t a boy toy but a pet?
“Oldman Jun and Hu Zong? What’re you doing here?” Ben asked suspiciously, “I don’t think Feng-jiě asked you guys to come?”
Hulk said roughly, “Jus’ wanna see what this bastard who dares to sleep in Feng-jiě’s room looks like.”
Ben snorted and asked mockingly, “Oldman Jun, since when did you become interested in guys as well?”
Hulk immediately exploded with fury, roaring, “Who th’ fuck are ya sayin’ is into guys?!”
I suddenly worried that the Hulk known as Oldman Jun would charge in to knock Ben down, but Ben didn’t seem at all concerned. He just continued sitting by the bed with a broad grin, clearly unafraid of pissing off these guys. He even continued poking fun at the other guy.
“Hu Zong, c’mon, watcha looking so angry for? S’not like I owe you a million or something. C’mon, gimme a smile.”
Hu Zong’s expression darkened even further, and he said coldly, “Ben, so you’re on the side of that boy toy?”
“Ben only stands on two people’s sides—Jin-gē’s and Feng-jiě’s. Everyone else, forget about me standing on their side, I’d even kick them down to hell if need be! As for this guy, he’s under Feng-jiě’s protection, so if you got a problem with that, go say it to Dàjiě’s face. I mean, guys, coming here to bully a poor little patient we kidnapped from the streets? Really now?”
I really wasn’t kidnapped, okay?! What’s more, Jin Feng is my savior, so I feel bad that everyone is casting her to be some brutish woman who kidnapped an innocent, pretty boy for herself!
But namedropping Jin Feng was extremely effective. Hu Zong scowled and even a buff guy like Oldman Jun immediately started to give off nervous vibes and no longer dared to raise his voice.
Ben gave a disdainful snort, then said huffily, “Guys, I think you’ve gotten the situation the wrong way around. Since when could anyone even lay a finger on Feng-jiě? It’s always been Dàjiě getting her hands on whatever she wanted. You think that this fellow lying there on the bed would even have a say in the matter?”
“…” I continued maintaining my stoic silence.
Oldman Jun couldn’t rebut that at all, so he changed the subject and grumbled, “What’s so good ‘bout this boy toy? The only thing he’s got goin’ is his face!”
Ben replied boldly, “Yup, Dàjiě likes that face of his. So if you’ve got balls, go get plastic surgery. Maybe then you’ll have a chance of winning Dàjiě’s heart!”
Are you trying to scare the crap out of someone, putting my face on top of that mountain-like, muscular body?
Oldman Jun’s face went white, and he immediately retorted, “Like hell I wanna win Dàjiě’s heart! Don’t go spoutin’ that bullshit! Once Jin-gē is back, he’ll definitely gut that boy!”
I started. He was absolutely right. Anyone would flip out after suddenly discovering that your little sister had randomly picked some guy to be her husband. To top it off, that person was a useless boy toy. If this happened to Shujun, Dàgē and I would definitely slaughter that guy on the spot before anything else, no questions asked.
Ben gave Oldman Jun a look that clearly said, ”You. IDIOT.”
“Jin-gē only ever gets involved in matters relating to Madam and Missus. When has he ever butted into Feng-jiě’s affairs? In our gang, the one calling the shots isn’t just Jin-gē but Dàjiě too! And even if Jin-gē suddenly goes crazy and decides to stick his nose in, do you seriously think Dàjiě will throw her boy toy out on the street just because Jin-gē objects to him?”
Whew. I breathed a sigh of relief. It was great that Jin Feng was so awesome. I really didn’t want to get beaten to a pulp by the Thunder God when I was still so badly injured.
Once Ben had spoken, a clear look of hesitation crept across Oldman Jun’s face. He really was a simple-minded brute who wore his heart on his sleeve—he didn’t seem the kind to plot or scheme at all.
So if Oldman Jun had been speaking the truth and didn’t think of Jin Feng that way, he’d probably come charging over because someone else had provoked him. If the provoker wasn’t the super sneaky type to hide himself away, then that left only Mr. Spectacles, Hu Zong, as the suspect. Although the guy looked decent enough, he gave off the impression that he was plotting something nefarious. Right from the start, he had been staring at me coldly, so he was probably the provoker.
“Feng-jiě’s just a woman, so she can’t help but fall for a boy toy’s pretty words,” Hu Zong snapped viciously. “All we have to do is to put a gash in that face, then let’s see who still wants him!”
“Dream on, Hu Zong,” Ben said coldly. “I can give you and Oldman Jun a pass for barging into Feng-jiě’s room, ‘cause you wanted but failed to win Feng-jiě’s heart. But if you dare to raise a hand against Feng-jiě’s people in Feng-jiě’s room, you’re going down, sucker!”
