Dominion’s End Volume 3: Ice-Bound Splendor and Majesty
Original novel in Chinese by: 御我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 10: Returning Home, Part One—translated by Michimochi (proofread by Arcedemius & Trespasserby; C/E edited by lucathia)
Standing amidst a world of ice and snow, I suddenly felt that this world might no longer have anyone left in it. I panicked, but then I heard a crunching noise. I whipped my head around, searching for the origin of the sound, and found it with a single glance. There was someone else on the snowy field. Such a huge tail was so eye-catching, he simply couldn’t hide.
Thirteen had his back to me, as if planning to escape. Even though I’m heavily injured, there’s no way he isn’t more severely wounded than me, plus he’s afraid of the cold!
I gave a cold laugh. Ignoring how injured I was, I raised my ice spear and dagger, formed ice blades below my feet, and glided over stubbornly. Thirteen noticed me as well and doggedly continued to run, but how could he run faster than me?
In just a blink of an eye, I caught up to him and went to kick him. Although he dodged it, his feet slipped out from under him, and he fell to the ground. His fall was a serious one. His whole body had slammed into the ground. For some reason, he hadn’t used his hands to catch himself. He looked quite miserable, with his face held just off the ground.
Sneering, I wielded the ice spear. Right when I went to thrust the spear into his back, to finish this fellow off once and for all, his bizarre posture caught my attention. Looking closely, it was as if he was hugging some sort of object.
Is he trying to trick me? I hesitated for a moment. The anxiety I felt was probably unwarranted. Thirteen’s actions up until now showed how much smarter he was than other aberrants, but it wasn’t to the point of scheming.
I even had the feeling that this guy looked down on scheming.
“Turn around,” I demanded.
Thirteen did exactly as commanded. To be this obedient, he must really be injured pretty badly. He didn’t even have any energy left in him to resist. Once he turned around, a tiny body held within his arms appeared—it was actually Beibei.
I was stunned. I stretched out my hand, wanting to take the little girl, but Beibei actually tightened her hold around Thirteen’s neck. She seemed very attached to him. On the other hand, she used an expression filled with horror to look at me.
The little girl trembled. I originally thought it was because she was afraid, but Thirteen pulled his white robe over her, struggling to cover her. Then, I finally understood. Our surroundings were a field of ice and snow. If it wasn’t for Thirteen holding her, Beibei would probably have frozen to death by now.
The Ice Emperor and I had almost killed Beibei, while Thirteen was actually protecting Beibei the entire time. What kind of bizarre situation is this? Why do I feel like I’m actually the villain? This is so ridiculous that I want to laugh.
“You want to kill me?” Thirteen cautiously peered at the ice spear, terrified of it.
What a good question. I really should kill him and snatch away the little girl. Then, I should head east right away and find Dàgē and Xiǎomèi. After that, I should continuously strengthen the Jiang territory, become a top-tier elite with the most powerful troop backing me up, and kill every single MORC member. I would be unchallenged in this apocalyptic world… How come this sounds so much like Xia Zhengu’s ambition?
I looked at Thirteen. He had actually remembered my name well.
“Thirteen, do you hate humans?”
Thirteen looked at me. At first, he seemed as if he wanted to say yes, but then Beibei suddenly raised her head and looked up at him. He then stayed silent and just tightened his hold on the little girl. That action was as if he were reassuring her. If you ignore Thirteen’s aberrations, they look just like a father and daughter.
“Do you hate the MORC?” As I finished saying this, I saw Thirteen’s puzzlement and then immediately shouted, “Do you hate those people who stuffed you in that glass cylinder?”
Thirteen’s face immediately twisted into hatred. Very good, his hatred for the MORC is deeply rooted, but he just didn’t know the MORC’s name. That’s not a problem. I just told him, so he will remember.
“Swear! Swear to me that if you see any of the MORC, you will kill each and every one of them! I will then let you go!”
Thirteen shook his head and said, “You can ask me something else. I already planned to kill them.”
“I don’t have anything else to ask you.” Don’t tell me I should ask him not to eat humans? Try asking someone to never eat food! Even if they swear it, could those words even be trusted?
