Dominion’s End Volume 3: Ice-Bound Splendor and Majesty
Original novel in Chinese by: 御 我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 7: Thirteen, Part One—translated by Michimochi (proofread by EvlNabiki; C/E edited by lucathia; additional edits by Elkin)
Jiang Xiaotian frowned and turned to look at me. With that expression on that little face, he was definitely going to say “no”.
“Give your little brother a chance to practice.” I spoke first, “If I fail, then you could pitch in. Wouldn’t that be fine?”
Jiang Xiaotian hesitated for a moment at my proposal before nodding.
Thirteen was watching us this entire time. Although the two armored bears were poised to fight, they didn’t seem like they were about to attack. I think that Thirteen is interested in us and isn’t in a hurry to make his move.
This wasn’t a good sign. Thirteen might have the leisure of observing his enemy precisely because it was a child’s play to deal with us. Ah Nuo and the Lieutenant’s men probably weren’t in a good place- or at least they didn’t pose any threat to Thirteen. I only hope that they haven’t been wiped out.
If the elite troops who had gone in first were annihilated, then the reinforcements would probably follow them in death. Even if there were still soldiers outside, they were neither elite nor bold enough to enter as reinforcements. So what’s there to expect from them? This shelter’s probably a goner. In the worst case scenario, it could even become the hunting ground for Thirteen’s aberrant underlings.
I raised my ice spear, only having time to add one layer of diamond ice. The outer eyelid might be impenetrable, but the inner eyelid was not. However, the opponent definitely knew this too. It’d be difficult to accurately strike at this weakness. Directly freezing the two armored bears wasn’t going to be as easy as sealing spiders with ice either. The two bears didn’t seem fazed by the fact that they were currently standing on ice…
Wait a second, did Thirteen step on Blackie because he can’t handle the icy coldness from the floor?
This was a real possibility. Although Thirteen couldn’t possibly be weaker than the armored bears- in the world of aberrants, strength was respected, while intellect was as worthless as dirt. This was even truer in the beginning stages of the apocalypse. As such, intelligent aberrants that stayed alive were few and far between, and only the mightiest of aberrants could lay their hands on them— Yes, even in the later stages, intelligent types were unable to rule and could only depend on fighters. One could only conquer through brute force.
However, not all aberrants could resist the cold.
What if I ignored the armored bears and directly attacked Thirteen? In any case, the opponent probably wouldn’t sit back and watch the armored bears get killed. If I had to face all three opponents anyway, wouldn’t it be better if I picked the target at the start and got rid of this bastard who was susceptible to the cold? Then, dealing with the armored bears wouldn’t be a big deal anymore.
As I was evaluating Thirteen and mulling over his possible weakness, waves of a woman’s mournful shrieks rang out. While the shrieks didn’t sound close, they were actually able to penetrate through the walls of this research center, transmitting all the way here. They were closely followed by the sound of a baby’s thin, sharp cry. The two mixed together, making my hair stand on end. Could this be the crying baby that we heard in the beginning? Is it Maternibaby?
I listened—it didn’t sound normal, like it was a bit desperate. Maybe the other troops were in a better situation than I thought. Hopefully they’d finish off Maternibaby just like this. In the later stages of the apocalypse, killing one of Thirteen’s generals would make someone world famous!
Thirteen’s face suddenly changed, his brows heavily scrunching together so much that even his brow ridge popped out. His expression had turned as merciless as a devil’s. What happened to being an office worker about to burst his liver doing overtime? His whole aura changed- it shot fear into a person’s heart with just one look and no one would dare to look down on him.
Despite the changes, he actually didn’t pay any attention to me. He instead turned and walked in the other direction, and even the armored bears turned to follow.
That’s fucking rude, yo!
I didn’t even have time to get angry before Jiang Xiaotian erupted in fury next to me. His little body shot forward, and he roared, “FREEZE!”
Thirteen turned back, his glaring eyes as big as plates. My mind suddenly went blank, and I could do nothing but stare into those pure black spheres as deep as caves. Then, a sudden bolt of pain shot through my head that took the strength from my knees. I could do nothing but curl up, hugging my head to endure it.
Junjun? I turned to look at her. My tiny little sister is so cute—Wrong! I’m dreaming now, right? Did I just pass out again? Shit, what’s happening out there? I need to hurry and wake up!
“Èrgē’s head is burning!” Junjun’s little hand covered my forehead, and she anxiously asked, “Are you too hot?”
“Do I have a fever? Stay away from me, or else you’ll get infected,” “I” opened my mouth to say. My voice came out super hoarse. I seem pretty sick.
“No!” Junjun stubbornly said, “I want to stay by Èrgē’s side.”
“Junjun, behave. Èrgē is sick. What would we do if you got sick too?”
Junjun still didn’t leave, instead pulling the mug on the bedside cabinet, and said, “Èrgē, do you want some water?”
I sighed and asked, “What time is it right now?”
“How come you haven’t gone to school?” I frowned. Although my feverish head pounded like a drum, I could still recall that today wasn’t the weekend.