When he heard that, a look of fear crossed Oldman Jun’s face, and I was greeted with the highly disturbing sight of a big, muscular guy cowering in fear. A guy like you must really have muscles for brains if you dare to create trouble, when you’re all bark but no bite!
Ben shouted, in the cracking voice of an adolescent boy, “I’m giving you one last chance. Get out!”
Oldman Jun looked like he really wanted to go, but instead, he looked at Hu Zong, as though seeking his permission. I knew it. That guy’s the mastermind.
Hu Zong stared at Ben and frowned, his icy demeanor melting a bit, and then he said coldly, “We’re leaving!”
Then, the two were gone. And this was after I’d already come up with how to take a punch that would result in a pitiful look that wouldn’t ruin my handsomeness. Then, when Jin Feng was back, I’d start crying to her about how pitiful I was, and how she should give me two more evolution crystals to make up for it.
But they’d gone and run away with tails between their legs after being yelled at a few times. Guys, can you be any more pathetic? What happened to punching me in my face? I became extremely despondent.
“Don’t worry!” Ben grinned at me as he spoke, “Feng-jiě’s really something. Since she said to protect you, I, Ben, will make sure not even a hair on you is harmed.”
Don’t make promises you can’t keep, you fourteen year old. That Oldman Jun’s arm is thicker than your thigh.
Probably because he could see the disbelief in my eyes, Ben harrumphed twice, whipped out a knife from the side of his calf, and started peeling an apple, once again creating a ribbon of skin so thin that it was translucent.
There had to be an apple tree nearby. The fruit accompanying my meals for the past six days were apples and apples, and I resolutely added this fruit to my food black list, alongside chicken soup and Chinese medicinal porridge!
Ben stabbed an apple piece with a fork and held it out, saying, “I’ve been with Feng-jiě for quite a few years. Feng-jiě can become so intimidating that she doesn’t lose out to Jin-gē. It’s like she’s not a woman at all! And I’ve never seen her showing any interest in any guys either, so I’ve always thought that Feng-jiě was a man through and through, and she might end up having to get together with a woman. But now she actually likes a guy! So yeah, I’ll definitely take good care of you.”
I silently listened to Ben’s chatter.
I’d originally expected that I’d need two weeks of bed rest, but after being fed evolution crystals a few times, I was making good progress. If not for the fact that I had to hide how fast my body was recovering, I’d have taken care of my daily necessities by myself already. But if I had to go into combat, then my wounds might worsen, and it would drag out my recovery time.
I made some estimates and concluded that ten days of bed rest would be the best. But I couldn’t hold back my worry about things back home any longer. I wanted to set off tomorrow. At the most, I would do my best in avoiding aberrants and keep fighting to a minimum.
“Feng-jiě, you’re back?” Ben sprang to his feet gleefully.
Hearing that, I immediately turned to look, just in time to see Jin Feng entering the room. She was even holding onto a tray, and seeing that I had turned my head to look at her, she asked, “Are you hungry?”
Suddenly, my conscience twanged. Jin Feng had been heading out early and returning late in the evening every day for these past six days. Even an idiot could tell that she was probably out there, hunting for aberrants. And the moment she was back, she’d bring food and even the occasional crystal to feed her boy toy. But this boy toy was planning to run away in two days’ time.
After getting rescued, eating and drinking my fill, and even swallowing down evolution crystals, I was planning to leave, just like that. Even I felt like I was being a real dick!
“I’m okay,” I responded honestly. These few days, all I’d done was sip at drinks when offered and open my mouth when fed, so I really hadn’t had the chance to become hungry.
Jin Feng didn’t seem to mind and came over. She set down the tray and said, “Eat more. The doc says that you won’t have much of an appetite because of the pain from your injuries, but you have to eat.”
I’m not suffering from aching wounds, but an overdose of apples.
I nodded. Jin Feng then sat down and started feeding me. Today’s meal was curry rice. Mm, delicious. How’d I forget to hoard curry cubes back then?
Ben spoke up gravely, “Dàjiě, Hu Zong brought Oldman Jun over to stir up some trouble. But all they did was just yap a little. They definitely didn’t touch a hair on Xiao Yu’s body.”
A look of dismay flashed across Jin Feng’s face. Then, she spoke as if she were perfectly fine, “Okay. You can leave now, we’ll discuss this later.”
Ben’s solemn look immediately vaporized, and he said with a grin, “Sure, Feng-jiě, Ben knows what to do. He won’t be a third wheel!”
