Dominion’s End Volume 3: Ice-Bound Splendor and Majesty
Original novel in Chinese by: 御 我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 7: Thirteen, Part Two—translated by Michimochi (proofread by EvlNabiki & elisa; C/E edited by lucathia)
“My head hurts real bad. His psychic ability is really strong. The Thirteen in this time period might not specialize in physical combat, Dàgē.”
I probably wasn’t too far off the mark, seeing how he couldn’t stand the cold yet was able to instruct other aberrants.
Jiang Xiaotian, however, didn’t care about Thirteen and only frowned. “Are you okay?”
How can I be okay? Waves of pain kept piercing my head, but compared to just now when I couldn’t even talk due to the pain, this wasn’t a big deal.
Rather than the headache, my main concern was that dream just now, which was more confusing. As I gained more and more past memories, I almost had the answer in my hand, but I didn’t dare to think too much about it. I’d love it if I’m… but on the other hand, that’s also…
I didn’t dare continue that line of thought. I forced myself not to turn my head away, not to avoid meeting Jiang Xiaotian’s gaze.
Chen Yanqing anxiously said, “Xiao Yu, your eyes are bloodshot and your face is still kinda pale.”
No wonder Jiang Xiaotian was so worried and seemed to have given up on chasing Thirteen. I shook my head and said, “I’m fine. Let’s go. Something’s up with Maternibaby, probably the work of your fellow soldiers. They’re going to be in trouble, what with Thirteen hurrying on over.”
Chen Yanqing became even more worried at my words and hurriedly urged, “Then let’s go.”
I picked up my ice spear and stood up. When I walked over to that ice corridor, Blackie was still laying face down on the ground, his body practically frozen.
I silently crouched down, pointing the spearhead against Blackie’s head. Then, I raised my head and looked toward Chen Yanqing. He stiffened then said, “Let me do it.”
I nodded in agreement. Unexpectedly, Chen Yanqing did not hesitate and fired a shot, then managed to say, “Let’s go.”
Other than his slightly trembling hands, there wasn’t any other sign indicating his discomfort.
“Don’t worry about him.” Jiang Xiaotian’s voice carried a hint of admiration, “As long as he’s got comrades waiting for him, he will be alright. This guy isn’t half bad.”
I nodded in agreement. See? That’s why you can’t blame me for always wanting to take him with me. When there’s a capable guy, everyone wants to snatch him up. It’s just a shame that Blackie…ugh!
“But you are not allowed to fall in love before you’re ready, no matter how good the partner!”
…Dàgē, even if it’s ten years into the apocalypse, when women are like buff men while men are like monsters, when people don’t bother to maintain appearances, when basically a person’s gender doesn’t matter anymore, you still can’t keep thinking day in and day out that your dìdì will be swindled away just because you saw some human! I haven’t even decided what gender I like, so I definitely won’t fall in love!
Wu Yaojin hastily said, “Don’t settle with a guy. With your strength, having kids will be a huge contribution to the world. Genetics still play a huge factor!”
“Yeah, having children is good.” Jiang Xiaotian approved wholeheartedly, then, in the next breath, he snarled, “But the children of my family are not to be used as contributions to the world. You better believe that I’d immediately make you die a heroic death!”
“…” Ahead of me, Ah Qing seemed to be walking a bit rigidly.
One had lived ten years into the apocalypse and seen countless tragedies. One had an asparagus syndrome. Even with so many people dead, these two were still talking about whether it was love or puppy love, and whether to pick a guy or girl. My head ached even more. Please, leave Ah Qing with a better impression. I still want steal this person back to the Jiang territory!
At this moment, numerous gunshots sounded off in the distance. They were muffled by the walls but could still be clearly heard. They must be close by. Chen Yanqing immediately ran toward the sound, and I quickly followed after. I looked back—the kid was keeping up pretty well. Wu Yaojin… if you can’t keep up, that’s even better. Saves me the trouble of deciding whether or not to off you to vent my anger.
When we arrived at the origin of the gunshots, it was so quiet that it was like no one was around. They’re not all dead, are they? I hastily looked around and was deeply shaken by the scene.
The soldiers had been forced to retreat into the corner and had formed a circle around a round creature. A closer look made no difference to the sight of a spherical lump of meat. Only after another look did I finally notice her head and legs.
Maternibaby was larger than I’d imagined her to be, especially her huge belly. Two men probably couldn’t even wrap their arms around her. Her belly yawned wide open, the inside of her abdomen stuffed with baby arms and legs bathed in blood. Some limbs were so long that they drooped down to the ground. She looked as if she had been hurt to the point that she couldn’t move and had no choice but to allow herself to be surrounded by the soldiers.