“Not going!” Junjun pouted, “Usually, Èrgē wakes me up. Today, I woke up on my own, and you still weren’t up. Lin-bó said that you’re sick. He wanted to take me to school and get the doctor on the way back. He said that he worries about leaving you at home by yourself, but he also didn’t dare have me take a taxi to school alone. I just said I won’t go to school so I could take care of Èrgē. I had Lin-bó call the school.”
There really weren’t enough people at home. To have Lin-bó always busily running in and out was not going to work either. We should hire a maid paid by the hour, as long as she commutes instead of staying in our house.
Then again, I didn’t want to add another person to our household. I pondered over it for a while. But my head started pounding again and I decided not to think about it for now and leave it for when I got better, since there wasn’t any rush.
Taking the water that Junjun handed over, I drank a few sips that soothed my throat and filled me with pride. My little sister is so cute and considerate, how can I not love her?!
“He went to get the doctor.”
I gave a wry smile. You could’ve just taken me to the doctor’s once I was awake. Why go through so much trouble?
Previously, when Mom and Dad were still around, we were a large household. All in all, our retinue of servants, gardeners, and chefs and so on tallied up to almost ten people. Actually, there was even a family physician, who came with just one call. Lin-bó always recounted the glorious days, but right now we were just a small, barely rich household.
Dàgē was pretty proficient at making money, but had equally big expenditures. A mercenary group was not that easy to support, plus the scale of their territory was growing larger and larger. We must economize! In the future, we got to nag Lin-bó more.
“You haven’t told Dàgē, right?” It’s only a fever. I really don’t want him executing a mission while worrying. If Dàgē slipped up during a mission, that could cost lives! In his head, Dìdì and Mèimei must be healthy and never get sick!
“No.” Junjun pouted and grumbled, “Since there’s no use telling him anyway.”
I looked at Shujun. Is that a complaint?
“Dàgē’s responsibility of supporting the family is very hard.”
Junjun drooped her little head and said, “I know. Sorry…”
“It’s ok. I also think that since Dàgē never comes home, it wouldn’t be strange if he forgets where his home is one day.”
Junjun immediately nodded heavily. If Dàgē were to ever see that little look of resentment, he would surely immediately apologize and repent his misdeeds while blaming himself. But he still wouldn’t change, so there’s no need for him to see this.
I reached out to pet her head. In my prone position, this turned out a bit awkward to do. Before I knew it, the little girl had grown this tall already. I really hope that she continues growing up like this into a successful adult. She’ll definitely be gifted in both looks and wisdom, a super wonderful woman!
One day, a lucky fucker will marry my angelic xiǎomèi. Then, they will give birth to some lovable kids. Thinking of a bunch of mini-Junjuns circling around and call me Uncle made my heart melt. Everything would be perfect like this. But things never go as planned… What the hell am I thinking!
How is it possible that things won’t go as planned! Nuh-uh, it’s not a jinx if a kid says these things! My Junjun will definitely become a blessed and happy little princess. It’s my sick brain that’s making me think nonsense.
“Èrgē, I’m going to steam some buns and heat the milk for you. Lin-bó said to at least eat something.” Shujun advised me with the composure of an adult, “Èrgē, if you need anything, just use the internal line and call me. I’ll come immediately.”
I couldn’t help but laugh and said, “Okay. Be careful when you’re using the stove.”
Junjun nodded in reply before bouncing away.
Only when the door closed did I finally breathe a sigh of relief. My head ached like someone was tumbling around in there, and my eyes were so heavy that I could hardly open them. I’ll nap a bit while waiting for the food. That should be fine…
“Weijun-jiě, do you know that Xia Zhengu brought another woman back again?”
I was still half-asleep, but as soon as I heard that sentence I jolted awake, turning around to look. It was a woman, looking to be around twenty-something years old? I couldn’t tell. She looked delicate and pretty, and was very familiar, but I obviously didn’t recognize her.
But “I” chuckled while replying, “Tell me if he ever comes back without a woman instead. That’ll be a lot rarer.”
What’s this? Why am I saying this? And my voice is… a woman’s? What’s going on?
“This is different!” The woman bit her lips and angrily said, “He brought back a mother and daughter. That girl doesn’t even look like she’s fifteen yet. She’d still be in middle school before all this!”
Okay, this really is too over the top. And from what I know about Xia Zhengu, this situation might be even more absurd.
“Is the mother pretty?”
The woman blinked, then nodded. “If the child is that old, she should be thirty something already. But nowadays, people don’t look as old, so she only looks twenty something, and she’s quite busty. She’s his type.”
My face sank. Does Xia Zhengu plan to do both the mother and daughter? Screw this, he better not do what I’m thinking of and want a threesome with the mother and daughter. Fucking bastard!
“I’ll go find him right now. See if I can bring the girl over.”
The woman nodded her head heavily and started following me.
“Xiao Qi, don’t come with me.”