He then gave me a meaningful twitch of the eyebrow and sauntered out while whistling a merry tune. He really was too smart and cheeky for his age.
“I’ll deal with those two. I’ll send over one more body as well.” Jin Feng fed me another spoonful of curry rice as she continued, “Ben’s quite good but he’s still young, so he can’t intimidate people.”
I shook my head as I replied, “I’m fine. Please don’t punish them.”
If Jin Feng punished them for all the world to see, wouldn’t she become the laughing stock once I ran away? Especially since she was in a triad. After having lived in the apocalypse for so many years, I knew all too well how these organizations operated. The moment the boss’s authority was destroyed, things turned bad very quickly.
“It’s nothing to do with you. The fact that they entered the room without my permission is already breaking the rules. If they’d entered my brother’s room, they would’ve been gunned down on the spot, no reports needed.”
Another gloomy look flickered across her face, and she remarked blandly, “I guess I’m still too soft-hearted.” Then, she frowned, asking with a trace of bewilderment, “I’ve killed no small amount of aberrants recently. And when I burn them with fire, the mess afterwards looks much worse than if I had used a gun. So why do people still think I’m not tough enough?”
“Probably because you’re too soft on me!” After a moment’s silence, I couldn’t help but ask, “Why are you so nice to me?”
She didn’t reply immediately. Instead, she mused for a long while before she finally spoke.
“At the time, I had heard some noise, so I went over to check it out. I thought it was probably an aberrant, but instead I saw a person lying on the ground, surrounded by ice shards and red feathers like pieces of fire. His face was so white that it was almost transparent. I’m bad with words, so I dunno how to describe that image. But it was beautiful. When you looked over at me, I almost thought you weren’t human, but some kind of aberrant that had evolved toward beauty. But thankfully you spoke in the very next moment. From that moment on, I decided I’d protect you. It’d be such a pity if someone as beautiful as you became an ugly aberrant once you died.”
I listened quietly. Her words made her sound like the president of the world-wide superficiality club, but her tone of voice was telling a different story, like she was saying how artwork like the Mona Lisa should be properly preserved, and who cared why?
“I have family who’s still alive.”
“You knew?” I was a bit surprised.
“You wanted a map.”
I pondered for a moment before replying, “I don’t mind if it’s for family.”
For whatever reason, Jin Feng laughed at that and said with a nod, “For sure. So when are you leaving?”
I was stunned. I never imagined that Jin Feng would accept the fact so easily. Just now, I’d instantly regretted it the moment I mentioned my departure. If Jin Feng was aware of my plans, then there’d be many more obstacles when I needed to escape. But at the same time, I couldn’t just run away from my savior without saying a thing. It weighed too heavily on my conscience.
After struggling for a long while, I gritted my teeth and told her the truth, “Tomorrow.”
Jin Feng made an assenting sound and then asked, “Do you know how to shoot?”
“Oh?” Curiosity lit up in Jin Feng’s eyes, and she asked, “How good are you? Where’d you learn?”
“My dàgē is a mercenary…”
We chatted for a while, and at some point, I fell asleep mid-conversation. When I woke up, I found myself still lying in the same room.
I lifted my hands—no cuffs. I lifted my leg—no shackles.
I lay there quietly for a while but didn’t hear anything. Slowly, I sat up and lowered my feet to the ground, and then I stood. My legs threatened to buckle but I steadied myself. I didn’t have any problems moving my hands and feet, so I was more or less there in terms of recovery. Although my chest still hurt, my limbs seemed just fine.
I walked to the door, took in a deep breath, and reached out to turn the door knob. The door opened, with an audible click of a lock opening. Evidently, the door had been locked from the inside.
I stuck my head out to see a long, deserted corridor outside.
I closed the door again, making sure to lock it again. Then, I proceeded to wash up in the bathroom. As I brushed my teeth, I regarded my reflection in the mirror. I had become skinnier than when I had just recovered from the fight with Muscle Man and Lin-bó. I looked skinny and frail, but I wasn’t too concerned about that. Once I returned to Shujun’s side, did I even have to worry about weight?
My reflection couldn’t help but curl his mouth up in a smile. What’re you smiling at? All you did was read Jin Feng right! What’s there to be so happy about, when all that’s happened is that you haven’t been locked up, and no one’s standing watch over you after you confessed your plans?
I ran out of things to do after washing up. Just as I was starting to get hungry, the door opened. I’d thought that it was Ben delivering breakfast for today, and dashed back to bed to pretend to be the sickly patient. But to my surprise, the person entering was Jin Feng. She was holding onto a tray in her left hand and a large bundle of stuff in her right. I really had no idea how she had opened the door, but I knew how she closed it, at least—by kicking it shut.