There were less than twenty soldiers remaining. The second lieutenant who had come to their aid was also among them, and he looked much more respectable than earlier. He and the others stood at the very front, holding heavy firearms, their eyes bloodshot, their bodies both red and pale. They looked like gods of death, but ones whose times were up, struggling in their final hour.
But most shocking were the wounded soldiers sitting next to Maternibaby. They were not holding any assault weapons but instead held grenades and similar objects. Their hands were ready to pull the pins at anytime, their expressions incomparably hardened. I had no doubt that they were more than willing to perform a suicide mission.
Across from the soldiers was a pack of aberrants—not too many, probably about the same number as the remaining troop. If I wasn’t mistaken, the aberrant at the very front was Asura. He looked to be about the same as the picture in the data, but only seeing him in person could you truly appreciate how he towered over you. Only currently, he’d been beaten black and blue, and a whole leg was distorted to the point of being unrecognizable.
But the soldiers had also paid a huge price. The entire floor between the two sides was covered in broken body parts, and while there were aberrant corpses, the majority of casualties were the soldiers.
Since they were going down anyway, the soldiers were resolved to go down together. Grenades were held up, and although they probably wouldn’t be enough to kill Thirteen or Asura, they would at least take Maternibaby down with them. Otherwise, Thirteen’s expression wouldn’t have been as dark as it was now. He was even holding back the attack—every one of the ten-odd aberrants looked strong, and it would probably be a walk in a park for them to finish off the remaining soldiers.
“Ah Nuo!” Chen Yanqing shouted, “What happened to the Lieutenant and Guo Hong?”
Ah Nuo glared and yelled back angrily, “Why’d you come? Leave!”
Chen Yanqing flinched. Then, he looked over at me with pleading eyes.
I too wished that I was strong enough to defeat Thirteen, who’d brought ten-odd aberrants. However, things never went the way you wanted them to. I’d be lucky to even defeat Thirteen, never mind the other aberrants.
Jiang Xiaotian remarked, “I really underestimated them. I didn’t expect them to be able to cripple Asura and Maternibaby. With this, you really can defeat Thirteen now. Have the soldiers hold back the other aberrants. You just need to focus on defeating Thirteen.”
If I did that, you’d be able to count on a hand the soldiers who’ll be left once this is done. They already looked wiped out and had barely any strength left. You could practically see the grim reaper standing over them.
Thirteen seemed to be concerned about Maternibaby’s safety. If I used Maternibaby as a hostage to force him to leave, then it was possible to protect the safety of these soldiers.
I had to say I truly admired their tenacity to struggle and fight so long. Even when faced with death, they remained selfless. So there actually were soldiers who weren’t corrupted at the beginning of the apocalypse. But most probably lost their lives and simply didn’t survive to see the later days.
Good people don’t live long; bastards live forever. This law of life is fucking terrible. I just want to save a few more good people. Come on!
“Dàgē, I don’t want to sacrifice them.”
The moment I said that, Chen Yanqing stared at me.
“I know what you’re thinking. You can’t stand letting me participate or sacrificing these people in front of you. There are too many things you can’t stand.” Jiang Xiaotian said coldly, “You should know that once Thirteen escapes, in the days ahead, even more people will die at his hands. Your current actions will not save people. You’re exchanging the lives of dozens for tens of thousands!”
I know. I do understand! Thirteen’s body count is far above tens of thousands of lives. Forget the soldiers—even if you included the civilians in the refugee camp, even if we can sacrifice the lives of these people to kill Thirteen, that’ll be a great victory… My ass!
Human lives can’t be measured like this! Seriously, my Junjun is worth more than tens of millions of lives! I’m beyond biased, but so what? I don’t know those tens of thousands who’ll die, but these soldiers before me, who are struggling with all they’ve got, they are admirable!
I wheedled quietly, “Still, Dàgē, I want them to live. Give me a hand.”
Jiang Xiaotian actually broke out into a grin at that and said, “Shuyu, I’ve always felt that you are too mature, to the point that you don’t feel like someone who has just stepped into the apocalyptic world, let alone like an eighteen-year-old. But now, now you finally feel like one.”
It’s because I’m a thirty-five year-old woman who has fully lived out ten years of the apocalypse. I’d probably even experienced roughly the same length of the apocalypse as Jiang Xiaotian. It was just that I had grown discouraged. Leading those mistresses who had likewise been resigned to their fate, we had only focused on hiding away in our own world, working on the fields. The fight had gone out of us.
“Go. Do what you want.” He said indifferently, “Even if you let Thirteen go now, we can chase him down later.”
So I just gotta kill Thirteen no matter what. I took a deep breath. Fine, otherwise I’m going to feel guilty every time I hear news of Thirteen’s brutality.
“Thirteen, let them go.” I yelled.
Thirteen turned his head and looked at us. His countenance became even fiercer, hinting that he wouldn’t hesitate to have this end in mutual destruction.