I was worried that the conflict would affect her. Recently, Xia Zhengu had become even more heartless. Earlier, I had already scavenged several kinds of edibles, so there was no lack of food at the moment, but this also meant that I was not that useful anymore.
Although I had experience in finding edible plants and farming, Xia Zhengu wasn’t going to care about that, since there were plenty of women who helped him farm. He simply didn’t appreciate how much food can be grown on an acre. Either way, it wouldn’t leave him hungry.
If only Xia Zhengu thought things through, just even by a little bit, our commune would thrive so much more!
That woman, Xiao Qi, still stubbornly followed closely behind me. I could only sigh. Nowadays, a mistress holds more love and loyalty than a boyfriend.
When I found Xia Zhengu, he wasn’t willing to surrender the girl, as expected. I tried to settle for the next best thing and said, “Then, give me the mother. I need more hands for farming.”
He impatiently said, “I brought back quite a few people this time. Take your pick, but the mother and daughter are mine.”
Unwilling to surrender both, huh. My guess was right. Fucking sonnova bitch wants to be the husband of a mother and her daughter. You scumbag!
“Xia Zhengu, fucking the mother isn’t enough? You can’t even keep your hands off someone’s middle school daughter? You motherfucker, are you still even human?”
“Keep my hands off? They cozied up to me. If I don’t accept them, they won’t be able to survive, y’know? Come on, don’t you even have a bit of sympathy? You only know how to be jealous!”
Jealous? I was so angry that I couldn’t help but laugh. What woman would still feel jealous when her man has collected dozens, no, hundreds of mistresses? I will pay my respects to her.
“If you hadn’t shown your interest, no mother would be in a hurry to give her daughter away! Give me the daughter and clearly explain to the mom that I’m taking her to plant crops! That there’ll be food and drink. Then see if that mom would still let her daughter go to your room! Or do you really think you’re so irresistible, Xia Zhengu, that you thought just one look would make women want to crawl into your bed?!”
Xia Zhengu’s face hardened. He coldly retorted, “Guan Weijun, you’re becoming more and more vulgar. Go and hide in the greenhouse and don’t let others catch sight of you. You’re a disgrace!”
“Fuck your family sideways and backwards. Is that crude enough?” I snapped, “My words are much more civilized compared to what you’re doing! You specialize in doing things that no decent human would do, and you still dare to call me vulgar?”
“You!” Xia Zhengu was outraged. His face distorted even further, and any trace of the “gentleman” on his high horse telling me off for vulgarity was gone.
I stepped back but still wasn’t quick enough. Xia Zhengu had already grabbed my neck. The difference in our strengths was still way too great, and even escaping wasn’t a choice. Dammit. If only I hadn’t given up back then. If only I could have become a bit stronger…
My neck pulsed with intense pain. Can’t breathe, but I can’t beg for mercy. Xia Zhengu, if this bastard manages to make me beg even once, then he definitely won’t take me seriously in the future. Even if he beats me to death, I won’t give in!
“Let go of Weijun-jiě!”
Xiao Qi desperately pulled at Xia Zhengu, but how could she, the medic, have the power to shake a man? In the end, she went crashing into the wall with one push, and was barely able to crawl back up after. She wasn’t going to repeat the same, futile motions. Instead, she started to scream and wail, desperately shrieking, “Weijun-jiě will get killed, help!” Her voice was so sharp that even I, the person being strangled to death, could not stand it!
When my consciousness started to blur, people started to rush in. After seeing who they were, I relaxed. It was good that they were not members from Xia Zhengu’s later collection of bastards.
This was an older generation of comrades. While they were fewer than before, each and every one of them was pretty powerful, and they didn’t completely side with Xia Zhengu. Good, they’re here. I have a chance to survive. All I need to do is tell them about Xia Zhengu’s craziness. Maybe they’ll be willing to take the girl away… Although, Xiao Qi, people already came. Please stop crying. My head hurts…
“Èrgē, Èrgē! Sob, sob…”
Once I opened my eyes, I saw a little girl drowning in tears. I almost blurted out, “Who are you?” Fortunately, these words got stuck at the tip of my tongue and what was blurted became “Shujun” instead. What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I recognize even my own little sister?!
“Èrgē! Does it hurt too much?” Junjun wept, “Just a moment ago, you looked very uncomfortable. I keep trying wake you, but you wouldn’t wake up. I was so scared…”
I strained a smile and was going to say “Don’t be scared, I’m fine” when a sudden, sharp pain lanced through my head. It hurt so much that I couldn’t help but squeeze my eyes shut and bite my lips, and braced myself against the pain until it passed. I can’t make any sounds. It’ll scare Junjun!
When I finally squashed the pain down, I relaxed and opened my eyes. I was just about to console Mèimei, but what was before me was not her little weeping face but another even younger little face. What’s going on?
I was at a loss.
A dream within a dream. A waking upon waking. Was I truly awake?
“Shuyu, Shuyu. Are you okay?” The little kid panicked, “Shuyu, say something!”
I looked at him and finally snapped out of it. I opened my mouth and spoke. My voice was so hoarse that even I was surprised.