Seeing me lying in bed, she raised an eyebrow, remarking, “Still pretending? You’re planning to leave today anyway, so there’s no way you can’t get out of bed.”
I chuckled and sat up in bed.
Jin Feng set down the tray. “Breakfast.”
Great timing. I was famished, so I made puppy eyes at Feng. However, she just rummaged in the stuff she had carried in and showed no intention of coming over to feed me.
After a long while, Jin Feng finally noticed my stare of eager anticipation and looked over. She gave me a puzzled look, and asked, “Why aren’t you eating?” Then, she started and said with amusement, “What, you want me to feed you?”
“No!” I immediately replied and quickly picked up the utensils and started eating the breakfast. I’d gotten used to being fed, so I’d almost forgotten that I had hands I could use to feed myself. It sure is easy to go from rags to riches, but hard to go back. I really couldn’t afford being pampered one more day with the spoon-fed food.
Jin Feng came by the bed and took away the utensils in my hands. While I was still stunned, she started going through the moves of feeding me.
“Why’s it rice and not porridge?” In the past six days, I’d mainly been eating porridge.
“A sick person eats porridge because it’s easy to digest. But are you sick?” Jin Feng spoke slowly and in a matter-of-fact voice, “Besides, you’re leaving today, so you should eat rice so you won’t get hungry so easy. No one out there’s gonna feed you, so eat more now. Don’t give me any more excuses about not being able to eat.”
I obediently polished off everything on the tray, not even leaving a scrap of apple behind either.
After the meal, Jin Feng piled the dining utensils to one side and ordered, “Stand up so I can have a look.”
I again stood up obediently to let her enjoy the view, and I even did a 360 degree turn and gave Jin Feng a beautiful smile, fulfilling my duties as a boy toy.
Jin Feng coughed and chuckled, “You’re so skinny. What’s there to see?”
…In the end, I fail at being a boy toy. I protested, explaining, “I wasn’t so skinny, and I even had muscle! I just lost weight after getting injured.”
Jin Feng quirked a smile, giving me no clue whether she believed me or not, and just shoved a backpack at me, remarking, “I’ve prepared a fair amount of food for you. Eat more and you’ll bulk up. Now come over and change.”
She tossed over a set of clothing, complete with shoes. I didn’t complain and immediately changed into them. The outfit was quite simple: a T-shirt, jeans, and a vest, pretty much the same style I’d worn before. Jin Feng was quite something to be able to guess what those scraps of cloth had originally looked like.
“Take a look at the supplies.”
I curiously stepped forward for a look. It was a large hiking backpack, with one Desert Eagle and one knife jutting out from the side pockets. Next to it, a set of belts had been laid out, complete with holsters for a knife and gun. These holsters weren’t empty, either, as there was a knife and an automatic already in them.
Jin Feng had even prepared weapons for me.
She said carelessly, “Most of the stuff in the bag is food and water. I’ve only prepared two guns for you. The ammo is in the bag. Don’t use the guns unless you absolutely have to. Gunshots will attract a lot of aberrants, and you won’t be able to finish them all off on your own or scare them away. Use the knife as much as possible to deal with them.”
My eyelid twitched as I suddenly realized a problem. I adopted a puzzled look and asked, “’Aberrant’? You keep using that word. Do you mean those monsters?”
Jin Feng nodded, speaking lightly, “Yeah, everyone here calls them aberrants.”
I was growing more and more certain that that Jin Xiaoyue had come from the same world as me, and that person had an even better memory than me. She was even able to remember the names of the three human elites.
Has Xiaoyue reached tier one yet? Back when she had been chatting with Jin Feng outside the room door, I hadn’t been able to sense the strength of her powers, but that could be because she was too powerful, so I had no way of detecting the true extent of her powers.
Jin Feng picked up the set of belts and helped me fasten it, then lifted the backpack onto my back. Then, she looked me over, and laughed as she shook her head. “You look like a kid wearing adult clothes with those guns.”
“I’m a pretty sharp shot!” I snapped back.
“You better be.” Jin Feng patted my back, saying, ”Go, while most of the gang isn’t around. I’ll take you out to avoid any trouble.”
She’s letting me go, just like that? I blinked, feeling a little scared. This was too good to be true. I must have saved up all my good luck in those ten years in the apocalypse in order to meet Jin Feng. Not only did she save me, feed me, and give me supplements, I’d even learned about a bunch of stuff from that Jin Xiaoyue.
Is the Jiang family really supposed to have such good luck? Don’t tell me that even the Heavens are making it up to me, because they can’t bear seeing my crappy luck that’s so bad that I’ve even run into two tier-one aberrants at the same time, just four months into the apocalypse?