My expression sank. I tried to look menacing and thundered, “Take your underlings and leave right now. But if you insist on fighting to the bitter end, I’ll do the same!”
Thirteen narrowed his eyes at me. In the next second, his line of sight shifted to Jiang Xiaotian, and a hint of fear crept into his eyes. Good call! He could actually tell that Xiaotian is the true threat here. No wonder you are the future king of aberrants!
“Even her?” Thirteen looked toward Maternibaby. Although he gave little away, it was obvious just from watching him rush over the moment he had heard Maternibaby’s cries and the way his hands were tied that this aberrant was genuinely important to him.
Not to mention, Jiang Xiaotian had already mentioned that ten years into the apocalypse, Asura and Maternibaby were Thirteen’s generals. Perhaps Thirteen could abandon all of the aberrants from this research center, as long as Asura and Maternibaby remained.
“No!” Ah Nuo roared, “The moment this aberrant is free, they’ll definitely join forces and annihilate us all!”
Jiang Xiaotian ignored him completely and looked directly at Thirteen. He said, “Only if you promise to leave immediately without touching these soldiers. Then, you can take Maternibaby and leave.”
One soldier after another turned to look toward the child, disbelief on their faces.
I looked down at Jiang Xiaotian. Ah Nuo’s doubts weren’t without reason. Once he had nothing to worry about, who knew if Thirteen would be willing to obediently leave or not.
Jiang Xiaotian said flatly, “Thirteen was well-known for keeping his promises. Once, for the sake of keeping his promise, he gave up on a battle he had been about to win. He abandoned the lives of tens of thousands of aberrants and had nothing to show for it.”
Even people don’t have such strength of character. I can’t even hold my head high now!
“Maternibaby? Better than 005.” Thirteen nodded, not even looking conflicted. He just replied straightforwardly, “Okay. Give Maternibaby to me. We will then leave without hurting these people.”
Hearing this, the soldiers were stunned, their expressions incredulous.
Chen Yanqing shouted, “Ah Nuo, listen to Xiao Yu. He and this kiddo aren’t ordinary folks.”
Ah Nuo did not respond. His face was stiff, not at all carefree like when we had first met.
“Ah Nuo, you gotta trust me, man!” Chen Yanqing anxiously explained, “Enough of our brothers have died. Leave the others out of this. There are still many people out there who still need us. This research center is already destroyed. The monsters out there might charge in. We can’t just die here!”
Ah Nuo shouted, “Of course I want to live! But if we let this monster go, we can’t even think about surviving. You think a monster will keep its word? Are you fucking joking with me!”
I coldly said, “If he breaks his promise, I will put my life on the line to protect you.”
“…You?” Ah Nuo laughed hysterically.
Not waiting for him to spit out any more rude remarks, I raised my ice spear and slammed the ground hard. A large expanse of ice spread across the floor. Immediately afterwards, I froze ice blades to my feet. After giving it some thought, it still wasn’t impressive enough. I might as well freeze the soles to my knees and directly create a pair of ice boots. Of course, I didn’t forget to attach sharp blades. That should appear even more intimidating.
Everyone stared at me. I raised my ice spear and pointed at Asura. Using a commanding tone, I said, “Asura, you come and support Maternibaby.”
Asura looked over and bared his teeth. He didn’t seem to understand the human language.
“Asura?” Thirteen murmured and nodded. “Not bad.”
Don’t tell me they don’t have names yet? Come to think of it, Wu Yaojin called them 005, 013, and 042. I mean, while they were confined in the tubes, they probably didn’t have any interest in giving themselves names. They just escaped, so why would they have names?
I actually helped name these three aberrants without meaning to. This…won’t change things too much, will it?
Ever since awakening, I seemed to have caused a bunch of changes, even though currently the biggest change should be calling Dàgē back from Glacia. But with someone as important as the Ice Emperor, the scope of his influence must be huge. In the future, I’ll have to think things through more carefully. I can’t solely rely on Guan Weijun’s memory to make decisions.
Thirteen shot Asura a glance, and the other aberrant seemed to understand immediately. He really was a psychic type. He cautiously walked toward the soldiers. At this moment, Thirteen spoke again. “Go and support Maternibaby.”
Asura glanced back at Thirteen, as if questioning why he had spoken out loud. However, he still acted accordingly.
But once Asura advanced a few steps, all the soldiers pointed their guns at him. Unable to get any closer, he bared his teeth at them to scare them. Then, he turned to glare at Thirteen. His expression was a real sight. He wasn’t really angry. In fact, it was like he was complaining, “See, they’re not gonna let me take Maternibaby away.”
Thirteen looked at me.