Thirteen said in a serious manner, “I swear. If I come across any of the MORC, I will kill them all.”
I closed my eyes and, with great effort, suppressed what my rational side was trying to tell me. “Go! Before I change my mind, scram!”
Thirteen did not hesitate. Holding Beibei tightly, he turned and limped away.
I stood in place. If the little girl called out, or even gave me one look, I would grab her back. However, not once did I receive any SOS signals from the little girl.
Once they were no longer in sight, only then did I squat down, hold my head, and allow reason to return.
Tens of thousands of lives, Xiao Sha of the other world… The Ice Emperor really wanted to avenge Xiao Sha… Yet I just let Thirteen go! How could I? I even let him take Beibei away. What about Auntie Chen?
But Thirteen’s behavior is just off. He doesn’t hate humans at all right now. I can tell. Besides, with his strength, plus the fact that he also has Asura and Maternibaby with him, humans aren’t a threat at all. He simply doesn’t have any reason to hate human beings. Who would hate a plate of veggies for no reason?
Plus, with Wu Yaojin bringing the MORC over, I could broadly deduce that if it weren’t for the Ice Emperor’s and my involvement, Thirteen would probably have been caught by the MORC. And this time, he would have definitely become the MORC’s main research experiment. Following that, he would have escaped again.
At that time, Thirteen would definitely hate humans to the very bottom of his soul. On top of that, there was no hope that he would bother to distinguish between the MORC and other humans. He would indiscriminately slaughter everyone.
But now the situation had changed, and Thirteen had not been caught. He even had with him a human, Beibei, and he treasured the little girl. Like this, he shouldn’t hate humans as much. Even better is that he still hates the MORC, and he’s even vowed to kill them on sight!
There can’t be a better result than this, right? What if I’m wrong? Then, I just released an aberrant that will kill tens of thousands of human beings in the future!
And it doesn’t matter if my reasoning is correct or not, Thirteen will end up killing Xiao Sha… No, that’s the Thirteen of the other world. The Xiao Sha here is still alive and well. This damned parallel world is really messing my brain up!
Chest full of pain, head full of conflict between logic and madness, I didn’t even know what the right thing to do was. How come knowing the future still makes it hard to judge right and wrong?
How come even with knowing the future and reaching tier two ahead of time, I’m still suffering endless losses? This time, it was the Ice Emperor, but who’ll be next? Will it be Dàgē? Will it be Shujun?
Two broken figures flashed across my mind. Grief inundated me. I couldn’t help but hold my head as shrieks split the air without stopping.
It continued, until suddenly there was a gentle touch on my face.
“Dàgē?” I hastily twisted my head to look over but instead saw a green leaf, which was particularly eye-catching against the snowy backdrop.
A small sapling was perched on my shoulder, familiar yet foreign. The shape of the small sapling with two leaves was, without a doubt, Jiang Xiaorong, but the originally brown branches had become a half-transparent, silvery white, just like ice.
Is this the Ice Emperor’s way of thanking Jiang Xiaorong for rescuing me? No, in the end, he must have done this to give me support.
Jiang Xiaorong shifted his two skinny branches. He seemed smaller than he was before. Helping me block the bullets must still have injured him severely.
The little sapling, just like how a person would, “sat” on my shoulder, and used the two skinny branches to lightly rub my face.
Suddenly, I understood. “Let me go and find you some soil for your pot.”
When I finished speaking, Jiang Xiaorong stopped rubbing. It can’t be that he really understood my words?
I laughed, but the laughter was choked. I hastily wiped my face, then stood up to start digging. At this moment, I felt something was wrong, like I was missing something… Where’s the ice spear and the dagger?
The Ice Emperor gave me those! I looked around anxiously, but then I saw the silvery blue ice pattern on my arms flashing brightly. Realization washed over me, like I had been given a clue.
The spear and dagger had been put away.
I was dazed for a good while. Then, I started digging and put Jiang Xiaorong in the pot. Next, I would head eastwards and not detour anywhere else. If I hadn’t taken any detours in the first place, maybe… Maybe what? Wasn’t the one pulling me on the detours Jiang Xiaotian himself?