Jin Feng led the way, walking down the long corridor and taking me down many flights of stairs, before bringing me out through the back door.
I looked back and finally saw where I’d been sleeping the past few days. It was a building that was around fourteen to fifteen-stories high. The first to third floors were retail space, and the levels above those were probably all offices.
I frowned, saying, “It must be hard to guard such a large place, right? Won’t aberrants and stuff be able to get in?”
I deliberately skipped over the question of “won’t people keep coming over for help?” Since she was part of the triad, I probably wouldn’t enjoy hearing how they dealt with people, so I avoided asking the question altogether.
“We have a lot of munitions,” Jin Feng said simply.
That one sentence almost made me want to run away in tears. How’s it possible for there to be such a big difference between us?!
“We’ve killed all the aberrants in the surrounding area. You’ll probably need to walk at least ten minutes before you start getting into dangerous territory. Be careful and hurry back to your family. And if…”
Jin Feng suddenly stopped. I watched her attentively, waiting for her to finish the sentence.
“If it’s not safe where you are, bring your family over.” Then, she switched to a more thoughtful tone of voice. “But—I don’t think you’ll be back, will you?”
I gave a faint smile and said confidently, “Yeah, my dàgē’s really amazing.”
The Ice Emperor, Jiang Shutian, is my dàgē! Except, I’ve kind of led him down the wrong path and now he’s a healer. Remembering this instantly made me feel a little depressed.
But I’d already decided that we wouldn’t live on anyone else’s territory, even if the territory belonged to the Thunder God, Jin Zhan. My dàgē was the Ice Emperor, and even if his ability in this life wasn’t ice, he’d still become some other kind of emperor. Haven’t you heard of the saying, you can’t have two kings on the same throne?
Besides, at this stage, the Thunder God’s organization was simply too powerful. If Dàgē came over, he could only end up serving under someone else, and what kind of a joke was that?! Even if Dàgē was willing, I wasn’t!
“What a pity. I quite like you,” Jin Feng remarked lightly.
I’ve been confessed to. I’ve been confessed to by my savior. I’ve been confessed to by someone made of money! What should I do?
“Feng, if we ever meet again—” I stopped abruptly, not daring to make any big promises, and finished a little lamely, “—I will feed you instead.”
Jin Feng’s lips curved in a smile, and she replied, “Sure.”
Isn’t this the right time for a farewell kiss or something? But I haven’t figured out which gender I prefer, so is it really all right if I give her hope?
As I flailed about what to do, Jin Feng stepped up to me, just like that, and I nervously watched her with wide eyes. T-this… is fine? It’s better if you did it rather than me.
Should I close my eyes…? No! No way in hell is this where a man closes his eyes earlier than a woman!
Jin Feng reached out to pinch my cheeks and chuckled. “Your expressions are really funny.”
That’s what everyone says.
“Go,” Jin Feng said without a trace of reluctance. “If your destination’s close by, try to get there before it gets dark.”
Although I probably wouldn’t be able to make it there today, I just gave a nod of my head. Aberrants weren’t any more active at night than they were during the day, but they were usually more of a pain to deal with. They often had night vision, and while humans now had much better vision than before, our sight couldn’t hold a candle against theirs.
“Goodbye, Feng,” I said my farewell, plagued by feelings of apology and guilt. But then again, she had her Thunder God and I had my Ice Emperor. No matter how dangerous the apocalypse became, with these two protective guardian gods, we’d definitely see each other again. So I’ll make sure to return the favor then.
“Bye, Xiao Yu.”
I steeled myself and turned to leave. Once I was some distance away, I looked back. Jin Feng was still standing there, back straight and head held high, one hand resting on her gun holster. Just her figure alone made her a super cool, hot chick. This woman was pretty much an idol in the making! In my previous life, I’d wanted so badly to become a powerful and strong woman like her, to the point where I’d even dreamed about it. Unfortunately, I’d gone down the wrong path from the very beginning, so I could only put my hopes on my current life.
I couldn’t help but yell, “Jin Feng, remember me. I’m called Shuyu, Jiang Shuyu!”
Did she hear me? Just as I was about to turn away, she tilted her head, raised a hand, and stuck out her thumb, looking so cool that I hated myself for not having a camera with me. I really wanted her autographed picture!
“Jiang Shuyu, live well.”
I smiled and gave her the same thumbs-up. Then, without any further delay, I left. As I walked, I gazed at the cluster of tall buildings, the worry and fear in my heart suddenly drifting away. This woman’s a tier one, so what’s she got to be afraid of!
Dàgē, Shujun, wait for me!