I could only glare at my side’s soldiers for their disappointing behavior, and stalked toward them. As I passed the group of aberrants on the way, looks of concern flashed over the soldiers’ faces, reassuring me that the rescue attempt was not in vain.
Some aberrants acted like they wanted to pounce on me. I coldly glared at them—a truly “cold” glare. Freezing air mercilessly swept over, forcing a few aberrants to retreat several steps, their arrogant swagger gone without a trace. Aberrants would forever fear the strong.
Just like that, I walked over and faced Ah Nuo. I pushed down the muzzle of his gun and said, “Everyone move to the side.”
The soldiers, however, turned and looked at Ah Nuo as one. My previous guess really was correct—it was too hard for me to convince the masses. Even if I displayed a mastery of ice, making them fear and respect me, that didn’t necessarily mean they were willing to obey my words.
Ah Nuo looked at me and growled, “If those monsters break their promise, you’re standing at the front and guarding us, even if it kills you. You think you can do that?”
“If they break their promise…” I smirked, “I’ll make them die in front of you. That I could definitely do.”
Ah Nuo was taken aback and cracked up. He turned and waved everyone to the side.
“You hear that? Make way for our Xiao Yu. Later, if he slaughters those monsters all by himself, we really won’t have even a smidgen of pride left!”
The soldiers also began to chuckle even though their expressions were still pained. Some went back and carried the wounded soldiers, withdrawing to the side and immediately rushing to bandage the wounds. This was really necessary. Once those wounded soldiers relaxed, their faces drained of color. They really seemed to be at death’s door.
Asura picked up Maternibaby, making for a unique scene. It was like sticking four toothpicks into a pork ball, and then sticking it on top of chopsticks and pouring a bunch of ketchup over it. They walked past me and even gave me a wide berth. Clearly, they didn’t like the chilly air around me.
Once Asura retreated to Thirteen’s side, they truly didn’t hesitate to turn and leave. At this moment, Jiang Xiaotian and Chen Yanqing were still standing at the entrance. Xiaotian had deliberately refrained from coming over, while Chen Yanqing probably hadn’t realized what had happened until it was too late to move. And that Wu Yaojin had actually disappeared. Hmph, do I even have to say it? He definitely saw that the situation wasn’t in his favor and immediately fled.
I looked at Jiang Xiaotian, a bit worried that he would not allow the other side to leave. He only mentioned that Thirteen kept his promises, but he never mentioned whether he kept his promises. But, Dàgē should still be someone who keeps his promises?
If an aberrant kept its promise but a human broke his, that would be extremely ironic. I really didn’t want to see this happen. It’d make me feel that humans are inferior to aberrants. Besides, Jiang Xiaotian is absolutely not allowed to use his ability!
Luckily, that didn’t happen. Jiang Xiaotian glanced at me indifferently, seemingly aware of what I was thinking. He pulled at Chen Yanqing and the two of them backed up next to the wall together.
Ah Nuo didn’t dare to believe it and murmured, “They’re really keeping their word?”
At this moment, Thirteen suddenly turned back and spoke, scaring the rest to the point of raising their guns again. He only looked at me and asked, “You know us? There’s Maternibaby and Asura. What am I called?”
“I don’t know you. You’re just called Thirteen.” I said truthfully. Guan Weijun wasn’t that unlucky that she got to know you, but between you and Jiang Xiaotian, there’s an inconceivable grudge. He really wants to chop you up, then have your aberrants captured and turned into pets.
Anyway, Asura could just about be kept outdoors as a giant sculpture to admire, but Maternibaby simply looked too horrendous. Even if Jiang Xiaotian had no care for the dignity of the Ice Emperor and rolled about on the ground, throwing a tantrum, I definitely wouldn’t agree to it! What if it scares my Junjun?!
Thirteen seemed dissatisfied with his own name. If I knew that earlier, I would have named him “Tru Villin” or something. All he had to do was say his name and he’d lose half of his intimidating aura. Too bad I had missed the opportunity. Is it too late to say something now?
Even though he wasn’t satisfied, Thirteen appeared to accept this name. He looked at me and asked, “Your name?”
Announcing my name before the future aberrant king? That sounds so dangerous—yet so satisfying!
“I am Jiang Shuyu.”
I almost wanted to add a plagiarized statement, “I am the man who will become the Ice Emperor.” Luckily, I still retained some semblance of humility and didn’t say that out loud.
“Jiang Shuyu.” Thirteen repeated my name. Then, true to his word, he turned and departed, leading the group of aberrants away.
Only when those oddly formed aberrants disappeared from view did the soldiers break the silence—there was murmuring, shouting, crying, and laughing… As if they couldn’t believe they really had survived.
The soldiers wept and laughed. They looked so happy that they even hugged the smelly men next to them, looking like they wanted to kiss them.
“We really didn’t die!”