He had already had death in mind. Even if Xiaotian had followed me to Lan City, it would’ve just been to take a look at Shujun, right? This ice spear and dagger couldn’t possibly have been devised so rapidly—he had to have planned this a long time ago!
I carried Jiang Xiaorong and started heading east. Who knew if it was the Ice Emperor who left his mark, but not a single aberrant dared to appear. First, I collected my motorcycle, and then I drove east the whole way. I drove until the motorcycle couldn’t move anymore. Then, I left it behind and started walking on foot.
When I came back to my senses, I was not that conscious of where I was. I just gazed straight ahead. The building looked like a clock tower. I recall Dàgē’s letter mentioned something about a clock tower…
Who’s calling me? I stared blankly at the person rushing toward me and blurted out, “Xiao Sha? How are you still alive?”
Didn’t Xiao Sha get killed by Thirteen?
He was taken aback, but ran up to me, his joy turning into puzzlement as he asked, “What? Of course I’m alive. Are you hurt?”
I shook my head but Xiao Sha grabbed me and carried me in his arms anyway. I wanted to struggle but found that I didn’t have a single bit of energy left. Oh well. I let him carry me the entire way, and he even yelled as he ran, “Boss! Shuyu is back! He came back by himself! Everyone, come and look!”
Getting carried like this, I felt lethargic all of a sudden. A bit drowsy, I found that I couldn’t even remember how many days I had walked for. When was the last time I actually slept…
I was instantly sober and looked over to see a familiar face… Ice Emperor? Jiang Xiaotian?
The other person looked at me with utter joy at regaining what had been lost.
Ice Emperor, so you are alive and well! I struggled to stand, wanting to pounce on him, but my feet turned to jelly, and I fell, but luckily someone caught me in time, so I didn’t crash to the ground.
Lifting my head, I gazed at him and saw tears in his eyes. To hell with “men only drip blood, not tears.” You’re about to cry—
He hugged me jubilantly. His voice was like he was half chuckling, half crying as he said, “Shuyu! You came back. I knew you would be all right. Shujun thought the same. Shujun even claimed, ‘Èrgē is the strongest. Even if we all died, he’d be all right,’ and she was right! How wonderful, she was right!”
I opened my mouth—I had a mountain of questions that I wanted to ask—but I ended up only calling out, “Dàgē…”
This person isn’t the Ice Emperor, he’s Dàgē. The Ice Emperor is already dead!
To hell with bringing him to witness a different future, as if he isn’t dead and has merely taken the form of a spear. That’s all BS! Find me if that ice spear ever opens its mouth and calls me Dìdi! You’re dead beyond dead!
“Dàgē, you big idiot!”
Just because the Ice Emperor is the parallel world version of you, he is still you—the idiot who isn’t willing to live on!
Dàgē acknowledged it all, and guiltily said, “Yeah, Dàgē is a big idiot, who even searched in the wrong direction, causing you to suffer.”
That’s right, you got the direction completely wrong. If you can live on, then you should live on. Using your death to absolve you of your guilt—that’s what morons do!
“Èrgē!” A girl’s voice was so high pitched that it could even shatter glass. There wasn’t any trace of a pretty girl’s demeanor—it was simply a voice on the level of a harpy.
Shujun rushed forward. First, she embraced her èrgē, using enough force that I felt that she wanted to choke her own brother to death. Then, she raised her head, and with reddened eyes, earnestly said, “Èrgē, you came back.”
Hearing these words, I jolted awake. I looked around. Dàgē and Xiǎomèi were both embracing me, unwilling to let go. Uncle and Auntie were running over. Even the other mercenaries were crowding around us. They all had happy and grateful looks… This is home. I’m home!
“Yeah, I’m back.” As I finished saying this, tears blurred my sight. I tried wiping them away, but I couldn’t wipe them dry. And seeing Mèimei burst into tears, crying so fiercely, my own tears followed relentlessly. Let it flow.
Nestled in Dàgē and Mèimei’s embrace, my heart filled with sorrow. I couldn’t stop myself and cried with wracking sobs, until I was out of breath, until my sight began to spin and fade into darkness. Even if I really fainted, I’m not afraid—I’m already home.